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How an ultra-secularist gained clout in Turkey's Islamist government

Dogu Perincek, said to be a pillar of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's recent anti-West policies, has had a long history of controversial alliances and ideologies.

Ahmet S. Yayla, a counterterrorism police sergeant, had a surprising encounter when he arrested a suspected terrorist with ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in 1998. 

“No one I’ve gone to arrest has ever shown me such respect," Yayla said. "He was respectable and warm. He was prepared.” Yayla said most terror suspects aggressively resist arrest and deny wrongdoing. But the man he arrested admitted ownership of criminal materials and behaved calmly, at least until he was outside his house. “His attitude changed when he saw the media and his supporters outside. He started acting like a classic rebellious terrorist,” he said. Ahmet Yayla is now living in the United States and has had his Turkish passport revoked on suspicion of being connected to the Gulenist network which the Turkish government believes was behind the July 2016 coup attempt. The Gulenists have been hostile toward ultra-secularists in Turkey.

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