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Former police chief speaks out about Turkey’s 'parallel state'

Former police Chief Hanefi Avci, among the first to expose Turkey’s “parallel state” and one of its high-profile victims, retains a realistic and cool-headed attitude on the issue, unlike some pro-government propagandists.
A demonstrator hold pictures of Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen (R), during a protest against Turkey's ruling AK Party (AKP), demanding the resignation of Erdogan, in Istanbul December 30, 2013. Erdogan swore on Sunday he would survive a corruption crisis circling his cabinet, saying those seeking his overthrow would fail just like mass anti-government protests last summer. Gulen denies involvement in stirring up the graft case, but he regularly censures Erdogan, a
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Turkey’s acquaintance with Hanefi Avci dates back to the so-called Feb. 28 Process in the late 1990s when he emerged as a brave police chief standing up to the secularist putchists and exposing their violations on the TV screen. Years later, in 2010, he was back in the headlines with a book claiming that the repressive state machine, controlled by secularist generals in the past, was now the tool of the Fethullah Gulen community. Gulenist police, he wrote, had taken control of police intelligence, purging rival colleagues along the way, and were now using their power to lay traps for political rivals.

After reading his book, it was obvious to me that Avci was not one of those hard-core secularists averse to the Gulen community because of its religious values. The concrete incidents he recounted and the sociological analyses he made on closed, tight-knit ideological communities sounded convincing to me. I became even more convinced when Avci was soon put behind bars by the same police and prosecutors he accused in the book. He was indicted for membership in an obscure Communist organization, a charge that was not only thin but actually backed up Avci’s charges that Gulenist police made things up to carry out political arrests.

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