I see. I will be watching for possible splits within AKP as a result of
this struggle between AKP and Gulen. One thing that comes to my mind is
that this could have an impact on Gul - Erdogan r'hip as Gul is closer to
Gulen and Erdogan wants to act more independently.
Latest news is that Gulen is planing to come to Turkey after the
elections. Funny times...
From: "Reva Bhalla" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Middle East AOR" <email@example.com>
Sent: Monday, October 18, 2010 5:01:22 AM
Subject: Re: [MESA] DISCUSSION - Gulen Update
Emre, thanks for this update. I agree with your assessment... the
Gulenists are on the defensive, and we need to figure out to what extent
the AKP is pushing them on teh defensive and whether this is also causing
splits within the AKP itself.
On Oct 15, 2010, at 7:02 AM, Emre Dogru wrote:
Gulen is coming under pressure and making counter-moves. Police chief's
case made a huge impact on the movement's agenda. They never thought
that the case would bring the Gulen movement in to the light this much.
(Or as some of the journalists claim, AKP opened the case against the
police chief to tighten the grips on the movement).
There is no single
day where Gulen is not debated on the TV. The general feeling in Turkey
currently is that Gulen movement (cemaat) is in control of everything
and above everything.
Fethullah Gulen has been giving many interviews over the past few weeks
to acquit himself of police chief's case while Today's Zaman is still
attacking him to demonstrate that he is guilty. But Gulen public
appearance intensified this past week. He gave an interview in which he
directly responded allegations that were made by the police chief in his
book about Gulenist infiltration to state institutions.
Gulen said that
his sympathizers have the right to work in government institutions (from
foreign ministry to the intelligence) and this could not be called "infiltration" because as Turkish citizens, they have the right to do
so. Moreover, there is nothing wrong in encouraging them to do this.
Here is my reading: while what Gulen says is legally and politically
correct, he implicitly admits two things. First, there is a group called
Gulen sympathizers (which is important because this was denied by some
Gulenist people). Second, Gulen encourage people to work in government
institutions. Be it infiltration or employment, Gulen admits the fact
that he has a clan within the state.
Further confirming this, Zaman columnist Huseyin Gulerce (He is the
closest to Fethullah Gulen and what he says is considered as Gulen's
personal words in Turkey) recently said in an interview that presence of
the Gulenist clan in the government is exaggerated and Gulenists do not
represent more than 2% in high bureaucracy. Numbers don't matter, again
this is acceptance of Gulenist presence in the institutions.
Briefly, Gulen is on the defense for the moment but while defending
himself, he accepts some things about his movement that others were
But the story does not end here. Huseyin Gulerce, in his interview, made
a counter-move against AKP, which I think supports the theory that Gulen
movement thinks that current pressure on the movement is applied by AKP.
Gulerce said that AKP did not do anything in favor of Alevis in Turkey
so far and did not recognize Alevi Houses (Cem Evi in Turkish, Alevi
shrine) as official shrines despite increasing demands from them. This
is a very smart move.
Because the status of Alevis is a very
controversial issue in Turkey. Alevis traditionally vote for CHP. AKP
started an Alevi initiative over the past few years but is still far
from matching their demands (the key is recognition of Alevi Houses by
This issue became even more popular last week because
as you may know, Erdogan recently circumvented CHP's proposal to prepare
the new constitution before the election by saying that if CHP was
sincere, it would have agreed to settle the headscarf issue in a snap
first. CHP, in return, said that this issue should be settled in a
greater framework, including rights of Alevis.
So, Alevi rights became
an issue again between AKP and CHP recently. Coming back to Gulerce's
interview, I am sure you already understood the message: We, Gulen
movement, can change our side and support CHP if you AKP guys mess with
Aaand good news..Gulerce said today that Gulen missed his country so
much and he wants to come to Turkey when the weather gets better to
travel here before he dies. Erdogan will not like this.