Sunday, September 4, 2016

Why take the risk? Understanding Gülenists’ involvement in the failed coup in Turkey

Saban Kardas, "Why take the risk? Understanding Gülenists’ involvement in the failed coup in Turkey,"

Image from article, with caption: For the first time ever, Turkey’s three main political parties, including the Justice and Development (AK) Party, Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) joined together for a pro-democracy rally on August 8, 2015
In the aftermath of the failed 15 July coup, which terrorised Turkey on an unprecedented scale, most signs point to the Gülenist network [see] as the main culprit. ...
In its aggressive growth strategy, the Gülen movement has expanded through a skilful utilisation of cross-linkages between its various components, as well as rendering such linkages obscure. Moreover, it has capitalised on the political agenda of the time effectively, by drawing, among other things, on the vast network of media assets under its control. ...
Following its emergence as a formidable force in the Turkish diaspora, the Gülen movement’s discourse has evolved increasingly in line with the international agenda. The global network achieved partly as a result of this internationalised discourse has rendered the Gülenist structure progressively less dependent on its home base in Turkey, in terms of both finance and recruitment. For instance, after its transfer of resources abroad was curtailed following the municipal elections in March 2014, the Turkish newspapers ran with headlines that the group’s international operations would be curtailed significantly. The fact that its influence has instead remained largely intact underscores the relevance of its diasporic character.
As it developed an effective network abroad, the Gülenist structure benefited enormously from the means and experience of lobbying and public diplomacy that it had acquired over the years. Thanks to the ties built up with the dominant political actors in Turkey, including the AK Party until the start of the break-up of the alliance in 2012, it has found a fertile environment to expand internationally. Given its strengths in adopting the hegemonic discourse or contributing to its production, the movement has gained enormous political capital in Washington, which tells us a lot. When the quality of Turkish democracy became a topic of discussion in the US capital, for instance, the representatives of the group took different conjectural positions. Until the split that followed the February 2012 National Intelligence Council (MIT) crisis, the group’s networks had effectively served as Turkey’s lobbyists in Washington, arguing that Turkish democracy was on solid ground. In the following period, as it embarked on a bitter political struggle against the AK Party government, the same group resorted heavily to the authoritarian thesis, which was embraced by the US intelligentsia, especially after the 2013 Gezi Park protests in Istanbul. ...

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