The divine battle
If for years, fists wrenched, teeth grinned with determination not to give up and vows were delivered to take revenge when the time comes, once it is in power is there anything abnormal for that power-thirsty political mentality to take moves aimed at consolidating its place in government? That was indeed what the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) tried to achieve.
The AKP was a descendant of the Turkish mainstream political Islam movement led by Necmettin Erbakan, who, despite all of the coalitions he made since the mid-1960s, never ever managed to come anywhere close to 30 percent in any election. Seeing that after the “post-modern coup” of 1997, coming to power through fighting constantly with the Kemalist regime was impossible, a group led by Abdullah Gül, Bülent Arınç and of course Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – the so-called modernists – left the Erbakan movement. They established a new political movement that would fight for power without fighting head on with the Kemalist establishment. In this ordeal, they were predominantly assisted by the Fethullah Gülen movement, the leader of which had to flee abroad after 1997 to evade prosecution. He was facing various charges at the time.
The AKP won the 2001 elections and the consequent two elections, raising its electoral support to almost 50 percent in 2011. In the meantime, however, despite repeated calls, Fethullah Gülen refused to return Turkey and preferred to stay in Pennsylvania, from where he was effectively masterminding the Gülenist movement and its “confederation” of business and educational enterprise. Why Gülen refused to come to Turkey despite there being a government sharing an almost identical worldview with him? Why was he shedding tears during every interview and asking people to bury him, when the day comes, somewhere in Turkey, but even turning down invitations from Prime Minister Erdoğan to come back?
A report shed light to the issue… After it came to power and indeed not under the duress of the military – as has become the accustomed excuse for anything that went wrong – the AKP developed a policy decision at the National Security Council (MGK), describing the Gülenists as a threat to national security and thus should be eliminated… Of course the AKP immediately denied such reports, but could not find much to say once details were exposed, demonstrating the scandalous development not only took place, but remained in force all through the past many years, until very recently.
But, why was such a document released now at a time when the Gülenists and the government were staging a battle over the pre-schools, or dershanes, believed mostly to belong to Gülenists? Could it be the document was released by dens trying to destabilize Turkey by hurting further relations between the government and the Gülenists that are already passing through very serious straits because of the pre-school standoff?
It is easy to develop conspiracy theories and Turkish society is inclined to accept any such theory irrespective of how ridiculous it might be. Yet can’t we just see the divine battle for power between the Gülenists and AKP… AKP is considering itself powerful enough to get rid of its Gülenists coalition partners and the Gülenists are struggling to remain onboard, aware that without the government they might retreat to a marginal religious grouping once again…
This is a divine battle for survival for the Gülenists while a battle to consolidate its power for the AKP.