Gulen's personal video showed him tearing up.
Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has rejected Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s call for him to return to Turkey on the grounds that it could risk many of the achievements his movement has made.
"Destiny led me to a path away from surrendering, so I walked down that path and never thought of surrendering," Gülen said in a length response to Erdoğan. "I don't want to harm the cause by coming back.”
He also said previous leaders had also invited him to end his long, self-imposed exile in the United States. "President [Abdullah] Gül also said it before, in the open or through mediation. Other statesmen also called on me to return. They asked me if it wasn't time I came back," Gülen added.
"They do what suits them. The nation may look to them to call me back, and I assume the prime minister sensed a demand from the people when the applause at the Turkish Olympiad got too loud," Gülen added.
"I can't go unless they invite me first," Gülen said. "Turkey is not a safe, secure place; I will be getting myself in trouble."
Gülen also spoke of his previous convictions, saying he never complained of his jailings, other than his six years as a fugitive following the Sept. 12, 1980, coup.
Gülen said he would not want to risk the cause he committed himself to by coming back to Turkey.
"If there is a one in a hundred chance that there will be problems in Turkey, that unrest will arise, that some gains will be lost again, I wouldn't want to go back with these worries," Gülen said.
"If the positive course in Turkey will be hindered by my return, I prefer to live my remaining days here," Gülen added.
While speaking at the closing ceremony of the Turkish Olympiad on June 14, Erdoğan made a thinly disguised call for Gülen to return to Turkey without using the religious scholar’s name.