Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Turks Can Agree on One Thing: U.S. Was Behind Failed Coup - The New York Times

Turks Can Agree on One Thing: U.S. Was Behind Failed Coup - The New York Times:

Turks Can Agree on One Thing: U.S. Was Behind Failed Coup


ISTANBUL — A Turkish newspaper reported that an American academic and former State Department official had helped orchestrate a violent conspiracy to topple the Turkish government from a fancy hotel on an island in the Sea of Marmara, near Istanbul. The same newspaper, in a front-page headline, flat-out said the United States had tried to assassinate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the night of the failed coup.
When another pro-government newspaper asked Turks in a recent poll conducted on Twitter which part of the United States government had supported the coup plotters, the C.I.A. came in first, with 69 percent, and the White House was a distant second, with 20 percent.
These conspiracy theories are not the product of a few cranks on the fringes of Turkish society. Turkey may be a deeply polarized country, but one thing Turks across all segments of society — Islamists, secular people, liberals, nationalists — seem to have come together on is that the United States was somehow wrapped up in the failed coup, either directly or simply because the man widely suspected to be the leader of the conspiracy, the Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, lives in self-exile in the United States.
“Whenever something shocking and horrific happens in Turkey, the reflex is conspiracy,” said Akin Unver, an assistant professor of international relations at Kadir Has University in Istanbul.
That response goes back almost a century, to the end of World War I, when the West carved up the defeated Ottoman Empire. A Western plan to divide what became modern Turkey failed after Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the country’s founder, waged war against the occupiers. But the effort forever ingrained in the Turkish psyche a fear of Western conspiracies.
In the case of the failed coup, there is much more at play than fanciful conspiracy theories, many Turks say, because of the nearly universal conviction that it was engineered by Mr. Gulen, who for 16 years has lived in a secluded compound in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania.
In various interviews and statements, Mr. Gulen has strongly denied involvement in the coup. Yet because he lives in the United States, and because of other salient facts — including that a former C.I.A. official and a former American ambassador to Turkey helped Mr. Gulen receive a green card — many Turks believe Mr. Gulen is an American agent. From there, itTurks Can Agree on One Thing: U.S. Was Behind Failed Coup - The New York Times: 

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