Stranger than fiction: why conspiracy theories persist
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There is no shortage of conspiracy theories surrounding the Turkish coup on July 15. According to many Turkish observers, including Ibrahim Karagul, an editor at Yeni Safak, a prominent newspaper that favors the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), it was engineered by Fethullah Gülen, a secretive Islamic cleric who is currently exiled in the United States. It is true that Gülen heads a vast array of schools, civic organizations, and businesses based around the world. According to his defenders, his network is a progressive Islamist movement committed to bettering relations with the West. Yet Karagul posits that the Gülenists actually comprises a “Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization,” or FETO in official parlance, which aims to take over the Turkish government. FETO’s members, he argues, are a shadowy mixture of military officers, bureaucrats, teachers, journalists, and business leaders who rarely reveal their truly loyalties, making their activities difficult to detect or preempt.
The article of record as published may be found at https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/turkey/2016-08-09/stranger-fiction-turkey