« Brexit and the Globalization Trilemma | Main | Is the U.S. behind Fethullah Gulen? »

July 23, 2016



The argumentation seems solid, but I'm missing one instance: the Turkish Secret Service. They must be heavily infiltrated in the army. Is it there information about plan for a coup that led to the move forward of the impending sweep. Provoking an ill-prepared coup. That make the coup a co-production of Gulenist and Erdogan's executives. It explains why the other parts of the Army did not intervene directly against the coup, but only prepared the way for Erdogan as the Hero. The other side had a better strategy at hand than the putschists.


Sorry: 3 sentence should be: Is it their info.... ?


Two points.
1) It's a bit unfair to say that "Traditionally, Turkish coups are produced by Kemalist secularists." Before 2002 that was the only ideology around. The coups in my view were caused by the failure of civilian institutions. The ideology of justified intevention was retrospectively exoaded for protection, The Gulenist/Islamist (and Ernest Gellner's) which just shows the military intervening to fight Islamism doesn't really fit the facts of the 1960 or 1971 coups.
2) Is a coup by Gulenists really so surprising?
"a violent military coup lies outside the modus operandi of the Gulen movement." Yes but as a Sunni movement they are certainly not pacificists. Their rhetoric against Erdogan in Turkish (as manifest in their Internet voice Fuat Avni)) is bellicose and full of implicit violence There have been reports of Gulenist infiltration of the armed forces since 1986. Their 'moderation' and pro-Western attitude seems to be tactics rather than principle.


for 'exoaded' read 'invented'


The very fact that there's no solid evidence for Gulen being the ringleader (other than people sympathizing with him) should give pause to the theory that Gulen is directing. Posting from Greece, the Balkans are full of such conspiracy theories. Here in Greece they think the CIA rules the world...if only the CIA was that competent I tell them, but nobody believes it. Truth is geographically determined.


Thank you for your detailed and informative comments


As you yourself are forced to admit, this blog does not contain a shred of evidence one could even dignify as circumstantial. It is entirely based on suppositions and tenuous plausibility speculations.

Until someone produces some independently verifiable "facts", any false-flag operation (Erdogan against all his opponents, the Gülenists, the Kemalists, the CIA, army secularists, the Russian FSB) is practically equally possible on Bayesian a priori grounds. It's a house of mirrors.

After all, to this day we don't even know with any certainty who set the Reichstag Fire in 1933, the consequences of which were frighteningly similar to the current Turkish purges.


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.


Thanks for an excellent article. There are a number of allegations of US involvement in the coup (more or less rendering Gülen a pawn, if nothing less) that is not included your article that I would like to have Mr Rodriks comment on. What about US Commander Campbell, Graham Fuller, Henri J. Barkey? If those rumors are true just a little bit it's hard to believe that repercussions will be immense of where Turkey will stand geopolitically, especially given an already anti-american sentiment in the public opinion of Turkey. Any insights to share?


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.



Brilliant literary analogy by Karabekir Akkoyunlu! Hope he is right, that no imperalist state is pulling the strings. It's always this problem in analyzing strive for power. Either it is reduced to one or the other thing, the evil power maniac or some conspiracy. Trying to put Turkey situation in a broader context perhaps need an other explanatory framework. It was indeed a great read that made me thnk in new ways, I'm very grateful.


Don't you think that Hulusi Akar naming as responsible in his interrogation the one person who has attained something of a demoniac status in Turkish politics is a little too simplistic? Almost too Gulenist of a move, considering the overall quality of the cases brought against the accused in Sledgehammer and etc? Last but not least, why would coupists name that one person who would offend Akar the most, especially at a time when they need the services of the latter the most?


Frankly speaking, I don’t think anyone can really guess or say much about this, as it will really be pure guess. I never prefer to guess things and as a trader, I always trade with careful way and approach. It helps a lot with having broker like OctaFX in the corner, as they are really high class with having all sorts of features and facilities from tight spreads at 0.1 pips, no commission, and high leverage up to 1.500 and then there is daily market updates available too!

The comments to this entry are closed.