Sincere failure confessions after the coup attempt
I believe we have to put President Tayyip Erdoğan’s confession of failure on Aug. 3 at the top of the list. Not only because it was unequivocal but apologetic as well, perhaps for the first time in Erdoğan’s political career of more than four decades.
Addressing the Extraordinary Religious Convention held by the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) in Ankara, Erdoğan said he knew he had to account to the Turkish nation and Allah for failing to reveal the true face of Fethullah Gülen. The convention was actually organized in order to expose the “true nature” of the Gülen network, which had “nothing to do with Islam” and was trying to establish a new religion that looked like “modern free masonry.”
A similar confession was made by Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ last week while addressing parliament. Looking at the opposition seats, he said, “Our friends had warned us about them, but we did not listen.”
Gülen is a Turkish Islamist preacher living in the U.S. and a former ally of Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) who is now denounced as the head of the “Fethullahist Terror Organization” (FETÖ), as named in the indictments, and accused of being the mastermind of the junta which attempted the failed coup on July 15. Turkey’s government and opposition (and near 70 percent of the Turkish people, according to a recent poll) want the U.S. to give Gülen to Turkey for trial.
In that sense another confession came from Thornbjorn Jagland, the secretary general of the Council Europe. He said during a press conference with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Ankara on Aug. 3 that “there had been little understanding in Europe on the extent to which a secret network had infiltrated the Turkish army and judiciary.” Jagland also said that Turkey “needs to follow human rights in [its] crackdown on coup plotters.”
Another one came from Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım during an interview on CNN Türk on Aug. 2. He said National Intelligence Agency (MİT) chief Hakan Fidan had failed so far in answering why he did not report the unfolding coup attempt in time on the afternoon of July 15. When asked by Hande Fırat, the journalist who had managed to interview Erdoğan via FaceTime at the breaking point of the coup attempt, why Fidan was still in his position, Yıldırım said it was not a time to settle internal accounts but to get over the trauma and fight back against the plotters.
Surprising support for the government’s attitude came on Aug. 3 from the social democratic main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). Its deputy chairman, Bülent Tezcan, said they were happy to hear that the government had seen its mistakes but it was now time to struggle against the common threat.