There is a 70 percent consensus among people that the Dec. 17 operation was a coup attempt under the guise of a "corruption probe."
Corruption is present just about anywhere in the world, but in no democratic country is it possible for a clique inside the judicial system to use it as a pretext for attempting to overthrow a legitimate government with the help of the media.
Those who claim this is a judicial matter have no respect for the principle of innocence, rules of confidentiality and legality.
In other words, they violate the core principles of the judicial system to prove that the judiciary is doing its job, and they expect us to think this is normal.
In Europe and the U.S., the Dec. 17 operation and subsequent cases are seen as a legitimate corruption probe while legal measures taken to protect legitimate politics against the cliques inside the police force and court are observed with great astonishment. Such observations are based on an assumption that there is an independent and neutral judiciary in Turkey.
Prof. Adem Sözüer, the dean of Istanbul University's Faculty of Law, argues that there have never been independent and neutral courts in Turkey and that they have always functioned as a tool for ideological penalizing. Sözüer explains, "the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors' (HSYK) attitude in the last couple of years and the memorandum it has put forth after Dec. 17 calls for a political interference and regulation of the court. If our Western friends want to have a better understanding of this transitional period, they need to replace their eclectic perspective with a more realistic one. However, the minds of our Western friends are perplexed by the position change of the Gülen Movement, which had functioned as one of the power units in recent reform processes. They rightfully think that the Gülen Movement is just as religiously grounded as the AK Party, of whom they were supportive until very recently. The situation today, then, is pointing towards a quite serious direction."
But the situation is much more complicated and political than that.
The upper levels of the Gülen Movement wanted to establish power in certain areas of the government by exaggerating its role in the reform process. Although it at first seemed genuine in its desire to fight Ergenekon by giving them a dose of their own medicine, the accumulated power from the legal battle led to the rollout of a different identity and eventually the attempt to fight a legitimate government.
However, the Dec. 17 operation was a fail. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was not overthrown, but came out even stronger.
The changes of our age require active individuals and civil societies, an increase in participation and the institutionalization of transparency. Thus in a legitimate democracy, the power lies not at the center but in the relations based on democracy.
If you, like the Gülen Movement, come forth with an assertion such as "the truth lies with me" and fortify it with power, you face a serious predicament of legitimacy.
This assertion does not create a unified identity like it used to. It is much more difficult now to mobilize masses with assertions such as "the truth lies with me." The masses are increasingly made up of free individuals who want to be persuaded, which is only possible through transparency and democracy.
This is why Fethullah Gülen was forced to say in the interview he gave to FT that he has no political preferences in terms of parties and that he would live in seclusion for the rest of his life. There is a sharp discrepancy between being a leader of a religious movement and a leader of a community with a political agenda. There is, however, a general understanding that Gülen does not live in seclusion and that the movement is supporting the [main opposition] Republican People's Party (CHP).
This has led the Gülen Movement to encounter problems of legitimacy in the face of its own base. There are no satisfactory ways to explain why the movement has drifted from the religious sphere to politics.
The creation of the largest opposition force in the country and the process of marginalizing Erdoğan is acceptable up to a certain point, but this strategy will not grant the movement unified legitimacy and will quickly consume the old legitimacy of coreligionists.
It would be useful for our Western friends to gain a better understanding of Turkey's focal powers and their clashes by examining different sources. With Russia's annexation of Crimea, they will need Turkey now more than ever.