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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Special prosecutor summons head of Turkey's intelligence agency!

This is such a complicated story that I won't even begin to pretend that I know exactly which way is up and which is down. But the special prosecutor in the Ergenekon and Sledgehammer investigations has now called the head of the MIT - the Turkish intelligence agency - as part of an investigation into alleged collusion between MIT and the Kurdish guerilla/terrorist organization, the PKK.

MIT operatives have infiltrated the PKK and allegedly helped set up the alleged urban and political wing of the PKK, the so-called KCK. Top MIT officials have also been involved in the peace talks with PKK leaders. It is alleged that the MIT infiltrators failed to stop terrorist attacks and even contributed to some of them. At the same time, the opposition has been accusing the AKP for trying to secretly arrange a peace deal with the PKK. Recordings of talks in Oslo were recently leaked online.

But perhaps an even more interesting dimension to this is that the MIT head, Hakan Fidan, and the special prosecutor are arguably both part of the AKP/moderate islamist camp. And Fidan is Erdoğan's personal appointee, so this could be interpreted as infighting between Turkey's "two states" as the newspaper Taraf put it in a headline.

The AKP with Erdoğan at its helm have garnered so much electoral success and has expanded so rapidly that we are likely seeing the consequences: increased infighting and growing factionalism. Rumor has it that President Abdullah Gül, for example, is not thrilled about Erdoğan's grand plans about creating a Presidential system with himself at the top, which in a unitary and highly centralized state would give tremendous authority to the President. One way of interpreting the move by the special prosecutor is that there may be other forces as well, who are unhappy with the current Prime Minister's plans.

No matter what, the plot thickens.

Sources for further reading:

Here's a good overview from Reuters:

The AKP-friendly (although with the eruption of factionalism, this may be too blunt a label...) Zaman has the following report:
MİT executives face serious accusations, trial process uncertain

The pro-opposition, anti-AKP newspaper Hurriyet:

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