Claims of power game in Turkish intel crisis

Claims of power game in Turkish intel crisis

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Claims of power game in Turkish intel crisis

Intel chief Fidan gets full support of PM Erdoğan during the recent crisis. AA photo

A prosecutor’s office’s recent call for Turkey’s top intelligence staff to testify in an ongoing probe is connected to efforts to reshape the country’s political landscape in 2014, according to Dr. İbrahim Uslu, the head of a prominent research company.

“The president, the prime minister, the leader of the AKP [Justice and Development Party], its top-level administrators, the situation in Parliament and the municipalities will all change in 2014. Politics, in other words, will be entirely redefined,” said Uslu, the head of the Ankara Social Research Center (ANAR). “I personally think some people may have [devised] these attacks to have a say over that process, to be able to manipulate it and gain influence over the allotment of new roles.”

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is widely tipped to replace President Abdullah Gül as head of state in 2014, when the president will be chosen in a popular vote for the first time.

The government’s aim in recently altering laws to protect Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT), from prosecution does not stem from a desire to simply protect a civil servant but is also designed to preserve its own policies, he was quoted as saying by daily Akşam. “I am worried that attacks of this nature could step up as 2014 approaches. [These forces] want to weaken the AKP and the state and to mislead them into making the wrong choices. It is going to be a battering process,” he said.

A specially authorized prosecutor in Istanbul shook Turkey’s political scene on Feb. 8 when he summoned Fidan; his predecessor, Emre Taner; former MİT deputy Afet Güneş; and two other MİT personnel for questioning into a probe into the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), the alleged urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). None of them showed up at the prosecutor’s office, prompting an order for Fidan to testify in Ankara and orders that the other four be detained.

In response, the prosecutor was removed from his post, while Parliament approved a law on Feb. 17 that forces prosecutors to obtain the prime minister’s authorization before a criminal probe can be launched against current or former MİT officials.