Turkey/Deep state

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Group.png Turkey/Deep state  
(Deep state)Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Turkey Deep state.jpg
Parent organizationTurkey
HeadquartersAnkara, Turkey
InterestsHüseyin Baybaşin, Joris Demmink, Winnie Sorgdrager
Interest ofFehmi Koru, Uğur Mumcu, Turgut Özal
Exposed byBulent Ecevit, Susurluk car crash
'Derin devlet' is a deep state network based in Turkey. Repeated indiscretions resulted in its partial exposure, leading to the English phrase 'deep state' to refer to the phenomenon of a 'state-within-a-state or 'shadow government'.

The Turkish deep state ("derin devlet") refers to a group of influential anti-democratic coalitions within the Turkish political system, composed of high-level elements within the intelligence services (domestic and foreign), the Turkish military, security agencies, the judiciary, and mafia.[1][2]

The deep state was dramatically exposed in Turkey in 1996 by the Susurluk car crash, which revealed close connections between government and organised crime.

Turkey occupies a very important strategic position, controlling water access to the Black Sea and land access to the Balkans. Sibel Edmonds has stated that Turkey is the main transshipment point in the opium trade, moving it west from Afghanistan.


Robert College, a private school in Istanbul, set up in 1863, has had numerous deep state operatives and Turkish Bilderbergers among its alumni.

20th century

Post WW2

The origins of the modern Derin devlet almost certainly involve 'Kontrgerilla' ('Counter-Guerilla'), the Turkish arm of the Europe wide Gladio project. The Counter-Guerrilla was a covert anti-communist "stay-behind" force of military cells set up with the support of NATO[3] The secret network was formally established in case a Soviet invasion, but its clandestine and violent capabilities also was designed against internal enemies. Military coups have been regular activities of Turkish deep state factions after WW2.


Nuri Birgi was the first Turkish citizen to attend a Bilderberg meeting (February 1957) and he attended regularly up to his death, 23 meetings in all. He was on the Bilderberg Steering Committee for over 20 years, and possibly also the Bilderberg Advisory Committee. He was Turkish Permanent Representative to NATO for 12 years.


1960 Coup

The 1960 Turkish coup d'état (Turkish: 27 Mayıs Darbesi) was the first coup d'état in the Republic of Turkey. The coup was staged by a group of 38 young Turkish military officers, acting outside the Staff Chiefs' chain of command[4].


1971 Turkish military memorandum

The 1971 Turkish military memorandum, issued on 12 March that year, was the second military intervention to take place in the Republic of Turkey, coming 11 years after its 1960 predecessor. It is known as the "coup by memorandum", which the military delivered in lieu of sending out tanks, as it had done previously.


1980 Coup

Ahmet Kenan Evren, the leader of the coup in 1980 was also the commander of the Counter-Guerrilla. He became Chief of General Staff in March 1978[5].


The preparation for a planned military coup in 1993 included a string of assassinations, including the poisoning of President Turgut Özal.

The 1996 Susurluk car crash dramatically exposed the Turkish "Derin Devlet", and lead to the coining of the corresponding English phrase, "Deep state".

1997 "Post-modern coup"

The 1997 military memorandum (also called the "Post-modern coup") refers to the decisions issued by the Turkish military leadership on a National Security Council meeting on 28 February 1997. This memorandum initiated the process that precipitated the resignation of Islamist prime minister Necmettin Erbakan of the Welfare Party, and the end of his coalition government[6].

21st Century


Operation Sledgehammer

Operation Sledgehammer is the name of a Turkish secularist military coup plan dating back to 2003, in response to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) gaining office.[7]


2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt

The 15 July 2016 coup d'état was attempted in Turkey against state institutions, including the government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The attempt was carried out by a faction within the Turkish Armed Forces, with support from the CIA, and involvement of the Gulen Organization.

A July 2016 piece by James Corbett named Fethullah Gulen as a "deep state plotter", and asked "So who is Fethullah Gulen? Well, that depends who you ask. If you ask the well-coiffed liars of the corporate lapdog media, Gulen is a kindly old reclusive imam who is operating a multi-billion dollar global Islamic school network from his compound fortress in Pennsylvania... for some reason or other."[8]


On May 15, 2024, President Erdoğan held an emergency meeting with the heads of law enforcement agencies and the Ministry of Justice after Devlet Bahçel, leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), warned him about a planned coup attempt.[9] 7 people were arrested, including two police chiefs, in the investigation of the organization Ayhan Bora Kaplan.[10]


Turkish Bilderbergers

Full article: Turkish Bilderbergers

Turkey has had 129 Bilderbergers, ranking 6th in Europe.[11] Members of the billionaire Koç family have been active participants in Bilderberg meetings.


Full article: TÜSİAD

The chair of the Turkish Industry and Business Association has often been a Turkish Bilderberger.


Even before Turkish deep state was dramatically exposed in 1996, rumours of the deep state had been widespread in Turkey, since Ecevit's term as prime minister in the 1970s, after his revelation of the existence of a Turkish counterpart to Italy's Operation Gladio, the "Counter-Guerrilla".[12][13] The existence of a deep state is widely accepted in Turkey.[14][15]

Susurluk car crash

Full article: Susurluk car crash
Susurluk car crash.jpg

The 1996 Susurluk car crash was the first to bring to a wider audience the close connections between the Turkish government, armed forces, intelligence agencies and organised crime. Turkey has continued to see a series of deep events (in particular assassinations) in which key details are unexplained and perpetrators have evaded justice. Beyond a culture of violent reprisal to insiders who speak publicly about them, the details of the Turkish Deep state remain unclear. The high rte of deep events and the complex ramifications of what details have emerged have however made clear that connections between organised crime, intelligence agencies and political leaders are not sporadic but systemic and ongoing. This is the classic structure of the deep state.

Operation Cage Action Plan

Full article: Stub class article Operation Cage Action Plan

In 2010, when Levent Bektaş was arrested as part of the investigation of Ergenikon, a CD was found in his office which detailed Operation Cage Action Plan, a strategy of tension to foment civil unrest by assassinations and attacks on religious minorities. Some of this was published by Taraf newspaper in May 2010.[16]

Cover up

As of September 2016, the Wikipedia page began by stating that derin devlet (Turkish for 'deep state') "is alleged to be a group of influential anti-democratic coalitions within the Turkish political system, composed of high-level elements within the intelligence services (domestic and foreign), Turkish military, security, judiciary, and mafia. For those who believe in its existence... ", as if the whole thing may be some sort of elaborate hoax or fantasy.[17]

The intro was changed by 2020.


The political agenda of the deep state involves an allegiance to nationalism, corporatism, and state interests.

Violence and other means of pressure have historically been employed in a largely covert manner to manipulate political and economic elites and ensure specific interests are met within the seemingly democratic framework of the political landscape.[18][19] Former president Süleyman Demirel says that the outlook and behavior of the (predominantly military) elites who constitute the deep state, and work to uphold national interests, are shaped by an entrenched belief, dating to the fall of the Ottoman Empire, that the country is always "on the brink".[20]

The ideology of the deep state is anti-socialist, ultra-nationalist, anti-Islamist, secularist, anti-Kurdish, anti-democratic, and anti-liberal.[21] As pointed out by former prime minister Bülent Ecevit, the diversity of opinion reflects the diversity of the various deep state coalitions,[22] as the deep state is not so much an alliance, as several groups that work behind the scenes, each in pursuit of its own agenda.[23][24][25]

The Army

Another explanation contradicts the reduction of the deep state to an interest network, and defines it as a type of domination based on the high level of autonomy enjoyed by the military that enables the security apparatus to disrupt formal democratic institutions (in the foreground) by employing a repertoire of informal institutions (in the background), i.e. putsch threat, autocratic cliques, mafia, organized crime and corruption[26], terrorism (sometimes under false flag) or assassinations.

The US/UK/NATO-backed Operation Gladio has been important in the country since around 1945, and have been central in several military coups. In fact, the leader of the 1980 coup was also the leader of the country's Gladio network.


An event carried out

Castle PlanTurkeyTurkish government plan to widen the range of means used to fight the Kurdistan Workers' Party. This included using the resources of the Counter-Guerrilla, such as the Grey Wolves, to assassinate PKK members and supporters. To get the plan started the deep state had to assassinate President Turgut Özal.



Page nameDescription
Batı Çalışma GrubuDeep state group of high ranking Turkish military officers


Related Quotations

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan“The wannbe Sultan of a new Ottoman Reich, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, let his people vote in a referendum about new extensive powers for his office. Yesterday's "yes"/"no" vote was allegedly won by the "yes" side with 51.4% of the votes. This even though the "no" vote won in all major cities. In Turkey the vote in the major cities usually reflects the total. The campaign for the vote was very unfair with all state media and offices pushing for a "yes". Opposition politicians were put to jail or threatened with retribution. Media opposing Erdogan were suppressed or completely closed down.

There is significant reasons to believe that the vote count was fraudulently manipulated. On the day of the vote the election commission, stuffed with Erdogan cronies, suddenly allowed ballots without the official stamp to be counted. According to Turkish election laws each ballot, and each envelope of a postal vote, needs to be officially stamped before voting starts. This is supposed to prevent ballot stuffing with ballots printed outside of the official channels. The election commission has given no reason yet why it thought that such a last minute rule change, in opposition to the law, was necessary or even legal. Use of unstamped ballots was reported out of many election localities in rural areas where the "yes" votes now were the majority. Additionally video was recorded of local election workers stamping ballots after they had been used for voting.

The opposition is protesting and will go to court. But it will likely have little success. Erdogan has removed all judges and other legal personal that could go against him. An amateurish coup attempt against him, which he knew about before it happened, was used by him to clean all public offices of people not aligned with his party and program.

The new powers of the presidency will only come into force after the next election for the presidency. But everyone expects that Erdogan will use them right away. With the issue of the referendum put aside Erdogan is now free to escalate interior and exterior conflicts. We can expect new Turkish operations in Syria as well as in Iraq to be launched soon.

In the 1990s I extensively traveled in Turkey - alone, by local buses and mostly in the east. The country was waking up and in an intellectual and commercial growing phase. During the last years a new wave of conservatism has stopped that move. My friends there report of stagnation.

Turkey does not have the economic and intellectual power to become a new Ottoman Reich. It will fail in new expansive endeavors. But the attempt alone will be destructive for Turkey as well as for the countries around it.

Turkey is no longer a democracy. It is now a one man dictatorship with an expansive and distinct Islamist agenda. To change that will require the removal of Erdogan through some act of force.”
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Fethullah Gülen“He has since established more than 300 madrasahs in Central Asia and what he calls universities that have a front that is called Moderate Islam, but he is closely involved in training mujahideen-like militia Islam who are brought from Pakistan and Afghanistan into Central Asia where his madrasahs operate, and his organization's network is estimated to be around $25 billion.


He has opened several Islamic universities in the United States. As I said it's being promoted under Moderate Islam. It is supported by certain U.S. authorities here because of the operations in Central Asia, but what they have been doing since late 1990s is actually radical Islam and militizing (phonetic) these very, very young, from the age 14, 15, by commandoes they use, and this is both commandoes from Turkish military, commandoes from Pakistani ISI in Central Asia and Azerbaijan, and after that they bring them to Turkey, and from Turkey they send them through Europe, to European and elsewhere.”
Sibel Edmonds
Fethullah Gülen
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  1. https://doi.org/10.1080%2F03064220701334477 quote = The deep state is Turkish shorthand for a faceless clique inside the Turkish state that has, some claim, held the reins of real power throughout the republic's 84-year history. There are some who see it on a continuum with the shady networks that 'took care of business' (including, some believe, the Armenian business) in the last years of the Ottoman Empire. The deep state is held to be based in the army, but closely linked with the National Intelligence Service (MIT), the judiciary, and (since the 1960s) the mafia. https://web.archive.org/web/20141006140208/http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2007-06-06-freely-en.html
  2. https://archive.is/20130114072012/http://arama.hurriyet.com.tr/arsivnews.aspx?id=-564764 |quote=The 'deep state' consists of elements from the military, security and judicial establishments who, if need be, are ready to block or even oust a government that does not share their vision.}}
  3. https://web.archive.org/web/20081212053626/http://www.php.isn.ethz.ch/collections/coll_gladio/chronology.cfm?navinfo=15301
  4. http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/JCWS_a_00550#.VyP-SjArLIU
  5. https://www.tccb.gov.tr/pages/past_presidents/kenan_evren/
  6. https://www.webcitation.org/5uRjkSIYl?url=http://arsiv.sabah.com.tr/1997/06/28/y12.html
  7. https://web.archive.org/web/20100806130521/http://www.turkishweekly.net/columnist/3321/balyoz-operation-ii-squash-blossoms.html
  8. https://www.corbettreport.com/meet-fethullah-gulen-deep-state-plotter/
  9. https://akipress.com/news:773574:Erdogan_holds_emergency_meeting_after_reported_coup/
  10. https://www.ntv.com.tr/turkiye/ayhan-bora-kaplan-sorusturmasinda-7-supheli-tutuklandi,Aa3LMm3VRkOgrD1HsfSZxg
  11. Behind UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy.
  12. https://web.archive.org/web/20080226051736/http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=132371
  13. http://www.milliyet.com.tr/2006/01/09/siyaset/asiy.html
  14. http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1707482,00.html |quote=Most Turks have long suspected the existence of a covert web of elements within the security forces and bureaucracy who act outside the law to uphold their own political ends. There is even a household name for it: the 'deep state,' referring to a state within the state.
  15. http://todayszaman.com/tz-web/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=103554 |access-date=2008-08-30|quote=...the 1996 Susurluk affair. This incident led many ordinary Turks to suspect there was a deep state that operated according to its own set of interests and which was impervious to governmental control.
  16. http://www.sundayszaman.com/sunday/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=193618
  17. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Deep_state&oldid=738437985
  18. http://www.wrmea.com/archives/November_2006/0611044.html |journal=Washington Report on Middle East Affairs |publisher =American Educational Trust |pages =44–45 |date=November 2006 |access-date =2006-12-21 |quote =Yet speculation is rife as to who might really be behind the group.
  19. https://web.archive.org/web/20080226053817/http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=131390
  20. http://www.zaman.com.tr/haber.do?haberno=168354
  21. https://web.archive.org/web/20080421214021/http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=135951
  22. http://arsiv.sabah.com.tr/2005/04/11/gnd103.html
  23. https://web.archive.org/web/20090721182809/http://arama.hurriyet.com.tr/arsivnews.aspx?id=-502523
  24. http://www.jamestown.org/programs/gta/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=5197&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=167&no_cache=1 |quote=Although some elements were in contact with each other, the deep state was always more of an umbrella of judicial immunity for disparate - and often virtually autonomous - groups and individuals pursuing a common goal rather than a single tightly structured and centrally controlled organization.
  25. http://ergenekon-belgeleri.numaradanisim.com
  26. Söyler, Mehtap, "Informal institutions, forms of state and democracy: the Turkish deep state", Democratization, Volume 20, Issue 2, 2013, 310–334.