Reuters reports: Turkey’s spymaster discusses possible military intervention in Syria with army and civilian chiefs, and days later their words are broadcast on the internet for all the world to hear.
The breach appeared to highlight a disturbing truth for Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan: that Turkey can no longer keep even top-level security planning secret, despite his purge of thousands of officials to root out a covert network of enemies he accuses of trying to sabotage the state and topple him.
“This crisis is one of the biggest in Turkish history,” a senior government official, who declined to be named, told Reuters. “A serious concern has certainly emerged regarding what follows now…If a meeting such as this has been listened to, others may have. We do not know who is in possession of them.”
Erdogan was out of public action on Friday, resting his voice strained by campaigning for local elections this weekend – the first in a string that will decide the future of a man who has reformed Turkey fundamentally but is now accused by critics of authoritarian and divisive tendencies. [Continue reading…]
Reuters also reports: If Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is fighting the toughest battle of his political career as corruption allegations swirl and elections approach, Turkey’s conservative Anatolian heartlands appear to have his back.
Here, far from dividing his pious core supporters, the graft scandal and bitter power struggle with a U.S.-based cleric have served only to stir more devotion to a man they see as Turkey’s greatest modern leader, delivering hospitals and schools and breaking the grip of secular elites over the past decade.
The run-up to pivotal local elections on Sunday has been overshadowed by a corruption affair that has seen almost daily recordings published anonymously on social media claiming to show illicit dealings by Erdogan’s inner circle.
One senior official called the crisis “one of the biggest in Turkish history” and the government has responded by blocking Twitter and YouTube, drawing public anger and international condemnation.
But in Konya, a conservative city that gave Erdogan’s AK Party 70 percent of the vote in a 2011 general election, many see the scandal as the prime minister does: part of a “dirty plot” to unseat him by ruthless and immoral political enemies.