The ‘shadow state’ – unfolding

The story unfolds in its own pace, page by page. The report by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) to the Investigation Commission of Coups and Military Memorandums within Parliament was a bombshell. The 287-page-long report arrived a little too late. But its impact will be huge, as I predicted.
The reason is simple. It helps reveal further the real shadow structures which lie behind the Ergenekon network and exposes a vast picture of dark, subversive units set up to protect the state against the internal enemy. It has now been followed up by some reporters and pundits with a conscience, as more details from various directions also come in. The flow of data is simply amazing.Many of us with a memory of the time since 1980 coup — for example, myself and Orhan Kemal Cengiz in this newspaper and others elsewhere — steadily claimed that along with the demythification of the military might of Turkey, an even more serious task would be how to dig in, expose, deconstruct and bring to justice the clandestine structures within it, so that any further danger to the stabilization of democracy could be averted for good.

As pointed out by Today’s Zaman Editor-in-Chief Bülent Keneş yesterday, this second phase is being sloppily handled by political powers. Keneş drew our attention to worrisome developments targeting Christian activities in İzmit, only an hour away from Istanbul. Others would point out the systematic attacks against Armenians in the Samatya district of İstanbul. It is obvious that some circles are at large, causing havoc once more over religious divides.

I agree with Keneş: “The groups that have been waging a precarious struggle against Turkey’s militarist and subversive circles have recently started to exhibit signs of incredible relaxation and lethargy as if the process has concluded.” It would never be an exaggeration to say that we race against time in exposing in full and deconstructing Turkey’s “shadow” or “deep” state. All the signs indicate that its tentacles of state and security apparatuses, in the media and business and in politics, are alive and well.

The unfolding of the new shocking details that sort of follow-up on the MİT report submitted to Parliament have been reported by dailies such as Taraf, Zaman and Yeni Şafak. In summary they have been reporting the following. In four separate investigations and trials (the spy case in Izmir, the assassination attempt at Bülent Arınç, the Dink trial and, most importantly, the case over the murder of missionaries in Malatya), the evidence found only confirms the vast activity of such dark networks, including command and operation centers.

The major issue is, as Taraf has reported in the past days, the MİT report’s content overlaps entirely with the material, most of it classified, confiscated by the prosecutor who is investigating the case surrounding the murder attempt against Arınç. Mustafa Bilgili has so far not made public all the details of his findings, but the leaks Taraf printed about the major remnants of the shadow state are shocking enough. He may send the material to the trial of the Malatya murder case, because the defense lawyers have already demanded them to be added in the files.

More details have come from the Malatya trial. Taraf published some voice recordings yesterday which revealed lengthy conversations between the murder suspects concerning covert operations to silence Christians, as well as some discussions about Hrant Dink. Orhan Kemal Cengiz, columnist and friend, is also mentioned as a possible target for action. More details are to come, obviously.

The question is how determined the Justice and Development Party (AKP) is to dismantle these structures. Erdal Doğan, defense lawyer in the Malatya Zirve case, issued a warning that the “real Turkish Gladio” is still at large. “It is disinformation in favor of Ergenekon to take claims seriously, that Erdoğan uses it to silence opposition. Ergenekon must not be taken lightly. But we go nowhere unless the entire ‘Special Warfare Unit’ within the military is dealt resolutely with — and its archives.”

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About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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