Turkish mafia chief Alaattin Çakıcı has spent decades persecuting opponents and people with different political views from him. As one of the leading figures of the right-wing extremist group called the Gray Wolf, which has focused its outrage in the past on leftists, Kurds and Alawites, Çakıcı is believed to be responsible. for at least 41 political murders. In 2004, a court sentenced him to 19 years in prison, partly for letting his ex-wife kill their son.
Many people breathed a sigh of relief when he was locked up. One of the most dangerous enemies of Turkish democracy has been removed from public life for a long time.
Now, however, Çakıcı is back. Last April, he was released from the High Security Sincan Prison as part of an amnesty related to the coronavirus pandemic. Since then, he has increasingly had a say in Turkish politics.
Immediately after his release, Çakıcı visited ally Devlet Bahçeli, head of the far right-wing MHP party and coalition partner of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In November, he issued a death threat against opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. “Follow your steps,” he wrote on Twitter. And when thousands of students took to the streets in Istanbul earlier this year to protest the appointment of a trusted Erdo tínan as rector of the famous Bosporus University, he labeled the protesters as terrorists. .
Mớiakıcı’s newly expanded public profile represents a fundamental change of power in Turkey. For many years, Erdoan pursued a religious program. But after a scuffing attempt in 2016 involving followers of the Muslim cleric Fethullah Gneth, he turned to radical nationalists. Since the 2018 presidential and parliamentary elections, he has been in power in a coalition with Bahçeli’s secular, right-wing Far Right National Movement Party (MHP).
The Party is the political arm of the Gray Wolf. It may have garnered only about 7% support in political polls, but its importance has grown massively in recent months – as has the influence of Gray Wolves veterans such as Çakıcı. Whether it’s a natural gas conflict with Greece, the fight on terror or Ankara’s approach to minorities, government policy is increasingly influenced by the MHP.
In mid-March, the main prosecutor, to Bahçeli’s insistence, filed a petition to the country’s highest court to ban Turkey’s second-largest opposition party, the left. -wing, in favor of the Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP).
Erdoğan has been steadfast in his efforts to avoid party bans. His party, the conservative Muslim Justice and Development Party (AKP), was almost banned in 2008. However, in the end, he succumbed to Bahçeli’s pressure, according to observers in Ankara. . Turkish journalist Can Dündar said: “Bahçeli has held the most powerful man in Turkey hostage. “Erdoğan brought the drum, but Bahçeli missed the beat.”
Many Europeans consider the Turkish president to be a kind of modern king who can do whatever he likes in Turkey. In reality, however, Erdoan was never strong enough to run the country on his own.
From the very beginning of his tenure, Erdoan collaborated with liberals, taking steps to prepare his country to join the European Union and opening the door to Turkey. foreign investors. Later, he formed an alliance with the Islamic G Embrace movement, Erdoğan’s movement of disregard for secular elites. Together, Erdoan and G Emperors blocked hundreds of opposition activists, condemning them to be terrorists in a series of trials. When the G Emman movement became too strong, he tried to strike a balance with the Kurds, with whom he put in place a historic peace process. However, after the HDP’s success in the 2015 parliamentary elections, he also turned his back on them. The only partners left for him were nationalists.
Ruler of the roll
The President’s confidants report that Erdoğan and Bahçeli really can’t stand each other. Erdoan’s origins are in the Milli-Görüş Islamic movement, which was oppressed in the 1980s and 90s by right-wing extremists and Kemalists in the state apparatus. He himself, hardly a fervent nationalist, to the Muslim community, the nation, was always more important to him than the nation. When he came to power in 2003, he pledged to break up right-wing radical networks in the military, police and justice, the so-called “deep states.”
Now, however, the “deep state” is stronger than ever. Because Erdoan did not have enough loyalists of his own, he replaced those who follow the G Embracing movement in the judiciary, the police, and the military with loyalists from the Gray Wolf after his 2016 pushback efforts, MP Mustafa Yeneroğlu, a former member of the AKP leadership, said. since its loyal transition to the liberal-conservative Democratic and Progressive Party (DEVA). “Erdoan has turned the forces that have fought against us for years into secret rulers of the country,” he said.
Right-wing extremists are no longer particularly afraid to capitalize on their power. Those who dared to criticize the MHP were threatened or, like opposition politician Selçuk Özdağ, even attacked.
The deputy head of former Prime Minister Ahmet Davuto Đalu’s Conservative Future Party, Özdağ had the guts to point out contradictions in Bahçeli’s political disciplines. In January, he was assaulted by several men with sticks in front of his home in Ankara, beaten so badly that he was hospitalized.
Özdağ is not the only government critic who has been the victim of perhaps right-wing attacks in recent weeks. In early March, journalist Levent Gültekin was beaten by 25 men in front of his Istanbul office after he viewed MHP ideology on air as a “disease”.
According to Özdağ, the situation in Turkey today is similar to the 1980s and 90s, when right-wing extremist groups, especially the Gray Wolf, hunted down their opponents. Thousands of leftists, Kurds and Alawites were murdered at that time, often at the behest of the state.
Erdoan tolerated right-wing extremists. Even with tens of thousands of opposition activists arrested in Turkey over the past few years, attacks on lawmakers and journalists remain unpunished. Mafia boss Alaattin Çakıcı has also been allowed to spread his hate message without leaving any consequences.
Erdoğan does not seem capable enough to offend MHP. The Turkish economy is in crisis, with the coronavirus pandemic making the situation even worse. Meanwhile, Erdoğan’s AKP has dropped in polls to just 30%. His re-election as president completely depends on the support of the far right.
Back to the 1990s
And the election is all that matters to the president, with all his other political goals coming second – especially reconciliation with the Kurds. At one point, Erdoğan empowered the Kurds more than any Turkish president before him. He eased the Kurdish language ban and invested billions of dollars in infrastructure in southeastern Turkey, where the Kurds dominate. In 2013, he is on the brink of finding a political solution to a conflict with the Kurdish terrorist organization PKK.
However, driven by radical nationalists, the president has now reverted to the flexible policies of the 1990s. The former HDP co-leader, Selahattin Demirtaş, has been in prison since five. 2016, along with thousands of other HDP members. More than 50 Kurdish mayors have been dismissed.
With the move to ban the HDP, Erdoğan and the extreme right-wing Bahçeli are taking the next step. They are trying to push the entire Kurdish movement out of Turkish politics. “Our honorable mission is to close the HDP on behalf of future generations so that they cannot return under a different name,” Bahçeli said. The Constitutional Court may have resubmitted the petition to state prosecutors two weeks ago due to a formal error, but hardly anyone in Turkey doubts that legal proceedings will be opened soon.
Further presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for 2023. However, observers believe Erdoğan and Bahçeli may conduct quick elections this fall to avoid the possibility of menstruation. economic deterioration further. Just three days after prosecutors filed for a ban on the HDP, Erdoğan fired the head of Turkey’s central bank and made a decision to withdraw from his country’s Istanbul Convention, aimed at preventing violence against women.
Indeed, it seems that Erdoan is once again pursuing the same strategy that won him the victory in previous elections: The radical polarization of Turkish society.