How to continue the ‘coup de palais’ attempt

Published 03.01.2015 01:18

The coup attempt of Dec. 17 and Dec. 25, 2013 took place just over a year ago. By forging evidence that had no judicial value, some state prosecutors and security forces under their authority launched a vast and highly publicized operation. It became rapidly evident that the operation was in fact being organized and carried out by a parallel structure that had deeply infiltrated the judiciary and the police force. The quantity of forged material was so vast and there has been such an intense wave of anti-Erdoğan propaganda that the majority of the public could hardly believe in the veracity of the details divulged. But the whole operation backfired badly. First, the judiciary as a whole stepped in and investigations were thoroughly examined by other prosecutors and judges. Second, the allegations were scrutinized by specialists, namely expert controllers from the customs and banking authorities. No evidence of any wrongdoing was found and the cases were dropped.

That was not to the liking of the parallel structure, which began a propaganda campaign against four ex-ministers who resigned in the aftermath of the operation. The aim of the parallel structure is to bring these ministers before the Supreme Court. Since the foundation of the Turkish Republic, only seventeen people have been brought before this panel, and none of them was acquitted by the judicial authorities beforehand. The whole process looks like a vendetta - the initial aim of the parallel structure was to push then prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, out of the government, cause the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) to lose ground at the coming municipal and presidential elections, and possibly form an "after-coup" government that would dismiss the democratically elected representatives from political life, as this has been done many times before in Turkey. Having totally missed this initial objective, the structure is now trying to keep the issue hot by putting enormous pressure on members of parliament to allow the ex-ministers to appear before the Supreme Court. This will very probably also backfire, but why is there such an immense hatred on the part of the parallel structure - and visibly, its foreign supporters - against the AK Party government, and more precisely, against President Erdoğan?

The whole operation in fact began after an event that went unnoticed by the general public. Turkey was experiencing a huge external deficit vis-a-vis Iran, because contractually and out of necessity, Turkey has to import a minimum quantity of natural gas from Iran. But it did not have the possibility to export manufactured goods to Iran due to current trade sanctions and no financial transaction can be carried out. So the Turkish government came up with a solution - the Iranian Central Bank opened an account in the Turkish state-owned bank Halkbank where the money for paying for the energy imports was deposited. The Iranian Central Bank could not transfer these sums directly to Iran, but kept them there and paid the Iranian companies wishing to import goods from Turkey. This way, a huge bilateral trade imbalance of an annual $10 billion has been brought to zero in a couple of years' time. In the meantime, it became visible that foreign companies, mostly from the EU, were using the same system to bypass the embargo on Iran. The Turkish government then took the decision not to allow foreign companies to take advantage of this system. The whole crisis sprung from this decision and attitude.

Clearly, the political situation in Turkey is not affected by domestic dynamics alone. The wide campaign against ex-ministers, mostly managed through domestic and foreign mass media, remains sound proof of this analysis.

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