SPECIAL REPORT: Islam, Secularism and the Battle for Turkey’s Future

Aug. 23, 2010

This analysis may not be forwarded or republished without express permission from STRATFOR. For permission, please submit a request to PR@stratfor.com.



700 Lavaca Street, Suite 900

Austin, TX 78701

Tel: 1-512-744-4300


Though the Turkish identity crisis will not be resolved by this power struggle. whoever lays claim to the Bosporus and Dardanelles has control over one of the most active and strategic commercial routes in the world. universal concept: power. military bases and boardrooms. A Power Struggle Rooted in Geopolitics Turkey occupies a key geostrategic position. a key military vantage point against outside invaders. Others paint it as traditional Anatolia’s struggle against modern Istanbul. the struggle boils down to a fight over a single. While those looking at Turkey from the outside are often unaware of Turkey’s internal tumult. and a launchpad for expansion into Eurasia. news agencies.com . The following special report recounts how an Islamist-oriented Anatolia has emerged to challenge the secular foundation of the modern Turkish state. courts.Islam. Most outside observers see this as the latest phase in the decadeslong battle between Islamism and Kemalist secularism. Ultimately. Turkey’s core historically has centered on the isthmus that straddles the Sea of Marmara and Black Sea. schools. It sits at the crossroads of Asia and Europe and forms a bridge between the Black and Mediterranean seas. the battle lines drawn during the fight will define how the country operates for years to come. egalitarianism versus economic elitism or democracy’s rise against authoritarianism. Whether the map says Constantinople or Istanbul.stratfor. TX 78701 Tel: 1-512-744-4300 www. a labyrinthine internal power struggle influences virtually every move Turkey makes in its embassies. 2 © 2010 STRATFOR Austin. Secularism and the Battle for Turkey’s Future A deep power struggle is under way in the Republic of Turkey.

But with time. or National View.stratfor. that leader was Mustafa Kemal — who earned the honorific “Ataturk. TX 78701 Tel: 1-512-744-4300 www. To preserve his vision of the Turkish republic. The final blow to the Ottoman core came via the 1920 Treaty of Sevres. Armenians and Kurds — a period of history that continues to haunt Turks to this day. Turkey had gone through its fair share of political tumult. with an uncompromising separation of mosque and state. movement. 3 © 2010 STRATFOR Austin. currency. By then. as the 21st century approached. found itself in the latter position at the end of World War I. this secularistKemalist model prevailed in Turkey while a more traditional. a responsibility that Turkish generals have frequently exploited to mount coups against the civilian political authority. it had consolidated enough internally to start looking abroad again through a PanIslamic lens. paintings and emblems in every corner of the country. A more Turkish President Abdullah Gul moderate strand of the Milli Gorus movement emerged with the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2001. Ataturk regarded the Turkish military as the guardian of the Kemalist state. currents of ethnic nationalism surged through the empire. though his definition of Turkish nationalism rejected Pan-Islamism and instead concerned itself primarily with those Turkish citizens living in the Ottoman core that would become the new and modern republic. Turkey. For decades. though the secular-dominated National Security Council banned the JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images party in less than two years. the rise of Anatolian forces that would challenge the supremacy of the Istanbul elite in many ways was inevitable.” Turkish for “Father of the Turks” — and whose face still graces statues. leading Turkey to turn its attention inward toward the Anatolian Peninsula. The Islamic vision was rooted in the Milli Gorus. as it is known in Turkey today. The election of the Islamistrooted Refah Partisi. the country follows a Pan-Islamic model and can extend itself far and wide. focusing on consolidating power from within. Ataturk sought to save the Turkish ethnic core from Sevres syndrome. But when Turkey is weak. from ruling over the Arabs and balancing the Persians in the Middle East to challenging the clout of Christian Europe in the Balkans to blocking Russia in the Caucasus and Central Asia. a tremor began spreading through Turkey’s political landscape.When Turkey is powerful. His tool of choice was nationalism.com . Times of crisis call for great leaders. Kemalist nationalism was also deeply steeped in secularism. Ataturk bolstered a secular elite that would dominate the banks and industry and maintain a firm grip over the country’s armed forces. its neighborhood transforms from a geopolitical playground into a prison. Though it would take several decades to manifest itself. then the multiethnic Ottoman Empire. Indeed. which arose in the 1970s as a religiously conservative challenge to the left-wing secular tradition. and to create a true nation-state. which dismembered the empire by ceding territory to the leading Allied powers and to the Greeks. or Welfare Party (RP) in 1995 officially brought political Islam to the halls of power in modern Turkey. dissolving the bonds of Ottoman control. With the aid of the victorious European powers. Islamist-minded Anatolian class watched in frustration as it largely remained sidelined from the corridors of power. for Turkey. The post-World War I era saw Turkish expansion into Europe effectively blocked.

Clearly. Gulen apparently used the flotilla crisis as an opportunity to alter outside perceptions of his organization. politicians. air its disagreements with the AKP. and consciously attempts to keeps its distance from the group for fear of reinforcing secularist allegations that the AKP is pursuing a purely Islamist agenda. This objective. the Gulen movement follows a determined agenda that aims to replace the Kemalist elite and transform Turkey into a more religiously conservative society. the Gulen movement has a presence in virtually all Turkey’s power centers. When Fethullah Gulen left Turkey for the United States in 1998. the court documents that had been issued against him included sermons in which he called on his followers to “move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence until you reach all the power centers. as the movement knows this is its moment and that decades of quiet work aimed at transforming Turkish society are paying off. the party took power in 2002 with a mandate to close the political and economic gap between the Kemalist elite and the Anatolian masses. journalists and average citizens together. Yet Gulen’s comments also caused an outrage amongst much of the Turkish public (not to mention within the AKP). The Kemalists have long viewed the Gulen movement as a critical threat to the secular nature of the Turkish republic. it has become clear that the party represents those in Turkey who embrace the country’s Islamic past. the Gulenist movement will occasionally. conditions have ripened such that the Gulen movement can be much more open about its activities in the country. A powerful force known as the Gulen movement has quietly and effectively penetrated the armor of the Kemalist state over four decades. Though the AKP was more cautious of exposing its Islamist-rooted political vision in its early days of power. focusing on moving into the “arteries of the system” without drawing attention to itself. who lives in Pennsylvania. In its earlier years. in which nine Turkish citizens were killed during a raid by Israeli special operations forces on a flotilla full of pro-Palestinian activists. when the AKP was elected with 47 percent of the popular vote.Spearheaded by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul. Gulen’s criticism of the aid organization came in stark contrast to the AKP’s denunciations of Israel’s actions and strong. Since 2007. religious leaders. however. For its part. along with the common threat they face from the secularist establishment. in the wake of the Turkish-Israeli flotilla crisis.” Inside Turkey. The party does not see eye to eye with the Gulenists on a number of issues. Outside Turkey. Gulen presents itself as a multifaith global organization working to bring businesses. the AKP is largely considered an affront by the secularists. You must wait for the time when you are complete and conditions are ripe. that infuses religion with politics and that gives rise to what it sees as a long-neglected Anatolian class. The Turkish Islamist Movement The AKP is by no means pursuing the Islamist vision alone. Fethullah Gulen said in an interview that the Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH) aid group that led the flotilla had defied authority for failing to seek permission from Israel before attempting to deliver aid to Gaza. For instance. leading one of the movement’s leaders to retract the statements the next day. until we can shoulder the entire world and carry it. While more moderate than its predecessor. Likewise. the Gulen movement is at base just one more player jockeying for power in Turkey.com . public support for the IHH. but the two sides also need each other and share a desire to replace the traditional secular elite. the movement moved much more discreetly. albeit rarely. TX 78701 Tel: 1-512-744-4300 www. The charismatic imam Fethullah Gulen. forms the basis of their symbiotic 4 © 2010 STRATFOR Austin.stratfor. Gulenists now transmit a strong sense of confidence and achievement in their discussions with outsiders.” More than a decade later. nor does it want to become overly dependent on the Gulenists. Whatever its public relations moves. tension exists between the AKP and Gulenists. showing that his pragmatism in responding to the situation has more in common with the West against critics who accuse the movement of being too strictly Islamist and extreme in its views.” He also said that “the time is not yet right. AKP does not walk in lockstep with the Gulen movement. The AKP’s vision of Turkey is a country that goes out of its way to defend its Turkic brothers abroad. along with a small group of what the Gulenists term “wise men. leads the transnational organization.

com . Turkey’s media giants wage war via editorials and lawsuits. the secularist Istanbul giants continue to dominate. creating schools across the globe to extend Turkish influence and intelligence capabilities as the number of Turkish embassy staffers educated in Gulenist schools continues to rise. Both the technical and Imam Hatip schools fall under the labor school category. In the media arena. The struggle is fiercest in the security arena. The most intense period of ideological cultivation for many Turks takes place between grades eight through 12. and the Gulen movement has spent the past three decades working aggressively in the education sector to mold young minds in Turkish schools at home and abroad. Gulen-funded schools are increasing in number. And on the street.relationship: The Gulen movement provides the AKP with a social base. The AKP-run government distributes free textbooks published by a firm close to the Gulen movement in primary and high schools. even though many graduates from Imam Hatip schools want to pursue careers in law. and since graduates from labor schools are not permitted to attend four-year universities. engineering and MUSTAFA OZER/AFP/Getty Images other professions. Education: Sowing Seeds in the Schools Turkey’s power struggle begins in the classroom. government and armed forces. Turkey’s wrenching struggle for national identity reaches every corner of society. Under Turkey’s current educational system. though an emerging Anatolian merchant class is rapidly gaining prominence. along with thousands of public Imam Hatip schools and state-run Quran schools for high school education.stratfor. graduates Turkish girls in Istanbul wearing headscarves from regular public and private high schools — where the headscarf is banned by law — are qualified to attend four-year accredited universities in seeking a higher education. 5 © 2010 STRATFOR Austin. The goal is to create a generation of well-educated Turks who ascribe to the Gulen tradition and have the technical skills (and under the AKP. with generals regularly being jailed over murky coup allegations. In the education realm. where girls are permitted to don the Islamic headscarf. Turkish citizens debate whether drinking raki (an anise-flavored liqueur) is offensive to the country’s Islamic culture and whether it is “too Islamic” to order halal meat when traveling outside of Turkey. medicine. for their high school education instead of regular high schools. Since the AKP mostly appeals to Turkey’s religious conservative and lower-income families. Meanwhile. the Gulen movement is a powerful force. graduates from technical schools are only qualified to attend two-year colleges and graduates from Imam Hatip schools are only qualified to attend theological schools. while the AKP provides the Gulenists with a political platform to push their agenda. the political connections) to assume high positions in strategic sectors of the economy. much of the AKP’s younger political base is prevented from rising in economic stature when seeking a higher degree. TX 78701 Tel: 1-512-744-4300 www. the secularists of the high courts are locked into a battle against AKP allies in the lower courts over a series of thorny constitutional reforms that would go far to undermine Kemalist legal dominance. Within the judiciary. many of the party’s potential political supporters attend public technical schools for working-class laborers as well as religiously oriented Imam Hatip schools. In the world of business.

an AKP loyalist and sympathizer of the Gulen movement. The private universities are mostly funded by Gulenist businessmen. Many Turkish parents are willing to pay a great deal of money to ensure that their children receive the preparation they need to pass their exams and get into a good university. This is intended to help the Gulenists evaluate whether the student will respond to orders from his or her Gulenist mentors. YOK was created by the 1982 Turkish Constitution to keep a lid on political dissent in the universities. universities were the driving forces behind the political violence between rightand left-wing activists that marred the 1970s in Turkey. The Gulen movement claims the majority of Turkish students are enrolled in its private and public schools. professor Yusuf Ziya Ozcan. Students may start going to Lighthouses two to three times a week. religious classes and customs can make their way into the curriculum and daily activities. These exams will make or break a Turkish student’s career. YOK has been at the forefront of the highly polarizing headscarf issue in Turkey and has used its powers to appoint religious conservatives to university presidencies. The Gulen movement and AKP have carried their presence to the university level as well. When the last secular president of YOK retired in 2007. Consequently. and particularly since 2007. but it has not given up on this crucial point on its education agenda. private courses are offered for free. the Gulen movement has strategically developed private courses and Isik Evleri. the AKP had its chance to appoint one of its own. and are something most Turkish youths remember as the most dreaded and stressful experience of their academic lives. For those exceptionally bright students that come from low-income families. Students who have taken these courses describe how the “elder brothers” who run these Lighthouses maintain an intense curriculum that keeps the students at school late and on the weekends instead of out socializing and engaging in behavior frowned upon by religious conservatives. That said. Indeed. in fact. Kayseri and Gaziantep where the Anatolian business class is concentrated or in less-populated and impoverished cities where young Turks have traditionally lacked access to higher education. from which they can rise to more prominent positions and remain loyal to the AKP and the Gulenists. TX 78701 Tel: 1-512-744-4300 www. they focus heavily on the sciences and math. The Gulenist schools are not madrassas. The AKP has yet to succeed. Since then. To test their loyalty.stratfor. Under the AKP’s watch. The Gulenist educational institutions are easily identified because they typically have newer facilities and better equipment than most schools. a student may be called late in the evening or early on a weekend morning and asked by his or her mentor to attend a function or perform community service. which are tuition centers that arguably offer the best preparation for university exams for students and the best recruiting grounds for the Gulenists. or Lighthouses. especially in countries with existing Islamic links. the AKP government has been engaged in an intense struggle with the secularist-dominated State Council to revise the strict grade point average calculations such that graduates from all labor schools (including Imam Hatips) can enter all four-year universities (not only theological ones). Strategic Placement But the Gulen movement and AKP do not only want loyal students to attend Gulen-run universities.com . 37 public universities and 22 new private universities have been built. YOK was a bastion for hardcore secularists in Turkey to ensure their dominance over the universities and prevent the entrenchment of Islamists in Turkey’s higher education institutions. and they offer the most intensive preparation courses for university entrance exams. Based on their participation. since prior to the 1980 military coup.In an effort to change this system. a core part of their strategy is to ensure the placement of their students in a variety of secular 6 © 2010 STRATFOR Austin. but can find themselves attending nearly every day of the week by the time they reach the end of the course. Up until 2007. The pivot of the university battle is an institution called the Higher Education Council (YOK). many of them in Anatolian cities such as Konya. the Gulenist brothers are able to pick out the brightest and most loyal students as potential recruits. attendance and performance in the courses.

the Gulenists are able to raise a generation of diplomats. Islam has a deep history in the Caucasus and Central Asia. where concerns over the growth of Islam run particularly high. whether in the military. For example. neither of which wants a foreign strand of Islam influencing its people. making them attractive places for elite families of various ethnicities to send their children to receive an education. The Gulenist international footprint comprises 1. The Gulen movement is also known to influence its young followers to attend universities in cities away from their families where the movement can provide them with free housing. police. science.stratfor. the children of the political elites who attend these schools usually have developed a deep affinity for Turkish culture. In regions like Africa and Central Asia in particular. the movement runs more than 90 charter public schools in at least 20 states. the Gulenists are not welcome everywhere they would like to set up. the Gulenist schools in these regions aim to revive moderate Islam in the former Soviet territories. have been exposed to Turkish culture and history. however. Kazakhstan. Cambodia. In the Netherlands. For example. Iran and Saudi Arabia. and Turkish. As such. The teachers of the schools are typically devout Gulenist followers willing to live far away from home in foreign lands for what they see as the greater mission of the Gulenist cause. The Gulenists have made a conscious attempt to avoid the perception that they are proselytizing to students through these schools. the Gulenists emphasize that the Turkish version of Islam that they teach is moderate in its approach and distinct from the strict Islamic practices of Saudi Arabia and Iran. Russia is also heavily reasserting its influence in the former Soviet Union. Graduates of these schools can usually speak Turkish fluently. however. Pakistan. Such donors have given a portion of their incomes to schools in an assigned region in exchange for help finding business deals. Kazakhs. India. the student will quietly remain in touch with his Gulenist mentor. Once placed in a strategic institution. security professionals. where according to some estimates. to this end. Bosnia. As a result. Many Azerbaijanis. Russia — a natural competitor to Turkey — is extremely wary of this channel of influence. and are prepared for careers in high places. it wishes to block the Gulenist movement from expanding in places like Central Asia and the 7 © 2010 STRATFOR Austin. economists and engineers who are more likely to take Turkish national interests into account when they reach positions of influence. but the movement will arrange for the student to attend a military academy instead. have both shut the Gulenist schools out. In fact. Like their counterparts in Turkey. and has reportedly shut down at least 16 Gulenist schools so far. While at the military academy. the university results of a Gulenist student may qualify him to attend the most elite university in Istanbul. but there is a deeper agenda involved than pedagogy. This is not to say that the Gulenists are radicalizing these countries.000 private schools (according to Gulen estimates) spanning 115 countries. Azerbaijan — and even the United States. but will be careful not to reveal any religious tendencies that would flag him and deny him promotion. Lessons in Islam tend to be more prevalent in Gulenist schools where the religion already has a foothold.institutions where they can gradually grow in number and position themselves to influence strategic centers of Turkish society. These Gulenist schools can be found in small towns everywhere from Ethiopia. the facilities and quality of instruction at these schools are excellent. Gulenist businessmen provide the majority of these schools’ funding.com . where quality education is difficult to come by. including 35 African countries. Uzbeks and other descendants of the Soviet Union do not identify with Islam. TX 78701 Tel: 1-512-744-4300 www. though the religion was severely undermined by decades of Communist rule. Cote d’Ivoire. The curriculum at these schools includes math.and English-language instruction. where the Gulenists are trying to increase their presence. Gulenist Schools’ Expanding Global Influence Over the past few decades the Gulen movement has spread to virtually every corner of the globe through its expansive education network. judiciary or major media outlet. the graduate continues to receive guidance from a Gulenist mentor. allowing the movement to quietly and directly influence various organs of society. This separation allows the Gulen to step in as a family replacement and strengthen its bond with the student while he or she is away from home. For its part. the government has tried to force out Gulenist institutions.

When the military was not directly holding the political reins. they would have to take on the armed forces. and are willing to ignore the law to uphold that secular tradition.in 1960.com . Muslims are in abundance. Article 35 of the Army Internal Service Law of 1935 gives the military the constitutional right to protect and defend the Turkish homeland and the republic. where countries are desperate for development. Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. While the Turkish Constitution outlaws the removal of democratically elected governments by force. Security: Taking on the Military Ataturk. with a government paranoid about external influences — especially those tinged with Islam. Turkish generals throughout much of Turkey’s history interpreted these laws as permitting the armed forces to intervene in civilian affairs whenever stability was threatened or the secular fabric of the country showed signs of unraveling. quiet and deliberate. Uzbekistan. 1971 and 1980 -. a constitutional republic is defined as the liberal and secular republic founded by Ataturk. according to the majority of the armed forces and the Kemalist camp.” which worked in the parliament. Turkey’s Islamists knew that if they had any chance of overturning the power balance of the state. The Turkish armed forces seized responsibility for that legacy upon his death.” Even Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government reportedly shut down four Gulenist institutions in December 2009.stratfor. not the religiously conservative republic growing under the rule of the Islamist-oriented AKP. In places like Africa. Such resistance is likely to increase as the movement’s profile rises and as countries grow nervous over Turkey’s expanding influence. Azerbaijani officials regularly complain in private about the Gulenist “encroachment” in their country. The process would be slow. Meanwhile. some with links to organized criminal syndicates and ultranationalist groups that view themselves as the guardians of the secular republic.and one “soft coup” in 1997. The Gulenists have had greater success in setting up private high schools and universities in Kazakhstan. Consequently. TX 78701 Tel: 1-512-744-4300 www. The Deep State refers to a murky network of members from the armed forces and the National Intelligence Organization (MIT). wanted to ensure his work and vision for Turkey would remain intact long after his death. it did so indirectly via the so-called Derin Devlet or “Deep State.Caucasus. Turkey has experienced three military coups -. the Gulen movement has far more room to expand its educational. but would ultimately see the military stripped of its long-held untouchable status. courts and media to ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images ensure that Turkey’s Islamists remained Turkish soldiers at Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara impotent. 8 © 2010 STRATFOR Austin. a military man at heart. chaotic conditions prevail and foreign competition lacks the intensity it has in strategic battlegrounds like Central Asia. when the military worked through the National Security Council to bring down the government without dissolving the parliament or suspending the Constitution. which they fear will inflame the various militant Islamist groups in the region — banned a number of Gulenist schools in 2000. business and political ties. however. claiming they do not need Turks to instruct them on how be “good Muslims.

providing the Gulen movement with a rare opportunity. the investigations began to slow down. the legitimacy of the indictments began to be questioned with greater frequency. the branch of the armed services responsible for the security of the countryside. The AKP defended the probe to the outside world as a sign of Turkey’s democratization. background checks for Islamist tendencies in police officers were more lax. allowing religious conservatives to gradually increase their presence in the institution under the Gulen movement’s guidance. giving the gendarmerie. Within three decades. hundreds of suspects.” allegedly involved 162 members of the armed forces. far more influence than the police. allegations began flying about how the Deep State was at work again to overthrow the AKP government. By late February. The AKP spent its first five years in power from 2002 to 2007 trying to establish a working relationship with the Turkish General Staff as it made inroads into the National Security Council and started playing a role in the appointment of senior military leaders. a general. The Islamists now had a powerful tool with which to undercut their secularist rivals. there is also reason to believe that this probe took on a life of its own — and increasingly became a tool with which to quash political dissent. and purported transcripts of their conversations were published in the (mostly Gulenist-backed) media. As more Turks began moving to the cities in the latter half of the century and eventually came to outnumber the rural population. however. By late 2009. The group reportedly composed a 5. called “Balyoz. the AKP’s moves against the military took a bold turn in the form of the now-infamous Ergenekon probe. Meanwhile. a newspaper regularly praised by Gulenists. As word of the investigation hit the newsstands. In the early part of the century. and particularly police intelligence. But as the Ergenekon probe continued to grow.” Turkish for “Sledgehammer. more than 40 military officers were arrested. including four admirals. detailing plans to sow violence in the country and create the conditions for a military takeover to “get rid of every single threat to the secular order of the state.stratfor. Breaking Precedent with Jailed Generals A new and even more politically explosive coup plot was revealed in January by Taraf. The Turkish police force had long been the weakest institution within the security apparatus. Though there is little doubt that elements of the Deep State were legitimately rolled up in this Ergenekon probe. they also had a powerful machine in the form of the AKP to uproot the Deep State and neutralize the military’s grip over the government. the police. The plot. two colonels and former commanders of the Turkish navy and air force.000-page document in 2003. TX 78701 Tel: 1-512-744-4300 www.From Deep State to Ergenekon The Gulen movement began this task with the police intelligence services.” The plot allegedly included crashing a Turkish jet over the Aegean Sea in a dogfight with a Greek jet to create a diplomatic crisis with Athens and bombing the Fatih and Beyazit mosques in Istanbul. As a result. Ergenekon is an investigation launched in June 2007 upon the discovery of a few grenades in the slums of Istanbul. retired soldiers. largely a reflection of the country’s rural-urban divide through much of the 20th century. shortly after the AKP came to power. as the party prepared itself for a landslide election victory. In summer 2007. the rural population comprised two-thirds of the country.com . came under the umbrella of the AKP and Gulen movement. academics and everyday criminals. the police steadily gained clout. another purported conspiracy was uncovered. secularists within the security establishment did not scrutinize them as carefully. arguing that Turkey was finally evolving to a point where the military could be brought under civilian control. Since the police were not a powerful force at the time. which patrolled urban areas. Then. 9 © 2010 STRATFOR Austin. were arrested in predawn raids for allegedly taking part in this conspiracy. in January 2010. including 29 generals. including journalists. Not only did they enjoy the pervasiveness of a security network that patrols the vast majority of Turkey’s population and the wiretapping capabilities to investigate the bowels of the security establishment. Alleged anti-AKP conspirators had their phones tapped.

What was once considered unthinkable for Turks across the country was now becoming a reality: The military. This has not gone unnoticed by Israel. his sympathies appear to lean heavily toward the AKP. they are also making significant inroads into MIT. the self-proclaimed vanguard of the secular state. the AKP and Gulen movement are advancing their aims of using intelligence as a foreign policy tool to promote Turkish expansion abroad while slowly denying the secularists the ability to use MIT for domestic espionage purposes. but even here the AKP is working KAYHAN OZER/AFP/Getty Images aggressively to take ownership of these Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (L) with outgoing military chief issues by recasting them as inherently Gen. The Turkish National Security Council in late May appointed 42-year-old bureaucrat Hakan Fidan as the new MIT chief. Though it still had enough influence over the courts to fight the arrests. Fethullah Gulen publicly praised Fidan for his previous work as leader of the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA). allowing more room for the police intelligence (already under heavy AKP and Gulen influence) to operate at home. Though Fidan has both a civilian and military background. making him more palatable to the army and civilian government. Ilker Basbug and soldiers near the Turkey-Iraq border political problems resolvable through economic development and diplomacy as opposed to military might. which has launched a campaign to defame Fidan in various media outlets. More recently. and whatever remaining power they have in the political arena continues to slip by the day. Notably. 10 © 2010 STRATFOR Austin. TX 78701 Tel: 1-512-744-4300 www. alleging that he would be more prone to sharing intelligence with countries like Iran. the national intelligence service. Long dominated by the secularist establishment. Fidan plans to increase MIT’s capabilities and focus on foreign intelligence collection. By drawing a more distinct line between foreign and domestic intelligence and shifting the MIT’s focus outward. The Turkish armed forces thus no longer have the power exclusively to chart Turkey’s political course. but the arrests of active-duty generals in Sledgehammer completely broke with precedent. The Kurdish question and the dispute with Greece over Cyprus top this list. The Ergenekon probes that began in 2007 went after retired soldiers.com .The military was backed against a wall. there was no question it was locked into an uphill battle against the Islamist forces. which works closely with the Gulen movement abroad. MIT historically spent a good portion of its time keeping tabs on domestic political opponents like the AKP. It has now become all the more imperative for the military to maintain a hold on the security issues that still give the armed forces some leverage against the AKP. the military simply does not have the popular dissatisfaction necessary to form a campaign against the AKP and Gulenist forces.stratfor. While the AKP and Gulen movement already have de facto ownership of the country’s police intelligence. As long as Turkey’s economy remains stable. the AKP has taken it upon itself to exercise its constitutional right to make decisions on promotions for high-ranking members of the military — something that no civilian government dared in the past. was becoming impotent as a political force.

11 © 2010 STRATFOR Austin. courtrooms are filled with legal battles between media agencies and op-eds spar daily over which ideological direction the country should take.stratfor. While the Gulenists claim Taraf’s success in investigative journalism is due to brave. The Gulenists hail Taraf as Turkey’s “most courageous” news outlet for its detailed coverage of Deep State. disillusioned soldiers willing to leak information. TX 78701 Tel: 1-512-744-4300 www. Newspapers are the source of leaks that have thrown generals in jails. The media is an especially potent tool in the Gulenist and AKP fight against the armed forces.com . It printed everything from telephone transcripts of alleged coup plotters to satellite imagery of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants crossing the Iraqi-Turkish border to document alleged military negligence. Taraf was founded in 2007 as a paper for liberal democrats shortly before the Ergenekon probe was launched. The vast majority of leaks in the Ergenekon and Sledgehammer probes mysteriously emanated from a single newspaper. Taraf.Media and Business: Challenging the Secular Establishment Controlling the Message Turkey’s media sits at the center of the country’s power struggle. others within the secularist camp suspect the transfers of sensitive information to Taraf have arisen due to years of successful infiltration of the armed forces by the Gulen movement.

and medium-sized businesses with roots in more religiously and socially conservative Anatolia. the Anatolian tigers are slowly gaining ground. Beginning in the mid-1980s. Star.5 billion fine for alleged unpaid back taxes. wellorganized social network to distribute newspapers for free. Koc. After the Dogan group devoted considerable coverage to a corruption scandal involving money laundering through Islamist charities in Germany by senior members of the Erdogan government in 2008. with Dogan’s Hurriyet and Feza’s Zaman newspapers respectively at the epicenter of the battle. Turkey’s media battles intersect the corporate arena. The most prominent media war in this power struggle is being played out between Dogan Media. and has publicly proclaimed the need to balance against the rapid growth of pro-AKP/Gulenist news. 12 © 2010 STRATFOR Austin. At this point. which is vital for the outside world to monitor developments in Turkey.Most of Turkey’s predominantly secularist media. While tax fraud is relatively common in Turkey’s media sector across the political spectrum. however. Dogus. Anatolia Takes on the Istanbul Business Elite A handful of secular family conglomerates based in Istanbul have dominated Turkey’s business sector for decades. the secularist newspapers are increasingly finding themselves faced with a choice between pleading political neutrality or fighting legal battles in the courtroom. On the other side of the struggle stand the millions of small. The last category consists of business conglomerates legitimately pro-AKP and Gulenist. where a quiet and brooding competition is being played out between the old Istanbul elite and the rising Anatolian tigers. and Dogan Media was no exception.stratfor. At present. While the secular-nationalists still enjoy the upper hand in the business world. Dogan. Members within the pro-AKP/Gulenist media camp counter that Dogan got what it deserved. providing pro-AKP coverage. boosting their circulation. the media group soon found itself slapped with a $2. Zorlu and Calik. serving as Turkey’s economic outlet to the rest of the world. The Gulenist-backed papers also have the benefit of a massive. Calik and Zorlu groups are far more opportunistic: They keep close political connections to the AKP to secure business contracts and tolerate the Gulen movement. Today. including the dailies Hurriyet.com . and has taken a public stand against the ruling party. the Gulenist Today’s Zaman is now outpacing the secularist Hurriyet Daily News. Sabanci and Dogus also belong in the staunchly secular group. Dogan Media is extremely uncomfortable with the shift toward one-party rule under the AKP. though they are not considered true believers in the Islamist agenda. and Feza Yayincilik media group. have been around as long as the republic itself. Milliyet and Cumhurriyet. such as avoiding the sort of legal battles Dogan has faced. and (since 2007) Sabah. Meanwhile. Dogan Media occupies the staunchly secular niche of the business sector at odds with the AKP’s Islamist-rooted vision. the Turkish economy is dominated by names like Sabanci. suspicions run deep that Dogan was singled out as an example to other media of what can happen to a powerful business tycoon who challenges the AKP. such as Ulker Group and Ihlas Holding. Even in the English-language arena. these newspapers have come to dominate the Turkish media landscape. TX 78701 Tel: 1-512-744-4300 www. and cite the fining of the group as an example of a more democratic society that no longer shies away from punishing powerful offenders. Islamist forces began making their appearance in the media world through newspapers like Zaman. but tend to exhibit a more neutral stance in public toward the AKP for business reasons. owned by one of Turkey’s leading business conglomerates.

Sabah is Turkey’s second-largest media group. Calik Group is perhaps the most obvious example of the corporate benefits that can follow a healthy relationship with the AKP. The TMSF sold the group to Calik Holding in an auction in which Calik was the sole bidder. but that has not stopped them from finding resources to finance strategic projects. Ziraat bank CEO Can Akin Caglar comes from a proAKP/Gulenist background. now named Bank Asya. and AKSA in Turkey. Prior to becoming Ziraat CEO in 2003. The AKP has a strategy to boost four energy firms in the country that have aligned themselves with the ruling party. Banks such as Turkiye Is Bankasi -.com . he worked for Turkiye Finans Bank. but state-owned Ziraat Bankasi has increasingly become the AKP’s go-to bank. or at least neutral. The firms are divided among Turkey’s four main energy areas of interest: Ciner’s Park Teknik in Russia. This intersection between politics and business can also be seen in the energy sector.created by Ataturk in the early days of the republic to maintain a secular stronghold on the country’s finances -. SOM in Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.are difficult to compete with. as the Sabah takeover demonstrates. the state-run Saving Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) seized Sabah news agency in a predawn raid on the charge of fraud of its owner. Inci in Iraq. prior to the raid. it was considered the strongest liberal and secular voice in the Turkish media. Sabah is considered pro-AKP.) Later. Several of Turkey’s prominent business conglomerates contain media outlets. Loans from two state-owned banks (made allegedly at AKP’s urging) and from a media agency based in Qatar financed the deal. TX 78701 Tel: 1-512-744-4300 www. The AKP and Gulen movement lack the leverage the secularist-nationalists hold in the banking sector. (Ulker is a staunchly pro-AKP/Gulenist business conglomerate. 13 © 2010 STRATFOR Austin. Those that oblige often obtain business deals with the state.stratfor. Park Teknik and AKSA are expected to work together to pursue a deal with Russia to build Turkey’s first nuclear power plant. while those that resist can find themselves slapped with lawsuits or having to transforming their newspapers into mostly apolitical tabloids to avoid political pressure. and the AKP has worked to keep those media outlets friendly. The Gulen movement also deposits much of the donations it receives with Turkiye Finans. Today. In April 2007.ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan The lines dividing Turkey’s business. 60 percent of its shares were sold to Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank in 2007. a known conservative bank owned jointly by Ulker and Boydak Groups. after which Erdogan’s son-in-law became CEO of the agency. media and politics have become increasingly blurred over the years.

Turkey has also accelerated the opening of embassies in countries where the Gulen movement has a strong 14 © 2010 STRATFOR Austin. Africa. which represent big-name firms like Sabanci. While many within the secularist and nationalist camp are highly uncomfortable with the notion of PanIslamism and Pan-Turkism — strategies that. Sabanci and the other secularist business elites. generally must serve an average of 20 years before they reach a position of influence. which as expected. Koc and Dogan (and. Caspian and Mediterranean seas. Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region. as in many countries. the Anatolian buttonmaker can expand his business tenfold or more if he belongs to the Gulenist network. wherever the Gulenists operate. at the same time European and Asian. Not only do these business links translate into votes when elections roll around. but is slowly emerging as an alternative to the larger.and medium-sized business owners.stratfor. The business association organizes massive business conferences in various parts of the globe attended by high-level AKP officials that aim to bring hundreds of Turkish businessmen into contact with their foreign counterparts. brought about the collapse of the Ottoman Empire — AKP followers embrace their Ottoman past and favor an expansionist agenda. TUSKON has existed for just five years. they also (along with the schools) form the backbone of the AKP’s soft power strategy in the foreign policy sphere. education. In return. the Gulen movement will ask the buttonmaker to provide financial support for the development of Gulenist programs and schools in Tanzania. made up of thousands of small.The Gulenist Business Cycle The AKP and Gulen movement recognize the lack of space for competition with the Western-oriented trade markets ruled by Koc. TUSKON is tightly linked into the Gulen movement and forms an integral part of the Gulenist business. and though it shies away from the term “neo-Ottomanism” for fear of provoking an imperial image. They continue to maintain a strong presence in Turkish embassies. one that speaks for Anatolia and focuses on accessing markets in places like the Middle East. To help speed up the Islamist integration with the Foreign Ministry. As espoused by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. most businessmen who belong to TUSKON and MUSIAD hail from small. Turkey is a unique geopolitical power. TX 78701 Tel: 1-512-744-4300 www. generally poorer and religiously conservative towns and cities across Anatolia. the following is a basic example: A small-business owner from the eastern Anatolian city of Gaziantep makes a living manufacturing and selling shirt buttons. Foreign Policy: Enabling the Rise The Gulenist transnational network is a natural complement to the AKP’s foreign policy agenda. support the secularists). In short. A Gulenist invites the buttonmaker to a TUSKON business conference in Africa. Balkan and Caucasian and straddling the Black. the AKP-led government has passed legislation to allow Turks to become ambassadors at younger ages — lowered from 45 to 35. In the AKP’s view. Middle Eastern and Central Asian. Instead. As opposed to the Istanbul-entrenched secularist corporations. since Turkish diplomats. it is difficult to see Turkey’s current foreign policy as anything but a drive to return to its Ottoman sphere of influence. The end result is a well-oiled and wellfinanced business and education network spanning 115 countries across the globe. in their eyes. and more well-established business associations like Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD). The Turkish buttonmaker and the Tanzanian shirtmaker are then incorporated into a broader supply chain that provides both with business across continents. where he will be put into contact with a shirtmaker from Tanzania who will buy his buttons. too. The drivers behind this business campaign are Turkey’s Independent Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association (MUSIAD) and Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON). Turkey’s potential is great. But this. political and even foreign intelligence agenda. While there are variations to how the Gulenist business cycle works. Central Asia. is gradually shifting under AKP rule: Foreign Ministry sources report than an increasing number of graduates from Gulenist schools are being recruited into the diplomatic service. Members of the secularist camp historically have dominated Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.com . the Islamist forces have created their own business model.

however. Gulenists abroad often learn local languages. They have also developed close relationships with foreign governments through their work as well as their students. if not impossible. the AKP is very conscious of the need to present itself as a nonthreatening. democratic values of the West — and that these very values have driven its efforts to bring the military under civilian control. For this reason. the AKP and the Gulenists want to portray themselves as having everything in common with the liberal. For example.com . some on the far left in Turkey have characterized the Gulen movement as a group of violent Islamist extremists ultimately aiming to impose Shariah in Turkey. AKP officials agree that unanimous EU approval for Turkish membership would be extraordinarily difficult.presence. As mentioned. Antananarivo (Madagascar). Eurasia and Africa to eliminate visa restrictions and open up new markets for Anatolian businessmen. TIKA’s development projects. Poll numbers reveal how Turks increasingly are realizing that the chances of EU membership have become a distant possibility. Bamako (Mali). turned its gaze solely toward Asia. government supports the AKP’s rise.S. Image control becomes especially important in Turkey’s relationship with the United States. In 2009 alone. and both sides of the power struggle will argue that the United States is backing one faction against the other. Abidjan (Cote d’Ivoire). allowing them to act as Turkish translators. for example. overlap heavily with the Gulen movement. The AKP. hospitals or other types of developmental agencies. Some Gulenists privately boast that their institutions abroad.S. serve as useful intelligence satellites for the Foreign Ministry. transforming it into a highly active development agency. particularly in Central Asia and Africa. N’Djamena (Chad). Instead. a military under civilian control and an image of secularism. Hakan Fidan — who shares the AKP’s vision for an expansionist foreign policy — formerly headed TIKA. and proceeded with a Pan-Islamic foreign policy. TX 78701 Tel: 1-512-744-4300 www. this view belongs to a fringe group within the secularist camp that wants to reverse Turkey’s trajectory. the party would have a much more difficult time arguing that it is not the threatening Islamist power the secularists have sought to paint it as being. some secularists point to Gulen’s Pennsylvania residency and his political asylum in the United States as “evidence” the U. Accra (Ghana). who often are sons and daughters of the local political elite. This explains why. the Islamists will claim that the United States backs the secularists.stratfor. and provided covert support for the 2007 “soft coup” attempt by the secularistdominated courts to ban the AKP. though TIKA did not make much headway initially. democratic power with an Islamist background capable of facilitating U. despite its 15 © 2010 STRATFOR Austin. Turkey uses its foreign policy arm to negotiate with countries across the Middle East. the AKP has made a considerable effort to pursue negotiations with the European Union for full-fledged membership despite the high probability such talks are unlikely to lead anywhere. Privately. Success in Image Control AKP officials often deny Gulenist claims of serving as intelligence satellites for fear the AKP could be seen as pursuing a subversive global Islamist agenda. Bogota (Colombia) and Valetta (Malta). Turkey opened 10 new embassies. Indeed. Candidates for EU membership must have a modern economy. objectives in the Islamic world. the Foreign Ministry can tap local Gulenist contacts for information and to facilitate government contacts. Davutoglu has even referred to TIKA as a second foreign ministry. In addition. Conspiracy theories run rife in Turkey. whether schools. Niamey (Niger). The Turkish Cooperation Development Agency (TIKA) is also key to these foreign policy efforts. These cities included Dar es Salaam (Tanzania). Maputo (Mozambique). Despite these charges being contradictory. Luanda (Angola). At the same time. to attain. reinvigorated the TIKA in recent years for use as a public diplomacy tool. Though inaccurate. If a problem erupts in a country in Central Asia. the majority of them in Africa. Yaounde (Cameroon). The Turkish government created TIKA in the early 1990s to forge ties with former Soviet countries with which it enjoyed a shared Turkic heritage. where press freedoms are nonexistent and information is extremely difficult to come by. But were Turkey to drop its bid. Turkey’s new national intelligence chief. Yet the AKP cannot afford to allow that disillusionment to seep into its foreign policy.

Through their dominance of the high courts.000 judges and prosecutors in 16 © 2010 STRATFOR Austin. judiciary or state-run education system. the HSYK is composed of the justice minister.” Though the AKP is far more moderate in its approach than its predecessors. Refah Partisi (in 1998) and Fazilet Partisi (in 2001) — for “becoming the focus of antisecularist activities. Judiciary: Neutralizing the High Courts Whether the issue is headscarves worn in universities. Turkey’s secularist-dominated State Council has long barred Turkish women from wearing the headscarf in the public sector. the AKP is ready to take on the judiciary with a package of constitutional amendments designed to strip the secularists of their judicial control.” The AKP escaped the ban.Turkish relationship over the incident. The dividing line in the judiciary lies between the secularist-dominated high courts and the AKPinfluenced low courts. making it difficult for religious females in Turkey to seek a university education or a career in the government. the Gulenists will occasionally publicize their disagreements with the AKP on certain issues in an attempt to present their movement as a more compatible partner with the West. Secularists continue to hold the upper hand against the Islamists in the judiciary. the secularists hold the single most potent weapon in this struggle: The ability to ban political parties for violating the secular tradition of the state. The AKP is all too familiar with this threat. and the High Panel Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK). but the secularist-controlled Constitutional Court annulled the proposed amendment four months later in a non-appealable decision. the AKP quietly dispatched a delegation to Washington to mitigate some of the damage that was inflicted on the U. the two sides butted heads again when the Constitutional Court threatened to ban the AKP on the charge of being “the focus of activities against secularism. The seven-member HSYK plays an instrumental role in the appointment of judges and prosecutors. The secularists have long controlled the most powerful judicial institutions. The headscarf controversy is perhaps the best illustration of the struggle between religious and secularist forces in the judiciary. 10 of whom would be selected by 12. So far.S. With some modifications. the High Court of Appeals (“Yargıtay”). but at the cost of backing off from the headscarf ban for now. social influence and political linkages vital to Ankara’s foreign policy. this package of constitutional amendments calls for several critical changes. TX 78701 Tel: 1-512-744-4300 www. ending the secularist monopoly and giving the lower judiciary more clout. For example. Keeping Turkey’s EU bid alive and relations with Washington on an even keel will thus help the Islamists undermine secularist efforts to portray the AKP in a negative light abroad. Shortly thereafter. virtually every strand of Turkey’s power struggle eventually finds its way to the courts. The Constitutional Court has banned three AKP predecessors — Milli Selamet Partisi (in 1980). three members appointed by Yargitay and two by Danistay. the AKP has come back even more resolute in its determination to undermine the secularists. Though the AKP will continue to keep a fair bit of distance from the Gulen in its dealings abroad to protect this image. the justice minister’s undersecretary.strong convictions that Israel’s actions against the Turkish aid flotilla were inexcusable. the State Council (“Danistay”).com .stratfor. as the Gulen movement demonstrated in the wake of the flotilla crisis. The AKP obtained sufficient votes for a proposed amendment in 2008 to lift the headscarf ban. it just barely escaped a ban in 2008 over the headscarf issue over the same charge. One is the restructuring of the Constitutional Court and HSYK. the Gulenist transnational network undeniably gives the AKP economic reach. In the current system. media firms charged with tax evasion or soldiers charged with coup-plotting. This division results in a dizzying judicial system in which court rulings are often mired in political mayhem. each time the court has struck the party. Likewise. Now. the HYSK reforms call for increasing its membership from seven to 21. The high judiciary in Turkey is made up of the Constitutional Court (or “Anayasa Mahkemesi” in Turkish).

The struggle of the secularists and the advent of the Anatolian masses is a factional feud that defies an easy resolution. The battle lines are thus drawn. They also claim that the reforms are illegal.lower courts across the country — where the AKP enjoys significant influence — while five would be appointed by the president. Another calls for binding party dissolution cases to parliamentary approval. the AKP is likely to have mausoleum in Ankara a more difficult time in trying to achieve this goal after seeing its response to the incident backfire both at home and abroad. secularists in the high courts and the parliament — with behind-the-scenes military backing — strongly oppose these changes. The package of constitutional amendments got approval from the Constitutional Court and barely made it through Turkey’s parliament on May 7. If the referendum collapses. the People’s Republican Party (CHP) and National Movement Party (MHP). the Islamists will establish the legal foundation to accelerate their political rise. The post-flotilla backlash. As expected. The next phase of the battle will be the 2011 elections. This last resolution has not made it out of the parliament. the struggle will be far from over. which the AKP is counting on to win a supermajority in the parliament to draft an entirely new Constitution that would further cement its power.com . combined with a recent rise in PKK attacks. 12. including a recent court decision to free some of those accused in the Sledgehammer probe. but is a necessary component of Turkey’s regional rise. Once again. much less implemented. Following ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images A man holds a portrait of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in front of Ataturk’s the flotilla crisis. were quick to seize the opportunity and blame the AKP for mismanaging the crisis and making Turkey appear reckless abroad. Still. as Article 4 of Turkey’s 1982 Constitution states that amendments to the first three articles of the Constitution — articles which declare Turkey a Turkish-speaking. AKP and Gulen leaders cannot claim with confidence that the referendum will pass. democratic and secular republic loyal to the nationalism of Ataturk — cannot be proposed. as the Islamists counter that an unelectable cabal runs the judiciary. and the struggle will be fierce in the months ahead. thereby neutering the highest court’s ability to ban the party at will whenever the secularistIslamist balance tilts toward the Islamists. both sides are seeking to seize the mantel of democracy. TX 78701 Tel: 1-512-744-4300 www. they are no longer dealing with the AKP from an obvious position of strength. The main opposition secularist parties. While this passed the 330 threshold needed for the government to put the proposals to a referendum. charging that they will eliminate checks and balances in the government. The public referendum will be held Sept. have even led the AKP to make concessions to the secularist opposition. and that these constitutional reforms are necessary to make Turkey more pluralistic and in line with Western standards of government. the anniversary of the 1980 military coup. Even if the referendum fails. the parliamentary vote fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to adopt the amendments without a referendum.stratfor. but if it does. with 336 votes in favor. even though the AKP’s rivals have several opportunities at hand. the secularists will retain the most critical weapon in their arsenal to uphold the Kemalist traditions of the republic. though the AKP is sure to try again when the political climate is more conducive to success. however. 17 © 2010 STRATFOR Austin.

We assume our readers not only want international news.Barron’s What We Offer On a daily basis. STRATFOR’s staff is widely distributed throughout the world. STRATFOR also provides corporate and institutional memberships for multi-users.stratfor.com 18 © 2010 STRATFOR Austin. but invaluable assessments of what lies ahead. Texas. For more information on corporate or institutional services please contact sales@stratfor. TX 78701 Tel: 1-512-744-4300 www. Dr. The Next 100 Years. We never forget the need to explain why any event or issue has significance and we use global intelligence not quotes. STRATFOR members are made aware of what really matters on an international scale. which ranges from corporations to media outlets and government agencies. Whether it is on political.com . STRATFOR not only provides its members with a better understanding of current issues and events. Our intelligence professionals provide Executive Briefings for corporate events and board of directors meetings and routinely appear as speakers at conferences. We are not the purveyors of gossip or trivia. “Barron’s has consistently found STRATFOR’s insights informative and largely on the money-as has the company’s large client base. STRATFOR members also receive access to an endless supply of SITREPS (situational reports). our heavily vetted vehicle for providing breaking geopolitical news. To complete the STRATFOR service. The STRATFOR Difference STRATFOR members quickly come to realize the difference between intelligence and journalism.STRATFOR is the world leader in global intelligence. Our team of experts collects and analyzes intelligence from every part of the world -.offering unparalleled insights through our exclusively published analyses and forecasts. At the heart of STRATFOR’s service lies a series of analyses which are written without bias or political preferences. Renowned author George Friedman founded STRATFOR in 1996. Friedman is supported by a team of professionals with widespread experience. In addition to analyses. Although its headquarters are in Austin. many of whom are internationally recognized in their own right. but insight into the developments behind it. we publish an ongoing series of geopolitical monographs and assessments which offer rigorous forecasts of future world developments. Most recently.” -. he authored the international bestseller. economic or military developments.