A strange but not improbable incident occurred in Kastelorizo early in the morning on Monday 27/09. According to the Open channel, two Turks were spotted in the offshore zone of the remote island, where, as it turned out, they reached by swimming from the Turkish coast.
The coast guard fighters found two men and approached them, but the Turks resisted. The authorities succeeded in arresting one of the two, who was taken to the Port Authority of the island of Kastelorizo.
The second fugitive managed to escape and get on the liner bound for Rhodes. However, the port authorities were warned, and a Turkish citizen who was illegally in Greece was arrested.
Two defectors with forged documents claimed to be Gulenists * and came to Greece to avoid persecution by the Erdogan regime.
The Turkish authorities are accused of organizing the failed coup d’etat in the United States, Fethullah Gulen. This explanation is widely accepted in Turkey. The history of the Gulen movement helps to understand why this is happening.
WHAT IS THE MOVEMENT GOING FOR?
Gulen was originally a supporter of Said Nursi, an Ottoman-Kurdish preacher who adheres to the Hanafi school of Sunni Islam. However, in the 1970s, Gulen formed his own movement, which was later called the Gulen Camaati (Gulen movement).
Like other Islamic movements under the harsh secular pro-war Turkish authorities, the Gulen movement was banned and operated underground until 1983. However, unlike other religious communities, which mainly teach the Qur’an and conduct private religious prayers, Gülen’s group has become highly politicized. Businessmen began donating money, and the movement became a political player among the conservative and religious groups in Turkey.
“[Гюлен] wrote at the time that he wanted to train “brave, selfless men for society.” It consisted of training and instilling young people at different levels of government: the police, the justice system, the Ministry of the Interior and even the army, ”says Rosen Jakir, a leading expert on Turkish Islamic groups.
Demonstration in support of President Erdogan after the attempted coup in Turkey. Istanbul July 19, 2016.
However, unlike the more transparent political parties, the Gulen movement kept everything secret. It has never been clear how many members are in the group, who they are and what political goals they are pursuing. It was rumored that the movement and all its associated “foundations” and businesses were getting richer and more people joining the community. However, there is little clear evidence for this.
HOW BIGGER IS THIS MOVEMENT?
Determining the size of Gulen’s movement and its well-being is almost impossible. By many estimates, tens of thousands of supporters have joined the movement over the past 40 years or so. Gülen has repeatedly denied that he has a “network.” He says people can sympathize with him in any government institution, even without an organized network, as in the case of political parties. However, expert Rosen Jakir says that guiding graduates to enter jobs elected by “community leaders” – members of the Gulen movement who patronize young people – is not a method of conventional political parties.
WHY DOES THE MOVEMENT GO AT THEIR GOVERNMENT?
In the 1970s, the government, army, and security forces attempted to clear their ranks of what they perceived as “Gulenist infiltrators.” In the 1980s, secular parties and the media (like Nokta magazine in 1986) talked and wrote about secret “fethullahists” in the military. Climbing the ranks in the army and in the civil service, Gülen’s supporters helped other members of the movement to join their ranks. In 2010, on the eve of the national civil service admission exam, it was reported that exam questions were circulated to members of the Gulen movement to ensure they succeed.
While Gulen recruited and mentored supporters, his schools both in Turkey and abroad brought him fame and popularity. Critics say that the operation of these successful schools served as a “screen” for his “introduction” into power and at the same time raised the level of Turkish education and culture, which has always been one of the declared goals of the Gulen movement.
In 1999, secret recordings of Gülen’s performances were shown on state television. In them, he called on his supporters to “quietly and patiently” infiltrate government agencies and wait for the “moment” of change. “If you act too early, the institutions of Turkish power will be right behind you,” Gulen said.
WHY WAS ERDOGAN RELATIONSHIP POUR?
In the 2000s, Gülen already had many loyal supporters among high-ranking police officers, the justice system, the press, education, and even the military. He was also a close ally of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who became prime minister in 2003. Gulen and Erdogan hold similar positions on Islam, but they have different interpretations of how Islam should operate in a secular state.
When Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) won parliamentary elections in 2002 and instituted a one-party government, it was actively supported by the Gulen movement. In response, the AKP tolerated the movement and its activities until 2010.
After that, Erdogan began to take action against Gulen’s supporters. He began purging the police and his “main schools”, but did not make it to the army. In 2013, Erdogan completely severed ties with Gulen after the publication of a series of secret audio and video recordings of corruption cases in the AKP government and Erdogan’s inner circle, which he suspected had leaked through the Gulen movement.
WHY DETAINED SO FAST?
Less than 48 hours after the start of the coup attempt, police, security and military forces loyal to the authorities detained about 7,000 alleged supporters of the Gulen movement. Over the next seven days, their number grew to over 50,000, although some of them were later released. The press, businesses and even schools were closed or their leadership changed.
In the aftermath of the coup attempt on July 15, dozens of alleged members of the Gülen movement admitted to receiving guidance from higher-ranking members of the movement, usually verbally or through messages. One colonel did not hesitate to say that he had given instructions to the general.
The question for many, especially abroad, is how the Turkish authorities were able to identify so many of Gülen’s supporters so quickly. There have been speculations, including from the mouth of EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn, that the authorities had prepared lists of people and institutions long before the coup attempt began. Some commentators went further and suggested that the coup attempt was staged.
Given that Gulen’s group has been active in Turkish political life for the past 40 years, and Erdogan’s authoritarian style, it is possible that the authorities kept lists of Gulen’s supporters in the public service, in the education system and in business. There is little doubt that they were being monitored by the security forces and the military.
According to Erdogan’s advisers, the Turkish president planned to purge the army in August this year. This could lead to the fact that the conspirators decided to act before they were fully prepared for this. In his controversial secret speech 17 years ago, Gülen warned of the recklessness of premature action, stating that in such an outcome, “the institutions of Turkish power will be right behind you.” Whether or not Gulen’s organization is responsible for orchestrating the coup, his words have proven prophetic.