Almost exactly two years ago, the worrying phone calls began. Tanks were rolling through the middle of Istanbul, Turkish soldiers were blocking bridges and fighter jets were screaming over Ankara. There's a coup against the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in progress, Abdulhamit Karatay's relatives called to tell him.
Mr. Karatay was nowhere near Istanbul: He lives in the comparatively idyllic country town of Bergneustadt, east of Cologne in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The town has 20,000 inhabitants, of whom about 18 percent have Turkish roots – Mr. Karatay among them. He still loves Turkey and as the phone calls from his relatives kept coming on that dramatic night, he remembers wishing he was back there, to prevent what he calls "the terrorists" from taking over. He was talking about the so-called Gülen, or Hizmet, movement, led by the US-based Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gülen, who was later accused of instigating the attempted coup.