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)

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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:
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

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