The recent murder of Hrat Dink, the Armenian editor of a Turkish newspaper in Istanbul, exposes the growing threat of the Turkish deep state. The "deep state" is an influential and informal anti-democratic coalition within the Turkish political system, composed of high-level elements within the Turkish military, security and intelligence services, the judicial branch. There have been allegations that the deep state is in close contact with foreign intelligence agencies, mafia, drug and arms dealers, and even human traffickers. The notion is similar to that of a "state within the state," but additionally the deep state operates in the dark, using extra-judicial means, such as death squads.
Hrant Dink, a 52-year-old ethnic
Armenian journalist had angered Turkish nationalists with repeated
assertions that the mass killings of Armenians around the time of World
War I was genocide. A lone gunman described as a "nationalist" was arrested but there is evidence of collusion by a wider circle of participants including the police. Dink was regarded as the voice of moderation
in Turkey's problematic relations with Armenia and the Armenian
Genocide allegations. The timing of the murder hinted at professional
planning with international links. The
perpetrator, a teenager named Ogun Samast, was taken into police custody where he confessed to fatally shooting the journalist and within days a video emerged of the alleged assasin in custody holding a Turkish Flag while flanked by two police officers. That was a nice touch.
More than 100,000 people marched at Dink's funeral, many of them
chanting for Turkey to abolish a repressive Article in the penal code
used against many intellectuals, including Dink, who spoke openly on
controversial topics. The notorious Article, number 301 of the Turkish penal code makes insulting Turkey or the Turkish national character a crime. Not exactly the kind of law designed to gain a country entrance to the European Union.
Another nationalist militant convicted in a 2004 bomb attack at a McDonald's restaurant has confessed to inciting last week's slaying of ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, according to a police statement. Yasin Hayal told police officers he provided a gun and money to Samast who th carried out Friday's shooting. During police questioning, Hayal, told investigators: "I gave him the gun and the money. Ogun fulfilled his duty and saved the honor of Turkey," the Turkish newspaper, Hurriyet, reported.
This is only the latest example of the growing boldness and audacity of the deep state. Back in 2005, the detention of three members of the security services after the bombing of a bookshop in the town of Şemdinli in Turkey's troubled Southeast confirmed suspicions that the "deep state" had strong ties to the military establishment. On Nov. 9, 2005, a bookshop in the town of Şemdinli deep in Turkey's Southeast was bombed. Three members of the security services were arrested. Gen. Yaşar Büyükanıt, then the head of Turkey's land forces and now Chief of the General Staff, described one of the three suspects as "a good soldier." Eventually two of the three were released. The government, clearly rattled by allegations that members of the security forces may have taken the law into their own hands, ordered a full parliamentary inquiry into the Şemdinli incident. Some Turkish media have speculated that elements in the deep state were trying to provoke instability in order to win a freer hand in their war against the Kurdish PKK in the southeastern part of the country. Unfortunately, a subsequent meeting between civilian government officials and military officers, called to discuss "terrorism" ended with the politicians backpedaling from their earlier enthusiasm for a full investigation into Şemdinli. The military also criticized the politicians for linking the incident to the "deep state," stressing instead that the PKK and Kurdish groups across the border in northern Iraq should have been held responsible.
"There are two states (in Turkey)," former President Süleyman Demirel said in a recent explosive interview, commenting on the bombing and making clear he believed Turkey had not changed very much since the military takeover toppled him from power as prime minister in 1980. "There is the state and there is the deep state. ... When a small difficulty occurs, the civilian state steps back and the deep state becomes the generator (of decisions)."
According to Alexi Papachelas’ recent report published in the Greek daily newspaper “Kathimerini,” Western diplomats carefully monitoring events in Turkey have expressed grave concern for the safety of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II Mutafian. According to the diplomats, the deep state has become increasingly independent over the past two years and, because it is accountable to no one, is operating with virtual impunity. Over the past few weeks, Turkish intelligence has received information about an imminent attack against the Armenian Patriarch. According to the Kathimerini article, however, many Western diplomats believe that the Ecumenical Patriarch's days are also numbered, as well as the headquarters of world Orthodoxy in the Phanar district. The Patriarch and Patriarchate top the list of targets of dangerous and powerful right-wing nationalist organizations such as the Grey Wolves. “These people, most of whom are retired military officers and former members of national security organizations, have adhered to a paranoid belief that Turkey is in danger of being split up. They consider themselves to be operating under revolutionary conditions, and thus believe they are justified in ordering assassinations,” stated a seasoned American analyst, adding that, “it is clear there are plans for the assassination of representatives of various minority groups.”
Just as disturbing, is the growing evidence that the deep state's tentacles have reached into the American government itself. Based on what we know so far from the testimony of FBI whistleblower, Sibel
Edmonds and from the groundbreaking story on her case in Vanity Fair, "An Inconvenient Patriot," Edmonds discovered a nest of
Turkish spies, some working at the Turkish embassy, others affiliated with
lobbying groups such as the Assembly of Turkish American Associations and the American Turkish Council. She claims that they are involved in espionage, bribery,
illegal lobbying, drug trafficking and the infiltration of U.S nuclear research
labs. Furthermore a former CIA Counter-Terrorism official named Phillip Giraldi contends that some arms sales meant for Turkey and Israel
were actually resold to countries like China and perhaps
even to international terrorists, using counterfeit documentation. So we have
Turkish nationals at the Embassy and NGOs stealing U.S. secrets for sale to the
highest bidder, re-selling arms meant for Turkey, bringing in drugs from
Europe, and pouring money into bribes and lobbying activities. Even more disturbing is the involvement of people like Richard Perle and Brent Scowcroft in the lobbying efforts of the Turkish State. More on that later.