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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs