Hamas Celebrates AKP Win; Relies on Turkish Support

Erdogan’s AKP Party Rocked By Scandal: Who’s Behind It?

Edogan

Some analysts are saying that, because of this corruption scandal, either Erdogan or what remains of democracy will exit from Turkey.

BY LONNA LISA WILLIAMS:

No one is sure who is behind the corruption inquiries that have been rocking Turkey the past week and upsetting Prime Minister Erdogan’s AKP Party, but there are several theories.

Islamist Prime Minister Erdogan of the AKP (“white”) Party closed down the private language schools of powerful exiled Islamic cleric Fetullah Gulen. Then, to everyone’s surprise (even Erdogan’s), top leaders in the AKP Party found their families being investigated.

Erdogan called this an attack against his government and implicated Fetullah Gulen as being behind the sudden corruption inquiries that landed top government officials, bank presidents, and even billionaire builders in jail.

Gulen denied involvement in the “operation” (as it’s being called in the Turkish news).

No one really knows what is happening right now in Turkey. The U.S. is calling this “a family fight” and doesn’t want to be dragged into it. Whoever is behind this scandal, the fact remains that lots of money is involved.

Photos of cash, huge safes and even ATM machines stashed in the houses of top Turkish leaders have circulated the internet. Erdogan struck back by firing dozens of police officers and even police chiefs across Turkey, including the one in charge of Istanbul.

Gulen cursed this act of firing police officers (and, it seems, in doing so cursed the one responsible for the acts—Erdogan himself). On one of his websites Gulen wrote, ” . . . Those who don’t see the thief but go after those trying to catch the thief, who don’t see the murder but try to defame others by accusing innocent people—let God bring fire to their houses, ruin their homes, break their unities.”

“Maybe the CHP [the main opposition party] is at least partly behind this,” one Turkish man told me. “They are Ataturk’s party and don’t want to see his ideals of secular democracy betrayed. They also want closer ties to Europe and the human rights it offers. Too many Turks now sit in prison simply for speaking or writing what Erdogan doesn’t like. They don’t want to see Turkey become an Islamic state like Erdogan envisions. They don’t want to be dragged back to the time of the sultans.”

Read more at Clarion Project

Guest Column: Turkey’s Democratic Reforms Aren’t All That Democratic

by Abigail R. Esman:

 

More Dangerous than bin Laden? Protestors to Descend on Gulen’s Mountain Fortress in Pennsylvania

20100406_PaulWilliamsGulenCompoundby PAUL L. WILLIAMS, PHD:

A protest against Fethullah Gulen and his movement will take place on Saturday, August 31, at Logging Road in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania. The rally is set to start at 2 p.m. and hundreds of Turkish Americans are expected to be in attendance.

The purpose of the event, according to organizer Armagan Yilmaz, is “to warn the American people” about Gulen, “a man even more dangerous than Osama Bin Laden.”

This description, Mr. Yilmaz insists, is not hyperbole. Gulen has been responsible for the transformation of secular Turkey into an Islamic state with 85,000 active mosques – – one for every 350- citizens – – the highest number per capita in the world, 90,000 imams, more imams than teachers and physicians – – and thousands of state-run Islamic schools.

Gulen accomplished this through the creation of the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma, AKP) which now controls the Turkish government.

Within the past ten years, Mr. Yilmaz says, everyone who has opposed the militant Islamization of Turkey has been murdered or tossed into prison. Several Turks who escaped from the oppression are scheduled to speak at the gathering, including former Tirkish Admiral Turker Erturk and noted journalists and authors Baris Terkoglu and Baris Pehlivan.

20130828_FethullahGulenKuranYetimFethullah Gulen came to the United States in 1998 and settled in Saylorsburg after an arrest warrant on the charge of sedition was issued in his native Turkey.

Court records from his hearing for permanent U.S. residency show that his financial holdings are enormous, exceeding $25 billion. With these funds, he has established schools throughout Turkey and Central Asia to bring about his dream of “a New Islamic World Order.”

Several countries have outlawed the establishment of Gulen schools within their borders – – including Russia and Uzbekistan. Even the Netherlands, a nation that embraces pluralism and tolerance, has opted to cut funding to the Gulen schools because of their threat to the social order.

In recent years, Gulen has established over 140 charter schools – – all fully funded by U.S. taxpayers allegedly as a means of indoctrinating American students in his militant ideology.

“Under the pretext of being qualified teachers hundreds of unqualified disciples are brought from Turkey to the United States with an H1B visa to work at these schools,” Mr. Yilmaz says. “These teachers are to return 40% of their salaries to the movement in cash which then funds the movement. This way not only is the funding of the movement illegal but also tax fraud is committed.”

The thirty-four “Gulen-inspired” Harmony Schools throughout the Lone Star State have been established at an annual expense to Texas taxpayers of $68 million. The schools are operated by the Cosmos Foundation, a mysterious non-profit corporation with headquarters in Houston. In an interview with this reporter, Sonar Tarim, the superintendent of the schools and a member of the Cosmos Foundation, said: “We have no ties to Fethullah Gulen or his movement.” While Mr. Tarim admitted that the schools participate in the Turkish Olympiad, an event organized by Gulen, he expressed surprise that all of his schools were constructed by Turkish construction companies that reportedly are affiliated with Gulen and his movement.

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Osman Nori, the retired head of Turkish intelligence, recently alleged that the Gulen movement has served as a front for US intelligence by sheltering 130 CIA agents in its schools throughout Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

This claim collaborates the testimony of Sybil Edmonds, a former FBI translator and celebrated whistleblower. Ms. Edmonds says that Gulen and his movement began to receive vast sums of money from the CIA in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, when US officials realized that they could not obtain control of the massive energy resources of the newly created Russian republics because of a deep-seated suspicion of American motives.

The CIA, Ms. Edmonds maintains, came to view Turkey as a perfect “proxy” for US interests since it was a NATO ally that shared the same language, culture, and religion as the other Central Asian countries. But centralized control of these republics, she points out, could only be actualized by the creation of the Pan-Turkish nationalism and religion, envisioned by Gulen and his followers. And so, according to Ms. Edmonds, the CIA became Gulen’s partner in the creation of the New Islamic World Order. The money for the pasha’s schools and settlements, she says, came not from congressionally-approved funding but rather from covert CIA operations, including narcotics trafficking, nuclear black market, weapons smuggling, and terrorist activities.

Although Gulen and his defenders have refuted this testimony, a Department of Justice inspector general’s report called Ms. Edmond’s allegations “credible,” “serious,” and warranting a full and complete review. Ranking Senate Judiciary Committee members Pat Leahy (D-Vermont) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) have offered her public backing. “60 Minutes,” the CBS news program, launched an investigation of her statements only to find them truthful and substantial. No one has ever disputed any of Ms. Edmonds’ revelations which she says can be verified by FBI investigative files.

Despite Gulen’s global ambitions, he continues to be presented as a moderate Muslim, who champions the causes of tolerance, peace, and good-will. Dalia Mogahed, the first Muslim woman to serve as a member of the White House Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, says that the Gulen movement “offers people a model of what is possible if a dedicated group of people work together for the good of society.”

Read more: Family Security Matters

Paul L. Williams is the author of Crescent Moon Rising: The Islamic Transformation of AmericaThe Day of Islam: The Annihilation of America and the Western World, The Al Qaeda Connection, and other best-selling books. He is a frequent guest on such national news networks as ABC News, CBS News, Fox News, MSNBC, and NPR.

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Erdogan’s Ergenekon Farce Draws to a Close

20111004_ErdoganMapby ANDREW C. MCCARTHY:

The five-year farce known as the “Ergenekon” trial – Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s purge of military and political opponents under the cloak of an “anti-terrorism” prosecution – is now completed. On Monday, a special court pronounced the convictions and harsh sentences – ranging from decades of incarceration to life-imprisonment – for dozens of the 275 defendants (66 of whom have already been languishing in prison for some time).

As expected, Erdogan’s ruling Islamic-supremacist party (the AKP) is hailing the trumped-up result as a triumph for “democracy” that strengthens civilian control of the military – many of the accused, including former army chief of staff General Ilker Basbug (sentenced to life imprisonment), having allegedly plotted to overthrow Erdogan’s government. But, asDer Spiegel reports,

[T]he evidence was questionable, and in some cases non-existent. The government hasn’t targeted a small, secret group of conspirators but half the military leadership. Many author, journalists, lawyers, businesspeople and opposition politicians are in jail. Erdogan, many critics are convinced, is waging a witchhunt against his political opponents….

The story that Ergenekon was part of an even greater conspiracy called “Deep State”- aimed at bringing the generals back to power – has become steadily less credible. Erdogan, who has been in power since 2003 and who won a third term in july 2011, increasingly resembles a power-obsessed ruler bent on silencing all opposition. Critics say his aim isn’t to submit the military to democratic rule but simply to cement his own grip on power.

The intimidation and the number of arrests has steadily risen in the last 10 years. Many journalists no longer dare to report what’s really happening, authors avoid making public appearances and government critics need bodyguards. The anti-terrorism law is an effective instrument of power for the government as the supposed terrorist threat is an accusation that’s hard to disprove.

Nor do Monday’s verdicts come in a vacuum. As the Guardian notes, last year more than 300 military officers were sentenced to jail in a case dubbed “Sledgehammer,” involving similar charges of plotting to overthrow Erdogan a decade ago.

My book Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy examines Erdogan’s Turkey at some length, making the case that Islamic supremacists regard “democracy” merely as a method to impose sharia on Muslim majority countries without violence. Ergenekon and Sledgehammer are classic examples of why, for all their “democracy” bluster, Erdogan and his ilk are anti-democrats who regard their police power not as the guarantee of the rule of law necessary for a free society to thrive but as a truncheon for oppressing dissenters into silence and submission.

Read more: Family Security Matters 

Brutality in Turkey

taksim-2By :

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has created his own private army: the country’s police forces.

When the protest in Gezi Parki first started, many Turks and commentators thought it would soon go away. After all, it was organized by a couple of treehuggers, who refused to let some trees be demolished in order for a new mosque and mall to be built. It is difficult to take something like that all too seriously.

However, after only a day or two, the protests suddenly exploded. Tens of thousands of Istanbullians joined, protests were organized in as many as 79 other cities, and entire families took to the streets.

The reason “the resistance” suddenly became so popular was Prime Minister Erdogan’s and the police’s reaction to the protesters. Instead of trying argue with them and perhaps reaching a compromise, they were brutally attacked by the police and insulted by Erdogan, who called them “terrorists” and “looters.” Secularists and other opponents of the prime minister saw what happened and decided to step in. “Enough already,” they said, “it’s time to take action against this man who wants to Islamize the country and who refuses to accept any limits on his power.”

Next Erdogan set his own personal army – the police – loose on all his critics. The results are shocking: at least four people have been killed and as many as 5,000 have been wounded. Additionally, many others have been detained and interrogated – even people who didn’t participate in the protests themselves, but who simply reported about them on Twitter.

Only a few years ago, this scenario would have been considered impossible. Now, however, it sadly is Turkey’s new reality.

How is that possible?

In the years leading up to the protests, the AK Parti has increased the size of the country’s police forces significantly since 2003. Not suprisingly, many new officers are AKP-supporters. Those who didn’t already support the Islamists have been dragged into their camp by receiving significant pay raises and by receiving more powers and responsibilities than they could have dreamed of when the country was still ruled by its old secular elite.  At the same time, the army has been systematically overlooked (with soldiers now being seriously underpaid) and its power dismantled.

The result is that the police now know that they are in charge and have no one to fear … except the man to whom they own their money and influence: the prime minister. When he gives them an order, therefore, they will obey. Yes, even if that means that they have to use their weapons against their own countrymen, who are simply excercising their right to the freedom of speech.

In exchange for their unquestioned support, Erdogan has embarked on a grand publicity tour in which he tries to improve not only his own, but also the police’s image. This weekend he said for instance that the police have “succesfully passed the test of democracy” because of the way they handled the protests.

Read more at Front Page

Tayyip Erdoğan, “God’s Gift to Turkey”

turkey-silent-protests-7by Robert Ellis:

“In the Islamic world, democratization has led to an increasing role for theocratic politics.” — Fareed Zakaria

The Turkish Minister for EU Affairs, Egemen Bağış, has declared that Prime Minister Erdoğan is a gift sent by God to Turkey and to humanity. But what do half the Turkish electorate do – as well as the rest of humanity – when the gift is unwanted?

There is no doubt that the Almighty has bestowed upon the world a special gift.

We have ex-Libyan leader Colonel Mohammed Gaddafi’s word for that: in November 2010 the Turkish prime minister was awarded with the Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights for “distinguished service to humanity.”

During the award ceremony Prime Minister Erdoğan declared that Islamophobia was a crime against humanity and that Muslims come from a tradition that also regards anti-Semitism as a crime against humanity. At a meeting of the Alliance of Civilizations in March, however, he added Zionism to the list, together with fascism.

To cap it all, when Erdoğan was in Algeria during his recent North Africa tour, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Algiers, also for his contribution to humanity. On his return, Erdoğan was given a rapturous welcome by his supporters and saluted not only his brothers in Istanbul and Turkey but also those in Sarajevo, Baku, Beirut, Skopje, Damascus, Gaza, Mecca and Medina. There was no mention of Europe or elsewhere.

The crowd shouted, “Let’s go to Taksim and crush them,” but the Prime Minister preferred to quote the Turkish poet Yunus Emre: “I don’t come to fight, my job is for love. The friend’s home is in hearts, I come to build hearts.” In the meantime, the police in Taksim Square in Istanbul and Kuğulu Park in Ankara got on with the business of winning hearts and minds.

In his speech Erdoğan rejected the notion that he was only prime minister for the 50% and claimed he was the servant of Turkey’s 76 million. The great leap forward for the Turkish economy under the AKP that he mentioned is undoubtedly true, but it has come at the expense of civil liberties and a growing division in Turkish society.

Last November, celebrating the AKP’s 10 years of government, Prime Minister Erdoğan spoke of a mental revolution; this, again, is true. Religion has played a leading role in Turkish society, both with regard to public appointments and in awarding public contracts, and in the whole conduct of society. Shortly after the AKP came into power, one wag at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs changed his out-of-office reply to, “Gone to namaz[prayer].”

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Tayyip Erdoğan has apparently stepped back from the brink and agreed to abide by the court decision to suspend the Gezi Park project and later hold a plebiscite on its future. At the same time, the Prime Minister has declared his patience has come to an end and Taksim Square and Gezi Park have been cleared by the police. His Minister for EU Affairs, Egemen Bağış, has also stated that anyone who enters Taksim Square will be considered a terrorist. Woe betide the visitor to Istanbul who loses his way.

Read more at Gatestone Institute