06 September 2016
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan holds Fethullah Gulen, the self-exiled conservative leader of Hizmet, one of the world’s biggest Islamic movements, responsible for the attempt to overthrow his democratically elected government. Erdogan asserts that Gulen’s followers infiltrated the military, police, judiciary, bureaucracy, and education system as well as the media. In response, he has arrested tens of thousands and fired a similar number of military and police officers, judiciary personnel, teachers and professors, and bureaucrats accused of being Gulen sympathisers.
Erdogan’s claim is not without reason even if elements of the deep state, a cabal of ultra-nationalist politicians, officers, and bureaucrats with links to organised crime, may have participated in the failed plot. Gulen’s strategy, best described as a version of German student leader Rudi Dutschke’s march through the institutions, amounted to a gradual takeover of the state. To support his strategy, Gulen, a frail and dour septuagenarian, preached obedience to the state and recognition of the rule of law while at the same time inserting his followers into key institutions and educating the next generation in his ideological mould.
… James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and co-director of the University of Würzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture, Germany.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 07/09/2016