In an op-ed in The New York Times, Halil Karaveli, senior fellow at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, discusses the fractionalization of the Turkish state by means of internal factions working to undermine the country’s institutional stability. The most menacing of these factions is the Gülenists, who over 60% of Turks believe are behind the failed coup attempt in July:
The notion that a Gulenist faction within the military was behind the coup plot is not so far-fetched. This attempted putsch occurred in the context of entrenched Gulenist influence within Turkey’s institutions of state and a yearslong power struggle between Mr. Erdogan and Gulen loyalists, who were once the president’s political ally.
This was one reason the coup failed, for the Kemalist majority in the military, including its high command, did not join the attempt. Instead, they moved to crush what the chief of the general staff called a “crazy” attempt instigated by Gulenists.
Officially, the Hizmet movement is committed to values of religious moderation and interfaith dialogue; it promotes education and science through its extensive network of schools, both internationally and — until now — in Turkey. Yet Gulenists also belong to a secretive network that has ruthlessly sought to wield power, in glaring contradiction of the moderation the movement’s officials preach. Tellingly, those journalists who specifically reported on an earlier Gulenist power grab were targeted by the authorities; some were even imprisoned for years.