News / Europe

Opposition Sees 'Deep State' in Turkish Crisis Cabinet

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announces his new ministers in Ankara, Turkey, late Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013.Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announces his new ministers in Ankara, Turkey, late Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013.
x
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announces his new ministers in Ankara, Turkey, late Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013.
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announces his new ministers in Ankara, Turkey, late Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013.
Reuters
Turkey's opposition accused scandal-hit Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday of trying to rule via a secretive “deep state” after a cabinet reshuffle that would tighten controls on police already beleaguered by government-ordered purges.
 
Among 10 new loyalist ministers Erdogan named late on Wednesday was Efkan Ala, a former governor of the restive Diyarbakir province who will now wield the powerful Interior portfolio and oversee Turkish domestic security.
 
Ala replaces Muammer Guler, one of three cabinet members who resigned after their sons were detained in a graft probe that erupted on Dec. 17. Guler, who like Erdogan had called the case baseless and a plot, sacked or reassigned dozens of police officers involved including the chief of the force in Istanbul.
 
“He [Erdogan] is trying to put together a cabinet that will not show any opposition to him. In this context, Efkan Ala has a key role,” Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the head of the biggest opposition party CHP, said in remarks carried by Turkish media.
 
“Erdogan has a deep state, [his] AK Party has a deep state and Efkan Ala is one of the elements of that deep state,” added Kilicdaroglu, using a term that for Turks denotes a shadowy power structure unhindered by democratic checks and balances.
 
During his three terms in office, the Islamist-rooted Erdogan has transformed Turkey, cutting back its once-dominant secularist military and overseeing rapid economic expansion. He weathered unprecedented anti-government protests that swept major cities in mid-2013.
 
But his response to the corruption case drew an EU call for the independence of Turkey's judiciary to be safeguarded. It has rattled stocks and the lira, with the currency falling to a historic low of 2.1035 against the dollar on Thursday before recovering a little.
 
“The dismissal of half an entire cabinet is worrying enough. The corruption probe is escalating by the day, causing a further deterioration in market sentiment towards Turkey,” said Nicholas Spiro, head of Spiro Sovereign Strategy.
 
Getting personal
 
At an Interior Ministry handover ceremony, Ala said Turkey might have been targeted by neighbors jealous of its successes.
 
“When these developments are sustainable, attacks from various centers on the political stability of the country is not unexpected,” he said, without elaborating.
 
For Erdogan, the scandal is potent and personal.
 
It lays bare his rivalry with Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Turkish cleric whose Hizmet (Service) movement claims at least a million faithful including senior police officers and judges.
 
Another of the three cabinet members who quit on Wednesday over their sons' detention, Environment Minister Erdogan Bayraktar, broke ranks by urging the premier to follow suit.
 
The Turkish leader, in power for 11 years and facing local elections in March and a national ballot in 2015, was unmoved. Vowing no tolerance for corruption, he said on Wednesday the graft investigation had been tainted by foreign interests.
 
“It would not be incorrect to say that, with this (Ala) appointment, Erdogan has personally taken the reins of domestic affairs,” Sedat Ergin, a columnist with the mass-circulation newspaper Hurriyet, told CNN Turk television.
 
Unlike the rest of the 20-member cabinet, Ala is not a lawmaker and thus does not answer directly to a constituency.
 
In his previous post as undersecretary of the prime ministry, political sources told Reuters, he urged a crackdown on demonstrators who flooded the streets over the summer in protest at what they see as Erdogan's authoritarianism.
 
“Who would you trust other than your undersecretary, with whom you have been working closely for years?” said one government source, who characterized the new ministers as “surprise” picks conveying Erdogan's desire for fresh faces.
 
Akin Unver, assistant professor of international relations at Istanbul's Kadir Has University, said Ala showed restraint as governor of Diyarbakir, which is populated predominantly by ethnic Kurds whose ties with Ankara have often been troubled.
 
“He was actually someone who warned against the excessive use of police force,” Unver said. “My worry is that anywhere in the world, when you get closer to power, you can malfunction.”

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More