The 17 December 2013 operation appeared to be the seminal moment when the alliance, effectively at an end, between the Gulenists and the AKP finally turned into open conflict.
The suspect who was the focus of the operation staged by the Gulenist networks in the judiciary and police was Reza Zarrab, and the political goal was to besiege and bring down the ruling party through proof of corruption, arrests and detentions.
Those in power used third parties and entities’ position over “17-25 December” as a gauge to determine how they would relate to them.
Reza Zarrab, whom four years ago Erdoğan called “a philanthropist who has contributed to the country” and who was afforded protection and removed from jail and had his case closed, was in the limelight once again in a New York courtroom four years later on 29 November 2017. But, this time, he found himself there as one who had turned from being a defendant who consented to the all the charges against him to a witness testifying against the holders of power in Turkey. He has confessed to cheating the American treasury and financial institutions, violating the relevant American statute imposing sanctions on Iran and money laundering.
Zarrab has explained how he conspired with certain banks and former government ministers in Turkey to commit the crime of “busting the sanctions against Iran”. He claims to have given former Minister of Industry and Trade Çağlayan 45-50 million euro in bribes.
And, as these lines were being penned, he was readying to continue with his account of events.
The more Zarrab talks, the clearer the dimensions, scope and aim of the 17 December operation will become. Recall the debate in the 2013-2014 period: Turkish public opinion was occupied with the crime elements at the local level rather than what 17 December had unearthed. The main opposition was also embroiled in this, for sure. Money counting machines found at the Interior Minister’s son’s home, money stacked in shoe boxes at a public bank’s director’s residence, bribes served up to minsters in chocolate boxes, etc.
Had the Gulenists’ operation for example been conducted into a web of corruption in which it was suspected that tenders were being illicitly shared out among party supporters at a service-providing ministry or an AKP metropolitan municipality, this could have been covered up for long as those in power stayed there.
Moreover, the Gulenist organisation actually possessed, and moreover immediately prior the 2014 elections, ample capacity to stage operations whose effects and consequences were restricted to the national level. But they did not act on the local scale.
The one on 17 December 2013 was an operation which, if the necessary prosecutions were not made at the national level and within the legal sphere, might when the time came have international consequences for those who turned a blind eye. This fact must now have become apparent to everyone with Zarrab testifying in the New York court on 29 November 2017.
Nobody should be surprised at the globalist Gulenist organisation acting in line with a plan on a global scale while staging an operation in its birthplace of Turkey.
A portion of the Gulenists who staged the 17 December operation are in jail and a portion are on the run, but the tips of the poisoned arrows they fired have remained in the rulership’s body and their effect has now become visible.
After four years, the 17 December operation was transported onto the international plane on 29 December 2017.
Was this result predestined? Did the administrators of the established order in the USA cease to ignore the circumventing of the sanctions it had imposed on Iran through Zarrab’s machinations because Turkey’s foreign policy underwent radical change at the hands of the AKP rulership after 2009? We will learn the answer to this question through experience.
What is involved in the trial in New York is the legal manifestation of a political intention.
And what can possibly await us now?
The legal proceedings in New York will lead to certain initial political and economic consequences on the national and international scale.
One of these, as expected, will be a further deterioration in Turkish-American relations. If an effort is observed in the legal proceedings to draw a connection between those at the top of the power structure in Turkey and Zarrab’s crimes, the crisis will grow deeper in this case.
The trial in New York presents ruling circles with the opportunity to take their talk of Turkey facing an international plot that aims to overthrow Erdoğan to the extremes. Consolidation of the electorate on an anti-American and anti-Western axis will be accelerated thanks to this.
There is no press freedom in Turkey and the regime media more or less has full control. Due to effective censorship, a wide section of society will in any case remain uninformed of what is really going on in New York.
Moreover, ruling circles will also attempt to use this trial as a pretext to silence critical and opposition voices that have still to an extent managed to maintain a presence in Turkey.
The penalty that the US Department of the Treasury will most likely impose on certain Turkish banks as a result of the trial will have direct or triggering negative effects on the Turkish economy depending on their severity.
It is as yet too early to forecast what will come after that.