AN INTERVIEW WITH PROF. HÜSAMETTIN ARSLAN ABOUT 15 JULY BY BENGÜL GÜNGÖRMEZ
Bengül Güngörmez: On the night of July 15, 2016 Turkey witnessed outrageous incidents that will haunt people for years to come. A coup with a foreign reach was attempted, planned and conducted by FETÖ militants, and led by Fethullah Gülen. From the government to the opposition people from various segments of the society put up a great fight against the attempt. Some of them made history. We have martyrs and a great number of injured. Kids, women and elders were murdered by militants dressed in soldier uniforms. Our parliament was bombed the first time in its history. In a way, all the dropped bombs were dropped against the democracy. They bombarded our democracy. This coup on the whole was made against the entire nation and our people with its insight were quick to eliminate this diabolical attempt. As MDD we were compelled to ask about this. We spoke about the coup and its sociology with the Uludağ University historian and sociologist Prof. Dr. Hüsamettin Arslan.
Bengül Güngörmez: Our first question is about the night of the coup attempt. Where were you during the night of July 15? Were you able to follow up with the events, what did you feel that night?
Hüsamettin Arslan: Let's make a correction first. It is correct that I studied History and Sociology. However I would not wish to define myself as an historian or a sociologist. "Social scientist" is a better term. Though the "scientist" expression is also not nice at all. Better still is "academic intellectual." This is the way I would like to be mentioned.
I spent the night of July 15 at a tea garden often frequented both by the local folk and students. I was there with one of my students. July is melancholic. We at first read Twitter messages about the coup attempt. We heard that a side of the bridge was being obstructed. Jets were flying past Ankara and İstanbul. Around 22.00 my sister and my mother called me from my hometown. "Is Tayyip alive my son?" I do not know. She was crying. My dear mother! I'd give everything for a single drop of her tears! Is the country alive?
A coup that made my mother and mothers like her cry could never be successful... I was filled with galvanizing feelings.
Then a group of female students came to our desk. Years ago I was their professor for one of their classes. They were afraid. Some of them were crying. A couple of acquaintances giving me a call. Everyone is horrified. The country is pulsating. A friend of mine (an industrialist at age forty five) told me at the phone that he's getting dressed up, getting ready to resist, waiting for Erdoğan's speech to take to the streets.
It's 24.00. The TRT newswoman is reading the coup manifesto. I remember the manifesto Colonel Alparslan Türkeş read on the only radio station of Turkey in 1960. I was 4 years old at the time. I read about the manifesto in books and listened to the Colonel's infamous voice in documentaries. Didn't Colonel Türkeş have US education? On 12th of March 1971 I was at high school. On 12th of September I listened to Kenan Pasha. I was a teacher at 28th of February. Die America die!
Like everyone else I also did not sleep during the night that connected the 15th to the 16th of July. I listened to all the news, watched all the imagery in despair. People, our people, our countrymen performed their ablutions and poured out into the streets accompanied with Salawats.
That night they put our country through the mill in front of our eyes. They made us shriek and cry.
Men like me, "adams" like us started to cry.
Bengül Güngörmez: Do you think the coup attempt of July 15 is different than the previous coups? What can you tell us as a historian and a sociologist?
Hüsamettin Arslan: The coup in 60 was a NATO coup, it was a coup supported by the USA. Its perpetrators were officers with NATO ties. There was no "Leftist" threat at the country. It was a coup made against the people. It discharged the army of Mustafa Kemal and Fevzi Pasha, our "native and national" army. As it could not do anything to the people, as it could not "hang" the people, it hanged the politicians which represented the people. Menderes, Polatkan and Zorlu. Every coup that happened in Turkey which took a stand against the people, which was made despite the nation, was a "leftist" coup. The military officers of the 60 coup were representatives of jacobin laicism and were located on the left of the "Muslim folk". They had CHP and the USA behind their backs.
The US was behind March 12. The US was behind September 12. They were behind February 28 and others as well. It is not possible to orchestrate a coup in Turkey without the open or secret support of the US.
Past coups had more or less the support of some sections of the people of Turkey. Apart from February 28, these were coups that did not face with the "resistance" of people. It may be a fool's errand to expect "resistance" from a people that experienced the wrath of 1925 Law on the Maintenance of Order.
But the July coup was afflicted with absolute "injustice". It lacked public support. Any coup that is devoid of public support is a coup made against the people. From the 1960's to today every single coup attempt in the history of Turkey had the backing of USA. This includes the July 15 coup attempt. The common denominators are the NATO, USA and CIA. No other country in the world can attempt a coup in Turkey despite the USA presence. July 15 coup is made in defiance of the people, against the people. It is Jacobinistic. Right-Jacobinistic, Muslim-looking Jacobins. But Jacobinistic nevertheless. Jacobinism is a "malicious" ideology. It kills out of malice. 17 July is an example as such. It is a coup made despite the people, out of malice. It massacred out of malice.
Bengül Güngörmez: Who do you think has created FETÖ? Can we talk of a superior mastermind in its initiation, expansion and activities of this organization? Is this a native organization?
Hüsamettin Arslan: Turkey is a country of "political victims." We paid the price of our Republic with those it victimized. It was a heavy price for this state which we had paid. But those it murders and victimizes are what sustain a state. This is why our state is invaluable to us. 1925 Law on the Maintenance of Order, Tekke and Zawiyah Act. Sheikh Said rebellion, Dersim Massacre, Adnan Menderes, 12 September and 28 February. Each and every move of this state has created broad masses of victims. More importantly, our Republic created a victimized Ottoman. We have to face the fact that this movement known as the "Nur Community" pioneered by Said Nursî is a victim movement and Gülen community is one out of many other movements that came out of the Nur community. The victimhood phenomenon creates collective, strong grudges and contempt. The Gülen community is the politicized version of the Nur movement. Victims all over the world are potential murderers. When justification of a victim’s action becomes the justification of rightfulness, then death, murder, slaying gains legitimacy. However, states that create victims may have their own reasons, stronger justifications. When religious victims become politicized, the mission of "saving this world" can surpass the mission of saving the "other world". Gülen community is such a movement and this is unprecedented in our history. The utopia of every political movement or political community is the "state". Gülen community promises its members to save "this world" of theirs. It is the only community to build its own "economy," its own school and dormitories and its own media. This grants it a great "power". In this world "economic power" is a magical key that opens all the other doors of this world. Above all, this magical key allows opening up the "state" by means of infiltrating its institutions. Gülen community is not a political party, it is a structure that is above all political parties but situated within political parties. Unlike other parties it is not established in a single place, it is everywhere. There is no "Islam" for the Gülen movement, but there is "tactical Islam." The tactic is evident: Taqiya. When action becomes tactical, "taqiya" is inevitable. For the Community "taqiya" is not partial, it is "total". Total taqiya. Total taqiya means total hypocrisy, total two-facedness, and total falsehood. When taqiya becomes total it turns into religion. Total taqiya is a substitute for religion. Taqiya is the religion of the community. The Gülen Community is everywhere and its presence is undoubted; "total taqiya" makes it imperceptible, intangible, inaudible and indistinct.
The Cemaat, the Gülen Community is not a structure created by a "superior mastermind" (the US or its intelligence services). If this "superior mastermind" is an entity, "The Cemaat" is another. The Mastermind discovered the Cemaat after the infamous rejection of the 1 March Memorandum. For the USA the aim is obvious, to once again subordinate the Turkish army which had become so independent that it ensured the rejection of the 1 March Memorandum. The Cemaat is ideally suited for this job, for the USA it is a very lucrative organization. As the Cemaat has the ability to install and infiltrate in every powerful place, it is possible to design Turkey entirely with it. The aim of the Superior Mastermind is to redesign Turkey in line with its interests, while the Cemaat's aim is to lay hold of the "state." Thus tactical aims convene and from hence the marriage of USA-Cemaat materializes. The skilful, coquettish "bride" wants to live in the house of the super "groom." Then Gülen goes to Pennsylvania. With this event The Cemaat's power in Turkey grew exponentially. It became the nightmare of other people and groups. Suddenly no one wanted to encumber it.
Bengül Güngörmez: As far as we understand you think that FETÖ was able to infiltrate TAF, which consistently fires personnel in response to intelligence reports, and also other institutions by means of taqiya. But can we also relate this infiltration to NATO? Is the USA the real power behind the coup attempt?
Hüsamettin Arslan: Of course. NATO is a USA organization. It was founded with the initiative of the USA. Whoever has the founding move is the owner of an organization. NATO is the guarantee of the USA's position in the world. Sometimes we call it the guarantee of the Western or liberal democracies.
Bengül Güngörmez: Is our army the army of the people, and if it is not, is it possible for it to become an army of the people?
Hüsamettin Arslan: Bernard Lewis says that "third world countries are oppressed by their armies". We can annotate this statement by saying that the armies of the people from third world countries are oppressed by superpowers. With these reservations, our army is the army of our people. This is a matter of power and capability. Those with power control the powerless. It is the army that fought the Independence War and found our republic. It is not an army of Mehmets but of Kubilays. The perpetrators of the 60 coup had links to NATO and therefore to the USA. This is why we joined the Korean War. Would it even be possible for it go another way while the Soviet Hammer was on top us! It is hard. The NATO dependence of our army was not enough; the USA established another with The Cemaat. The July 15 coup is a product of this dependency. FETÖist generals were loyal to the USA by extension of the person in Pennsylvania. In order to confiscate the state these putschists needed the USA, and to use Turkey the USA needed The Cemaat. In its war against Erdoğan, Cemaat sided with the USA, while Erdoğan formed an alliance with the army. These putschist officers connected to Cemaat were going to get sacked even if there was no coup. Admittedly, after July 15 our army is more for the people as it is less dependent on the USA. Kubilay is dead! Long live Mehmet! Mehmets are resuscitated. We can say that our army is now in an era of Mehmetification. From a "mandate" army it turns into a "nation" army.
Bengül Güngörmez: Can we say that today Turkey has drifted away from the USA?
Hüsamettin Arslan: Compared to the situation before July 15, yes! The "procedure" of PKK/PYD collaborating with the USA and The Cemaat collaborating with the USA is the same. What USA means for PKK/PYD is what it means for The Cemaat. There was a great amount of hate towards the USA in Turkey due to PKK/PYD. Not towards the American nation, but towards the American state. Obviously except journalists like Can Dündar and an overwhelming majority of "social democrats." The July 15 coup added fuel to this fire. Nowadays nearly everyone hates the Uncle Sam. The fleeing of most of the putschist generals and The Cemaat members to the USA, and the fact that their leader lives in Pennsylvania, the USA hosting them in their country, augment this hate. While the Republic of Turkey’s state and its people did not break off from the USA because of NATO, it appears that they did break off morally and psychologically. For us, the USA today is more imperialist than ever, more unethical and more "hostile." My generation already knew the true face of USA from the coups of 60 and September 12, now new generations also know with the July 15 coup. Nothing is sacred for the USA other than its interests. But I'd still like to correct your statement in the question with your permission. Turkey has not "drifted away," rather Turkey turned to itself and away from the USA.
Bengül Güngörmez: In what historical and sociological circumstances should we comprehend FETÖ's mission of raising "modern, Kemalist Muslim" citizens? What do you think of the attempt to paint the coup attempt in a Kemalist colour by using such names as "Peace at Home Council" in the manifesto read at TRT?
Hüsamettin Arslan: "Raising modern Kemalist Muslim citizens," "Peace at Home council" etc. All of these are tactics, composed only of taqiya. They are tactics to earn the support of Kemalists. An alliance against Erdoğan with Kemalists and HDP-minded Kurdist Kemalists. An alliance against Erdoğan with the USA and CIA and with MOSSAD. And more importantly, in order to take control of the state an alliance with the "Devil" against Erdoğan. Mustafa Kemal has an irrevocable place in the collective unconscious of the Cemaat: He's the Dajjal! An alliance against Erdoğan with Dajjal! The controlling line of the Cemaat's characteristics is taqiya. The Cemaat boils down to taqiya, even the claim that they are "Muslims" could also be taqiya. Taqiya legitimizes everything. They have no principles, they only have taqiya. Taqiya is a strong lack of principles. Only the aim is holy and everything towards that goal is permissible. Up until the 1 March memorandum The Cemaat was a project to "confiscate the state," after the memorandum it turned into a project of the USA. In this project taqiya is the norm, it is normal, and rejection of taqiya is irregular, is abnormal. And there is also the base of the Cemaat which we can call the wretched, the victims of the Cemaat. We have to say different things for these folk.
Bengül Güngörmez: What is the meaning of the fact that this organization occurred through education for the Turkish educational system?
Hüsamettin Arslan: "Education" or pedagogic organisation has been seen by all the radicalized ideals as the primary means, including the founding elite of our Republic and their ideal of "changing the public despite the public." This also includes the PKK radicalism and the leftist radicalisms. The demand of changing the mind-sets, lifestyles of a people is a radical demand. You cannot leave life to its course! From this aspect The Cemaat is very radical. Radicals endure, radicalism necessitates patience, a pedagogic transformation can only take place in the long term. As can also be seen in the Cemaat's organization, "radicalism" is closed to differences of life, is closed to variation as life in any case is a heaven of variation, radicals are single-coloured, not many-coloured. The educational project of The Cemaat produced many closed, single-coloured minds. The sole name of this colour is the unconditional faith in Fethullah Gülen. Minds closed to life are minds whose ability to "think" is castrated. The Cemaat's pedagogic organisation is a castration project, a project to neuter the minds. A neutered mind is like a castrated body. It is infertile.
If the July 15 coup did not took place, it was inevitable for this pedagogic project to one day destroy itself.
Bengül Güngörmez: Do you think FETÖ was involved with some of the past cases of murder? For instance, Necip Hablemitoğlu, Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu, Father Santoro or Hrant Dink murders. Or like the attack on State Council.
Hüsamettin Arslan: These are state affairs. State affairs are dirty affairs. I cannot know, I am no detective, what I know is that failure is a "calamity". Failure is when the failed turns itself into a "scapegoat". The Cemaat failed to establish a coup even with the support from the USA and turned into the "scapegoat" of Turkey together with the USA. Life cries after heroes, not failures. A flop is not a tragedy, it is a flop. It does not earn tears.
Bengül Güngörmez: After the coup attempt there have been arrests and people have been sacked from government institutions. There were some who claimed the investigations turned into witch-hunts. What do you think about this? Considering this affected qualified educated human resources or their families got somehow involved in all of this, do you think this situation would affect the future of Turkey when you consider all the ruined lives?
Hüsamettin Arslan: Victims. There are total victims, absolute victims. Every human is partially a victim and partially is not. This is also the case for the political life. There are no total, absolute political victims, but there are partial victims. The Cemaat declared war against Erdoğan at 17-25 December. If it was successful, Erdoğan, his team and family members all would be in jail, AK Party would be destroyed, Turkey would be dragged towards a deep instability. The Cemaat was defeated against Erdoğan. While the Cemaat could adopt a chivalrous attitude, kiss the hand of its enemy and withdraw from the fight. It did not do that. Continued on with the war... Every conscious warrior knows in advance that defeat is a strong possibility, that there might be suffering at the end. If Erdoğan was defeated he and Erdoğanists would be the victims, but he won and The Cemaat were dragged towards the victim position. It is The Cemaat elite that were responsible for their defeat for resisting against Erdoğan. It is FETÖ. Why did you do it if you were going to cry over it?
Bengül Güngörmez: Before the coup attempt and after the 17-25 December incident we have witnessed that with the exception of our President Tayyip Erdoğan the number of politicians that seriously tackled this organization was too little. Why do you think they kept silent and ignore the danger? What could be the extent of FETÖ's infiltration when it comes to both the government and the opposition?
Hüsamettin Arslan: They left Erdoğan alone because they had not understood The Cemaat. They were afraid of The Cemaat. Of course we can find other excuses as well. It is not that hard. Whatever....
Bengül Güngörmez: Can future coup attempts be prevented? Is an increase in democracy the solution? What do you think?
Hüsamettin Arslan: We cannot say they cannot be prevented. As the Republic of Turkey's dependence of its state institutions, army, bureaucracy etc. to the West decreases, the possibilities of future coups will also decrease. In Turkey and in no other state in the world the possibility of coups without foreign support is possible. From here on "coup" is archaic for the future politician generations. Even "Revolution" is old and it stinks, and so will "coup"!
Bengül Güngörmez: I want to ask by reminding Erdoğan's statement that he "learned about the coup from his brother-in-law." What could be the reason why MİT did not provide Erdoğan with information?
Hüsamettin Arslan: Before July 15 there were many "small states" in Turkey, little "faction states." Such as the Koç and Sabancı families, and TÜSİAD by extension, MÜSİAD, TUSKON and other states. There were tiny states within the army, and within our police force there were tiny police organizations. Special War Department versus The Cemaat or 28 Februarists etc. etc. The government of AK Party is a state, Constitutional court is a state, a tiny state. The multipartiteness of MİT and similar institutions are beyond a shadow of doubt. The Cemaat was one of the strongest of these small states. The July 15 coup happened in such a political environment. As did the Generals of September 12, the generals of The Cemaat did also receive support from the USA.
Bengül Güngörmez: How would you like to conclude?
Hüsamettin Arslan: During the night of July 15, as the low flying F16's deafened our ears, what we all wondered was where did the State go. Its parliament, its people were getting bombed, where did the State go? It was nowhere! There was a formal State in Turkey, not a "deep" State. We were hopeless. The USA was invading Turkey. This is why we may have no other alternative than a Unitary Presidency system. Most probably there is no other "salvation" ahead of Turkey.
Bengül Güngörmez: On behalf of MDD, I thank you for sharing your valuable opinions with us.