MURAT YETKİN > New owners of Turkish ‘deep state’

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According to Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan, despite his government’s efforts of more than ten years now, the Turkish ‘deep state’ is still active. The term has been popular in Turkish politics for decades in order to explain a hypothetical formation within the state apparatus that has its own agenda other than the coming and going elected governments, and tries to achieve its goals by forcing the limit of legality and violate it, if necessary.

Süleyman Demirel, the former Turkish president who was overthrown by the military two times in 1971 and 1980, had defined it once in one word: Military. It was the military who had overthrown the Menderes government in 1960 and assumed widespread influence over civilian bureaucracy, judiciary and universities along the way.

Erdoğan changed the rules of the game through a series of legal changes and – especially after being threatened by the military in 2007 over the presidential elections – he enjoyed the successive court cases, with indictments accusing scores of army officers, academics, lawyers, writers and journalists of conspiring to overthrow the government. Evidence based on police intelligence efforts like tapping telephones or obtaining digital records from computers helped a new generation of prosecutors to write the indictments for a new generation of judges.

The return of the ‘deep state’ was voiced by Erdoğan in the same statement where he revealed that some bugs had been found in his office by intelligence organizations. It was later understood that an attempt to interrogate Turkey’s intelligence chief, Hakan Fidan, in February 2012 by prosecutors acting upon police intelligence, was after the incident. That was followed by a surge among prosecutors, judges and police forces, which Turkish media claimed was close to the U.S.-resident theologist Fethullah Gülen.

Yalçın Akdoğan, a deputy for the ruling AK Parti and Erdoğan’s close aide on security matters, told Radikal newspaper on Dec. 28 that there was no rift between the government and the Gülen group, since “they are complementary to each other.” On the other hand, Akif Beki, a former official spokesman for Erdoğan and now a columnist, told CNN Türk on Dec. 27 that “Those who played an important role in clearing the influence of the military from the deep state might be trying to fill the gap themselves.” He particularly mentioned the police and judiciary, without saying who “those” might be.

A very interesting debate is going on in Ankara in the last days of the year, signaling a lively debate in 2013.


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Can Lamberoglu

12/31/2012 12:09:19 AM

@sid: can you tell us in a nutshell what those books are about?

sid solo

12/30/2012 2:57:43 AM

Most recommendable books for the understanding of the "Deep State" issue are: Ahmet Şık "Dokunan Yanar" and "Pusu"; Ret. Gen. Ergin Saygun "Balyoz"; Hanefi Avcı "Haliç'te Yaşayan Simonlar". Any doubts one may have rearding the "new owners" of the deep state will dissipate after reading the books mentioned above. Sadly, none of these books are translated into English, which represents a serious information gap for any non-Turkish speaker.

Rorschach ~

12/30/2012 2:23:27 AM

The people of Turkey need to do some research on McCarthyism from US history. This is what this so- called 'deep state' conspiracy amounts to. Nothing but a witch-hunt......

Faruk Timuroglu

12/30/2012 12:48:12 AM

New owners of the ‘deep state’ Gulenists are confident and don’t hesitate to challenge RTE’s authority. Frightened RTE waited a year to reveal the story of bugs in his office. Much more than a lively debate, we will see a war of attrition if not an all-out war between them in 2013. The question is, will Turkey be booty for the winner or are Turkish people, going to awaken and get rid of both?

Morrisey Smith

12/29/2012 6:08:15 PM

i think that this claim is obviously related to processing of president. In other words, according to Prime Minister Erdoğan , he doesn't have got enough managing power on the state and its all level. Thus this claim is significant for next process

Agnes Smith

12/29/2012 11:51:42 AM

Well at least the ones in prison are let off the hook for this one. Which maybe goes to show there are many ergonekons (or they just keep inventing them). Turkey's new establishment has not moved from the dark past and the paranoid and suspicious attitude will invent them forever more. Is this real or just a Turkish character flaw and can it possibly ever be overcome.Until there is transparency and truth, journalists,students and academics are released we have a dark future too.

Johanna Dew

12/29/2012 6:41:52 AM

I don't think there is a lively debate going on, merely an ordinary fight
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