Face off in Turkish Winter
Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT), was summoned Feb. 7 by a specially authorized Istanbul prosecutor to give a statement with Emre Taner, the organization’s former head and his deputy (retired as himself), Afet Güneş, in relation with ongoing operations against the PKK and its alleged popular front, the KCK.
All three have been involved in talks with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) officials outside Turkey, probably in the Norwegian capital Oslo. When an illegal recording of a part of those talks hit the Internet Sept. 13, 2011, Fidan especially became the target of criticism from Turkish opposition parties.
All three are supposed to appear before the prosecutor on Feb. 8.
This is a first in Turkish system, like the arrest of the former chief of staff İlker Başbuğ on Jan. 5 of this year; Istanbul prosecutors’ demand for life for him with accusations of trying to overthrow the government on Feb. 2 had been a first as well. In the meantime, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had stated that he preferred Başbuğ would be tried without arrest and put in jail (Jan. 9), judge Mehmet Karababa rejected Başbuğ’s demand to be released and tried as such and Karababa’s appointment to the Justice Commission of the Turkish Parliament (Jan 23) as an advisor; it is a promotion on paper but no more than a specially authorized judge on active duty.
The Turkish system has been in a transformation for the last ten years since Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) took power but the strength of the developments have been on escalation since the last elections on June 12, 2011, when Erdoğan got 50 percent of the votes; a rare victory in Turkey.
Among the consequences of that election result, was cutting all contacts (including dialogue with government officials, it appears) with the imprisoned-for-life leader of the PKK on July 27 and resignation of the Chief of Staff, Gen. Işık Koşaner together with all three of his force commanders.
That was in protest to the arrest of retired and on duty armed forces officers in relation with the court cases code-named Ergenekon and Balyoz which are about overthrowing the government according to prosecutors. But it appeared that that was like throwing the towel on behalf of the soldiers; Erdoğan was having his turn of pushing the military away from politics like Mahmud the Second did in 1826 and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk did in 1926 before in Turkish history.
The power struggle in Ankara has more than one layer; since army is relatively out of sight for now, the factions within the security and judiciary apparatus might be attempting to have more say on the new order in the Turkish capital.
If Arab Spring is the name of the painful transformation on the Arab street which has been causing bloody shifts of power, it would not be wrong to call the painful but relatively peaceful transformation in Turkey taking place in court rooms and bureaucratic corridors as the Turkish Winter.
Turkish Winter is as harsh as the Arab Spring but at least not as bloody other than the PKK dimension.