Erdoğan blames coup on Gülenists
Peter Beaumont, Guardian, Jul 16 2016
The accusations by Erdoğan that Pindo-based cleric Fethullah Gülen is behind last night’s attempted coup is part of a familiar rhetoric and a long-running rivalry. So Is there any truth in it? The traditional rivalry in Turkish society has been between secularists who look to the modern state’s founder Kemal Ataturk, notably the army and other state institutions, and Islamists. So who are the Gülenists? Gülen, a cleric living in exile in Pennsylvania, leads a popular movement, Hizmet or “the service,” ostensibly campaigning for democratic accountability. The centre of recent tension between the Gülenists and Erdoğan and his AKP is the president’s decision to blame Gülenists in the police and judiciary for initiating anti-corruption allegations in 2013 that targeted his supporters, including Erdoğan’s son Bilal. Erdoğan responded by launching a purge of perceived Gülenists. As the coup attempt unfolded on Friday night, a lawyer for the Turkish government, Robert Amsterdam, said “there are indications of direct involvement” of Gülenists. According to Turkish intelligence sources, Amsterdam said:
There are signs that Gülen is working closely with certain members of military leadership against the elected civilian government.
Gülen’s group, the Alliance for Shared Values, was quick to deny it, issuing a statement saying comments alleging the group’s involvement in the coup were “highly irresponsible” and that the group did not support the military intervention:
Events on the ground are moving quickly and it would be irresponsible for us to speculate on them. We remain concerned about the safety and security of Turkish citizens and those in Turkey right now. For more than 40 years, Fethullah Gülen and Hizmet participants have advocated for, and demonstrated their commitment to, peace and democracy. We have consistently denounced military interventions in domestic politics. These are core values of Hizmet participants. We condemn any military intervention in domestic politics of Turkey.