Fethullah Gulen
Fethullah Gulen Reuters

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told his U.S. counterpart John Kerry on Tuesday that both Russia and Turkey believe that cleric Fethullah Gulen was behind the assassination of the Russian envoy to Ankara, the Turkish Daily Sabah newspaper reported.

The two had a phone call at Kerry's request, diplomatic sources told the newspaper.

The sources said that Cavsoglu told Kerry that "both Turkey and Russia know the Gülenist Terror Cult was behind Russian envoy Andrey Karlov's assassination."

Gulen, a longtime rival of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, currently resides in exile in the United States. He leads a popular movement called Hizmet and split from Erdogan over a corruption scandal in 2013. Erdogan has long accused him of running a parallel state from abroad.

Gulen was also accused by Turkey of orchestrating the failed July 15 coup plot but denies the claims. In fact, he has hinted that the uprising by members of the country’s military could have been “staged” by the government.

A spokeswoman denied on Tuesday that Gulen had any connection to the Russian ambassador’s death.

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