Thursday, February 18, 2010

"The Undersecretariat of Public Order and Security" -- Say What?

Parliament passed a law on Wednesday creating an Undersecretariat of Public Order and Security. Hurriyet reports that "[f]unctioning under the auspices of the Interior Ministry, the new unit will produce new anti-terror policies while recruiting 94 personnel from different state institutions, including the National Intelligence Organization, or MİT, the General Staff, the gendarmerie and the police department." Apparently the institution will attempt to coordinate intelligence gather operations to provide for more effective counter-terror operations. The CHP has said it would annul the law, and some figures in opposition parties have said it will enable the AKP to set up its own "deep state."

Just where did this come from, and how does it figure into the Ergenekon investigation? Will the new Undersecretariat have much success in terms of "coordinating" intelligence over institutions with cultures and processes very much their own? What powers will it have to do so, and what cooperation is it likely to expect from MIT, the General Staff, the Jandarma, and the National Police Department? Will there be any oversight in addition to the Interior Ministry, which has a troubled history of its own under other governments? And, just how will the Undersecretariat affect Turkey's operations against PKK terrorism?

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