Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #878 Update on Pan-Turkism, Islamism and the Earth Island Boogie

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This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment

Alparslan Celik & Friends give the Grey Wolf hand sign

Tayyip Erdo­gan

Intro­duc­tion: In recent years, we have not­ed grow­ing con­flu­ence between Mus­lim Broth­er­hood-based Islamism and Pan-Turk­ist ele­ments. As events in Ukraine, the Mid­dle East and Asia con­tin­ue to heat up, the Islamist/­Pan-Turk­ist con­nec­tion appears to be solid­i­fy­ing. The “cement” that is bring­ing them togeth­er appears to be ele­ments of West­ern intel­li­gence, the Under­ground Reich/transnational cor­po­rate fac­tion of the CIA in par­tic­u­lar.

This analy­sis is pre­sent­ed in con­junc­tion with, and against the back­ground of, the Earth Island or World Island as it is some­times known.

Stretch­ing from the Straits of Gibral­tar, all across Europe, most of the Mid­dle East, Eura­sia, Rus­sia, Chi­na and India, that stretch of land: com­pris­es most of the world’s land mass; con­tains most of the world’s pop­u­la­tion and most of the world’s nat­ur­al resources (includ­ing oil and nat­ur­al gas.) Geopoliti­cians have long seen con­trol­ling that land mass as the key to world dom­i­na­tion.  The pop­u­la­tion that occu­pies the mid­dle of that stretch of geog­ra­phy is large­ly Mus­lim.

Uti­liz­ing that Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion to con­trol the resources of the Earth Island is a strat­a­gem that has been in effect in the West for a cen­tu­ry.

 In our AFA series about the shoot­ing of the Pope, we exam­ined the Nation­al Action Par­ty of Turkey and its para-mil­i­tary cadre the Grey Wolves. In Syr­ia and Asia, Grey Wolf ele­ments have assumed com­bat roles against both Rus­sia and Chi­na.

In Syr­ia, the down­ing of a Russ­ian fight­er con­duct­ing oper­a­tions against Turk­men mili­tia pulled back the cur­tain on Pan-Turk­ist Grey Wolf ele­ments that con­sti­tute part of the so-called “mod­er­ate” rebel forces being armed by the West–Turkey and the Under­ground Reich facg­tion of CIA in par­tic­u­lar. The mili­tia who killed the Russ­ian pilot of the SU-24 are Grey Wolves.

Grey Wolf ele­ments have also been active in sup­port of the Mus­lim, Turko­phone Uighurs in fos­sil-fuel-rich Xin­jiang Province in Chi­na. After Thai­land extra­dit­ed Uighurs to Chi­na to face crim­i­nal charges, Grey Wolves demon­strat­ed against Chi­na in Turkey and appar­ent­ly det­o­nat­ed a bomb in Thai­land, tar­get­ing Chi­nese tourists.

In the Euro­pean por­tion of the Earth Island, Crimean Tatars are sup­port­ed by Tayyip Erdo­gan, who has been attempt­ing to real­ize a neo-Ottoman agen­da. Now, the Crimean Tatars are work­ing with the OUN/B heirs in Pravy Sek­tor to sab­o­tage the Crimean pow­er grid. (The head of the Ukrain­ian intel­li­gence ser­vice for most of the post-Maid­an peri­od was Valen­tyn Naly­vaichenko, joined at the hip with Pravy Sek­tor.)

The appar­ent sab­o­tage of the Crimean elec­tri­cal grid comes on the heels of Tatar/Pravy Sek­tor col­lab­o­ra­tion in block­ing over­land truck deliv­er­ies to Crimea, as well as the Crimean water sup­ply.

Much of the pro­gram con­sists of an excerpt from AFA #14 (record­ed in Jan­u­ary of 1986), review­ing the his­to­ry of the Pan-Turk­ist move­ment. Allied with Nazi Ger­many in World War II and fas­cist in nature, the pan-Turk­ists had long sought to carve up the Sovi­et Union and restore the Ottomon Empire.

A major focal point of the dis­cus­sion is the Promethean League. An anti-Sovi­et net­work sim­i­lar to the World Anti-Com­mu­nist League, the Promethean League was estab­lished between the world wars. Sub­si­dized by Mar­shall Pil­sud­ski’s Pol­ish intel­li­gence appa­ra­tus, the group was phys­i­cal­ly based in Poland, but heav­i­ly sup­port­ed by French intel­li­gence and ide­ol­o­gists based in France. Fea­tur­ing Pan-Turk­ist and Ukrain­ian ele­ments, many of the Promethean League groups jumped first to the Third Reich and lat­er to ele­ments of West­ern intel­li­gence and allied orga­ni­za­tions.

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

  • Nation­al Action Par­ty founder Alparslan Turkes’ agi­ta­tion for Turkey’s entry into World War II on the side of the Axis.
  • Turkes’ role as a key Turk­ish liai­son offi­cer with NATO.
  • Review of Chechen Islamists’ com­bat role in Ukraine.
  • Review of the Chechen fight­ers’ com­mand asso­ci­a­tion with Pravy Sek­tor, and their links with Turkey and the fight­ing in Syr­ia.
  • Dis­cus­sion of Grey Wolf activ­i­ty in Chech­nya.
  • The Syr­i­an Mus­lim Broth­er­hood’s role in admin­is­ter­ing CIA aid to the so-called “mod­er­ate” rebels in Syr­ia.
  • Hizb ut-Tahrir’s con­nec­tions to Crimean Tatar com­bat­ants in Syr­ia.
  • The Ukrain­ian gov­ern­men­t’s sup­port for the Crimean Tatar/Pravy Sek­tor actions against Crimea.
1a. Alparslan Celik, the head of the Turk­men mili­tia unit who was boast­ing of killing the para­chut­ing Rus­sia pilot, was fea­tured in a Dogan news agency report from last year about being the son of the MHP may­or of Keban and trav­el­ing to Syr­ia. Espe­cially since his rel­a­tively sparse twit­ter feed includes a tweet of Grey Wolves founder Alparslan Turkes in March of 2013, as well as a Jan­u­ary 2015 tweet of Alparslan and his Turk­men mili­tia mem­bers show­ing the Grey Wolves hand ges­ture. And just today a major pro-Kur­dish Turk­ish lawyer, Taher Elci, was just assas­si­nated while mak­ing a speech call­ing for an end to the hos­til­i­ties between the Turk­ish state and the PKK (which Gary Brech­er, a.k.a. The War Nerd, see as “state killing” writ­ten all over it).

It should also be not­ed that Turkey is now pros­e­cut­ing two inves­tiga­tive reporters who wrote of Turk­ish gov­ern­ment sup­port for Syr­i­an rebels. Reuters had pre­vi­ous­ly not­ed the accu­ra­cy of the dynam­ic of which the Turk­ish reporters had writ­ten.

“Syr­ia: Pho­tos of Alparslan Celik, Rebel Leader Who Shot Russ­ian Pilot Go Viral;” by John­lee Vargh­ese; Inter­na­tion­al Busi­ness Times; 11/27/2015.

The pho­tos of Alparslan Celik, a Syr­i­an rebel leader from Turkey, are being wide­ly shared on social media after he appeared in a video boast­ing of how he and his men shot the Russ­ian pilot while he para­chut­ed out from his plane on 24 Novem­ber.

Alparslan Celik is the leader of the Syr­i­an Turk­men brigade, which is sup­port­ed by Turkey and he shot into the inter­na­tion­al lime­light after he appeared in a video detail­ing the killing of the Russ­ian pilot.
He even showed-off some of the belong­ings tak­en from the Russ­ian pilot, Lieu­tenant-Colonel Oleg Peshkov. 

A graph­ic video post­ed online shows a gang mem­ber of Celik’s group stand­ing over the body of the dead Russ­ian pilot, with his foot over the chest of Lieu­tenant-Colonel Oleg Peshkov.

It is now being report­ed that Celik is a Turk­ish nation­al and his father was the may­or of Keban munic­i­pal­i­ty in Turkey’s Elazig province.

Celik, who has ear­li­er appeared in numer­ous pro­pa­gan­da videos of his group, is also the mem­ber of The Grey Wolves, which is an ultra­na­tion­al­ist group that has car­ried out sev­er­al polit­i­cal assas­si­na­tions.

1b. The evi­dence that CIA is aid­ing the so-called “mod­er­ate” rebels in Syr­ia, and by exten­sion, ISIS, is strong. They are work­ing with the Syr­i­an Mus­lim Broth­er­hood in that capac­i­ty.

“C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steer­ing Arms to Syr­i­an Oppo­si­tion” by Eric Schmitt; The New York Times; 6/21/2012.

A small num­ber of C.I.A. offi­cers are oper­at­ing secret­ly in south­ern Turkey, help­ing allies decide which Syr­i­an oppo­si­tion fight­ers across the bor­der will receive arms to fight the Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment, accord­ing to Amer­i­can offi­cials and Arab intel­li­gence offi­cers.

The weapons, includ­ing auto­mat­ic rifles, rock­et-pro­pelled grenades, ammu­ni­tion and some anti­tank weapons, are being fun­neled most­ly across the Turk­ish bor­der by way of a shad­owy net­work of inter­me­di­aries includ­ing Syr­ia’s Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and paid for by Turkey, Sau­di Ara­bia and Qatar, the offi­cials said. . . .

1c. Once again, we vis­it the sub­ject of the Earth Island or “World Island” as it is some­times called. Stretch­ing from the Straits of Gibral­tar, all across Europe, most of the Mid­dle East, Eura­sia, Rus­sia, Chi­na and India, that stretch of land: com­pris­es most of the world’s land mass; con­tains most of the world’s pop­u­la­tion and most of the world’s nat­ur­al resources (includ­ing oil and nat­ur­al gas.) Geopoliti­cians have long seen con­trol­ling that land mass as the key to world dom­i­na­tion.  The pop­u­la­tion that occu­pies the mid­dle of that stretch of geog­ra­phy is large­ly Mus­lim.

Uti­liz­ing that Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion to con­trol the resources of the Earth Island is a strategem that has been in effect in the West for a cen­tu­ry.

Now, we are see­ing the Uighurs, a Turko­phoneMus­lim group in the petro­le­um and nat­ur­al-resources-rich Xin­jiang province of Chi­na, receiv­ing sup­port from the Pan-Turk­ist/­fas­cist  Nation­al Action Par­ty and its youth wingthe Grey Wolves.

As Rus­sia is being boxed in by renascent Ukrain­ian fas­cism in the East and Cau­casian Islamist ter­ror in the Cau­ca­sus, we must won­der if the NAP/Grey Wolf PR offen­sive against Chi­na and on behalf of the Uighurs is part of an ongo­ing NATO/U.S./Underground Reich effort against the core of the Earth Island, Rus­sia and Chi­na.

Are we see­ing an effort at break­ing those coun­tries apart?  Are the Islamist and Pan-Turk­ist move­ments align­ing in fur­ther­ing this goal?

“Anti-Chi­na Sen­ti­ment Is Sud­den­ly Sweep­ing Over Turkey” by Bar­bara Tasch [Busi­ness Insid­er]; Yahoo News; 7/21/2015.

Protests. Burnt flags. Attacks on tourists and restau­rants. Ram­pant racism on social media.

Anti-Chi­na sen­ti­ment has been reach­ing new heights in Turkey over the last few weeks, as Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan is set to make an offi­cial state vis­it to Chi­na lat­er this month.

It start­ed at the begin­ning of July, when a Chi­nese restau­rant in Istan­bul was attacked by five men with sticks and stones.

“We do not want a Chi­nese restau­rant here, get out of our town!” the men were heard say­ing, accord­ing to Al-Mon­i­tor.

A few days lat­er, a Kore­an tourist mis­tak­en to be Chi­nese was attacked by a group of ultra-nation­al­ists in the cap­i­tal. On the same day in Balike­sir, pro­test­ers hung an effi­gy of Mao Zedong. And a few days lat­er, the protests spread again to Istan­bul, where Chi­nese tourists were attacked and harassed, accord­ing to CNN.

The protests gath­ered momen­tum a few weeks ago, when reports emerged that Uighurs — who share eth­nic­i­ty and have close cul­tur­al ties with Turk­ish Mus­lims — who were liv­ing in west­ern regions of Chi­na had alleged­ly not been allowed to fast dur­ing the holy month of Ramadan. Those alle­ga­tions have been denied by the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment. Uighurs make up around 45% of the Xin­jiang autonomous region of Chi­na.

On July 9, a group of about 200 men who are believed to be part of the East Turkestan Sol­i­dar­i­ty Group attacked the Thai embassy in Istan­bul with rocks and wood­en planks. The attack fol­lowed the repa­tri­a­tion of over 100 Uighurs back to Chi­na by the Thai gov­ern­ment.

In a recent inter­view, Devle­ty Bahceli, chair­man of the far-right Nation­al­ist Action Par­ty (MHP) in Turkey, whose mem­bers have been accused of assault­ing tourists, said they are “sen­si­tive to injus­tices in Chi­na.”

“Our nation­al­ist youth is sen­si­tive to injus­tices in Chi­na. They should have the free­dom to exer­cise their demo­c­ra­t­ic rights. These are young kids. They may have been pro­voked. Plus, how are you going to dif­fer­en­ti­ate between Kore­an and Chi­nese? They both have slant­ed eyes. Does it real­ly mat­ter?” he said, accord­ing to Al-Mon­i­tor

Those racist com­ments caused uproar in nation­al and inter­na­tion­al media. And fol­low­ing grow­ing social pres­sure, Nation­al­ist Action Par­ty mem­bers told Al-Mon­i­tor that they view all tourists as their guests. The head of the Grey Wolves, the youth wing of the MHP in Istan­bul, told the BBC that the attacks took place between pro­test­ers and the police — and that no tourists were harmed.

 “The safe­ty of every tourist com­ing to our coun­try is our respon­si­bil­i­ty. We can’t tol­er­ate any sort of vio­lence,” he said.

Amid the mul­ti­ply­ing attacks, the Chi­nese embassy issued a trav­el warn­ing to its cit­i­zens and told them to avoid going out alone, get­ting close to protests, or tak­ing pic­tures of them. The Chi­nese Phil­har­mon­ic Orches­tra also can­celed its August con­cert in Istan­bul, and local police announced it would pro­vide extra secu­ri­ty for an exhi­bi­tion by a Chi­nese artist. . . . .

1c. The Grey Wolves and Pan-Turk­ists appear to be active in Asia, per­pe­trat­ing ter­ror­ist bomb­ings against those sym­pa­thet­ic to Chi­na’s efforts against the Uighurs.

“Bangkok Bomb­ing: Who Are the Turk­ish Ter­ror­ist Group the Grey Wolves” by Lind­say Mur­doch; The Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald; 8/30/2015.

Neo-fas­cists from a Turk­ish ter­ror­ist group called Grey Wolves have emerged as key sus­pects in the Bangkok bomb­ing after the arrest of a man, believed to be Turk­ish, in the Thai cap­i­tal with bomb-mak­ing mate­r­i­al.

The group’s death squads have stalked Turkey since the 1960s, mur­der­ing left-wing and lib­er­al activists, uni­ver­si­ty stu­dents and jour­nal­ists and engag­ing in street bat­tles and attacks.

They gained inter­na­tion­al noto­ri­ety in 1981 when Mehmet Ali Agca, one of their col­lab­o­ra­tors, shot and near­ly killed Pope John Paul II in St Peter’s Square.

The Grey Wolves are known for their dis­tinct hand sign, which rep­re­sents a wolf head, made by hold­ing up a fore­fin­ger and lit­tle fin­ger.

The group’s ide­ol­o­gy cen­tres on the glo­ry days of Turk­ish his­to­ry, seek­ing to unite Mus­lim Tur­kic peo­ples from the Balka­ns to Cen­tral Asia in a pan-Turk­ish exten­sion of the Turk­ish nation-state.

The group extend­ed oper­a­tions in the ear­ly 1990s into post-Sovi­et states with Tur­kic and Mus­lim pop­u­la­tions, includ­ing the Nagorno-Karabakh War in Azer­bai­jan and Chechen con­flicts.

The group is believed to have ties to Turk­ish crime gangs that oper­ate in Bangkok that could have pro­vid­ed logis­ti­cal sup­port for their attack, secu­ri­ty ana­lysts say.

Thai police have been search­ing for Turk­ish nation­als who arrived in Thai­land in the 15 days before a blast tore through for­eign tourists and Thais at the Erawan Shrine on August 17, killing 20 peo­ple and injur­ing more than 120 in an unprece­dent­ed attack.

But their break­through in the inves­ti­ga­tion came when res­i­dents of a pre­dom­i­nant­ly Mus­lim dis­trict of Bangkok on Sat­ur­day report­ed to police the sus­pi­cious activ­i­ties of a non-Thai speak­ing man rent­ing five rooms in a seedy, four-sto­ry apart­ment block.

After more than 100 police sur­round­ed the build­ing, they found a man believed to be 28 in a room with a stack of false pass­ports and bomb-mak­ing equip­ment sim­i­lar to that used in the shrine bomb­ing, includ­ing ball bear­ings, pipes and fus­es.

The beard­ed man with short cropped hair has been charged with pos­ses­sion of bomb-mak­ing mate­r­i­al and is being held in a Thai mil­i­tary base pend­ing fur­ther inves­ti­ga­tion.

Antho­ny Davis, a respect­ed Bangkok-based secu­ri­ty ana­lyst with IHS-Jane’s, said last week the Grey Wolves were like­ly to be behind the bomb­ing because they had both motive and capa­bil­i­ty, although he did not rule out oth­er pos­si­bil­i­ties.

“They are vio­lent and oper­ate below the radar,” he said.

Mr Davis said the group had “latched on to in a big way” Uighur Mus­lims in west­ern Chi­na who claim they have suf­fered years of per­se­cu­tion from Bei­jing.

Thai­land infu­ri­at­ed the Uighur move­ment in July when the coun­try deport­ed to Chi­na 109 Uighur men who had been sep­a­rat­ed from their wives and chil­dren.

Eth­nic Chi­nese tourists appear to have been tar­gets of the shrine bombers.

Mr Davis described the Bangkok attack as poten­tial­ly the night­mare that has wor­ried secu­ri­ty agen­cies, a link-up between ter­ror­ism and organ­ised crime.

2a. The Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment appears to have tac­it­ly sup­port­ed the sab­o­tage of the Crimean pow­er grid.

“Ukraine Leaves Sab­o­taged Pow­er Lines to Russ­ian-Annexed Crimea in the Mud” by Pavel Poli­tyuk [Reuters]; Yahoo News; 11/27/2015.

Five days after sabo­teurs blew up pow­er lines in south­ern Ukraine plung­ing Russ­ian-annexed Crimea into an ener­gy cri­sis, all four dam­aged pylons are out of action and engi­neers say they need a polit­i­cal deci­sion to restore sup­plies.

The stale­mate has left some 2 mil­lion Crimeans reliant upon emer­gency gen­er­a­tors and has caused severe dis­rup­tion, expos­ing how depen­dent Crimea remains on Ukraine a year and a half after it broke away to join Rus­sia.

Some lim­it­ed repair work has tak­en place, say Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment and ener­gy offi­cials, who have spo­ken of how the prob­lem could — tech­ni­cal­ly — be fixed rel­a­tive­ly swift­ly.

But on Fri­day the dam­aged pylons lay flat in thick mud as the wind whipped across the flat fea­ture­less land­scape.

“If our high-lev­el lead­er­ship takes a polit­i­cal deci­sion to restore pow­er or not to do so — and there is no such deci­sion — we will do every­thing real­ly quick­ly,” said Ihor Bosko, a region­al ener­gy offi­cial. “We are sit­ting and wait­ing.”

So far, eth­nic Tatar activists and Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists have blocked repair teams. The author­i­ties have let the activists remain in place and pro­test­ers say they won’t budge until Rus­sia meets a series of polit­i­cal demands.

Tatars, a Mus­lim peo­ple with a long his­to­ry of habi­ta­tion in Crimea, accuse the penin­su­la’s new Krem­lin-backed author­i­ties of oppress­ing them, alle­ga­tions offi­cials deny.

A Reuters reporter saw three Ukrain­ian tanks and two armored per­son­nel car­ri­ers head­ed to the bor­der with Crimea on Fri­day after­noon, but it was unclear what their pur­pose was.

Rus­sia, which has accused Ukraine of “tor­tur­ing” Crimeans with the pow­er cuts, has respond­ed by cut­ting coal deliv­er­ies to Ukraine.

A Ukrain­ian law­mak­er close to the cir­cle of Prime Min­is­ter Arseniy Yat­se­niuk on Tues­day said the Crimean black­out had been orches­trat­ed with the tac­it con­sent of Kiev.

It was, he said, meant as a polit­i­cal sig­nal to Moscow. . . .

2b. Pravy Sek­tor appears to be work­ing with the Crimean Tatars in their ter­ror­ist activ­i­ties against Crimea.

 “As Sab­o­tage Blacks Out Crimea, Tatars Pre­vent Repairs” by Ivan Nechu­perenko and Neil Mac­Far­quhar; The New York Times; 11/23/2015.

Crimean Tatar activists and Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists on Mon­day pre­vent­ed repair crews from restor­ing the main pow­er lines in south­ern Ukraine that sup­ply Crimea, leav­ing the dis­put­ed penin­su­la in the dark and Ukraine and Rus­sia head­ed toward a stand­off over the issue. . . . .

. . . . The lead­er­ship of both the Crimean Tatars, forced into exile by Rus­sia, and a right-wing nation­al­ist group, Right Sec­tor, endorsed the destruc­tion with­out claim­ing respon­si­bil­i­ty. . . .

2c. More about the Pravy Sektor/Crimean Tatar coop­er­a­tion against Crimea:

“The Siege of Crimea (I);” german-foreign-policy.com; 11/26/2015.

Berlin is watch­ing with appre­hen­sion as the con­flict between Kiev and Moscow esca­lates again fol­low­ing Ukraine’s shut­ting down elec­tri­cal pow­er to Crimea. Last week, Crimean Tatars and mem­bers of the fas­cist Right Sec­tor are sus­pect­ed to have blown up sev­er­al elec­tric pylons, cut­ting off the sup­ply of pow­er to Crimea. Crimea receives near­ly 80 per­cent of its elec­tric­i­ty from Ukraine. The Berlin-spon­sored Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment sees itself as inca­pable of repair­ing the pow­er lines. It has imposed — in accor­dance with the embar­go poli­cies of the EU and the USA — its own trade embar­go on the penin­su­la. In the sum­mer 2014, the EU and the USA began impos­ing eco­nom­ic sanc­tions on Crimea, which was aggra­vat­ed by Kiev’s embar­go of water and block­ade of traf­fic for over a year. Ukraine will squan­der its remain­ing sym­pa­thy on the penin­su­la, warn observers. A sim­i­lar devel­op­ment had been observed in the Geor­gian seces­sion­ist regions of Abk­hazia and South Osse­tia since the 2008 Geor­gian-Russ­ian war. Ear­ly this week, the Ger­man gov­ern­ment applied pres­sure on Kiev to restore elec­tric­i­ty to Crimea, to avoid anoth­er esca­la­tion of the Russ­ian-Ukrain­ian con­flict, which Ger­many con­sid­ers detri­men­tal. To no avail — the esca­la­tion began yes­ter­day.

One of the Tough­est Embar­gos in the World

Even before the cur­rent ener­gy block­ade, sanc­tions imposed by the EU, the USA and Ukraine were already seri­ous­ly affect­ing Crimea, par­tic­u­lar­ly the eco­nom­ic sanc­tions, more than those tar­get­ing indi­vid­u­als. The import into the EU of goods pro­duced in Crimea has been pro­hib­it­ed since last sum­mer; since Decem­ber 2014 — invest­ment on the penin­su­la. For EU-based com­pa­nies even the pur­chase of real estate is for­bid­den. Export of ener­gy prod­ucts — includ­ing oil and nat­ur­al gas — as well as goods from the trans­porta­tion and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion sec­tors are not allowed. Even ser­vice for Crimean tourism is no longer per­mit­ted to be offered with­in the EU. The Unit­ed States has imposed sim­i­lar sanc­tions. Last sum­mer, Thomas De Waal, an expert at the USA’s Carnegie Endow­ment for Inter­na­tion­al Peace, assessed that this is “one of the tough­est embar­gos in the world.” De Waal has char­ac­ter­ized this as the “Siege of Crimea.”[1]

Turn off the Water

Since last year, the pro-west­ern Ukraine’s embar­go has been caus­ing addi­tion­al severe prob­lems in Crimea; one exam­ple being an embar­go on water for the penin­su­la. As a report in “Ukraine-Analy­sen,” pub­lished by the Uni­ver­si­ty of Bre­men has con­firmed, before seces­sion, the penin­su­la had received “up to 85 per­cent of its water sup­ply from the Ukrain­ian main­land.” In May 2014, Kiev turned off the water sup­ply — with dra­mat­ic con­se­quences. Agri­cul­ture, in par­tic­u­lar, was severe­ly affect­ed, report­ed “Ukraine-Analy­sen.” For exam­ple, cul­ti­va­tion of corn and soya had to be “dras­ti­cal­ly reduced,” and rice had to be aban­doned entire­ly. “Pro­vid­ing drink­ing water to the major indus­tri­al cities” such as Kerch and Feo­dosia “was a major prob­lem,” the report con­tin­ues. Accord­ing to offi­cial data, “con­sump­tion of water has fall­en by 20 per­cent over the past two years.”[2]

Cut Off From the Main­land

The numer­ous block­ades of trans­porta­tion and traf­fic also have an exceed­ing­ly dam­ag­ing effect. The Ukrain­ian rail­road has ceased ser­vice to the penin­su­la, with no rail­way access yet to Rus­sia. “Fer­ry ser­vice across the Straits of Kerch” is, for the time being, “the only larg­er trans­porta­tion link to the Russ­ian main­land,” notes the “Ukraine-Analy­sen.” How­ev­er, the fer­ry con­nec­tion is over­bur­dened and inter­rupt­ed in bad weath­er. Moscow seeks to solve the prob­lem with the con­struc­tion of a railway/automobile bridge across the Straits of Kerch. Con­struc­tion has begun and is sched­uled to be com­plet­ed by the end of 2018 [3] — three long years. Because of the dif­fi­cult acces­si­bil­i­ty, the import of food from Rus­sia is insuf­fi­cient to sat­is­fy the needs of the Crimean population.[4] “Ukraine-Analy­sen” reports that due to the insuf­fi­cien­cy of over­land con­nec­tions, “the air traf­fic to Crimea has sig­nif­i­cant­ly increased.” “It has tripled since 2013.” Only Russ­ian air­lin­ers land in Crimea — under high penal­ty fines — because Crimea’s inte­gra­tion into Rus­sia has not been rec­og­nized inter­na­tion­al­ly, Crimean air­space is still attrib­uted to Ukraine.[5]

Back­fire

Experts, like Carnegie Endow­men­t’s Thomas De Waal have been warn­ing for quite a while that the tough sanc­tions regime may, in the long run, back­fire against the West and its allies in Kiev. For the time being, Kiev still has access to “resources of loy­al­ty” in the Crimea, De Waal quot­ed the jour­nal­ist Andrej Sam­bros, who reports from Crimea for lib­er­al Russ­ian jour­nals, last July. For exam­ple, out of the two mil­lion peo­ple in Crimea, only 20,000 have renounced their Ukrain­ian cit­i­zen­ship, sug­gest­ing that most peo­ple want to keep their options open. How­ev­er, because of the ongo­ing sanc­tions, locals now pin their hopes on Moscow, De Waal reports. The sanc­tions strat­e­gy are rem­i­nis­cent of the meth­ods applied by Geor­gia towards their sep­a­ratist ter­ri­to­ries of Abk­hazia and South Osse­tia. After the August 2008 Geor­gian-Russ­ian War, Mikheil Saakashvili, then the Geor­gian pres­i­dent, insti­tut­ed tough laws on “occu­pied ter­ri­to­ries.” In South Osse­tia in 2008, the Saakashvili gov­ern­ment cut the gas sup­ply to the Geor­gian-major­i­ty town of Akhal­go­ri, in the hopes of pro­vok­ing anti-Russ­ian upheavals. The con­trary was the case. Fol­low­ing sev­er­al freez­ing win­ters, the pop­u­la­tion com­plained of “Geor­gian cru­el­ty.” Abk­hazia also suf­fered years of eco­nom­ic mis­ery but now has few con­nec­tions with Geor­gia and has under­gone a slow inte­gra­tion into the Russ­ian econ­o­my. De Waal report­ed that one Crimean Tatar bit­ter­ly com­plained that “we are los­ing Crimea because of this policy”[6] refer­ring to the embar­go imposed by Kiev and the West.

No Elec­tric­i­ty

The most recent esca­la­tion is spi­ral­ing the process even fur­ther. Crimean Tatars have been block­ing over­land access to Crimea with the help of fas­cist Right Sec­tor mil­i­tants, already since the end of Sep­tem­ber, to pre­vent deliv­er­ies from Ukraine from reach­ing the penin­su­la. Kiev has turned a blind eye. Late last week, it is sus­pect­ed that Crimean Tatars blew up sev­er­al elec­tric pylons, cut­ting off the 80 per­cent of Crimea’s Ukrain­ian elec­tri­cal sup­ply, as had been done ear­li­er with Crimea’s water sup­ply. Ukraine’s Min­is­ter of Ener­gy declared that the elec­tri­cal lines would be restored, but this requires access to the destroyed pylons.[7] Crimean Tatars and fas­cists of the Right Sec­tor are block­ing access to the scenes of the attacks. The Berlin-spon­sored gov­ern­ment in Kiev has no inten­tion of forc­ing the repairs. Instead, it has ordered a halt also to com­merce in mer­chan­dise with Crimea. Rus­sia has declared a state of emer­gency and is rush­ing to lay a sub­ma­rine cable through the Straits of Kerch, which how­ev­er will not be com­plet­ed before the end of the year. The major­i­ty of the pop­u­la­tion will have to brave the Crimean win­ter with­out lights and warmth until then.[8]

Crim­i­nal Acts

The Ger­man gov­ern­ment, which had helped insti­gate the sanc­tions strat­e­gy through the impo­si­tion of EU sanc­tions, is now watch­ing these devel­op­ments with appre­hen­sion. Mar­tin Schäfer, the spokesper­son for the Ger­man For­eign Min­istry, char­ac­ter­ized the sab­o­tage of the elec­tri­cal pylons as a “crim­i­nal act.” “We are expect­ing these inci­dents to be han­dled as such” and “that the sup­ply of elec­tric­i­ty in and to Crimea will be restored,” he said at the Fed­er­al Press Con­fer­ence. Berlin would like to get the Ukraine con­flict final­ly under con­trol. The objec­tive is to pre­vent an EU-endan­ger­ing resur­gence of the civ­il war, ren­der Ger­man busi­ness rela­tions with Rus­sia pos­si­ble again — and, along the way, become Europe’s num­ber one reg­u­la­to­ry force. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[9]) How­ev­er, Kiev — in the process of becom­ing more rad­i­cal­ized — refus­es to heed Berlin’s admo­ni­tions, balks at re-estab­lish­ing the sup­ply of elec­tric­i­ty. Rather than react to Rus­si­a’s call to pay its gas bills or have its gas sup­ply cut off, Ukraine has declared it was clos­ing its air space to Russ­ian flights. Esca­la­tion spi­rals fur­ther.

The Crimean Tatars, impli­cat­ed in blow­ing up the elec­tric pylons, are play­ing an impor­tant role in the esca­la­tion strat­e­gy against Crimea. german-foreign-policy.com will con­tin­ue with a report on the Crimean Tatars.

For more infor­ma­tion on this top­ic see: Mov­ing West and Stein­meier and the Oli­garchs.

[1] Thomas De Waal: The New Siege of Crimea. nationalinterest.org 09.07.2015.
[2], [3] Julia Kusznir: Rus­sis­che Wirtschafts­förderung für die Krim — eine Zwis­chen­bi­lanz. In: Ukraine-Analy­sen Nr. 158, 28.10.2015, 2–5.
[4] Kate­ri­na Bosko: “Es geht ums Geschäft”: Die Krim-Block­ade und die Real­ität der Wirtschafts­beziehun­gen mit der Krim nach einein­halb Jahren Annex­ion. In: Ukraine-Analy­sen Nr. 158, 28.10.2015, 5–9.
[5] Julia Kusznir: Rus­sis­che Wirtschafts­förderung für die Krim — eine Zwis­chen­bi­lanz. In: Ukraine-Analy­sen Nr. 158, 28.10.2015, 2–5.
[6] Thomas De Waal: The New Siege of Crimea. nationalinterest.org 09.07.2015.
[7] Friedrich Schmidt: Hal­binsel im Dunkeln, aber unter Strom. Frank­furter All­ge­meine Zeitung 25.11.2015.
[8] Axel Eich­holz: Krim bleibt dunkel. www.neues-deutschland.de 24.11.2015.
[9] See Kon­trollmis­sion in Kiew and Like in the Cold War.

2c. Two dif­fer­ent types of fas­cist cadres are oper­at­ing in tan­dem in Ukraine–in addi­tion to the OUN/B heirs such as the Pravy Sek­tor for­ma­tions, Chechen fight­ers (almost cer­tain­ly allied with some ele­ment of Mus­lim Broth­er­hood) are now fight­ing along­side them and under the Pravy Sek­tor admin­is­tra­tive com­mand.

The Chechen for­ma­tions are described as “broth­ers” of the Islam­ic State.

The Boston Marathon bomb­ing appears to have been blow­back from a covert oper­a­tion back­ing jihadists in the Cau­ca­sus.

“Ukraine Merges Nazis and Islamists” by Robert Par­ry; Con­sor­tium News; 7/7/2015.

In a curi­ous­ly upbeat account, The New York Times reports that Islam­ic mil­i­tants have joined with Ukraine’s far-right and neo-Nazi bat­tal­ions to fight eth­nic Russ­ian rebels in east­ern Ukraine. It appears that no com­bi­na­tion of vio­lent extrem­ists is too wretched to cel­e­brate as long as they’re killing Russ-kies.

The arti­cle by Andrew E. Kramer reports that there are now three Islam­ic bat­tal­ions “deployed to the hottest zones,” such as around the port city of Mar­i­upol. One of the bat­tal­ions is head­ed by a for­mer Chechen war­lord who goes by the name “Mus­lim,” Kramer wrote, adding:

“The Chechen com­mands the Sheikh Mansur group, named for an 18th-cen­tu­ry Chechen resis­tance fig­ure. It is sub­or­di­nate to the nation­al­ist Right Sec­tor, a Ukrain­ian mili­tia. … Right Sec­tor … formed dur­ing last year’s street protests in Kiev from a half-dozen fringe Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist groups like White Ham­mer and the Tri­dent of Stepan Ban­dera.

“Anoth­er, the Azov group, is open­ly neo-Nazi, using the ‘Wolf’s Hook’ sym­bol asso­ci­at­ed with the [Nazi] SS. With­out address­ing the issue of the Nazi sym­bol, the Chechen said he got along well with the nation­al­ists because, like him, they loved their home­land and hat­ed the Rus­sians.”

As casu­al­ly as Kramer acknowl­edges the key front-line role of neo-Nazis and white suprema­cists fight­ing for the U.S.-backed Kiev regime, his arti­cle does mark an aber­ra­tion for the Times and the rest of the main­stream U.S. news media, which usu­al­ly dis­miss any men­tion of this Nazi taint as “Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da.” . . .

. . . . Now, the Kiev regime has added to those “forces of civ­i­liza­tion” — resist­ing the Russ-kie bar­bar­ians — Islam­ic mil­i­tants with ties to ter­ror­ism. Last Sep­tem­ber, Marcin Mamon, a reporter for the Inter­cept, reached a van­guard group of these Islam­ic fight­ers in Ukraine through the help of his “con­tact in Turkey with the Islam­ic State [who] had told me his ‘broth­ers’ were in Ukraine, and I could trust them.”

The new Times arti­cle avoids delv­ing into the ter­ror­ist con­nec­tions of these Islamist fight­ers. . . .

2e. We present more about the Chechen/Islamic State fight­ers in Ukraine. Note that, as dis­cussed in FTR #830, the Islam­ic State appears to be anoth­er branch of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. Note, also, that Geor­gia also was har­bor­ing Islamist fight­ers cam­paign­ing against Rus­sia. We high­light­ed this in FTR #710.

The Dai­ly Beast has a new piece on the Chechen Jihadists fight­ing in Ukraine after fight­ing for ISIS and how, with talk of mak­ing Right Sec­tor part of the SBU, there’s grow­ing spec­u­la­tion that a Chechen ‘vol­un­teer bat­tal­ion’ is just a mat­ter of time:

“Chechen Jihadists Join Ukraine’s Fight­ers” by Anna Nemtso­vaThe Dai­ly Beast; 9/04/2015.

Chechen Jihadis Leave Syr­ia, Join the Fight in Ukraine

A bat­tal­ion of fight­ers from the Cau­ca­sus is deployed on Kiev’s side in the Ukraine war. But their pres­ence may do more harm than good.

Just an hour’s dri­ve from this city under siege, at an old resort on the Azov Sea that’s now a mil­i­tary base, mil­i­tants from Chechnya—veterans of the jihad in their own lands and, more recent­ly, in Syr­ia—now serve in what’s called the Sheikh Mansur Bat­tal­ion. Some of them say they have trained, at least, in the Mid­dle East with fight­ers for the so-called Islam­ic State, or ISIS.

Among the irreg­u­lar forces who’ve enlist­ed in the fight against the Russ­ian-backed sep­a­ratists in the Don­bas region of east­ern Ukraine, few are more con­tro­ver­sial or more dan­ger­ous to the cred­i­bil­ity of the cause they say they want to serve. Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin would love to por­tray the fight­ers he sup­ports as cru­saders against wild-eyed jihadists rather than the gov­ern­ment in Ukraine that wants to inte­grate the coun­try more close­ly with West­ern Europe.

Yet many Ukrain­ian patri­ots, des­per­ate to gain an edge in the fight against the Russ­ian-backed forces, are will­ing to accept the Chechen mil­i­tants on their side.

Over the past year, dozens of Chechen fight­ers have come across Ukraine’s bor­der, some legal­ly, some ille­gally, and con­nected in Don­bas with the Right Sec­tor, a far-right-wing mili­tia. The two groups, with two bat­tal­ions, have lit­tle in com­mon, but they share an ene­my and they share this base.

The Dai­ly Beast spoke with the Chechen mil­i­tants about their pos­si­ble sup­port for the Islam­ic State and its affil­i­ate in the North­ern Cau­ca­sus region of Rus­sia, which is now called the Islam­ic State Cau­ca­sus Emi­rate and is labeled a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion by both Rus­sia and the Unit­ed States. . . .

3. In the past, we have not­ed that the sup­pos­ed­ly “mod­er­ate” Islamist gov­ern­ment of Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan isn’t “mod­er­ate” at all. Descend­ed from the Al-Taqwa/­Mus­lim Broth­er­hood milieu, it is both Islamist and Pan-Turk­ist in its out­look. Erdo­gan and his for­eign min­is­ter have been pos­tur­ing in defense of the Crimean Tatars and–doing some­thing he has become known for–con­jur­ing the Ottoman Empire in their polit­i­cal pro­nounce­ments.

“Turkey Moves to Pro­tect Crimea’s Tatar Minor­i­ty”; Mid­dle East Online; 3/13/2014.

Turkey, which has kept a low pro­file in the Ukraine cri­sis, is mak­ing moves to pro­tect Crimea’s eth­nic Tatar minor­i­ty as the region pre­pares for a ref­er­en­dum on join­ing Rus­sia this week.

Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan has pledged to sup­port Crimea’s Turk­ish-speak­ing Tatar minor­i­ty, which Ankara fears could be side­lined in a March 16 vote on switch­ing over to Krem­lin rule.

“Turkey has nev­er left Crimean Tatars alone and will nev­er do so,” he said, after a phone call to Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin ear­li­er this month.

Turkey’s For­eign Min­is­ter Ahmet Davu­to­glu vowed to pro­tect the “rights of our kins­men” after meet­ing with Ukrain­ian offi­cials and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Tatar com­mu­ni­ty dur­ing an unsched­uled vis­it to Kiev ear­li­er this month. . . .

4. Of con­sid­er­able impor­tance in the con­text of the Crimean Tatar pop­u­la­tion of the Ukraine is the fact that Hizb ut-Tahrir has a cadre in that his­tor­i­cal­ly peace­ful and ecu­meni­cal pop­u­la­tion group. Hizb ut-Tahrir is both Islamist and asso­ci­at­ed with Pan-Turk­ism. The group has net­worked with the NPD, the top Ger­man neo-Nazi par­ty.

“Crimean Tatars on Guard Against Join­ing Rus­sia” by Noah Snei­der; The New York Times; 3/14/2014.

. . . . While the Tatars have a his­to­ry of peace­ful resis­tance, the poten­tial for rad­i­cal­iza­tion does exist. Tatar mil­i­tants have fought along­side the oppo­si­tion in Syr­ia, and Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islam­ic group banned in sev­er­al coun­tries includ­ing Rus­sia, has 1,000 mem­bers in Crimea, accord­ing to Fazil Amza­yev, a spokesman for the group’s local chap­ter. . . .

5. One of the ele­ments loom­ing large in the Ukrain­ian cri­sis is the pan-Turk­ist move­ment. Allied with Nazi Ger­many in World War II and fas­cist in nature, the pan-Turk­ists had long sought to carve up the Sovi­et Union and restore the Ottomon Empire. The pro­gram devotes con­sid­er­able time to an excerpt from AFA #14 (record­ed in Jan­u­ary of 1986.)

A major focal point of the dis­cus­sion is the Promethean League. An anti-Sovi­et net­work sim­i­lar to the World Anti-Com­mu­nist League, the Promethean League was estab­lished between the world wars. Sub­si­dized by Mar­shall Pil­sud­ski’s Pol­ish intel­li­gence appa­ra­tus, the group was phys­i­cal­ly based in Poland, but heav­i­ly sup­port­ed by French intel­li­gence and ide­ol­o­gists based in France. Fea­tur­ing Pan-Turk­ist and Ukrain­ian ele­ments, many of the Promethean League groups jumped first to the Third Reich and lat­er to ele­ments of West­ern intel­li­gence and allied orga­ni­za­tions.

We note that Alparslan Turkes was a key Turk­ish liai­son offi­cer with NATO.

Discussion

7 comments for “FTR #878 Update on Pan-Turkism, Islamism and the Earth Island Boogie”

  1. Well, the pow­er lines flow­ing from Ukraine to Crimea have been repaired, although it “is also not a coin­ci­dence that it hap­pened just a few days after Rus­sia launched its own pow­er sup­ply to the penin­su­la”:

    The New York
    Elec­tric­i­ty Restored to Crimea After 2 Weeks of Dark­ness

    By IVAN NECHEPURENKO
    DEC. 8, 2015

    MOSCOW — Elec­tric­i­ty was final­ly restored to Crimea on Tues­day, two weeks after unknown sabo­teurs blew up high-ten­sion pow­er lines in Ukraine, plung­ing mil­lions on the penin­su­la into dark­ness.

    Ukrain­ian line­men con­nect­ed one of the four pow­er lines on Tues­day morn­ing, after the Crimean Tatar pro­test­ers who had blocked util­i­ty crews final­ly relent­ed — so that pow­er could be pro­vid­ed to crit­i­cal­ly impor­tant facil­i­ties, such as hos­pi­tals and schools, they said.

    But that line, togeth­er with local sources and the expe­dit­ed con­nec­tion of the first phase of direct, under­sea links with the Russ­ian pow­er grid last week, was enough to restore nor­mal pow­er sup­ply on the penin­su­la, Russia’s Ener­gy Min­istry said.

    Trol­ley bus­es began to run in Sim­fer­opol and the local gov­ern­ment promised to turn on street­lights by the end of the week.

    The Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist group Right Sec­tor, which had also blocked repair crews from the site, said in a state­ment that it did not approve of the deci­sion to restore pow­er.

    “We inter­pret it as anoth­er anti-Ukrain­ian step by the cur­rent regime,” the state­ment said, refer­ring to the gov­ern­ment in Kiev. “Some of our allies and part­ners flirt with our ene­mies.”

    The Tatars had demand­ed that Rus­sia release polit­i­cal pris­on­ers and allow more inter­na­tion­al over­sight of human rights issues in Crimea, but those demands were not ful­filled.

    The Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment had been coy about the block­ade, nei­ther open­ly endors­ing it nor dis­pers­ing the activists in order to repair the pow­er lines.

    At the end of Novem­ber, how­ev­er, Rus­sia and the pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratists who con­trol mines in east­ern Ukraine began to restrict coal sup­plies to Ukraine, an embar­go that ana­lysts say had some effect on Kiev’s think­ing.

    “It was clear that Rus­sia would not make any con­ces­sions and that Ukraine would instead face dif­fi­cul­ties with coal sup­plies,” Valentin Zemlyan­sky, an ener­gy expert at the Nation­al Acad­e­my of Sci­ences of Ukraine, said in a phone inter­view. “It is also not a coin­ci­dence that it hap­pened just a few days after Rus­sia launched its own pow­er sup­ply to the penin­su­la.”

    ...

    “The Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment had been coy about the block­ade, nei­ther open­ly endors­ing it nor dis­pers­ing the activists in order to repair the pow­er lines.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 12, 2015, 1:23 pm
  2. Erdo­gan appears to be in an unusu­al­ly con­cil­ia­to­ry mood late­ly: In addi­tion to nor­mal­iz­ing rela­tions with Israel after a six year split, Turkey’s gov­ern­ment issue an apol­o­gy for shoot­ing down one of Rus­si­a’s planes last year, claim­ing it was all unin­ten­tion­al. Adding to the apol­o­gy, a region­al Turk­ish pros­e­cu­tor announced that he would pros­e­cute Alparslan Çelik for the death of the Russ­ian pilot:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    Turkey apol­o­gizes for shoot­ing down Russ­ian war­plane last year

    By Andrew Roth June 27 at 12:43 PM

    MOSCOW — Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan apol­o­gized Mon­day for the down­ing of a Russ­ian war­plane in Novem­ber and called for Rus­sia and Turkey to mend a bilat­er­al rela­tion­ship that has become open­ly hos­tile over the inci­dent.

    One Russ­ian pilot was killed last year when two Turk­ish F‑16s shot down a Russ­ian Su-24 war­plane over Turkey’s bor­der with Syr­ia in an unex­pect­ed clash that Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladi­mir Putin called a “stab in the back admin­is­tered by the accom­plices of ter­ror­ists.” In footage lat­er aired on Russ­ian state tele­vi­sion, pro-Turk­ish rebels fired auto­mat­ic rifles at the Russ­ian pilot as he para­chut­ed to the ground. The Krem­lin was furi­ous, impos­ing a series of pun­ish­ing sanc­tions against Ankara while demand­ing for months that Erdo­gan per­son­al­ly apol­o­gize.

    On Mon­day, Erdo­gan wrote to Putin that he “would like to inform the fam­i­ly of the deceased Russ­ian pilot that I share their pain and to offer my con­do­lences to them. May they excuse us.” In a state­ment, Erdogan’s press sec­re­tary said Rus­sia and Turkey “have agreed to take nec­es­sary steps with­out delay to improve bilat­er­al rela­tions,” specif­i­cal­ly not­ing region­al crises and com­bat­ing ter­ror­ism.

    “We had no wish or inten­tion to down a plane of the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion,” a Krem­lin press release quot­ed the Turk­ish com­mu­nique as say­ing. “I share their pain with my whole heart,” Erdo­gan wrote of the fam­i­ly of the pilot.

    The per­son­al apol­o­gy from one of the region’s most auto­crat­ic politi­cians came on a day of diplo­ma­cy that dealt with some of the inter­na­tion­al ten­sion he has gen­er­at­ed in recent years. Turkey on Mon­day also nor­mal­ized rela­tions with Israel, end­ing a six-year rift over the killing by Israeli com­man­dos of Turk­ish activists aboard an aid ship bound for the Gaza Strip.

    The Turk­ish attack on the Russ­ian jet occurred a month after Moscow inter­vened mil­i­tar­i­ly in Syr­ia to back the regime of Pres­i­dent Bashar al-Assad and car­ry out airstrikes against a broad swath of the sec­u­lar and Islamist oppo­si­tion. A res­cue oper­a­tion to save the pilot also end­ed in dis­as­ter, as a Russ­ian marine was killed after rebels downed a res­cue heli­copter.

    At the time, Turkey claimed that the Russ­ian pilot had flown into Turk­ish ter­ri­to­ry and had bombed rebel posi­tions occu­pied by Turk­men rebels, whom Erdo­gan had backed and armed against the Assad gov­ern­ment. It was not imme­di­ate­ly clear whether Turkey was renounc­ing those claims on Mon­day.

    Rus­sia, which had main­tained friend­ly rela­tions with Erdo­gan and saw the coun­try as a poten­tial coun­ter­weight to Europe, react­ed angri­ly to the inci­dent. It inten­si­fied attacks on Turk­ish-backed rebels in north­ern Syr­ia and imposed a series of painful sanc­tions on Turk­ish imports and labor, as well as on Russ­ian tourism to Turkey, that have cost the coun­try bil­lions.

    The Krem­lin has insist­ed on a per­son­al apol­o­gy for months, as well as the pros­e­cu­tion of the alleged killer of the pilot. In anoth­er con­ces­sion Mon­day, a region­al Turk­ish pros­e­cu­tor announced that he would pros­e­cute Alparslan Çelik, a Turk­ish nation­al fight­ing along­side Syr­i­an rebels, for the death of the Russ­ian pilot.

    ...

    Rus­sia said Mon­day that Putin had received the apol­o­gy, but no reac­tion was report­ed.

    “The Krem­lin has insist­ed on a per­son­al apol­o­gy for months, as well as the pros­e­cu­tion of the alleged killer of the pilot. In anoth­er con­ces­sion Mon­day, a region­al Turk­ish pros­e­cu­tor announced that he would pros­e­cute Alparslan Çelik, a Turk­ish nation­al fight­ing along­side Syr­i­an rebels, for the death of the Russ­ian pilot.
    That is indeed a notable con­ces­sion, assum­ing the pros­e­cu­tion does­n’t fiz­zle. He must be chan­nel­ing his inner-Sméagol. Let’s hope it takes less than a major inter­na­tion­al mil­i­tary inci­dent to bring out Erdo­gan’s Sméagol-side in the future. Turkey needs to see more Sméagol. A lot more.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 27, 2016, 12:14 pm
  3. Dai­ly Mail UK, July 1, 2016 Head­lines:
    Two of the Istan­bul ter­ror­ists ‘had Russ­ian pass­ports’ and were plan­ning to take ‘dozens’ of hostages dur­ing air­port mas­sacre

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3670219/Two-Istanbul-terrorists-Russian-passports-planning-dozens-hostages-airport-massacre.html#ixzz4DManDh7F

    Excerpts

    Ear­li­er reports ter­ror­ists from the Russ­ian region of Dages­tan, as well as the ex-Sovi­et republics of Kyr­gyzs­tan and Uzbek­istan.

    Some sources call Vadim Osman­ov a Chechen, some — a Dages­tani.

    It is thought the mas­ter­mind behind the attacks could be a Chechen war­lord, Akhmed Chatayev.

    Chatayev — nick­named ‘One-arm’ — alleged­ly organ­ised two dead­ly bomb­ings this year in the heart of the city’s Sul­tanah­met tourist dis­trict and the busy Istik­lal shop­ping street, the Hur­riyet news­pa­per said.

    Peo­ple from Dages­tan, Chech­nya and Azer­bai­jan are among those arrest­ed by Turk­ish police since Tues­day evening, with the author­i­ties appar­ent­ly hop­ing to deport a num­ber in the com­ing weeks.

    One of detainees is Tagir Mini­bayev, from Bashkiria, in Rus­sia, who is an activist for Hizb ut-Tahrir, a par­ty banned in his home coun­try. His fam­i­ly and him got polit­i­cal refuge in Turkey a few years ago.

    Posted by Anonymous | July 3, 2016, 8:25 am
  4. Could the ter­ror­ist attack on the air­port in Turkey
    attack be relat­ed to Turkey Apol­o­giz­ing to Rus­sia and nor­mal­iz­ing rela­tions with Israel. One MSNBC inter­vie­wee said no, it would take to long to plan in advance. But, this does not address the pos­si­bil­i­ty that this inci­dent was planned so that an attack could be orches­trat­ed on short notice to address a polit­i­cal issue that the ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion did not approve of.

    Dai­ly Mail UK, July 1, 2016 Head­lines:
    Two of the Istan­bul ter­ror­ists ‘had Russ­ian pass­ports’ and were plan­ning to take ‘dozens’ of hostages dur­ing air­port mas­sacre

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3670219/Two-Istanbul-terrorists-Russian-passports-planning-dozens-hostages-airport-massacre.html#ixzz4DManDh7F

    Excerpts
    Kyr­gyzs­tan’s for­eign min­istry claimed ‘the Turk­ish author­i­ties have estab­lished the iden­ti­ties of two ter­ror­ists’ and named them as Rakim Bul­gar­ov and Vadim Osman­ov.

    Both held Russ­ian pass­ports, they claimed.

    Ear­li­er reports ter­ror­ists from the Russ­ian region of Dages­tan, as well as the ex-Sovi­et republics of Kyr­gyzs­tan and Uzbek­istan.

    Some sources call Vadim Osman­ov a Chechen, some – a Dages­tani.

    It is thought the mas­ter­mind behind the attacks could be a Chechen war­lord, Akhmed Chatayev.

    Chatayev – nick­named ‘One-arm’ – alleged­ly organ­ised two dead­ly bomb­ings this year in the heart of the city’s Sul­tanah­met tourist dis­trict and the busy Istik­lal shop­ping street, the Hur­riyet news­pa­per said.

    Peo­ple from Dages­tan, Chech­nya and Azer­bai­jan are among those arrest­ed by Turk­ish police since Tues­day evening, with the author­i­ties appar­ent­ly hop­ing to deport a num­ber in the com­ing weeks.

    One of detainees is Tagir Mini­bayev, from Bashkiria, in Rus­sia, who is an activist for Hizb ut-Tahrir, a par­ty banned in his home coun­try. His fam­i­ly and him got polit­i­cal refuge in Turkey a few years ago.

    Posted by Anonymous | July 3, 2016, 8:31 am
  5. With­in the Uighur pop­u­la­tion there are anti-Chi­nese mil­i­tants. One even was involved in the Istan­bul’s Ataturk air­port, which killed 44 peo­ple last June, 2016 was said to be from Kyr­gyzs­tan.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-37217712

    Chi­nese embassy blast: Car bomb attack in Bishkek, Kyr­gyzs­tan — ​BBC ​30 August 2016


    A car dri­ven by a sui­cide bomber has explod­ed after ram­ming the gates of the Chi­nese embassy in the Kyr­gyz cap­i­tal, Bishkek, offi­cials say.

    The sui­cide bomber died and three embassy employ­ees, all Kyr­gyz nation­als, were injured, Deputy PM Zhen­ish Raza­kov said.

    Chi­na’s for­eign min­istry con­demned the bomb­ing as an “extreme and vio­lent attack”.

    No-one has yet said they were behind the sui­cide bomb­ing.

    Chi­nese for­eign min­istry spokes­woman Hua Chun­y­ing said: “Chi­na is appalled and strong­ly con­demns the vio­lent act.”

    She said Chi­na had “demand­ed that Kyr­gyz author­i­ties take all nec­es­sary mea­sures to ensure the safe­ty of Chi­nese insti­tu­tions and per­son­nel in Kyr­gyzs­tan, launch a thor­ough inves­ti­ga­tion to find out the truth of the inci­dent and harsh­ly pun­ish the per­pe­tra­tors”.

    The vehi­cle report­ed­ly smashed through the gates and explod­ed in the cen­tre of the com­pound, close to the ambas­sador’s res­i­dence.

    Social media footage showed smoke bil­low­ing above the build­ing.

    “As a result of the explo­sion, only the sui­cide bomber ter­ror­ist died,” Mr Raza­kov told jour­nal­ists.

    The three injured peo­ple were report­ed­ly two 17-year-old embassy gar­den­ers and an uniden­ti­fied woman.

    The chief of secu­ri­ty at the Chi­nese embassy told the local AKIpress news agency that no Chi­nese were hurt.

    As well as Chi­nese embassy employ­ees, staff at the Amer­i­can embassy near­by were evac­u­at­ed.

    Kyr­gyz secu­ri­ty offi­cials are at the scene con­duct­ing an inves­ti­ga­tion into the blast, which came a day before the nation marks its Inde­pen­dence Day.

    Kyr­gyz author­i­ties con­duct­ed sev­er­al anti-ter­ror­ism oper­a­tions in Bishkek in 2015.

    Offi­cials say that some 500 Kyr­gyz nation­als are believed to have joined so-called Islam­ic State in Syr­ia and Iraq.

    One of the three men who car­ried out an attack on Istan­bul’s Ataturk air­port in June was said to be from Kyr­gyzs­tan. The sui­cide gun and bomb attack, which Turkey blamed on IS jihadists, left 44 peo­ple dead and 240 injured.

    Chi­nese have been tar­get­ed in Kyr­gyzs­tan in the past, includ­ing in 2000 when one offi­cial was shot dead in an attack blamed on Uighurs, who form a restive pop­u­la­tion of Chi­na’s west­ern Xin­jiang province.

    Kyr­gyz bor­der guards killed 11 peo­ple believed to be mem­bers of a Uighur anti-Chi­nese mil­i­tant group after they were said to have ille­gal­ly crossed the bor­der in 2014.

    In its trav­el advice to Kyr­gyzs­tan, the UK gov­ern­ment warns of an under­ly­ing threat from ter­ror­ism.

    It says there has been some ter­ror­ist activ­i­ty and armed vio­lence, par­tic­u­lar­ly south and west of the city of Osh.

    Posted by Anonymous | August 30, 2016, 5:06 pm
  6. Here is a high­light of the Jan­u­ary 5, 2017 BBC News Arti­cle “Turkey night­club attack: Police ‘detain sev­er­al Uighurs’ in raids”

    Some Uighurs have com­plained for years about per­se­cu­tion at the hands of the Chi­nese author­i­ties. Al-Qae­da has long-devel­oped links with Uighur jihadists — known as the Turkestan Islam­ic Par­ty (TIP) — and has offered them mil­i­tary train­ing in Afghanistan.

    Uighur jihadists appear to have joined the fight­ing in Syr­ia in rel­a­tive­ly large num­bers, along­side both Jab­hat Fateh al-Sham (JFS, for­mer­ly al-Qaeda’s Syr­i­an branch al-Nus­ra) and al-Qaeda’s rivals, the so-called Islam­ic State (IS).

    They have fea­tured promi­nent­ly in IS pro­pa­gan­da.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-38517847

    Turkey night­club attack: Police ‘detain sev­er­al Uighurs’ in raids BBC News, 5 Jan­u­ary 2017

    Turkey has arrest­ed a num­ber of peo­ple of Uighur eth­nic­i­ty over a dead­ly night­club attack that killed 39, the state-run news agency reports.

    Those detained are believed to have come from Chi­na’s Xin­jiang region with ties to the attack­er, Anadolu says.
    Deputy PM Veysi Kay­nak also said they were clos­ing in on the gun­man, who he said was pos­si­bly an eth­nic Uighur.

    Also on Thurs­day, there was an explo­sion near the cour­t­house in the city of Izmir in west­ern Turkey.
    Social media images showed two cars ablaze and sev­er­al peo­ple were report­ed wound­ed.

    Oth­er images showed what appeared to be the body of a man car­ry­ing a gun, amid media reports he was an attack­er who was shot dead by police.

    Anadolu report­ed a sec­ond man was shot dead and police were seek­ing a third.

    ‘Aid­ing and abet­ting’
    So-called Islam­ic State (IS) says it car­ried out the Istan­bul attack over Turkey’s mil­i­tary involve­ment in the Syr­i­an civ­il war.

    The author­i­ties have report­ed­ly tight­ened secu­ri­ty at Turkey’s land bor­ders and air­ports to pre­vent the attack­er from flee­ing the coun­try.

    Turk­ish media have run images of a sus­pect, say­ing the pic­tures were hand­ed out by the police. But the police have giv­en no offi­cial details.

    The Turk­ish for­eign min­is­ter has said the author­i­ties have iden­ti­fied the attack­er, but has not giv­en fur­ther details.

    Police spe­cial forces patrol out­side the Reina night­club which was attacked by a gun­man, in Istan­bul, Turkey, on 3 Jan­u­ary

    Turkey has height­ened secu­ri­ty across the coun­try, includ­ing at land bor­ders and air­ports

    Spe­cial forces made the ear­ly morn­ing arrests at a hous­ing com­plex in Selimpasa, a coastal town on the out­skirts of Istan­bul, after police were report­ed­ly tipped off that indi­vid­u­als linked to the attack­er were in the area.

    Uighurs were among those arrest­ed — the num­ber was not con­firmed — on sus­pi­cion of “aid­ing and abet­ting” the gun­man, Anadolu report­ed.

    At least 36 peo­ple were already in cus­tody over sus­pect­ed links to the attack, many of whom were picked up in an ear­li­er police oper­a­tion in Izmir.
    Sev­er­al fam­i­lies had recent­ly trav­elled there from Konya, a cen­tral city where the main sus­pect was said to have stayed for sev­er­al weeks before the attack.

    Who are the Uighurs? BBC Mon­i­tor­ing
    The Uighurs are a Tur­kic eth­nic group who are main­ly Mus­lims, pri­mar­i­ly liv­ing in the Xin­jiang Uighur Autonomous Region in Chi­na. Their lan­guage is relat­ed to Turk­ish and a sub­stan­tial Uighur dias­po­ra lives in Turkey.

    Some Uighurs have com­plained for years about per­se­cu­tion at the hands of the Chi­nese author­i­ties. Al-Qae­da has long-devel­oped links with Uighur jihadists — known as the Turkestan Islam­ic Par­ty (TIP) — and has offered them mil­i­tary train­ing in Afghanistan.

    Uighur jihadists appear to have joined the fight­ing in Syr­ia in rel­a­tive­ly large num­bers, along­side both Jab­hat Fateh al-Sham (JFS, for­mer­ly al-Qaeda’s Syr­i­an branch al-Nus­ra) and al-Qaeda’s rivals, the so-called Islam­ic State (IS).

    They have fea­tured in IS pro­pa­gan­da and the group’s mag­a­zine, Rumiyah, has been pub­lished in Uighur, along with Eng­lish and a range of oth­er lan­guages.

    It is believed Uighurs make their way to Kyr­gyzs­tan through the moun­tains between Kyr­gyzs­tan and Xin­jiang. Once in Kyr­gyzs­tan, they fly to Turkey using forged Kyr­gyz pass­ports.

    Sep­a­rate­ly, Mr Kay­nak told Turk­ish broad­cast­er A Hamer that the author­i­ties knew where the sus­pect, who he described as “spe­cial­ly trained”, was hid­ing, with­out giv­ing fur­ther details.

    He con­firmed the gun­man had act­ed alone, but may have had help inside the night­club.

    A cou­ple walk past the Reina night­club on 5 Jan­u­ary 2017 in Istan­bul, days after a gun­man killed 39 peo­ple on

    Wit­ness­es to the new year attack said more than 100 rounds of bul­lets were fired which, the BBC’s secu­ri­ty cor­re­spon­dent Frank Gar­den­er says, indi­cates the gun­man had at least some rudi­men­ta­ry mil­i­tary train­ing.
    Mr Kay­nak expressed con­fi­dence in the Turk­ish police oper­a­tion but said he could not rule out the pos­si­bil­i­ty of the attack­er flee­ing the coun­try.

    No Kyr­gyz con­nec­tion
    Pre­vi­ous media reports incor­rect­ly sug­gest­ed the cul­prit was a nation­al from Kyr­gyzs­tan, after a pass­port pho­to claim­ing to show the attack­er was cir­cu­lat­ed.

    It lat­er emerged the pass­port belonged to some­one unre­lat­ed to the attack.

    Kyr­gyzs­tan’s embassy in Turkey has since asked the media to retract the reports and issue an apol­o­gy.

    More than half of those killed in Sun­day’s attack on Istan­bul’s pop­u­lar Reina night­club were for­eign­ers, includ­ing cit­i­zens from Lebanon, Sau­di Ara­bia, Israel, Iraq and Moroc­co.

    The gun­man man­aged to escape in the after­math of the attack.

    A day lat­er, IS issued a state­ment say­ing “a hero­ic sol­dier” belong­ing to the group had car­ried out the attack in retal­i­a­tion for Turkey’s mil­i­tary role in north­ern Syr­ia.

    Mr Kay­nak also said on Thurs­day Turks were ques­tion­ing the use of the coun­try’s Incir­lik air base by both Nato and the US-led coali­tion launch­ing air strikes on IS in Syr­ia and Iraq.

    Turkey launched a mil­i­tary oper­a­tion in Syr­ia in August to push back IS and Kur­dish forces.

    Some of Turkey’s big cities have since been tar­get­ed in a num­ber of bomb attacks by IS and by Kur­dish mil­i­tants.

    Posted by RM | January 6, 2017, 11:13 am
  7. Turkey’s rul­ing AK Par­ty (AKP) and the Nation­al­ist Move­ment Par­ty (MHP) are mak­ing it offi­cial: they are offi­cial­ly an elec­toral alliance. Recall that the MHP is polit­i­cal wing of the fas­cist move­ment behind the Grey Wolves. So we have Erdo­gan’s Mus­lim Broth­er­hood-ori­ent­ed Islamist fas­cist AKP for­mal­ly ally­ing with the par­ent par­ty of the Grey Wolves.

    The alliance appears to be made with the 2019 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in mind. But the alliance was already infor­mal­ly in place. The MHP backed Erdo­gan’s his­toric pow­er grab that grant­ed the pres­i­den­cy sweep­ing pow­ers last year. And that sup­port was crit­i­cal since the vote only passed with 51 per­cent.

    So, like so many announce­ments from Erdo­gan’s par­ty, this does­n’t exact­ly bode well for Turkey’s future. But it gets worse. Because the AKP teamed with the MHP is enough to pro­vid­ed a major­i­ty of the vote in par­lia­ment which means all sorts of crazy laws can be passed. And sure enough, the the AKP and MHP also announced an agree­ment to pass ‘mea­sures designed to ensure elec­toral secu­ri­ty.’ Mea­sure that, not sur­pris­ing­ly, appear to be designed to the exact oppo­site and make it much eas­i­er to sub­vert the vote.

    One pro­posed change involves allow­ing bal­lots that don’t have the offi­cial stamp of the YSK High Elec­tion Board to be count­ed. This was actu­al­ly done last year as part of the ref­er­en­dum to grant Erdo­gan his sweep­ing new pow­ers. As expect­ed, the oppo­si­tion appealed this move and lost.

    The YSK will also be giv­en the author­i­ty to merge elec­toral dis­tricts and move bal­lot box­es to oth­er dis­tricts. In addi­tion, secu­ri­ty forces will also be allowed to attend to bal­lot box­es when request­ed by any vot­er and not leave until the rea­son for the request has been resolved.

    So the YSK can allow unof­fi­cial bal­lots, then move the bal­lots box­es from one dis­trict to anoth­er, and secu­ri­ty forces will be involved in secur­ing the bal­lots. In oth­er words, after all these new rules are put in place, the unof­fi­cial bal­lots can all be shipped to dis­tricts under con­trol of the AKP or MHP under the ‘pro­tec­tion’ of Turk­ish secu­ri­ty forces who will def­i­nite­ly not allow any tam­per­ing *wink wink*.

    So if the announce­ment of the AKP and MHP alliance was­n’t omi­nous enough for Turkey’s future, the simul­ta­ne­ous announce­ment that they plan to make rig­ging the vote a lot eas­i­er should do the trick:

    Reuters

    Erdo­gan’s AKP says to ally with nation­al­ists for 2019 elec­tions

    Ali Kucuk­goc­men
    Feb­ru­ary 21, 2018 / 12:09 PM

    ISTANBUL (Reuters) — Turkey’s rul­ing AK Par­ty and the nation­al­ist oppo­si­tion on Wednes­day said they for­mal­ly agreed to an elec­toral alliance, a move aimed at ensur­ing Tayyip Erdo­gan will secure the required 50 per­cent in a 2019 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

    The agree­ment between Erdogan’s AKP and the Nation­al­ist Move­ment Par­ty (MHP) also includes mea­sures designed to ensure elec­toral secu­ri­ty, offi­cials for both par­ties said, pro­pos­als like­ly to be seen by the main oppo­si­tion as poten­tial­ly open­ing the door to vot­er fraud.

    The tie-up under­scores Erdogan’s con­tin­ued reliance on the MHP, the small­est of parliament’s four fac­tions. Last year the MHP backed a vote to cre­ate a pres­i­den­cy with sweep­ing exec­u­tive pow­ers, help­ing the pro­pos­al squeak by with 51.4 per­cent of the vote.

    Turks will vote in both pres­i­den­tial and par­lia­men­tary elec­tions next year.

    An AKP offi­cial also said new vot­er safe­ty reg­u­la­tions would make bal­lots admis­si­ble even when they were miss­ing the offi­cial stamp of the YSK High Elec­tion Board.

    The YSK made a last-minute deci­sion dur­ing the 2017 ref­er­en­dum to allow the count­ing of unstamped bal­lots, say­ing such a move was not unprece­dent­ed and the gov­ern­ment had pre­vi­ous­ly per­mit­ted it. The main sec­u­lar oppo­si­tion unsuc­cess­ful­ly appealed against that deci­sion.

    The YSK will also be giv­en the author­i­ty to merge elec­toral dis­tricts and move bal­lot box­es to oth­er dis­tricts, offi­cials of both par­ties told a news con­fer­ence. Secu­ri­ty forces will also be allowed to attend to bal­lot box­es when request­ed by any vot­er and not leave until the rea­son for the request has been resolved, they said.

    The mea­sures need to be approved by par­lia­ment, where the AKP and MHP togeth­er have more than the required seats to pass laws.

    MHP leader Devlet Bahceli has said that he wants a reduc­tion in the min­i­mum 10 per­cent of votes cast required for a par­ty to enter par­lia­ment. Bahceli is fac­ing a chal­lenge from a promi­nent nation­al­ist and for­mer inte­ri­or min­is­ter, Mer­al Aksen­er, who last year found­ed her own par­ty after break­ing off from the MHP.

    ...

    The MHP won as much as 18 per­cent in the 1999 par­lia­men­tary elec­tion but slipped below the thresh­old with 9.5 per­cent in 2002. It has exceed­ed 10 per­cent in elec­tions since and took 11.9 per­cent in the Novem­ber 2015 vote.

    Its pop­u­lar­i­ty has been some­what on the wane among hard­core nation­al­ists, who are wary of an alliance with Erdo­gan. The MHP espous­es a mix of nation­al­ism and scep­ti­cism towards the West. It strong­ly oppos­es auton­o­my for Turkey’s Kur­dish minor­i­ty.

    ————

    “Erdo­gan’s AKP says to ally with nation­al­ists for 2019 elec­tions” by Ali Kucuk­goc­men; Reuters; 02/21/2018

    “The tie-up under­scores Erdogan’s con­tin­ued reliance on the MHP, the small­est of parliament’s four fac­tions. Last year the MHP backed a vote to cre­ate a pres­i­den­cy with sweep­ing exec­u­tive pow­ers, help­ing the pro­pos­al squeak by with 51.4 per­cent of the vote.

    The AKP/MHP alliance helped give Erdo­gan his sweep new pow­ers. And now it migh allow him to fun­da­men­tal­ly under­mine the elec­toral process in pro­found ways. And between the AKP and MHP they should the votes need­ed to get what­ev­er this alliance wants approved by the par­lia­ment:

    ...
    An AKP offi­cial also said new vot­er safe­ty reg­u­la­tions would make bal­lots admis­si­ble even when they were miss­ing the offi­cial stamp of the YSK High Elec­tion Board.

    The YSK made a last-minute deci­sion dur­ing the 2017 ref­er­en­dum to allow the count­ing of unstamped bal­lots, say­ing such a move was not unprece­dent­ed and the gov­ern­ment had pre­vi­ous­ly per­mit­ted it. The main sec­u­lar oppo­si­tion unsuc­cess­ful­ly appealed against that deci­sion.

    The YSK will also be giv­en the author­i­ty to merge elec­toral dis­tricts and move bal­lot box­es to oth­er dis­tricts, offi­cials of both par­ties told a news con­fer­ence. Secu­ri­ty forces will also be allowed to attend to bal­lot box­es when request­ed by any vot­er and not leave until the rea­son for the request has been resolved, they said.

    The mea­sures need to be approved by par­lia­ment, where the AKP and MHP togeth­er have more than the required seats to pass laws.
    ...

    “The YSK made a last-minute deci­sion dur­ing the 2017 ref­er­en­dum to allow the count­ing of unstamped bal­lots, say­ing such a move was not unprece­dent­ed and the gov­ern­ment had pre­vi­ous­ly per­mit­ted it. The main sec­u­lar oppo­si­tion unsuc­cess­ful­ly appealed against that deci­sion.”

    So, since allow­ing unstamped bal­lots was used last year for the big ref­er­en­dum, how did that go? Well, it end­ed up being the first time in the demo­c­ra­t­ic his­to­ry of Turkey that an elec­tion has been seen as ille­git­i­mate by not only domes­tic con­tenders, but by inter­na­tion­al observers as well. That’s how it went:

    The Con­ver­sa­tion

    Why the result of Turkey’s ref­er­en­dum is broad­ly unac­cept­able to so many

    Ihsan Yil­maz
    Pro­fes­sor Ihsan Yil­maz is Research Chair in Islam­ic Stud­ies and Inter­cul­tur­al Dia­logue, Deakin Uni­ver­si­ty

    April 21, 2017 2.45am EDT

    The result of Turkey’s April 16 ref­er­en­dum hand­ed Pres­i­dent Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan the right to expand his pow­er prac­ti­cal­ly with­out checks and bal­ances. It grant­ed him author­i­ty to con­trol the par­lia­ment and judi­cia­ry and the pow­er to rule Turkey by decree.

    But the razor-thin vic­to­ry of the “yes” cam­paign has been strong­ly object­ed to by a range of groups.

    Oppo­si­tion par­ties have accept­ed all of Erdogan’s elec­toral vic­to­ries since 2002. But this time they are say­ing that he rigged the ref­er­en­dum. Inter­na­tion­al observers agree with them. And, for days, hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple have been peace­ful­ly protest­ing in the streets.

    For decades, the Coun­cil of Europe (CoE) and the Orga­ni­za­tion for Secu­ri­ty and Co-oper­a­tion in Europe (OSCE) have been send­ing elec­toral observ­er mis­sion groups to mon­i­tor elec­tions in the coun­try at Turkey’s invi­ta­tion.

    A pre­lim­i­nary report on the ref­er­en­dum from the joint mis­sion by CoE and OSCE said:

    our mon­i­tor­ing showed the ‘Yes’ cam­paign dom­i­nat­ed the media cov­er­age and this, along with restric­tions on the media, the arrests of jour­nal­ists and the clo­sure of media out­lets, reduced vot­ers’ access to a plu­ral­i­ty of views. Provin­cial gov­er­nors used state-of-emer­gency pow­ers to fur­ther restrict the free­dom of assem­bly and expres­sion.

    In some cas­es, CoE and OSCE observers either had lim­it­ed or no access to the open­ing up of polling sta­tions and dur­ing vot­ing. And police pres­ence was wide­ly report­ed both in and out­side polling sta­tions.

    Last minute change

    Irreg­u­lar­i­ties weren’t just detect­ed on the ground.

    A 2010 law dis­al­lows unstamped bal­lots in unstamped envelopes to be count­ed as valid. But, at the request of Erdogan’s rul­ing AKP (Jus­tice and Devel­op­ment Par­ty), the Supreme Board of Elec­tions (YSK) made a last-minute deci­sion to allow this ille­gal prac­tice..

    Odd­ly, the YSK fol­lowed the law for votes from the Turk­ish dias­po­ra, not accept­ing unstamped bal­lots and envelopes as valid.

    In the 2014 local elec­tions, the YSK can­celled and re-held elec­tions in two towns because of unstamped votes as a result of the appli­ca­tion by the rul­ing AKP.

    CoE and OSCE observers not­ed that the last-minute deci­sion by the YSK was ille­gal and lift­ed an impor­tant safe­guard against fraud.

    An Aus­tri­an mem­ber of the CoE observ­er mis­sion stat­ed that up to 2.5 mil­lion votes (about 6% of total votes) could have been manip­u­lat­ed in the ref­er­en­dum. CoE and OSCE mon­i­tors also said that Turk­ish author­i­ties were not coop­er­at­ing with efforts to inves­ti­gate claims of pos­si­ble elec­toral fraud.

    The New York Times report­ed that over 170 mem­bers of the oppo­si­tion were banned from par­tic­i­pat­ing as observers in the elec­tion. And that some inter­na­tion­al elec­tion observers were tem­porar­i­ly detained, pre­vent­ing them from ful­ly observ­ing vote counts. It was also alleged that “no” votes were removed from bal­lot box­es and deposit­ed in a build­ing site in the same area of south­ern Turkey.

    Oppo­si­tion objec­tions

    The pro-Kur­dish oppo­si­tion Peo­ples’ Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (HDP) has said it pre­sent­ed com­plaints about unstamped bal­lots affect­ing three mil­lion vot­ers,more than twice the mar­gin of Erdogan’s vic­to­ry, to no avail.

    And the party’s deputy chair­man said the elec­toral board’s last-minute deci­sion to allow unstamped bal­lots meant that it’s now impos­si­ble to deter­mine how many invalid or fake votes may have been count­ed. He also said that some vot­ers had been unable to cast their bal­lots in pri­vate.

    Oth­er HDP offi­cials stat­ed stat­ed that some elec­tors were giv­en unsealed “yes” vot­ed bal­lots by AKP mem­bers, asked to cast them and then return sealed bal­lots in exchange for mon­ey.

    Elec­tion mon­i­tor­ing NGO No and Beyond found that in 961 bal­lot box­es, 100% of the bal­lots were “yes”. And in a third of these 961 box­es, 100% of eli­gi­ble vot­ers had cast votes. Both these occur­rences are extreme­ly unusu­al.

    The NGO also said that in the town of Viranse­hir, in the province Urfa, all the sig­na­tures of the vot­ers were the same, sug­gest­ing that the same per­son signed them.

    The main oppo­si­tion Repub­li­can People’s Par­ty (CHP) has asked the YSK to annul the ref­er­en­dum on the basis of fraud­u­lent activ­i­ties and its extrale­gal deci­sion to allow unstamped bal­lots. Unsur­pris­ing­ly, the YSK swift­ly reject­ed the request.

    The CHP will now take its case to the Turk­ish Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court. But it’s unlike­ly that the peti­tion will see much suc­cess there either.

    The court has been under Erdogan’s con­trol since he and his fel­low Islamist col­league, for­mer pres­i­dent Abdul­lah Gul, appoint­ed AKP loy­al­ists to the bench. Now it sim­ply rub­ber stamps Erdogan’s wish­es.

    Echoes from his­to­ry

    Elec­toral fraud is not new in Turkey.

    ...

    The first Ottoman par­lia­ment was opened in 1876 but Sul­tan Abdul­hamid the Sec­ond closed it down the fol­low­ing year until a coup in 1908 that brought sec­u­lar­ist-nation­al­ists to pow­er.

    They also did not like los­ing elec­toral pow­er and, in the 1912 gen­er­al elec­tions, vot­ers who tried to vote for the oppo­si­tion can­di­dates were beat­en by sup­port­ers of the sec­u­lar­ist-nation­al­ists. In fact, the 1912 elec­tion is infa­mous­ly called the “elec­tion with sticks”.

    Even though the repub­lic was estab­lished by the sec­u­lar­ist nation­al­ists in 1923, the one par­ty-regime did not allow elec­tions until 1946. When the sec­ond world war was over, Turkey – under threat of Sovi­et occu­pa­tion – want­ed to join the West­ern demo­c­ra­t­ic pact, and so had to allow mul­ti-par­ty elec­tions. But they were not ready to lose the elec­tions.

    Thus, there appeared to be a “open vote, hid­den count­ing” rule in 1946, for starters. Under con­di­tions of a par­ty-state, the gov­er­nor, head of dis­trict, may­or and provin­cial head of the rul­ing sec­u­lar­ist-nation­al­ist par­ty – who were the same per­son – forced peo­ple to vote for the rul­ing par­ty with the help of the secu­ri­ty forces.

    When the Repub­li­can Turkey had its first free elec­tions in 1950, the rul­ing sec­u­lar­ist-nation­al­ist CHP lost pow­er to the lib­er­al sec­u­lar Demo­c­rat Par­ty (DP). Since then – and despite minor prob­lems – none of the elec­tion results have been declared unac­cept­able by any of the con­test­ing polit­i­cal par­ties.

    The April 16 ref­er­en­dum was rather sim­i­lar to the 1912 and 1946 gen­er­al elec­tions. This ref­er­en­dum is the first time in the demo­c­ra­t­ic his­to­ry of Turkey, which is a mem­ber of NATO, Coun­cil of Europe (CoE) and the Orga­ni­za­tion for Secu­ri­ty and Co-oper­a­tion in Europe (OSCE), that an elec­tion has been seen as ille­git­i­mate by not only domes­tic con­tenders, but by inter­na­tion­al observers as well.

    ———–

    “Why the result of Turkey’s ref­er­en­dum is broad­ly unac­cept­able to so many” by Ihsan Yil­maz; The Con­ver­sa­tion; 04/21/2017

    “Oppo­si­tion par­ties have accept­ed all of Erdogan’s elec­toral vic­to­ries since 2002. But this time they are say­ing that he rigged the ref­er­en­dum. Inter­na­tion­al observers agree with them. And, for days, hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple have been peace­ful­ly protest­ing in the streets.”

    Yep, not only did the oppo­si­tion unchar­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly charge the AKP with rig­ging the vote, but even the inter­na­tion­al observers had to cry foul. In part because those inter­na­tion­al observers kept get­ting blocked from observ­ing:

    ...
    For decades, the Coun­cil of Europe (CoE) and the Orga­ni­za­tion for Secu­ri­ty and Co-oper­a­tion in Europe (OSCE) have been send­ing elec­toral observ­er mis­sion groups to mon­i­tor elec­tions in the coun­try at Turkey’s invi­ta­tion.

    A pre­lim­i­nary report on the ref­er­en­dum from the joint mis­sion by CoE and OSCE said:

    our mon­i­tor­ing showed the ‘Yes’ cam­paign dom­i­nat­ed the media cov­er­age and this, along with restric­tions on the media, the arrests of jour­nal­ists and the clo­sure of media out­lets, reduced vot­ers’ access to a plu­ral­i­ty of views. Provin­cial gov­er­nors used state-of-emer­gency pow­ers to fur­ther restrict the free­dom of assem­bly and expres­sion.

    In some cas­es, CoE and OSCE observers either had lim­it­ed or no access to the open­ing up of polling sta­tions and dur­ing vot­ing. And police pres­ence was wide­ly report­ed both in and out­side polling sta­tions.
    ...

    And accord­ing to the Aus­tri­an mem­ber of the CoE observ­er mis­sion, that last-minute change to allow unval­i­dat­ed bal­lots could have allowed for the manip­u­la­tion of up to 6 per­cent of the total votes (recall that the ref­er­en­dum bare­ly passed with 51 per­cent):

    ...
    Last minute change

    Irreg­u­lar­i­ties weren’t just detect­ed on the ground.

    A 2010 law dis­al­lows unstamped bal­lots in unstamped envelopes to be count­ed as valid. But, at the request of Erdogan’s rul­ing AKP (Jus­tice and Devel­op­ment Par­ty), the Supreme Board of Elec­tions (YSK) made a last-minute deci­sion to allow this ille­gal prac­tice..

    Odd­ly, the YSK fol­lowed the law for votes from the Turk­ish dias­po­ra, not accept­ing unstamped bal­lots and envelopes as valid.

    In the 2014 local elec­tions, the YSK can­celled and re-held elec­tions in two towns because of unstamped votes as a result of the appli­ca­tion by the rul­ing AKP.

    CoE and OSCE observers not­ed that the last-minute deci­sion by the YSK was ille­gal and lift­ed an impor­tant safe­guard against fraud.

    An Aus­tri­an mem­ber of the CoE observ­er mis­sion stat­ed that up to 2.5 mil­lion votes (about 6% of total votes) could have been manip­u­lat­ed in the ref­er­en­dum. CoE and OSCE mon­i­tors also said that Turk­ish author­i­ties were not coop­er­at­ing with efforts to inves­ti­gate claims of pos­si­ble elec­toral fraud.
    ...

    Beyond that, there were numer­ous oth­er reports of invalid of fake votes being count­ed, AKP pay­ments for ‘Yes’ votes, and on NGO found bal­lot box­es with 100 per­cent ‘Yes’ votes from 100 per­cent of eli­gi­ble vot­ers:

    ...
    The New York Times report­ed that over 170 mem­bers of the oppo­si­tion were banned from par­tic­i­pat­ing as observers in the elec­tion. And that some inter­na­tion­al elec­tion observers were tem­porar­i­ly detained, pre­vent­ing them from ful­ly observ­ing vote counts. It was also alleged that “no” votes were removed from bal­lot box­es and deposit­ed in a build­ing site in the same area of south­ern Turkey.

    Oppo­si­tion objec­tions

    The pro-Kur­dish oppo­si­tion Peo­ples’ Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (HDP) has said it pre­sent­ed com­plaints about unstamped bal­lots affect­ing three mil­lion vot­ers,more than twice the mar­gin of Erdogan’s vic­to­ry, to no avail.

    And the party’s deputy chair­man said the elec­toral board’s last-minute deci­sion to allow unstamped bal­lots meant that it’s now impos­si­ble to deter­mine how many invalid or fake votes may have been count­ed. He also said that some vot­ers had been unable to cast their bal­lots in pri­vate.

    Oth­er HDP offi­cials stat­ed stat­ed that some elec­tors were giv­en unsealed “yes” vot­ed bal­lots by AKP mem­bers, asked to cast them and then return sealed bal­lots in exchange for mon­ey.

    Elec­tion mon­i­tor­ing NGO No and Beyond found that in 961 bal­lot box­es, 100% of the bal­lots were “yes”. And in a third of these 961 box­es, 100% of eli­gi­ble vot­ers had cast votes. Both these occur­rences are extreme­ly unusu­al.

    The NGO also said that in the town of Viranse­hir, in the province Urfa, all the sig­na­tures of the vot­ers were the same, sug­gest­ing that the same per­son signed them.
    ...

    So it’s look­ing pret­ty clear that Erdo­gan’s pow­er grab last year involved an exten­sive abuse of pow­er. But even with that abuse of pow­er, the sup­port of the fas­cist MHP was still nec­es­sary. And now the AKP and MHP are in alliance and plan­ning even more rule changes that will be rig­ging elec­tions even eas­i­er.

    It’s all a grim reminder that when you vote for a par­ties that don’t actu­al­ly respect democ­ra­cy, you aren’t going to have a democ­ra­cy left when they’re done. And they are nev­er for­mal­ly done hold­ing pow­er because that’s what the far-right is all about: pow­er at all costs. Costs that obvi­ous­ly include the sub­ver­sion of democ­ra­cy.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 28, 2018, 4:29 pm

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