Friday, May 1, 2009

The Deep State's Deep Roots

The Middle East Institute, a Washington-based think tank, has a lengthy new report out about Ergenekon, the sensational coup plot case that has been dominating Turkish politics and headlines for the last few years. (For some quick background on the case, take a look at this article of mine from the Christian Science Monitor.) The report, written by H. Akin Unver, a visiting scholar at the University of Michigan, takes a close look at the Ergenekon case and its ties to Turkey's "Deep State," the name given to a phrase used to describe a shadowy zone where state interests intersect with lawless and corrupt elements of the bureaucracy, military, and the security establishment.

What I found interesting about the report was some of the background Unver gives about the Ottoman and Cold War roots of the Deep State in Turkey. From the report:
The bipolar system of the Cold War was seemingly simple. On the one hand, there was the Iron Curtain, which covered a massive area stretching across Asia and Eastern Europe, and on the other hand there was NATO, which represented the “free world.” Along clearly defined borders and possible flashpoints, both sides remained on alert and ready for a major field war, in addition to building and stocking a nuclear arsenal that would act as a deterrent or means of retaliation. Yet, there was also a less visible preparation in the NATO countries: the establishment and organization of secret paramilitary networks — what Daniele Ganser had dubbed “NATO’s Secret Armies”15 — which would act the same way against the Soviet occupation, as the Allied Resistance had acted against the Nazi invasions during the Second World War. Throughout much of the Cold War, “special units” from NATO countries participated in a silent mobilization and organization directed by the CIA and the British Secret Intelligence Service against possible invasions by the Soviet Union. They were trained to be ready to perform espionage, sabotage, and assassination missions. Such operations were generally termed as “stay behind operations” and included sub-operations or regional agencies….

…. Turkey was one of the first of the countries to join NATO’s stay-behind networks, as an initial recipient of the Marshall Fund in 1950, and remained the only country where this network remained unpurged until very recently. The first institutional extension of the Turkish branch of the European stay-behind operations was Seferberlik Taktik Kurulu [Tactical Mobilization Committee]. It was founded in 1952 and later tied to the Office of Special Operations [Özel Harp Dairesi] under the General Staff. Similar to Gladio’s extra-judicial mass killings that took place in Italy, there have been numerous such acts in Turkey attributed to the Counter-guerrilla Branch and the Ergenekon.
You can read the whole Ergenkon report (pdf) at the MEI's website.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

All I have where Turkey is mentioned