Turkey Purges Officials in Bid to Quash Corruption Probes

(By AFP)

Turkey widens purge after graft probe (via AFP)

The Turkish government’s mass purge of police and prosecutors has extended to the banking and telecoms sectors as well as state television, the latest fallout from a wide-ranging corruption scandal plaguing the country’s leaders. Local media reported…

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Press TV reports on Protests into Saturday Night in Istanbul and Ankara against planned censorship of the internet:

27 Responses

  1. Let’s not call it “the purge,” let’s call it the latest wave in something ongoing for the last 6-7 years and now branching into civil war withing the religious parties instead of against the secularists.

    People who said that Tayyip’s democratization was insincere, that he was at heart a pious dictator who was (in words attributed to him) simply riding the democracy tram to where he wanted to get were mocked as elitist, fascistic “Whites.”

    Of course, when opposition candidates have their campaign funds impounded, when companies that oppose the ruling party are fined hundreds of millions of dollars, when journalists who write against the PM are sued or fired on the PM’s command, when the state construction sector is a hive of corruption and no-bid contracts won by the PM’s cronies, when protests are met with police violence, when the government claims the authority of moral police (none of which is to say that a word out of the Gulen camp is to be believed without verification elsewhere!),

    the “Whites” may be right, but they’re not enjoying a last laugh.

    Brussels will be interesting this week.

  2. What’s wrong with Turkey in one quote from its chief theorist of Neo-Ottomania:

    Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said that the executive branch represents the national will and is not accountable to anyone except at the ballot box, and if there is a dispute over the function of the executive, then the judiciary will step in.

    “The executive branch does not have to be accountable to anyone. Of course if there is a lawsuit filed, as Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] said previously, everyone is accountable before the law,” Davutoğlu said, speaking at the 6th Ambassadors Conference in Adana on Saturday.

    So, yes, the executive is the nation al will and thus unstoppable. Lawsuits, you ask? That’s why the new proposal to stack HSYK.
    Can’t see why Brussels would have any problem with that!

    • Why does that sound so very familiar? Oh yeah, it’s just like the Restatement of the Rule of Executive Law in the US Empire, reformulated by a long committee of judicious people like Richard Milhous “I am not a crook” Nixon to Lyndon Baines “I’m the only president you’ve got” Johnson, to John “the Constitution is a quaint document” Yoo to the people who populate the West Wing in this and prior administrations — and all the “agencies” that look a lot more like what “the law” calls PRINCIPALS (“als,’ not “les”), as in “We are bigger and badder than you, we got the guns and the eyes’n’ears and a steady flood of your wealth to do what we please.”

      For fun reading, link to talkleft.com

  3. Ithe wikileaks cables, the US ambassador stated that the Gulen network had infiltrated the police institutions, and it’s believed that this is widespread also among judges. One can’t have an unelected shadow government that goes against elected leaders. It’s no wonder that Erdogan has finally moved against the Gulen network.

    • Oh, come on. It was no issue at all when they were targeting CHP. it was no issue at all during the Ergenekon/Balyoz trials. it was no issue at all when it was about throwing journalists in jail. Erdogan cheered it on. He’s also supported th purges of the education sector, both YOK and the public school system, going after even teachers who participated in Gezi. And he’s happily let the Cemaat infiltrate the education system because it’s of a piece with his Islamizing project.

      In November, AKP deputies were mocking those very claims that you cite. And then they tried to hit Gulen where it hurts.

      Now, suddenly when the very real corruption of AKP is the issue this aggression won’t stand, man? Tell me, it was known that the Democrats had a longstanding animosity toward Nixon, so was Watergate a coup? . . .

  4. In another Wikileaks cable, we read that the Gulen network has considered Erdogan “unreliable.” So, Gulen’s undermining has been going on for some time. So, while AKP needed Gulen, it worked with the Gulen network. But it eventually had to stop because it is a shadow government that answers to Gulen, not elected leaders. Is there “very real corruption of AKP” or is there a frame-up as many Turks believe?

    • Oh, good grief. Do you know that there has been no audit of turkish government accounts for over two years, and that’s a choice out of Ankara, not Pennsylvania? Have you read anything at all on TOKI? Have you read anything at all at the use of punitive audits against companies that are NOT Gulenists, and those undertaken at the government’s direction?
      Do you know anything about the government’s relation to Sunni Jihadis in Syria? About the PM’s deep animosity toward the Alevis and his choice to name the new bridge after a Sultan who massacred them?

      Have you read the PM’s crackdowns on lifestyles that he does not like? Have you indeed read the Wikileaks cables on him? Have your read Hurriyet Daily News? the website Human Rights Practice in Turkey, Erkan’s Field Diary, The Istanbullian, Al Monitor’s Turkey page, Open democracy’s Turkey page? Even Jenny White’s Kamil Pasha site (she now admits she was “seduced” by Tayyip’s charisma (gaahh!)). It’s not like there’s not a large amounn of information not written by Gulen or the crap out of Yeni Safak and Sabah about the US-Israel-Telekinesis conspiracy. (And to be fair, Yavuz Baydar and Ihsan Dagi write for Zaman and are highly respected journalists. (A few others I’ve not made up my mind on yet, others I’d take with a grain of salt.)

      Do some reading, and if you come across anything else reliable, share it!

        • And your point is what? Are all those sites every one of them gulen? Did I not preface my comments by conceding the problems with TZ? Are you poerhaps Bilal Erdogan?

        • KRMcN, You just hit a button. You called two Zaman journalists “highly respected,” which considering that the perspective of Zaman is always slanted unless they have nothing to lose by it, well, as I said, you hit a button.

    • PS: Not that TOKI is subject to audit; it’s now run out of the PM’s office.

      “So, while AKP needed Gulen, it worked with the Gulen network.” Nice story and I suppose it excuses anything, right? & Just to be responsible, you should note that Wikileaks on the cemaat is conjectural and some of it I frankly don’t believe, as much as I’d love to.

      Not that I needed Wikileaks to know any of that stuff. Helps to have Turkish friends.

      • Unless you have Turkish friends from the various groups, it gives you a highly biased perspective. This is an overgeneralization and, yes, it’s stereotyping, but my personal experience has been that most Turks can’t see, don’t want to see any valid points in the opposition. It’s either, You’re with me or you’re against me. Loyalty trumps truth. I imagine this is true of most people, not just Turks, but I have noticed it with Turks quite a lot.

  5. Ihsan Dagi’s… take, today, is spot on:

    EU membership required democratic reforms that were supposed to weaken the position of the military, thus opening up breathing space for the AKP. Moreover, through the EU membership objective, the party was able to reach out to secular but liberal democratic social segments of society, increasing its legitimacy both at home and abroad.

    So, for the AKP, the EU was an instrument to protect itself from the military, to form a broader social coalition with pro-EU secular groups and to legitimize the transfer of power from the military to the government in the name of democratization, as required by the accession process.

    And this instrument worked. Yet its very success rendered the objectives obsolete. When the AKP felt strong enough after eliminating its archenemies, it no longer needed the EU as a shelter, legitimizer and coalition builder.

    It was in this context that the old formula resurfaced: Whoever controls Ankara and is enjoying ruling the country singlehandedly does not want EU membership. This was valid 10 years ago for the Kemalist military and bureaucracy, and it is true now for the AKP.

    EU membership is the demand of the people who seek democracy and social welfare. But for those who walk Ankara’s corridors of power, neither democracy nor the welfare of the people matters. For previous pro-status quo forces, EU membership was not desirable, as it requires change. This is what has happened to the AKP, too. The formerly reformist party captured the state, installed its own order in Ankara and now does not want a change in the new status quo. To hold on to the status quo, the ruling party seems prepared to reverse the reforms that it had introduced on the way.

    Moreover the AKP’s Islamist roots were revived as the core party leadership gained confidence in consecutive electoral successes and faced challenges in the realms of social opposition at home and the crisis of Islamism in the Middle East. In response, anti-Westernism inherited from the Islamist past of the AKP leadership has made a comeback in recent years; Islam is increasingly referred to as the “civilizational property” of the “new Turkey.”

  6. Just came across Michael Rubin’s article on Fethullah Gulen not being a savior, which makes this comment about the Zaman newspaper:

    “Gülen’s followers dominate the security forces which Erdoğan wielded without mercy against his political opposition and the press. Gülen professes tolerance, but his own past is checkered. And while he has his own media network with the daily Zaman at is head, there is a disturbing difference in tone between Zaman and its English version, Today’s Zaman. Diplomats who only read the latter may not be aware that anti-Semitic conspiracies infect if not Gülen, then those around him and his top supporters.” link to commentarymagazine.com

  7. For a specific example of Today’s Zaman not disclosing conflicts of interest, an article cites “Dr. Doğan Koç of the University of Houston.” Googling that name, I see that Koç is a “research fellow at the Gulen Institute at the University of Houston” and elsewhere the “Executive Director of the Gulen Institute.”

  8. For a betteru derstanding of what is happening in Turkey read Cheryl Benard’s “Civil,Democratic Islam” written for RAND Corp. in 2003.

  9. For more on Gulenist infiltration into the military, police, and other government offices in Turkey and abroad, read Sharon-Krespin’s article in the Middle East Quarterly. link to meforum.org

  10. Within this fight between the Islamists, the secular, modern voices are the true loss of the country.

    Women, children, minorities will suffer as we go down this road.

    Erdogan looked like a hero to minor issue loving Europeans when a few legal changes allowed non-Muslim minorities certain rights. But how about the police wearing those white berets this weekend in imitation of the murderer of Hrant Dink?

    Can you imagine the French police going to a protest with NAZI flags after a Jew is killed in a racially motivated crime? Because that white beret stands exactly for that.

    And the “white” Turks… I’d be considered one. My grandpa was an orphan and had 5 siblings brought up by his poor mom.

    It is not like Turkey had a landowning aristocracy (not possible in Islamic land ownership) but middle classes are called “white” Turks somehow. This is not hatred of the elite. It is hatred of meritocracy and education.

    If Turkey keeps going down this route we’ll be the Pakistan of the 21st century…

    • Actually, Turkey would be the next Pakistan (a militarist banana republic) of the 21St Century if you permit your military to decide the fate of your country.

      Remind me again: how many coups did your military orchestrate against democratically elected governments?

    • A democracy needs to listen to the voices of all groups: secular, religious, and so on. But to juxtapose “secular” with “modern” suggests that the religious are not modern, but belong to some ignorant past. And although all voices must be part of a democracy, I don’t have much sympathy for the secular voices, often fanatically secular, who since Ataturk have oppressed religious freedom and expression.

      • Although all voices must be part of the discussion, I have little respect for a large sector. Your problem, not you blindness but your active hatred in a nutshell.

        • How is speaking facts hatred? If there’s anything I hate, it’s hypocrisy. How many secularists spoke up in defense of religious rights and freedom when they were in power?

      • Reed – Turkey’s pro-democracy liberals, unlike the old Kemalist elite, have spoken up in defense of religious freedom and greater rights for Turkey’s Kurdish minority.

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