Çağaptay’s latest: ill-informed, ill-intentioned

Ihsan Yilmaz“A piece titled “What’s Really Behind Turkey’s Coup Arrests?” by Soner Çağaptay, who works for the pro-Israeli Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), was published very recently by the Foreign Policy journal.

He starts his unsubstantiated claims by saying that the Gulen movement is a shadowy Islamist movement. I have written here several times that unless you call every single practicing Muslim an Islamist, Fethullah Gülen and his movement can never be called Islamist. Quite the contrary, the movement has always stayed away from politics. It is well known that if someone is called Islamist, it is implied that he is not an ordinary Muslim but is instead a radical and possibly a pro-violence one. Some hooligan right-wing Islamophobic tabloid journalist could write such a thing, but an academic such as Çağaptay must know that serious academics never call the Gülen movement Islamist. Even this misuse of the term shows that Çağaptay is not objective or unbiased toward the movement.

Çağaptay tries to dilute evidence against the coup attempts and writes: “When I asked a former US ambassador to Turkey for his views on the news, he thought the scenario was ridiculous. ‘If the Turkish military was going to do a coup, they would not be writing a 5,000-page memo about it,’ he stated.” But on Friday the military prosecutor confirmed that experts agreed that the coup documents were authentic. I am sure the experts know this better than a former ambassador who only relies on speculation. What is more, we know that the coup-plotter generals say in the recording that they themselves recorded and archived that the plan they imitated was the Flag (Bayrak) Plan which was a written document prepared to plan Sept. 12, 1980. The fact that the plan is longer this time is only a sign that coup-plotting junta knew that this time civil society is much stronger thanks to the Gülen movement and many others, so the plan had to be more detailed, careful and vigilant. They recorded everything, and one reason could be that they did not trust each other. On March 9, 1971, some generals betrayed their colleagues and the leftist coup and sided with the rightist generals who successfully staged a coup on March 12, 1971, and the next generation of coup-lover generals never forgot this.”

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