Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has proved to have an exceptional ability in crushing his real and perceived enemies.
In 2011, he managed to subdue the country’s powerful military, which had carried out several coups against elected governments in the past.
In 2013, he sent police forces to crack down on tens of thousands of anti-government protesters with relative ease.
But perhaps he has never faced a challenge as big as the ongoing corruption scandal, which has led to the arrests of dozens of people including sons of cabinet ministers.
In response, Erdogan has accused the graft investigation as a conspiracy attempt to remove him from office and taken concrete measures to stop the inquiry. He has purged dozens of high-ranking police officers including at least police chiefs in 15 cities.
The current crisis is new. It’s not the familiar Islamist-secularist conflict that we have seen in Turkey ever since the establishment of the modern nation nearly a century ago.
It’s rather believed to be an internal conflict between the Islamists, pitting Erdogan against the followers of a powerful U.S.-based Islamic preacher named Fethullah Gulen
Does the current crisis threaten Turkey’s stability in an already turbulent region? Where does the U.S. stand on the subject? Is it more in line with Erdogan’s position or that of Fethullah Gullen?
To discuss the subject, I am joined Ilhan Tanir, a Turkish journalist based in Washington DC.
I am also joined Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Presdient of president of the Minaret of Freedom Institute, a Washington-based think-tank on Muslim affairs.