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Turkey’s Ergenekon Imbroglio and Academia’s Apathy

The Gladio Scandal in Europe and, more recently, Turkey’s Ergenekon trials highlight the importance of hidden power networks behind the façade of parliamentary democracy. Dubbed as “deep state” in the Turkish context, the phenomenon suffers from a scarcity of scholarly analyses. This paper demonstrates the lack of academic interest in this complex issue in Europe, and Turkey in particular. After reviewing the central currents in the academic literature on the Turkish deep state, it offers an analysis of the Ergenekon affair in continuity with Turkey’s recent past.

Turkey s Ergenekon Imbroglio and Academia s Apathy
Opposition deputies Mehmet Haberal and Mustafa Balbay join the Turkish Parliament following their release from prison. AA
 

At the heart of civil-military relations lies a pervasive problem: “Who will guard the guardians?” This two-millennium-old question warns us against the risk of agent-opportunism, which is the alleged case par excellence in contemporary Turkey. In July 2008, former generals and active duty officers were charged with running a covert terrorist organization, Ergenekon, and inciting an armed insurgence aimed at bringing down the government of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party). At the end of the five-year trial, the court acquitted only 21 out of some 275 defendants and handed down harsh sentences to the rest.

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