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Why Islamists are no longer Erdogan’s favorites

Turkey’s new ruling ideology is Erdoganism, and its critics include some Islamists who now find themselves in the “traitor” category.
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There is a new theme these days in Turkey's hard-core pro-Erdogan media: The unreliability of opinion leaders or activists who have led Turkey’s Islamist movement for decades, and who have also been strong supporters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Lately, some prominent Islamists have raised criticism about “corruption by power” in the ruling circles. The Islamists also have criticized the pro-Erdogan propaganda machine, which intimidates, threatens and libels any critic of the president. Although all these Islamist critics used as friendly and respectful a tone as possible, they could not escape being labeled as disloyal or treacherous.

One dramatic example of this Islamist disenchantment with Erdoganism was a piece by Ismail Kilicarslan, a veteran pundit in Turkey’s Islamist movement, in the daily Yeni Safak. Titled “O Chief, we are so depressed,” the piece was an emotional open letter to Erdogan — who is now commonly called “the Chief” by his supporters. Kilicarslan listed a few recent examples of “immorality” he saw in the rhetoric of some hard-core Erdoganists and noted that he feels “shame” to be in the same camp with those people. He also said that he is sick of being called a traitor (or “crypto Gulenist”) from the ruling zealotry whenever he raises such complaints.

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