The Turkish secular elite who have long feared an Iranian-style theocracy in their own country may finally be seeing the worst of their fears come true. The widespread purges under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following last month’s failed coup attempt against his government suggest the Turkish state is moving toward authoritarian Islamist rule of the sort that Iran introduced in 1979.
Despite all these accusations, the Erdoğan government has not produced any evidence to substantiate his allegations of a parallel structure within the judiciary, police or any other state institution, nor of officials receiving orders from anywhere other than their own legal superiors, nor has he or his government brought any of these charges to court.
While the gas-for-gold scheme may have been technically legal before Congress finally shut it down in July, it appears to have exposed the Turkish political elite to a vast Iranian underworld. According to Today’s Zaman, suspicious transactions between Iran and Turkey could exceed $119 billion — nine times the total of gas-for-gold transactions reported.
It is difficult to predict how the bribery/corruption investigation into several Turkish ministers will end. Although there are those who frame the event as a power struggle between the Fethullah Gulen movement and the government, conspiracy theories expand its dimensions to include the United States and Iran. The government is looking for US and Israeli hands in the operation because of the use of Halkbank to circumvent the sanctions imposed on Iran.