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An Islamist Civil War Begins in Turkey

Posted By Daniel Greenfield On December 23, 2013 @ 9:32 am In The Point | 19 Comments

The road to the Caliphate is a long one mainly because the wannabe Caliphs can’t stop stabbing each other in the back. Erdogan had succeeded in doing the seemingly impossible, suppressing and destroying Turkey’s military leadership and turning the Islamist AKP into an unchallenged power.

Almost.

Lurking behind the curtain was the strange and bizarre Gulen movement. If Prime Miister Erdogan’s blend of crony capitalism and Islam was similar to the relatively familiar Muslim Brotherhood variety, the Gulen movement combines even wackier beliefs, women with blonde hair and enough blackmail material to sink everyone.

Erdogan had avoided fighting Gulen with good reason. And then, just as he was tangled up with…

1. Blowback from the Syrian Civil War, including regional isolation by the countries like Egypt whose takeover he backed and domestic anger from Alevis which he stoked

2. The rising threat of an expanding Kurdistan

3. Domestic secular youth protests resembling those of the Arab Spring

4. Way too much debt

… he decided it would be a good time to take on the man who knows where all the bodies are buried and has deep levels of influence.

How badly is it going? This badly.

“A major political struggle has started in Turkey,” said Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute. “Ironically, this battle is being fought within the ranks of the governing party.”

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan denounced “international groups” and “dark alliances” on Saturday for entangling Turkey in a corruption scandal that has exposed deep rifts between him and a US-based Muslim cleric who helped him rise to power.

Sixteen people, including the sons of two ministers and the head of state-owned Halkbank, were formally arrested on Saturday, local media said, in a corruption inquiry that Erdogan has called a “dirty operation” to undermine his rule.

The furor, which has roiled markets, is seen as reflecting a power struggle between Erdogan and his former ally Fethullah Gulen, who wields influence in the police and judiciary.

Dozens of police chiefs have been removed from their posts since the detentions of bribery suspects began.

Erdogan responded to this with the usual grace and dignity that you expect from a howling lunatic.

Erdogan, just as he did when he faced a wave of protests in the summer, has pointed to foreign hands in the crisis.

Several pro-government newspapers accused the US Embassy of encouraging the move against Halkbank, saying the United States wanted the bank to stop its dealings with Iran.

“Get out of this country,” read Yeni Safak’s headline, with a photo of U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardone.

So on top of everything else, Erdogan is picking a fight with the United States.

In the best case scenario, Erdogan and Gulen tear each other apart with the Gulen Movement leaking everything they have on Erdogan’s people, while Erdogan runs around like a mad tyrant spreading more conspiracies and locking everyone up.


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