Saturday, January 16th, 2021

What The Hell Is Happening In Turkey?

Published on July 19, 2016 by   ·   2 Comments

7636014-3x2-940x627Brandon Turbeville

With Turkey now undergoing the largest military/governmental purge in modern history, the question of Turkey’s future in terms of its domestic stability and structure is in flux and the possibilities facing the world, especially Syria, in regards to any changes of Turkish foreign policy are shaky as well. But even as the question of Syria’s future remains, what about who initiated the coup? Who was behind it? Why was it launched? In other words, what the hell is happening in Turkey?

Unfortunately, there is not a clear answer to this question. There is, however, context into which we may place the situation for a better understanding of the possibilities and the potential directions of Turkey’s and, as a result, the Middle East’s future. Indeed, what is happening in Turkey will have reverberations that span across the globe in every direction.

The first thing that one must be aware of when discussing the crisis in Turkey is that Turkish politics, like internal politics of most nations but especially those of Middle Eastern countries and those with heavily fractured elements of political, ethnic, religious, and historical/imperial baggage, is extremely complex. While forces at the top of the pyramid may control the direction of the country, at the operative level, there are several different factions in motion in Turkey. Even within branches of the Turkish governmental structure, factions are a major issue that must be considered for any amount of analysis.

The Factions – Turkey 101

In simplistic terms, there are largely three factions in the Turkish government that one must be aware of in order to understand the complexity of the issue. The first faction is the Erdogan/AKP faction which largely works arm in arm with the Muslim Brotherhood networks and within the Islamist orbit as well as the wealthier or upper-middle class type constituency of Islamist society. The second faction is the Turkish nationalists, also known as the Kemalist Turks. This faction tends to be more embedded in the “deep state” which, in this context, means the internal structure and backbone of the Turkish government. For this faction, one might think Egypt or even, in some way, Ghaddafi of Libya as well as Nasser of Egypt and Ataturk of Turkey long ago. This faction is nationalist but traditionally has been more open to dialogue with the world and its neighbors as opposed to acting as a spear in imperialist engines. The third faction is now being discussed more and more in the mainstream media in the West as a result of the coup. This faction is made up of the Gulen Movement, led by a wealthy businessman with close ties to the CIA and based inside the United States.

Eric Draitser of Stop Imperialism described the factions in much the same way. Draitser says:

Most people don’t realize this but there are three major factions that in various ways vie for power.

The first is Erdogan and AKP (Justice & Development Party) which is in the milieu of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is close to those same networks and pursues MB policies, representing the typical petit bourgeois class that MB always represents.

The second is the Kemalist Turkish nationalists. They are historically connected to the Turkish military and deep state, similar to Egypt. They have historically been friendly with NATO while maintaining a somewhat friendly attitude to neighbors and Russia.

The third is the faction around Fetullah Gulen, the super-rich Turkish businessman who runs one of the world’s largest charter school and private school networks. He is very close to the CIA and has been more or less at war with Erdogan for the last few years.

These three factions have been fighting for power for a while now, and it is these conflicts that really drove Erdogan to consolidate his power as he has, and implement the draconian laws that have created Turkey’s police state.

So what we see are the embedded nationalists who are continually trying to rein in Erdogan’s insanity as well as his deep connection and subservience to NATO and the Western imperialists. However, the Gulen Movement, acting as a U.S. –backed wing of potential destabilization was always waiting in the lurch to act as a pressure and possibly replacement for Erdogan and the AKP if the two were ever to get too far out of line.

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