A tactical alliance in Turkey between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and a movement headed by theologian Fetullah Gülen is unraveling. And the break-up is threatening to turn acrimonious.
Tension between Erdoğan and the Gülen movement heightened with two late-December announcements by the prime minister’s office that listening devices had been found in his private offices. Erdoğan asserted that responsibility for the bugs lies with the deep state, a broad term used to describe reactionary elements within the Turkish political system and military that act outside of the law.
Over the past decade, Erdoğan’s government -- with the help of Gülen followers, who are well represented in the Turkish media, judiciary system, and police -- has drastically curtailed the political influence of the military. Thus, the bugging incident could well be part of an effort by recalcitrant generals to claw back some of their lost power.
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Dorian Jones is a freelance reporter based in Istanbul.