The two big men behind the huge corruption row in Turkey

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The best way to understand Turkey’s growing chaos is as a political fight-to-the-death between the nation’s two colossal personalities.

On one side is Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who a couple of years ago declared himself Turkey’s “masterful” leader (paywall), the paramount ruler who would reconstruct the country along lines that he saw fit. Recently, his ambitions have been challenged by former collaborator Fethullah Gulen, a Pennsylvania-based Islamic preacher with millions of followers and institutions and businesses worth tens of billions of dollars. (Two of the most thoughtful examinations of Gulenism are by Claire Berlinsky at The City and Suzy Hansen at the New Republic.). The fallout appears to be based in mutual distrust of the messianic confidence in which each holds his own judgment: both want to run the country but there is room for only one.

The means of battle is a corruption investigation that has implicated Erdogan…

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