Last week, Turkish police officers raided the houses of other police officers who are suspected of illegally wiretapping the phones of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, several government ministers and the head of Turkish intelligence Hakan Fidan. The detained police officers are known to be members of the "parallel state." In Turkey, the term "parallel state" has been used to describe employees in the police and judicial bureaucracy who are members of the Gülen Movement, a gang led by the U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gülen. Gülen Movement members' loyalty at work rests with Gülen rather than their superiors in the office.
Amid the chaos before the March 30 local elections, classified files on wiretappings were discovered en masse in the office of the Istanbul Public Prosecutor by new prosecutors who took over after Gülenist prosecutors were removed following the coup attempt. Not just Erdoğan and Fidan were wiretapped but people such as the Mavi Marmara passengers were wiretapped under the guise of a three-year investigation. The three-year period of wiretapping was justified by using false names made up to obtain permits to maintain the wiretapping, as the legal period for wiretapping is limited to six months.
The wiretaps were justified on the grounds that they were part of an investigation into the so-called "Selam" terrorist organization. The word "Selam," is often used as a greeting and means "Hello" in Turkish. I remember a friend who once met Gülen but then later discovered he had been wiretapped. He felt like he had been stabbed in the back when he learned that. Many think that the name they used was suitable as everybody wiretapped said "Hello." "They were shaking our hands with their right hand, while holding a rock in their left," he said.
Those familiar with the methods of the parallel state saw the coup plot against Erdoğan. The goal was to conduct a series of lawsuits which were to be later combined into one. Businessmen accused of corruption on Dec. 17 were labeled sponsors of "Selam" while raids on Turkish Intelligence trucks delivering aid to Syria were alleged to be carrying weapons to al-Qaeda so as to provide evidence of terror activities. The ministers were to be denounced as the political wing of "Selam," a terror organization linked to Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda and/or Iran. Erdoğan was to be accused of being the leader of "Selam." The ultimate goal was to ban an idea forever.
Erdoğan vowed to go after the Gülen Movement and launched legal proceedings for Gülen's extradition from the U.S. It can be expected that the probe into the alleged followers of the Gülen Movement will be widened.
So Nietzschze was right. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
It wasn't the first coup plot in Turkey's Erdoğan era but it sure was the heaviest attack. Erdoğan faced, fought and survived the most deadly, the most tiresome and the longest coup attempt over the last two years. They tried, and kept trying, like viruses trying to seize a healthy body. But the immune system fought back and had the opportunity to attack viral particles in order to stop the infection. As of today, Erdoğan is stronger than ever, and so is Turkey. In the long-term, we can expect that his next target will be the one who unleashed the parallel state.