In the good old days. Fethullah Gülen (L), Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (R)

In the good old days. Fethullah Gülen (L), Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (R)

Fethullah Gülen movement [FGM]  is now the biggest school of Islamic circles that follow Said Nursi‘s teachings.

FGM was known to support center right parties. With the collapse of center right in Turkey as AKP did rise to power, FGM and AKP allied to challenge their common enemy: Turkish Army.

In the mean time, AKP leadership was born out of Necmettin Erbakan‘s conservative/Islamist line of parties, and most of current leadership is attributed to a Naqshi tariqah branch, Esad Coşan circle.

FGM and AKP leadership never politically allied until AKP’s rise. The latter had an explicitly Islamist agenda, and Erbakan’s previous parties were closed down by the Turkish State. FGM rarely challenged State Authority explicitly and harshly criticized other Islamist group who were explicit about it (like in 28 February days, against headscarf ban). FGM decided to focus on educational system and mobilized its followers to pursue careers in education, legal institutions and police forces. FGM network has gone beyond Turkey and became global as the FGM’s schools and universities were founded from Africa to Northern America. FGM’s private prep schools from the national university entrance exam had become the most powerful network in the country. Current tension began with AKP’s move to close down these prep schools. However, tense relations between to factions would lead to an open struggle anyway. Competition over state resources would inevitably be tense. Since there is no powerful organized opposition and armed forces are at the command of Erdoğan for the moment, AKP could decide to start the fight…

Ideologically, FGM movement in general more conservative and (Turkish) nationalist. Socially, most of the members are more educated than core AKP follower base. AKP relies on populist mobilization which sometimes becomes openly fascit while FGM relies on bureaucratic power and never ending alliances.

AKP gradually broke down all alliances as it became more powerful. At the moment, we de facto live a one-party regime under AKP rule.

On specific issues, Kurdish question. FGM’s inherent Turkish nationalism worked against solving the Kurdish question. Since its rival AKP initiated a peace process, FGM positioned itself against the process. I do not believe AKP is sincere in the peace process (you can just look at my blog archive to see how Erdoğan was anti-Kurdish a few years ago), however, it is politically pragmatic and sees this process will get more votes and consolidate its power in the Western lands as there will not be more fighting in the East…

On the Gezi Protests, we now how AKP reacted and that where my basic opposition to AKP is born out. FGM favored a double-strategy. In its Turkish media, it was slightly pro-AKP but in its English media (Today’s Zaman) it was explicitly pro-Gezi. Now that there is open warfare between two factions, FGM becomes more pro-Gezi. However, under normal conditions, FGM never favors street activism and its supporters in police forces do not seem to be different from other police personnel in treating activists.

In foreign relations, FGM favors international status quo. That means you won’t hear much against EU, US or Israel. In the Mavi Marmara case, FGM criticized Turkish government and since then some of the militant sections within pro-goverment circles including IHH, are pursuing revenge against the movement. Its Sunnism will probably be working against more relations with Iran, too.

One of the many consequences of this tension is that FGM supporters become more vocal nowadays. They are not hiding. That was one thing I was very critical of FGM. A continous taqiyye. This process, apart from many negative happenings, is leading a further civilianisation of a closed-circle organization…

In the mean time, if AKP wins this struggle, there does not seem to be any organized opposition to Erdoğan left within the Turkish State and a one-man rule actually begins…

p.s. if there comes any feedback or questions, I will try to elaborate…

update 1: Most Kemalists have a tradition of demonizing FGM. So at least in the beginning of the tension, they have aligned with AKP against FGM. Many in MHP circles may have allied with AKP since Erdoğan replaced many FGM related police chiefs with former chiefs who are pro-MHP. MHP was known to be well embedded in police forces before AKP. Now the AKP needs them against FGM.

Nearly all Islamist circles are aligning behind AKP. AKP basically dominated all except FGM and against well organized FGM, AKP needs to recruit from all other Islamic groups, including radical ones, ie. Haksöz/Özgürder group whose offices are spreading fast all around Turkey.

Pro-Iran İslamists were one of the angry opponents of AKP especially in the context of Syria policies. However, during current tension, they agree with Erdoğan in foreign plots and decided to oppose FGM and graft probe….

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  • A comment and a reply from EFD’s mirror site:

    …….

    Thanks for this. it seems to bear out my own perception as guided by Turkish friends, that RTE has been using EU cover to replace the military state with his own, making alliances along the way ? first the nationalists and then the Kurds, always until now he Cemaat ? to further solidify his own rule.
    From where I sit, it looks like even before this latest civil war RTE has chosen for loyalty over competence in his inner circle, and that the state?s fiscal health rests on a lot of one-time sales (privatisations) and state sector spending (construction) that is both unregulated (TOKI, out of the PM?s office) and unaudited. So I do wonder what the eventual health of the Turkish economy will prove to be.

    At the same time, I wonder what the odds are that, failing to get a presidency like Putin?s, RTE will take another term as PM, given that the only prohibition rests within his own party and that?s easily overcome, as US politicians have been proving for decades.

    Finally, Nedim Sener: Is he now actively working with AKP against FGM, or does it just appear that way?

    thanks for any answers/elaborations.
    ************
    Hey, thanks for the comment. here are some quick answers:

    1) It seems that AKP relied on flowing cash from some Arabic countries, plus Iranian Gold. Now that this might be disrupted we will see what happens. I don’t believe AKP led some productive industries to support economy…

    2) RTE may take another term as a PM but he may have lost the chance to be a president like Putin. However, seeing what his regime does so far, I would not be surprised if elections are rigged. Civil society must do its best in observing elections…

    3) Nedim Şener and Ahmet Şık were in prison because of their intense Cemaat criticism. So they have a long due issue with that. I believe they may be overlooking the growing political scene here…

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