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Power struggle erupts in Turkey’s security structure

Two very different groups are vying to fill all the personnel holes Turkey's purge punched into its military and intelligence agencies.
Dogu Perincek, Chairman of the Turkish Workers' Party is surrounded by supporters at the end of a hearing at the European court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, January 28, 2015. The European Court of Human Rights holds an hearing on Wednesday on the case of Perincek against Switzerland. Perincek was found guilty of racial discrimination by a Swiss Police Court for having publicly denied the characterisation of genocide, without calling into question the existence of massacres and deportations of Armenians in

Following the July 15 coup attempt, 93,000 civil servants were suspended from their duties in many of Turkey's public institutions; investigations are ongoing for 40,000 of them. The key question now is who will fill those vacancies, especially in the military and intelligence bureaucracies.

One hard reality is that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), despite its 14 years in power, has not developed a senior bureaucratic team that deals with security and intelligence affairs. Hence, a power struggle was inevitable at the senior echelons of the National Intelligence Service (MIT), the Gendarmerie Command, the Ministry of Defense and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), where two distinct schools of thought or cliques are competing to fill the vacancies.

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