I expected to get some work done on my book. But some sections of the military in Turkey decided to launch a coup. They claimed that they were defending the legacy of Kemalism against an increasing authorian theocratic regime. But they failed. All the political parties opposed the coup. People on the streets showed their defiance against the coup.
Already the President is using his victory to sack his enemies in the military and the courts. Personally I was of 2 minds of this coup. I support democracy and I oppose dictatorship. I believe in the secular Republic as well. The present Turkish government is moving Turkey away from its secularist roots. Turkey is a major power in NATO. Developments in Turkey have grave security concerns for the world.
Fethullah Gulan who founded an Islamic movement is in self imposed exile in the United States. Gulan claims to seek a modern tolerant form of Islam that is reconciled with the values of democracy and the secular Republic of Turkey. Gulan gave a rare interview to the media. He stated he opposed coups. He suffered from coups in the past. Democracy must be respected. He is living in America because freedom is an important value to him. He wondered if the President let the coup happen so that he could gain greater power.
President Erdogan claims that Gulan and his movement is behind the coup. The President has a falling out with Gulan and he seeks to destroy him and his movement. Erdogan has threatened to regard America as an enemy if they don’t deliver Gulan to him for trial.
The behaviour of both Erdogan and Gulan convinces me that while Gulan seeks a society where pious Muslims can support a secular state Erdogan seeks to move Turkey towards an Islamic state. I could be wrong in which case I will need to revise my analysis. Another Iran bordering Europe and in NATO isn’t good for security.
John O Brien.