Replacing Turkey’s purged elite


Date posted: October 14, 2016

It is clear Turkey is purging its elites; it is unclear who is replacing them.

On Thursday the Turkish Ministry of National Defense confirmed the dismissal of 109 military judges. Anadolu Agency reports that since the attempted coup on July 15, 259 judges have been purged.

On Wednesday, Reuters reported that Turkey has recalled, dismissed, and imprisoned the cream of the crop of its military, its NATO envoys. 400 NATO military envoys in Europe and the United States, the most trained and experienced, have been purged.

Approximately 93,000 police and military officers, teachers, and members of the public administration have been dismissed, or even arrested and prosecuted.

The common accusation against anyone dismissed or even arrested is an association with the so-called Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO). But many officers have told the press they are in fact being targeted for their pro-western outlook. Pro-western might be assumed to mean secularist; however, more often than not, it means Atlanticist. So, the question remains: who is replacing them.

The battle of succession

The former Turkish military adviser, Metin Gurcan, suggests there are two pools of recruitment that cut across the secret services (MIT) and the army (TSK).

Perincek

The first clique is the Homeland Party, led by Dogu Perincek, a staunchly anti-Gulenist political figure that has spent five years in prison for conspiracy and has a long history of clashes with the pro-Western elite. Unlike AKP, this group retains an uncompromisingly secular outlook, but is also vehemently anti-Western, pro-Russian and Eurasianist.

In August Rear Admiral Cem Gurdeniz said that many in Turkey treated the coup as a blessing. In amuch cited interview with Hurriyet, the retired Admiral spoke publically about a “Eurasian camp” in the military that does not want Turkey to allow for an independent or autonomous Kurdistan, or the “loss” (reunification) of Cyprus, that believes NATO no longer serves Turkey’s interests.

Social and religious conservatives

The second clique is a religious-nationalist group that stems from the power base of the ruling AKP. They are known as the “virtuous” and they comes from various cult intellectual streams particular to Turkey. They are in conflict with the Perincek group but are more vulnerable because as a movement associated with Islamic thought, they can be more easily be branded Gulenists.

The battle between the ultra-secular group and the conservatives is fought post-by-post in the secret services and the military. For the moment, the Perincek group seems to be winning the day. Interestingly, the secularist group is the most anti-NATO and pro-Russia group; the conservative group’s agenda is mainly preoccupied with maintaining the AKP in harmony with its social base.

That does not appear to be a battle that lends itself to conclusive victories, but it is one that can change Turkey.

Source: New Europe , October 14, 2016


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