On Dec. 17, Turkey woke up to a major graft probe. Since then, Al-Monitor’s Turkey Pulse has been busy reporting on the mindboggling sequence of events. The probe, which many predicted to be the end of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), has become a war of perception. If you google "graft," "bribery" or "corruption" in Turkish, you will see the focus has already shifted to a concept so far unheard of in Turkish politics (the “parallel state”), reassigning public prosecutors and police officers to different posts, condemning all sorts of “disinformation” and changing laws governing the structure of the judiciary.
On Jan. 21, during a press conference in Brussels, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, “We dealt with the mafia and we finished them, we dealt with gangs and we finished them, now we are in the process of eliminating the elements of the parallel state.” As Tulin Daloglu reports, Erdogan’s popularity seems to have survived intact. How did perceptions become so detached from reality and the focus shift so drastically in just one month?