Factionalism has left the country unstable in the face of terrorism and a separatist insurgencyby Simon A Waldman, Emre Caliskan / February 8, 2017 / Leave a comment
Last month, Prime Minister Theresa May made Turkey her last stop on a diplomatic tour. This week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held his first telephone conversation with the new US President Donald Trump. But the headlines about the £100m fighter jet deal May secured and the possibility of better relations between Washington and Ankara are distractions from the reality that the country is in turmoil. Within four weeks, Turkey saw the new year shooting at Istanbul’s Reina nightclub, claimed by Islamic State; the assassination of the Russian ambassador in Ankara; and the Besiktas football stadium attack in Istanbul, claimed by Kurdish militants.
Meanwhile, state institutions, including the security services, are weak, divided and in turmoil. Last July, a faction within the military made an unsuccessful coup attempt. The Turkish government, led by President Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP), claimed that the ringleaders were members of the Fethullah Gulen Movement. The government said that the self-exiled Islamic preacher and his followers formed a “parallel structure” within Turkish institutions such as the military, the police force and the judiciary, as well as educational and civil society organisations.