Contribution to MİT Debate
Details of the negotiations carried out behind closed doors between the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and the PKK have been brought into the open through the police and the judiciary. As in all covert operations, those “secret negotiations” were problematic “morally and legally,” and, as a matter of fact, the allegations are quite serious and shocking for public opinion. Allegedly, MİT had the KCK, a front organization of the PKK, established, operated, and condoned some of its acts. A debate about which accusations are realities, fantasies and mistakes has started.
The process was initiated, just like previous “media operations,” by leaking information and documents out, which had to be kept confidential at the investigation phase. Oddly enough, this time the government’s policies – as well as former and current undersecretaries of MIT, who were appointed to and very much trusted by Prime Minister Erdoğan - were in the bull’s eye. Those who triggered the current debate were among the most loyal supporters and allies of the government.
When the debate reflected into the media, supporters of the government were immediately divided into two parts. Everybody has attempted to determine a new position. The debates indicate that the problem is not purely about the judiciary, and they will definitely have political, legal and psychological effects in the forthcoming period, as well as effects in the field of security. Of course, the heart of the matter will be in domestic policy.
One may say that people who triggered the process made three fatal errors, with unpredictable results. Firstly, the timing of the operation was wrong. If the aim for members of a certain group in MİT was to clear out the “old regime’s men”, this operation should have been initiated before Hakan Fidan was assigned. Secondly, the “argument” of the investigation was wrong. Accusing the negotiation team that was charged by Erdoğan by linking it to the PKK, is also, in a sense, accusing the prime minister. As a matter of fact, in view of allegations that PKK has links with “Ergenekon”, a set of logical errors rise. Thirdly, the symbols of the operation are wrong. Calling former and current undersecretaries of MİT to the prosecution office aimed directly at the leadership of Erdoğan. The emerging image of inconsistency and shakiness in the bureaucracy are a direct attack on Erdoğan’s “leadership and charisma” before the public.
The unfolding events around MİT are the signal flare of a series of developments. Firstly, what will be the future of the strategic co-operation between Erdoğan and the Gülen Movement? Secondly, how will the PKK question be affected by those developments? Thirdly, how will the struggle between the PKK and the Gülen Movement unfold?
Investigations, proceedings and debates in the media affect the staff of security organizations negatively. How far could Turkish security personnel (TAF, the gendarmerie, the police, MİT) be disposed to do their job and provide quality service in light of these developments? All in all, it is very difficult for everyone trying to understand the goings-on in Turkey to do so only with the tip of the iceberg.