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    The conspiracy archive: Turkey's deep state on trial

    Ertür, Başak (2016) The conspiracy archive: Turkey's deep state on trial. In: Motha, Stewart and van Rijswijk, H. (eds.) Law, Violence, Memory: Uncovering the Counter-Archive. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, pp. 177-194. ISBN 9781138830639.

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    The phrase ‘deep state’ in Turkish popular parlance refers to powers operating with impunity through and beyond the official state structure. It is considered to be a state within the state, a network of illegitimate alliances crisscrossing the military, the police force, the bureaucracy, the political establishment, the intelligence agency, mafia organisations and beyond; lurking menacingly behind the innumerable assassinations, disappearances, provocations, death threats, disinformation campaigns, psychological operations, and dirty deals of the past several decades. Recently, a number of criminal trials brought the deep state into Turkey’s courtrooms. My focus in this chapter is on the most famous of these, the so-called Ergenekon trial. I offer a reading of the Ergenekon case file as comprising an archive of the Turkish deep state, not because it successfully captures its history and facticity, but rather because it allows insight into the rationalities and passionate investments that culminate in the reification of the deep state. Two concerns guide my inquiry here: the problem of producing knowledge about the deep state, and the performative production of the state in trials involving state crimes. These two issues are inevitably related, since ways of knowing the political are intimately tied to ways of reifying it (Abrams 1988). In Pierre Bourdieu’s words, the state ‘thinks itself through those who attempt to think it’ (1994, p. 1). The case file in the Ergenekon trial has its own way of conjuring the state, in a bizarre amalgam of fact, fiction, fantasy, desire and disavowal – an amalgam best understood, I argue, in terms of the conspiratorial imagination. I conclude the chapter with a consideration of a way of knowing the deep state beyond the limits of legal and conspiratorial imagination, an articulation that mobilises the legal archive for a counter-conspiracy against the conspiring case files.


    Item Type: Book Section
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Law and Memory, Political Violence, Political Trials, Turkey's Deep State, Ergenekon Trial, Hrant Dink Murder Trial
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Law School
    Depositing User: Basak Ertur
    Date Deposited: 13 Aug 2015 13:11
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:18


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