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Gulenist crisis sets off intra-Islamic debate in Turkey

The failed coup attempt has not only set a new tone for Turkish politics, but also triggered wide soul-searching and finger-pointing within Islamist circles.
A picture taken on July 18, 2016 shows a poster picturing US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen burning during a Pro-Erdogan supporters rally at Taksim square in Istanbul on July 18, 2016 following the military failed coup attempt of July 15.
Turkish security forces on July 18 carried out new raids against suspected plotters of the botched coup against the rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as international concern grew over the scale of the crackdown. Thousands of pro-Erdogan supporters waving Turkish fla

The failed coup attempt in Turkey has opened a whole new chapter in the nation’s history. The followers of Fethullah Gulen, seen by most political groups and ideological camps as being behind the coup, have become the national “enemy within.” This perspective, of course, has quite worrying consequences, for it leads to collective demonization and punishment, and the Gulen community includes many innocent people who are unaware of the group’s darker side. How to uphold the rule of law in the face of hysteria over a powerful threat is a challenge that should concern everyone.

Meanwhile, the Gulenist crisis triggered something else in Turkey: soul-searching and finger-pointing within the Islamic camp. There are endless debates in the media over whether the “Gulenist treason” was a product of the eccentric beliefs of a cult or caused by deeper problems shared by other Islamic communities in Turkey.

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