Trouble in Paradise (Turkey)

I'm not sure if many people are following this, but recently there has been a civil war of sorts going in turkey, with control of the government at stake.

It's big news, especially as Turkey has recently been one of the Muslim countries in the world where Muslims have been doing well - doing the right thing and being prosperous. So much so that I am a big fan of the Turkish Prime Minister - Recep Tayyip Erdogan in my books is the finest Muslim leader of the last decade.

However, there is trouble brewing in Turkey right now with his government being accused of many crimes including corruption.

There is a lot of history to this, but the current bombshells could result in the current government falling and maybe even a return to the dark past.

Historical Exposition

Turkey is one of those strange lands where conspiracy is rife and so are conspiracy theorists. Some theorists are outlandish, others are less so.

A major "fact" is Turkey has been the hidden hand that used to guide the public and the government. This was known as the tutelage system - different groups of secularists who did not need to be in government to control its direction. There was the "Military Tutelage" which was the most brutal - it could simply walk in, carry out a coup (or threaten one) to get the government changed if it considered the government was getting "too islamic". The last time it tried to flex its muscles (and actually failed) was around 2007 where it posted a memo to its website "warning" the government.

Another form of tutelage was the judicial tutelage - If it thought the government was getting "too Islamic", it would simply open a court case, where the government could be replaced through court order, and any targetted politicians banned from Politics. The last time it tried to use its power was around the same period, where it started a court case to ban the government. In the end, the government survived by one vote.

There were also other forms of tutelage, but they are less important in this article.

Beyond the system of tutelage, there was also the "bogeyman" that everyone supporting the tutelage system was afraid of. Consider it a combination of the Illuminati, the bilderberg group and the freemasons to se why the secularist were afraid of it.

This bogeyman was the movement created by Fenthullah Gulen. It is known as the hizmet (service) movement, or simply the Gulen movement. It is quite a powerful institution which primarily focussed on education and from there to infiltrate government organisations by these educated individuals.

Everyone agreed it existed, but as it had no formal structure, no one knew how powerful it was or what its aims were other than an ancient speech by the leader Fethullah Gulen where he was recorded as telling his disciples to infiltrate the Turkish organisations.

It was well known that there were a lot of police officers sympahetic to the movement, and that becoming affiliated with the movement allowed for more rapid career progression within the police force.

There are also many schools owned by the movement along with a large media presence by way of the newspaper Todays Zaman.

(incidentally, in the leaked wikileaks cables from a few years ago, it seems even the US had a trouble defining the movement, not sure if it was secretive or what its purpose was.)

The movement quietly infiltrated the Turkish government, and around when the latest attempts were made around 2007/2008 to voerthrow the Islamic government, it finally took a political stance and supported the government.

Around the same time documents were found which incriminated many troublesome individuals in attemps to carry out coups. While it is clear that the planning for the coups was taking place, it was probably not on the scale as presented and some of the incriminating evidence ay have been fabricated.

Either way, the Hizmet movement had allied itself with the government in order to weaken the military tutelage.

At the same time the government had been fighting the judicial tutelage, where the secularist elite were controlling the judiciary. While the government could not get rid of the leaders, it could dissolve their powers. It passed a law tripling the size of the constitutional court increasing the number of judges from 7 to 21 - the 14 new judges to be elected from within the system instead of being nominated by the existing judges.

It seems that through this, the control of the judiciary may have actually exchanges hands from the secularists to the Hizmet movement.

However this didnt seem to be much of a problem as it was allied to the government, and to support the legitimate government, all the members of the Gulen movement had to do was to uphold the law.

Back to the Now

As for any powersharing arrangements, there is always going to be trouble ahead. The Gulen movement was no longer willing to sit on the sidelines with the power it had gained.

In 2012, the PrimeMinister instructed the head of the National Intelligence Directorate, Hakan Fidan, to contact Kurdish groups in order to try and find a peaceful solution to all the violence in the east of Turkey where the Kurds had been repressed for decades and an insurgency was active for the last 30 years resulting in over 30,000 deaths.

For some reason the Gulen movement was not happy not being involved. (Some suggest it doesn't favour giving greater rights to the Kurds, but this cannot be confirmed. Besides, the movement is based on the teachings of Bezziuddin Said Nursi, who himself was Kurdish). It tried to get Hakan Fidan to give evidence in court, as legally, contacting a terrorist organisation was a crime. The Prime Minister changed the law preventing this from happening.

This seemed to annoy the Gulen movement and around 9 months later, there were some strange headlines where members of the Prime Ministers staff had to be fired among rumours of bugs having been planted.

However there was no open hostility between the government and the Gulen movement as the Prime Minister had even invited the leader to return to Turkey from his self imposed exile to the US.

There did not mean there was no friction, as there were moves and countermoved behind the scenes which culminated with the Prime Minister declaring in November 2013 that he wants to make the schools run by the Gulen Movement to become public schools. This was considered an open challenge, even though the plans were later shelved.

A month later, the Gulen movement struck back.

Shock & Awe

On 17 December there were surprise raids on many businesses and individuals linked to the government under the guise of anti corruption operations. Apparently, members of the government and people of power had been being monitored by the Gulen movement for years.

The government reacted quickly in shuffling about many police officers and judicial figures (from my understanding, the judiciary works differently in Turkey compared with the UK - the investigatory powers seem to be more in control by the judiciary and prosecutors in that branch with the police officers doing more of the legwork).

This was a huge bombshell as the corruption allegations involved members close to the Prime Minister, businesses and even state institutions.

The government reacted by trying to re-assign the individuals who had been involved in these investigations. Over time thousands of individuals have been re-assigned to different duties in different regions in order to ty to break down any organisation.

Since then there have been multiple purges of police and judicial figures by moving them to new roles. While this has stemmed most legal operations against the government, stopped any raids or legal proceedings, it has still caused much damage and since 17 December 2013 there has been almost daily leaks of telephone conversations etc onto the internet.

The telephone conversations leaked have even included the Prime Minister and it is clear that all secure lines and encryption technologies have been breached.

It has been suggested that the Turkish department dedicated to security and encryption had been compromised by individuals in the Gulen movement and a backdoor added to all communications systems which EMAILED copies of the data to various email addresses around the world.

Such a level of compromise is short sighted and very dangerous as not only does a non government organisation have access to all of the Turkish government's data, so does every other international organisation that has been recording the web such as the UK's GCHQ and the NSA.

This is damaging for many resions. The first is the sanctions on Iran.

I have spoken about how the Sanctions on Iran are warlike and evil. Apparently the Turkish government secretly agreed and set up an elaborate system to bust the sanctions.

Currently, these system is the main evidence of corruption of the Turkish government. The Gulen movement has publicly used this against the government, but the danger is not a national one - it is deliberate evidence of the Turkish government not only not complying with the Americans, but also going directly against American wishes. This has consequences.

The second major allegation of "corruption" is one of the security services in Turkey having set up another elaborate rouse in order to support the rebels in Syria. This one does less damage internationally, but when taken with the rest of the evidence puts the Turkish government in a difficult situation - it is not actively acting against western interests.

So the Gulen movement is actively sabotaging the government both at home and abroad. It's goal? it wants greater influence, probably replace the Prime Minister with someone more allied to it.

But the problem is when you open pandora's box, you can't control what comes out and there is a great chance that the secularist elites that have been kept away from their power for the last decade will be allowed back - they have not been purged for long enough to not be an issue.

There will also be a reckoning with its international partners, who "will not be happy" with how it has helped Iran.