Assessment report by Ferda Balancar: Politics and Religious Orders in Turkey

This assessment paper gives an analysis of the various religious orders and organisations in Turkey particular attention given to the presence of the role of a religious organisation in the 15 July coup attempt in 2016. Mr Balancar gives a background on the origins of the various orders, which can be broadly split into the Naqshbandi, Nur Movement and the Suleymanites. As Mr Balancar recounts, many of the orders have been at times quite close to government, the Gülenists being the classic embodiment of this with their permeation of many levels of the Turkish bureaucracy and key governmental structures such as the military, police and the judiciary. According to Mr Balancar, the implications following the attempted coup and subsequent liquidation of Gülenists from government are that the very same threat remains as other religious orders may fill the vacuum the Gülenists have left behind. Without the conception of a new democratic constitution, Mr Balancar argues the risk of bureaucratic entrenchment of certain influential groups will continue and is of utmost concern with likely repercussions on issues such as the Kurdish Issue and the future of democracy in Turkey. This report was prepared for DPI by journalist Ferda Balancar. The views and opinions expressed in this assessment are his own and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DPI.