The term “deep state,” which recently triggered a national debate after being referred to in a recent statement by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, still exists.
It is not easy to combat this structure, the prime minister said in that statement, which raised hopes. What was this hope? This was actually a response by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) to the public suggesting that criticisms after disappointment and confusion were ungrounded. The AK Party’s willingness to suspend structural reforms and its aversion to fighting against the deep state raised some suspicions among those who were expecting change.
Now let us take a look at the practical meaning of this statement and think about whether we could still keep our hopes. In its classified and confidential note and letter, which was sent to the parliamentary Coup and Memorandum Investigation Commission on Dec. 24 , 2012, on the special forces command, the mobilization inspection board and the search and rescue unit in battle, the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) reveals plans drafted by those who wanted to overthrow the AK Party and prepare the ground for a military coup. According to a news report by the Taraf daily on Jan. 17, 2013, one of the initiatives by the Special Warfare Unit is a plan to reshape the Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP).
The letter, which notes that the CHP fails to act as an influential opposition party, also states that the party should be restructured internally. The letter also includes instructions on setting up an organization to start the process of restructuring. It is interesting to note that the letter was written before the leak of the secret Deniz Baykal video on the Internet.
It is useful to recall some of the items in the 26-article operation plan referred to in the letter addressed by the intelligence agency on the special warfare unit’s activities. The articles include actions that would provoke splits between Turks and Kurds, Alevis and Sunnis, seculars and non-seculars by relying on different methods, including print media, detonating bombs in critical spots, including on the Bosporus Bridge, the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, the Bolu Mountain Tunnel, the Yalova ferry and along the Black Sea highway in an attempt to raise distrust in the government and the state, exacerbating social tension and polarization via coordinated assassination attempts vis-à-vis leading names, including Türkan Saylan, Tuncay Özkan, Bülent Arınç and Abdullah Gül.
You may ask about if there is a link between former President and Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel and this letter and the discussion over a counter-guerilla body. I would like to remind you of his reactions in this discussion on counter-terrorism as opposition leader and prime minister.
“I invite the head of the government to explain the counter-guerilla [body] and what it is linked to,” said Demirel, as leader of the main opposition Justice Party (AP), on Feb. 1, 1978.
“There is no place for such organizations and structures in a state governed by the rule of law,” said Tansu Çiller, the chairwoman of the True Path Party (DYP).
“There is no place for the counter-guerilla discussion in Turkey as well. It is said that this issue should be investigated; fine, let us also investigate whether the sun will rise tomorrow,” said Demirel on Feb. 24, 1993.
I think these remarks by Demirel changing depending on the conjuncture are exemplary of the precarious stance of the Turkish politicians vis-à-vis the deep state. What would we have if we consider the intelligence agency report and the remark by Nimet Baş from the AK Party, the chairwoman of the parliamentary Coup and Memorandum Investigation Commission, suggesting that counter-guerilla has 100,000 active members in Turkey?
In a classified document he sent to the commission, Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz confirmed on Jan. 19, 2012, the existence of a counter-guerilla body within the special warfare command. This means that our political elites admit the existence of counter-guerilla in their public statements whereas they also provide legal protection for this structure by telling the judiciary that it does not exist. It is useful for us and the politicians to remember Demirel.