Erdogan’s Theological Justification for His Dictatorial Stance

 

Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2009. (Image source: World Economic Forum)

Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2009. (Image source: World Economic Forum)

by Timon Dias:

“Both materially, and in essence, sovereignty unconditionally and always belongs to Allah.” — Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister, Turkey.

What is surprising is that so many Western politicians, including EU-minded ones, apparently still ignore what the consequences could be of such an ideology. Do they really assume it could never happen to them?

Once again, Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is – although ineffectively – cracking down on social media, most notably Twitter, which public outrage forced him to reinstate, and the latest municipal elections were again ridden with intimidation and fraud.

On September 12, 1980, the Turkish military cracked down on religious opposition movements that challenged the secular state, and took power over the country. What stood out during these events was that Western nations, with political structures vigorously opposed to military involvement in civil politics, were actually relieved by the military’s action[1]. After all, one year earlier the secular and allied state of Iran had transformed into a theocratic and hostile nation.

Over time, however, a worrying dynamic revealed itself: The Western view of Islamic religious political movements changed, while the core ideology and intentions of these movements did not. This phenomenon coincided with the “New Left” consolidating its “March through the institutions,” referring to its takeover of the academy and journalism.[2]

The West stopped seeing political Islam as an expansionist, possibly antagonistic, ideology, and started actively to aid the consolidation of Islamist power, particularly in Turkey. The EU stated that if Turkey were ever going to join it, the country would have to abolish the influence the Turkish military had over civil politics. It is reasonable that the EU did not want a member state with a military that could undo a democracy at will. But it was unreasonable of the EU to think that the only way a democracy could be undone was by a military, or, in the instance of Turkey, that of the then-secular Turkish military. The EU may also have been naïve to dismiss out of hand the claims of the Turkish military that Islamist doctrine was inherently anti-Western.

True, modern Turkish Islamists, with the current Erdogan government as a prime example, have started out by preaching their theocratic intentions in more discrete and innocent-sounding ways. Erdogan for example said: “All the schools will become [madrassa-like religious] Imam Hatip schools”[3] and “I am the Imam of Istanbul”[4], but it is not as if Erdogan is a master of disguise. The truth was out there for those not taken by wishful thinking. Erdogan, during his time as mayor of Istanbul, 1994-1998, had said that “Democracy is like a streetcar. When you come to your stop, you get off.” What is somewhat less known is that Erdogan stated in 1998: “Our reference [guide] is Islam. Our only goal is an Islamic state. They can never intimidate us. If the skies and the earth open up, if storms blow on us, if the lava of volcanoes flow on us, we will never change our way. My guide is Islam. If I cannot live according to Islam, why live at all? [Turk], Kurd, Arab, Caucasian cannot be differentiated; because these peoples are united under the roof of Islam.”[5]

Read more at Gatestone Institute

Also see:

The Red Line and the Rat Line

Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels:

In 2011 Barack Obama led an allied military intervention in Libya without consulting the US Congress. Last August, after the sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, he was ready to launch an allied air strike, this time to punish the Syrian government for allegedly crossing the ‘red line’ he had set in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons. Then with less than two days to go before the planned strike, he announced that he would seek congressional approval for the intervention. The strike was postponed as Congress prepared for hearings, and subsequently cancelled when Obama accepted Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical arsenal in a deal brokered by Russia. Why did Obama delay and then relent on Syria when he was not shy about rushing into Libya? The answer lies in a clash between those in the administration who were committed to enforcing the red line, and military leaders who thought that going to war was both unjustified and potentially disastrous.

****

The full extent of US co-operation with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in assisting the rebel opposition in Syria has yet to come to light. The Obama administration has never publicly admitted to its role in creating what the CIA calls a ‘rat line’, a back channel highway into Syria. The rat line, authorised in early 2012, was used to funnel weapons and ammunition from Libya via southern Turkey and across the Syrian border to the opposition. Many of those in Syria who ultimately received the weapons were jihadists, some of them affiliated with al-Qaida. (The DNI spokesperson said: ‘The idea that the United States was providing weapons from Libya to anyone is false.’)

In January, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the assault by a local militia in September 2012 on the American consulate and a nearby undercover CIA facility in Benghazi, which resulted in the death of the US ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three others. The report’s criticism of the State Department for not providing adequate security at the consulate, and of the intelligence community for not alerting the US military to the presence of a CIA outpost in the area, received front-page coverage and revived animosities in Washington, with Republicans accusing Obama and Hillary Clinton of a cover-up. A highly classified annex to the report, not made public, described a secret agreement reached in early 2012 between the Obama and Erdoğan administrations. It pertained to the rat line. By the terms of the agreement, funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi’s arsenals into Syria. A number of front companies were set up in Libya, some under the cover of Australian entities. Retired American soldiers, who didn’t always know who was really employing them, were hired to manage procurement and shipping. The operation was run by David Petraeus, the CIA director who would soon resign when it became known he was having an affair with his biographer. (A spokesperson for Petraeus denied the operation ever took place.)

The operation had not been disclosed at the time it was set up to the congressional intelligence committees and the congressional leadership, as required by law since the 1970s. The involvement of MI6 enabled the CIA to evade the law by classifying the mission as a liaison operation. The former intelligence official explained that for years there has been a recognised exception in the law that permits the CIA not to report liaison activity to Congress, which would otherwise be owed a finding. (All proposed CIA covert operations must be described in a written document, known as a ‘finding’, submitted to the senior leadership of Congress for approval.) Distribution of the annex was limited to the staff aides who wrote the report and to the eight ranking members of Congress – the Democratic and Republican leaders of the House and Senate, and the Democratic and Republicans leaders on the House and Senate intelligence committees. This hardly constituted a genuine attempt at oversight: the eight leaders are not known to gather together to raise questions or discuss the secret information they receive.

The annex didn’t tell the whole story of what happened in Benghazi before the attack, nor did it explain why the American consulate was attacked. ‘The consulate’s only mission was to provide cover for the moving of arms,’ the former intelligence official, who has read the annex, said. ‘It had no real political role.’

Washington abruptly ended the CIA’s role in the transfer of arms from Libya after the attack on the consulate, but the rat line kept going. ‘The United States was no longer in control of what the Turks were relaying to the jihadists,’ the former intelligence official said. Within weeks, as many as forty portable surface-to-air missile launchers, commonly known as manpads, were in the hands of Syrian rebels. On 28 November 2012, Joby Warrick of the Washington Post reported that the previous day rebels near Aleppo had used what was almost certainly a manpad to shoot down a Syrian transport helicopter. ‘The Obama administration,’ Warrick wrote, ‘has steadfastly opposed arming Syrian opposition forces with such missiles, warning that the weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists and be used to shoot down commercial aircraft.’ Two Middle Eastern intelligence officials fingered Qatar as the source, and a former US intelligence analyst speculated that the manpads could have been obtained from Syrian military outposts overrun by the rebels. There was no indication that the rebels’ possession of manpads was likely the unintended consequence of a covert US programme that was no longer under US control.

By the end of 2012, it was believed throughout the American intelligence community that the rebels were losing the war. ‘Erdoğan was pissed,’ the former intelligence official said, ‘and felt he was left hanging on the vine. It was his money and the cut-off was seen as a betrayal.’ In spring 2013 US intelligence learned that the Turkish government – through elements of the MIT, its national intelligence agency, and the Gendarmerie, a militarised law-enforcement organisation – was working directly with al-Nusra and its allies to develop a chemical warfare capability. ‘The MIT was running the political liaison with the rebels, and the Gendarmerie handled military logistics, on-the-scene advice and training – including training in chemical warfare,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘Stepping up Turkey’s role in spring 2013 was seen as the key to its problems there. Erdoğan knew that if he stopped his support of the jihadists it would be all over. The Saudis could not support the war because of logistics – the distances involved and the difficulty of moving weapons and supplies. Erdoğan’s hope was to instigate an event that would force the US to cross the red line. But Obama didn’t respond in March and April.’

There was no public sign of discord when Erdoğan and Obama met on 16 May 2013 at the White House. At a later press conference Obama said that they had agreed that Assad ‘needs to go’. Asked whether he thought Syria had crossed the red line, Obama acknowledged that there was evidence such weapons had been used, but added, ‘it is important for us to make sure that we’re able to get more specific information about what exactly is happening there.’ The red line was still intact.

An American foreign policy expert who speaks regularly with officials in Washington and Ankara told me about a working dinner Obama held for Erdoğan during his May visit. The meal was dominated by the Turks’ insistence that Syria had crossed the red line and their complaints that Obama was reluctant to do anything about it. Obama was accompanied by John Kerry and Tom Donilon, the national security adviser who would soon leave the job. Erdoğan was joined by Ahmet Davutoğlu, Turkey’s foreign minister, and Hakan Fidan, the head of the MIT. Fidan is known to be fiercely loyal to Erdoğan, and has been seen as a consistent backer of the radical rebel opposition in Syria.

 Sitting around the table (left to right): Ahmet Davutoglu (Turkish FM)–back of head–,Tayyip Erdogan, Hakan Fidan, John Kerry, Barack Obama, (possibly Hilary Clinton), Tom Donilon.

Sitting around the table (left to right): Ahmet Davutoglu (Turkish FM)–back of head–,Tayyip Erdogan, Hakan Fidan, John Kerry, Barack Obama, (possibly Hilary Clinton), Tom Donilon.

The foreign policy expert told me that the account he heard originated with Donilon. (It was later corroborated by a former US official, who learned of it from a senior Turkish diplomat.) According to the expert, Erdoğan had sought the meeting to demonstrate to Obama that the red line had been crossed, and had brought Fidan along to state the case. When Erdoğan tried to draw Fidan into the conversation, and Fidan began speaking, Obama cut him off and said: ‘We know.’ Erdoğan tried to bring Fidan in a second time, and Obama again cut him off and said: ‘We know.’ At that point, an exasperated Erdoğan said, ‘But your red line has been crossed!’ and, the expert told me, ‘Donilon said Erdoğan “fucking waved his finger at the president inside the White House”.’ Obama then pointed at Fidan and said: ‘We know what you’re doing with the radicals in Syria.’ (Donilon, who joined the Council on Foreign Relations last July, didn’t respond to questions about this story. The Turkish Foreign Ministry didn’t respond to questions about the dinner. A spokesperson for the National Security Council confirmed that the dinner took place and provided a photograph showing Obama, Kerry, Donilon, Erdoğan, Fidan and Davutoğlu sitting at a table. ‘Beyond that,’ she said, ‘I’m not going to read out the details of their discussions.’)

Read more at London Review of Books

Walid Shoebat has some interesting observations on this here: CIA Was Involved In Benghazi Attack

Former Police Intel Chief: Turkish Gov’t in Collusion with Iran

Erdogan and Rouhani

Damning evidence support accusations that the highest levels of gov’t are in cahoots with Iran and a terrorist group it sponsors.

BY RYAN MAURO:

The former chief of the Istanbul Police Department Intelligence Unit, Ali Fuat Yilmazer, is making headlines in Turkey by claiming that the highest levels of government are in cahoots with Iranian intelligence and a terrorist group it sponsors.

According to Yilmazer, Iranian intelligence and one of its terrorist proxies, Tawhik-Salam, are collaborating secretly with senior Turkish officials. He said that a police investigation confirmed this fact, and that if the files ever become public, “We’ll see how a foreign government can act comfortably in Turkey.”

He said that Tawhik-Salam is “the stealthiest and most dangerous terrorist organization of recent times.” Turkish police have been investigating the group since 1996. That year, a member of the group was arrested for murdering two Iranian dissidents. The group is also believed to have killed several journalists and intellectuals and U.S., Saudi and Israeli diplomats.

It is reported that Turkish police discovered members of the group conducting surveillance on the U.S. Consulate in October 2010 and delivering the data to Iranian intelligence for a potential terrorist attack. It also was behind a bombing near the Israeli Consulate in 2011.

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The bottom line is this: Turkey is moving fast and hard towards Iran. Erdogan’s government is violating the stated purpose of NATO as the West refuses to wake up to the reality that Turkey is no longer functioning as an ally.

Read more at Clarion Project

Why Turkey’s Local Elections May Have Global Impact

“Yes we ban” Turkey blocks YouTube after audio recording leaked

 

A view of a computer screen showing a digital portrait of the Turkish prime minister and text reading "Yes we ban" in Istanbul on March 27. Turkey banned video-sharing website YouTube, having blocked Twitter a week earlier after both were used to spread audio recordings damaging to the government, local media reported. (Photo: Ozan Kose, AFP/Getty Images)

A view of a computer screen showing a digital portrait of the Turkish prime minister and text reading “Yes we ban” in Istanbul on March 27. Turkey banned video-sharing website YouTube, having blocked Twitter a week earlier after both were used to spread audio recordings damaging to the government, local media reported.
(Photo: Ozan Kose, AFP/Getty Images)

USA Today March 27, 2014

Turkey on Thursday blocked access to YouTube following its recent order banning Twitter after someone posted an audio recording in which senior Turkish officials are purportedly discussing a scheme to create a pretext for waging war on Syria.

The audio claims to be a recording of Turkey’s foreign minister, its intelligence chief and an undersecretary of foreign affairs discussing plans to stage attacks on Turkey from Syrian soil to justify waging a counterattack on Syria, says Ilhan Tanir of the Turkish Daily Today’s Zaman in Istanbul.

The Turkish foreign ministry said the recording had been manipulated, but at a rally in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir on Thursday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared to confirm the leak was genuine, according to the BBC.

“They even leaked a national security meeting,” he said. “This is villainous, this is dishonesty. … Who are you serving by doing audio surveillance of such an important meeting?”

The YouTube blockage caused an uproar across Turkey, with most newspapers carrying the news at the top of their Web pages.

A telecommunications authority Web page gave the following information for YouTube.com: “After technical analysis and legal consideration based on the law, an administrative measure has been taken for this website.”

In an e-mailed statement from Google Inc., which owns YouTube, spokeswoman Abbi Tatton said the company had seen reports that some users in Turkey weren’t able to access YouTube.

“There is no technical issue on our side and we’re looking into the situation,” she said.

The move came a day after a court in Turkey’s capital, Ankara, said the government could not continue a ban it imposed on Twitter last week. Many Turkish users found ways to access Twitter despite the ban.

Erdogan had ordered Twitter blocked March 20, after the microblogging site refused to suspend anonymous accounts that linked to alleged recordings of Erdogan and his son talking about hiding money from police on a day of raids during a corruption investigation.

Erdogan called the recordings false and an invasion of privacy, and has said that the ban on Twitter could be extended to YouTube and Facebook.

The leak comes three days before elections Sunday for local offices, a referendum on Erdogan’s rule that could hurt his governing coalition if his party preforms badly.

YouTube was blocked about two or three hours after the audio appeared on an anonymous YouTube account, revealed publicly via Twitter, Tanir said.

The video contains audio and written text of a conversation that was allegedly recorded in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ building between intelligence chief Hakan Fidan, army deputy chief of staff Yasar Guler, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu.

Those talking discuss several options on what to do “if they wanted to create a reason to wage” war on Syria, Tanir said. Those recorded also talked about plans for a potential no-fly zone over Syria distributed by U.S. officials.

Read more

 

Turkey’s New Jihad on Christian Armenians

Turkeys-Christians-are-a-tiny-minority.by :

Far from being repentant of the Armenian Genocide, Turkey, under the leadership of Prime Minister Erdogan, is again targeting Armenians; is again causing their death and dislocation.

In the early morning hours of March 21, al-Qaeda linked Islamic jihadis crossed into Syrian territory from the Turkish border and launched a jihad on the Christian/Armenian town of Kessab.   Among other thing, “Snipers targeted the civilian population and launched mortar attacks on the town and the surrounding villages.”  Reportedly eighty people were killed.

The jihadis later made a video touring the devastated town; no translation is needed, as the main phrase shouted throughout is Islam’s triumphant war cry, “Allahu Akbar” (or, according to Sen. John McCain’s translation, “thank God”).

Eyewitnesses say the jihadis crossed the Turkish border into Syria, “openly passing through Turkish military barracks. According to Turkish media reports, the attackers carried their injured back to Turkey for treatment in the town of Yayladagi.”

About two-thousand Armenians were evacuated to safer areas in neighboring Basit and Latakia. Several of these families are currently living inside the churches of these towns. Ten to fifteen families with relations too elderly to flee remained in Kessab, their fate currently unknown.

Syrian troops did launch a counteroffensive, but al-Qaeda linked jihadis “once again entered the town of Kessab, took the remaining Armenian families hostage, desecrated the town’s three Armenian churches, pillaging local residences and occupying the town and surrounding villages.”

Reports further indicate that “the attacks of the al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra organization and the Islamic Front was supported with artillery fire from Turkish artillery units.  A Syrian MIG-23 war plane which attended to the operation towards the terror groups was shot down by Turkish Air Forces on 23 March.”

Bashar al-Assad naturally denounced before the United Nations Turkey’s role in supporting terrorists—even as some European leaders, such as Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, were busy praising Turkey for its supposedly increased democracy and human rights,  supporting the Islamic nation’s inclusion into the European Union, indifferent to the fact that Erdogan banned Twitter in Turkey after tweets exposed his government’s corruptions.

Read more at Front Page

 

Erdogan Bans Twitter, Vows to Show “Power of Turkish Republic”

protest of Erdogan's ban on twitter

Turkey’s membership in NATO should be on the table. The NATO website says, “NATO promotes democratic values and encourages consultation and cooperation on defense and security issues to build trust and, in the long run, prevent conflict.”

BY RYAN MAURO:

The so-called “moderate” Islamist government of Turkey, led by Prime Minister Erdogan, exhibited its undemocratic tendencies again, this time by blocking Twitter. The move came after Erdogan vowed to “wipe out” the social media network that is used by 10 million Turks.

The restriction on free speech and flow of information fulfilled a pledge Erdogan made a day earlier. Twitter refused Erdogan’s demands to censor certain links, so the Turkish government got permission from a court to stop the population from using the website.

“We now have a court order. We’ll eradicate Twitter. I don’t care what the international community says. Everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic,” he declared.

He also recently threatened to ban Facebook and YouTube.

In its official blog, the U.S. State Department called the censorship “21st Century book-burning.” Chiding Erdogan, the blog argued, “[Censorship] doesn’t make anyone stronger. This brand of suppression affects all of us: In an era in which the Internet serves as the world’s community forum, censorship anywhere is a threat to freedom of speech everywhere.”

Yet in an indication of the soft-balled response we can expect from the U.S., the blog continued in a conciliatory tone, saying, “Sometimes even our friends make this mistake,” and confessed that, “The United States’ history on freedom of expression has …slipped at times.”

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, tweeted: “The freedom to speak out and to connect is a fundamental right. The people of Turkey deserve that right restored.”  Britain, Germany, Canada and a number of other nations all voiced their objections to the censorship.

Since the court order went into effect, when Turks try to access Twitter, a message pops up from the Turkish official that oversees telecommunication.

The ban coincides with the release of a hyper-nationalistic video encouraging Turks to rise to defeat some kind of enemy assault.

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When Turkey joined the alliance in 1952, it was a different country. Now, it is run by an Islamist government that is supportive of Hamas, Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. It clamps down on the democratic values that NATO says it exists to promote.

Turkey came to this point incrementally, in accordance with the Islamist doctrine of gradualism. At first, the 2002 election victory of Erdogan’s party was hailed as a potential move towards democracy. As Turkey became increasingly hostile to the West’s interests, the West dismissed these hostilities as manageable differences between like-minded allies.

The change Turkey underwent from 2002 to 2014 isn’t only a lesson about Erdogan and his supporters. This is the gradualist doctrine in action.

Read more at Clarion Project

A NATO Member on the Edge

2013-06-03-basbakan_erdoganby :

Reeling from a series of embarrassing public disclosures involving embezzlement, bribery, undue influence and strong-arm tactics, Turkey’s neo-Ottoman, Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, threatened to ban the popular social media sites of Facebook and YouTube, accusing them of encouraging “every kind of immorality and espionage for their own ends.” Erdoğan has recently resorted to a series of desperate measures, including sacking hundreds of police officers, prosecutors and judges, in a frantic effort to keep a growing corruption scandal centered on him and his cronies from spiraling out of control.

Erdoğan’s AKP government, once touted by President Obama as a shining example of Islam’s compatibility with democracy, has turned out to be as, if not more xenophobic than the autocracies currently governing the Arab and Islamic worlds. As for Erdoğan, he has proven himself to be nothing more than a petty, paranoid thug, full of hubris and delusions of grandeur.

Under Erdoğan, Turkey has become the world’s leading incarcerator of journalists followed by those democracy stalwarts of Iran and China. He has successfully usurped control from the once independent Turkish judiciary and has imposed creeping sharia on secular Turks.  But it is Erdoğan’s rhetoric concerning Jews and Israel where his penchant for the bizarre truly comes to fore.

It began in December 2009 when Erdoğan made a spectacle of himself at the World Economic Forum in Davos after moderator David Ignatius noted that Erdoğan had gone over his allotted time to speak. Erdoğan then turned to Israel’s president Shimon Peres and bellowed, “When it comes to killing, you know well how to kill.” Then he stormed off the stage like a spoiled child. His theatrics played well in the Arab world but left most westerners scratching their heads.

In September 2011 Erdoğan outrageously claimed that Israel had killed “hundreds of thousands” of Palestinians in Gaza and in classic anti-Semitic fashion boorishly stated that Israel used the Holocaust as a tool to gain world sympathy.

In February 2013 Erdoğan compared Zionism to fascism and further declared Zionism to be a “crime against humanity.”

Read more at Front Page

See also:

Center for American Progress Joins Gulen Cult in Turning on Turkey’s Erdogan

Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan attends a wreath-laying ceremony in AnkaraBy Daniel Greenfield:

This really is a bipartisan challenge and I don’t mean a bunch of former congressmen from both parties but people like John Bolton and Dennis Ross. The Center for American Progress has backed this which is somewhat shocking considering it had a habit of insisting that Turkey was a model Muslim democracy.

CAP is hugely influential in Obama Inc, but I still expect absolutely nothing to come of this. Obama doesn’t stand up to Muslim tyrannies. He bows before them.

Still this does suggest that maybe the left is rethinking its knee jerk support for Turkey’s Islamist tyranny. That’s a step in the right direction.

More than 80 top foreign policy figures from across the political spectrum wrote President Obama Thursday and asked him to end the U.S. government’s tacit approval of what they describe as the anti-democratic actions of Turkish Prime Minister Racep Tayyip Erdogan and his government.

“Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is increasingly undermining a central pillar of the decades-long, strategic U.S.-Turkish partnership:  Turkey’s growing democracy,” reads the letter, organized by the right-leaning Foreign Policy Initiative, the left-leaning Center for American Progress, the Bipartisan Policy Center, and Freedom House. “We are writing because of our deep dismay at this development and to urge you to make clear to the Turkish public America’s concern about Turkey’s current path. Silence will only encourage Prime Minister Erdoğan to diminish the rule of law in the country even further.”

The letter was signed by several former Obama administration officials including White House senior director Dennis Ross, State Department policy planning director Anne-Marie Slaughter, and Julianne Smith, an advisor to the Vice President. Republican signatories include Ambassador John Bolton, Sen. Norm Coleman, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol.

According to the experts and former officials, Obama has been turning a blind eye to Erdogan’s descent into autocracy.  In their opinion, this alarming trend in Turkey has accelerated since last summer, when Turkish authorities used a heavy hand to disperse street protests and Erdogan denounced the protestors as “looters” while blaming foreign conspirators for the unrest.

Erdogan is also actively trying to cover up a huge corruption scandal which has engulfed his government since December, according to the letter. The Turkish Prime Minister has dismissed or reassigned thousands of prosecutors and police officers involved in the scandal, which ties Turkish government officials and even Erdogan’s son through shady business deals with Iran and al Qaeda.

The Erdogan govenrment has also imposed restrictions on internet freedom and freedom of the press. A new law would allow the government to block any website that has “insulting” content and Turkey still holds more journalists in prison than any other nation in the world.

Top Obama administration officials have made it very clear they have no intention of commenting, much less getting involved in Turkey’s internal turmoil. Last month, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and promised Washington wouldn’t interfere.

“We did also talk about the importance of both of our commitments to rule of law and to democracy and to the process of both of our countries respecting each other’s political process,” said Kerry at the time. “And I think the minister understood and made it clear that the United States of America has absolutely no interest in being caught up in or engaged in or involved in the internal politics, the election process of Turkey. And we are not.”

Kerry’s statements are absolutely outrageous, but not surprising, though ridiculously hypocritical in light of Obama Inc’s interference in Egypt.

Read more at Front Page

Report: Turkey Financing Top Global Terror Groups

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh / AP

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh / AP

By :

Turkey has become a principal financial hub for terrorists under the leadership of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose government has helped Iran skirt sanctions, supported jihadi groups in Syria, and provided financial backing to Hamas, according to a new report by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).

Turkey, a key U.S. ally, “has turned a blind eye” to terror financing and is potentially on the verge of crossing the line to becoming an official state sponsor of terrorism, according to the Friday report, which cites the Erdogan government’s close ties to some of the world’s top terror organizations and operatives.

The report comes just a day after 84 U.S. lawmakers and former government officialsurged President Barack Obama to confront Erdogan over his harsh repression of political opponents.

As Turkey’s support for terrorism expands, the Obama administration has remained silent out of fear of offending Erdogan, whom the White House considers a strategic asset, according to the report authored by FDD’s Jonathan Schanzer, a former terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Treasury Department.

The Obama administration “has remained on the sidelines, expressing relatively mild concern about the crackdowns on law enforcement officials and the jailing of journalists, while electing not to mention terrorism finance issues publicly,” the report states.

“Washington’s silence stems from fears of a fall-out with Turkey, which has been a crucial ally over the years, and is situated strategically at the intersection of Europe and the Middle East,” according to the report. “But Turkey’s actions constitute a direct challenge to Washington’s sanctions regime.”

The report catalogues in detail Turkey’s cozy relationship with jihadi groups, terrorist operatives, and the Iranian regime.

Last year, “Turkey was involved in a massive sanctions-busting scheme with Tehran,” according to the report. “Now known as ‘gas-for-gold,’ the scheme helped the Iranian regime gain some $13 billion” despite international sanctions meant to stop such deals.

Additionally, over 2,000 Iranian companies are reportedly registered in Turkey, where pro-Erdogan political elites have been accused of facilitating large cash transfers with Tehran.

Turkey’s top intelligence agency is also believed to be working with Iran in a bid to “scuttle intelligence operations” aimed at stopping Iran’s nuke program, according to the report.

Erdogan has also gone to great lengths to bolster extremist rebel groups in Syria, according to the report, which cites “mounting evidence suggests that Turkey has been directly or indirectly arming, training, and even financing Sunni jihadi groups” in the country.

Turkey reportedly sent 47 tons of weapons to Syrian rebels during a six-month period in 2013, according to the report.

Read more at Free Beacon

 

 

 

Why Turkey is gone for good

erdogan-tehran-1-300x150By Caroline Glick:

Last Thursday, two Turkish businessmen stopped for lunch in a fish restaurant during a business trip to Edirne in the Babaeski region.

At some point during their meal, the restaurant owner figured out that they were Jews.

Rather than show them the hospitality Turkey is renowned for, he said he won’t serve Jews, and began cursing them and the Torah. He then took a long knife off the counter and threatened to kill them.

The men ran for their lives.

Anti-Semitic attacks have become regular events in Turkey. In December, after leaving an anti-corruption rally in Istanbul, a young woman was attacked by 10 to 15 supporters of Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan who had just left a support rally for the premier.

They accused her of being a Jew, as they beat her up.

In an interview with The Times of Israel, Turkish opposition MP Ayken Kerdemir said that Erdogan has cultivated Turkish anti-Semitism. “He is not only capitalizing on the existing sentiments, Kerdemir explained. Erdogan is “fueling some of that anti-Israel and anti-Semitic feeling… with his rhetoric, conspiracy theories, campaign slogans and actions.”

Kerdemir explained that Erdogan’s cultivation of anti-Semitism in Turkish society will continue to affect Turkey’s behavior and social values long after he is gone. “Even after Erdogan and AKP are gone, even if [the opposition party] CHP comes to power, it will take us quite some time to mend inter-societal relations through dialogue, awareness raising and sensitivity training.”

Once you let that genie out of the bottle, it is very hard to stuff it back inside.

Erdogan’s anti-Semitism is not opportunistic. He isn’t simply exploiting a popular prejudice for his own benefit. He is an anti-Semite. And his anti-Semitism informs his behavior toward Israel.

In Kerdemir’s view, Erdogan’s uncontrollable hatred of Jews makes it impossible for him to agree to reconcile Turkey’s relations with Israel.

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It isn’t simply that Erdogan cannot reconcile with Israel because he hates Jews. As is almost always the case with anti-Semites, Erdogan’s anti-Semitism is part of his general authoritarian outlook informed by a paranoid mindset.

Erdogan sees a Jewish conspiracy behind every independent power base in Turkey. And his rejection of Israel is an integral part of his rejection of all forces in Turkey that are not dependent on his good offices.

Over the past 10 years, and with ever increasing brutality, paranoia and intensity, Erdogan has sought to destroy all independent power bases in the country. He purged the military by placing hundreds of generals in prison in his delusional Ergenekon conspiracy in which they were accused of seeking to overthrow his Islamist government.

He has destroyed most of the independent media in the country and sent hundreds of journalists and editors to prison.

The same is the case with independent businessmen.

Over the past year, Erdogan destroyed whatever remained of the plausible deniability he initially fostered between himself and the systematic abrogation of civil rights and the rule of law in Turkey.

This week, 17 people were sentenced to two years each in prison for “deliberately insulting the premier and not regretting their actions,” during a small demonstration in 2012 protesting the government’s health policy.

Also this week, Erdogan acknowledged that he calls television broadcasters in the middle of news shows and orders them to stop the broadcast of information he doesn’t want the public to know. This has included ending the live broadcast of a speech in parliament by the opposition leader, ending coverage of the mass anti-government demonstrations last summer, and removing a news ticker that reported on the corruption scandals surrounding Erdogan and his cronies.

Erdogan has also reacted to the corruption investigations of his cronies by firing the public prosecutors and police officers involved in the investigations.

To maintain the public’s support for his burgeoning dictatorship, Erdogan has adopted populist economic policies that have sunk the Turkish economy. To buy the public’s allegiance, Erdogan has borrowed heavily internationally and artificially lowered Turkey’s interest rates, even as the local currency dropped in value in international markets and Turkey’s current accounts deficits outpaced Greece’s on the eve of its economic meltdown.

As David Goldman explained last week in a financial analysis of Turkey’s incipient economic meltdown in The Asia Times, rather than raise consumer interests rates, Erdogan has blamed the Jews by railing against “the interest rate lobby.”

Indeed, since he first invoked the term during the anti-government demonstrations last August, Erdogan has taken to blaming the interest rate cabal for all of Turkey’s woes.

Goldman argues that part of Turkey’s credit crisis owes to its apparent reliance on interbank loans from Saudi Arabia. In part due to their anger at Erdogan for his support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the Saudis have apparently stopped loaning to Turkish banks.

The Saudis’ action has pushed Erdogan into the waiting arms of Iran’s ayatollahs. In an interviewwith Business Insider, Australia, terror financing expert Jonathan Schanzer said Turkey and Iran were able to minimize the impact of the international sanctions on Iran’s energy sector. Between June 2012 and June 2013, the Turkish-Iranian “gas for gold” sanctions-busting scheme brought Iran $13 billion in hard currency.

Erdogan’s hatred of Jews, his authoritarian mindset and his Islamist ideology informed his decision to transform Turkey into one of the leading sponsors of terrorism. In addition to its massive support for Hamas, beginning in the 2006 First Lebanon War Turkey began providing assistance to Hezbollah.

Then there is al-Qaida. Turkey has long harbored al-Qaida financiers. And according to IDF Intelligence head Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Turkey hosts three al-Qaida bases on its territory that enable terrorists to transit between Europe and Syria.

Erdogan’s ideological underpinning directs his embrace of Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah and al-Qaida. But his decimation of Turkey’s economy has made him view Iran as Turkey’s economic savior. And that in turn pushes Turkey even deeper into the jihadist camp.

Obviously in this situation, the chance that Turkey will agree to reconcile with Israel, at any price, is nil.

Read the rest of this important article at Caroline Glick’s blog

 

Also see:

Turkey’s Possible Nuclear Ambitions

nuklear reactor

Turkey and Japan have concluded an agreement which will allow Turkey to build four nuclear reactors.

BY RYAN MAURO:

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan recently met with the Prime Minister of Japan to discuss the construction of four nuclear reactors in Sinop. The $22 billion deal would allow Turkey to enrich uranium and extract plutonium, two processes needed for nuclear weapons creation.

Reports that Erdogan’s government was debating building nuclear weapons, or at least the capacity to quickly produce them, began surfacing in September 2008. International relations analyst Mehmet Kalyoncu wrote in Today’s Zaman that Turkey is “intensifying its lobbying in Western capitals, most notably in Washington, to get the green light to develop nuclear weapons.”

The Global Information System reported in July 2010 that Erdogan’s party was debating whether to move forward in developing a nuclear weapons program. It said that secret nuke research was already in progress, but uranium-based nuclear reactors would have to be constructed if the green light was given. That’s exactly what Japan just agreed to help Turkey build.

The reports indicated that Erdogan was driven by a desire to counter the nuclear ambitions of Iran, but he has been moving his country closer and closer to that terrorism-sponsoring regime. Erdogantraveled to Iran this week as part of the two countries’ efforts to get past their differences in Syria. He said that Iran “feels like a second home.” A deal regarding natural gas was also announced. Iran and Turkey are hoping to form powerful energy partnership.

Read more at Clarion Project

 

Also see:

Turkish Charity Still Not on Terror List Despite Numerous Calls

The al Qaeda threat in Turkey

download (54)By KAREN HODGSON, July 8, 2013

1. INTRODUCTION

The threat of al Qaeda in Turkey is significantly understudied, considering the nature and number of targets against which the terror group has plotted attacks, including many targets affiliated with the United States. Perhaps this is because the Turkish police are successful in thwarting such attacks; foiled plots are not as sensational as those that are carried out and cause tragedy. Or it could be because terror in Turkey has historically been synonymous with the terrorism of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which distracts from the al Qaeda threat. It is also easy to dismiss Turkey as an unlikely target for al Qaeda, given its 99 percent Muslim population and currently Islamic-rooted government.

A look at al Qaeda’s targets, which appear to be concentrated on US, Turkish, British, Jewish, and Christian facilities, demonstrates the point. Plots involving American targets include a plan to attack the İncirlik Base in Adana in 2003; a foiled attack on the NATO summit in Istanbul in May 2004 that was to be attended by then-President George W. Bush; and an attack on the US Consulate in Istanbul in July 2008, which killed three policemen. In July 2011, an attack on the US Embassy in Ankara was thwarted just before Secretary of State Clinton’s visit. In April 2013, Turkish police found evidence of a new plot linked to al Qaeda to bomb the US Embassy in Ankara. As recently as May 2013, Turkish police uncovered a plot by the al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra Front to conduct sarin gas attacks against Turkish and American targets, a relatively new phenomenon which appears to be a result of the spillover effects of the Syrian war into Turkey.

Other targets include suicide attacks on the British Consulate, the headquarters of British HSBC international bank, and two big synagogues in Istanbul in November 2003, which killed some 60 people and injured at least 700; a possible attack on the Pope during his visit to Turkey in November 2006; and a plot to attack the Bilderberg Summit in Istanbul in June 2007. Turkish authorities have also intercepted al Qaeda plans to conduct attacks on churches and clergy in Ankara, Turkish soldiers in Afghanistan after their takeover of the Kabul Regional Command in November 2009, the Turkish parliament building, and an Israeli cruise ship to Turkey.

These incidents suggest that the al Qaeda threat in Turkey persists. In fact, an al Qaeda-linked document found during a recent raid in Turkey said that it was more beneficial for the group to target Turkey than the West. Routine operations and mass arrests of suspected al Qaeda members and sympathizers indicate the presence of a support network for its cause within Turkey. These indications, combined with the recent emergence of jihadists in Syria, and the presence of Al Nusra Front elements along certain parts of Turkey’s 570-mile border with Syria, make this a threat worth examining.

There are challenges in trying to decipher the al Qaeda threat in Turkey, however. Reports based on open sources such as this one have to make analyses based only on the information that is available. The media does not give much attention to thwarted attacks. And the Turkish press does not publish names of people arrested, to protect the privacy of the individuals and investigations; instead, only the suspects’ initials are published. Moreover, many al Qaeda operatives have one or more code names. In addition, many of the details of operations or what they reveal is not reported. Nevertheless, some conclusions can still be made about the characteristics of al Qaeda in Turkey today.
2. WHY IS TURKEY A TARGET? HOW DOES AL QAEDA VIEW TURKEY?

Al Qaeda’s narrative on Turkey suggests that it views Turkey as a Muslim traitor that abolished the Caliphate at the end of the Ottoman Empire, which for al Qaeda marks the start of the “Muslim world’s humiliation and contempt over the last 80 years.” Al Qaeda views Turkey — a country with free elections and a liberal economy, a member of NATO, and a strategic ally of the United States — as a US or Western puppet. Turkey was also one of the first countries to recognize Israel, and takes part in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, which leads al Qaeda to accuse Turkey of “cooperating with Israel” and “killing Muslims in Afghanistan.”

Read more at Long War Journal

Anti-Israel Flotilla Group Busted in al Qaeda Terror Raid

Israeli Naval vessel intercepts pro-Palestinian flotilla / AP

Israeli Naval vessel intercepts pro-Palestinian flotilla / AP

By :

Turkish police on Tuesday raided the offices of an al Qaeda-linked charity group responsible for organizing the 2010 Gaza flotilla that caused a deadly international incident.

The main offices of the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), a Turkish charity that claims to support humanitarian causes, were raided by Turkish anti-terror forces in connection with a larger bust on al Qaeda militants, according to Turkish media reports.

IHH has long been suspected of having ties to terror organizations, including Hamas and al Qaeda.

Regional experts said the Turkish raid provides the first definitive evidence that IHH is not the humanitarian organization it claims to be.

“One gets a sense that the Turkish military knows something about the IHH that we’ve long suspected,” said Jonathan Schanzer, a former intelligence analyst who has written about U.S. government bids to designate the IHH a terror group.

IHH, which is often lauded by U.S. groups critical of Israel, has been encircled in controversy since it organized the 2010 Gaza flotilla, a supposedly humanitarian aid mission that sought to breach Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.

IHH claimed that it was carrying peaceful pro-Palestinian activists aboard its ship. However, when Israeli Navy personnel boarded the flotilla, activists attacked the soldiers with guns, knives, crowbars, and other weapons.

Two Israeli commandos were severely wounded during the attack, while 10 of the activists died as a result of the violence.

Anti-Israel critics such as the Center for American Progress’s (CAP) Matt Duss and others lashed out at the Israeli military and defended IHH as a peaceful humanitarian group.

Tuesday’s raid, however, paints IHH in a different light.

Turkish police searched an IHH storage facility located near the Syrian border where the group has been suspected of smuggling arms, according to reports.

Less than two weeks before Tuesday’s raid, Turkish police stopped a truck “laden with weapons” on the Syrian border. Under questioning, the driver claimed he was carrying “aid on behalf” of IHH, according to al Arabiya.

Read more at Free Beacon

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