Turkey’s top security body lists Gülenists as threat against national security
The meeting was also the first chaired by President Erdoğan in his current capacity. AA PhotoTurkey’s top national security body has publicly documented the movement of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, referred to by government officials as the “parallel state,” as one of the leading threats against the country’s national security.
“Matters related to our country’s security, our people’s serenity and public order have been discussed in detail. Within this content, it has been emphasized that the struggle against parallel structures and illegal formations, which threaten our national security and disrupt public order and conduct illegal activity with internally and externally legal images, will be continued with determination,” the National Security Council (MGK) said in a written statement released late on Oct. 30 following its lengthy bimonthly meeting.
The almost 10.5-hour meeting marked the longest ever meeting of the council, which brings together the country’s top civilian and military leaders. It was also the first MGK meeting chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in his current capacity, although he participated in numerous meetings during his prime ministry from March 2003 until being elected as president in August.
The fight between erstwhile allies Erdoğan and Gülen began late last year after a massive corruption and graft investigation against four ministers led by Istanbul prosecutors went public. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government says the operation was a plot carried out by prosecutors and police officers loyal to Gülen, a 73-year-old preacher who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1997, aiming to topple Erdoğan and his government.
The Gülenists, who have been accused of forming a “parallel structure” within the state, have also been charged with illegally eavesdropping on hundreds of thousands of people through operations by members employed in the judiciary and the police.
Since the probe broke, thousands of prosecutors and police officers have been removed from their previous positions, with pro-government prosecutors now probing the activities of the “parallel state.”