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HomeHeadlineAnkara's Political Theater: Broken Trust and Backstage Maneuvers

Ankara’s Political Theater: Broken Trust and Backstage Maneuvers

Necip F. Bahadır

Ankara is bustling… There’s no clear answer to the question “What’s happening?” Yesterday Bahçeli spoke, today it was Erdoğan. Both are determined to ‘keep the broken arm inside the sleeve’. Everyone is aware that the arm is broken. There’s no benefit in trying to hide or cover it. Even if the ‘broken arm’ remains within the sleeve, one would have to be blind or play the role of ‘but’ to not see it. Everyone knows that both Bahçeli and Erdoğan are ‘turning a blind eye’.

Tayyip Erdoğan met at the Palace with the head of the National Intelligence Organization and the Minister of Justice. What could they have discussed if not the ‘Ankara Security’ operation? Or could they possibly have not discussed this pressing issue? It’s no secret that the National Intelligence Organization was involved. The judicial process has also begun… According to the Chief Prosecutor’s statement, four security officers at the center of the operation are detained.

Why wasn’t Ali Yerlikaya called to the meeting? There’s a valid question here; why wasn’t the Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya invited to the meeting? Yerlikaya is a central figure in the Ayhan Bora Kaplan operation. It falls under his responsibility. Why was he kept out of this critical summit? Was it a stance? Was his ticket cut? Is Yerlikaya also a part of the operation? Those who know Erdoğan to some extent know that he would pin the blame on Yerlikaya. Just as I write these lines, the government media reported that Erdoğan called Yerlikaya to the Palace. Soon after, it was reported that the meeting was canceled.

Will Yerlikaya lose his seat? Even if not, he can no longer sit comfortably there. His chair has a broken leg. Three months ago, he was being mentioned for the Istanbul Metropolitan Mayorship. Such is politics. In his speech, Erdoğan gave a very clear message of ‘change’: “If there are those who are tired or have made mistakes, we will let them rest. We will strengthen our team with new enthusiastic colleagues.”

Both in the cabinet and the party, change is just around the corner. Yerlikaya’s nights are sleepless from now on… From here on out, he is on pins and needles…

The detained security officers are close to the Nationalist Movement Party The political coding of the detained security officers points to the Nationalist Movement Party, and their social coding points to the Menzil community. Didn’t one of the officers explain a financial matter by saying, “I was collecting it for Menzil’s sake!”? Whether this is true or not, he clung to Menzil as a way out. Why? Because Menzil is a protected and untouchable area under Minister Yerlikaya. Just like the money collected for the imam hatip school construction on December 17. This time, Menzil took the place of Imam Hatip.

Ali Yerlikaya, a minister from the Menzil quota… He was elevated to the upper echelons of bureaucracy by former Health Minister Recep Akdağ… First, Akdağ appointed him head of the personnel department at the Ministry of Health. Then to the Istanbul Governorship… From there to the Ministry. His rapid rise in such a short time is due to the Menzil factor. And the tale of Adıyaman is quite telling… It’s a long-known fact; Menzil is politically closer to the Nationalist Movement Party than to the Justice and Development Party.

Menzil is the ‘usual suspect’ both in the Ankara Security operation and in the extraordinary staffing in the bureaucracy. Extraordinary staffing disturbs Erdoğan. During Taner Yıldız’s tenure at the Ministry of Energy and Recep Akdağ’s at the Ministry of Health, both ministers were removed for filling their ministries with Menzil affiliates, and the new ministers were instructed to ‘melt down Menzil’.

Ali Yerlikaya shot himself in the foot The operation in the security department is like an equation with many unknowns… What exactly happened hasn’t been fully understood. Pro-government writers likened it to the December 17-25 events, calling it a ‘Coup attempt!’. Bahçeli targeted ‘both AKP and MHP’. Yerlikaya stated in the morning, “The target is President Erdoğan!” and shot himself in the foot, even in the head. If the target is Erdoğan, then the local responsibility falls within his own ministry…

Would Erdoğan forgive this? Erdoğan blamed the December 17-25 events on the then Minister of Justice Sadullah Ergin. He not only removed him from the ministry but also took a very harsh stance. Ergin ended up joining another party. Now, Yerlikaya awaits the same fate as Ergin.

The words of Good Party member Uğur Poyraz are quite apt: “Mr. Ali Yerlikaya! The teams in question are under your command and supervision, even personally selected by you.”

Every sensible person makes this assessment. And indeed, they are making it…

When Erdoğan commented on the operation, he said, “Those who want to sabotage the Yenikapı spirit are not sitting idle. We know very well who wrote the play, who the puppet is, and who the puppeteer is.” Who sets the play? Who is the puppet, and who is the puppeteer? Probably the four security officers are the puppets… Who are the other two? Erdoğan gave no clue. During this period, could the bureaucracy dare to ‘set up a game’ against the AKP with people close to Erdoğan such as Bekir Bozdağ, Hasan Doğan, and Mücahit Arslan in the files? Absolutely not…

‘The puppeteer’ should be sought in politics The puppeteer and the game setters should be sought in politics. Can the opposition’s hand reach into the bureaucracy? Could the Republican People’s Party or the Good Party have the personnel to carry out an operation in the security department? No, they couldn’t. Then one must look within the ruling party. The most plausible scenario is the Nationalist Movement Party, which could not hide its discomfort with Erdoğan’s approach to the CHP after March 31.

When analyzing the election defeat, many members of the Justice and Development Party said the Nationalist Movement Party was ‘a burden’ to them. Would these words not reach Bahçeli’s ears? Of course, they would… And let’s not forget that he has a deep brother by his side. It’s natural for Bahçeli to think his partner is searching without the MHP. Logistical support would come from Süleyman Soylu, who served as the Interior Minister for seven years, and Bahçeli himself would be ‘the game setter’. The words he said in the group meeting could only come from someone in a ‘guilt panic’. The words that came out of Bahçeli’s mouth also exposed how disturbed his psychology is.

Erdoğan is also aware that the operation, in his words, was not limited to ‘lawless, morbid security officers’. It is not wrong to say that the ‘dove fight’ continues with all its intensity, judging from all this. The sounds we hear and feel are the rumblings rising from the ‘People’s Alliance’. It’s not so easy for both parties to ‘divorce’. Because there are ‘children and dependents in the ruined household’. Divorce is only possible with ‘early elections’. Eyes have been on Bahçeli in Ankara for some time… Those expecting him to play the early election card at any moment are not few.

Indeed, Erdoğan said, ‘We are prepared as if the elections were tomorrow’. I think this message was directly to MHP Leader Bahçeli. He clearly raised his hand, saying ‘I’m ready for your challenge’.

As can be seen, Ankara is very lively… In the country where I reside, there are elections next month; yet, politics here is not very active. From what I can read from afar, Turkish politics is pregnant with all kinds of surprises, including ‘early elections’. Of course, other developments too. As I said before, the years without politics are over. Classic politics resumed after March 31. What we are experiencing are the manifestations of this.

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