The Clash of Currents: The Struggle of Political Islam in Turkey

By: Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Mon 25 July / Jul 2016. 06:33 PM - آخر تعديل في Mon 25 July / Jul 2016. 08:03 PM
  • Fahed Khitan

The consequences of the failed coup in Turkey do not fold; ongoing arrests on various levels throughout the official institution, in what simultaneously couples with the President’s strategic decisions to reconstruct the military and some security devices, as well as some civil legal, judiciary, and education sectors.

In light of all that, an accurate definition of the most recent failed coup there; is it a failed attempt to over throw the presidency there by the military? Or Fethallah Gullen’s lot?

In the beginning, fingers pointed almost exclusively at the Army, being the party operational in the field, led by influential officers in the attempt to confiscate authority. But only a brief while later, Fethallah Gullen’s people started ranking the list of suspected perpetrators in Turkey.

In the brief duration that followed, the official Turkish story confirmed that Gullen’s affiliates were the first movers throughout several military sectors to initiate the coup, while other sectors in the Army prepped to see it through before it was thwarted in its birthstage.

On their part, Turkish authorities gave the impression that all those in custody, under investigation, exceeding 13 thousand Turks, were indeed affiliates of Gullen. But no independent party confirmed the validity of this claim, pending the judicial and legal processing of suspected plotters in custody.

Nonetheless, the important clarification now lies in that Gullen affiliated parties were the ones responsible for the coup, not military leadership, which serves the purpose or reconsolidating recent hostility against the military institution, and avoid the possible catastrophe that may unfold from the instilment of the impression that the military is against the current government!

For the ruling party in Turkey, tying the coup to the military serves the storyline of governance there, given the history of military coups and overthrows. It was enough to infer that the army has flipped, to aggregate the populace against them, which is exactly what happened the night of the coup. Vast masses took to the streets, of different political affiliations, to face off the tanks; which is the same reason opposition in Turkey consolidated to thwart the military coup.

Subsequent to the context of the coup, now, a description of following events that unfolded there is in order as well.

Fethallah Gullen’s lot, an openly religious group and formerly closely affiliated to the Justice and Development party, as well as Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is there in this discourse a movement of political Islam.

This movement has been active in Turkey and abroad for years, thanks to its affiliation with the Justice and Development party. This current, with invaluable contribution to the Erdogan and Party’s success in the last elections, supported him in 2008 following the tension with the military, and in return for all that was given the green light to operate freely, up until its development into one of the largest investment institutions in Turkey, with fortunes estimated by experts at no less than USD100 billion.

Notable is friend and colleague Dr Bassim Towaisi’s Sunday article in “Al Ghad” pointing out this particular side to the failed coup; describing it as an inflamed struggle between two currents at the core of political Islam.

Undoubtedly. Looking into the open confrontation ongoing in Turkey at the moment, one would arrive at the conclusion that the coup there was no more than simply a struggle over power among currents within the school of political Islam; not, as some would say, a struggle between the military institution and the elected civil authority.