Towards an intelligence state?
“As Turkish national intelligence agency growing, troubles deepening,” wrote a prominent journalist Deniz Zeyrek (Radikal) recently (May 23, Hürriyet Daily News). By “troubles,” he means essentially “the security risks and problems” resulting from “the conflict between the National Intelligence Organization” (MİT) and the security services (particularly, the intelligence department of the police). He reminds us that that may be the case in Reyhanlı as some leaks claim.
In fact, I am more concerned by the prospect of evolving toward an intelligence state. It is an open secret that the rift between the National intelligence and the police is not a matter of lack of coordination or competition between security institutions, but an aspect of the rift between the Gulen movement and the government. I could not imagine that the above mentioned rift could culminate in almost open confrontation as happened when the prosecutors wanted to question MİT Undersecretary Hakan Fidan. At the time, Prime Minister Erdoğan interfered in the affair and the government amended the law to provide a shield of protection for MİT staff. Since the case of Fidan was a KCK indictment, the governmental move was welcomed in the name of democracy and peace with Kurds.
It is true that, an indictment concerning the (Oslo) talks between MIT and PKK was targeting the government’s Kurdish policy of negotiation and would risk the prospect of policy of “peace and democracy.” Indeed, only after the elimination of “the counter attack” could pave the way for the “peace process.” Nevertheless, it also paved the way not only for the enforcement of the National Intelligence, but also legitimized the political role of the MİT. Under the circumstances, the supporters of peace and democracy turn a blind eye to the problem of a prospect of evolution toward an intelligence state.
Obviously, the government is alarmed by the Gülen movement’s influence on the police and the judiciary and concerned by their attempts to gain total control. Besides, any attempt to hinder the government’s Kurdish policy is a big risk to be avoided. Yet, the government never had any conflict with the behavior of the police concerning violent suppressions of any expression and demonstration of dissent. It seems that, the rift between Gülen movement and the government culminated not only on the matter of Kurdish policy but also as a fight of control over security and judiciary rather than government’s concern for hindrance of democratic politics by others.
At this point we should start to bother about the further enforcement of authoritarian politics and state. For those who choose to keep silent on the matter for the sake of not endangering the peace process with Kurds, it is more reasonable to support the politics of democratization to ensure the future of the peaceful reconciliation rather than relying on the efforts of National Intelligence.
In fact, Intelligence Services may play a significance role for such processes of negotiations, yet conflict resolution and peace process cannot be developed along the lines of intelligence politics. Besides, their role is expected to be diminished at the expense of democratization politics. Indeed, the peace process came to the point of democratic reconciliation and adjustments, especially after the agreement and enforcement of the PKK pull out. It is very timely to shift attention to democratization and bother about the enforcement of security state and politics. Any attempt for further empowering of the National Intelligence and its monopoly can only mean enforcement of authoritarian state and politics regardless of the political rifts and calculations.