Ergenekon trial called off because Erdoğan allied with deep state - rights activist

The 235 suspects in the Ergenekon trial were acquitted of all charges on Monday because Turkish President Erdoğan came to an agreement with the deep state, prominent human rights lawyer and activist Eren Keskin told Ahval editor Burhan Ekinci in a podcast.

"Erdoğan became the state after all. He reconciled with the state and the deep state, and this naturally brought about the decision," Keskin said.

The Ergenekon case was one of a series of investigations targeting high-ranking military personnel, politicians, journalists and civil society figures accused of forming an armed organised crime empire and using their influence to attempt to overthrow Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.

The use of the “deep state” as a term goes back to the Young Turk period in 1908 and has related to events connected to the Armenian Genocide in 1915, the development of the Turkist nationalist movement and recent human rights violations against Kurds, according to Keskin.

The human rights lawyer referred to the “Turkist” ideology that describes Turkey as the homeland of Turks, and which has contributed to waves of nationalism, sometimes at the expense of the country’s minorities.

"I have always believed in the existence of a deep state. It can be called Ergenekon or something else, but unfortunately, we have never had an understanding of democracy in the Republic of Turkey that has made the country ready to put its own deep state on trial," Keskin said.

The human rights lawyer said Erdoğan's AKP and the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) hold the same stance when it comes to "red-lines" of the state, including the Armenian Genocide and the Kurdish question. The AKP represents the Islamist side of the official ideology, while the CHP and some smaller parties represent the Turkist side, she said.

The emerging opposition against Erdoğan's AKP also uses a discriminating and polarising language, according to Keskin.

"The rise of a real opposition in Turkey requires a political discourse that provides the atmosphere in which all rights violations since 1915 can be discussed freely," she said.