Two points should be clear about the Gulen Charter Schools phenomenon: (1) "Gulen-inspired schools" refers to private schools established and run by Gulen-inspired entrepreneurs and educators in Turkey and around the world. (Naming them Gulen schools, or Gulen charter schools in the US is as wrong as it could be) (2) The US charter schools where some Gulen-inspired educators might happen to work are public initiatives and they are not affiliated with Fethullah Gulen or Gulen Movement in any way.
When the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in the elections held in early November 2002, the military decided to take some action. In the following months, Çetin Doğan, the former head of the 1st Army, sent faxes where he made analogies between the AKP’s election victory and the Nazis coming to power; he sent these documents directly from his office.
The height of boldness was on display when the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) coup plan was discussed. The content of a military seminar were modified and Doğan lied to his military superiors about what actually occurred. The former army head tried to prepare the groundwork for a coup by causing turmoil and social upheaval by spreading believable lies. In a seminar document, the plotters also identified who would come to power after the coup.
When the Balyoz plan was revealed and taken to court, a surprise figure appeared: Dani Rodrik, a famous economist who is also Doğan’s son-in-law, argued that the evidence was fabricated and even wrote a book on the matter. According to his argument the accusations were based on three CDs whose contents were manipulated. In the CDs dated 2004, names of organizations and places created after the CDs were made were identified. Rodrik considered this a great flaw, proving that the CDs were manipulated; he argued that there was a conspiracy to set Doğan up. He said he did not endorse the guardianship role of the army, adding that he strongly believed that the truth should be revealed.
But now we have adequate information that would satisfy Rodrik. First, we now know that the information on these three CDs is also included on the other CDs without any changes or modifications. Second, the copies of the modified CDs were also found in the search carried out in the “cosmic room” of the military compound in Gölcük; it was unrealistic to think that these CDs were planted there by conspirers. Defense lawyers had hard disk no. 5 examined by experts in the US; the experts concluded that many documents on the hard disk were saved in 2009, but seemed to have been created in 2004. This pointed to a conspiracy but nobody asked the real question: Who was responsible for the conspiracy? And then the final, fatal discovery was made: The personal password of Capt. Yakar was the same as the password of hard drive no. 5. There was a deliberate manipulation; however, the conspiracy was staged not by the conspirers who wanted to put Doğan into a difficult position, but by his colleagues.
There was only one possible explanation for the deliberate modifications that caused contradictions in the documents: The coup plotters were constantly updating their plans and in turn making changes to their documents, while waiting for an opportunity to stage a coup; additionally they also purposefully created some minor contradictions in the documents to protect themselves from prosecution. When the investigation was initiated, a respected figure other than the defendants needed to explore these contradiction and raise doubts because only if done by an outsider would it serve the argument that they were being set up and thereby, undermine the prosecution. Perhaps his son-in-law was the first person Doğan thought of for this service. Having an internationally renowned academic prove the existence of a conspiracy through scientific investigation would offer great psychological support for Doğan and his friends, and it would become possible to put pressure on the court. However, things did not go as they had hoped. The documents seized in Gölcük, the modifications made by people who were responsible for the protection of these documents and the fact that the General Staff indicated they had some of those documents, which were supposed to have been under protection, ended the era of dreaming.
Perhaps Rodrik dedicated himself to the scholarly inquiry into the relationship between democracy and economy. The recent developments should be illuminating enough for a scholar who would want nothing but the truth. Unfortunately, you cannot remove the father of the person you wed from the picture. While looking for conspirers all around, you might suddenly realize that you have been set up.