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Facts mingle with political fantasy in Ankara's Gulenist indictments

An indictment alleging an attempted coup against Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party government follows the party's narrative of a sinister parallel state and its imperialist collaborators.

Turks have been hearing about a so-called parallel state since December 2013, when two concurrent corruption investigations targeted then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his son and various members of the government. The term, coined and popularized by Erdogan, insinuates that the Gulen community, Turkey's largest Islamic movement, has established a cabal with sinister intentions within the state bureaucracy, particularly in the police force and the judiciary. This therefore suggests that the corruption investigations were nothing more than “coup attempts” by the alleged parallel state.

This was initially just a political narrative adopted by the government and its supporters. Gradually, however, the judiciary began to answer the call to take on this supposed major threat to national security and its members. On Oct. 1, prosecutor Ismail Ucar submitted a 1,453-page indictment to a court. Like other indictments in politically driven cases in Turkey, this is a peculiar document, quite unlike any in the Western legal tradition.

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