Bureaucratic fight for power intensifying
TOLGA ŞARDANOn a return flight from Turkmenistan, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke to journalists on board the presidential jet, answering the question of whether members of the “Gülen Community” had been expunged from the police: “I cannot respond, first of all, to the question ‘Has the security department been cleaned of them?’ with the answer, “No, they have not.’”
Because of other topics on the domestic and international political agenda, the reply Erdoğan gave to this question remained between the lines.
He went on: “In the period ahead of us, I think the Interior Ministry, Justice Ministry, the National Intelligence Organization, the police intelligence – all of them – should work very differently. These steps should be taken with coordination. This cleanup indeed is not an easy business. For many years, they have infiltrated here and there; they have organized seriously. What we are experiencing is the result of these organized activities.”
The Ankara bureaucracy should read the remarks very carefully: according to Erdoğan, the cleanup has not been completed despite the passage of two years. It means that there are certain things that are going wrong.
One example is that in place of the liquidated members of the “Gülen Community,” smaller community and groups have started to fill in. They are the Milli Damarcılar (a transformed version of the Gülen community), the KÖZ group (Those who are close to and loyal to the former “police imam” Kemalettin Özdemir of the Gülen Movement,) as well as the Okuyucu, Yazıcı and Süleymancı groups.
As if that was not enough, the Milli Görüş (National Vision) and Hak-Yol are also there.
But that’s not all: The Adıyaman Menzilciler (The Menzil Group), the Kırkıncı Hoca group (Mehmet Kırkıncı) and others are also present.
There is a continuous struggle to fill the void of the Gülen Community and they are trying to gain power against each other.
Outside these communities and groups, even though they are very small in number, there is a handful of people not involved in communities and groups that are fighting against their activities, meaning they have become targets.
The internal fight among these communities and groups has intensified in recent times because Interior Minister Efkan Ala is set to prepare a decree for governors and provincial security directors.
In his second and stronger term at the Interior Ministry, Ala is preparing two decrees simultaneously, and the battle to be included in them is intensifying.
For example, an undersecretary from the office of the Prime Ministry is meeting with “civil servants” who are in charge of legal investigations and operations against the Gülen movement. The undersecretary is set to oversee personnel changes in a very important department of the police, it is said.
The KÖZ group is said to be pulling strings for certain provinces. Also, the current head of the police intelligence, Ergin Dinç, will surely be replaced as he is a suspect in the Dink murder case.
The problematic process regarding promotions and appointments in the police department in summer 2015 has even reached the Office of the President. The lack of promotions for those conducting the Gülen investigations has created a headache.
Another development in the Interior Ministry is this: Sebahattin Öztürk, who was appointed as temporary interior minister prior to the June 7 elections, was replaced prior to snap elections by Selami Altınok. Öztürk went back to the undersecretary position.
Öztürk was made deputy interior minister when Ala returned as interior minister. Altınok was appointed to the undersecretary position. In the Interior Ministry, the undersecretary position is a “very active post that has a significant place in decision-making.” The deputy minister position, on the other hand, is known to be more of a representative position.
However, because Öztürk signed the summer appointments of the police and left the ministry without waiting for Altınok to arrive, he shifted to the representative position. Now, the control of the ministry is with Altınok who has the support of both Erdoğan and Davutoğlu, as well as the full support of Ala.
Erdoğan is closely monitoring all the details of what is going on. Likewise, signals are coming that “whatever is needed will be done” to prevent the state from becoming “parallel.”