Turkish interior minister tells US about ‘parallel state’
Tolga Tanış WASHINGTON
‘We had not done much about religious freedoms until 2010,’ Interior Minister Ala says at the annual Turkey Conference of the Middle East Institute.As Turkey is spending efforts to become a more transparent state, a so-called parallel structure has attempted to topple the government, Turkish Interior Minister Efkan Ala has said at a U.S. conference. Ala’s remarks were referring to the Gülen movement under the U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who resides in Pennsylvania in self-exile.
“We had not done much about religious freedoms until 2010,” Ala said at the annual Turkey Conference of the Middle East Institute. However, at a time when the government had broadened such freedoms, a group “that should have appreciated such efforts, attempted another coup with a parallel state structure it developed within the state,” he said. The government itself has promoted communities such as the Gülen movement and offered them opportunities, according to the minister.
The government and the Gülen movement have been at odds since the end of last year when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accusing the latter, the “parallel state” as he calls it, for orchestrating the Dec. 17 and the Dec. 25 of 2013 corruption investigations. The landmark case ensnared the sons of three former ministers and businesspeople known to be close to the government. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) responded with a series of purges and replacements, particularly in the judiciary and the police, where Gülen’s followers are believed to be prominent, as it aimed to contain the damage.
Ala was also scheduled to meet with his counterpart Jen Johnson and Lisa Monaco, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism to President Barack Obama, along with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.