Cleansing intestines, again…
There are concerns in Turkey but mostly abroad regarding the compliance of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government with supremacy of law, justice, norms and principles of democratic governance in what was presented by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the counter-coup against an attempted coup by a religious brotherhood.
These concerns partly emanated from a set of photographs and video footage distributed by the semi-official Anatolia Agency of the country showing a group of generals harassed and shoved, with facial bruises and the residue of apparent serious violence on their bodies – as if they were badly tortured. If commanders of the country was so badly treated in front of cameras in a manner totally incompatible with human dignity, what might have happened to the junior officers, or others?
Also, I have to admit with earnest sincerity, this country has a good track record of justice over the past decade. Well the government might wish to put all the blame of the Ergenekon, Sledgehammer and other soul hunting exercises on the same Islamist brotherhood but neither the world nor Turks who still dare to remain skeptical remember the collaboration of the AKP and the Fethullah Gülen group, or Gülenists, for example in the 2007-2012 period. Can anyone forget how the Gülenists-infiltrated police intelligence became an excellence center to concoct all kinds of fake evidence against the nationalists and Kemalists they wanted to be kicked out of the civil service, academia and of course the military in what was described as an operation to “cleanse the intestines” of the country?
The traumatic post-2007 period, when nationalists and Kemalists were hunted in Turkey and the prime minister of the country at the time was boldly declaring he could walk over all sorts of nationalism, was presented as an exercise to end military tutelage on democracy. Yet, while ending military tutelage the ruling AKP in collaboration with the Gülenists introduced in Turkey the AKP, or better put Erdoğan tutelage over democracy. Why the Gülenists tried to topple Erdoğan might even be seen in that. A joint effort to take over the country ended up with Erdoğan and his AKP taking over the entire country while the “comrade in arms” in the campaign against the secularists and nationalists, the Gülenist movement, was marginalized, shoved off. Whatever, the international community that did not realize what was happening in Turkey in the early period of the anti-secularist push and believed the “wrong guys were doing something magnificent” and advancing Turkish democracy.
Reality, though often a bit late, has a very bad habit of surfacing. So it did in Turkey. After almost six years – during which some people lost their lives in prison while many people lost their health – truth finally prevailed. It became obvious for everyone that Ergenekon, Sledgehammer and the rest of the anti-secularist campaign was a big hoax. Why did such a bitter reality manage to surface? Because the Gülenists and the AKP were engaged in a fight for power and all the dirty laundry of the post-2007 period was splashed on the front pages of the media…
Besides, the initial pro-democracy resolve of the AKP was gradually replaced by a “I know it all” mentality and an aggressive polarization push that helped boost the ruling party’s popular backing in consequent elections, but gave the world the image of an autocratic dictatorial governance.
As paradoxical is it might be, the more the AKP governance and Erdoğan became power obsessive the more the Gülenists gave stronger democracy messages; the more Erdoğan polarized the country and moved away from secularists, nationalists and liberals, the more Gülenists approached and “mended fences” with those groups. In the international arena as well while Erdoğan and his AKP were consolidating for themselves an image of an autocratic leader and party, Gülenists were presenting themselves as the face of moderate Islam, tolerant towards all other beliefs.
Was there CIA involvement in the Gülenist movement? Was the Gülenist movement a replica of the Moonies or the Unification Church – also believed to be a CIA program? As lunatic as it might appear there is a huge market for all conspiracy theories in Turkey. While the country is “cleansing its intestines” once again – this time the Gülenists – Fethullah Gülen having lawful permanent resident status in Pennsylvania is for some itself sufficient proof of CIA involvement. Any hard evidence? Saying the coup attempt itself is evidence might be a valid argument sufficient for extradition, of course if there is political will. But, can political will play such a role in let’s say the United States or Greece – where eight Turkish soldiers escaped?
Cleansing intestines appear to be a difficult job.