PARADIGM SHIFT| Turkey marks anniversary of failed coup

IT HAS been one year since Turkish citizens poured into the streets for national unity marches across the country. This occasion marks the first anniversary of the foiled coup 

by Fethullah Gulen’s cult religious group to topple the democratically elected government, which left 249 people dead and nearly 2,200 injured.

On July 15th, 2016, the Turkish people remembered their brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, friends and colleagues lost year ago. Since 2010, Gulen and his followers had already declared war against the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and President Erdogan. The Turkish state has been fighting a running battle against the cult and trying to cleanse the elements nested inside the state apparatus a couple of years before the coup attempt. If the Turkish people had not been quick to intervene, thousands of civilians would have been killed and imprisoned, and Gulen and his cult followers would be in charge of Turkey. Imagine that one of the most trusted government institutions, the one relied on for safety and protection, turned on the country and bombed its citizens, its own parliament, its own capital, and its own police headquarters, and tried to assassinate its own President.

The Turkish citizens experienced this ultimate betrayal. Consequently, the Turks championed the people’s power and swore to defend the country’s democracy against Gulen’s dictatorship. The attempted coup represented a great crisis of terrorism in Turkey. Many people were on the streets that day to say “No to a coup,” whether they liked Erdogan or the AKP or not; they went there to protest. The armed followers of the cult leader Fethullah Gulen, a man who calls himself the chosen one and considers himself the imam of the universe, waged an act of terror on July 15th 2016. His infiltrators used military weapons against civilians who came out to defend democracy. The night was a test of strength for Turkish democracy.

Traditionally, secularists and Kemalists would incite a coup in Turkey, but secularists have lost their control of the military because Gulen’s organization fabricated bogus documents in the Sledgehammer case during 2008-2011, which led to the imprisonment and discharge of all the secular generals whom Gulen replaced with his own followers. A disproportionate number of Gulen’s followers instituted the July 15 coup attempt. The reason the coup failed was because his followers organized the overthrow, and among the ranks some kind of fear and suspicion remained, so that they did not obey his orders.

There is no doubt that the July coup in Turkey was waged by the imam hiding in plain sight in the USA in spite of his repeated and natural denial of his involvement. Nevertheless, his followers got their direct orders from their leader Fethullah Gulen. Obviously he is not going to publically say he orchestrated the failed coup. He recognizes that the moment he would admit his involvement is the moment America would extradite him. Instead he uses the denial and lies as a strategy to get the support of the people who hate President Erdogan.

Gulen is not the typical radical. He will not post crazy videos on the internet, directly call for violence, or reveal his agenda to the public. He is actually much smarter and more dangerous than any other radical group. He created the foundation that now owns big corporations, newspapers, televisions, universities, and schools around the world, one valued at billions of dollars. In the past Gulen lied saying he has no political affiliation , but perhaps he is the best living politician in Turkey, since he managed to gain the control of the nation’s political system, without even establishing a political party, without debating against a single opponent, and without being cross examined by media. Gulen has total control over the operation of the group and very few important decisions take place without Gulen’s blessings. There is no freedom of will or objections to Gulen’s decisions because Gulen’s will is absolute, and he teaches that he sees the truth and speaks the truth. so Gulen is trying to fool foreigners that he has no knowledge of the coup.

However, going back to the 1980s, Gulen has had a long history of trying to place his followers in the military, police, and judiciary. Even if the Turkish military were very strict about not allowing devout Muslims to rise to high-ranking positions in the military, Gulen ordered his followers to lie about their affiliation with him and told them to pretend to be secular. He even ordered the wives of his followers who joined the military not to wear Muslim headscarves but to drink alcohol, so Gulen has been secretly infiltrating his followers into the military for decades not just overnight. For decades, he has instructed his followers to embed themselves in key institutions, coaching them to “move in the arteries of the system without everyone noticing your existence until you reach all the power centers.” He then instructed them to lie about ever receiving such instructions from him. Gulen and his followers conceal all connections while consistently denying the scope and purpose of their operation. Sometimes his followers would invite prominent or influential people to their houses, cook for them, give them gifts, take them on a free tour of Turkey, and present the front that they are not religious in order to get support from these candidates when they need them.

Gulen and his followers have many faces and go beyond the schools, charities, interfaith dialogues, and tolerance with which they present themselves to the world: it is also engaged in covert activities, such as slandering, harassing, imprisoning their perceived opponents, evidence fabrication, wiretapping, disinformation, blackmail, judicial manipulation, stealing the exam questions, bribery, money laundering, and subsequently the coup on July 15, 2016 killing so many innocent civilians. Gulen’s cult present themselves as a religion and are determined to transform Turkey to a culture that supports traditional Turkish values and embraces an Ottoman Islamic vision of society. Outside Turkey, Gulen presents himself as a loving caring, tolerant, multi-faith global peacemaker working to bring businesses, religious leaders, politicians, journalists, academics, on a trip to Turkey.

Cult leader Gulen has lost his credibility in Turkey because the Turkish people supported the government as it uncovered the clandestine network, which infiltrated not only the military, judiciary, police, and bureaucracy, but also other structures and ruthlessly expanded at the cost of rule of law and public interest. The coup was staged in Gulen’s desperate attempt to reclaim the one final remaining institution and to ensure his survival in Turkey. Naturally, Gulen is trying to fool the international media denouncing his role in the July 15th coup, and regrettably, some of the international media and governments believe his lie, because their hate for Erdogan that has led them to support Gulen’s organization.

Gulen and his followers are professionally trained liars. Gulen and his followers cultivate the skill of denying affiliations and connections. Without a doubt, they were behind the bloody coup attempt. The confessions of coup officers along with footage revealed that Adil Oksuz, the right hand man of Gulen, who resides in Pennsylvania in the U.S, was caught at the air base on the night of the coup attempt along with five other civilians. Indictments are full of testimonies admitting to this fact, so that Gülen has been caught with the blood of innocent on his hands and all his protestations of innocence are nothing but a desperate plea to escape from justice. Any one who truly wants to research the man, who wants to study Gulen and his movement, or who wants to examine the evidence will return with the inevitable conclusion that Gülen and his followers perpetrated it.

Turkey has every reason to question the position of any country in this matter, just as any country would question other nations hosting similar criminal organizations. No doubt, for years Gulen and his followers have tried to open a back door to take over the Turkish state without being elected and finally staged the coup last year in July. Even with a number of investigations and the evidence of wrongdoing by Gulen and his followers available in the public record, still many countries are trying to defend Gulen and his followers offering them a safe haven.

Dr. Aland Mizell is President of the MCI and a regular contributor to Mindanao Times. You may email the author 

Posted in Opinion