Gülenists victim of their own hubris

Gülenists victim of their own hubris

The coup attempt of July 15 has shown us the side of the Gülenist Movement that we had almost forgotten. The higher-ups of the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) were so full of themselves and so incredibly convinced that this land would be run by them that they failed to see the real citizens who suffered under their tyranny.

These were the columnists, police chiefs and prosecutors who dared to ransack the late Dr. Türkan Saylan’s apartment to find (or plant) fake evidence. These were the fake characters that called up TV station bosses to be on nightly discussion shows to “support democracy against military tutelage.” This was the defiant editor of a certain newspaper that almost tried and sentenced our colleagues. These were the criminals in the form of police chiefs that threatened us day and night over Twitter that we should be prosecuted, fired and jailed. 

As Alev Alatlı so nicely said a couple of months ago, the Turkish intelligentsia would not yield to the hubris of this crowd. “Golden generation? What golden generation?” said Alatlı. “We are the ones that made this nation and we won’t leave it to them.” 

Alatlı makes us remember what we lost in the past decade as a society. FETÖ’s biggest crime is undermining the real values and honesty of middle-class people. They destroyed the very fabric of this society which was tied to respect, merit and decency. They wiretapped people, they spread lies, they pushed people to fall into the same hubris they were all living in. What makes FETÖ a terrorist organization is not just the actions they committed but also how they terrorized society. Up until July 15, it may not have committed an obvious crime against the state, but for more than a decade, it was the center of crimes against the people of Turkey.
Gülenists made people feel inferior, inadequate, less connected and less capable. If you wanted to be a civil servant and your university degree was perhaps too good to work in the Treasury, for example (be it from Istanbul’s Boğaziçi, or Yale, MIT, etc.), they would force you to show up at Friday prayers so that you could prove your piety. If you were a woman, you were automatically disqualified anyway. This way, they could bring the state to the lowest common denominator, as we say in math. 

The state apparatus hemorrhaged and lost its brightest brainpower as FETÖ forced good, hardworking and dedicated civil servants, academics, journalists and teachers to resign from their posts. The Sledgehammer and Ergenekon trials were only the tip of the iceberg. FETÖ almost operated like the Matrix, where there is an enhanced, fake virtual reality, and they made us believe in it. 

The Gülenist movement could have been an intellectual opportunity for Turkey; it could have been the wisdom of Islam thought all across the world. But no, they chose to crush the military, overtake the government and plant the seeds of evil inside human souls. They could have created much greater damage had it not been July 15.

FETÖ’s ultimate crime was to create this incredible mistrust among us. Theirs was a fire that burnt our skin. It will heal, but it will never disappear. And we will never forget how much harm can come out of this eternal hubris.