December 28, 2013

MORSI'S FAILURE WAS NOT ATTACKING THE "DEEP STATE":

WILL TURKEY'S ERDOĞAN CAUSE HIS OWN DOWNFALL? (DEXTER FILKINS, 12/27/13, The New Yorker)

From the beginning, Erdoğan's success was made possible by, among other things, an alliance with the followers of Fethullah Gülen, the leader of a far-flung Islamic order whose members pride themselves not just on their piety but also on their business acumen. As I wrote last year in the magazine, the Gülenists, as they're known, come across in person as amalgams of Dale Carnegie and a Christian missionary: smiling, clean cut, and relentlessly cheerful. Gülen himself lives in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, having fled Turkey in 1999, when it appeared as though the Turkish military was preparing to arrest him on charges of conspiring to overthrow the country's secular order. (Gülen was acquitted in 2008, but he has not returned.)

For much of Turkey's history, civilian governments, together with the military, enforced a rigid and often mindless secularism, where even the most nominal displays of piety were suppressed. For this reason, the Gülenists, as members of an Islamic order, operated in secret, rarely advertising their affiliation, even though their brand of Islam is ostensibly moderate.

When Erdoğan came to power, in 2003, the Gülenists, whether by agreement or by design, began to infiltrate Turkey's police departments and judiciary. This enabled Erdoğan to begin an epic crackdown on the military and on what Turks call "the deep state," a shadowy network of élites that, since Turkey's founding in 1923, has helped enforce the secular order. The crackdown, beginning in 2007, targeted something called "Ergenekon," which prosecutors and police claimed was the name given to the deep state itself. Over the past six years, hundreds of Turks have been arrested and jailed, not just military officers but university leaders, newspapers editors, owners of television stations, and opposition politicians, as well.

There isn't much doubt that something called "the deep state" actually existed in Turkey, and that it used violence and intimidation to enforce the secular state enshrined by Turkey's founder, Mustafa Kemal, or Atatürk. 
Posted by at December 28, 2013 7:02 PM
  
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