The Lost Opportunity Window of the Gülen Movement in Turkey
The Gülen movement is one of the most controversial political and economic forces in Turkey, whose impact on the failed Turkish democratization in the 2000s and the rise of Recep Tayyip Erdogan to power is yet to be fully evaluated. The paper argues that the decision to stay out of active politics caused by the history of the Gülen movement as a grassroots movement, which wanted to protect its strategic interests mixing Islam with Turkish nationalism in Turkey and abroad led to the decision to support the AKP instead to establish a political party. This brought the movement substantial power and influence on the political system of the country but the failed democratisation of Turkey that remains a hybrid regime made the movement very vulnerable to the changes in the political power structure, which led to its demise. The attempt to counter the hegemony of the new political elite in the hybrid environment of Turkey failed because the movement could not claim the democratic accountability through elections as the AKP did. The movement represents an example of a new social movements, which missed the opportunity window of a favourable political moment, which will require its significant retransformation in the future.
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