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

For The Record  

FTR #884 What the Hell Does Dave Emory Mean by “The Earth Island Boogie”?, Part 1 (Turkish Taffy, Part 4)

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained here. The new drive is a 32-gigabyte drive that is current as of the programs and articles posted by late spring of 2015. The new drive (available for a tax-deductible contribution of $65.00 or more) is complete through the late spring of 2015.

WFMU-FM is podcasting For The Record–You can subscribe to the podcast HERE.

You can subscribe to e-mail alerts from Spitfirelist.com HERE

You can subscribe to RSS feed from Spitfirelist.com HERE.

You can subscribe to the comments made on programs and posts–an excellent source of information in, and of, itself HERE.

This program was recorded in one, 60-minute segment.

Tayyip Erdogan

Introduction: Clarifying and further developing analysis of geopolitical discussion presented in both previous and future broadcasts, this program details the developing Islamic fascism of Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan. A NATO country and Muslim Brotherhood-derived Islamist in nature, Turkey is rapidly descending into fascism and aggressive militarism.

(Previous programs that should enhance listeners’ understanding of this complex analysis include: FTR #’s 549, 720723, 857862, 863, 878, 879, 880 and 881.)

Turkey’s geographical position bestows a unique dynamic on the former seat of the last “califate”–the Ottoman Empire. Proximate to Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, it is (along with Ukraine), a traditional “pivot point” of the “Earth Island.”

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.

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

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 BND and associated Underground Reich/transnational corporate faction of the CIA in particular.
Before examining the development of Turkish Islamic fascism, we note that “The Earth Island Boogie” embraces an overlapping series of “ops” including: the so-called “Orange Revolution” of Ukraine, WikiLeaks, the so-called “Arab Spring,” “L’Affaire Snowden” and the Maidan coup of 2014. We will flesh out this line of analysis in FTR #885.

During what we call “The Muslim Brotherhood Spring” of 2011, American media pundits were gushing about how what others termed the Arab Spring would bring about moderate Islamic democracies similar to Turkey’s and featuring the Muslim Brotherhood as the centerpiece of those “democracies.” We had a different take.

Let’s review the bullet points from the description of FTR #737 (recorded on 4/2/2011.):

  • WikiLeaks appears to have played a role in the events, with a purported “leaked” State Department memo having helped spur the uprising in Tunisia which, in turn, helped to galvanize events in Egypt. Far from being the “progressive,” “whistle-blowing” entity it purports to be, WikiLeaks is a far-right, Nazi-influenced propaganda and data mining operation.
  • Karl Rove’s dominant presence in Sweden as the WikiLeaks “op” was gaining momentum may well have much to do with the “leaking” of State Department cables from the Obama administration that are undoubtedly making the successful execution of statecraft even more difficult under the circumstances.
  • Far from being a spontaneous event, the Middle East uprisings appear to have stemmed, in part at least, from a covert operation begun under the Bush administration and continued under Obama’s tenure. (Obama may well have been set up to take the fall for negative consequences of the event. It is unclear just how “on top of it” his administration is. In this regard, the event is very much like the Bay of Pigs operation, begun under Eisenhower’s administration and continued under JFK.)
  • The operation may well be intended to destabilize the Obama administration, paving the way for the ascent of the GOP in the United States. In this respect, it is very much like what has come to be known as the October Surprise.
  • Courtesy of WikiLeaks, the operation’s existence was “blown”–contacts between U.S. Embassy personnel in Cairo and leaders of the April 6 movement during the last months of the Bush administration came to light courtesy of more allegedly “leaked” State Department memos made public by WikLeaks. Previously, the U.S. embassy in Cairo had been in contact with leaders of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.
  • Looming large in the unfolding scenario are the theories of non-violent theoretician Gene Sharp, who held positions associated with the “liberal” element of the U.S. intelligence apparatus.
  • Sharp’s activities have been underwritten by junk bond king Michael Milken’s former right-hand man Peter Ackerman, who has served as an advisor to the United States Institute of Peace, an agency of the U.S. government.
  • The United States Institute of Peace’s Muslim World Initiative–charged by critics with legitimizing jihadists–may well have been the initiating element in these developments.
  • High tech firms with links to the U.S. intelligence establishment appear to have facilitated the Piggy-Back Coup.
  • The Muslim Brotherhood’s free-market economic perspective has endeared it to laissez-faire theoreticians around the world. American University in Cairo, at which Brotherhood affiliated theoreticians hold forth, is an epicenter of the economic philosophy of Ibn Khaldun, the Ikhwan’s economic godfather.
  • Despite assurances from many “expert” sources, the Muslim Brotherhood seems poised to benefit the most from the unfolding events in the Middle East.
  • The Muslim Brotherhood-controlled Al Jazeera network has also had much to do with the uprisings.
  • The youthful idealists of the Anonymous/Pirate Bay/Pirate Party milieu appear to have been cynically deceived and manipulated into supporting an operation that figures to empower some truly dark forces. Those dark forces are fundamentally opposed to the Utopian values dear to the Anonymous/Pirate Bay folks.
  • Those same reassuring voices have told us that the Brotherhood aspires to a political agenda to the “moderate” agenda of the Turkish AK party. That party is closely affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. The “moderation” of the AK Party may be weighed in the discussion below.
  • Precipitating the ascent of the fascist Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East may well be an attempt at using the Muslim population of the Earth Island as a proxy force against Russia and China. The goal, ultimately, is to peel away strategic, resource-rich areas such, as the petroleum-rich areas of the Caucasus and Xinjiang province.
In FTR #’s 737, 738 and 739, (Turkish Taffy, Parts 1, 2 and 3), we noted the Islamic fascist nature of Erdogan’s Turkey. That phenomenon is accelerating, as this program documents.
Program Highlights Include:
  • Erdogan’s proposed constitutional changes, giving his presidency greatly expanded powers.
  • Erdogan’s citing of Hitler and Nazi Germany as a “doable” historical precedent for his proposed agenda.
  • Erdogan’s suppression of the press and silencing of critics.
  • The evolution of Erdogan’s AK Party from the Refah Party of his political mentor Necmettin Erbakan.
  • The sponsorship of al-Taqwa’s Achmed Huber by Erbakan and Erbakan/Refah’s elevation of Huber to his directorship of the Bank al-Taqwa.
  • Refah and AK Parties’ roles as Muslim Brotherhood front organizations.
  • The close association of the AK Party with the EU and Germany.
  • The praise heaped on ISIS by the chief of Turkish intelligence, a close ally of Erdogan.
  • Turkey’s dispatch of troops into Iraq, against the wishes of the Iraqi government.
  • Review of Hitler’s political last will and testament, envisioning Islamists as proxy warriors to finish his work.
  • Review of Zbigniew Brzezinski’s view that the use of Islamists as proxy warriors would work to against Russia and China, just as it had against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.
1a. Seeking to cement his political power and extend the undemocratic reach of his regime, Turkish president Erdogan compared his proposed constitutional changes to Hitler’s government.

“It’s No Surprise that Turkey’s Erdogan Likes Adolf Hitler’s Government” by John A. Tures; The Huffington Post; 1/2/2016.

Late Friday afternoon, reports circulated that Erdogan expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler’s Nazi government. If it was a statement made by a democratic figure, it would be treated as a gaffe or bad joke in poor taste. But for the authoritarian Erdogan, it’s a rare instance of his honesty, showing how the strongman really feels.

Business Insider reported on the links Erdogan made between his vision of the new Turkish government that he is pushing for, and Hitler’s regime.

“Asked on his return from a visit to Saudi Arabia late on Thursday whether an executive presidential system was possible while maintaining the unitary structure of the state, he said: “There are already examples in the world. You can see it when you look at Hitler’s Germany. There are later examples in various other countries,” he told reporters, according to a recording broadcast by the Dogan news agency.”

According to Reuters, Erdogan’s government insisted that it’s remarks were misconstrued, after domestic and international condemnation.

“‘If the system is abused it may lead to bad management resulting in disasters as in Hitler’s Germany … The important thing is to pursue fair management that serves the nation,’ [Erdogan’s] statement said, adding it was unacceptable to suggest Erdogan was casting Hitler’s Germany in a positive light.”

Of course, in Erdogan’s Hitleresque state, it would be a crime to suggest that Erdogan admired Hitler. Ironically, you could even be marched off to prison, for suggesting that Erdogan is authoritarian.

In fact, Erdogan’s government has arrested many people, including journalists and law enforcement officials [accused] of uncovering evidence of corruption or accusing him of authoritarian actions. He even targeted people living in the USA who are critical of him. Erdogan’s excuse for such actions is that he claims his enemies are “terrorists.”

Turkey’s social media, one of the few unregulated sources of news in Erdogan’s government, immediately went into high gear, according to the New York Times:

“Let’s do a close comparison between Hitler and Erdogan,” one person wrote on Twitter. “The only difference is that Hitler was a bit shorter.” People also shared a Photoshopped picture of Hitler with Mr. Erdogan’s face superimposed on it.

On a visit to Turkey during their June election, I found that the overwhelming majority of people I met really like their democratic system. Many didn’t like Erdogan, but were afraid to say anything. Of those who did, half asked me to keep it anonymous, while the other half said they would be arrested anyway, and it didn’t matter if I used their names. . . .

1b. Erdo­gan brings up Hitler’s gov­ern­ment as an exam­ple of how his vision for a pow­er­ful pres­i­dency could oper­ate. And fol­low­ing the uproar, the gov­ern­ment issue state­ments about how Erdo­gan was actu­ally ref­er­enc­ing Nazi Ger­many as a warn­ing of the poten­tial abuses of power that could emerge from the con­sti­tu­tional changes Erdo­gan wants to happen.

So, at best, Erdogan’s Hitler ref­er­ence was an argu­ment against the con­sti­tu­tional over­haul he’s long cham­pi­oned. At, at worse (and more likely), Erdo­gan actu­ally thinks Hitler’s Ger­many is a great model to emu­late.

With that dis­turb­ing inci­dent of foot-in-mouth syn­drome in mind, it’s going to be inter­est­ing to see what hap­pens to the peo­ple who shared an ani­mated image of Mr. Erdogan’s face chang­ing into Hitler. After all, the trial of Bil­gin Çiftçi, the man who shared images com­par­ing Erdo­gan to Gol­lum from the Lord of the Rings, is cur­rently adjourned so experts to study whether or not being com­pared to Gol­lum actu­ally qual­i­fies as an insult (it’s a sur­pris­ingly nuanced ques­tion). So will the Hitler com­par­isons result in more tri­als for those that dare to insult Turkey’s wannabe Führer? Or, given Erdogan’s appar­ent atti­tudes towards Hitler’s Ger­many, would he even con­sider it an insult?

“Turkey Says Hitler Com­ment by Pres­i­dent Erdo­gan Was ‘Distorted’” by Ceylan YeginsuThe New York Times; 1/1/2016.

Turkey issued a state­ment on Fri­day say­ing that com­ments by Pres­i­dent Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan — in which he cited Hitler in response to a ques­tion about whether a strong pres­i­dency was pos­si­ble in Turkey — had been misinterpreted.

Mr. Erdo­gan, who is push­ing to imbue the largely cer­e­mo­nial pres­i­dency with sweep­ing exec­u­tive pow­ers, told reporters late Thurs­day that “there are already exam­ples in the world.”

“You can see it when you look at Hitler’s Ger­many,” he said.

Mr. Erdo­gan did not elab­o­rate, but his com­par­i­son to Hitler drew imme­di­ate crit­i­cism because of what many view as his increas­ing authoritarianism. His com­ment also raised the issue of how the leader of one of the world’s most influ­en­tial coun­tries, an Amer­i­can ally and mem­ber of NATO, would men­tion Hitler in the con­text of his own tenure.

On Fri­day, the office of the pres­i­dency said that “Erdogan’s ‘Hitler’s Ger­many metaphor’ has been dis­torted by media out­lets and has been used in the oppo­site sense.”

It said Mr. Erdo­gan had used the exam­ple to demon­strate that an exec­u­tive pres­i­dency does not depend on a fed­eral sys­tem of government.

“If the sys­tem is abused, it may lead to bad man­age­ment result­ing in dis­as­ters as in Hitler’s Ger­many,” the state­ment said. “The impor­tant thing is to pur­sue fair man­age­ment that serves the nation.”

Mr. Erdo­gan became Turkey’s first pop­u­larly elected pres­i­dent in August 2014, hav­ing dom­i­nated Turk­ish pol­i­tics for more than a decade as prime min­is­ter. Since assum­ing the new post, he has aggres­sively cam­paigned to rewrite the Turk­ish Con­sti­tu­tion and estab­lish an exec­u­tive sys­tem of government.

His con­sol­i­da­tion of power has had a potent effect on Turk­ish soci­ety. Crit­ics say Mr. Erdogan’s divi­sive rhetoric, in which he has den­i­grated oppo­nents as ter­ror­ists or trai­tors, has helped polar­ize the country.

A gov­ern­ment crack­down on dis­sent — includ­ing a grow­ing cam­paign of intim­i­da­tion against the oppo­si­tion news media, with a mob of his sup­port­ers attack­ing news­pa­per offices ahead of the Novem­ber elec­tion — has raised con­cerns domes­ti­cally and abroad about Turkey’s com­mit­ment to democracy.

To change the Con­sti­tu­tion, Mr. Erdogan’s Jus­tice and Devel­op­ment Party, which regained its par­lia­men­tary major­ity in Novem­ber, needs sup­port from oppo­si­tion par­ties, who fear that such a sys­tem would con­sol­i­date too much power in Mr. Erdogan’s hands.

Prime Min­is­ter Ahmet Davu­to­glu told the leader of Turkey’s main oppo­si­tion party, Kemal Kil­ic­daroglu, that a pres­i­den­tial sys­tem would not lead to a dictatorship.

“What is right for Turkey is to adopt the pres­i­den­tial sys­tem in line with the demo­c­ra­tic spirit,” he said in a tele­vi­sion inter­view this week. “This sys­tem will not evolve into dic­ta­tor­ship, but if we do not have this spirit, even the par­lia­men­tary sys­tem can turn into this dictatorship.”

In Turkey, reac­tion to his remarks was strong on social media.

“now let’s do a close com­par­i­son of hitler and Erdo­gan,” one per­son wrote on Twit­ter. “The dif­fer­ence is that Hitler was a bit shorter.” That remark later appeared to have been deleted.

Peo­ple also shared an ani­mated image of Mr. Erdogan’s face chang­ing into Hitler’s.

1c. Further developing our analysis, we reference a Turkish journalist’s explicit analysis of Erdogan’s AK Party as an Islamic-fascist entity.

“AKP Attempt at an Islamist-Fascist Dictatorship” by Ihsan Yilmaz; Today’s Zaman; 10/28/2015.

About two months ago, I published a piece here titled “Rise of fascism and Greenshirts in Turkey.”

Some of you might have found it a little bit exaggerated. After the unconstitutional conquest of İpek Media Group TV stations and newspapers by Justice and Development Party (AKP) figures, let me revisit my piece and elaborate on it further.

I gave a definition of fascism in the piece, and wrote that “fascism is a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints, goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.”

I then added that “…its a  type of a newly emerging Blackshirts (the paramilitary group of Mussolini) and Brownshirts (Hitler’s paramilitary mobs). The primary purposes of the Brownshirts were: ‘providing protection for Nazi rallies and assemblies, disrupting the meetings of opposing parties, fighting against the paramilitary units of the opposing parties and intimidating Slavic and Romani citizens, unionists, and Jews.’ The AKP version should, of course, be called the Greenshirts!”

Then, I warned that “the opposition media has been threatened. Samanyolu TV, Zaman, Bugün TV and the Bugün daily could directly be seized on baseless grounds of terrorism. The AKP is calculating that not many people in Turkey and in the West would be bothered about it because of these media outlets’ affiliation with the Hizmet movement.” Well, I was wrong on one point: Despite my pessimistic expectation, the opposition in Turkey, which amounts to 60 percent of the vote, is up in arms and strongly behind the İpek Media Group. This may even be a first in Turkey and wonderful news for the consolidation of democracy in the medium run. But let me return to my warning that the AKP had been trying to establish an Islamist-fascist regime in Turkey. As you can see, it is trying to destroy all the opposition media outlets one by one, by sheer police force and by injuring journalists.

It is wrong to expect that whatever is happening in Turkey must be identical to 1930s Italy and Germany in order to describe what is happening in Turkey as the emergence and rise of fascism. There are, of course, spatial and temporal differences. Yet, the general expectations of fascists are similar: relying on popular support, trying to create a one-man regime and suppressing the opposition not just with punitive and ideological state apparatuses, but also para-militaristic, pseudo-civilian youth organizations. The fact that acting Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has been seen shoulder to shoulder with the chief of the AKP youth branch who raided the Hurriyet daily along with his comrades and caused physical harm is a testament to this phenomenon.

Does Turkey have a fascist regime now? Of course not. It is not so easy. We still have judges and prosecutors who do not succumb to the dictatorial desires of the AKP. The opposition is still alive and kicking. It is unfortunate to say this, but the army is widely seen to be a last brake against a full-fledged fascist regime. Yet, saying all these things do not negate the fact that AKP leaders are desperately trying to establish a bizarre Islamist-fascist regime in order to stay away from judicial, political and public scrutiny for corruption crimes.

The definition of the term dictatorship is given as: “a form of government where political authority is monopolized by a person or political entity, and exercised through various mechanisms to ensure the entity’s power remains strong. In dictatorships, politicians regulate nearly every aspect of the public and private behavior of normal people. Dictatorships and totalitarianism generally employ political propaganda to decrease the influence of proponents of alternative governing systems.”

If we combine this definition with my above analysis, we can conclude that the AKP is “trying” to establish an Islamist-fascist dictatorship. This, most probably, was not their original intention. But since they were caught red-handed by the judiciary on very serious corruption crimes, they thought that this was their only option. Now, they are trying to establish an Islamist-fascist dictatorship. The fact that Turkey is not and will never be such a dictatorship is another story. The only problem is, the AKP does not know this right now and it will only learn it by experience, which will be a very costly one for Turkey.

2a. Note that the Turkish AK Party is being seen as a role model for “moderate” Islamist parties being heralded as role models for the countries targeted by the so-called “Arab Spring.” We examine a German Islamist group affiliated with the Refah Party (the Turkish branch of the Muslim Brotherhood). The program highlights connections between that party and the AK party currently governing Turkey. The AK party appears to be little more than a “moderate” reworking of the Refah party, which is little more than a Muslim Brotherhood front organization. Erbakan of the Refah was the mentor of Erdogan, who presides over the “moderate” AK party.

“Turkey Offers Support for Controversial Islamic Group”; Deutsche Welle; 4/23/2003. 

Milli Gorus, Germany’s largest Islamic association, recently gained the official support of the Turkish government, despite being watched by German intelligence services due to alleged extremist leanings. On April 19, Turkey’s religious-conservative government ordered its embassies to offer the Islamische Gemeinschaft Milli Gorus (IGMG) their support. The group, formed in 1985 in Cologne to support Turkish nationalism and oppose the separation of state and religion, has long been criticized by German officials as being anti-Semitic and against liberal Western values.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul on Saturday refused to discuss his specific directions to diplomats regarding Milli Gorus, saying only the government ‘has for some time tried to strengthen the ties between our country and our citizens overseas.’ The decision comes only two weeks after an agreement between Germany and Turkey on combating organized crime incensed many members of Turkey’s ruling AK party because it included Milli Gorus with groups like the Kurdish terrorist outfit PKK. Since many AK members have ties to Islamic religious groups, Gul was compelled to say he did not consider Milli Gorus a terror organization.

. . . . Some observers say the attempt to reform its public image could be at least partly linked to the rise of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his AK party. Coming to power in a landslide victory last year, Erdogan styles his party as a modern conservative group based on Muslim values. He has distanced himself from former mentor Necmettin Erbakan, who founded the Islamic-influenced Welfare Party. . . .

2b. Recapping discussion of Necmettin Erbakan, his Refah party and the Muslim Brotherhood, the program highlights Erbakan’s relationship with Ahmed Huber and the manner in which that relationship precipitated Huber’s ascension to his position as a director of Al Taqwa.

Closely associated with the AK Party’s predecessor Refah organization, Huber’s concept of “moderation” might be gleaned from the photographs of some of the “moderates” he admires. (The AK Party is Erdogan’s party–evolved directly from the Refah Party.)

Speaking of the décor of Huber’s residence:

Dollars for Terror: The United States and Islam; by Richard Labeviere; Copyright 2000 [SC]; Algora Publishing; ISBN 1-892941-06-6; p. 142.

. . . . A second photograph, in which Hitler is talking with Himmler, hangs next to those of Necmettin Erbakan and Jean-Marie Le Pen [leader of the fascist National Front]. Erbakan, head of the Turkish Islamist party, Refah, turned to Achmed Huber for an introduction to the chief of the French party of the far right. Exiting from the meeting (which took place in September 1995) Huber’s two friends supposedly stated that they ‘share the same view of the world’ and expressed ‘their common desire to work together to remove the last racist obstacles that still prevent the union of the Islamist movement with the national right of Europe.’

Lastly, above the desk is displayed a poster of the imam Khomeini; the meeting ‘changed my life,’ Huber says, with stars in his eyes. For years, after the Federal Palace in Bern, Ahmed Huber published a European press review for the Iranian leaders, then for the Turkish Refah. Since the former lacked financial means, Huber chose to put his efforts to the service of the latter. An outpost of the Turkish Muslim Brothers, Refah thus became Huber’s principal employer; and it was through the intermediary of the Turkish Islamist party that this former parliamentary correspondent became a shareholder in the bank Al Taqwa. . . .

3. The Turkish AK Party (touted as a role model for the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood) has a strong economic relationship with Germany and other European economic players.

“The Turkish Model”; german-foreign-policy.com; 2/18/2011.

. . . . The focus is on two particular aspects of Turkish policy. The first is that over the past few years, political Islam in Turkey has proven to be very cooperative with the EU. This is due to the economic rise of the conservative sectors of the Anatolian hinterland, which is organized within the Adelet ve Kalkinma Partisi (AKP), the party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and ruling party in Ankara since 2002. The AKP has a clearly Islamic orientation. The Anatolian enterprises forming the backbone of the party have close economic ties in EU countries. It is on this basis that the AKP has established intensive ties to Western Europe, and incorporated into its brand of political Islam a reorientation favorable to the EU. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[2]) The party has since stood as a model for the possibility of Islamism having a pro-western character. In fact, over the past few years, several North African Islamic forces – including sectors of the influential Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood – have been orienting themselves on the AKP. According to a recent study, co-financed by the SPD-affiliated Friedrich Ebert Foundation, nearly two-thirds of the populations in seven Arab nations, including Egypt, would be in favor of their countries’ adopting the Turkish model.[3] A pro-western orientation of the Muslim Brotherhood, implicit in such a model, would be appreciated in western capitals. . . .

4a. Dur­ing a Skype inter­view back in Octo­ber, Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s intel­i­gence service, railed against Rus­sia try­ing to sup­press Syria’s Islamist rev­o­lu­tion and asserted that “ISIS is a real­ity and we have to accept that we can­not erad­i­cate a well-organized and pop­u­lar estab­lish­ment such as the Islamic State; there­fore I urge my west­ern col­leagues to revise their mind­set about Islamic polit­i­cal cur­rents, put aside their cyn­i­cal men­tal­ité and thwart Vladimir Putin’s plans to crush Syr­ian Islamist rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies.”

“Turk­ish Intel­li­gence Chief: Putin’s Inter­ven­tion in Syria Is Against Islam and Inter­na­tional Law, ISIS Is a Real­ity and We Are Opti­mistic about the Future”; AWD News; 10/18/2015.

Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s National Intel­li­gence Orga­ni­za­tion, known by the MIT acronym, has drawn a lot of atten­tion and crit­i­cism for his con­tro­ver­sial com­ments about ISIS.

Mr. Hakan Fidan, Turk­ish President’s staunchest ally, con­demned Russ­ian mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion in Syria, accus­ing Moscow of try­ing to ‘smother’ Syria’s Islamist rev­o­lu­tion and seri­ous breach of United Nations law.

“ISIS is a real­ity and we have to accept that we can­not erad­i­cate a well-organized and pop­u­lar estab­lish­ment such as the Islamic State; there­fore I urge my west­ern col­leagues to revise their mind­set about Islamic polit­i­cal cur­rents, put aside their cyn­i­cal men­tal­ité and thwart Vladimir Putin’s plans to crush Syr­ian Islamist rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies,” Anadolu News Agency quoted Mr. Fidan as say­ing on Sunday.

Fidan fur­ther added that in order to deal with the vast num­ber of for­eign Jihadists crav­ing to travel to Syria, it is imper­a­tive that ISIS must set up a con­sulate or at least a polit­i­cal office in Istan­bul. He under­lined that it is Turkey’s firm belief to pro­vide med­ical care for all injured peo­ple flee­ing Russ­ian ruth­less airstrikes regard­less of their polit­i­cal or reli­gious affiliation.

Recently as the fierce clashes between Russ­ian army and ISIS ter­ror­ists rag­ing across the war-torn Syria, count­less num­ber of ISIS injured fight­ers enter the Turk­ish ter­ri­tory and are being admit­ted in the mil­i­tary hos­pi­tals namely those in Hatay Province. Over the last few days, the Syr­ian army with the sup­port of Russ­ian air cover could fend off ISIS forces in strate­gic provinces of Homs and Hama.

Emile Hokayem, a Washington-based Mid­dle East ana­lyst said that Turkey’s Erdo­gan and his oil-rich Arab allies have dual agen­das in the war on ter­ror and as a mat­ter of fact they are sup­ply­ing the Islamist mil­i­tants with weapons and money, thus Russ­ian inter­ven­tion is con­sid­ered a dev­as­tat­ing set­back for their efforts to over­throw Syr­ian sec­u­lar Pres­i­dent Assad.

Hokayem who was speak­ing via Skype from Wash­ing­ton, D.C. high­lighted the dan­ger of Turkish-backed ter­ror­ist groups and added that what is hap­pen­ing in Syria can­not be cat­e­go­rized as a gen­uine and pop­u­lar rev­o­lu­tion against dic­ta­tor­ship but rather it is a chaos orches­trated by Erdo­gan who is dream­ing to revive this ancestor’s infa­mous Ottoman Empire.

4b. Further illustrating his true political nataure, Erdogan has invaded the autonomous Kurdish section of Iraq and defied the Iraqi gofernment’s request to leave. Bagh­dad just issued the threat of mil­i­tary action if Turkey doesn’t remove its troops from Kurd-controlled ter­ri­to­ries in North­ern Iraq. And Ankara’s response was basi­cally, ‘we respect your sov­er­eignty, but no, we aren’t leav­ing. And any­way, you don’t cur­rently con­trol this ter­ri­tory’. As far as ten­sions between neigh­bors go, the unwel­come pres­ence of for­eign troops along with taunts of ‘we’ll respect you’re sov­er­eignty once you actu­ally con­trol this ter­ri­tory’ is quite a doozy:

“Iraqi PM Says Turkey Not Respect­ing Agree­ment to With­draw Troops” by Saif Hameed and Ece Toksabay; Reuters; 12/30/2015.

Iraq’s prime min­is­ter accused Turkey on Wednes­day of fail­ing to respect an agree­ment to with­draw its troops from the country’s north and its for­eign min­is­ter said if forced, Iraq could resort to mil­i­tary action to defend its sovereignty.

The diplo­matic dis­pute flared after Turkey deployed a force pro­tec­tion unit of around 150 troops ear­lier this month, cit­ing height­ened secu­rity risks near Bashiqa mil­i­tary base where its troops were train­ing an Iraqi mili­tia to fight Islamic State insur­gents in nearby Mosul.

Iraqi secu­rity forces have had only a lim­ited pres­ence in Nin­eveh province, where the camp is located, since col­laps­ing in June 2014 in the face of a light­ning advance by Islamic State.

Iraqi Prime Min­is­ter Haider al-Abadi told his Turk­ish coun­ter­part in a call on Wednes­day that a Turk­ish del­e­ga­tion had promised to with­draw its troops, accord­ing to a state­ment from his media office.

“But the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment has not respected the agree­ment and we request that the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment announce imme­di­ately that it will with­draw from Iraqi ter­ri­tory”, he said.

Ankara has acknowl­edged there was a “mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion” with Bagh­dad over the deploy­ment. It later with­drew some troops to another base inside the nearby autonomous Kur­dis­tan region and said it would con­tinue to pull out of Nin­eveh province, where Bashiqa is located.

But Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Tayyip Erdo­gan has said a total with­drawal is out of the ques­tion, and Abadi repeated to Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Ahmet Davu­to­glu on Wednes­day that Bagh­dad had not approved the deployment.

Speak­ing on Wednes­day night, Davu­to­glu said Ankara respected Iraqi sov­er­eignty, but that Bagh­dad had no con­trol over a third of its own ter­ri­tory. “If Bagh­dad wants to use force, they should use it against Daesh,” Davu­to­glu added, using an Ara­bic name for Islamic State.

Abadi said there was no rea­son for Turkey to expose its train­ers to dan­ger by send­ing them “deep inside Iraqi bor­ders”, and that Islamic State posed no dan­ger to Turkey from inside Iraqi ter­ri­tory. Bashiqa is about 90 km (55 miles) from the Turk­ish border.

Davu­to­glu also con­grat­u­lated Abadi after Iraqi forces retook the cen­ter of the city of Ramadi this week, a vic­tory that could help vin­di­cate the Iraqi leader’s strat­egy for rebuild­ing the mil­i­tary after stun­ning defeats.

MILITARY ACTION

Iraqi For­eign Min­is­ter Ibrahim al-Jaafari said ear­lier in the day that his gov­ern­ment was com­mit­ted to exhaust­ing peace­ful diplo­matic avenues to avoid a cri­sis with Turkey, its north­ern neigh­bor, but insisted that all options remained open.

“If we are forced to fight and defend our sov­er­eignty and riches, we will be forced to fight,” he told reporters in Baghdad.

U.S. Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden, in a phone call with Davu­to­glu ear­lier this month, wel­comed the Turk­ish troops’ with­drawal and urged Ankara to con­tinue try­ing to coop­er­ate with Baghdad.

After the diplo­matic row began, the Bashiqa base came under fire from Islamic State when mil­i­tants fired rock­ets in an attack on Kur­dish Pesh­merga forces in the area. The Turk­ish mil­i­tary said its sol­diers returned fire and four had been lightly wounded in the incident.

6. In his last will and testament, Hitler saw alliance with the Muslim world as a key to future Nazi world domination. It is against the background of this that much of the subsequent discussion should be evaluated. Note also that this political will and testament was bequeathed to Francois Genoud. Although he died in 1996, Genoud’s name crops up significantly in a number of important respects in the context of the events of 9/11. For an overview of Genoud’s career, see FTR#453. For more information about Genoud and 9/11, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 343354371456498499. We examined Genoud’s links to the milieu of Al Taqwa and the Muslim Brotherhood in FTR #537. For a contemporary interpretation of Hitler’s words, substitute the United States for Britain in the following context:

Testament of Hitler, Headquarters of the Fuhrer, February 4 to April 2, 1945, preface by Francois Genoud; noted as Footnote #8 in: “The Reds, The Browns and the Greens” by Alexandre Del Valle; Occidentalis; 12/13/04; p. 10.

. . . . Adolf Hitler declared in his ‘Testament,’ reported by Martin Bormann: ‘All of Islam vibrates at announcement of our victories….. What can we do to help them…, how can it be to our interest and’ our duty? The presence next to us of the Italians… creates a malaise among our friends of Islam,… it hinders us from playing one of our better cards: to support the countries oppressed by the British. Such a policy would excite enthusiasm throughout Islam. It is, in effect, a particularity of the Muslim world that what touches one, whether good or ill, is felt by all the others…. The people ruled by Islam will always be nearer to us than France, in spite of the kinship of blood’ . . . .

 

6. In his last will and testament, Hitler saw alliance with the Muslim world as a key to future Nazi world domination. It is against the background of this that much of the subsequent discussion should be evaluated. Note also that this political will and testament was bequeathed to Francois Genoud. Although he died in 1996, Genoud’s name crops up significantly in a number of important respects in the context of the events of 9/11. For an overview of Genoud’s career, see FTR#453. For more information about Genoud and 9/11, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 343354371456498499. We examined Genoud’s links to the milieu of Al Taqwa and the Muslim Brotherhood in FTR #537. For a contemporary interpretation of Hitler’s words, substitute the United States for Britain in the following context:

Testament of Hitler, Headquarters of the Fuhrer, February 4 to April 2, 1945, preface by Francois Genoud; noted as Footnote #8 in: “The Reds, The Browns and the Greens” by Alexandre Del Valle; Occidentalis; 12/13/04; p. 10.

. . . . Adolf Hitler declared in his ‘Testament,’ reported by Martin Bormann: ‘All of Islam vibrates at announcement of our victories….. What can we do to help them…, how can it be to our interest and’ our duty? The presence next to us of the Italians… creates a malaise among our friends of Islam,… it hinders us from playing one of our better cards: to support the countries oppressed by the British. Such a policy would excite enthusiasm throughout Islam. It is, in effect, a particularity of the Muslim world that what touches one, whether good or ill, is felt by all the others…. The people ruled by Islam will always be nearer to us than France, in spite of the kinship of blood’ . . . .

 

 

Discussion

9 comments for “FTR #884 What the Hell Does Dave Emory Mean by “The Earth Island Boogie”?, Part 1 (Turkish Taffy, Part 4)”

  1. With a close Erdogan ally who is fully supportive of Erdogan’s drive to overhaul Turkey’s constitution and consolidate power set to become Turkey’s prime minister, the question of “what power grab is next?” continues to loom over of the country. Well, here’s what’s next:

    Bloomberg

    Turkey Moves to Prosecute Almost All Pro-Kurdish Party Lawmakers

    Firat Kozok
    Onur Ant
    AnkaraWonk

    May 20, 2016 — 8:16 AM CDT

    * Parliament votes 376 to 140 to pass constitutional amendment
    * Erdogan has pushed for the lawmakers to be tried for terrorism

    Turkey moved closer to putting many of its leading Kurdish politicians on trial on Friday, as parliament passed a constitutional amendment depriving almost all elected lawmakers from the main pro-Kurdish party of their legal immunity.

    The measure received 376 votes, above the threshold that allows President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to ratify it without the need to take it to a referendum. While the amendment also lifts immunity from other parties’ lawmakers, the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, or HDP, is its main target. The HDP has 59 of the legislature’s 550 lawmakers: a total of 405 cases have been opened against 50 of those 59, most related to terrorism charges.

    The process is likely to increase friction with the European Union, whose leaders have promised Turkey closer ties, despite a deterioration in democratic standards under Erdogan, in exchange for his government’s help in stemming the flow of refugees from the Middle East. Kati Piri, Turkey rapporteur for the European Parliament, called Friday’s amendment an “historic mistake.”

    ‘Dark Days’

    “Dark days in Turkey,” she said on Twitter, posting a picture of a group of Turkish ruling party lawmakers laughing as they cast votes. “Silencing elected MPs of the opposition HDP is a major leap away from democratic standards.”

    The HDP first emerged as a force in Turkish politics last year, winning enough support in a June general election to briefly deprive the Islamist ruling party, which Erdogan founded, of a parliamentary majority it had held for 13 years. The HDP attracted voters among the nation’s large Kurdish minority with promises to move the struggle for Kurdish rights from the battlefield to the political arena. It also won support among Turkish liberals with promises to prevent Erdogan from consolidating power.

    Crossing Rubicon

    Erdogan has accused the HDP of not distancing itself from militants from the PKK, which is classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey and allies including the EU and U.S. The PKK has been fighting for autonomy in Turkey’s southeast since 1984, in a war that has claimed more than 40,000 lives and cost hundreds of billions of dollars.

    “My people don’t want to see those supported by the separatist terrorist organization in parliament,” Erdogan said in televised remarks from Rize at a rally of supporters shortly before the vote on Friday. “If there is an auspicious outcome, these cases will go to the courts.”

    “Some Western politicians will be very nervous and unhappy that a key rubicon will have been crossed in terms of Turkish democracy,” said Tim Ash, head of emerging-market strategy at Nomura International Plc in London. “Not sure they will do much about it at this stage given the travails of the migrant crisis and Turkey’s leverage therein in restricting migrant flows to Europe.”

    “Some Western politicians will be very nervous and unhappy that a key rubicon will have been crossed in terms of Turkish democracy…Not sure they will do much about it at this stage given the travails of the migrant crisis and Turkey’s leverage therein in restricting migrant flows to Europe.”
    That’s a pretty good description of the EU’s response.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 20, 2016, 1:39 pm
  2. OK, no need to dig up that BBC article, here’s some more recent ones. I think this is the group I mentioned above. Note the “Argentian-Lebanese grandmother”. Gee, why does one rarely hear the name Labib Al Nahhas in the US media?

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/22/ex-uk-student-clocks-up-air-miles-on-mission-to-rebrand-syrian-islamists

    A Spanish citizen who studied in Birmingham and headed a tech company based in a London suburb is leading efforts to rebrand one of Syria’s most prominent armed Islamist opposition groups.

    Labib al-Nahhas is the “foreign affairs minister” for Ahrar al-Sham, agroup that has fought in alliances with al-Qaida’s Syrian franchise, and aims to establish a Sunni theocracy in Syria. One of its original leaders also had personal connections with Osama bin Laden.

    His role sends him around western capitals arguing that his group is an ultra-conservative but legitimate part of the opposition, using his own European roots to reach out to diplomats wary of the group’s history and beliefs.

    “From the ideological point of view, I am an Islamist of course; if not I wouldn’t be in this movement. But the difference, what enables me to do my work better, is that I understand both worlds and not only from a theoretical point of view,” he said in an interview about his role in the group and its new positioning.
    ‘Provisional’ Syria ceasefire plan called into question as bombs kill 120
    Read more

    Nahhas was born in Madrid to a Syrian Muslim father and Spanish mother from a Catholic background and lived in the Spanish capital for the first years of his life, an investigation by this paper found. At four, his parents were killed in a car accident and he moved back to Syria to live with his extended family.

    An Argentinian-Lebanese grandmother kept up his Spanish after the move, he says, although he is vague about where he spent some of his childhood. Wherever he was studying, he learned enough English to win a place at Birmingham University and graduated in 1999 with a degree in telecommunications engineering.

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/national-security/article78962527.html

    A senior figure from a Syrian rebel group with links to al Qaida was allowed into the United States for a brief visit, raising questions about how much the Obama administration will compromise in the search for partners in the conflict.

    Labib al Nahhas, foreign affairs director for the Islamist fighting group Ahrar al Sham, spent a few days in Washington in December, according to four people with direct knowledge of the trip and who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of U.S. relations with Syrian rebels.

    His previously undisclosed visit is a delicate matter for both sides – the conservative Salafist insurgents risk their credibility with even perceived ties to the United States, and the U.S. government risks looking soft on screenings by allowing entry to a member of an Islamist paramilitary force.

    National security analysts say U.S. authorities likely knew of Nahhas’ arrival – intelligence agencies for years have watched his group’s interactions with al Qaida’s Syrian branch, the Nusra Front.

    They could make, quickly, the decision that he’s persona non grata in the United States and yet they haven’t. Faysal Itani, a Syria specialist with the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East

    That suggests that authorities granted him entry at a time when U.S. immigration authorities face political pressure to block visitors with even tenuous ties to extremist groups. Four months after Nahhas entered the United States on a European passport, U.S. authorities denied entry to a well-known Syrian humanitarian leader who had been approved to visit Washington to receive an award from international aid groups.

    “They’re treating Labib al Nahhas as an individual, and it’s also useful to have someone to talk to on the other side,” said Faysal Itani, a Syria specialist with the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, who said he’d known about Nahhas’ visit. “They could make, quickly, the decision that he’s persona non grata in the United States and yet they haven’t.”

    A Syrian opposition official with knowledge of the matter said it shouldn’t have been surprising that he was allowed entry because Ahrar al Sham is not among U.S.-designated terrorist groups. He said Nahhas hadn’t planned meetings with any U.S. officials but wanted to speak with “third parties” who might be able to influence policymakers. He declined to elaborate on the “third parties;” others said the plan was to meet with lobbyists and Middle East researchers.

    The State Department declined to answer whether any U.S. officials knew in advance or expressed reservations about Nahhas’s presence in Washington, or whether State Department officials had assisted his entry.

    “We don’t discuss visa records,” said State Department spokesman John Kirby. “In general, U.S. officials have engaged with a range of Syrian opposition groups, including Ahrar al Sham. … However, we are not going to get into the details of any such discussions.”

    U.S. officials have long struggled with how to deal with Ahrar al Sham, one of the largest insurgent armies in Syria.

    The group’s ultimate vision is Islamist rule for Syria and its old links to al Qaida are no secret: One of the group’s founders, Abu Khalid al Suri, was memorialized by al Qaida leader Ayman al Zawahiri after his death in a bombing.

    By all accounts, Ahrar al Sham is much more ideologically diverse than al Qaida, encompassing members ranging from followers of a more moderate, Muslim Brotherhood-style Islamism to Salafist jihadists whose beliefs are virtually identical to al Qaida’s.

    “They’re not al Qaida but they are Salafi jihadists – they’re just not transnational ones,” Itani said of Ahrar al Sham.

    Ahrar continues to frustrate the United States and its allies with its operational coordination with al Qaida’s Nusra Front, including a joint attack this month in the Syrian village of Zara that resulted in what human rights group called the massacre of at least 19 civilians from the Alawite minority. An Ahrar official told McClatchy the operation was defensive and not sectarian in nature; he said fighters perceived foreign powers weren’t stopping regime advances in the area.

    Even with circumstances of the killings in dispute, the participation of Ahrar al Sham in the operation – alongside al Qaida loyalists and while a truce was in effect – makes it all the more difficult for Nahhas to convince the world of his group’s commitment to working in the mainstream.

    For months, Nahhas, serving as Ahrar’s ambassador to the outside world, has flown to foreign capitals and penned op-eds showing a willingness to work with the West, only to see his efforts undermined by the military wing of the group. Last summer, only a month after Nahhas pledged Ahrar’s commitment to a “moderate” future for Syria, the group issued a statement praising the late Taliban chief Mullah Omar as the embodiment of “the true meanings of jihad and sincerity.”

    “The more moderate-sounding wing of Ahrar al Sham represented by Labib Nahhas does not seem to have a lot of influence over hardliners in the armed cadre,” said Aron Lund, who monitors the conflict as a nonresident associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and as editor of Syria in Crisis. “His initiatives keep getting slapped down by the leadership.”

    The Obama administration has considered slapping a terrorist label on the group, and Secretary of State John Kerry has lumped Ahrar in the same category as blacklisted groups the Islamic State, Nusra Front and Hamas.

    Officials so far have held back on a designation, privately saying that they’ve calculated it would do more harm than good on the ground.

    Ahrar’s militiamen – estimates of its strength range from 7,000 to the 27,000 the group itself claims – are considered skilled, disciplined and well equipped. In several strategic locations, they are the force preventing a rout of the U.S.-backed rebels by Nusra Front or the Islamic State. They also have boosters in U.S.-friendly Qatar and Turkey, a NATO ally.

    At the time of Nahhas’s visit to Washington, the Syrian opposition official said, Saudi Arabia was planning its Riyadh conference of rebel factions, and the groups wanted a chance to clear up Western misconceptions. The official said that Nahhas wasn’t just representing Ahrar al Sham, but was acting as an emissary for several rebel groups who wanted to deliver “an accurate picture of the military and political situation, since we always felt that fundamental parts of reality in Syria are missing in D.C.”

    U.S. officials are wary of the rebels because of ties to al Qaida, and the rebels say the U.S. record in Syria gives them no faith that they’d be protected if they broke from a group with battlefield influence.

    Among those tough realities, he said, is that rebel groups often have little choice but to work alongside Nusra – rejecting Nusra would mean picking a fight with one of the few reliable forces battling the regime.

    “We are fighting the regime, Iranians, Hezbollah, YPG, Daesh and now the Russians,” the opposition official said, listing some of the many parties to the Syrian conflict. “We cannot keep opening fronts and adding enemies when our ‘allies’ are not supporting us.”

    That idea lies at the heart of years of mutual frustration between Washington and Ahrar al Sham or other Syrian rebel groups that sometimes partner with the Nusra Front. U.S. officials are wary of the rebels because of ties to al Qaida, and the rebels say the U.S. record in Syria gives them no faith that they’d be protected if they broke from a group with battlefield influence.

    Given the State Department’s growing impatience with Syrian insurgents’ “co-mingling” with Nusra Front, it’s unclear whether Nahhas would be welcomed back to Washington.

    “Straddling the jihadi-mainstream divide has served them very well earlier in the conflict,” Lund said of Ahrar al Sham, “but by now their inability to come down on one side or the other is starting to look more like weakness.”

    Posted by Tiffany Sunderson | May 23, 2016, 1:27 pm
  3. @Tiffany: The following article about the Afghan government and US backing a splinter faction of the Taliban sort of captures a similar dynamic to what you were pointing out, where there are a number of sources confirming that the military cooperation is indeed happening and just as many sources denying it completely. And it has a quote from and Afghan intelligence agent that captures an overall mindset that’s probably pretty prevalent in a number of war zones today: “It’s a very complex war…Sometimes you need to be on every side.”

    The Wall Street Journal

    Afghan Government Secretly Fosters Taliban Splinter Groups
    Kabul seeks to sow discord by supporting faction of rebel group

    By Jessica Donati and
    Habib Khan Totakhil
    Updated May 22, 2016 9:03 p.m. ET

    SHINDAND, Afghanistan—The Afghan government is giving financial and military support to a breakaway Taliban faction, according to some Afghan and U.S. coalition officials, in an effort to sow rifts within the insurgency and nudge some of its leaders toward peace talks.

    The effort comes as the U.S. military conducted an airstrike inside Pakistan that American officials said likely killed Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour, potentially setting the stage for another leadership struggle that could fragment the group further in the coming days. The Taliban, which usually respond promptly to requests for comment, hadn’t issued a statement by late Sunday.

    Senior Afghan and U.S. diplomatic, military and intelligence officials, including several who had roles in creating the program, described its details and said that resources provided by the U.S. were used to support it.

    The Afghan intelligence agency is leading the drive to recruit new Taliban assets, Afghan and U.S. officials said. The agency relies on the U.S. for most of its funding and is still mentored by the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA declined to comment for this article.

    Despite billions invested in reconstruction, Afghanistan still relies on aid for most of its funding and the U.S. pays more than $4 billion a year for its security forces.

    The program’s goal, Afghan and U.S. officials said, is to exploit divisions that emerged after the Taliban’s longtime leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, was revealed last July to have been dead for years, a disclosure that stunned local Taliban leaders and threw the group into disarray.

    It targets southern Zabul, Helmand, eastern Paktika and western Farah and Herat provinces, where groups of insurgents and their commanders, unhappy with the Taliban’s leadership, have defected to a commander named Mullah Mohammad Rasool.

    Afghan and U.S. officials said Mullah Rasool’s faction and other fractious Taliban groups have been receiving cash, ammunition and weapons from the Afghan government.

    A spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said there is no alliance between any Afghan agency and any Taliban group. “The Afghan government does not support any Taliban groups and we categorically reject such claims as baseless,” said the spokesman, Sayed Zafar Hashemi.

    The Taliban faction led by Mullah Rasool has accused a rival Taliban faction as well as Pakistan of spreading propaganda linking them to the government. “We do not receive any assistance from the government and we have no relationship with them,” said Maulvi Ghulam Mohammad Hotak, a commander under Mullah Rasool.

    The U.S.-led force in Afghanistan also denies meeting or supporting any members of the group. In response to queries about coalition resources and facilities being used to assist Mullah Rasool’s group, a coalition spokesman said it was “possible that the breakaway Taliban factions have been able to acquire some” weapons or other equipment, but they weren’t given to the insurgents “directly or indirectly.”

    The program carries significant risks. Recruited Taliban commanders, who have yet to commit to peace talks with the government, may turn against Afghan and foreign forces in the country with the ammunition supplied to them, Afghan and U.S. security officials said.

    But Afghan officials familiar with the program said they are willing to run such risks if the potential outcome is a weakened Taliban.

    “It’s a game. The tactics of war: Sometimes a friend, and sometime a foe,” said a senior Afghan Special Forces battalion commander who has been involved in supporting Mr. Rasool’s faction. “We are military people. We execute orders.”

    When two Taliban factions clashed in March in the Zerkoh valley, an opium-rich region in Herat province, Afghan Special Forces teams under his command rolled in to rescue a favored Taliban commander loyal to Mullah Rasool.

    Backed by Afghanistan’s army and police, they cleared a path for the commander, Nangialai Khan, and his footsoldiers to escape to a nearby government compound, according to Special Forces soldiers who participated in the operation and a local militia commander who joined the favored Taliban group in battle.

    “We informed the government here,” said the militia commander, Mohammad Haji Amir Karimi, who is also the leader of a provincial tribal council. Mr. Karimi said he received official approval ahead of the mission and was rescued by the government after he was surrounded by the rival Taliban group. “And the government helped us,” he said.

    Since those events in March, the Afghan intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security, has provided Mr. Nangialai with weapons, cash and ammunition needed to continue fighting his rival for control over the valley, according to a U.S. coalition official as well as Afghan Special Forces members who maintain contact with the group. Mr. Nangialai couldn’t be reached for comment.

    The Afghan government’s efforts come as attempts to restart peace talks with the Taliban have crumbled. Since they were ousted from power in 2001, the Taliban have waged an increasingly deadly insurgency in the country. A truck bomb claimed by the Taliban in April killed more than 60 people in the Afghan capital.

    Afghan and U.S. officials say Mullah Rasool’s faction is more likely to engage in talks, but officially it maintains the same position as the main Taliban group, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign troops and the establishment of Shariah law as a condition for peace: “If these conditions are not met, we will not make a peace deal with the government,” said Mullah Manan Niazi, a senior aide.

    Afghan security officials familiar with the effort to split the Taliban said it has been successful in some provinces and has brought the group’s legitimacy into question. Another key objective has been to keep disgruntled Taliban commanders from joining up with an emergent Islamic State. “It’s a very complex war,” an Afghan intelligence agency official based in Kabul said. “Sometimes you need to be on every side.”

    Senior Afghan Special Forces members in western Afghanistan said the CIA supplied the Taliban splinter group with cash and equipment, through the Afghan spy agency, including three vehicles with satellite trackers to track movements of allied Taliban commanders.

    Despite the efforts to support him, Mullah Rasool’s Taliban faction has suffered some devastating battlefield defeats in places like Herat and Zabul, according to provincial government and security officials. In Helmand, it has made little if any progress. In Paktika province, Afghan intelligence officials described an attempt to support a renegade leader known as Obaidullah Honar, who was loyal to Mullah Rasool, with cash and weapons, only for him to die alongside many of his men in a battle with the Taliban’s main group.

    In Herat province, Shindand district, which is rich in opium and contains one of Afghanistan’s largest airfields, has slid under the control of the main Taliban organization over the past year. Military convoys are routinely attacked. Afghan Special Forces teams often travel undercover, speeding through clusters of Taliban-controlled mud-brick villages.

    Some Afghan Special Forces members, who see themselves as an elite force trained to carry out special missions, said they have been frustrated by Mr. Nangialai’s repeated losses at the hands of the rival group and see their efforts as futile because there is no attempt to hold the ground after their operations.

    Officials at Special Forces headquarters denied they are backing one rival Taliban group against the other.

    “Both sides have committed atrocities against the people,” said General Shir Mohammad Andiwal, the 207th Corps Brigade commander, referring to both factions of the Taliban. “We are military, for us, they both are equally dangerous.”

    In Shindand district, Afghan forces are largely confined to their bases and district center buildings are attacked regularly. The governor’s office is riddled with bullet holes, but an 18-man team of Afghan Special Forces remains stationed on the upper floor of building to keep it from falling into Taliban hands.

    Special Forces soldiers said Afghan and U.S. intelligence agency officers flew Mr. Nangialai back to Kabul for meetings following his retreat. Afghan and U.S. officials said the Taliban commander has been rearmed and is preparing a counter attack.

    “Afghan and U.S. officials say Mullah Rasool’s faction is more likely to engage in talks, but officially it maintains the same position as the main Taliban group, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign troops and the establishment of Shariah law as a condition for peace: “If these conditions are not met, we will not make a peace deal with the government,” said Mullah Manan Niazi, a senior aide.”
    The enemy of my enemy is my friend. And enemy. That should end well.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 24, 2016, 5:38 pm
  4. With Turkey’s apparently half-assed coup attempt wrapping up, one of the biggest questions now is how Erdogan responds. And as the following article makes clear, it’s definitely not going be a half-assed response:

    Associated Press

    Turkey Quashes Coup, Erdogan Vows ‘Heavy Price’ For Plotters

    By AP STAFF
    Published July 16, 2016, 10:06 AM EDT

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Forces loyal to Turkey’s president quashed a coup attempt in a night of explosions, air battles and gunfire that left at least 161 people dead and 1,440 wounded Saturday. Authorities arrested thousands as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed that those responsible “will pay a heavy price for their treason.”

    The chaos came amid a period of political turmoil in Turkey — a NATO member and key Western ally in the fight against the Islamic State group — that critics blame on Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian rule. Staying in power by switching from being prime minister to president, Erdogan has shaken up the government, cracked down on dissidents, restricted the news media and renewed fighting with Kurdish rebels.

    The government has also come under pressure from the millions of refugees in Turkey who have fled violence in neighboring Syria and Iraq, and a series of bloody attacks in Turkey blamed on the Islamic State group and Kurdish rebels.

    Erdogan was on a seaside vacation when tanks rolled into the streets of Ankara and Istanbul. He flew home early Saturday and declared the coup to have failed.

    “They have pointed the people’s guns against the people. The president, whom 52 percent of the people brought to power, is in charge. This government brought to power by the people is in charge,” Erdogan told large crowds after landing at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport.

    The uprising appears not to have been backed by the most senior ranks of the military, and Turkey’s main opposition parties quickly condemned the attempted overthrow of the government. Gen. Umit Dundar said the plotters were mainly officers from the Air Force, the military police and the armored units.

    Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said 161 people were killed and 1,440 wounded in the violence, and 2,839 plotters were detained. A source at the office of the presidency, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with government rules, said the toll of 161 “excludes assailants” — which could mean the death toll is much higher.

    Yildirim described the night as “a black mark on Turkish democracy” and said the perpetrators “will receive every punishment they deserve.”

    Turkey’s NATO allies lined up to condemn the coup. President Barack Obama urged all sides to support Turkey’s democratically elected government. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said he spoke to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and called for the Turkish people to respect democracy.

    There have long been tensions between the military — which saw itself as the protector of the secular Turkish state — and Erdogan’s Islamic-influenced AKP party.

    Government officials blamed the coup attempt on a U.S.-based moderate Islamic cleric, Fethullah Gulen. Erdogan has often accused the cleric and his supporters of attempting to overthrow the government. Gulen lives in exile in Pennsylvania and promotes a philosophy that blends a mystical form of Islam with staunch advocacy of democracy, education, science and interfaith dialogue.

    Gulen, however, said he condemned “in the strongest terms, the attempted military coup in Turkey” and sharply rejected any responsibility for the attempted coup.

    “Government should be won through a process of free and fair elections, not force,” he said. “I pray to God for Turkey, for Turkish citizens, and for all those currently in Turkey that this situation is resolved peacefully and quickly.”

    “As someone who suffered under multiple military coups during the past five decades, it is especially insulting to be accused of having any link to such an attempt. I categorically deny such accusations,” he added.

    Still, the government pressed ahead Saturday with a purge of judicial officials, with 2,745 judges being dismissed across Turkey for alleged ties to Gulen. Ten members of Turkey’s highest administrative court were detained and arrest warrants were issued for 48 administrative court members and 140 members of Turkey’s appeals court, state media reported.

    The coup attempt began late Friday, with a military statement saying forces had seized control “to reinstall the constitutional order, democracy, human rights and freedoms, to ensure that the rule of law once again reigns in the country, for law and order to be reinstated.”

    Fighter jets buzzed overhead, gunfire erupted outside military headquarters and vehicles blocked two major bridges in Istanbul. Soldiers backed by tanks blocked entry to Istanbul’s airport for a couple of hours before being overtaken by pro-government crowds carrying Turkish flags, according to footage broadcast by the Dogan news agency.

    The military did not appear unified, as top commanders went on television to condemn the action and order troops back to their barracks.

    Erdogan, appearing on television over a mobile phone, had urged supporters into the streets to defend his government, and large crowds heeded his call. People faced off against troops who had blocked key bridges over the Bosporus that link the Asian and European sides of Istanbul.

    By early Saturday, the putsch appeared to have fizzled, as police, soldiers and civilians loyal to the government confronted coup plotters.

    In images broadcast on CNN-Turk, dozens of soldiers walked among tanks with their hands held up, surrendering to government forces. Discarded gear was strewn on the ground. Some flag-waving people climbed onto the tanks.

    NTV television showed a Turkish colonel and other soldiers on their knees being searched and taken into custody at military headquarters. The Hurriyet newspaper, quoting investigators, said some privates told them they were not even aware they were part of a coup attempt but thought they were on military maneuvers.

    Colonels and generals implicated in the rebellion were fired and loyal troops rescued the military chief who had been taken hostage at an air base on the outskirts of Ankara, the capital.

    A Blackhawk military helicopter with seven Turkish military personnel and one civilian landed in the Greek city of Alexandroupolis, where the passengers requested asylum, according to Greece’s defense ministry. While Turkey demanded their extradition, Greece said it would hand back the helicopter and consider the men’s asylum requests.

    Turkey is a key partner in U.S.-led efforts to defeat the Islamic State group, and has allowed American jets to use its Incirlik air base to fly missions against the extremists in nearby Syria and Iraq. A coup against the democratically elected government could have made it difficult for the United States to continue to cooperate with Turkey.

    Erdogan’s Islamist government has also been accused of playing an ambiguous — even double-sided — role in Syria. Turkey’s renewed offensive against Kurdish militants — who seek more autonomy and are implacable foes of IS — has complicated the U.S.-led fight against the Islamic State group.

    Fadi Hakura, a Turkey expert at the Chatham House think tank in London, said it was not clear who was behind the attempted coup, but it appeared to have been “carried out by lower-ranking officers — at the level of colonel.”

    “Their main gripe seems to have been President Erdogan’s attempt to transform his office into a powerful and centralized executive presidency,” Hakura said. “I think in the short term this failed coup plot will strengthen President Erdogan, particularly in his drive to turn his office into a strong and centralized executive presidency.”

    Turkey’s military staged three coups between 1960 and 1980 and pressured Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, a pious Muslim mentor of Erdogan, out of power in 1997.

    “The uprising appears not to have been backed by the most senior ranks of the military, and Turkey’s main opposition parties quickly condemned the attempted overthrow of the government. Gen. Umit Dundar said the plotters were mainly officers from the Air Force, the military police and the armored units.”

    A lower level officer coup? Perhaps the hope was that there would be mass spontaneous popular support in the streets. But if so, that was one massive gamble. It will be very interesting to learn if the claims by some soldiers that they thought they were participating in a military exercise turn out to be true. It will also be interesting to see to what extent this remains a internal issue given that Erdogan is already pointing the finger at Fetullah Gulen. Because it doesn’t sound like the US is currently willing to hand over Gulen without proof of his complicity:

    Associated Press

    Erdogan Demands US Extradite Muslim Cleric Over Attempted Coup

    By AP STAFF
    Published July 16, 2016, 1:50 PM EDT

    LUXEMBOURG (AP) — The Obama administration would entertain an extradition request for the U.S.-based cleric that Turkey’s president is blaming for a failed coup attempt, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday.

    In a televised speech, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the United States should extradite Fethullah Gulen. Erdogan said Turkey had never turned back any extradition request for “terrorists” by the United States and stressed Turkey’s joint role with the U.S. in fighting terrorism. “I say if we are strategic partners then you should bring about our request,” he said.

    Visiting Luxembourg, Kerry said Turkey would have to prove the wrongdoing of Gulen, who left Turkey in 1999.

    Gulen has harshly condemned the attempted coup attempt by military officers that resulted in a night of explosions, air battles and gunfire that left dozens dead. But Erdogan’s government is blaming the chaos on the cleric, who lives in exile in Pennsylvania and promotes a philosophy that blends a mystical form of Islam with staunch advocacy of democracy, education, science and interfaith dialogue.

    Erdogan has long accused Gulen, a former ally, of trying to overthrow the government. Washington has never found any evidence particularly compelling previously.

    “We fully anticipate that there will be questions raised about Mr. Gulen,” Kerry told reporters. “And obviously we would invite the government of Turkey, as we always do, to present us with any legitimate evidence that withstands scrutiny. And the United States will accept that and look at it and make judgments about it appropriately.”

    A Turkish official, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations, said Turkey “has been preparing a formal application with detailed information about Gulen’s involvement in illegal activities. After last night, we have one more thing to add to an already extensive list.”

    President Barack Obama urged all sides in Turkey to support the democratically elected government in Turkey, a key NATO ally.

    In a statement issued after a meeting with his national security advisers, Obama also urged those in Turkey to show restraint and avoid violence or bloodshed.

    Gulen is understood to maintain significant support among some members of the military and mid-level bureaucrats. His movement called Hizmet includes think tanks, schools and various media enterprises. Gulen andErdogan only became estranged in recent years.

    In a statement, Gulen said he condemned, “in the strongest terms, the attempted military coup in Turkey.”

    “Government should be won through a process of free and fair elections, not force,” he said. “I pray to God for Turkey, for Turkish citizens, and for all those currently in Turkey that this situation is resolved peacefully and quickly.”

    Gulen sharply rejected any responsibility: “As someone who suffered under multiple military coups during the past five decades, it is especially insulting to be accused of having any link to such an attempt. I categorically deny such accusations.”

    Reiterating American support for Erdogan’s government, Kerry said the U.S. opposed any attempt to overthrow a democratically elected leader. He said a change of government should only come through a legal, constitutional process.

    Kerry also said that U.S. military cooperation with its NATO ally has been unaffected by the turmoil. Turkey plays a key role in U.S.-led efforts against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

    “All of that continues as before,” Kerry said.

    He said the U.S. had no prior indication of the coup attempt, which came as Erdogan was on vacation.

    It appears not to have been backed by the most senior ranks of the military, and Turkey’s main opposition parties quickly condemned the attempted overthrow of the government. Prime Minister Benali Yildirim said 161 people were killed and 1,440 wounded in the overnight violence. He said 2,839 plotters were detained.

    “If you’re planning a coup you don’t exactly advertise to your partners in NATO,” Kerry said. “So it surprised everyone. It does not appear to be a very brilliantly planned or executed event.”

    “We fully anticipate that there will be questions raised about Mr. Gulen,” Kerry told reporters. “And obviously we would invite the government of Turkey, as we always do, to present us with any legitimate evidence that withstands scrutiny. And the United States will accept that and look at it and make judgments about it appropriately.

    That certainly doesn’t sound like Erdogan’s primary suspect is going to be handed over casually. Perhaps this will actually turn out to be a Gulen-led plot by sympathetic military officers. But if not, you have to wonder how this is going to play it. Especially if no compelling evidence can be presented. Because if it wasn’t Gulen that was behind this, there’s another obvious suspect:

    The Independent

    Turkey coup: Conspiracy theorists claim attempt was faked by Erdogan

    Social media users claim Erdogan will use the attempted coup in the same way Hitler used the Reichstag Fire to suppress all opposition

    Adam Lusher
    7/16/2016

    Conspiracy theorists are saying the the attempted military coup in Turkey was faked, after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly called it “a gift from Allah”.

    Social media users have compared the coup attempt in which more than 160 people are thought to have died to the Reichstag fire – the 1933 arson attack on the German parliament building which Hitler used as an excuse to suspend civil liberties and order mass arrests of his opponents.

    President Erdogan reportedly told supporters at Istanbul’s international airport that the coup attempt was the work of the movement led by the exiled preacher Fethullah Gulen, which he denounced as “an armed terrorist organisation”.

    He was quoted as calling the attempted coup “a gift from God,” reportedly saying it would help cleanse the military of “members of the gang” who would “pay a heavy price for their treason”.

    This immediately led many to fear that President Erdogan, who has previously been accused of persecuting critics, will use the coup as an excuse to further crack down on his opponents. Such fears are likely to be stoked by Turkish TV reports that 2,745 judges have been removed from their offices following the coup attempt.

    Some observers have even begun specualting that the coup was stage-managed to give Mr Erdogan an opportunity to purge the military of opponents and increase his grip on Turkey.

    Ryan Heath, the senior EU correspondent at Politico, used Twitter to share comments from his “Turkish source”, who called the events of Friday night a “fake coup” which would help a “fake democracy warrior” [Erdogan].

    The source said: “Probably we’ll see an early election [in] which he’ll try to guarantee an unbelievable majority of the votes. And this will probably guarantee another 10-15 years of authoritarian, elected dictatorship.

    “We’ll possibly see a change in the constitution for worse, which secularism will be gone and Islamist motifs will be in!”

    “The source said: “Probably we’ll see an early election [in] which he’ll try to guarantee an unbelievable majority of the votes. And this will probably guarantee another 10-15 years of authoritarian, elected dictatorship.”

    Yep, that’s probably what we’re going to see. At least it’s hard to see how that isn’t a likely scenario which is why it’s hard to see why Erdogan isn’t going to be a suspect if it turns out that no reasonable explanation can be delivered for who planned the half-assed, easily squashed coup. Because it’s looking like a coup that was either meant to fail or so poorly planned that even professional coup plotters can’t contain their disappointment:

    The Huffington Post

    Former CIA Officials Give Turkish Coup Plotters Advice On CNN

    “I have been involved in coups before,” a former CIA officer said.

    Daniel Marans Reporter, Huffington Post

    07/16/2016 09:39 am 09:39:28 | Updated

    Oh, for the good old days – when the CIA regularly assisted military coups d’états in foreign democracies.

    Several former spooks appearing on CNN Friday night to discuss the attempted military coup in Turkey had more than a few pointers for the seemingly amateurish military officers leading the takeover efforts. And at least one contributor seemed more disappointed in their performance than relieved that the coup has thus far failed to topple a democratically elected government.

    Leading the pack was Robert Baer, a veteran former CIA officer and author – and, apparently, a former coup participant.

    Baer told CNN anchor Anderson Cooper that the Turkish coup was “not professionally done.”

    “I have been involved in coups before,” he said. “They should have taken CNN Turk and closed it down the first minutes, the radio station, social media, the internet. Even if they didn’t arrest [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, they should have taken care of all of that right at the beginning.”

    Baer also revealed that he had discussed the possibility of a coup with Turkish military officers in the past few months.

    “I’ve been speculating with Turkish officers a couple months ago about a coup and they said, ‘Absolutely not,’” he said. “And clearly they’re not involved, so there’s limited support for this.”

    Baer went on to acknowledge that the prospects of the coup’s success were bleak, but he argued that it could still prevail.

    “If the Turkish army, these elements, want to go to war with the people, it would mean civil war,” Baer concluded. “And right now, it doesn’t look like it, but you know tomorrow is another day. And certainly people in the Turkish military aren’t certain – or the government.”

    James Woolsey, a former director of the CIA who has advocated for the hanging of National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, offered his analysis of the Turkish coup on CNN earlier in the evening, arguing that it was a tactical failure.

    “With coups, as with military operations, the plans never survive the first part of the operation,” Woolsey said. “You have to be flexible enough to change your tactics as you’re going through. And it doesn’t sound like these coup plotters had that kind of flexibility.”

    Woolsey, who said he spent six months in Turkey last year, went on to imply that the coup need not change the U.S.’ close relationship with the country.

    “I think there’s one thing – this is not a happy situation and things may turn very sour – but there is one positive aspect at least, that I’d be willing to share,” he said. “Turkey is a prosperous and progressive place with its workforce.”

    “We need [Turkey] and we need to work with it and we need to have it work with us,” he concluded.

    Retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark, a former leader of NATO’s presence in Europe, appeared on CNN in the same segment as Woolsey. (Turkey is a member of NATO.)

    While Clark shared the criticism of the coup’s tactics, he was more careful to clarify that he was not supportive of military insurrections.

    “The thing about these coups – and we are certainly not encouraging it; we are discouraging it – but history shows that if you are going to execute these coups, you have to really mean it,” Clark said.

    The commentary of the former CIA officials about the Turkish coup is particularly notable because of the CIA’s long history of facilitating coups in foreign countries with an eye toward advancing U.S. geopolitical or financial interests. This was especially true during the Cold War, when the U.S. toppled numerous foreign governments around the world that it perceived to be too sympathetic to the Soviet Union.

    The CIA is believed to have been at least passively complicit in a number of Turkish military coups since 1960. The U.S. military and intelligence agencies worked closely with Turkey’s national security establishment, sometimes called the “deep state” due to its hidden influence over Turkish politics, as part of the United States’ Cold War-era alliance with the country.

    “I have been involved in coups before…They should have taken CNN Turk and closed it down the first minutes, the radio station, social media, the internet. Even if they didn’t arrest [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, they should have taken care of all of that right at the beginning.””

    Word to the wise: if you’re going to plot a coup, talk with someone who has done it before. So if Fetullah Gulen really was behind this, his organization has apparently never utilized its extensive contacts with the US and possible CIA ties to discussed what an actual successful coup requires.

    But if it turns out that the Gulenist movement really is behind this it’s going to be more than a little ironic:

    The New York Times
    The Conscience of Liberal

    A Moscow Show Trial on the Bosphorus

    Paul Krugman
    March 12, 2012 5:56 pm March 12, 2012 5:56 pm

    Another post from a colleague, this time about Turkey, from Dani Rodrik at Harvard’s Kennedy School. Dani is a first-rate economist, who has staked out important ground as a critic of conventional wisdom on trade and development; you can read some of his ideas on his blog, where this will be cross-posted. He’s also personally involved in the matters discussed below: his father-in-law is the lead defendant in the case.

    The full piece after the jump.

    A Moscow show trial on the Bosphorus

    Dani Rodrik

    March 11, 2012

    In what is probably the country’s most important court case in at least five decades, hundreds of Turkish military officers are in jail and on trial for allegedly having plotted to overthrow the then newly-elected Justice and Development Party back in 2003. The case also happens to be one of the most absurd ever prosecuted in an apparent democracy. The evidence against the defendants is such an obvious forgery that even a child would recognize it as such. Imagine, if you can, something that is a cross between the Moscow show trials and the Salem witchcraft hysteria, and you will not be too far off.

    The government’s case rests on a set of documents (mostly Word files) that describe in gory detail preparations for the coup (codenamed Sledgehammer), including false-flag operations to set the stage for the takeover and a list of cabinet members to be appointed. These are unsigned digital documents on electronic media (CDs, a detached hard drive, a flash drive) that have never been traced to actual military computers or otherwise authenticated. The military has vehemently denied that such plans ever existed.

    Most tellingly, a torrent of evidence has come out since the documents first emerged that points to their fraudulent nature. The documents contain hundreds of anachronisms – names of NGOs, military installations, or firms that did not yet exist – that make clear beyond any reasonable doubt that they were produced years later and backdated to implicate the officers on trial. Some of the defendants have shown that they were outside the country at the time they are alleged to have prepared these documents or attended planning meetings.

    An American forensic specialist has determined that the “hand writing” on the CDs was actually produced by mechanically replicating individual letters from the notebooks of one of the defendants. Deviations from military formatting suggest the documents were prepared by individuals not fully familiar with the army’s style requirements. As long-time Turkey analyst Gareth Jenkins put it to the New Yorker: “It’s absolutely clear that these documents have been forged.”

    The prosecutors have bundled these bogus documents with authentic voice recordings from a military seminar held in March 2003. Pro-government media have made much of these recordings, in which some officers are heard making prejudicial statements about members of the governing party. But there is nothing in the proceedings to suggest those present were planning a coup. Even the prosecutors’ indictment makes clear that the case stands or falls with the authenticity of the digital documents.

    The Turkish military has a history of political intervention and has often clashed with the Islamists. So the allegations have been a godsend for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has exploited the trial to gain control over military promotions and to break the army’s political power.

    But the real moving force behind this and a number of other similar trials is the Gülen movement, a key ally of the Erdogan government made up of the followers of the Pennsylvania-based Turkish Muslim preacher Fethullah Gülen. Gülenists have a long track record of framing their perceived opponents and engaging in judicial dirty tricks. Their control of key positions in the national police and judiciary enables them to mount targeted operations disguised as legal investigations. Prosecutors scrutinizing them, whistleblowers revealing their activities, critical journalists, and even businessmen have been among their victims, in addition to military officers. As Ahmet Sik, a journalist who wrote an expose about the movement and then found himself facing preposterous charges of helping terrorists even before the book was published, exclaimed on his way to jail: “he who touches [them] burns.”

    The police and prosecutors who have staged the coup plot trial are known Gülen sympathizers. And Gülenist media have worked overtime to shape public opinion, whipping up hysteria against the defendants and producing a steady stream of disinformation about the case. The occasional judge who has ruled in favor of the officers and commentators pointing to problems with the prosecutors’ evidence (including me) have become targets of Gülenist defamation. (Articles in Gülen’s media flagship Zaman and its English-language sister Today’s Zaman have accused me of, among other things, lobbying for coups, sullying Harvard’s reputation, and – most fantastically – being slotted as the minister of the economy following the coup.)

    Erdogan has recently distanced himself from the Gülenists, in part because of his party’s discomfort with their judicial manipulations. But he has yet to withdraw his support from the case against the military officers or to take action against the worst legal abuses taking place. (See here for a good recent overview.) Meanwhile, journalists who pry into such matters are silenced. Turkey currently holds more journalists in prison than China and Iran combined. Only recently have foreign journalists begun to penetrate the fog that surrounds the case and report on the blatant forgeries (see accounts in the New Yorker, Newsweek, and London Times).

    The travesty that the trial represents reached new heights last week when the judge ruled to move to the final stage of the trial, bypassing defendants’ requests for examination of the prosecution’s evidence. In effect, the judge decided to completely overlook the countless anachronisms, inconsistencies, and physical impossibilities on which the case rests. A guilty verdict has become virtually certain.

    “But the real moving force behind this and a number of other similar trials is the Gülen movement, a key ally of the Erdogan government made up of the followers of the Pennsylvania-based Turkish Muslim preacher Fethullah Gülen. Gülenists have a long track record of framing their perceived opponents and engaging in judicial dirty tricks…”

    That was the Gulenist movement’s clout in Turkey before their falling out with Erdogan. They knew how to play dirty hardball (Note that, of the more than 300 officers convicted in that 2012 coup plot trial, 236 were clear in 2015 during a retrial due to the inadmissibility and/or fabricated nature of the evidence used to convict them). And while that kind of dirty hardball track record does make the Gulenist movement an obvious suspect in a coup attempt, it also makes them a less likely suspect in a half-assed unprofessional coup attempt.

    If the Gulenists were guiding this plot, they clearly lost their edge. But if this really was an Erodogan fake coup, we know where he learned at least some of his fake-coup lessons. It’s all a reminder that when you ‘step through the looking glass’, don’t be surprised if there’s a hall of mirrors on the other side.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 16, 2016, 3:00 pm
  5. Here’s something to keep in mind regarding Turkey’s demand that the US hand over Fetullah Gulen in the wake of the coup attempt: Turkey’s prime minister just declared that any country that stands by Gulen will be considered at war with Turkey

    Quartz

    Turkey threatens war on “any country” supporting exiled cleric Gülen—like the US

    Olivia Goldhill
    July 16, 2016

    Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has threatened war against any country that would “stand by” Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen.

    This is a pointed threat towards the United States, where Gülen has been living in self-imposed exile since 1999. The implicit demand, according to BBC’s Turkey correspondent Mark Lowen, is that the US must extradite Gülen.

    Gülen is the leader of a movement called Hizmet, and has been called Turkey’s second most powerful man. Hizmet is estimated to have the support of 10% of Turkey’s population, and Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims Gülen was behind the recent attempted coup.

    But the cleric has strongly denied that this is the case and the US has asked Turkey for evidence to support the accusations.

    If Turkey can prove Gülen was behind the failed coup, then the US secretary of State John Kerry said the Obama administration would consider an extradition request.

    On July 16 Gülen told the New York Times he was against the coup. “I condemn, in the strongest terms, the attempted military coup in Turkey. Government should be won through a process of free and fair elections, not force,” he said. “As someone who suffered under multiple military coups during the past five decades, it is especially insulting to be accused of having any link to such an attempt. I categorically deny such accusations.”

    A few days ago, before the coup attempt, Turkey said it was preparing an extradition request to send the US. But, according to Reuters, the US says it has not yet received any such requests.

    A few days ago, before the coup attempt, Turkey said it was preparing an extradition request to send the US. But, according to Reuters, the US says it has not yet received any such requests.”

    That’s one more quirk of the half-assed coup: the timing was great. For Erdogan. At least assuming this doesn’t result in war, which it almost certainly won’t unless some sort of historic reshuffling of global alliances is underway.

    Still, Turkey’s prime minister just casually sort of threatened war with the US. So everyone should probably keep their fingers crossed. The Ring of Power is apparently feeling frisky again.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 16, 2016, 3:59 pm
  6. Check out the latest Wikileaks personal data dump: Wikileaks dumped nearly 300,000 AKP party member emails following the failed coup attempt. The government banned access to Wikileaks for Turkey’s internet users, although that won’t obviously won’t stop the information from getting circulated within Turkey. And now that the “Erdogan Emails” leak of AKP party member emails has been out there for a few days for journalists to look over, it appears that there’s basically nothing in the email dump from Erdogan’s inner circle and it’s mostly just spam and random chatter. Plus a database containing sensitive personal information of every adult female voter in Turkey:

    The Huffington Post

    Wikileaks Put Women in Turkey in Danger, for No Reason

    Zeynep Tufekci Associate professor, School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina; Faculty associate, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University

    07/25/2016 11:11 am | Updated

    Just days after a bloody coup attempt shook Turkey, Wikileaks dumped some 300,000 emails they chose to call “Erdogan emails.” In response, Turkey’s internet governance body swiftly blocked access to Wikileaks.

    For many, blocking Wikileaks was confirmation that the emails were damaging to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the government, revealing corruption or other wrongdoing. There was a stream of articles about “censorship.” Even U.S. National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden tweeted the news of the Wikileaks block with the comment: “How to authenticate a leak.”

    But Snowden couldn’t have been more wrong about an act that was irresponsible, of no public interest and of potential danger to millions of ordinary, innocent people, especially millions of women in Turkey.

    And yet Western media reports, ranging from Reuters to Wired, some from journalists I know and respect, made the same assumptions Snowden did. They merely reported the block as an act of censorship and reported Wikileaks’ allegations of what the emails may contain, without apparently any cursory check.

    Journalists and anti-censorship activists who I am in touch with in Turkey have been combing through the leaked documents, and I am not aware of anything “newsworthy” being uncovered. According to the collective searching capacity of long-term activists and journalists in Turkey, none of the “Erdogan emails” appear to be emails actually from Erdogan or his inner circle. Nobody seems to be able to find a smoking gun exposing people in positions of power and responsibility. This doesn’t rule out something eventually emerging, but there have been several days of extensive searching.

    However, this dump does include massive databases containing sensitive and private information of millions of ordinary people, including a special database of almost all adult women in Turkey.

    Yes — this “leak” actually contains spreadsheets of private, sensitive information of what appears to be every female voter in 79 out of 81 provinces in Turkey, including their home addresses and other private information, sometimes including their cellphone numbers. If these women are members of Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (known as the AKP), the dumped files also contain their Turkish citizenship ID, which increases the risk to them as the ID is used in practicing a range of basic rights and accessing services. I’ve gone through the files myself. The Istanbul file alone contains more than a million women’s private information, and there are 79 files, with most including information of many hundreds of thousands of women.

    That’s right.

    We are talking about millions of women whose private, personal information has been dumped into the world, with nary an outcry. Their addresses are out there for every stalker, ex-partner, disapproving relative or random crazy to peruse as they wish. And let’s remember that, every year in Turkey, hundreds of women are murdered, most often by current or ex-husbands or boyfriends, and thousands of women leave their homes or go into hiding, seeking safety.

    I have confirmed that these files indeed appear to contain correct private information by confirming that dozens of my friends and family members in multiple cities were included in that database, to my horror, with accurate private data. The files also include whether or not these women were AKP members — right after a brutal and bloody coup attempt to overthrow the AKP.

    Another file appears to contain sensitive information, including Turkish citizenship IDs of what appears to be millions of AKP members, listed as active or deceased. Yet another file contains the full names, citizenship IDs and cellphone numbers of hundreds of thousands of AKP election monitors — the most active members of the party.

    I’ve long been critical of the AKP’s censorship practices in Turkey and will continue to speak out. But there is not a single good reason to put so many men and women in such danger of identity theft, harassment and worse — especially after the country was rocked by a bloody coup targeting this political party. I also cannot understand why the leak of such private and sensitive information has been met with such uncritical reporting during such a dangerous week.

    The other part of this alleged “leak” was presented by Wikileaks in a searchable database, illustrated with a caricature of Erdogan using a flying carpet titled “FROM: AKP” to knock down pillars of democracy. I couldn’t care less about the Orientalist imagery — it’s just stupid. The main problem here is deception — because the emails are not actually from the AKP. Rather, most are emails sent to the ruling party in what appears to be a Google group. There are some emails here and there from gov.tr and akp.org.tr domains, but they are not inner-circle emails as far as anyone who has looked has yet found.

    These emails are what you expect: chain emails, recipes, wishes for happy holidays, spam emails, pleas for jobs, serious emails imploring some pothole or other problem be fixed. Some of these emails are just forwarded to a group, the way emails often are. They are un-redacted and often include personal information.

    Much of mass media in Turkey has been ignoring this leak, partly because the coup attempt fallout has understandably consumed their attention and partly because the Turkish press is not known for its investigative tendencies. However, links to these files have been circulating widely on Turkish social media, and I fear the damage is done. Wikileaks should take down these files as soon as possible.

    So, let’s recap.

    Last week, Turkey experienced a bloody coup that was stopped by citizens (including women) facing tanks and sniper fire and getting shot and killed. In the midst of all this, an unaccountable group effectively doxed millions of women and members of a political party targeted by that coup. And not a single news story about the event (that I could find) mentioned these facts or that the emails contained nothing of public interest.

    Instead, the stories almost exclusively reported, “Turkey Blocks Access to WikiLeaks,” following the futile attempt by Turkey’s internet governance body — an institution I have criticized countless times when it deserved criticism — to make it a little harder to reach the site.

    I hope that people remember this story when they report about a country without checking with anyone who speaks the language; when they support unaccountable, massive, unfiltered leaks without teaming up with responsible parties like journalists and ethical activists; and when they wonder why so many people around the world are wary of “internet freedom” when it can mean indiscriminate victimization and senseless violations of privacy. Discretion is not censorship.

    “Yes — this “leak” actually contains spreadsheets of private, sensitive information of what appears to be every female voter in 79 out of 81 provinces in Turkey, including their home addresses and other private information, sometimes including their cellphone numbers. If these women are members of Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (known as the AKP), the dumped files also contain their Turkish citizenship ID, which increases the risk to them as the ID is used in practicing a range of basic rights and accessing services. I’ve gone through the files myself. The Istanbul file alone contains more than a million women’s private information, and there are 79 files, with most including information of many hundreds of thousands of women.”

    So there was nothing of substance but enough personal information to give Erdogan an excuse to ban access to Wikileaks. And note that female members of the AKP have their citizenship ID included, which not only increases their risks of identity theft but also points out which women are not AKP voters because they won’t have a citizenship ID available. So at time when Erdogan appears intent on waging a major internal purge of the nation, anyone who can get their hands on that database can now determine which women are likely to support the AKP and which are not. And where they live. And maybe their cellphone numbers.

    What a helpful leak. For Erdogan’s purge.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 25, 2016, 10:53 am
  7. Here’s the latest prize for Erdogan following the incredibly convenient coup attempt. Erdogan’s push to overhaul the constitution and make the president the primary power in Turkey’s government just got a little pushier: Instead having the military intelligence agencies report to the prime minister, Erdogan wants the army and intelligence services under the control of the president:

    Reuters

    Erdogan wants army under president’s control after coup: Turkish official

    ANKARA/ISTANBUL | By Ece Toksabay and Daren Butler
    Thu Jul 28, 2016 1:16pm EDT

    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan wants the armed forces and national intelligence agency brought under the control of the presidency, a parliamentary official said on Thursday, part of a major overhaul of the military after a failed coup.

    Erdogan’s comments came after a five-hour meeting of Turkey’s Supreme Military Council (YAS) – chaired by Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and including the top brass – and the dishonorable discharge of nearly 1,700 military personnel over their alleged role in the abortive putsch on July 15-16.

    Erdogan, who narrowly escaped capture and possible death on the night of the coup, told Reuters in an interview last week that the military, NATO’s second biggest, needed “fresh blood”. The dishonorable discharges included around 40 percent of Turkey’s admirals and generals.

    Turkey accuses U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen of masterminding the coup and has suspended or placed under investigation tens of thousands of his suspected followers, including soldiers, judges and academics.

    In the aftermath of the coup, media outlets, schools and universities have also been closed down.

    “The president said that … he would discuss with opposition parties bringing the General Staff and the MIT (intelligence agency) under the control of the presidency,” the parliamentary official said.

    Such a change would require a constitutional amendment, so Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted AK Party would require the support of opposition parties in parliament, Turkish media said.

    Both the General Staff and MIT currently report to the prime minister’s office. Putting them under the president’s overall direction would be in line with Erdogan’s push for a new constitution centered on a strong executive presidency.

    Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said the YAS decisions – which Erdogan must first approve – would be announced on Thursday evening and would come into force immediately.

    Bozdag also repeated Ankara’s request to the United States to swiftly extradite Gulen, once a powerful ally of Erdogan. He cited intelligence reports suggesting that the 75-year-old preacher might flee his residence in rural Pennsylvania.

    Gulen has condemned the coup and denies any involvement.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said more than 300 personnel in his ministry had links to Gulen and that it had dismissed 88 employees.

    Separately, Turkey’s biggest petrochemicals company Petkim said its chief executive had resigned and the state-run news agency Anadolu said he had been detained in connection with the failed coup.

    Anadolu also said Ankara prosecutors requested the seizure of the assets of 3,049 judges and prosecutors detained as part of the investigation into the coup attempt.
    Related Coverage

    WESTERN CONCERNS

    Western governments and human rights groups have condemned the coup, in which at least 246 people were killed and more than 2,000 injured. But they have also expressed disquiet over the scale and depth of the purges, fearing that Erdogan may be using them to get rid of opponents and tighten his grip on power.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel became the latest Western leader on Thursday to urge restraint, while underlining Turkey’s need to take action against the rebels.

    “In a constitutional state – and this is what worries me and what I am following closely – the principle of proportionality must be ensured by all,” she told a news conference in Berlin.

    Cavusoglu told broadcaster CNN Turk that some prosecutors with links to Gulen had fled to Germany and he urged Berlin to extradite them. He also said he saw “positive change” in the attitude of the United States towards Ankara’s request to extradite Gulen to Turkey.

    Even before the failed coup, Turkey was struggling with major security challenges including attacks by Kurdish militants and Islamic State, a grim reality underscored by tourism data on Thursday showing a 40 percent fall in foreign visitors in June.

    Turmoil in Turkey’s armed forces raises questions about its ability to contain the Islamic State militant threat in neighboring Syria and the renewed Kurdish insurgency in its southeast, military analysts say.

    The AK Party, founded by Erdogan and in power since 2002, has long had testy relations with the military, which for decades saw itself as the ultimate guardian of Turkey’s secular order and legacy of the nation’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The military has ousted four governments in the past 60 years.

    However, Erdogan says the armed forces have been infiltrated in recent years by Gulen’s supporters. “The army has to stop being the army of the Fethullah Gulen terrorist organization,” Justice Minister Bozdag said.

    EXERTING CONTROL

    In a symbolic sign of how civilian authorities are now firmly in charge, Thursday’s military council meeting was held at the prime minister’s office rather than General Staff headquarters.

    Yildirim accompanied senior military officers to pay respects at Ataturk’s mausoleum in Ankara ahead of the meeting.

    “We will surely eliminate all terror organizations that target our state, our nation and the indivisible unity of our country,” Yildirim said in televised remarks at the mausoleum.

    Changes since the coup include bringing the gendarmerie, which is responsible for security in rural areas, and the coast guard firmly under interior ministry control rather than under General Staff control.

    CNN Turk has reported that more than 15,000 people, including around 10,000 soldiers, have been detained so far over the coup, citing the interior minister. Of those, more than 8,000 were formally arrested pending trial, it said.

    The government said on Wednesday it had ordered the closure of three news agencies, 16 television channels, 45 newspapers, 15 magazines and 29 publishers. This announcement followed the shutting down of other media outlets and detention of journalists with suspected Gulenist ties.

    EXTRADITION URGENT

    This month’s events have exacerbated strains in Turkey’s relations with the United States. Washington has responded cautiously to the request to extradite Gulen, saying it must provide clear evidence of his involvement in the coup plot.

    Bozdag said Turkey was receiving intelligence that Gulen might flee, possibly to Australia, Mexico, Canada, South Africa or Egypt. Egypt said it had not received an asylum request.

    Gulen built up his reputation as a Sunni Muslim preacher with intense sermons. His movement, known as Hizmet, or “Service” in Turkish, set up hundreds of schools and businesses in Turkey and later abroad. His philosophy stresses the need to embrace scientific progress, shun radicalism and build bridges to the West and other religious faiths.

    The United States and European Union, which Turkey aspires to join, have both urged Ankara to exercise restraint in its crackdown on suspected Gulen supporters and to ensure those arrested have a fair trial.

    Amnesty International has said detainees may have suffered human rights violations, including beatings and rape – an accusation roundly rejected by Ankara.

    The EU has also bridled at talk in Turkey – from Erdogan down – of restoring the death penalty, a move Brussels said would scupper Ankara’s decades-old bid to join the bloc.

    “Such a change would require a constitutional amendment, so Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted AK Party would require the support of opposition parties in parliament, Turkish media said.”

    Keep in mind that the AKP and opposition parties really did seem to come together in a moment of unity in the wake of the coup attempt, so right now is probably one of the chances for Erdogan to get the parliamentary support his desired constitutional overhaul needs. Considering Erdogan’s recent withdrawal of all court cases he’s lodged against opposition leaders, that appears to be the approach he’s going to take.

    Of course, if he can’t get the required opposition support he needs to make himself Super-President or whatever is end goals are, there are other obvious ways to get that opposition support in Erdogan’s post-coup Turkey. The Ring of Power doesn’t take no for an answer.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 28, 2016, 9:57 am
  8. So do Erdogan’s plans for transforming Turkey include eventually pulling Turkey out of NATO using the failed coup attempt as a pretext? A 2014 Pew poll found 70 percent of Turks disliked NATO so it’s not like it would be political suicide for Erdogan is he pulled out. Could that be part of Erdogan’s long-term neo-Ottoman ambitions? It’s an increasingly relevant question:

    Reuters

    Erdogan says Turkey’s coup script was ‘written abroad’

    ANKARA/ISTANBUL, Turkey | By Ece Toksabay and Nick Tattersall
    Tue Aug 2, 2016 2:26pm EDT

    President Tayyip Erdogan accused the West of supporting terrorism and standing by coups on Tuesday, questioning Turkey’s relationship with the United States and saying the “script” for an abortive putsch last month was “written abroad”.

    In a combative speech at his palace in Ankara, Erdogan said charter schools in the United States were the main source of income for the network of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who he says masterminded the bloody July 15 putsch.

    “I’m calling on the United States: what kind of strategic partners are we, that you can still host someone whose extradition I have asked for?” Erdogan said in a speech to local representatives of multinational firms operating in Turkey.

    “This coup attempt has actors inside Turkey, but its script was written outside. Unfortunately the West is supporting terrorism and stands by coup plotters,” he said in comments which were met with applause, and broadcast live.

    The 75-year-old Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, denies any involvement in the failed coup. President Barack Obama has said Washington will only extradite him if Turkey provides evidence of wrongdoing.

    The fallout from the abortive coup, in which more than 230 people were killed as mutinous soldiers commandeered fighter jets, helicopters and tanks in a bid to seize power, has deepened a rift between Ankara and its Western allies.

    Erdogan and many Turks have been frustrated by U.S. and European criticism of a crackdown in the wake of the putsch, accusing the West of greater concern about the rights of the plotters than the gravity of the threat to a NATO member state.

    More than 60,000 people in the military, judiciary, civil service and education have been detained, suspended or placed under investigation since the coup, prompting fears that Erdogan is pursuing an indiscriminate crackdown on all forms of dissent and using the situation to tighten his grip on power.

    “If we have mercy on those who carried out this coup attempt, we will be the ones to be pitied,” he said.

    The leader of the main secularist opposition CHP, which has condemned the coup and been supportive of the government’s reaction so far, said a state of emergency declared in its aftermath now risked being used to make sweeping changes to the security forces without appropriate parliamentary support.

    “There is no doubt that the law on emergency rule was issued in line with the constitution. But there is concern that its application is being used to exceed the goal,” Kemal Kilicdaroglu told a meeting of the CHP.

    “It may be necessary to restructure the state, undoubtedly, but this subject must go before parliament.”

    AN ARMY “LIKE SADDAM’S”

    Erdogan has issued two decrees dismissing around 3,000 members of NATO’s second-biggest armed forces since the coup, including more than 40 percent of generals. He has also shut down military high schools and brought force commanders under tighter government control.

    The nationalist opposition, which like the CHP has so far largely backed the government’s response to the coup and has vowed to support any move to reintroduce the death penalty for plotters, also criticized the military overhaul.

    Its leader Devlet Bahceli said the changes risked turning Turkey’s army into a force like that of former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein or former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

    “If the traditions and principles of the Turkish Armed Forces are trampled upon in an effort to fix its structural problems, it will resemble Saddam’s or Gaddafi’s army,” Bahceli told members of his MHP, describing the changes as rushed.

    He criticized a move to have force commanders report directly to the defense minister, saying it would “ruin the chain of command”.

    In his palace speech, Erdogan said the military overhaul was necessary to prevent Gulenists attempting another coup.

    “If we didn’t take this step, the members of this Gulenist organization (FETO) would take over the military, and they would point the planes and tanks bought with the taxes of our people against them,” he said. “There is no turning back.”

    Erdogan told the representatives of global firms listening to his speech that he understood the sensitivities of the business community, vowing reforms to make foreign investment more attractive and saying the economic outlook was improving again after a fluctuation following the coup.

    Customs and Trade Minister Bulent Tufenkci was earlier quoted earlier as saying the cost of the coup attempt was at least 300 billion lira ($100 billion).

    “Orders from overseas have been canceled. People couldn’t come because the coup plotters made Turkey look like a third-world country,” the Hurriyet daily quoted him as saying.

    WARRANTS FOR ARMY MEDICS

    The coup and the resulting purges have raised concern about Turkey’s reliability as a NATO ally and its ability to protect itself against the threat from Islamic State militants in neighboring Syria and Kurdish militants in its southeast. Both have carried out suicide bombings in Turkey over the past year.

    “It is essential for national security that the Turkish Armed Forces are restructured to face new threats and to expend all of their energy on their fundamental activities,” Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told a meeting of the ruling AK Party.

    Yildirim said civilian authorities had taken over factories and shipyards that had been under the control of the military as part of the ongoing restructuring.

    Warrants to detain 98 doctors at the prestigious GATA military hospital in Ankara were also issued on Tuesday, an official said, over their alleged role in enabling Gulen’s “Hizmet” network to infiltrate the higher ranks.

    Erdogan also pledged to strengthen Turkey’s intelligence agencies and flush out the influence of Gulen, whose grip on the security apparatus he blamed for the lack of intelligence in the run-up to the coup. The MIT intelligence agency has already suspended 100 staff and Erdogan has suggested bringing it under the control of the presidency.

    Erdogan accuses Gulen of harnessing his extensive network of schools, charities and businesses, built up in Turkey and abroad over decades, to create a “parallel state” that aimed to take over the country.

    Pakistan promised Turkey’s visiting foreign minister on Tuesday it would investigate schools Ankara wants shut for alleged links to Gulen but stopped short of agreeing to close them. Turkey has had similarly non-committal responses from countries including Germany, Indonesia and Kenya to its requests in recent weeks.

    “”This coup attempt has actors inside Turkey, but its script was written outside. Unfortunately the West is supporting terrorism and stands by coup plotters,” he said in comments which were met with applause, and broadcast live.”

    Them’s fightin’ words. Rather ironic fightin’ words given the extensive role Erdogan’s government has played in fueling the rise of ISIS but fightin’ words nonetheless.

    Perhaps more importantly for speculation on future trends, they’re fightin’ words that Erdogan is clearly using to bolster his popular appeal during a time a crisis in a country where negative views of the US are prevalent. And with the extradition of Fethullah Gulen apparently the sticking point for resolving the current conflict, it’s very unclear how US/Turkey relations are going to evolve from here because it’s also very unclear if Erdogan is ever going to turn over convincing evidence that Gulen really was behind it. The US has said it will extradite Gulen if proof is provided, and Erdogan just keeps calling for the extradition without providing the proof and the longer this goes on the more Erdogan is going to publicly reframe US/Turkey relations as adversarial in nature. At least that’s the current trend.

    Maybe things will change once Erdogan grabs all the power he needs to satisfy the Ring of Power. Maybe. But if being the anti-West leader becomes a major component of his emerging persona as Turkey’s sole ruler, leaving NATO might be part of the political formula for getting the public support he needs to maintain that grip on power. Then again, the Ring of Power presumably likes all those NATO nukes stationed in Turkey and other NATO perks too, so we’ll see.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 4, 2016, 2:41 pm
  9. Here’s another reason the EU might be a lot more inclined to treat Erdogan with kid gloves no matter what he does during Erdogan’s ongoing national purge: Turkey and Russia just reignited plans for a new natural gas pipeline that circumvents Ukraine, instead going through Turkey into Europe, and that would directly compete with Germany’s plans for expanding its own Russian natural gas pipeline:

    Reuters

    Turkey, Russia pursue gas pipe dream as EU frets

    By Alissa de Carbonnel and Vladimir Soldatkin
    Mon Aug 1, 2016 3:11pm GMT

    BRUSSELS/MOSCOW (Reuters) – Declarations by Russia and Turkey last week reviving plans for the TurkStream natural gas pipeline linking the two have worried EU diplomats who see it strengthening Moscow’s hand – but analysts say the project is more rhetoric than reality.

    EU officials fear that TurkStream will be expanded to bypass Ukraine as a transit route for supplies to Europe, increasing dependence on Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom and shutting in alternative supplies from the Caspian region. “Turkey’s new friendship with Russia might become an issue if Russia tries to replace Turkey for Ukraine,” a senior EU official said. “It makes sense for Turkey to get cheap gas from Russia, but it will come with strings attached: That is likely to be a problem for us.”

    However, the entente, almost a year after Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane, remains fragile, analysts say, particularly amid turmoil caused by the failed coup in Turkey. “In times of instability, if you are sane, you don’t commit to huge infrastructure projects,” said Simone Tagliapietra, an energy fellow with Brussels-based think tank Bruegel.

    Moscow and Ankara are more keen on “signalling political messages than about advancing projects in reality,” he said. Russia’s drive to reroute gas to Europe around Ukraine, including by expanding the Nord Stream pipeline to Germany, has met with heated opposition in Brussels since Moscow annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region in March 2014, prompting EU sanctions. Turkey’s own role in facing off with Russia and as an energy corridor has tempered EU criticism of President Tayyip Erdogan authoritarian turn.

    EU officials will be watching warily as Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are set to agree a deal on TurkStream next month at their first meeting since Russia imposed sanctions over Turkey’s shooting down of the jet near the Syrian border last November. For now, Russia is planning construction of two out of an initial four projected pipelines. Capacity of one line is around15.75 billion cubic metres of gas per year. That would mean retaining gas flows via Ukraine – albeit reduced – after Moscow’s transit contract with Kiev expires in 2019. Ukraine plans to ship around 72 bcm of Russian gas in 2016 – more than 40 percent of Russia’s gas supplies to Europe. Part of the line would lay along the same route as Russia’s cancelled South Stream pipeline, which ran up against EU opposition on competition grounds in late 2014.

    TurkStream follows a different logic, delivering gas only to the EU’s border to avoid falling foul of EU rules.

    NO MORE THAN ONE STRING

    Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday Turkey will “play a large role as a transit country” to supply Europe – the very prospect which worries EU officials. Brussels is instead promoting a chain of pipelines known as the Southern Gas Corridor to transport gas from the Shah Deniz field in Azerbaijan to European markets by 2020. “We follow the developments in Turkey closely,” European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic said in an email to Reuters. “Turkey is fully aware of its responsibility as a key country for the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor.” Shaky Russian-Turkish ties are just one reason analysts are sceptical TurkStream will be built to its full, 63 bcm capacity. “I don’t believe Russia wants to replace a problematic Ukrainian relationship with a problematic Turkish one,” said Katja Yafimava of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. Turkey, Russia’s second-largest gas market after Germany, has its own worries about being too reliant on Russian gas. TurkStream also competes with Russia’s own plans to double capacity along the Nord Stream route to Germany, with European demand too weak to justify both projects, experts say.

    “…TurkStream also competes with Russia’s own plans to double capacity along the Nord Stream route to Germany, with European demand too weak to justify both projects, experts say.”

    Yeah, that’s going to create some tensions between Turkey and Berlin. And maybe quite a bit of additional leverage over the EU for Turkey if the TurkStream pipeline really does end up beating out the Nord Stream expansion, although just talk of the pipeline will grant Erdogan additional leverage right now, whether or not the TurkStream proposal pans out. How might he use such leverage in the short term? Hmmm

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 4, 2016, 7:58 pm

Post a comment