These superficial similarities threaten to overshadow some of the deeper differences, though. Zeynep Tufekci, a Turkish sociologist and writer at the University of North Carolina, tweeted a string of criticisms about the analogy Friday morning. “Permanent bureaucracy and/or non-electoral institutions diverging with the electoral branch [is] not that uncommon even in liberal democracies,” she wrote. “In the Turkey case, that’s not what it means. There was a shadowy, cross-institution occasionally *armed* network conducting killings, etc. So, if people are going to call non electoral institutions stepping up leaking stuff, fine. But it is not ‘deep state’ like in Turkey.”
Omer Taspinar, who teaches at the National Defense University, took a similar position. “The Deep State was a kind of criminal organization,” he said. “It was not the judiciary, the civil society, the media, or the bureaucrats trying to engage in checks and balances against a legitimately elected government. What we’re witnessing in the U.S., it’s basically the institutional channels.”
The Turkish deep state, historically, was willing to use violence to achieve its ends, and held close ties to organized crime. The resistance against Trump has involved leaking of government information—something that is sometimes criminal, and occasionally prosecuted, but is meaningfully different from killing or beating opponents.