Turkey Coup — Was Gülen Involved?

The history of Turkey, and the Ottoman Empire, have been characterized by secret organizations that, contrary to Western experience, did not leak and were not exposed. One could imagine the scope of it if the assassination of JFK were actually the work of an elaborate conspiracy that has eluded a half century of detective work.

The paramount example occurred in the Ottoman Empire before and during World War I. The  higher echelons of the Ottoman Army had a large Arab contingent, who formed a secret organization devoted to Arab independence. These officers, a modern analog to the Janissaries, served also as hostages to their Ottoman masters. During the Arab Revolt, various members were executed in revenge to their extended families. The bond of secrecy was so strong that members watched other members go to the gallows without batting an eyelash.

The Turkish “deep state”, however real it remains, inherited this capacity for conspiracy, which has of late has become multifarious. But history is silent about hierarchies and rituals. Such may not be part of the culture.

Fethullah Gülen and Erdoğan are bitter enemies, for an easy reason. Gülen’s ideology is similar enough to Erdoğan’s to poach his camp. This has been the case in many western  religious disputes, when churches have split over inconceivably minor liturgical issues.

So  Erdoğan’s pointing a finger at Gülen, and the possible demand for extradition, is a demand to burn the heretic. Responsibility of Gülen for the coup, in a command-chain form, will probably never be adduced in a form acceptable to Western logic. Yet to Erdoğan and his party, Gülen‘s culpability may be obvious.

On this issue, the gap of perception between the authoritarian strain of Turkish culture, of which Erdoğan is the embodiment, and that of the West, yawns wide.

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