An article was published on Turkey some years ago in a significant journal that is published in the United States. In the article, the author claimed that the struggle between Turkey's three main forces would determine Turkey's future. These three forces are:
i. The Turkish military as the former tutelary power through military interventions
ii. The civilian politics of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the civil society organizations that support it under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
iii. The Gülen Movement, also called the "parallel structure"
The article analyzed these three political forces in detail:
-After mentioning the influence of the Turkish military over civilian politics by narrating the history of military tutelage in Turkey, including modern Turkey's three main coups, the author discussed the depressing effect of the Turkish military on Turkish politics through the post-modern coup of Feb. 28, 1997 as well as other illegitimate attempts to interrupt the normal operation of politics during the AK Party's political power. In this respect, the author underlined the date of April 1 when the government encountered an e-memorandum from the military.
-Regarding the Gülen Movement, the prevalence of the organization in foreign countries, its effectiveness in bureaucracy, its qualified manpower, close relationship with politics, wrapping the country with schools and preparatory schools like an octopus, volunteers, broadcasting corporations and secret budget of millions of dollars all exceed the capability of a normal religious movement. In the article especially emphasized its influence in the judiciary, military and critical bureaucratic offices.
-Concerning the AK Party's political power under Erdoğan's leadership, the author discussed the historical roots of the political mentality and position from the Ottoman Empire to the Republic of Turkey, which is now represented by the AK Party, its religious and social support base, political mission, decade-long policies of democratization, contribution of the political stance of former Prime Ministers Adnan Menderes, Turgut Özal and Necmettin Erbakan to Turkish democracy, its advantage for having a charismatic political leader and its inspiration for the Islamic world.
Regarding the point of the article, the author simply claims that Turkey's future will depend on the result of the struggle of these three main political forces. Although this question was properly formulated, the author did not provide any prediction for the result of the aforementioned struggle. Now, it is easier to address the question:
The military: Although the Gülen Movement aimed at liquidating the national front of the military by making it open to external influences and dependent on movement, the military lost its enthusiasm for coups due to the Gülen Movement's operations of the Congregation. Always terrified of the state and the military since its foundation, the Gülen Movement realized successive operations on the military by relying on the AK Party's strong political will. After the movement's true intentions came to light, releasing of imprisoned military personnel and the exposition of irregularities realized by the commissaries equilibrated the balance in favor of the military. Today it seems that the military strongly trusts in democracy and civilian politics, as the military is solely concerned with Turkey's security and future.
Fetullah Gülen: After liquidating military tutelage, the Gülen Movement aimed at eliminating the government and civilian politics. Erdoğan's political resistance prevented its attempted bureaucratic coup. Relying on a secret political agenda and exaggerating its own power, the movement lost its grip on civilian politics due to its fraudulent policies. Today, Turkey considers the movement solely as a spy ring.
Erdoğan: Representing civilian politics, Erdoğan not only eliminated military tutelage of the Turkish democracy, he also liquidated the Gülen as a spy ring that targeted Turkey. By relying on the military that is fully loyal to democracy and its electoral support of 50 percent, Erdoğan continues his struggle for democratic consolidation and his vision of the new and great Turkey.
About the author
İhsan Aktaş is Chairman of the Board of GENAR Research Company. He is an academic at the Department of Communication at Istanbul Medipol University.