Both sides smelling blood in the water.

At least in this case, the one side has the secularist Republican People’s Party waiting in the wings to take advantage of any AKP downfall, it’s just that they’re 1/3 of the forces competing for the whole enchilada.

Erdogan1 CALIPH

Analysis: In Turkey, Erdogan is fighting for his political life

12/27/2013 05:57

The struggle between Erdogan’s AKP Party, Gulen’s Hizmet movement comes down to 2 radically different views of Islam; Erdogan’s faction identifies with the “Arab Islam,” while Gulen’s supporters prefer “the Islam of the Turks.”

Turkey Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has received a political blow from which he may not recover.

His problems began in earnest in the summer with the outbreak of the Gezi Park protests, and now a corruption scandal at the highest levels of his government has put his continued leadership in serious jeopardy.

The military coup in Egypt in July, which ousted the Muslim Brotherhood, worked to begin a regional pushback against Islamist leadership.

Erdogan’s ruling Islamist AKP party as well as large parts of the bureaucracy have been penetrated by the Hizmet movement of his previous Islamist ally, Fethullah Gulen, a US-based Turkish cleric.

Awkwardly, the Turkish nationalist opposition Republican People’s Party, founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1924, and the Islamist Gulen movement find themselves opposing Erdogan together.

The brewing struggle under the surface between the AKP Party and Gulen’s movement comes down to “two radically different views of Islam,” according to Harold Rhode, a senior fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute and a former adviser at the Pentagon.

“In the first, Erdogan’s faction identifies and allies itself with the [Arab] Muslim Brotherhood,” said Rhode in an article for the Gatestone Institute.

“In the second view, supporters of Fethullah Gulen look down upon ‘Arab Islam.’ To them, ‘real’ Islam is ‘the Islam of the Turks’ – meaning the people who live in Turkey, Central Asia, and Western China.”

Now we are seeing “an alliance of convenience” between Gulen’s movement and the secularists, wrote Rhode.

More here.

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