The Power Struggle Between the AKP and the Derin Devlet

The power struggle between the AKP and the Dönmeh-led Derin Devlet (Turkish for ‘Deep state’) has been going on now for two decades in Turkey and has resulted in a slow yet significant Islamization of society and otherwise mostly a stalemate. While it is true that the AKP (the Turkish branch of the Muslim Brotherhood) succeeded in converting the Hagia Sophia museum into a mosque – this mostly symbolic victory for the Islamists does not hide the fact that the country retains a secularist constitution and remains a secular state. The Islamist AKP has thus been successful in partly Islamizing society and wholly unsuccessful in Islamizing the state. The Derin Devlet on its part has been successful in guarding the secular nature of the state in thus protecting the secularist heritage of the Dönmeh founder of the Derin Devlet, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (1881-1938). Turkey remains a peculiar synthesis between influences from the Islamist Muslim Brotherhoood and the Dönmeh-led, secularist Derin Devlet; a highly peculiar political blend of seemingly contradictory Crypto-Islamist and Crypto-Jewish perspectives.

Most Dönmeh Jews have assimilated and married secular Turks and the offspring have often been converted to Dönmeh Judaism in thus maintaining the continuity of Dönmeh Judaism which remains a subset of the Bektashi order as it has been since the founding of Dönmeh Judaism in the 17th century. While it has been widely claimed since the 17th century that the Dönmeh founding generation converted to Islam, what actually happened is that they were initiated into the Bektashi Order, a denomination of Median Judaism. Rather than switching sides between Rabbinic Judaism and Sunni Islam as the Sabbateans were widely alleged to have done were the Sabbateans historically almost uniquely transitioning from the Southern Jurisdiction of Judah to the Northern Jurisdiction of Israel. Was rabbi Sabbatai Zevi (1626-1676) aware of this when leading the Sabbateans into the Bektashi Order? The answer is most certainly in the affirmative. The top poskim (rabbinic decisors) who recognized him as the Mashiach (messiah) must have confided in him the secrets of esoteric Judaism, including that of the existence of Median Judaism, including the Bektashi Order.

An essential question in light of the persistent power struggle between the AKP and the Derin Devlet is therefore whether the Dönmeh-Derin Devlet will be able to grant permission for Median Jewry (including Dönmeh Jews) in Turkey to immigrate to Israel contrary to the wishes of the AKP?

Published by Daniella Bartfeld

Daniella Bartfeld is the founding director of the Aliyah Organization

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