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Turkish-owned New York cafe raided over Gulen links

Preacher Fethullah Gulen is suspected of plotting the attempted July coup in Turkey [Getty]

Date of publication: 31 October, 2016

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A dozen FBI agents reportedly stormed the cafe over alleged links to preacher Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara suspects of plotting the failed July coup
A New York cafe suspected of links to alleged Turkey coup "mastermind" Fethullah Gulen was reportedly raided by the FBI.

More than a dozen federal agents seized computers during the raid on Cafe Masal in Brooklyn, Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah reported.

The venue is believed to be a popular meeting place for followers of the US-based preacher, suspected of plotting the failed July 15 coup.

Two Turkish-Americans, speaking on condition of anonymity, said cafe owner Sabahattin Karakus had close ties with Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania.

"Gulenists are using this location because it is also very close to the JFK, the airport," one of them said.

FBI also conducted a separate search of Karakus' house and confiscated his computers.

"They told me not to talk about this with anyone. That's all," he told the newspaper.

In a 2014 Buzzfeed article on Gulen's alleged efforts to buy influence in US politics, Karakus said that he supports the movement and that he regularly attends holiday dinners at the Turkish Cultural Center, a non-profit NGO run by a Gulen sympathiser.

Ankara accuses exiled Muslim preacher Gulen of masterminding the coup - a claim he denies.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said his government would ask parliament to consider reintroducing the death penalty as a punishment for the plotters behind the July coup bid.

Erdogan's government has also repeatedly called on the United States to extradite Gulen.

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