Fethullah Gulen says he has no intention of fleeing America if Donald Trump is going to extradite him to Turkey. But the Muslim cleric might like to read a new book before he obliges the Turkish President by climbing aboard a plane for Ankara or Istanbul. Accused of fomenting the attempted coup almost exactly a year ago, he has a touching faith in Turkish justice which has organised the arrest of 50,000 Turks for involvement in the “terrorist” crime. For Ezgi Başaran’s Frontline Turkey: The Conflict at the Heart of the Middle East – published by that ever loyal imprint of IB Tauris, a true friend of the region – reveals a shocking story of police brutality, torture and Turkish secret police crime and involvement with Isis.
It’s also not very nice about Fethullah Gulen himself. Born in Erzerum in 1942, he became a cleric, one of the founders of the “association for fighting communism” – which might appeal to Donald Trump – but Gulenist schools, attended at first by poor children, prepared their pupils to occupy as many posts as possible in the country’s judiciary, police and military. This is Başaran’s contention, and she backs it up with a revealing quotation from Gulen used in an indictment that accuses him of trying to topple the secular state in 1999 and which doesn’t sound very democratic.