Trump’s Unsettling Response to Turkey’s Islamist Tyranny

President and former Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Photo: © Reuters)

President and former Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Photo: © Reuters)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, July 28, 2016:

After many years of a gradual erosion of the secular state, the Turkish government has been sprinting towards Islamist tyranny since the failed coup attempt. The response of Donald Trump to this new reality is unsettling, to say the least.

He declined to commit a potential Trump administration to opposing the Erdogan government’s crackdown, using the Islamist line that the U.S. lacks the moral authority to criticize other countries’ human rights abuses.

In an interview with the New York Times after the coup failed, Trump said he “give[s] great credit to him [Erdogan] for being able to turn that around” and marveled at the scenes of protestors stopping the involved military personnel. Hillary Clinton opposed the coup while standing by criticism of the Turkish government.

The reporter pointed out to Trump that Erdogan has used the coup as a pretext for a massive crackdown, arresting 50,000 people, removing major elements of the judiciary and suspending thousands of teachers.

Clarion published a stunning accounting of the purge. Now, the regime just shut down another 130 media outlets and kicked out 1,700 members of the military.

Trump did not speak out against these purges and said that opposing the Islamist tyranny in Turkey would not be a part of his administration’s agenda. He did, however, say there “may be a time when we can get much more aggressive on that subject…We’re not in a position to be more aggressive. We have to fix our own mess.”

He also repeated the reflexive Islamist rebuttal to any U.S. criticism that America has no moral standing, saying,

“I think right now when it comes to civil liberties, our country has a lot of problems, and I think it’s very hard for us to get involved in other countries when we don’t know what we are doing and we can’t see straight in our own country … When the world looks at how bad the United States is, and then we go and talk about civil liberties, I don’t think we’re a very good messenger… I don’t know that we have a right to lecture. Just look about what’s happening with our country.”

Both political parties in the U.S. have gotten the Islamist government of Turkey wrong since 2002, as those of us warned about the Erdogan government’s strategy of gradualism — a strategy he was so skilled in implementing that Dr. Daniel Pipes wrote that Erdogan and those like him pose a greater threat to Western civilization than Osama Bin Laden. This author dubbed Erdogan as “the King of the Islamists.”

President Bush praised Erdogan’s Turkey as a model of democracy for the region. President Obama once said Erdogan is one of the world leaders he is closest to (but did condemn the human rights abuses later on as they grew).

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton simultaneously praised the Turkish government while speaking out in opposition to the decline of freedom. In her book, she complimented Erdogan as “forceful” and “effective,” while expressing doubts about his Islamist government’s commitment to democracy.

Her proposed foreign policy strategy includes pressuring Turkey to stop supporting Hamas and to fully commit to fighting Islamist terrorism. But it also includes working with Turkey to vet and support Syrian rebels.

Islamists like Erdogan view themselves as being in a “civilizational jihad” (as the Muslim Brotherhood puts it) with the West. To fight this ideological war with Islamism, we must weaken the Islamist ideology while strengthening our own.

To do that, we must assert the moral superiority of the West and stand with the oppressed against Islamism’s human rights abuses.

Donald Trump’s statement and proposed policy does the opposite of both.

Also see:

After 10,000 Arrested, It’s Time for the US to End Backing for Islamist Regime

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Front  Page Magazine, by Daniel Greenfield, July 22, 2016:

It’s funny how the media was far more outraged by the supposed attempt by the Turkish military to restore the republic than by the Islamist tyrant’s escalating crackdown which has now seen 10,000 arrested. That’s war crime level detentions. If the Turkish military had done this, they would be screaming their heads off. Yet 10,000 arrests by Islamists, just like the Muslim Brotherhood’s torture and abuses in Egypt, get a pass.

And that has to change.

Turkey is swiftly turning into an actual totalitarian regime with no holds barred.

Turkey entered its second day under a state of emergency as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signaled that the three-month period approved by parliament may not be enough to complete a purge of those responsible for last week’s failed coup.

Erdogan told Reuters that there’s no obstacle to extending emergency rule, which took effect at 1 a.m. on Thursday and was later endorsed by parliament. It allows the government to issue decrees with the force of law, and detain suspects for longer periods without trial.

And then the emergency rule will just be made permanent and Erdogan will declare himself a sultan. All of this is happening with the complicity of the US and the EU. And I don’t just mean the radical left.

Too few, even Republicans, were willing to come out against the Arab Spring or to back the Egyptian military’s restoration of the government. That’s why Trump’s mention of it in his acceptance speech was important. We should have backed the Turkish military to the hilt. And by “us” I don’t mean Obama, who has never met an Islamist Jihadist he didn’t love, but Republicans and conservatives.

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Also see:

A former CIA clandestine officer’s take on the shariah threat

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Secure Freedom Radio, July 19, 2016:

CLARE LOPEZ, Vice President for Research & Analysis at the Center for Security Policy, former CIA clandestine officer:

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

  • Violence against law enforcement continues – this time in Baton Rouge, LA.
  • Unholy alliance between the US Muslim Brotherhood, Black Lives Matter, and Alinskyite Anarchists
  • Damage done by the US Council of Muslim Organizations and its sister organizations across the Western world

(PART TWO): (podcast2): Play in new window | Download

  • Political agenda of those under the USCMO umbrella
  • Explaining shariah
  • Donald Trump and other GOP leaders’ stance concerning refugee resettlement from Muslim nations

(PART THREE): (podcast3): Play in new window | Download

  • Implications of the failed coup in Turkey
  • How the AKP Party has weakened the Turkish military
  • The Gulenist Movement
  • Aspects of jihad still present in Sufism

(PART FOUR): (podcast4): Play in new window | Download

  • Classified 28 pages of the 9/11 report made public
  • Future implications for the US/Saudi alliance
  • Iran and Hezbollah roles in 9/11
  • Instances of Shia and Sunni cooperation in terrorizing the West

(PART FIVE): (podcast5): Play in new window | Download

  • What to expect from a nuclear Iran
  • Can the MEK Party force regime change in Tehran?
  • Update on Hillary Clinton in regards to Benghazi

Does Erdogan Want To Be Sultan?

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Democracy is like a train — when you reach your stop, you get off.

CounterJihad, by Bruce Cornibe, July 20, 2016:

Last Friday’s failed coup attempt in Turkey, which claimed the lives of over 200 individuals, has left a lot of speculation about the causes of the incident and Turkish President Erdogan’s level of collusion. Erdogan has already stated that the coup attempt “is a blessing from Allah, because it will allow us to purge the military[.]” Reuters reports on the current number of detainees or those suspended by Turkish authorities at around 50,000 people – including military personnel, members of law enforcement, court officials, teachers and civil servants. Erdogan is clearly using this division to further Turkey into a more autocratic system of governance with him at the helm. For example, in a 2015 speech Erdogan addressed the issue of altering Turkey’s Constitution to match his expanded presidential role stating:

“There is a president with de facto power in the country, not a symbolic one. The president should conduct his duties for the nation directly, but within his authority. Whether one accepts it or not, Turkey’s administrative system has changed. Now, what should be done is to update this de facto situation in the legal framework of the constitution[.]”

Erdogan paints himself as an ally to the West, but he’s unquestionably an Islamist using the democratic process to transform a once secular-democratic country of the Ataturk tradition to an authoritarian Islamic state that punishes dissenting opinions.  Journalists, politicians, academics, military figures, and religious leaders alike have suffered under his rule.

Freedom House, an independent organization that monitors freedom and democracy, labeled Turkey as “Not Free” in 2016 – receiving poor rankings in different categories such as legal environment (26/30 with 30 being worst), political environment (30/40 with 40 being worst), economic environment (15/30 with 30 being worst), and press freedom score (71/100 with 100 being worst). Freedom House explains that constitutional protections such as freedom of press and expression are subverted by “the penal code, the criminal procedure code, and the harsh, broadly worded antiterrorism law that essentially leave punishment of normal journalistic activity to the discretion of prosecutors and judges.” For example, in 2015, Turkish authorities charged three Vice News journalists on terrorism related charges.  They have since been released with the help of freedom and human rights organizations.

Erdogan has made it clear that one of his chief rivals in his quest for power is an Islamic cleric named Fethullah Gülen, whom he accused of staging the recent coup attempt. Gülen is often regarded as a ‘moderate’ in the West but shares a similar Islamist ideology to that of Erdogan. Gülen, like the Muslim Brotherhood, goes by the strategy of gradualism or incrementalism to slowly bring about an Islamic state with the implementation of sharia. Gülen has built a vast network of schools and cultural centers around the world to gradually expand Islam’s role within society. This deceptive strategy is revealed in a former Gülen sermon, of which this is an excerpt:

You must move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence until you reach all the power centers … until the conditions are ripe, they [the followers] must continue like this. If they do something prematurely, the world will crush our heads, and Muslims will suffer everywhere, like in the tragedies in Algeria, like in 1982 [in] Syria … like in the yearly disasters and tragedies in Egypt. The time is not yet right. You must wait for the time when you are complete and conditions are ripe, until we can shoulder the entire world and carry it … You must wait until such time as you have gotten all the state power, until you have brought to your side all the power of the constitutional institutions in Turkey … Until that time, any step taken would be too early—like breaking an egg without waiting the full forty days for it to hatch. It would be like killing the chick inside. The work to be done is [in] confronting the world. Now, I have expressed my feelings and thoughts to you all—in confidence … trusting your loyalty and secrecy. I know that when you leave here—[just] as you discard your empty juice boxes, you must discard the thoughts and the feelings that I expressed here.

Because of Gülen’s influence and following within Turkey he is seen as a major threat by Erdogan. Erdogan officially designated Gülen’s movement a terrorist group and vowed to come after its members. Erdogan is now using the failed coup to try once more to extradite Gülen and clampdown on his followers.

Turkey is not only a strategic NATO ally but also holds considerable political clout with the EU in regards to Europe’s Muslim immigration crisis.  For that reason, he is likely to enjoy considerable support from the United States and the EU in spite of his autocratic tendencies.  As Erdogan continues to gain power and advances toward his aspirations of another Ottoman empire ruled by Sharia, the EU can either placate Turkish demands or stand up for their European values. Let’s hope they choose the latter.

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Also see:

What happened in Turkey? And what comes next?

AEI, by Michael Rubin, July 17, 2016:

On Friday, as Turks were out and about to mark the start of the evening, elements of the Turkish military sought to stage a coup. There was reason to see such violence coming. Last March, we speculated here at AEIdeas about the possibility that a coup might be brewing. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s president and strongman, has only grown increasingly dictatorial and erratic since.

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What really happened, though, remains unclear, and conspiracies swirl. Below are five questions to consider as Turkey teeters on the precipice:

  • Why is this coup different from others? The coup was unlike any coupTurkey had ever witnessed, and Turkey has seen four over the past decades. The Turkish military has timed past coups for the early morning hours (in 1980, the coup began at 5 am on Sunday) in order to detain sleeping political leaders at their homes). It has closed airspace and shutdown the media. In each of the past coups, the coup leaders themselves made the announcement. On Friday evening, however, a Turkish anchor made the announcement after being handed a note by low-ranked soldiers.
  • Who is responsible? There are three main suspects. The smoke had not cleared before Erdoğan blamed Fethullah Gülen, an Islamic cleric and former Erdoğan ally. Gülen preaches peace and tolerance, although his critics believe he has a hidden agenda. My own views are more conflicted. Erdoğan could never have consolidated power the way he did without the assistance of Gülen’s allies, but once Erdoğan turned on Gülen in 2013, the Pennsylvania-based cleric recognized the danger of Turkey with its constitutional checks-and-balances dismantled. Regardless, Gülen denies any role in Friday’s events. Nor has he ever had a powerbase in the military. Indeed, the Turkish General Staff has long vetted officer candidates to prevent Gülen’s followers from rising through the ranks.

The second are traditional Kemalists, those who follow the secular and pro-Western principles laid out by modern Turkey’s founding father, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. While Erdoğan has eroded both the Turkish military’s power and promoted Islamists within its ranks, it is possible that secularists in the military acted alone without the coordination of the top, Erdoğan-appointed brass. Erdoğan has made no secret of his desire to transform Turkey into a religious republic. As he consolidated power, Kemalists may have calculated that this was their last, best chance to save the old Turkey. If so, the units involved may have counted on popular support to overcome gaps in their plan. After all, the military traditionally polls as the most trusted public institutions in Turkey while the public trusts the political class far less.

The third possibility might be that Erdoğan himself sparked the coup as a sort of Reichstag fire. Sustaining this theory is the sheer incompetence of the coup plotters, as well as the fact that Erdoğan apparently had lists of thousands to detain compiled ahead of time. That he called the coup plot a “gift from God” only feeds the conspiracy further. So too does the fact that Erdoğan’s supporters were armed and ready to go immediately after his televised call to take to the streets. Turks know that there is little spontaneity in their politics. For example, after Erdoğan blew up at Shimon Peres in Davos in 2009, thousands greeted him at the airport waving Palestinian flags, the metro hours having been mysteriously extended for that day only. Even in a city as bustling as Istanbul, it would normally be hard to find thousands of Palestinian flags at 3 a.m.

  • What is Erdoğan’s end goal? Whether or not Erdoğan planned the coup himself in an orgy of Machiavellianism, one thing is certain: He is now the winner and will consolidate power even further. What Erdoğan’s end goal is remains open for debate, however. Eight years ago, it appeared he aspired to be the Turkish equivalent of Russian President Vladimir Putin. More recently, Turks have suggested that his goal was grander, thinkcaliphate or Islamic republic. Whatever Erdoğan seeks, separation of powers does not appear on his agenda.
  • What’s next for Turkey? Erdoğan is on the warpath. He believes he has acarte blanche to target enemies at home and perhaps abroad as well. Turkey already has the high proportion per capita of imprisoned journalists. Expect prisons to become more crowded. The danger is that Turkish society is still divided. Erdoğan has never won more than 50% of the vote. The Kurdish insurgency is only growing more virulent. The terrorist attacks that have rocked Turkey in recent months may only be the tip of the iceberg. Here’s my biggest fear: The closing of Turkey’s political space may herald a new era of political assassination inside Turkey. Elections were once the escape valve but, with Turks no longer able to campaign openly and with atrocity fanning the flames of animosity even further, opponents, ideologues, and those who feel they must rectify personal or political grievance may turn to the gun. Not only will Erdoğan be a target, but also the heads of all major political parties, newspaper editors, television anchors, and civil society leaders.
  • What does it mean for the United States? It’s time for some serious introspection in Washington. If the coup attempt caught the State Department and intelligence community by surprise, it’s responsible to ask why? Are diplomats talking to themselves or Turks? Are their contacts relevant and broad, or are they trapped in an elite circle? Likewise, what are the base assumptions that blinded US intelligence? Erdoğan’s actions will challenge US policy in other ways. When President Obama declared that all parties should support Erdoğan, it is doubtful he meant to give the Turkish leader a green light to imprison thousands of opponents. And even though Obama came out against the coup plot, the Turkish government has redoubled anti-American incitement in recent days.

Turkish media suggests that the United States must have had a hand in the coup attempt because Gülen resides in Pennsylvania. Erdoğan has renewed calls for Gülen’s extradition, and appears willing to tie US use of the Incirlik air base to his demand. In effect, this means, Erdoğan is holding the fight against the Islamic State hostage to his domestic political aims. Secretary of State John Kerry, meanwhile, equivocates.

Let us hope Obama and Kerry are students of history. When Jimmy Carter considered acquiescing to Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini’s demand to extradite the shah who, like Gülen, came to the United States seeking medical treatment, the result was not peace but rather a sense that blackmail was an effective tool.

***

Also see:

Turkey: Coup Has Failed, Erdogan More Powerful Than Ever

Turkish soldiers secure the area as supporters of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan protest in Istanbul's Taksim square, early Saturday, July 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

Turkish soldiers secure the area as supporters of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan protest in Istanbul’s Taksim square, early Saturday, July 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

PJ MEDIA, BY MICHAEL VAN DER GALIEN, JULY 16, 2016

Izmir, Turkey — It’s a done deal: the military coup has failed. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AK Parti remain in power and vow to take revenge against those behind the coup.

Or, perhaps better said: against those they say are behind it.

Now that the coup has clearly failed, we can conclude that this must have been the most incompetent attempted takeover in Turkey’s troubled history. When part of the military launched their offensive last night (Turkish time), I immediately checked news channels supporting President Erdogan. Surprisingly, none of them were taken over. The only broadcaster that was taken over was TRT Haber, the state news channel. But NTV and other channels supporting Erdogan were left alone.

That was remarkable, but what struck me even more was the fact that these channels — especially NTV — were able to talk to the president and the prime minister. That’s strange, to put it mildly. Normally, when the military stages a coup, the civilian rulers are among the first to be arrested. After all, as long as the country’s civilian leadership are free, they can tell forces supportive of them what to do… and they can even tell the people to rise up against the coup.

And that’s exactly what happened. Both Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called into news programs and told their supporters to go out on the streets and fight back against the soldiers. A short while later, streets in the big cities (Ankara and Izmir) were flooded with Erdogan supporters, who even climbed on top of tanks. Fast forward a few hours and it was officially announced that the coup had failed, and that Erdogan and his AK Party remained in power. About 1500 soldiers were arrested.

As I wrote on Twitter yesterday, there were three options:

  1. The coup was staged by a small group within the military, which would severely limit their ability to strike.
  2. The coup was staged by the entire military, which meant Erdogan’s chances of surviving politically were extremely small.
  3. The coup was a set-up. Think the Reichstag fire.

The main argument against option number three is that there was some very serious fighting taking place, including massive explosions. Dozens of people have been killed. If this was a fake coup, it probably was the bloodiest one ever. That’s why many people are skeptical about this option, and believe it was just an incompetent attempt at a military takeover.

The general feeling in Izmir — a city with 3 million inhabitants who are generally not pro-Erdogan at all — is that it was a real coup attempt, but that the officers behind it were incredibly amateurish. Friends on the streets and cafés are literally telling me:

It was a real attempt, but they were stupid.

Shortly after the attempted coup, Erdogan and Yildirim immediately blamed a disgraced Islamic scholar, Fethullah Gulen, who now lives in Pennsylvania. Gulen and Erdogan were longtime allies who shared a dream of Islamizing Turkey but had a falling out several years ago. Ever since, Erdogan has blamed Gulen for pretty much every problem in Turkey, including a major controversy about cabinet members (including Erdogan and his family) possibly stealing millions of dollars. In the years after, Gulen became Erdogan’s enemy number one, which is undoubtedly why he’s being blamed for yesterday’s coup.

Proof that Gulen is indeed behind it hasn’t been presented, however. In fact, the Gulen group denies any involvement. You could imagine that, if they did support it, they’d call on their followers to support the takeover. They did no such thing.

The same goes for the leaders of Turkey’s official opposition parties. The secular CHP and the nationalist MHP aligned with the AKP to condemn the coup. Some in the West have expressed shock at that: if they’re opposed to Erdogan, why didn’t they support the coup? The answer is, of course, that Turkey has had two military takeovers in the recent past (1960s and 1980s): both were very bloody and absolutely horrendous, not just for the ousted governments, but also for the average Turk. People weren’t allowed to leave their homes, not even to buy food and drinks, and many innocent civilians were rounded up by the military. Once in prison, many of them either died or were severely tortured.

It’s not very strange that even the country’s opposition parties don’t wish a repeat of that. No person in his right mind would.

When the coup was still going on, one Twitter user tweeted this:

I’m afraid that Yousef was, and is, right. If the military would’ve succeeded, Turkey would now be a military dictatorship. Regardless of where you stand on Erdogan, that would’ve meant major changes for the Turkish people. A lockdown would’ve been put in place, people would’ve been imprisoned in their own homes. In fact, I went out at 2 a.m. to a local market to buy as much food, milk, eggs, and so on as I could. I did this because, in past coups, people had to stay indoors for many days. Some people who couldn’t take care of themselves actually died from hunger, or so I’ve been told by Turks. After that first phase, the military always rounded up all those they thought were loyal to the former government. Mass imprisonments, torture and killings were everyday events.

In other words, even if you oppose Erdogan, it’s difficult if not impossible to celebrate a military coup.

Of course we now have to see what Erdogan’s government will do. More than 100 soldiers involved in the coup have been killed, military commanders were taken hostage, and Erdogan has vowed revenge. As anyone with even a bit of knowledge of history knows, the crackdowns after a failed coup can be as bad as the crackdown after a successful military takeover. Erdogan already wanted to change Turkey’s constitution and change the system into a so-called presidential system, meaning most if not all power would reside in his office. Nobody doubts that this is exactly what’ll happen now: he’ll draw all power to himself and ignite a major cleansing, possibly not only of the military and police forces, but also in politics itself.

The only possible conclusion, then, is: no matter what, democracy will suffer a major setback in Turkey. We can only hope and pray that the consequences will be less severe than I fear.

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Why the coup in Turkey could mean hope

Photo: AP

Photo: AP

New York Post, By Michael Rubin, July 15, 2016:

The Turkish military has staged a coup. Bridges are closed in Istanbul. There is gunfire in Ankara. The Turkish General Staff says that it is in control.

Turkey is no stranger to coups. Historically, the Turkish military has been the guarantor of Turkey’s Constitution. In 1960, it overthrew Prime Minister Adnan Menderes after he sought to consolidate control and erode separation of mosque and state.

In 1971 and again in 1980, it intervened as chaos and political violence threatened to consume the country. In 1997, the military forced Turkey’s first Islamist government to step aside.

While any coup is tragic, in Turkey there is hope: The military has never tried to retain power; rather, it has always assumed a caretaker role, seeking to repair the constitutional checks and balances in order to return Turkey to democracy.

There are other reasons for hope. It’ll likely be a day or two before we see if the coup holds, but Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the prime minister-turned-president now apparently overthrown, was an autocrat. He flirted with support for terrorists groups like Hamas, the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and even the Islamic State.

Some regimes believe flirtation with radical Islamists might fulfill short-term policy ends, but in the long-term there is always a heavy price. The past year’s attacks in Ankara and Istanbul may have convinced Turks outside Erdoğan’s inner circle that their reckoning was near.

Erdoğan ruled through the Justice and Development Party (AKP), a party that started out promising not only religious tolerance but also technocratic expertise.

It increasingly delivered the opposite. In the first nine years of AKP rule, for example, the murder rate of women skyrocketed 1,400 percent as Islamists conducted honor crimes with impunity.

The good news is that, with the exception of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s secular political movement, no Turkish party has ever survived the death of its charismatic leader.

Erdoğan’s removal might open space for both religious conservatives and liberals to again compete in the marketplace of ideas.

That said, Turkey’s future is far from assured. Over his 13 years in power, Erdoğan has transformed the bureaucracy.

He has changed education to brainwash a generation of students. He has allowed Islamist students to leapfrog over secular requirements to enter top universities.

He has inserted party cadre into every government bureaucracy. He and his family have seized newspapers and TV stations and used them to broadcast nonstop streams of anti-American and anti-Semitic conspiracies.

Undoing this will be no easy feat, especially since half of Turkey’s population supports Erdoğan blindly.

There also needs to be serious soul-searching within the Turkish military. How did it manage to misread Turkish society for so long? Career officers lived and socialized with other officers; they lost touch with Turkey at large.

Should the Turkish military engage in a violent purge, the reverberations may last generations. Nor does the coup resolve real ethnic problems between Kurds and Turks.

Absent real reform, the coup won’t resolve the Kurdish insurgency Turkey now faces. Nor is the opposition a panacea. Party leaders act as mini-dictators within their own parties. Few are charismatic.

Turkey has no obvious savior. Get ready for a rocky ride.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute

Report: Military Coup Under Way in Turkey

afp_3f7a0a5fd36a03cb259543d7939da47769de7c41-e1468614460915-640x479Breitbart, by John Hayward, July 15, 2016:

Reports began emerging from Turkey of a possible military coup on Friday afternoon.

The UK Telegraph reports that while Prime Minister Binali Yildirim urged the public to remain calm, and said “it would be wrong to call it a coup,” he conceded that “part of the military” was making an “illegal attempt” to seize power.

It sounds like a spirited attempt, judging from tidbits of information flowing onto social media:

Social media services Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were reportedly blocked shortly before 11:00 PM local time.

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The Case for Kurdish Statehood

kurdby Noah Beck
Special to IPT News
July 11, 2016

Why has the West been so supportive of Palestinian nationalism, yet so reluctant to support the Kurds, the largest nation in the world without a state?

The Kurds have been instrumental in fighting the Islamic State (ISIS); have generously accepted millions of refugees fleeing ISIS to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG); and embrace Western values such as gender equality, religious freedom, and human rights. They are also an ancient people with an ethnic and linguistic identity stretching back millennia and have faced decades of brutal oppression as a minority. Yet they cannot seem to get sufficient support from the West for their political aspirations.

The Palestinians, by contrast, claimed a distinct national identity relatively recently, are less than one-third fewer in number (in 2013, the global Palestinian population was estimated by the Palestinian Authority to reach 11.6 million), control land that is less than 1/15th the size of the KRG territory, and have not developed their civil society or economy with nearly as much success as the Kurds. Yet the United Nations, the European Union, the Arab League, and other international bodies have all but ignored Kurdish statehood dreams while regularly prioritizing Palestinian ambitions over countless other global crises.

Indeed, in 2014 the UK and Sweden joined much of the rest of the world in recognizing a Palestinian state. There has been no similar global support for a Kurdish homeland. Moreover, Kurdish statehood has been hobbled by U.S. reluctance to see the Iraqi state dismantled and by regional powers like Turkey, which worries that a Kurdish state will stir up separatist feelings among Turkish Kurds.

With an estimated worldwide population of about 35 million (including about 28 million in the KRG or adjacent areas), the Kurds are the fourth-largest ethnic group in the Middle East (after the Arabs, Persians, and Turks), and have faced decades of persecution as a minority in Turkey, Iran, and Iraq.

The 1988 “Anfal” attacks, which included the use of chemical weapons, destroyed about 2,000 villages and killed at least 50,000 Kurds, according to human rights groups (Kurds put the number at nearly 200,000). Several international bodies have recognized those atrocities as a genocide.

The Kurds in Turkey have also suffered oppression dating back to Ottoman times, when the Turkish army killed tens of thousands of Kurds in the Dersim and Zilan massacres. By the mid-1990s, more than 3,000 villages had been destroyed and 378,335 Kurdish villagers had been displaced and left homeless, according to Human Rights Watch.

The drive for Kurdish rights and separatism in Iran extends back to 1918, and – during its most violent chapter – cost the lives of over 30,000 Kurds, starting with the 1979 rebellion and the consequent KDPI insurgency.

A 2007 study notes that 300,000 Kurdish lives were lost just in the 1980s and 1990s. The same study states that 51,000 Jews and Arabs were killed in the Arab-Israeli conflict from 1950 until 2007 (and, because that total includes wars with Israel’s Arab neighbors, Palestinians are a small fraction of the Arab death toll).

Perhaps because of the Kurds’ own painful history, the KRG is exceptionally tolerant towards religious minorities and refugees. The KRG has embraced its tiny community of Jews, and in 2014, the Kurds rescued about 5,000 Yazidis trapped on Mount Sinjar after fleeing attempted genocide by ISIS. Last November, the Kurds recaptured the Sinjar area from ISIS, liberating hundreds more Yazidis from vicious oppression.

The KRG absorbed 1.8 million refugees as of December, representing a population increase of about 30 percent. The KRG reportedly needs $1.4 to 2.4 billion to stabilize the internally displaced people in its territory.

“Most of the refugees [in the KRG] are Arab Sunnis and Shia, Iranians, Christians, and others,” Nahro Zagros, Soran University vice president and adviser to the KRG’s Ministry of Higher Education, told the  IPT. “Yet there is no public backlash from the Kurds. And of course, we have been helping the Yazidi, who are fellow Kurds.”

The Kurdish commitment to gender equality is yet another reason that Kurdish statehood merits Western support. There is no gender discrimination in the Kurdish army: their women fight (and get beheaded) alongside the men. Last December, Kurdistan hosted the International Conference on Women and Human Rights.

The Kurds are also the only credible ground force fighting ISIS, as has been clear since the ISIS threat first emerged in 2014. ISIS “would have totally controlled the Baji oil field and all of Kirkuk had the [Kurdish] Peshmerga not defended it,” said Jay Garner, a retired Army three-star general and former Army assistant vice chief of staff who served during “Operation Provide Comfort” in northern Iraq. “Losing Kirkuk would have changed the entire war [against ISIS], because there are billions of dollars [per] week in oil flowing through there. The Iraqi army abandoned their equipment [while the Kurds defended Kirkuk, which has historically been theirs].”

Masrour Barzani, who heads the KRG’s intelligence services, says that Kurdish independence would empower the Kurds to purchase the type of weapons they need without the delays that currently hobble their military effort against ISIS. Under the present arrangement, Kurdish weapons procurement must go through Iraq’s Shia-led central government, which is also under heavy Iranian influence.

Besides bolstering the fight against ISIS, there are other geopolitical reasons for the West to support Kurdish statehood: promoting a stable partition of Syria, containing Iran, balancing extremist forces in the Middle East, and giving the West another reliable ally in a volatile region.

Now that Syria is no longer a viable state, it could partition into more sustainable governing blocs along traditional ethnic/sectarian lines with Sunni Arabs in the heartland, Alawites in the northwest, Druze in the south, and Kurds in the northeast. KRG leader Masrour Barzani recently argued that political divisions within Iraq have become so deep that the country must transform into “either confederation or full separation.”

Southeast Turkey and northwest Iran also have sizeable Kurdish areas that are contiguous with the KRG, but those states are far from disintegrating, and would aggressively resist any attempts to connect their Kurdish areas to the future Kurdish state. However, the Kurdish areas of former Syria should be joined to Iraqi Kurdistan as a way to strengthen the fledgling Kurdish state and thereby weaken ISIS.

In a recent article, Ernie Audino, the only U.S. Army general to have previously served a year as a combat adviser embedded inside a Kurdish Peshmerga brigade in Iraq, notes that Iran currently controls the Iraqi government and Iran-backed fighters will eventually try to control Kurdistan. He also makes the point that Western support for the Kurdish opposition groups active in Iran would force the Iranian regime to concentrate more on domestic concerns, effectively weakening Iran’s ability to pursue terrorism, expansionism, and other destabilizing activities abroad.

Because the Kurds are religiously diverse moderates who prioritize their ethno-linguistic identity over religion, a Kurdish state would help to balance out the radical Mideast forces in both the Shiite and Sunni camps. The Kurds are already very pro-American, thanks to their Western-leaning values, the U.S.-backed-no-fly zone, and the 2003 toppling of Saddam Husssein that made the KRG possible.

A Kurdish state would also have excellent relations with Israel, another moderate, non-Arab, pro-Western democracy in the region. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuendorsed Kurdish independence in 2014, and Syrian Kurds – after recently declaring their autonomy – expressed an interest in developing relations with Israel.

By contrast, the Palestinian Authority slanders Israel at every opportunity: Abbas recently claimed in front of the EU parliament that Israel’s rabbis are trying to poison Palestinian drinking water. The Authority raises Palestinian children to hate and kill Jews with endless anti-Israel incitement coming from schools, media, and mosques. Palestinians have also shown little economic progress in the territories that they do control, particularly in Gaza, where Palestinians destroyed the greenhouses that donors bought for them in 2006 and instead, have focused their resources on attacking Israel with tunnels and rockets.

By almost any measure, a Kurdish state deserves far more support from the West. After absorbing millions of Syrian refugees while fighting ISIS on shrinking oil revenue, the KRG is battling a deepening financial crisis. Aggravating the situation, Iraq’s central government has refused – since April 2015 – to send the KRG its share of Iraqi oil revenue. The economic crisis has cost the KRG an estimated $10 billion since 2014.

U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced House Resolution 1654 “to authorize the direct provision of defense articles, defense services, and related training to” the KRG. Fifteen months later, the bill is still stuck in Congress.

Helping the Kurds should be an even bigger priority for the European Union, which absorbs countless new refugees every day that ISIS is not defeated. If the EU were to fund the KRG’s refugee relief efforts and support their military operations against ISIS, far fewer refugees would end up on their shores.

Noah Beck is the author of The Last Israelis, an apocalyptic novel about Iranian nukes and other geopolitical issues in the Middle East.

CIA Director: Turkish Terror Attack Underscores ISIS Threat to Americans

John Brennan / AP

John Brennan / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Aaron Kliegman, June 29, 2016:

CIA Director John Brennan warned in an interview published Wednesday that the Islamic State is likely responsible for the suicide bombings Tuesday night at Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport that killed 41 people and wounded hundreds more and is trying to carry out similar attacks in the United States.

“I am worried from the standpoint of an intelligence professional who looks at the capabilities of Daesh … and their determination to kill as many people as possible and to carry out attacks abroad,” Brennan told Yahoo News in an exclusive interview at CIA headquarters, using the acronym for the Arabic name of the Islamic State.

ISIS has so far not taken credit for the Turkish airport attack and Brennan did not confirm that it was responsible, but Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told reporters shortly after the Istanbul bombings that ISIS was likely the culprit.

Brennan indicated that the method of attack points to the jihadist group rather than the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has launched attacks inside Turkey while battling the Turkish state for Kurdish autonomy.

“It was a suicide bombing [which] is usually more a Daesh technique,” Brennan said. “You look at what happened in the Turkish airport, these were suicide vests. It’s not that difficult to actually construct and fabricate a suicide vest … so if you have a determined enemy and individuals who are not concerned about escape, that they are going into it with a sense that they are going to die, that really does complicate your strategy in terms of preventing attacks.”

Brennan warned that “I’d be surprised if Daesh is not trying to carry out that kind of attack in the United States.”

He credited intelligence and homeland security measures for stopping ISIS from directing an attack on the American homeland up to this point. (The terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and Orlando were carried out by individuals inspired by ISIS, not directed by them.)

The CIA chief said ISIS has a motive to attack Turkey because Ankara is going after terrorists in neighboring Syria and has helped the American-led coalition to fight the terror group. Turkey’s failure to police its border to stop foreign fighters from flowing into and out of Iraq and Syria has frustrated Washington, but Brennan said America’s NATO ally has taken steps recently to better monitor the border.

ISIS has used terror tactics to “offset” losses of territory and other setbacks in Iraq and Syria, but the group’s upsurge in attacks in the greater Middle East and Europe is also part of a wider offensive, according to Brennan.

“Over the past year and a half they have made a more determined effort to carry out attacks abroad, and we see in terms of their plans, their preparations, the movement of people as well as propagandizing outside, exhorting, inciting a much more determined effort to carry out these external operations,” Brennan said.

“Brennan was blunt about the slow nature of progress both in the fight against ISIS and efforts to push Syrian President Bashar Assad out of power,” the article reads. America’s top spy toldlawmakers earlier this month that the U.S. campaign to defeat ISIS has not curbed the group’s global reach, and he echoed those sentiments in the Yahoo interview.

“We’ve yet to really thwart Daesh’s ability to reach beyond the Syria-Iraqi borders and put in place some of the plans and preparations to carry out attacks,” Brennan said. “I am very concerned we have not had the success against Daesh in that environment as we’ve had in the core areas of Syria and Iraq.”

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper raised similar concerns last month, telling CNN that ISIS has the capability to launch a large-scale Paris-style attack inside the United States.

Brennan added that a key aspect of America’s strategy to defeat ISIS is to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power, who he described as a “magnet” for a number of jihadist groups to fight in Syria. Brennan acknowledged that Assad is in a stronger position today, despite President Obama calling for his ouster since 2011 when the Syrian civil war began.

“Relative to where he was on the battlefield last year, [Assad] is in a better and stronger position [today],” Brennan said, blaming Russia for Assad’s stronger position by intervening on the Syrian leader’s behalf in September 2015. “The Russians sometimes want their cake and eat it too as far as having the cooperation with us against terrorists but not wanting to do anything that’s going to lead to a political settlement that will have a more durable future as far as a political agreement,” Brennan added.

Brennan expressed a broader frustration with Moscow, discussing a recent report that Russia is harassing U.S. diplomats throughout Europe. The CIA director “told his counterparts ‘in direct terms,’ that the behavior was ‘unacceptable’ and ‘destructive’ to the relationship,” according to Yahoo.

Brennan also discussed Russia granting asylum to Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who disclosed highly classified surveillance programs, which infuriated the U.S. intelligence community. Brennan said that Snowden has “dishonored his oath” and should return to the United States to face charges. When asked to comment on former Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent statement that Snowden “actually performed a public service,” Brennan said, “I do not believe that at all. I respectfully but vehemently disagree with the former attorney general.”

Yahoo News will post the full transcript of the interview next week.

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At least 36 dead, 147 injured in terror attack at Istanbul airport

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Fox News, June 28, 2016:

BREAKING:  At least 36 people were killed and 147 more were injured when three suicide bombers attacked Istanbul’s main international airport Tuesday night, Turkish officials said.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim confirmed the death toll from the blasts at Istanbul Ataturk Airport. Earlier, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag confirmed that 147 people had been wounded in the attacks. A senior government official told the Associated Press that the death toll was expected to rise to close to 50.

A Turkish official told Reuters that the “vast majority” of victims were Turkish, but some foreigners were also affected.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the same senior Turkish official told AP that initial indications suggested the Islamic State terror group (ISIS) were behind the attack. According to Reuters, a police source also told the Dogan News Agency, “ISIS is behind the attack.” There was no immediate formal confirmation from the Ankara government.

However, a U.S. government official told Fox News that the attack fits the profile of ISIS, which has stepped up its targeting of Turkey. The official said that ISIS tends to attack internationally known targets with an economic impact, such as an airport, while the Kurdish terror group PKK generally targets Turkish military and law enforcement.

The attack occurred one day before the two-year anniversary of ISIS declaring a caliphate across large swathes of Iraq and Syria, led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Yildrim told reporters that the initial investigation indicated that all three attackers opened fire before blowing themselves up. He added that the terrorists took a taxi to the airport before launching their attack.

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Clare Lopez: Gulen and the Gulenist Movement

Center for Security Policy, May 10, 2016

Clare M. Lopez, Vice President for Research and Analysis at the Center for Security Policy, is the co-author of the recently published book “Gülen and the Gülenist Movement: Turkey’s Islamic Supremacist Cult and its Contributions to the Civilization Jihad.” Fethullah Gülen is the head of a vast political network in Turkey that promotes theocracy and has infiltrated the Turkish state. Gülen lives in the U.S. where he has established a significant number of charter schools. Her remarks included commentary on Gülen’s erstwhile ally, now opponent, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

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Turkey: Erdogan’s Thin-Skinned Government

Gatestone Institute, by Robbie Travers, April 20, 2016:

  • Is there any other person you trust to decide which ideas and speech you are entitled to hear — or which are too dangerous for you to hear?
  • The thin-skinned government of Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has in the past two years opened at least 1,845 cases over insults to the president.
  • Turkey’s World Press Freedom Index ranking has plummeted to 149 out of 180, below Zimbabwe (131) and Burundi (145).
  • Despite the ruling of Turkey’s judicial system that Erdogan could not eliminate access to Twitter, he nevertheless continues to advance his agenda of censorship. He pledges to “eradicate Twitter” which, according to him, encourages “blasphemy and criticism of the Turkish government.”

Is there any other person you trust to decide which ideas and speech you are entitled to hear — or which are too dangerous for you to hear?

Is there any other person you think should have the ability to decide what criticism of the Government is respectful enough?

Would you cede your autonomy to decide what you to hear to a Government? Probably not.

The Turkish government does not agree. Evidently Turkey’s AKP Government in Ankara believes it is fit to be this authority, and not just domestically. Its urge to censor negative press seems to be going global.

The Government of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara recently summoned the German ambassador to demand the deletion of a satirical music video which highlighted his government’s aggression against the Kurdish people, his brutal repression of protestors, and his weak position on equal rights for women. Turkey also insisted that a German comedian be prosecuted under an obscure German law for insulting the leader of a foreign country.

Turkey seems to be spending more time policing the image of Erdogan abroad than the serious security situation it is facing.

Turkey’s latest authoritarian crackdown on the rights of its citizens to freedom of expression should come as no surprise to anyone who has been following the country’s path towards an increasingly Islamist, authoritarian government.

Erdogan’s renowned thin-skinned government has, in the past two years, opened at least 1,845 cases over insults to the president, such as, for instance, comparing the president to Gollum fromLord of the Rings.

Last year, Dr. Bilgin Ciftci of Turkey posted photos on Twitter juxtaposing President Erdogan with the fictional character Gollum. Ciftci was immediately fired from the hospital where he worked. Then he was brought to court for insulting Erdogan, an offense punishable by up to four years in prison.

In March, a court placed the newspaper Zaman in the control of state administrators, with no clear reason given, arguably breaching Article Three of the European Convention of Human Rights:

“2. Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:

“(a) to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him;”

Zaman has apparently never received information of the charges against it, or the reason for the court order placing its activities and infrastructure under state control — moves breaching further sections of Article 3, which specify the right to be able to “construct a defence”. Without knowing what charges it faces, Zaman is unable to do that.

In addition, Turkey’s World Press Freedom Index ranking has plummeted to 149 out of 180: below Zimbabwe (131) and Burundi (145).

Turkey also continues to imprison possibly the highest number of journalists of any nation — according the Committee to Protect Journalists, the assessed number is 14 out of 199, worldwide. Other sources claim the number is closer to 30, and still others suggest that Turkey has had the greatest number of incarcerated journalists globally.

Whatever the true number, it is shameful that a NATO member, pledged to uphold the values of democracy as a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), ranks among some of the worst abusers of press freedom, including Iran, China and Saudi Arabia.

The Turkish government led by Erdogan seems to be undergoing a public transformation into an increasingly totalitarian state. Turkey has been abandoning the pro-Western principles of Kemalism and pivoting, with a more oppressive and expansionist outlook, toward Ottoman Islam.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was willing and overtly “proud’ to show solidarity with the massacred Charlie Hebdo satirists in Paris by joining the Marche Republicaine against those who would attack freedom of speech. At home, however, Davutoglu pursues a domestic agenda that not only infringes upon media freedom, but also on the freedoms of individual citizens in fundamental breaches of ECHR legislation. Davutoglu, for example, has suggested women being equal to men causes suicides.

Turkey has also attempted, during Erdogan’s period of governance, to ban both Twitter — for “incit[ing] political dissent” — and YouTube — for “promot[ing] the act of religious defamation (article 216).” Erdogan blocked Twitter during responses to terror attacks and public protests, and attempted to quell any protest against his government.

Under the pretense of “counter terrorism,” Erdogan has repeatedly been attempting to strangle the channels of discussion and the organizing of protests.

In any state claiming that protests are linked to terrorism and blasphemy is unjustifiable. These are classic intimidatory tactics. They illustrate why the West must begin to criticize Erdogan’s regime to a greater extent on its infringement on freedom of speech, rather than to make deals with it.

Had Charlie Hebdo been a Turkish publication, its material would most likely have been branded illegal or brought under state control: it would likely no longer exist.

Despite the ruling by Turkey’s judiciary that Erdogan could not eliminate access to Twitter, he nevertheless continues to advance his agenda of censorship.

This position Erdogan holds, of branding opposition to his regime as blasphemy, creates a religious divide between those who are “pure” and those who are “dangerous.” Further, as mentioned, the notion that an idea is too politically toxic to be discussed contravenes the principles of free speech and freedom of expression that Turkey pledged as a signatory to the European Convention of Human Rights.

Turkey’s lurch to establish its government as some form of unassailable authority beyond questioning again breaches the ECHR, this time Article 9:

“1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance. “

Turkey is also likely to fall afoul of Article 10 of the ECHR:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.”

Turkey’s blocking of social media, which targets communication with the outside world, also clearly infringes on the “regardless of frontiers” stipulation.

And finally, Turkey’s actions are also clearly in breach of Article 11

“Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.”

The European Union and the liberal democracies have remained silent on Turkey’s aggressive campaign against civil liberties. But it is time to stop betraying Turkish liberals, democrats and Kurdish people facing persecution for their views — before it comes “soon to a theater near you.”

Countries in the West sometimes seem to fantasize that Turkey, with half of Istanbul in Europe, can therefore can modernized, be become progressive and work with the West.

They distance themselves and turn a blind eye to the Turkish government’s assaults on human rights. Before Turkey is capitulated to even further, or again considered for membership in the European Union, shining a serious light on the country seems long overdue.

Robbie Travers, a political commentator and consultant, is Executive Director of Agora, former media manager at the Human Security Centre, and a law student at the University of Edinburgh.

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John Oliver – Insulting Erdogan

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Why Turkey’s Seizure of Churches is Deeply Troubling

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Frontpage, by Daniel Greenfield, April 19, 2016:

You don’t need to have “Istanbul, Not Constantinople” memorized to know that Turkey is a Muslim country built by Muslim colonists and settlers on the back of a Christian civilization. Some of its mosques used to be churches. And quite a few Muslims in Turkey would like to turn all the remaining churches into mosques or, in some cases, back into mosques.

That makes the question of church property an explosive one and the seizures of churches by the Islamist AKP Erdogan regime more troubling.

After 10 months of urban conflict in Turkey’s war-torn southeast, the government has expropriated huge sections of property, apparently to rebuild and restore the historical centre of the region’s largest city, Diyarbakir.

But to the dismay of the city’s handful of Christian congregations, this includes all its Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant churches. Unlike the state-funded mosques, Turkey’s ancient church buildings – some of which pre-date Islam – have been managed, historically, by church foundations.

The Erdogan regime has a history of using this brand of eminent domain and accompanying “reconstruction” to eliminate problem areas. Tear down a place that serves as a gathering for people you don’t like and replace it with a shopping mall. The Europeans won’t complain. They’ll float you a loan to do it.

While Obama welcomes Erdogan’s megamosque in America, Christians have trouble with churches in Turkey. But Obama instead lobbies Greece to make more space for Islamic services.

On April 2, a gigantic Ottoman style of mosque was opened in Lanham, Maryland by the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The mosque, according to Turkish officials, is “one of the largest Turkish mosques built outside Turkey.”

Funds to build it, as reported by the Turkish pro-government newspaper, Sabah, came from Turkey’s state-run Presidency of Religious Affairs, known as the Diyanet, as well as Turkish-American non-profit organizations.

The mosque is actually part of a larger complex, commonly referred to as “Maryland kulliye.” Akulliye, as such Islamic compounds were called in Ottoman times, is a complex of buildings, centered on a mosque and composed of various facilities including a madrassa (Islamic religious school).

Erdogan recited verses from the Quran inside the mosque after the mosque was opened.

Meanwhile, thousands of miles away from the American soil, in Turkey, Christians have for decades been deprived of the right to build their places of worship.

It’s not just that the left insists on welcoming Muslims. But it shows its double standards when it refuses to stand up for the rights of Christians. It doesn’t believe in freedom of worship. It believes in empowering Islamists to oppress Christians and Jews, not to mention Hindus and Buddhists, all over the world.

Frank Gaffney: Erdogan Transformed Turkey into an ‘Islamist Police State’ That Is No Longer a ‘Reliable NATO Ally’

AFP

AFP

Breitbart, by John Hayward, April 15, 2016:

Center for Security Policy founder and Sen. Ted Cruz foreign-policy adviser Frank Gaffney joined host Stephen K. Bannon on Breitbart News Daily Friday morning to talk about the recent proclamation of “Islamic unity” from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose country will now assume the chairmanship of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for two years.

Gaffney argued that Erdogan’s statement was actually an example of taqqiya, the Muslim practice of lying for the greater good of the faith, and Erdogan’s true agenda was Islamic supremacism.

“I think what he’s trying to tell us is different from what he’s trying to tell his own people,” Gaffney said of Erdogan’s proclamation.  “He’s telling us that he’s all about solidarity, and tolerance, and ecumenicalism, and we all need to pull together, and so on.”

“But the main message he’s been sending to his own people, for something like 13 years now, is Islamic supremacism,” Gaffney continued.  “It has nothing to do with [singing] ‘Kumbaya’ with infidels.  It is about forcing them to submit, in the classic tradition ofsharia.

He described Erdogan as “Muslim Brotherhood old Islamist who believes, at the end of the day, that he is going to be the new Caliph.”

“He is going to create a neo-Ottoman Empire.  And anything that is communicated to the West – in various international fora, or through proclamations, or through other means – is what is known, in the traditions of sharia, as taqqiya – that is, essentially, lying for the Faith.  And I think this should be discounted as such,” said Gaffney.

Gaffney explained that it’s not just permitted, but “obligatory,” for followers of the Islamic supremacist doctrine to “dissemble, to deceive the unbeliever, and to use deception as Mohammed did – the perfect Muslim – to triumph over the infidel, and to successfully create conditions under which they will be effectively enslaved, or reduced to a dhimmistatus.”

He thought the Turkish president’s carefully crafted message would play well to Western media and government, which are suffused with the endless hope that “there’s a degree of moderation on the part of people like Erdogan, or others in the Muslim Brotherhood movement – the global jihad movement, for that matter.”

“It just ain’t so,” Gaffney argued.  “This is a guy who has transformed his country, let’s be clear, from a secular democratic nation – a Muslim one to be sure, but definitely in the secular tradition of Ataturk – into what is now an Islamist police state.”

“Particularly people in the press, who are trying to portray this in the most rose-colored glass mode, should understand what he’s doing to the press in Turkey,” Gaffney stressed.  “He’s crushing it, unless it bends to his will.”

He noted that Erdogan is famous for having said “Democracy is like a bus – you take it to your destination, and then you get off.”

“He’s long since gotten off, internally,” Gaffney warned.  “We should be under no illusion: he is not aligned with us.  He is aligned with the Islamists around the world – with Iran, with China, with Hamas of course.  This is a guy who is no longer, in his country, a reliable NATO ally.  And that’s the unvarnished and unhappy truth.”

Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00AM to 9:00AM EST.

You can listen to the full interview with Frank Gaffney below:

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