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    Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan addresses the audience during a meeting in Ankara, January 12, 2016.

    Erdogan's Deep State: Ankara Creating Monsters in Menacing Power Grab

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    The Erdogan regime has recreated the Turkish "deep state" comprising of intelligence officials, Islamists and ultranationalists to maintain full control over the country, US author Jonathan Marshall stresses, adding that the "system" represents a direct threat to Turkish democracy, Turkey's neighbors and NATO allies.

    The Turkish President has re-established close ties with Islamists and Turkish ultranationalists, at the same time providing the country's intelligence agency with sweeping powers, US author Jonathan Marshall writes.

    "Turkey's embattled President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is resurrecting the 'deep state' alliance of secret intelligence operatives and extreme rightists that he so notably challenged just a few years ago while putting hundreds of military officers and other opponents on trial for conspiring against Turkish democracy. In a remarkable about-face, Erdogan is now emulating the ruthless tactics of previous authoritarian rulers at the expense of Turkey's evolution as a liberal state," Marshall writes in his article for Consortiumnews.com.

    Erdogan and his "moderate Islamic" Justice and Development Party (AKP) successfully cultivated a "democratic image." But since his power grab, Recep Erdogan has cracked down on military officers, academics, journalists, businessmen and other opponents of the AKP.

    "The intimidation and the number of arrests have steadily risen in the last 10 years," Marshall continues citing Der Spiegel. The Turkish leadership used a series of show trials to get rid of their former political allies, including the exiled Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, and opposition.

    At the same time, Erdogan has dramatically increased the budget of the country's intelligence agency:

    "The government is planning a 48 percent increase in spending for the National Intelligence Agency (MIT) in 2016, on top of a 419 percent increase over the past decade," Marshall notes.

    The US author cited Turkish expert Pinar Tremblay who dubbed MIT as "a prominent player in the decision-making process for Turkish politics."

    Furthermore, Erdogan is seeking support from the National Action Party (MHP), and its paramilitary wing — the Grey Wolves. The neo-fascist group has been famous for its assaults against Turkish Kurds and left-wing activists and political parties.

    Evidence is emerging that Ankara is using ultranationalists along with Turkish Islamists in its covert war in Syria.

    "Turkish involvement in the Syrian war has been heavily dominated by Islamist fighters, but the conflict has also drawn in an unlikely quarter — Turkish nationalists. The far-right Nationalist Action Party (MHP) and its youth branch, the Idealist Hearths, have recently come into the spotlight with high-profile losses on the Syrian battlefield," Fehim Tastekin noted in his February article for Al-Monitor's Turkey Pulse.

    Turkish nationalist organization Gray wolves , wave their flags during a rally by Turkey's opposition Nationalist Action Party, MHP in Ankara, Turkey, May 24, 2015
    © AP Photo / ADEM ALTAN
    Turkish nationalist organization "Gray wolves" , wave their flags during a rally by Turkey's opposition Nationalist Action Party, MHP in Ankara, Turkey, May 24, 2015

    Tastekin called attention to the fact that unlike Turkish Islamists who "were regulars" in armed conflicts in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo and Chechnya, the ultranationalists "had only taken feeble interest" in "jihadi" wars.

    Now, however, their military activity has caught a second wind in northern Syria under the pretext of protecting the Syrian Turkmen minority against Syrian Kurds and Russians.

    It is no secret that it was Alparslan Celik, the Turkish ultranationalist, who shot dead the Russian pilot who ejected from the Su-24 bomber downed by the Turkish F-16 over Syria on November 24, 2015.

    Citing Kemal Can, an expert on the Turkish ultranationalist movement, Tastekin underscored that Grey Wolves are engaged in supporting Turkmen not for "ideological reasons" but because of state recruitment.

    The Turkish journalist expressed his deep concerns regarding the possibility of a close alliance between Turkish ultranationalists and radical Islamists, including Daesh and al-Qaeda's branch al-Nusra Front.

    Turkey's leadership has created monsters it is doomed to deal with. Erdogan's "deep state" has proven efficient as a tool of ruthless intimidation. At the same time, Ankara is stripping bare the country's democracy and threatening fundamental rights and freedoms, according to Marshall.

    "It [deep state] represents a direct threat not only to Turkish democracy, but to Turkey's neighbors and NATO allies, who will bear the consequences of Erdogan's ever-more risky, erratic and self-serving policies," US author concludes.

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    Tags:
    Islamic extremism, Kurds, Jihadists, Islamists, Su-24, F-16 fighter jet, The Syrian war, Grey Wolves, Daesh, Justice and Development Party (AKP), Al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda, Fethullah Gulen, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, Kosovo, Chechnya
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