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For anyone interested in further reading, here's another article that tries to explain how deep the waters run, using a fictitious US analogy. It may sound too complicated or far fetched to be real. But it's as real as it gets. That is Turkish politics for you.
Mister Rodrik, I found this article today and I must say it relieved some of the unease I have felt over the last couple of days. As a person who disapproves 95% of what the current government does, it has been incredibly sad to see the very-shallow "Erdogan faked the coup" news and opinions all over the foreign press over the last week. Even here, in the comments of this article, the same thought persists. People who have never been exposed to the depth of contemporary Turkish politics, choose to put the blame on the only person who they think could pull this off - Erdogan. But as you explain in this article, anyone with a basic understanding of the Gulenist movement knows how this is mainly their doing (with support from other parties). This is why in Turkey, a country so divided in the middle in terms politics (literally 50% of the votes go to Erdogan, the other 50% would do anything to see him fail), almost everyone unanimously agrees that this was Gulen's doing without even giving it a second thought. I can assure anyone reading the comments that there are many people in Turkey who wish this was Erdogan's doing so he'd be done for good. But it's simply not. Today, for the first time in many years, the opposition leaders of all parties gathered together with Erdogan to show solidarity. One of these political leaders, Kilicdaroglu, is the antithesis of Erdogan - a man who won't even shake Erdogan's hand under normal circumstances. No one was pressuring him to do visit Erdogan, either. I already feel like Turkey has lost the media war outside the country (there's obviously no opposition media in the country anyways) and it makes me sad to see this as a citizen. I hope your very objective, informative and truthful article gets shared more so at least some level-headed people have a real understanding of what's going on. As a famous general never said: "We might have lost the war but we might win a few battles." PS: It's hard change people's opinions once it's set. Let me preemptively try to answer some of the questions readers might have: - Yes, Erdogan is a power-hungry, authoritarian leader. I get anxious writing that sentence on the web, that should be proof enough. - No, he didn't need this "fake coup" to seize more power. He doesn't need more power. He already has all the power. This is not 2007. - Yes, Erdogan's AKP has been in a symbiotic relationship with the Gulenist movement until 2013. So did pretty much every major party since 1980s. - Yes, Erdogan will probably never answer the question "you knew the Gulenists infiltrated the government, but you never attempted to stop them when they were supporting you, why?" - By the way, this decades long relationship is also why they already had lists of 10,000 people the day after the events of 2013 and July 15th 2016. It's not like this organization or most of these people are a secret. Anyone who thinks they foiled Erdogan's fake coup attempt because they figured he put together a long list of names after such a short time, is being naive. - Yes, I know I said all the political leaders were with Erdogan when the Kurdish party HDP wasn't invited. That's whole new article for another time. I'm not saying I support the decision to not invite them, I'm saying it's understandable in today's Turkey. Kurdish issue runs deeper than the Gulenist issue. - No, there is no way a fair trial is possible for Gulen if he comes back. But then, a fair trial would probably result in a similar fashion as an unfair one. - Yes, there are still questions that need to be answered, details that need to be made public regarding that night. But make no mistake: none of the above justifies the shooting of civilians by their own army; the deaths of over 200 civilians; the bombing of the Turkish Parliament by Turkish planes. This is the most sinister terrorist organization Turkey has ever seen by far. Thank you for the article Mr. Rodrik.
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Jul 25, 2016