Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Protests Erupt Across Turkey

The American Interest reports that protests have erupted across Turkey after police arrested a large number of government officials and family members for corruption, and the government responded by dismissing senior police officials.
Erdoğan and others have also accused a US-based Muslim cleric and popular community leader named Fethullah Gülen of orchestrating the unrest; on Friday Gülen denied having a role in the graft inquiry or the street protests but issued a warning that God would punish those engaged in theft and bribery.

As usual, Erdoğan’s international conspiracy-mongering is mostly intended to deflect attention from the accusations against his government and to maintain his popularity across the country, which remains high at around 50 percent. But the signs of a rift between leaders of the AKP party, Turkey’s most powerful Islamist political group, and his former ally Gülen, who commands wide respect and has millions of followers across the world, could have serious implications for Turkish politics. Turkish Islamists do not all see eye to eye; if Gulen and his faithful diverge from the ruling AKP party, the steady economic growth and modernization that has characterized Turkey over the past decade of AKP rule could be at risk.
 I've previously posted about Gulen and his influence in Turkey. (See here and here).

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