Turkey has taken aim at the cleric at the heart of Erdogan’s pet conspiracy theory, one that has motivated government crackdowns on journalists, police, and civil service for almost exactly a year. As The Guardian reports:
Turkey has issued an arrest warrant for US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, who President Tayyip Erdoğan accuses of seeking to overthrow him, the state broadcaster TRT Haber has reported.Gülen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, has been in open conflict with Erdoğan since a corruption investigation targeting the then-prime minister’s inner circle a year ago.Erdoğan blamed the investigation on Gülen, but the cleric denied involvement.
As the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is unlikely to grant extradition based on AKP conspiracy theories, this is mostly symbolic. Nevertheless, it is significant: it crystallizes Gülen’s transformation into Erdogan’s Trotsky, the overseas conspirator whose mythical, evil machinations can justify repression at home.