Mustafa Akyol writes: After the AKP and Gulenists parted ways in December 2013, the Gulenists led a corruption investigation of prominent AKP members. That was a watershed event that initiated incredible enmity between the AKP and Gulenists, as both sides believed the other’s ugly face had been exposed. For me, however, both sides were exposed. The corruption within the AKP proved to be massive, and the scope of Gulenist infiltration and espionage also proved substantial.
A key point among the exposures was Gulen’s full control over his organization. In a wiretapped conversation between Gulen and one of his followers, posted on YouTube in early 2014, the latter was asking Gulen what to do about a refinery in Africa, planned gifts to Turkish businessmen and even campaigns on Twitter. Gulen, it turned out, was really not the ascetic Sufi we were told about, but a micro-manager of a global organization based on secrecy and hierarchy. “He really controls everything,” I was told in June 2014 by Huseyin Gulerce, the man who introduced me to Gulen himself 10 years ago in Pennsylvania, but who had defected by that point.
In the next two years, I kept arguing that the AKP should indeed disestablish the Gulenist “parallel state” within the state, but not attack the schools, companies or charities of the Gulenists. The latter must engage in “self-criticism” about their misdeeds, I added, while the AKP must be honest about corruption. Surely, neither side liked these arguments. [Continue reading…]