(London Guardian) The accusation by Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, that US-based cleric Fethullah Gülen is behind Friday night’s attempted coup is part of a familiar rhetoric and a long-running rivalry. So is there any truth in it?
It is probably worth pointing out in the first instance that the traditional rivalry in Turkish society has been between secularists (including those in the army) who look to the modern state’s founder, Kemal Atatürk, and Islamists – not least Erdogan’s AKP party, which has provoked a number of coups or attempts in Turkish history.
The military has long seen itself as the guardian of modern Turkey, and the movement lead by Gülen occupies a sort of murky gap between the two sides.
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Gülen, a cleric living in reclusive exile in Pennsylvania, leads a popular movement called Hizmet. It is a hodge-podge that at times has appeared cultish – spawning thinktanks, businesses, schools and publications across the globe, while building up substantial wealth and influence in the process.