The political discourse of the United States is assertive in terms of strengthening democracy and democratic culture around the world and aims to resolve all of its problems through democratic methods. In my last column, I proposed that a commission of inquiry should be established in Congress about any overt or latent involvement of American institutions in the failed coup. After the July 15 coup attempt, the conviction of people in Turkey about its designers has become all the more clear and certain. Surveys conducted the first week after the failed coup found that 70 percent of respondents believed that Fethullah Gülen was the mastermind. That figure has risen to 90 percent since the testimonies of the putschists were presented to the public.
Recent data from the GENAR Research Institute found that 91 percent of respondents believe in some kind of foreign involvement in the failed coup and demand Gülen's extradition from the U.S. Therefore, note that a vast majority of the subjects, whether they affiliate themselves with the ruling or opposition parties, demonstrate identical reflexes regarding the failed coup.
In this respect, the first claim is that Gülen was undoubtedly the mastermind of the coup attempt. Indeed, a few glimpses of Gülenists' messages in social media or their public statements in the press in the last few years expose great political eagerness to staging a coup against the democratically elected government and the democratic system as a whole. Secondly, it is also claimed that a foreign design lies behind the coup attempt. That claim derives from the military activities at İncirlik Air Base during the coup, the entrance of some former CIA agents into the country before the coup and the hypocritical and ambiguous discourse in the Western press during the whole course of events.
The most infamous conspiracy theory is that it was staged as theater. Operating secretly and infiltrating the depths of the state structure for 40 years, the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) would not sacrifice all its cadres for the sake of theater. Like all Turkish citizens, I also participated in the anti-coup demonstrations that night when I saw a colonel shooting at unarmed civilians. In two hours, that colonel murdered five civilians. We believe that such a frenzy cannot derive from a theatric coup.
Another theory argues that Turkey is inclining toward dictatorship. Yet the grand rally on Aug. 7 at which the president, prime minister and the leaders of opposition parties took the stage in front of 5 million people demonstrated the public will for democracy and rule of law. Since the beginning of his political career, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has always remained loyal to democratic institutions and has resolved all political deadlocks through democratic procedures. Therefore, it is imperative to ask whence our allies derive their conviction that Turkey is heading toward dictatorship. Coming to power through democratic elections, celebrating all of his electoral triumphs as a triumph of democracy and fighting against the coup through civilian and democratic institutions, Erdoğan emerges as a true hero of democracy.
The failed coup serves as a litmus test. One's interpretation of it exposes their true loyalty to the democratic game. In an age of information when social media is effectively used and no information can remain hidden, truths cannot be veiled solely by the media and the state.
Regarding the allegation of U.S. involvement in the failed coup, I believe it is improbable that U.S. President Barack Obama commanded such an unlawful military operation three months before his leaving office, which would conclude with the withdrawal of Turkey from NATO. Yet it is possible that certain groups in the CIA could have played certain roles in it.