Is a truce with Gulenists in sight?

Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left) and Fethullah Gulen

The head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organisation (MIT), Hakan Fidan, has been holding meetings with leading figures of the Gulenist movement, according to Ahmet Takan, the former adviser to President Erdogan’s Predecessor Abdullah Gul.

The head of MIT, according to a source within the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara talking to Takan, met with the Gulenists in Qatar – where Fidan has been going regularly – for reconciliation talks between the two former allies.

According to Takan, in his column for Turkish daily Yenicag on Thursday, nothing should come as a surprise in the fine-tunings of the run-up to the referendum and post-referendum scenarios.

Takan lists the reasons behind the talks as: the detention of AKP vice chair Saban Disli’s brother Major General Mehmet Disli, accused of being a plotter of last year’s coup attempt; the closing of the dossier of the commission set up to investigate the coup attempt – without listening to neither the top politicians nor the detained coup makers; the mysterious release of major coup plotter suspect Adil Oksuz; and the transfer of stakes in major Turkish companies to the Sovereign Wealth Fund.

Takan also mentions the investigations of AKP members using ByLock, a smart phone application alleged by the government to be the encrypted communication tool used by members of the Gulenist movement. Hundreds of people have been detained after the coup attempt for having downloaded the application onto their phones.

Another point Takan made was concerning the Oslo Talks – the secret meetings held between representatives of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Turkish state between 2008 and 2011 as part of an attempt at initiating a peace process. Takan asks why the meetings were initially strongly denied and then later vociferously defended as part of the ‘solution process’?

A reconciliation of the once unbreakable alliance between the Gulenist movement and the leading strata of the AKP has been in and out of the agenda since a remarkable fall-out erupted in December 2013. An alliance that bore fruit from the outset collapsed in the most spectacular fashion when prosecutors loyal to the Gulenist movement ordered raids of the houses of government ministers and their immediate families on corruption charges.

The AKP government retaliated by suspending or sacking anyone it believed had any connections to the Gulenists, leading to hundreds of thousands of civil servants being suspended, discharged or demoted.

The government blames Fethullah Gulen, the leader of the Gulenists, for masterminding last year’s coup attempt, which would make any reconciliation a momentous occasion; one that seems highly unlikely, but which no one would readily rule out.