July, 2016 Turkey


by Burak Bekdil, Hürriyet Daily News
Every piece of evidence emerging after the failed putsch on July 15 indicates that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was the victim of a failed Gülenist coup d'état. But to get the picture right we must ask ourselves, perhaps ironically, what the victim and the perpetrator have in common. The answer is many years of staunch alliance and the same ideology: political Islam.

 

By James M. Dorsey

A Turkish demand that Pakistan close 28 primary and secondary schools associated with controversial, self-exiled Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen has put the government in Islamabad in a quandary as it attempts to get a grip on an education sector in which militant Islamists and jihadists figure prominently.


by Burak Bekdil, The Gatestone Institute
Before July 15, civil liberties in Turkey were de facto in the deep freeze. Now they are de jure in the deep freeze. In 1853, John Russell quoted Tsar Nicholas I of Russia as saying that the Ottoman Empire was "a sick man -- a very sick man," in reference to the ailing empire's fall into a state of decrepitude. Some 163 years after that, the modern Turkish state follows in the Ottoman steps.


by Con Coughlin
In recent months the Kremlin has hinted that keeping Assad in power is not its primary concern. Rather its main objective in Syria is to keep its strategically-important bases in the country.

 Anatomy of a coup.

 By SPIEGEL Staff

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is taking advantage of last week's failed coup to consolidate his power. As the country slides into a dictatorship, there is a lot at stake for the West. But the effects in Turkey itself promise to be far greater.

Pro-Erdogan supporters hold up an effigy of Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen during a demonstration at Taksim Square in Istanbul on July 18, 2016. Photo by Ozan Kose / AFP

CraigSHAW, AhmetŞIK

Last Friday’s coup in Turkey left us all with a world of questions. Did Erdoğan know about it? Did he plan it? Was his former comrade Fethullah Gülen behind it? We asked those in a position to know – our sources in Turkish intelligence services. They provided an insider's take on the run-up to the coup attempt, the events of that day, and the five-year political war between the Turkish president and his one-time ally.


By Pepe Escobar

"Information Clearing House" - "SCF" - Amidst an astonishing, relentless, wide-ranging purge that shows no signs of abating, with 60,000 – and counting – civil servants, academics, judges, prosecutors, policemen, soldiers jailed, fired, suspended or stripped of professional accreditation, it’s relatively established by now the Turkish government was very much informed a military coup was imminent on July 15. The information may have come from Russian intelligence, although neither Moscow nor Ankara will reveal any details. So, once and for all, this was no false flag.

AUTHOR, Pinar Tremblay

In the first hours of the failed coup attempt on July 15, the pro-government figures that appeared on television called upon the Religious Affairs Department (Diyanet) to rally the Turkish people in defense of democracy. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, along with Mehmet Gormez, head of the Religious Affairs Directorate, Turkey’s official religious body, encouraged people to take to the streets to show solidarity against the military coup attempt. Before midnight on July 15, Gormez had issued an order to all imams of the Turkish Republic to go to their mosques and call upon the people to do the same.

Turkish demonstrators rally against the coup attempt in Turkey at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 17, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Kemal Kirişci

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has responded to last week’s coup attempt with a hammer. Over the span of just a few days, more than 50,000 people have been fired from their jobs or detained on suspicions that they’re connected to the coup or to the Gülenist movement (which President Erdoğan blames for the coup attempt). Now emergency rule has been imposed, suggesting that more detentions may follow.


Project Syndicate, Shlomo Avineri
JERUSALEM – The aftermath of Turkey’s failed military coup raises a fundamental question: will President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continue to pursue his authoritarian path, perhaps with a vengeance, or will he reach out to his opponents and attempt to bridge the deep fissures in Turkish society?

Politics, Turkey


Author Kadri Gursel
As of July 21, 124 Turkish generals and admirals have been detained on charges of participating in the failed coup of July 15. This will significantly affect the integrity and performance of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), as the TSK's total number of generals and admirals was 358. In other words, almost 35% of all TSK generals and admirals are in detention for participating in a coup attempt outside the armed forces hierarchy.


By Ralph Peters

If today’s Western leaders possess one general trait, it’s a genius for self-deception. Insisting that Islamist terror has nothing to do with Islam, or that religion has no strategic impact, or that all human beings want freedom and democracy, amounts to declaring that up is down, right is left and night is day.

turkey-fertility-rate-2000

ANATOLY KARLIN
Turkey has a proud and rich history of military coups. As analysts tirelessly point out, they are even sanctioned by the Constitution as a means of preserving secularism.


by Daniel J. Graeber
Russia could revisit a land-based oil pipeline meant to get around Turkish waterways if the political situation worsens, a Russian executive said. Nikolai Tokarev, the head of Russian pipeline company Transneft, said there was renewed interest in building the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.

ANADOLU AGENCY, BAKU
Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev signed a verdict Wednesday to approve the protocol that the Turkish military has been allocated to manage buildings and structures in the country's military town.

 US President Barack Obama (R) greets Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan prior to a meeting at the US Chief of Mission’s residence in Paris on December 1, 2015.

Signs of tensions growing between the US and Turkey continue to emerge, prompting some to question whether Ankara has reviewed its geopolitical priorities and made a shift from Washington toward Moscow. Due to its unique geostrategic position, Turkey has long been important to the US as a NATO ally and a "bridge" between the West and the Arab world.

Turkey European Energy Relations

By Irina Slav 
Turkey European Energy Relations

A lot of people in Europe are wondering why political leaders on the continent seem to be ready to agree with whatever Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says, and do anything he demands. Many resent Erdogan’s hand-twisting approach to the migrant crisis and worry about Turkey turning into a dictatorship, plain and simple.


Project Syndicate, Sinan Ulgen
ISTANBUL – A military coup against an elected government typically unleashes a flood of analysis about the country’s future direction following the break in democratic rule. But failed coups can be just as consequential. The botched attempt by elements of the Turkish military to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will have far-ranging implications for Turkey’s foreign relations and regional role.


By Finian Cunningham

"Information Clearing House" - "Sputnik" - This consolidation of power is raising tensions with the US and European Union, with concerns that the president’s resort to repression will bring his Western partners into disrepute.

AFP photo

Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) informed the country’s top generals hours before the coup attempt was initiated by a group of soldiers within the army on July 15, while Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar evaluated the information and issued all necessary warnings and orders against “this despicable and miserable attempt,” according to a statement published on the General Staff’s official website on July 19.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Vladimir Putin. Kremlin.ru

Erdoğan is set to turn to Russia.
Nikolas K. Gvosdev

As we continue to sort through the aftermath of the failed attempt at a military coup against the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, one unexpected (and potentially unwelcome, from a U.S. standpoint) development is that this botched attempt to remove Erdoğan will further the reconciliation process between the Turkish leader and Russian president Vladimir Putin.

 

Author Ali Hashem

As July 15 was coming to an end in Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was on the phone with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, whose government was under the threat of being overthrown by a military coup. Meanwhile, Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), was on another line with security officials in Ankara.

 

Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gather at Taksim Square in central Istanbul, Turkey, July 16, 2016.  REUTERS/Ammar Awad
Natasha Bertrand

Tension between the US and Turkey has escalated dramatically in the wake of Ankara's far-reaching crackdown on those suspected to have been involved in Friday's failed military coup. In addition to more than 2,000 members of the Turkish armed forces, Ankara has ordered that at least 50 high-level civil servants, 8,000 police officers, and 30 regional governors with alleged ties to the coup plotters be either arrested or fired, according to Reuters.

by Tyler Durden
Overnight Turkish president Erdogan's counter-coup witch hunt continued, when thousands of police officers were suspended on Monday, widening a systemic purge of Erdogan's enemies first in the armed forces and then judiciary after a failed military coup, now focusing on the interior police force, and raising concern among European allies that it was abandoning the rule of law. Turkey's state-run news agency says the nation has detained or suspended 20,000 personnel across the country, following Friday's foiled coup attempt.


By Pepe Escobar

 "Information Clearing House" - "Sputnik" - When Turkish President/aspiring Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan landed at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport early Saturday morning, he declared the attempted coup against his government a failure, and a “gift from God.”

Soldiers suspected of being involved in the coup attempt are escorted by policemen as they arrive at a courthouse in the resort town of Marmaris, Turkey, July 17, 2016.

The notion that there was a list of arrests already prepared is sure to fuel speculation that President Erdogan himself staged the coup. The swift rounding up of judges and others after a failed coup in Turkey indicated the government had prepared a list beforehand, the E.U. commissioner dealing with Turkey's membership bid, Johannes Hahn, said Monday.

 

AHMET HAKAN

The first the coup plotters’ blunders was the assumption that by seizing two bridges and flying eight or 10 jets low to the ground one could take over the country. Their second stupid act was believing that by making state-run TRT television broadcast an out-of-date declaration, the whole business would be over, as if we were in the times of former failed coup leader Talat Aydemir.

MURAT YETKİN

The failed military coup attempt in Turkey started on the evening of July 15, leaving more than 200 killed, nearly 3,000 soldiers and almost as many judges and prosecutors detained, and plenty of embarrassment for Turkey for being the center of talk about a military coup, (even if it failed and there remain a lot of questions about it).


by Efraim Karsh, The Times Literary Supplement
Originally published on June 24 under the title "Holding the Balance of Power: Turkey's Complicating Relationship with Europe during the First World War and Since."

A Turkish regime exploiting an international crisis to manipulate Europeans. Sound familiar?  It is a historical irony that, for the second time in a century, Turkey is exploiting a major international crisis to manipulate the most powerful European nation into a hugely misconceived and self-defeating policy.


by Tyler Durden
Looking back at the failed Turkish coup, one question that nobody has been able to answer is why, if the coup was indeed a serious attempt at government overthrow, did the organizers not do the first thing that military coups have done since time immemorial: either capture, or simply eliminate the existing ruler, the vacationing president Erdogan?

We are witnessing the consolidation of a new form of authoritarianism with a populist streak.

By Ayşe Kadıoğlu
 "Information Clearing House" - "Open Democracy" - On the evening of July 15, 2016, a friend called around 10:30pm and said that both bridges connecting the Asian and European sides of Istanbul were closed by military barricades. Moreover, military jets were flying over Ankara skies. As someone living on the European side of Istanbul and commuting to the Asian side to my university on a daily basis and spending many hours in traffic in order to do that, I immediately knew that the closure of both bridges was a sign of something very extraordinary taking place.

 

By DARREN BOYLE FOR MAILONLINE

A US-based Turkish cleric accused of plotting a coup to overthrow the Ankara government has claimed President Recep Erdogan staged the rebellion himself to justify a major clampdown on opposition forces.
Fethullah Gulen, who was a former key ally of Erdogan has been blamed by the politician of using his contacts to develop a 'parallel structure' to overthrow the state.
Erdogan has called on US President Barack Obama to extradite Gulen, who is based in Pennsylvania.

PHOTO: In this file photo, a Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter jet lands at Incirlik air base in Adana, Turkey, Aug. 11, 2015.

By JUSTIN FISHEL MORGAN WINSOR MICHAEL EDISON HAYDEN
A coalition fighting ISIS has resumed operations at Turkish airbases following a weekend coup attempt in Turkey that led to a temporary lockdown at Incirlik air base. 
"After close coordination with our Turkish allies, they have reopened their airspace to military aircraft," Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told ABC News. "As a result, counter-ISIL coalition air operations at all air bases in Turkey have resumed."

Paul R. Pillar
Before this week it had come to be broadly accepted conventional wisdom that the days of Turkish military coups were over. After a post-World War II history in which the military had taken over the government about once every ten years, in the last couple of decades the return to the barracks appeared to be final.

tr-gaza

By Nathan Shachar

Whatever dividends the fresh Turkish-Israeli rapprochement will bring, it reveals something fundamental about the new Middle East: the number of unknown variables in this ever less predictable environment is steadily growing, and even the most arrogant and unrepentant leaders will have to eat crow from time to time in order to salvage their national interests. Leaders who stand by their words and their principles will be severely handicapped

BURAK BEKDİL

The anecdote, mentioned previously in this column, dates back to more than half a century ago, but it explains some of Turkey’s policy failures today. When, in the late 1950s, Kemal Nejat Kavur was serving as the Turkish ambassador to Moscow, Andrei Gromyko, the then Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs, asked him: “Your Excellency, your country has the highest number of men under arms in Europe. If you turned them against your traditional enemies, the Greeks, they would be too much for them. But if you turned them against us, it would be too small. What’s the reason for this?”


By Gareth H. Jenkins 

There is currently no clear indication as to when President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will leave power but Turkey is now deep into the final – and highly turbulent – stage of his domination of the country’s politics. Even though some features have remained unchanged, Erdoğan has undoubtedly left a lasting impression on both the Turkish state and Turkish society. The fear now is that, as he descends deeper into authoritarianism, Erdoğan will also cause severe damage not only to the social fabric but to what has always been an incipient rather than an established democracy.

MUSTAFA AKYOL
One of the rare good steps the Turkish government took lately was the reconciliation with Israel, which came after six years of low relations. As I noted before, this reconciliation is good for Turkey, good for Israel, and good for the Palestinians as well. For thanks to this agreement, Turkey will be able to send aid and help build infrastructure both in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.


Author Pinar Tremblay
When Istanbul Ataturk Airport was attacked by three suicide bombers June 28, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim appeared on television and said, “Early signs indicate the Islamic State [IS]” was responsible. In the following days, further evidence and arrests by Turkish security forces confirmed a well-planned IS attack. In addition, on June 29, CIA director John Brennan concurred with the Turkish authorities in an interview, also warning there could be similar attacks on American soil.


by Abha Shankar, IPT News

Turkey is mending fences with Egypt and cutting back its support for the Muslim Brotherhood in response to the deadly terror attacks that have struck the country over the past year, The London Times reports.


By ERIC SCHMITT
WASHINGTON — In just the past few days, the Islamic State’s evolving brand of terrorism has revealed its deadly, shifting faces. n Istanbul last week, Turkish officials say, militants guided by the Islamic State conducted a coordinated suicide attack on the city’s main airport. In Bangladesh on Friday, a local extremist group that has pledged loyalty to the Islamic State butchered diners in a restaurant. And in Baghdad on Sunday, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for a bombing that killed more than 140 people.

A Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter jet lands at Incirlik air base in Adana, Turkey. © Murad Sezer

The statement came from Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu during his interview with TRT channel.
The top diplomat has acknowledged that Moscow might be given the green light to use Turkey’s Incirlik airbase to engage Islamic State targets in Syria. As of now, Russian aircraft make their sorties from Khmeimim airbase in Syria’s Latakia province.


 Drop of Light / Shutterstock.com

Turkey on the Ropes
THE SAKER 
This has been an amazing week which saw the first clear sign of the collapse of the EU and Turkish President Erdogan presenting his excuses to Russia for the downing of a Russian SU-24 over Syria 7 month ago. While the latter event was largely eclipsed by the former, it might be the sign of something even more dramatic taking place: the collapse of Turkey.

Politics, Turkey


At the end of fasting for 30 days, Muslims everywhere enjoy Eid al-Fitr, the Arabic name for the celebration marking the end of Ramadan. Turks use the word Bayram, instead of Eid, to mean feast and celebration. The disputes within Turkish society are numerous. First, what is the proper name of the celebration?

Culture, Politics, Turkey


By Zaakir Ahmed Maye

 "Information Clearing House" - The reactions of the Turkish-Israeli rapprochement deal have been have been met with a plethora of emotions. Some Palestinians have argued that despite Turkish rhetoric, national self-interest would always supersede that of the Palestinian people.

 Jobar, a district of Damascus controlled by Jabhat al-Nusra militants

Russia and Turkey have reached common understanding on the Syrian crisis, including fighting al-Nusra Front militants. During a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Ankara considers not only Daesh but also al-Nusra Front as terrorists.

NURAY MERT, hurriyetdailynews
Turkey seems to be changing its foreign policy with new deals with Israel and Russia – two arch enemies until recently. Nevertheless, it would be very misleading to assume that this change is a sign of “moderation.” First of all, these are not deals between moderate, peaceful and democratic countries; Turkey, Russia and Israel have authoritarian regimes and governments which will hardly encourage each other to engage in moderate politics.

Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işık (R) meets his German counterpart Ursula von der Leyen in Ankara. AA photo

ANKARA - Reuters

Germany is pressing Turkey to allow German lawmakers to visit 250 German soldiers stationed at İncirlik Air Base in southern Turkey, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said on June 1, after meeting her Turkish counterpart.


Author Pinar Tremblay

In early April, as renewed fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region made headlines in Turkey, there was little talk of the crucial role of Israeli weapons in the clashes. Only the daily Hurriyet reported on Azerbaijan's use of the Israeli Harop armed drone, which generated Armenian protests.