Archive | Turkey

Man who exposed Turkish weapons deliveries to Syrian terrorists detained in Istanbul

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Turkish authorities have detained a former official involved in a controversial 2014 search of Syria-bound trucks. While media reported the vehicles were full of ammunition, Ankara claimed they carried “aid for the Turkmen” and branded the search “treason.”

Former Prosecutor Yasar Kavalcioglu was detained after an ID check on a passenger bus in Istanbul early on Monday, according to Anadolu news agency. Kavalcioglu was put on search list for his role in the truck issue, the Daily Sabah notes.

In January 2014, when Gendarmerie intercepted trucks belonging to Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT), after prosecutors of the Adana province got a tip-off that the trucks were carrying weapons for rebel and terrorist groups in Syria.

The search exposed large amount of munitions under a thin layer of medical supplies in large containers marked ‘FRAGILE’. The discovery, however, led only to arrests of the officials involved in the search of the vehicles.

The truck incident got international attention in May 2015 when the Cumhuriyet newspaper’s website released footage allegedly showing the inspection. The MIT trucks had been carrying over 80,000 rounds of ammunition of various calibers, some 1,000 mortar shells and hundreds of grenade launchers projectiles, the newspaper reported.

Turkish officials made quite contradictory statements after the paper’s report, either admitting or denying the weapons’ presence, denying the existence of the delivery altogether and eventually settling on the story that the convoy carried “aid destined for the Turkmen.”

In 2015, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed that the trucks belonged to MIT, but were merely carrying “aid.” He added that the prosecutors had no right to search the vehicles, and accused them of “treason and espionage” and being part of a “parallel state” run by his political enemies, who are determined to discredit the government.

In the aftermath of the last year’s botched coup, the 2014 truck incident gained a new “understanding,” as a former top gendarmerie official openly branded it a “coup attempt that targeted our president” by followers of Erdogan’s rival, Fethullah Gulen, who later “attempted to turn into a plot inside gendarmerie.”

A week ago another prosecutor involved in the trucks case, Aziz Takci, who has been under arrest since 2015, faced up to 15 years in jail on charges of being a part of the Gulen movement, according to judicial sources, quoted by Turkish media.

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US ‘politicians, bureaucrats & academics’ caught in Turkey’s failed coup attempt probe

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RT 

Turkey has launched an investigation to examine whether 17 prominent Americans could have links to the FETO movement of an exiled US-based cleric, Fethullah Gulen, which Ankara blames for last summer’s failed coup attempt.

The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched the probe into 17 individuals including US politicians, bureaucrats, and academics after a number of Turkish attorneys filed a criminal complaint against these persons, local media report.

Former CIA Director John O. Brennan, New York Senator Chuck Schumer, US attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara, and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) President David Cohen are among the suspects, Anadolu reports.

Other American residents caught in the probe include Henri Barkey, Director of the Middle East Program at Wilson Center former CIA figure Graham E. Fuller, and President of the Turkic American Alliance (TAA) Faruk Taban.

Schumer, for instance, is being suspected of receiving millions of dollars from Gulen’s movement and representing his organizational interests in the US.

Fuller, a former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA, allegedly was a sponsor for Gulen when he applied for a US residence permit.

The individuals are being accused of conspiracy to overthrow the Turkish government and are suspected to have links with FETO. Alleged evidence of their involvement with the Gulen movement has been submitted to the prosecutors, Turkish media report.

Gulen leads the popular Islamic transnational religious and social movement called Hizmet, believed to be funding numerous businesses, think tanks, private schools, and publishing houses around the world. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the prominent cleric and his group of masterminding the failed coup in Turkey on July 15, 2015.

Gulen, once an Erdogan ally, is now living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania. Ankara has repeatedly demanded his extradition to investigate his alleged participation in the coup attempt, as well as that of Hizmet, known as FETO in Turkey, and considered a terrorist organization by Ankara. The 74-year-old has denied any involvement in the failed coup plot.

Suspected Gulen followers, known as Gulenists, allegedly infiltrated all layers of Turkish society and have been persecuted and hunted down in Turkey in a massive crackdown on Erdogan’s opposition which followed the events in July 2016.

More than 100,000 people were fired from their jobs and around 30,000 detained, including teachers, journalists, security personnel and army officers.

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No “Problems” with Export of Iraqi – Kurdish Oil via Turkey and Drawing New Borders in the Middle East

Amidst intense discussions about a referendum on the independence of northern Iraq’s predominantly Kurdish region, the Kurdistan Ministry of Natural Resources notes that there were no problems with the export of oil via Turkey. The statement comes against the backdrop of a fundamental reorganization of the Middle East.

The Ministry dismissed reports according to which there were political issues that had prompted a halt in the export of oil from Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region via Turkey. A source at the Ministry told reporters that Turkey had informed the Kurdistan regional Government (KRG) that it was going to conduct planned maintenance work on the pipeline that carries the Kurdish oil exports to Turkey’s Ceyhan port.

The routine maintenance was reportedly planned three months ago, and was originally was due in March, but the MNR and the state-owned Turkish company, Botas, that operates the Ceyhan pipeline agreed to “delay” the maintenance to April 10.

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The Ministry noted that exports may resume as early as Wednesday and that the scheduled work is expected to take 2 – 3 days. The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region of Iraq stated on Monday that the NOC, at the same time, is taking the opportunity to repair a technical problem with the Kirkuk pipeline to minimize the disruption of the flow. Between 550,000 to 600,000 barrels of oil are exported through the Kurdistan Region-Ceyhan port in Turkey daily.

The oil business between the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq and the Turkish AKP government prompted a great deal of controversy in recent years. Syrian oil stolen by the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Syria’s Deir Ez-Zor province has been “laundered” via Iraqi Kurdistan before it was pumped to Turkey to finally make it to the international markets via Ceyhan.

Antidote against propaganda-induced ignorance

This financial support of the Islamic State was boosted when the European Union, in 2013, lifted its sanctions against the import of Syrian oil, provided that it comes from “rebel-held territories”.

Ironically, in September 2014 the EU Ambassador to Iraq chastised Iran, Kurdistan and Turkey for financing the so-called Islamic State by facilitating their oil export. Turkey’s Energy Minister Taner Yildiz described such rumors as lies. Nobody appears to recall that the EU lifted its embargo on the import of Syrian oil from rebel-held territories on April 22, 2013.

EU’s Ambassador to Iraq and former European Parliament MP for the Czech Republic, Jana Hybášková, addressed the EU’s foreign affairs committee, chastising Iran, the Kurdish administrated region of Iraq and Turkey for “inadvertently” supporting the so-called Islamic State, a.k.a. ISIS/ISIL/IS by facilitating the “terrorists” export of oil for a net revenue of $3 million per day.

Hybášková demanded that the European Union “exert pressure on Iran, Kurdistan and Turkey in order to stop this trade”, adding that this wasn’t the first time that Turkey had been accused of turning a blind eye to the political situation in Iraq for financial gain.

Turkey’s Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, for his part, denounced allegations about Turkey’s involvement in financing the Islamic State, claiming that such statements aimed at creating controversy about Turkey’s politics.

Yildiz did, however, admit that Turkey is transporting oil from the Kurdish administrated region of Northern Iraq via Turkey, while the Kurdish government described Turkey as reliable partner in that regard. In fact, the export of northern Iraqi oil via Turkey has almost doubled in 2014 and increased to 400,000 barrels per day.

EU Ambassador to Iraq Jana_Hybášková. CC-BY-3.0-WikiNeither EU Ambassador to Iraq, Jana Hybášková, Turkey’s Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, nor any of the mainstream media in EU and NATO member states, however, appear to recall that the EU legalized the import of Syrian oil from so-called “rebel-held territories”.

On Monday, April 22, 2013, the 27 EU foreign ministers decided to lift the EU’s embargo on the import of Syrian oil from rebel-held territories to support more economic support for the so-called Syrian opposition.

The then UK Foreign Secretary William Hague told reporters that the move aimed at laying the legal groundwork to get the flow of crude oil going as rapidly as possible reported Yahoo News, quoting Hague as saying:

“The security situation is so difficult that much of this will be difficult to do, but it is important for us to send the signal that we are open to helping in other ways, in all the ways possible.”

The then German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle commented on the lift of the oil-import ban:

“We wish for good economic development in the areas controlled by the opposition, therefore we lift the sanctions which hinder the moderate opposition forces work.”

The irony of EU Ambassador Hybášková, chastising Iran, Kurdistan and Turkey was palatable.

Neither the BBC, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, nor the guardian mention the EU’s lifting of the oil-import ban in 2013 in relation to the EU Ambassador’s 2014 criticism of Iraq, Turkey and “Kurdistan”.

Hague’s words about “helping in all ways possible” however, were indeed ominous in more than one sense.

Not to be fooled twice ? Understand the timeline!

  • April 22, 2013, the EU lifts the ban on the import of Syrian oil from rebel-held territories”.
  • nsnbc warned since June 2013 that a major chemical weapons attack was planned to serve as pretext for a military intervention against Syria.
  • August 20, 2013, nsnbc reports that a major offensive in the predominantly Kurdish and oil-rich eastern regions of Syria had begun in the attempt to conquer the Syrian oil fields in the Deir Ez Zour province and the city of Deir Ez-Zor and reiterated the risk of an imminent chemical weapons attack.
  • August 21, 2013, Liwa-al-Islam, under the command of the Saudi Arabian intelligence asset and chemical weapons specialist Zahran Alloush, and under direct U.S. orders, launched the chemical weapons attack on the Damascus suburb East Ghouta.
  • August 30, 2013, the BBC had to report that British PM David Cameron’s motion to join a U.S.-led military intervention against Syria had been rejected by the UK’s parliament.
  • On August 31, U.S. President Obama had to follow suit saying  that he had decided to consult with Congress first, reported the guardian.
  • November  22 – 23, 2013, the Atlantic Council convened for an Energy Summit in Turkey’s capital Ankara. Atlantic Council President Frederick Kempe stated before the meeting, that decisions which were about to be made in the nearest future would have a historical bearing on Iran, Turkey, the U.S. and the region, which were comparable to the historic events in 1918 and 1945.
  • June 22, 2014, nsnbc international published a report after a meeting with a person from within the inner circle around the former Lebanese PM Saad Hariri. The whistleblower presented evidence in support of his statement that the invasion of Iraq by ISIL had originally been planned for 2013, but that it was called off when the UK parliament voted against bombing Syria.
  • The final green light for the invasion of Iraq via ISIL/ISIS or IS was given on the sidelines of the Atlantic Council’s Energy Summit in Ankara, in November 2013, he said, adding that the campaign was managed via the U.S. Embassy in Turkey and that U.S. Ambassador Ricciardone played a central role in the management of the war waged with ISIS as mercenary force that both served as friend and foe.

Note that nsnbc, already in October 2013 reported that the agenda of the Atlantic Council’s Energy Summit was the distribution of Syrian and Northern Iraqi oil to the international markets and the “Balkanization” of Iraq. EU Ambassador Jana Hybášková’s chastising of Iran, Kurdistan and Turkey has, as all statements in politics a function. The question is what function her statement has, especially in the light of the given, although omitted facts.

Watching recent history repeat itself

Alleged Chemical Weapons victim_Idlib_Syria_Apr 2017

The most noteworthy recent developments are the push of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces towards Raqqa and U.S. attempts to disrupt the Syrian Arab Army’s attempt to reassert control in Deir Ez-Zor;

The U.S. cruise missile attack following an alleged chemical weapons attack;

Sustained U.S. support for the establishment of an independent Kurdish State in Northern Iraq, thus weakening the role of the federal government in Baghdad and of Iran as a regional actor;

Close U.S. cooperation with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP); The KDP’s support of KDP-I militants who have increased their armed struggle against Iranian Revolutionary Guard units in northwestern Iran since the summer of 2016.

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Turkey’s role in the Idlib chemical attack needs to be probed

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By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline 

Turkey is, in principle, uniquely placed to call for an independent investigation into the chemical attack in the north-western Syrian province of Idlib on April 4. Idlib borders Turkey and it is well-known that extremist groups (Al-Qaeda affiliates) controlling the province have enjoyed covert support from Turkish intelligence, which has trained them, equipped them and guided them in the past in a joint enterprise with the CIA and the US’ Gulf Arab allies.

Yet, curiously, President Recep Erdogan shies away from demanding an independent inquiry. Instead, he insists, “We have the radar information and we have the forensic reports. Some say Syria does not have chemical weapons. Of course it does. It’s clear which planes dropped it.” Erdogan wants to close the file and move on. He lost no time to extend enthusiastic support for the US missile attack in Syria on April 6 and is beseeching President Donald Trump to revive the “regime change” agenda in Syria. Why such bizarre behavior?

Erdogan’s proactivism in real time has only one explanation – the chemical attack in Idlib was in reality planned with the knowledge of Turkish intelligence. Erdogan has everything to lose if this truth comes out.

Turkey stood to gain by precipitating a situation in Syria that would willy-nilly lead to some form of American intervention. (Indeed, CIA input was the basis of Trump’s decision to order the missile attack in Syria, which of course has severely impacted US-Russia relations.) On the other hand, the Idlib attack was just what suited Trump too to generate a new conversation in Washington that took the heat off him over his alleged links to Russia.

All three protagonists gained out of this cynical game – Erdogan, the “cold warriors” in the CIA and the Russophobes in the Washington establishment, and the beleagured American president himself.

But Erdogan stands most to gain. He overnight hyped up the Syrian situation to burnish his image as the tallest Sunni Islamist leader in Muslim Middle East – Idlib is a Sunni province – just a week ahead of the crucial Turkish referendum on April 16 that votes on the creation of a presidency with executive powers.

Two, Erdogan has brought about a discord between US and Russia, which creates space for Turkey to carry on with its military operations in northern Syria and consolidate its occupation of large tracts of Syrian territory.

Three, Russia and Iran may come under pressure to postpone the planned military offensive on Idlib to liberate the region from al-Qaeda. (Idlib is the only Syrian province remaining still under the control of extremist groups.)

And, four, Erdogan’s persistent demand for creation of “safe zones” inside territory as well as “no-fly zone” – both of which would boost a permanent Turkish military presence inside Syria – has gained a fresh lease of life. Indeed, that would also be the kiss of death for Kurdish ambitions to create an autonomous homeland (“Rojava”) in northern Syria.

Suffice it to say, Turkey’s territorial ambitions over Syria (to reclaim Ottoman territories which it lost in the 1922 settlement) took a leap forward this past week.

An international investigation will help uncover Turkey’s role in the chemical attacks in Idlib. However, alas, the CIA is unlikely to let that happen because what happened in Idlib also happens to be a back-to-back enterprise with Turkish intelligence. Erdogan and the folks in Langley are swimming in the very same river of blood. So long as such cynical games continue, the prospects of Syrian settlement will remain bleak.

Turkish policies threaten regional security in the Middle East as well as Europe. By Erdogan’s reckoning, Europe is inhabited by Nazis, and the Middle East’s future lies with political Islam. Sadly enough, Turkey has once again become the “sick man of Europe”.

Read a chilling Reuters report, here, detailing that the suicide bomber involved in the recent subway terrorist attack in St Petersburg had travelled to Turkey and Syria.

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3 countries which stand to gain from Kurdish separatism

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Speaking in Geneva, Gennady Gatilov, Sergei Lavrov’s deputy at the Russian Foreign Ministry, gave a brief statement to the press, clarifying Russia’s much misunderstood position regarding a Syrian peace settlement.

Gatilov is a gentle, soft spoken man.  At times he is too gentle, as many in Russia tend to be when faced with the onslaught of both western imperial aggression as well as the terrorist aggression of foreign fighters, currently plaguing the territory of their Syrian ally.

Nevertheless, he reiterated an important position, that the future of post-war Syria is up to the Syrian people and the Syrian people alone. Gatilov also confirmed Russia’s commitment to preserving Syria’s territorial integrity

Practically, this means that if Syria rejects Kurdish demands to seize Syrian territory or carve it out as an autonomous region, Russia would not contradict Syria in such an event.

This is an inconvenient fact for many.

Here are the three main countries who would not be comfortable with Syria maintaining both her sovereignty and territorial integrity. 

1. America

Syrian sovereignty is an inconvenient fact for the United States which under Donald Trump has largely given up on funding the jihadists terrorists that Barack Obama had supported in his desire for regime change. Having given up on blood soaked ‘moderate’ throat cutters, America is now fully backing the Kurds who have territorial and regional geo-political ambitions. They too threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria in their desire to either federate or secede from the Syrian Arab Republic. The majority of the Syrian population opposes Kurdish ambitions and traditionally so too has the Syrian government.

2. Turkey

Under President Erdogan, Turkey has been desirous for regime change in Damascus since the beginning of the conflict. Erdogan’s neo-Ottomanism seeks the re-conquest of territories in the Arab world, including much of northern Syria and northern Iraq. This puts him in a two way battle between Syria and what is left of a sovereign Iraq on the one hand and Kurds who themselves seek to declare the Turkish borderlands as their own Kurdish state.

One of the strange ironies of the conflict is that in trying to expand Turkey and recapture erstwhile Ottoman territories, there is a chance that Kurds within Turkey (the largest Kurdish population in the world), may now be more emboldened than ever to succeed from Turkey.

Even if this does not happen, the formation of a Kurdish state on Turkey’s borders would  be unacceptable for any Turkish leader, not just the unhinged Erdogan.

3. Israel 

Under both Hafez al-Assad as well as Bashar al-Assad, Syria has been a constant supporter of the restoration of Palestine on land occupied by Israel. Because of this, Israel has long sought the removal of both father and son in Syria.

Because the ‘Assad must go’ brigade have largely admitted (however quietly) that regime change is no longer a possibility, Israel is now equally desirous of a Kurdish state on Syrian territory. Israel has long supported Kurdish separatism against secular Arab states, particularly Iraq and Syria. A Kurdish state in place of parts of Syrian and/or Iraqi territory would, be a rare regional ally for Israel which remains a regional pariah, in spite of recent reconciliation efforts with Ankara.

If Israel comes out and publicly backs Kurdish separatism, they will lose any good will from Turkey, but they will gain a possible military outpost in the legitimate territory of an Arab state. Many in Tel Aviv salivate at such an opportunity.

Each of these states stand to gain from Syria’s loss, whether her loss manifests itself in the form of Syrian weakness through federation or the destruction of Syrian territorial integrity in the form of a Kurdish state.

Although counter-intuitive, Turkey stands to gain as well. Erdogan cares less for peace than for power and a Kurdish state next to Turkey would give Erdogan the excuse he needs to consolidate power even further and put Turkey on a war footing. Erdogan never asked for permission before illegally invading Syria, so it can be safely assumed that no such permission would be asked in respect of a Kurdish state.

The wildcard in this is Russia. Unlike Syria and Iran who roundly oppose Kurdish separatism. Russia has generally enjoyed good relations with the Kurds. Sharing a traditional regional enemy in the form of Turkey is the basis of this relationship.

It would however be highly foolish if Russia were to back aspirant Kurdish nationalism at the expense of an actual state, one which has been a Soviet and Russian ally for many decades, namely Syria. It would be equally foolish for Russia to back the creation of a state or autonomous province in a Balkanised Syria that would alienate Iran. The fact that Iran and Russia seem to be deepening their relationship is a positive development in respect of Russia not putting its weight behind separatist Kurds.

Finally, one has to consider Russia’s relationship with Turkey. Turkey is in many respects, an enemy of Russian interests but Turkey is not an enemy of Russia itself per se.

Both countries have an important economic relationship and in spite of Erdogan’s illegal occupation of Syria which is roundly against Russian interests, if Russia were to stand against America in opposing a Krudish state, it would not only be an aid to Russia’s real ally in Syria but would help ease tensions with Turkey who for economic reasons and reasons of regional security, Russia needs more than it needs the United States. This will be even more important when the tyrant Erdogan finally goes, which may happen sooner rather than later. His nine lives may fast be running out.

Because Russia has good relations with both the Syrian government and with Kurds in Syria, Moscow has an upper hand in future negotiations that it ought not to misname. If Russia plays its hand right, it can satisfy the just desires of the majority of Syrians, show loyalty to an important Arab ally, reaffirm good future relations with Iran, get Turkey to climb down from its increasingly ludicrous position and humiliate the legacy of Obama’s policies on the world’s stage, something which may even help guide Trump back to his position of peace and reconciliation with Russia. At the same time, Russia can help reconcile Kurds to a healthy but not separatist position within the Syrian Arab Republic.

Russia has everything to gain from standing by Syria. Other less ethical states, by contrast, stand to gain from Syria’s destruction.

 

 

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BREAKING: Turkey claims Euphrates Shield a ‘success’

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Turkey’s illegal invasion and occupation of Syria is known by Ankara as Operation Euphrates Shield. It formally commenced on the 24th of August, 2016. According to Turkey, Euphrates Shield was aimed at fighting ISIS as well as Kurdish YPG forces near the Turkish border.

In reality, Turkey has trained, armed and funded members of the jihadist Free Syrian Army in what Syria classifies as a war of aggression. In recent months, the operation became far more about fighting Kurdish forces in Syria than about any of Turkey’s other wider goals such as regime change in Damascus.

Turkey’s operation had no basis in international law.

From seemingly out of the blue, Turkey’s National Security Council today announced that Euphrates Shield has been completed.

This could mean several things.

It could be yet another one of Turkey’s many bluffs on the international stage. Whilst Turkey’s National Security Council claims the operation has ended successfully, there is every possibility that both direct Turkish aggression against Syria as well as aggression from its FSA proxies could continue into the foreseeable future.

But if the statement turns out to actually be backed up by realities on the ground, there are two distinct possibilities behind it.

Although Syria has complained before the UN and other international bodies of the illegal nature of Turkey’s aggressive invasion and occupation of Syrian territory, such expressions of frustration with Turkey have largely fallen on deaf ears.

However, if Russia or America made their private views known to Turkish President Erdogan, this could have impacted Turkish decision making.

For slightly different reasons, both Trump’s United States and Putin’s Russia have desired an end to Turkish meddling in Syria. Russia is privately and to some extent publicly, angry at Turkey’s totally destabilising role in Syria. Russia speaks from the perspective of both an integral ally of the Syrian Arab Army’s campaign against terrorism, but also as a power which has looked favourably to Krudish efforts to fight various jihadist groups including both the Turkish backed FSA and the Saudi/Qatari backed ISIS.

America, even under Trump, has no real time for the legitimate government in Syria but is instead, hellbent on utilising Kurds to both fight the war against militant Salifism. Additionally Washington wants Kurds to form the nexus of a post-war settlement. Because of this, America would not want a putative ally (and fellow NATO member) in Turkey to be fighting against their favourite proxies in the Syrian conflict.

In terms of destabilising Syria, emboldening pro-Turkish terrorists and prolonging conflict, Euphrates Shield has indeed been a success. But in terms of making gains against Kurds, making meaningful gains against the Syrian Arab Army, getting America and Russia to change their thinking and most importantly to help oust President al-Assad, Euphrates Shield has been a colossal failure for Turkey.

In this sense, there is a distinct possibility that Erdogan has proclaimed ‘mission accomplished’ for domestic consumption ahead of his referendum for extra Presidential powers set for the 16th of April. Erdogan is no stranger to using external events in order to bolster his domestic popularity.

The biggest question remains, will Turkey actually now leave Syrian territory, taking their FSA fighters with them? Or inversely, is this yet another meaningless statement from a Turkish regime known for half-truths and downright lies?

Time will tell.

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Gas From ‘Israel’ And The Flynn Wiretapping – Behind The Deep-State Infighting Over The Trump Election

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What is really behind the deep-state infighting over the U.S. elections and the “wire tapping” of the Trump campaign? Why was the CIA-Neocon axis vehemently lobbying against Trump? What foreign interests and what money is involved in this? Answers to these questions are now emerging.

The former director of the CIA under Clinton, James Woolsey, went to the Wall Street Journal and offered some information (likely some true and some false) on the retired General Flynn and the lobbying businesses he was involved in. Woolsey is an arch-neoconservative. He had worked on the transition team of Trump but got fired over “growing tensions over Trump’s vision for intelligence agencies.” Flynn is the former National Security Advisor of Trump who later also got fired. Woolsey was a board member of Flynn’s former lobbying company FIG.

Woolsey claims: In September 2016 he took part in a meeting between Flynn and high level Turkish officials, including the Turkish foreign minister and the energy minister who is the son of the Turkish president Erdogan. During the meeting, Woolsey claims, a brainstorming took place over how the Turkish cult leader Fethullah Gülen could -probably by illegal means- be removed from the U.S. and handed over to Turkey.

Gülen is accused by the Erdogan mafia of initiating a coup attempt against it. The U.S. claims officially that there is no evidence for such an accusation and that Gülen can therefore not be rendered to Turkey. Gülen is an old CIA asset that helped the U.S. deep state to control Turkey.  Erdogan divorced from the Gülen organization after it became useless for his neo-Ottoman project.

Here is the WSJ report on the Woolsey claims and a video clip with parts of his WSJ interview. Woolsey also went on CNN where he repeated his WSJ story.

Flynn was accused by the anti-Trump campaign to have worked for Russia. He had taken several $10,000 for speeches he gave in Moscow. He also, at times, had argued for better U.S. relations with Russia. But Flynn’s pro-Russia stand was probably honest. (Or the bribes involved were just smaller than the ones paid by others.) The money he got on the speaker circus was rather small for a man in his position.

Flynn’s real corruption was on another issue. After having been fired from the Trump administration, Flynn retroactively filed under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA). His lobbying firm had a contract over $530,000 to work for a company near to the Turkish president Erdogan:

In its filing, Mr. Flynn’s firm said its work from August to November “could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey.” The filing said his firm’s fee, $530,000, wasn’t paid by the government but by Inovo BV, a Dutch firm owned by a Turkish businessman, Ekim Alptekin.

This lobbying, not the alleged Flynn-Putin relation, is the real scandal and part of the Trump/CIA/Clinton deep-state in-fighting.

The meeting Woolsey described was under the “Turkish” Flynn contract. The Turkish business man, and owner of Inovo, Ekim Alptekin is a member of the Erdogan gang. But hidden at the very end of the WSJ story is the real key to understand the shady network:

Inovo hired Mr. Flynn on behalf of an Israeli company seeking to export natural gas to Turkey, the filing said, and Mr. Alptekin wanted information on the U.S.-Turkey political climate to advise the gas company about its Turkish investments.

It was the Israeli gas company, not the Alptekin outlet, that drove the issue.

The Leviathan (and Tamar) gas fields in the Mediterranean along the Israeli coast are a huge energy and profit resource IF the gas from them can be exported to Europe. Several companies are involved in the exploration and all are looking for ways to connect the fields to the European gas network. There are (likely true) rumors that huge bribes have been paid in Israel, Jordan and elsewhere to win exploration contracts and to sell the gas. Negotiations between Israel and Turkey over the pipeline have been on and off. They depend on a positive climate towards Israel in the Turkish government which again depends on the often changing political position of the Erdogan gang.

The picture evolving here (lots of sleuthing and sources) is this:

An Israeli company (or whoever is behind it) wants a gas pipeline to Turkey. It hires Flynn and Alptekin to arrange a positive climate for the Leviathan pipeline within the Turkish government. It offers Flynn more than half a million for a little (4-month long) influence work. His job is to create a “friendly atmosphere” for the deal by using his influence in the U.S. to accommodate Erdogan. A major point that is expected from Flynn is to arrange the handover of Gülen, by whatever means, from the U.S. to Erdogan.

After accepting the (lobbying) bribe Flynn-the-whore suddenly changes his former anti-Turkish, pro-Russian, pro-Kurdish political position into a pro-Turkish, neutral-Russian and anti-Kurdish one. (His lobbying firm also makes some smaller payments related to the Clinton email-server scandal. This may be related to links between the Clinton family and the Gülen school empire.) He has a meeting with the Turkish government/Erdogan officials part of which is a discussion of a removal of Gülen to Turkey. He pens a pro Erdogan anti-Gülen op-ed which is published on the day of the election and he denigrates the Pentagon plan to work with the Kurds in Syria.

The NSA, CIA and the FBI are listening to Flynn’s conversations with Turkish and Israeli interests. (For the old and long history of such “wiretapping” of Turkish and Israeli connections and various dirty and criminal deals they revealed read and ask Sibel Edmonds.)

The projects which Flynn is involved in, especially removing Gülen, are against the long term interests of the (neoconservative-driven) CIA. Selected tapes of his talks are transcribed and distributed within the anti-Trump campaign. This is the origin of the “wiretapping” of the Trump Tower the U.S. president lamented about. The stuff the CIA dug up about Flynn’s dealing was and is used against Trump.

Woolsey is caught up in this as he also worked for Flynn’s lobbying firm. (His neocon-pro-Zionist history suggests that he is the senior Israeli watchdog over Flynn in all this.) He is now engaged in damage control and is “coming clean” and selectively leaking his anti-Flynn stuff to exculpate himself. (There is probably also some new, better deal involved that will pay off from him.)

The Israeli-Turkish pipeline and the related deep-state fight are not the only issue involved in the campaign against Trump. There are also British interests and British intelligence involvement especially with the accusations against Russia of “hacking” of the DNC. If and how these fit in with above has not yet been revealed.

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In Erdogan’s Turkey, an Artist Gets Jailed for Painting Reality

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  • The painting which has landed the artists and journalist in jail
    The painting which has landed the artists and journalist in jail | Photo: Twitter: @peterslemani.
Turkey is becoming a totalitarian state.

A Turkish court has handed down a two-year, nine-month and 22-day jail sentence to a Kurdish artist because of her painting of a Kurdish village being razed by Turkish security forces.

RELATED: Turkey’s Erdogan Lashes Out at EU for Crusade Against Islam

Zehra Doğan, an ethnic Kurd from Diyarbakır in southeastern Turkey, was given the sentence by the Second High Criminal Court of the Mardin province after having been arrested last July. The painting in question shows the destroyed cityscape of Nusaybin, with Turkish flags draped across blown-out buildings.

Close to the border with Syria, Nusaybin is home to a large Kurdish population and Turkey says that the painting, along with her social media posts, are proof that Doğan has connections to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, a group which has been pushing for an autonomous Kurdish region since 1984, but which the Turkish state considers a terrorist organization.

Doğan, also an award-winning journalist, argued in court that all the crimes she is accused of are journalistic activities, for which she is registered with the state and a member of the Union of Journalists of Turkey.

“I was given two years and 10 months only because I painted Turkish flags on destroyed buildings. However, (the Turkish government) caused this. I only painted it,”  Doğan said in a tweet which has since been deleted, according to Turkey Purge, self-described as “a small group of young journalists who are trying to be the voice for Turkish people who suffer under an oppressive regime.”

Following the collapse of a cease-fire between Turkey and the PKK in July 2015, Turkey’s “anti-terrorist” operations against PKK militants across cities in the southeast of the country has had devastating effects, where Turkey has been continually criticized for serious human rights abuses against the Kurdish population.

RELATED: PKK Prisoners Around Turkey Start Hunger Strike to Free Ocalan

Around 2,000 people – mostly Kurds – have been killed or jailed as part of Turkish security operations, with hundreds of thousands displaced, according to a report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Turkish forces have also prevented Kurds from accessing food, water and medical care, and imposed harsh curfews which would often last weeks and prevent the evacuation of displaced people who were trapped in the middle of fighting.

Posted in TurkeyComments Off on In Erdogan’s Turkey, an Artist Gets Jailed for Painting Reality

Syria: Towards a Clash of US and Turkish Forces?

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According to The Daily Telegraph, Washington might get into difficulty in Syria because of the confrontation between Turkey and the Kurdish forces, who are arguing about Raqqa assault, is daily getting more and more aggravated.

Ankara considers that the Kurdish forces in Syria are terroristic, and connect with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which is banned in Turkey. The U.S., for its part, is trying to cover up contradictions between its allies in the region and prevent direct clashes between them. For Washington, the situation is complicated by the fact that each side demands from it to ban the other party’s participation in the offensive. Because of this, the operation to liberate Raqqa from ISIS can stall or turn into complete chaos. The tension between the Kurds and the Turks is so great that the Pentagon deployed its troops between the parties to prevent direct confrontation.

It is known that Washington made a bid for the Kurdish forces as the most battle-worthy force, long ago. In addition, the U.S. forces are training and supplying them with modern weaponry. Undoubtedly, such close cooperation between Washington and the Kurds causes Turkey’s discontent.

In turn, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) considers that Turkey is an occupier of northern Syria, and intends to do everything possible to prevent any participation of Turkey in the military operation to liberate Raqqa from the terrorists. Talal Selo, SDF spokesman, said this in an interview to the Iranian Fars. Answering the question about the possibility of Ankara’s participation in the liberation of the self-declared ISIS capital in Syria, the Selo also added that the Kurds will not allow Turkey to seize new areas of Syria.

It is obvious that the U.S. plans to conduct a joint operation to liberate Raqqa from ISIS militants are doomed to failure. Perhaps, never-ending contradictions between the Kurds and Ankara can affect the fact that the relations between the U.S. and Turkey will be noticeably spoiled.

If Washington takes the side of Ankara (it is highly unlikely), the Kurds may refuse assistance from the U.S., and more closely cooperate with the official Damascus in the fight against the ISIS. This has already been proved by the placement of some villages in northern Syria under the control of the government forces.

Obviously, then Kurdish detachments will be able to avoid direct confrontation with the Turkish army. For Washington, the refusal of the Kurds from the cooperation means the failure of all its plans. Therefore, the U.S. will most likely prefer the Kurds to Turkey. However, in this case, such developments may lead to increased tensions between NATO partners.

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Erdogan: The Sultan Of An Illusionary Ottoman Empire

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This is the fourth and last in a series of articles based in part on eyewitness accounts about the rapidly deteriorating socio-political conditions in Turkey and what the future may hold for the country. The first, second and third articles are available here: First, Second, Third.

In many conversations and encounters I had over the years with former Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, he emphatically echoed his boss President Erdogan’s grandiose vision that by 2023 (the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic), Turkey will become as powerful and influential as the Ottoman Empire was during its heyday. Under the best of circumstances, Turkey cannot realize Erdogan’s far-fetched dream. Had he stayed the course, however, with his socio-political and judiciary reforms and economic developments, as he had during his first nine years in power, Turkey could have become a major player on the global stage and a regional powerhouse.

Sadly, Erdogan abandoned much of the impressive democratic reforms he championed, and embarked upon a systematic Islamization of the country while dismantling the pillars of democracy. He amassed unprecedented powers and transformed Turkey from a democratic to an autocratic country, ensuring that he has the last word on all matters of state.

In retrospect, it appears that Erdogan had never committed himself to a democratic form of government. The reforms he undertook during his first nine years in power were largely induced by the European Union’s requirements from any country seeking membership, which he exploited as a means by which to propel himself toward his ultimate goal. A quote attributed to him in 1999 describes precisely what his real intentions were from the day he rose to power. “Democracy” he said, “is like a bus, when you arrive at your destination, you step off.”

His role model is Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (meaning “Father of the Turks”), who founded the Turkish Republic in 1923.  Both share similar personal attributes as they sought to lead the nation with an iron fist while disregarding any separation of power. However, Atatürk was determined to establish a Westernized secular democratic state while Erdogan went in the opposite direction.

Erdogan steadily moved to create a theocracy where Islamic tradition and values reign supreme while assuming Atatürk’s image, which is revered by most Turks. Erdogan presents himself as one who leads with determination and purpose, generating power from his popular support, ultimately seeking to replace Atatürk; with the new amendments to the constitution, he will be endowed with powers even greater than Atatürk ever held.

With his growing popularity and most impressive economic growth, Erdogan successfully created the status of a strong and resolute leader—the “father” of a new Turkish Republic—and artfully penetrated the consciousness of the Turkish public while using Islam as the undisputed pathway that will lead Turkey to greatness. He is determined to preside at the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic over a powerful nation among the top ten largest global economies and that extends its influence East and West, akin to the prodigious influence that the Ottoman Empire enjoyed.

To realize his grand vision, Erdogan took several measures to consolidate his absolute power.

First, clearing the way: Erdogan embarked on the complete marginalization or elimination of anyone, in and outside the ruling AK Party, that challenged his authority or advanced new ideas for solving the country’s problems. Those who did not support his policies and dared to question his judgment were not spared. He resorted to conspiracy theories, accusing his political opponents of being enemies of the state aiming to topple his government, in order to continue unopposed to realize his vision for the country, analogous to the influence and outreach of the Ottoman Empire. He even fired his long-time friend and confidant Davutoglu because Davutoglu differed from him in connection with the Kurdish problem, and especially because of Davutoglu’s reluctance to support the constitutional amendments that will grant the president sweeping and unprecedented powers.

Second, the need for a culprit: Erdogan needed a scapegoat to blame for any of his shortcomings, and found the Gulen movement to be the perfect culprit that would provide him with the cover to overshadow the massive corruption that has swept his government. This also provided him with the “justification” to crack down on many social, political, and institutional entities, silencing the media, controlling the judiciary, and subordinating the military.

The aftermath of the attempted military coup in July 2016 gave him the ammunition to conduct a society-wide witch-hunt, providing him with the excuse to purge tens of thousands of people from academia, civil society, judiciary, military, and internal security. This has allowed him to assume total control of all departments in the government and private sector. He described his purge as a necessary evil to cleanse the public of the ‘cancer’ that has gripped the country. In so doing, he ensured that the political system revolves around the presidency, leaving him completely unchallenged to pursue his imperial dream to resurrect the stature of the Ottoman Empire as the country prepares to vote in the constitutional referendum on April 16.

Third, the creation of Ottoman symbolism: To project his grandiose vision, Erdogan needed to instill Ottoman images into the public consciousness, including the building of a 1,100-room ‘White Palace’ as his residence at a prohibitive cost to taxpayers. His most recent project was the Çamlica Mosque, the now-largest mosque in Istanbul, standing on the eponymous hill that overlooks the entire city.

Recently, Erdogan started the construction of another mosque in Taksim Square—once the site of the fiercest protests against Erdogan in his career—with all the style of the Ottoman era. Erdogan has even instructed that the national anthem be played on modified drums and brass instruments to make the music sound as if it were being played by bands of the Ottoman period. His purpose is to indoctrinate the public in a subliminal way to his perspective of the glorious Ottoman period.

Fourth, foreign policy assertiveness: Under Erdogan, Turkey has become increasingly assertive and forceful in the region. In Cyprus, he is determined to strike a deal largely on his terms. In Iraq, he placed Turkish troops over the objections of the Iraqi government to maintain his ruthless war against the Kurds. In Syria, he allowed thousands of foreign fighters, including many who have joined ISIS, to cross the border to strengthen the anti-Assad fight, while fighting the Syrian Kurds to prevent them from establishing their own autonomous rule, fearing that the Turkish Kurds would also demand autonomous rule of their own.

Erdogan further promoted the policy of “zero problem with neighbors,” and although presently Turkey has problems with just about every neighbor (and its prospective EU membership has completely diminished), he continues to claim that Turkey enjoys good relations internationally. Erdogan still uses Turkey’s membership in NATO as a sign of greatness; the fact that Turkey has the second-largest number of ground troops in  NATO reinforces his illusion that Ankara enjoys unrivaled military prowess in the region and commands the respect and attention of the international community that the Ottoman Empire was accorded.

Fifth, promoting Islam as a powerful tool: Erdogan is also using Sunni Islam to promote the country as a republic with Islamic ideals supported by a loyal state apparatus. He portrays himself as the leader of the Sunni world that would restore the Ottoman era of influence while cementing his authoritarian rule in the form of a neo-Sultan. To be sure, Erdogan is vigorously promoting – with the support of his party – Islamic nationalism systematically and meticulously. Mustafa Akyol, a Turkish analyst of politics and culture and author of the new book The Islamic Jesus says that “political propaganda is in your face every day, every single moment. If you turn on TV, if you open newspapers…”

Former Prime Minister Davutoglu said in 2015 that Turkey “will re-found the Ottoman state.” Although Davutoglu was fired, he—like most Turkish officials—depicts the government as the rightful heir of the Ottoman legacy. To that end, Erdogan uses Islam as the unifying theme that would propel Turkey to the greatness that the Ottoman Empire enjoyed. In fact, Turkish religious leaders have always thought of themselves as the standard-bearer of Islamic civilization, and though this failed with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, to them it must now be corrected. As they would have it, “Turks once again should lead the ummah [Islamic community] as the new Ottomans.”

Sadly, Erdogan, who is still seen as a hero by nearly half of the Turkish population, is leading the country on a treacherous path. Turkey and its people have the resources, creativity, and institutions to make Turkey a significant power. Erdogan, who demonstrated an uncanny ability to harness his country’s natural and human resources, could have made Turkey such a power on the global stage. Indeed, he would have been the Atatürk of the new era had he simply continued with his historic reforms while protecting the rights of every individual and creating a real model of Islamic democracy.

The collapse of the Ottoman Empire was largely precipitated, among other things, by its internal political decadence, the arbitrary exercising of power, and gross violations of human rights that dramatically eroded the foundation on which the empire was built.

In whichever form Erdogan wants to resurrect the Ottoman Empire, he will fail because no country can survive, let alone become great, as long as the government walks on the backs of the people and stifles their freedom to act, speak, and dream.

There is where the greatness of any nation rests and endures—the Ottoman Empire never provided a model worthy of such emulation.

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