How coups have Pakistan and Turkey inching towards puritanical Islamism

Jul 19, 2016

By David Devadas

If a successful coup in 1977 promoted Islamism in Pakistan, a failed coup seems likely to have the same effect in Turkey. Turkey’s failed coup has highlighted how far that country’s political choices have shifted towards the religion-based right, the way the entire frame of Pakistan’s politics shifted towards Islamism during General Zia-ul Haq’s regime in the 1980s.

Now that the coup has been defeated and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blamed his one-time mentor Fathullah Guelen, he has opened the way to fill the ranks of his country’s army with loyalists who endorse his relatively orthodox Islamism. The coup gives him a reason to purge the army not only of officers sympathetic to Guelen but also staunch secularists.

The way the attempted coup has been projected, Erdogan has sought to narrow the choice in Turkey between the Islamist politics of Erdogan and the relatively Sufist base of Guelen. In the political arena, Kemalist secularism does not seem to have much space. From Erdogan to the Istanbul street, Guelen has been named as the likely coup organiser. There is little talk of secular politics – of which the army was hitherto seen as the bastion.

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One comment on “How coups have Pakistan and Turkey inching towards puritanical Islamism”

  • “Erdogan has spoken openly about a return to Islamic norms and to Turkey’s Caliphate

    A lie… Yes, I believe re-establishment of Caliphate is one of his fantasies. But he has never spoken openly about this issue. Besides caliphate is a ecumenical title. “Turkey’s caliphate” has no meaning.

    “Ironically, Guelen was once seen as Erdogan’s mentor (Partially correct). He represents a relatively liberal (A great lie) Sufist version of Islam, and has apparently been uneasy about the more puritanical (Another lie) Islamism that Erdogan now represents. In fact, Erdogan’s politics is closer to the Islamism of the Egyptian Brotherhood – and the royal family of Qatar (Partially correct).

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