March 3, 2016

The ‘parallel structure’ is getting bigger and bigger

Özgür Korkmaz

The hunt for the members of the “parallel structure,” or “parallel state,” terms used by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) circles to define the followers of Fethullah Gülen, has finally gone wild.

Following a ruling by the Constitutional Court last week, which led to the release of daily Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, the newspaper’s Ankara bureau chief, the pro-government media declared the top court’s judges and its president were members of the “parallel state.”

A story published on Feb. 29 in daily Sabah, owned by President Erdoğan’s son-in-law, Serhat Albayrak, implied Constitutional Court head Zühtü Arslan was a Gülenist.

“It has been revealed that Zühtü Arslan, who is the head of the Constitutional Court, taught for many years at the Academy of Security Sciences in the Police Academy, which was closed down for being the focal point of the parallel structure,” the Sabah report said.

A day later, Arslan was again the lead story in the daily, this time for saying in 2008 that it was not right for the top court to announce its decision without preparing its reasoning, which the court did not do in the case of Dündar and Gül.

In reply, the court said in a written statement that reasonings were essential for law annulment decisions, but not required in rights violation rulings.

The ruling, which said being under arrest violated the fundamental rights of Dündar and Gül, irritated the pro-government media from the very first day. But the attacks on the top court increased after President Erdoğan said on Feb. 28 that he did not respect the decision and he would not obey it. And they resorted to the best tool they know: The big, bad “parallel structure.”

Since a major graft probe against suspects including some cabinet members was launched on Dec. 17, 2013, the AKP has initiated a campaign against Gülenists, for whom the party paved the way to get key positions in the police and the judiciary. The hunt, however, has not been limited to only the followers of the U.S.-based cleric, as many names said to be in cooperation with them have been accused of being members of the “parallel state” (Dündar and Gül were no exceptions; the pro-government media has defined them as “spies in collaboration with the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization [FETÖ],” another term which has become very popular recently).

The AKP has been trying to pin all the problems of its 14-year-rule on the Gülenists, including but not limited to the police crackdown that fueled the Gezi protests in June 2013, the intelligence failure and ignorance that resulted in the murder of Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink in 2007 and the collapse of the Kurdish peace bid.

Senior members of the AKP, such as former Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç and former party spokesman Hüseyin Çelik, have also been called Gülenists by the pro-government media and pundits after daring to voice their disagreement with some recent party policies.

The madness has gotten so big that just this week a drunk driver, who made an attempt to get away after being involved in a traffic accident in the Central Anatolian province of Konya, the hometown of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, accused the police officers who stopped him after a chase of being “parallels.”

Luckily for us, an opposition leader has proven that “parallel-mania” is not exclusive to the AKP and Erdoğan’s supporters.

Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), accused the opposition within his party who have been pressing for an extraordinary convention of bring tools for the “Cemaat,” a term he preferred for the Gülensits.

“The Gülen Cemaat, which has recently trying to seize the MHP to have a political shelter, has come on the stage to create a political scene and parliament without the MHP,” he said in a written statement, days after some provincial organizations of the party which voiced support for the opposition movement were abolished.

Every citizen in this country - but of course except the very few “real patriots and true voice of the people” - is a potential member of the “parallel structure.” Just prepare for the worst when they call out your name.

Editor’s note: Hizmet Movement Blog reaffirms its non-endorsement policy of the various viewpoints expressed throughout the articles that are solely shared for the convenience of the readers.

Published on Hurriyet Daily News, 03 March 2016, Thursday