The Turkish phrase derin devlet literally means “deep state.” According to historian Ryan Gingeras, the term “generally refers to a kind of shadow or parallel system of government in which unofficial or publicly unacknowledged individuals play important roles in defining and implementing state policy.
This concept of a deep state, Gingeras continues, is used to “explain why and how agents employed by the state execute policies that directly contravene the letter and spirit of the law.” Breaking the law, of course, often means employing criminals. Gingeras, a specialist in organized crime in Turkey, looks at the underbelly of the Turkish deep state to examine how alliances between generals, statesmen and “narcotic traffickers, paramilitaries, terrorists, and other criminals” are formed. (Elsewhere, Gingeras traces the heroin connection, noting that the Turkish deep state itself is riven by factional rivalries.)
The Turkish Origins of the “Deep State”