Society, Politics, and Economy in Modern Turkey: Sociology of Turkey - Maintained by Tugrul Keskin
We are at a point in our work when we can no longer ignore empires and the imperial context in our studies. (p. 5)
― Edward W. Said, Culture and Imperialism

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Gulenism: The Middle Way or Official Ideology?

By Cihan Tugal

Jadaliyya – June 5, 2013

As a result of excessive repression of the Gezi protests, the legitimacy of the new Turkish regime took a serious blow during June 2013. Coupled with the government’s inability to make progress in its peace negotiations with the Kurds, the repression and its aftermath resulted in a political crisis. Debate now centers on whether this is a crisis of the Prime Minister, of the governing party, or of the whole regime the party established during the last decade (in cooperation with liberal intellectuals and the Gülen community). Some proponents of the new regime, at home and abroad, are looking for a way to fix the damage through sidelining Erdoğan, restoring the prominence of the liberals, and shifting the balance of religious forces in the country.

The proclamations of the globally influential Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, as well as the writings of pro-Gülen intellectuals, seem to present a middle way between the allegedly “marginal” position of the Gezi movement and the authoritarianism of Prime Minister Erdoğan. Can these really constitute a basis for resolving the crisis? An analysis of the pro-Gülen and pro-Erdoğan discourses throughout the protests might provide some clues.

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