Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 22, 2016

Turkey - Erdogan Bashing Will Not Stop Foreign Policy Changes

There is currently a lot of Erdogan bashing in the U.S. and European media. It seems that the authors of the hostile pieces would have liked the coup to proceed. Why is a state of emergency and some restriction on human rights in Turkey of concern when the same measures, with less justification, were implemented in France without any protests? The French President Hollande just pushed a new labor law, which the population rejects, through parliament. This without any vote and by using some very murky constitutional provision that are only intended for emergency uses. Where is the protest in "western" media and governments against such undermining of democracy?

The coup in Turkey failed - so far. How that came to be - who planned it, how was it betrayed, why was it botched so very amateurishly - will continue to be puzzling. Some answers seem plausible but there remain many open questions.

But this is of mere historic interest. The Turkish public perceives it as a military coup against the people that thankfully failed. Erdogan (as much as I dislike him) rescued their democracy. That the Gülen movement, under the watch of the CIA, was involved is plausible enough to be taken as truth. Unlike "western" liberals assume, Gülen and his elitist, expensive schools are not liked in Turkey. The secularist see him as a dangerous conservative Islamist, the AKP followers as a deceitful, treacherous competition to their creed, ideals and heroes.

The Turkish public is in shock. That the military would bomb the parliament and gun down civilians in such random ways is unprecedented. That some creepy preacher in the always suspect U.S. was probably behind this is taken as evident. This allows the government to take extraordinary countermeasures. But considering the size of the event and the trauma its has caused Erdogan's response (so far) is rather mild.

The Turkish government has suspended or fired some 40,000 people. Nearly 10,000 were detained, most of which are military rank and file somehow involved in the coup. They will soon be free again. The people suspended and fired are only one percent of the 3,000,000 strong public workforce. An additional 27,000 private teachers had their licenses revoked. These are staff of Gülen's charter schools which are now closed.

After the 1980 military coup in Turkey, (in a population half today's size), the number of detained, fired, convicted and executed were on a much, much higher scale:

  • 650,000 people were under arrest.
  • 1,683,000 people were blacklisted.
  • 230,000 people were tried in 210,000 lawsuits.
  • 7,000 people were recommended for the death penalty.
  • 517 persons were sentenced to death.

The military in 1980 brutally revolutionize the society and pressed it into a strict Kemalist, secular frame. One can see the current counter coup as an attempt to correct, or even undo that revolution.

Compared to the military coup of 1980 the current action by the Erdogan government is very tame. People in Turkey know this and have little concern. "Western" liberal writers, influenced by Gülen elements in high regard in their own societies, ignore that fact. I do not expect Erdogan to go after the secular or nationalist opposition parties as long as these are not under foreign influence. He has a comfortable majority in parliament and no need to shun the democratic mantle. That would only harm his plans for an Islamist, Ottoman Turkey and the further steps towards that.

Of interest now is the future development of Turkey's foreign policy. Electricity to the U.S./NATO base in Incirlik has today been restored after it was stopped for a week without any sound reason. The warning that this was is by now understood. If the U.S., or NATO, make too much trouble they will be kicked out of Turkey. Before the coup Turkey already renewed relations with Russia and Israel. Iran spoke out against the coup while it was still ongoing and the plotters seemed to win. That will give it some bonus points. Turkey pulled back the troops that were illegally stationed in Iraq. All this points to some redirection fo Turkish foreign policy from a solely "western" to a more Eurasian view.

The big question is Syria on which Russia demands that Turkey changes its position. What will Erdogan do with regard to it?

There are signs that he will change his policies there too. There are already reports that Turkish intelligence agents in Syria are in retreat. Turkey may well completely stop the support for the Jihadis and close its borders. The Turkish point man on Syria so far was the intelligence chief Hakan Fide. He was recruiting, supplying and controlling the Jihadis and running the whole show. There are now signs that he will soon get fired. He will be made the fall guy for not detecting the coup early enough:

Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli said on Friday that deep-rooted changes will be made to the National Intelligence Agency of Turkey (MİT).
"It is very clear that there were significant gaps and deficiencies in our intelligence, there is no point trying to hide it or deny it. I told it to the head of national intelligence," President Erdoğan told Reuters in an interview at the presidential palace in Ankara.

Turkey's biggest concern now are the Kurds who seem to have U.S. military support to unite and to organize into an independent state with huge petroleum reserves (pdf).

I expect Turkey to make nice with the governments in Tehran, Baghdad and Damascus (with Russia as the grand power behind) to defeat the common threat of an independent Kurdish state. The plan will be to divide the Kurds into various factions and to instigate these to fight each other. That is usually not difficult. It has worked "well" for hundreds of years and always kept the Kurds from asserting a united national state.

Neither Iran, nor Russia, nor Syria or Iraq will trust Turkey. They will look for any small sign that it might fall back into a hostile position and will be prepared for treason. It will take years for Erdogan to regain good standing with any of them. But he has to start somewhere. The foreign policy of the last years has brought nothing but huge problems for Turkey. The botched coup gives Erdogan the chance to completely change direction and to it fast The U.S., NATO, Saudi Arabia and the UAE will attempt  to undermine those changes. The current Erdogan bashing is part of that. It will fail as it has no echo within Turkey.

Following Iranian advice Erdogan is keeping his people in the streets and plazas. The first attempt of the 1953 CIA coup in Iran on August 15 failed. Four days later another attempt succeeded. The danger for the Turkish democracy is not over.

Posted by b on July 22, 2016 at 16:35 UTC | Permalink


Too late. Putin's already capitulated to Washington. "Moderate" head-choppers will be off-limits to SAA & RuAF.

The U.S. and Russia agreed to a pact last week to target airstrikes against the Al Qaeda affiliate in the region – Nusra Front – despite objections from the Pentagon and CIA. Russia agreed to stop airstrikes on U.S.-backed rebels and restrain the Syrian air campaign. The two sides are still talking about designations where Russia would need U.S. approval to conduct an airstrike.

According to The Wall Street Journal, deal backers in the White House and State Department believe U.S. airstrikes on the Nusra Front in areas that were previously occupied by Russian forces would provide protection for allies in Syria.

The paper tiger strikes again.

Posted by: Mark | Jul 22 2016 16:51 utc | 1

thanks b.. good overview.. you seem to suggest erdogan is playing with a full deck, or that this failed coup awoken him to get it together fast.. you also appear to suggest gulen and the gulen movement is behind this.. i was curious about your thoughts on the gcc's and you've also touched on this a the end.. the situation is very fluid and it remains to be seen how erdogan responds to all these variables. i am not convinced he is going to play his cards right, but as 'somebody' said previously - he is in a difficult place geo-politically and will have to be very adept to not avoid any number of land mines here.

@1 mark... russia is always playing footsie with the usa and their bullshite 'moderate rebel' position.. i wouldn't be discounting russia's longer term game plan here. i think they have their eye clearly on the ball, as opposed to the usa which is an empire in serious decline.

Posted by: james | Jul 22 2016 17:07 utc | 2

Alexander Dugin who previously wrote the book “Forward to the Moscow-Ankara Axis”concluded:

"the Americans understood that Erdogan’s positions, whom they wanted to replace with their direct protege, Davutoglu, would become shaky thanks to a boycott of Russia. Thus, two forces formed in Turkey: one of them was made up of conditional Kemalists, patriots who wanted to immediately restore relations with Russia and then pushed Erdogan to apologize, and the the Gulen sect and other purely pro-American structures who, on the contrary, did everything they could to prevent this."

Melih Gokcek mayor of Ankara, in a meeting with Dugin hours before the coup attempt, said: “We underestimated the power of the parallel state that the Americans and Gulen’s supporters established inside Turkey. This was our mistake. But now we are going to fix it, the first step being new rapprochement with Moscow.”

Posted by: Krollchem | Jul 22 2016 17:32 utc | 3

THANK YOU b for another excellent piece of journalism about the death throes of decadent empire.

Can we call this now the Wag the Dog approach to international politics? With multiple puppet producers.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 22 2016 17:34 utc | 4

The best thing to happen to both the US and Turkey, is for Turkey to leave or be forced to leave NATO and for the US to get all their military assets out of Turkey.

We'll see soon enough if Trump's point that NATO is obsolete resonates in America. If he wins the presidency there will be a roll-back of overseas military missions. It is in the best interest of the US to dissolve NATO and return their military back to US soil and to get out of the Middle East quagmire.

Let the Muslim Brotherhood Islamists and jihadists; the Saudis & Iran; Erdogan and Assad; Sunni & Shia; Muslims & Jews fight it out and come to whatever understanding that makes most sense for them, if they can. There's no reason for the west and in particular the US to be any longer involved as they have proven they aren't a positive force in the region.

Posted by: ab initio | Jul 22 2016 17:39 utc | 5

@ #5
if Trump's point that NATO is obsolete resonates in America. If he wins the presidency there will be a roll-back of overseas military missions.

Ain't going to happen - it is all talk by the guy who does not understand foreign policy let alone geopolitics.

The US of A like to be considered top dog and they won't be like to be at the same level and any other G7 or G20 countries.

May be you didn't see the "mob" last night : USA USA USA

Just see the deal that Ash Carter signed with the kleptocrats: Barzani clan -five bases in Iraqi Kurdistan

Posted by: Yul | Jul 22 2016 17:52 utc | 6

The US of A like to be considered top dog and they won't accept to be at the same level as any other G7 or G20 country.

Posted by: Yul | Jul 22 2016 17:53 utc | 7

re the French law. It has been much watered down, according to report. I haven't studied the details.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 22 2016 18:25 utc | 8

Yul @6
"May be you didn't see the "mob" last night : USA USA USA"

It was more like USA!USA!USA! The Donald's speech hit a lot of high notes but there were several times that I found his ideological thrust unnerving. And the crowd was right out of a Third Reich Beer Hall Putsch mob scene.

Posted by: ALberto | Jul 22 2016 18:30 utc | 9

@ b
Can you tell us what is happening in Munich?
The English language MSM are not up-to-date and there are conflicting news. Thanks

Posted by: Yul | Jul 22 2016 18:33 utc | 10

Mark @1 Quoting Faux News - thanks for the laugh.

The base the Russian struck several times was a base for US and Biritish special forces inside Syria. The Russians waited until the British forces left before they bombed it to shit - twice. That was to make a point and it was received by the US. It was bombed because the US refused to provide coordinates for their bases. You can bet they will not do that again.

The Russians don't care that the US tries to save face by issuing this bs over Faux News.

Posted by: Yonatan | Jul 22 2016 18:37 utc | 11

Idiotic and disgusting from b.

So the Turks are rescuing their democracy with even more dispicable authoritarianism! That's as gross as John Kerry saying that military dictatorship in Egypt was ' restoring democracy ' . Well done b your in great company this time.
Turkey is no way near a democracy before; repression of dissent and political expression and open media, racist laws against the Kurds and so much more. And that antidemocratic nature is now worse after the failed coup. b exactly knows this, but he puts his unprincipled interest in geopolitics of anyone who stands up against the evil US Empire.

The Turks have the "rescued" their "democracy" but the Syrian Kurds don't get a democracy if it was up to b. All they are Unhuman beings with no sovereign human rights and merely pawns is to be exploited.. despicable.
Same for the Palestinians b ?

This was atrocious. B should be hammered in the comment section but the cult is strong here.

Posted by: tom | Jul 22 2016 18:48 utc | 12

Thats Turkish Kurds, Iraqi as well as Syrian Kurds, as well as any other Kurds that deserve the human rights in full.

Posted by: tom | Jul 22 2016 18:51 utc | 13

Yul @6

That's exactly the point. USA! USA! USA! as far as Trump is concerned is focusing on US interests first. That means if you have heard him during the primary campaign is for the US to reduce its foreign military activities. During the South Carolina primary debate he went out of his way to debunk the George Bush mythology by stating that the US would have been better of with Saddam in power. Yet, he won that primary. He talked about the trillions spent on misadventures in the Middle East that should have been spent at home. His America First idea at least as far as what he said over the past year is to scrap globalism and move towards more bilateralism.

Posted by: ab initio | Jul 22 2016 19:05 utc | 14

Excellent piece.
Right on the money, in my opinion.
Interesting that you find no mention of this foreign policy shift anywhere in the media,
Sadly, Erdogan will manage to save his own hide, bit if thats the price to pay for greater stability in the region, so be it. Lets face it, whatever agreements are reached locally, no one country is going to trust Turkey any more than it absolutely has to.
Lets hope this cracks NATO membership resolve and EU MP resolve sufficiently to start challenging the aggressive anti-Russian stances of both.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jul 22 2016 19:05 utc | 15

re Turkish policy towards Syria and Iraq.

All is unstable now, so a clear policy is unlikely. You mention a report from that the KRG Kurds have agreed to American bases. A more important point is that according to them the Americans have agreed to pay the Peshmerga for ten years. Right now the the Peshmerga haven't been paid for months, perhaps more than a year. The Kurds' need is to pay the Peshmerga. They will agree to anything. They are bankrupt.

All this stuff about the Kurds being wealthy from oil is baloney. Even if all the new fields were within Kurdish territory, which they are not, they haven't had chance to develop them, when ISIS is 200 m away. Nothing has happened. KRG is still bankrupt.

Even if this were possible, the oil price has gone down so far that everyone is retrenching. Someone I know in the museum in Qatar says they have reduced from 200 to 35 people. Someone else's Iraqi parents in Baghdad have had their retirement pensions cut in half.

The US paying for Middle Easterners. Pull the other one.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 22 2016 19:14 utc | 16

The list of many open questions is rather troubling. It seems quite possible that the coup leaders weren't merely betrayed but that they were set-up - induced/entrapped.

And what of the tweet by MSNBC producer (from a "Senior US military official) that started the asylum rumors? It may have HELPED Erdogan by causing those who are anti-Erdogan to reveal themselves (and then subject to 'purge'/detention). A mere 90 minutes after this tweet, Obama himself gave a pro-Erdogan statement (supporting the "elected government" and urging restraint).

This tweet has been deleted and anyone asking Kyle Gibbins (the author, an MSNBC editor/producer) has blocked anyone that asks about the tweet. Sibel Edmonds is attempting to force MSNBC is retract the tweet instead of just disappearing it/ignoring that it was sent out.

Also, those who heeded Erdogan's call to take to the streets seemed to be Erdogan/AKP loyalists and were greatly aided by the fact that the troops had been told that it was only a drill. Were they really 'saving democracy' or participating in a ruse?

For all these reasons and more, it seems premature to say:

Erdogan (as much as I dislike him) rescued their democracy.


Compared to the military coup of 1980 the current action by the Erdogan government is very tame.

Erdogan's has moved to consolidate power for years with purges, crackdowns on free press and opposition, and more. During this time, the US/West has basically looked the other way, happy with Erdogan's continued support.

This latest purge only completes his 'coup' and gives him dictatorial power. We don't yet know how he will use that. Or how genuine is his turn away from the US/West/Sunni Alliance.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 22 2016 19:19 utc | 17

"Compared to the military coup of 1980 the current action by the Erdogan government is very tame. People in Turkey know this and have little concern."

While it may be tame in comparison to the military coup of 1980, people certainly have more than "a little concern". What may appear to be "little concern", is anything but. Many people who don't support AKP, and a majority don't, are very concerned. But many of them have been weaned on the horror stories of the 1980s and are afraid to actively oppose Erdogans slow but inexorable slide to dictatorship.

I've heard from my contacts in both business and academia that many people and organizations are working to minimize risks. Sometimes this has included academics "cleaning" their offices of any material that might have them rounded up or reported by a student for removal. Surely not an action being taken by someone with little concern. Corporations have called together meetings to assess the impact to their business, which can be extreme once the crack down leaves the public sphere and begins to interfere with corporate dealings. Several of my contacts in finance have told me that they are doing there own vetting and have noted which individuals are Gulen sympathizers. One even mentioned that more than fifteen percent of their portfolio could be considered strong supporters of Gulen, and their businesses would probably be seized. They are waiting for this as one already has the cases of Bank Asya and Zaman to study. One even mentioned "those who wanted to support Hizmet the most dealt solely with Bank Asya, those companies are certainly going to get liquidated"

And the above doesn't include the stories of Turks buying one way tickets. I've heard of half a dozen in my small network that have already done so. I wish many of them luck in Argentina and Uruguay.

Everyone who can get out, or imagines they can, is investigating ways of doing so (and preparing as well). Even some that support AKP are doing this, as they know Turkey will grow increasingly unstable in the next year. Quite a few expect things to grow so bad that a civil war is a likely outcome.

Posted by: In Istanbul | Jul 22 2016 19:25 utc | 18

Al Jazeera just finished broadcasting an Address to the nation by Erdogan. During the part I caught he promised to focus on stabilising the economy and warned that the Govt won't tolerate Gouging by the merchant class when shortages arise. He also ripped into Standard & Poors for downgrading Turkey's credit rating and described their action as unsolicited interference and blatantly political.He's optimistic that 3 months of crackdown will be enough...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 22 2016 19:26 utc | 19


Idiotic and disgusting from b.

Thanks for adding to the discussion.

So the Turks are rescuing their democracy with even more dispicable authoritarianism!

The "authoritarianism" of Erdogan so far was getting elected several times. As for other dirty means by which he plays - having watched Turkish internal policy for decades he is by no means an exception. Pretty dirty playing by all sides with the military dictators being the very, very worst.

I wonder what you would have seen as alternative? The military winning the coup? There would be blood streaming on the streets now all over Turkey, a civil war in the making and the "cleanup" would have been 10 times as large as the one playing out now.

The Turks have the "rescued" their "democracy" but the Syrian Kurds don't get a democracy if it was up to b.

The Syrian Kurds have their democratic vote in Syria. Just like Kurds elsewhere have their votes in their country (except in the kurdish ruled KRG - Barzani ignores all voting.) What is wrong with that?

There are very sound reasons why there never was a Kurdish national state. Ask Saladin. It is impossible to set up one Kurdistan. It would be civil war from day one until the end. Too many different Kurdish people, too many clans/mafias who have hated and fought each other for centuries, extremely diverse powerful political groups with guns - from Islamists to anarchists. Do we really need to repeat a South Sudan experiment?

Posted by: b | Jul 22 2016 19:28 utc | 20

One might well wonder if this strange coup is another instance of CIA-Pentagon being at odds with each other.

CIA supporting Erdogan and headchoppers while Pentagon supports Kurds(YPG/YPJ) and Erdogan coup?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 22 2016 19:28 utc | 21

Very disappointing. Did b lost his ability of rational thinking? Unlikely so why this infantilization of otherwise intelligent readers.

No. It was not a CIA coup as that one of 1980 was with its massive and brutal repression against communists, Kurds PKK and ISLAMISTS, yes Islamists for sake of NATO and geopolitics.

Comparing what CIA coup organizers did to what a so called democratic subject of a coup does is comparing apples and oranges. Erdogan had a prepared list and one way or another he would have use it, and he needed a staged coup to do it.

This is classical Hitler and Reichstag fire, emergency rule, jail or kill opposition to prepare for parliament vote or elections.

And those innuendos about him reorienting to the east. Of course Obama is sick and tired of him and it showed in Warsaw but they will not let him go nor he want to go, it is all about his autocratic power and money extortion from DC..
Since when US has an issue with despotic dictators.
Also it is unlikely that any changes to Syria are coming unless Assad goes since US will not let go.

Posted by: Kalen | Jul 22 2016 19:33 utc | 22

Posted by: tom | Jul 22, 2016 2:48:31 PM | 12

You've gotta be kidding.
Unlike your good self, the only thing b is really bad at is being wrong.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 22 2016 19:35 utc | 23

BBC reporting that perhaps up to 3 shooters attacked civiians in Olympia shopping mall in Hamburg. Locals told to stay in their homes (I hate the Homeland Security Dept's phrase "shelter in place".

6 reported dead, many injured. Witness said many shot in McDonald's in mall. One shooter shot by police; said to be aligned with some Islamic terrorist group, based on...?.

Public transit shut down. People told to walk home. Hashtag started giving locations of people willing to put up people overnight.

As with all such situations, things will probably change as more facts are turned up.

Posted by: jawbone | Jul 22 2016 19:38 utc | 24

I agree b. Thanks for putting things on perspective.
The second coup is already under way. It is a financial one. Billions of dollars are fleeing the country. Ratings are being revised to junk level. This will put heavy pressure on Erdogan. It's the price one pays for not comply with imperial orders.

Posted by: Pnyx | Jul 22 2016 19:41 utc | 25

Re: the Turey situation -- I would like to see the nukes removed from Incirlik, given that it is difficult to know what will come in near future. However, I have no idea how difficult it is to transport those nukes, given the security issues, weight, etc.

I understand these bombs can be calibrated to give off different levels of radiation. Interesting. I guess if one is used near an ally, they'd go for the lower level? Or something?

Posted by: jawbone | Jul 22 2016 19:42 utc | 26

Erdogan has demonstrated that it is not out of the question, in future, to kick US and NATO out of Turkey. He has shown how he can create a lot of room for maneuver, in political terms, by compromising with Russia, and turning away from some military adventure in Syria and Iraq.

While I appreciate the quality and detail of b's post, I am not convinced in the first paragraph by the implied equivalence of France's and Turkey's state of emergency measures. The French public will remain fully engaged in its argument with the government, concerning the new labor law. France has not had a military coup. No bombing of the French Parliament. by elements of its military.

One does not have to look very hard to see that in the present climate, in Turkey, any further political argument with Erdogan is moot.

Posted by: Copeland | Jul 22 2016 19:54 utc | 28

re 18.

Many people who don't support AKP, and a majority don't, are very concerned.
Really? AKP is not the majority, when it has won several elections?

Isn't it indeed the problem that westernised Turks of Taksim don't like what Erdogan represents? Erdogan is becoming increasingly mad and authoritarian, but that has nothing to do with his policy. It's a personal thing. He's become quite nutty.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 22 2016 19:58 utc | 29

Another false implication in b's first paragraph comes when he writes:

Why is a state of emergency and some restriction on human rights in Turkey of concern when the same measures, with less justification, were implemented in France without any protests?

For one thing, "some restriction of human rights" is a rather glaring understatement. I mean, using the army to take over the offices of a large daily newspaper, ham-handed censorship, persecuting and prosecuting journalists for exposing the state's collusion with ISIS, removing immunity from prosecution from members of parliament;--can we admit those measures are "restrictions of human rights?

Moreover, Erdogan's outlandish actions, and other human rights restrictions, were fully used by him before this ridiculously bungled coup took place. And as we see in the aftermath, further, and more comprehensive restrictions are being carried out.

There is a continuity of emergency measures in Turkey. Where exactly did it first pick up?--and where does it end?

Posted by: Copeland | Jul 22 2016 20:31 utc | 30

re 29:

It certainly doesn't have the support of the majority of people on the ground. What it gets in elections, is a different story. They have resorted to all sorts of cheap tricks and gimmicks to suppress alternative understandings. One glaring example being the banning of any use of Taksim square by organizers that don't agree with the governments position. For the last week, it has been in use by their own supporters, furthermore, they've instituted things like waving transit fares to make sure that any rallies held are well attended.

I'd be curious to see how many people would actually turn up if they had to pay 6TL for the luxury of doing so...

CHP, a large opposition party, has called for a rally to take place this Sunday at Taksim. We will get a good glimpse of what sort of opposition numbers will show, and what happens when the joyriding islamists and beer drinking seculars mix.

Posted by: In Istanbul | Jul 22 2016 20:57 utc | 31

Even before the Reichstag Fire, it had become difficult for German political parties other than the Nazis to hold meetings and rallies in the weeks leading up to the elections in early March 1933.

It'll be interesting to see how that CHP meeting comes off.

Posted by: lysias | Jul 22 2016 21:22 utc | 32

Even in the latest Turkish election, in November 2015, in which Erdogan's AKP party did so well, it only got 49.5% of the vote. AKP ended up getting 58% of the seats in the Meclis, the Turkish parliament, because the Turkish political system, like most parliamentary systems, magnifies the number of seats the leading party gets, especially in a multiparty system.

Posted by: lysias | Jul 22 2016 21:27 utc | 33

@Pnyx The second coup is already under way. It is a financial one.

Yuo. The politicized U.S. rating agencies immediately downgraded Turkey. Not just a coincidence.

@Copeland One does not have to look very hard to see that in the present climate, in Turkey, any further political argument with Erdogan is moot.

I doubt that. Erdogan never gained a majority. The Turkish election system has high threshold for parties to make it into parliament (10% now, 15% before). AKP usually gets some 35-40% of the votes. Enough for a parliamentary majority but it still needs support of others. Erdogan can not afford to turn all opposition off and to become a dictator.

Erdogan could call his Islamist storm troopers onto the street. But he then would lose lots of voters who elect him for different (economic) issues than Islamism. The streets would not stay quiet. There would be lots of resistance and not only by PKK Kurds.

For one thing, "some restriction of human rights" is a rather glaring understatement. I mean, ...

What you list are all things done before the state of emergency. Dirty politics for sure. Lots of censorship and fudging with the courts. No party in Turkey is innocent of such behavior.

What Erdogan is doing now seems justified. France had a few terror attacks. Turkey had 18 of those and a very hard ball military coup. He needs measures to prevent a follow up coup.

BTW: There have been local states of emergency like laws in the south east for quite some time now while the military destroys whole cities to dig out PKK youth fighting there. That, also, is something all parties (except PKK aligned) in Turkey have done before.

Again - I certainly don't like Erdogan. He is an Islamist. I condemn him for the war on Syria and the war on Kurds. But he isn't the devil. He is a typical Turkish politician with a lot of experience in a very dirty system.

What the media currently do with him is the same routine they use with Putin. They try to make him illegitimate in the eyes of the "western" public. That makes justifying a later coup much easier.

Posted by: b | Jul 22 2016 21:48 utc | 34

Excellent post, b!

I think you've got most of it quite right.

Posted by: FB Ali | Jul 22 2016 21:51 utc | 35

It's hard for me to accept that Erdogan is just another Turkish politician, that fascism is normal in Turkey, but maybe that's true. I never paid much attention to Turkey pre-Erdogan. I have noticed the West running Erdogan down post-coup. I have noticed the West ignoring the rise of fascism in France. In France, the UK, and the USA.

There's Erdogan and then there's Turkey. It certainly looks as though the West is out to bring Erdogan down. Lavrov's statement was a wakeup call to Erdogan, Hey, you're in a world of s**t. Here's the behavior we expect to change - for real - if you want help from us. I think that Iraq, Iran, and Syria are on the same page. The Russians have been sympathetic to the Kurds. I hope that it is not 'necessary' to make 'the Kurds' the common enemy for all those countries to pull together against the US/EU/NATO/KSA/GCC. I can see them pulling together against the US' Kurds - the US' Kurd stooges - in Iraq. But to make the Kurds the people we all hate together is a step backwards. Throwing the Kurds under the bus is not only unjust, it is propping open a chasm that has to close for there to be real peace in the region. Seems to me.

And the region needs peace more than anything else. It's in ruins, thanks to the US and the evil dwarves in NATO. Hatreds have been fanned white hot. It needs the balm of justice and tolerance. If you want justice you must be tolerant yourself. It may be cold-blooded tolerance and justice at first - it must be - but if it gets a start peoples' hearts will warm to it in relief. They're all much to familiar with the alternative.

Never forget that all this monstrous evil was caused and is maintained by the US neo-cons. They need to be put right next to the German NAZIs in the 'pantheon' of human horror, of the gods gone wrong.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 22 2016 22:30 utc | 36

jfl @36--
"Never forget that all this monstrous evil was caused and is maintained by the US neo-cons. They need to be put right next to the German NAZIs in the 'pantheon' of human horror, of the gods gone wrong."

Within the context of the US elections, too many people who know better have developed a case of amnesia when it comes to Clinton and Trump--Clinton being a full-blooded neocon crazy while Trump has vowed to end their craziness--and attempt to flip their positions. Trump vows to bring law and order home again, but to do so he must eliminate the causes of disorder--domestically, it's the economy and rigged system; overseas, it's the ongoing attempt at Full Spectrum Domination driving global disorder. Trump has lots of fans overseas because of this policy outlook, while the media--owned by the neocons--attempts to obfuscate and demonize since that's the only tools it has.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 22 2016 23:22 utc | 37

@37 karlof

I certainly agree that the media are 'demonizing' Trump - and that he's helping them, trying to use their opposition as his strength. But the media are only demonizing Trump in support of Clinton and the neo-cons. I view Trump as a nihilist, absolutely in the game for his own interests and of no 'political persuasion' at all. That is different from the neo-cons, in that they are committed, to their own vile political ideology and to all the death, devastation, destruction, and deceit that its realization entails. Just as the NAZIs were, sixty or seventy years ago.

There's no real way of knowing whether a Trump presidency would be worse than a Clinton presidency, and people are allowing themselves to be attracted by that uncertainty ... maybe it wouldn't be. Maybe it would be marginally better. I can't support Trump on that basis, but I know how evil a Clinton presidency will be and the prospect of Trump beating her somehow cannot drive me into her corner.

My hope, of course, is that a plurality of us will pin the tail not on the elephant or on the donkey but on the no-to-Trump, no-to-Clinton candidates who are also in the running. If we cannot vote for the other names on our ballots then we can, we must, write-in the name of someone we do want to be president.

We must finally, unequivocally reject the Clinton-Trump show and all the horrid neo-con death, devastation, and destruction that we've allowed to go on for the past 15 years, and longer.

If somehow the Green or Libertarian candidate is elected, so be it. As with Trump, we will then see what happens.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 22 2016 23:51 utc | 38

Funny that suddenly the ISIS attacks in Turkey have stopped and no one even mentions them as a possible threat!
My take is that ISIS and other Islamists are in wait and see to check how serious Erdogan is in decreasing secularism to move toward a more Islamic Republic.
If he does not crack down on well on the "seculars" including the liberal life style then the probability of recurrence of ISIS inspired terrorist attacks will grow.
If he cracks down well he will create a split in the society and terrify the liberal Turks who refuses the religious ruling. They will be forced either to emigrate or vote out the AKP in favor of other less religious party. Erdogan would not hold an election soon as he may loose.

Some Turks are reporting now that the government discourse is changing to become less divisive ( them and us), but as the government has become the hostage of the Islamists that make the majority of the voters, one wonders how long that can hold before cracking again.
Erdogan is walking on a very thin line.

Posted by: virgile | Jul 22 2016 23:55 utc | 39

I apologize in rising to the bait ... perhaps casting the line myself ... and dragging in the messy bone of the US elections onto the rug in the middle of a much needed thread on Turkey, Russia, the Wahabists and the Middle East.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 22 2016 23:55 utc | 40

@39 virgile

It's up to Erdogan, isn't it? If he indulges his fantasies everyone will pay for his indulgence. I hope he listens to what Lavrov is really saying to him.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 23 2016 0:00 utc | 41

The Turks who went in the street thought that it was a fascist coup but they have not realized that the democracy they were defending is a fake democracy. Besides voting, Turkey is as democratic as Saudi Arabia. All the institutions have been grabbed by the autoritarian regime. The last outpost were the army and the Universities. Now this is done.

The coup, if it has succeeded may have been a success because Erdogan would have been eliminated and the country may have found some unity again without such a divisive figure.
The Turks now have to choose between the dictatorship from a man or from the religion.
Welcome to the Islamic Republic of Turkey

Posted by: virgile | Jul 23 2016 0:11 utc | 42

I'm with b. Erdogan is always in survival mode- if anyone can handle a declension of the west and detente with Russia and all that entails, it's him. He's still there.

Russia and Turkey have fought twelve wars against each other. They probably don't won't a thirteenth.

The entire western world is whistling past the graveyard, fighting about who will be the end-boss.

Posted by: hejiminy cricket | Jul 23 2016 0:21 utc | 43


I think Erdogan is cornered. He owes too much to the Islamist supporters that saved him from the secular military. If he cracks down on ISIS and other Islamists and become too obedient to Russia, the Islamists will send violent warning messages and will not hesitate to get rid of him if he persists.
The next "coup" may be the physical elimination of Erdogan

Posted by: virgile | Jul 23 2016 0:23 utc | 44

I continue to submit that Erdogan may act in changed ways moving forward, and that we can only wait to see if this is so. And it might be the generous thing to give him some time to adapt to altered circumstances. But what is fact is that he now moves in much more exalted company than he did 2 weeks ago - Russia, Iran, Syria, and these are just the top players in the immediate area. The world also watches and calculates.

I like this analysis by b - I agree with it entirely, except that I have one slightly different thought about the Kurds.

Russia is a peacemaker, and the building of peace, rather than the creating of wars, is what she does. There is a great distinction between these two activities. Iran, I believe, is a nation that doesn't war by choice, and I assume the same about Syria. So this is the axis of peace, and Turkey even before the putsch made its own, voluntary overtures to join it.

There may be rough patches as Turkey reforms its ways into regional stability, becoming, instead of an empire, simply one single ship of state, as ancient as the others. And all lifted equally by the same rising tide.

b says "The plan will be to divide the Kurds into various factions and to instigate these to fight each other." I can't see this as the way of Russia - or at least, the way of Putin. Something more elegant must be fashioned to allow the Kurds a way to live on (what I assume are) their ancestral lands, in harmony with all the others of ancient descent.

I look forward to watching Russia build peace, brick by brick, out of all this potential.

Posted by: Grieved | Jul 23 2016 0:27 utc | 45

Turkey gives space to Germany in the Incirlik base

Any connection with the Munich shooting?

Posted by: virgile | Jul 23 2016 0:42 utc | 46

jfl @38--
"If somehow the Green or Libertarian candidate is elected, so be it. As with Trump, we will then see what happens."

Agreed. His acceptance speech was a rather mixed bag, but he was very strong in his being totally opposed to Clinton's neocon policies. His vow to restore law and order would require him to arrest and charge Obama, Clinton, W, Cheney, and a whole lot more to make it valid.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 23 2016 0:45 utc | 47

Sorry you feel like you were baited, jfl. I won't bother you again.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 23 2016 0:47 utc | 48

Turkey has quite rich "fascist" tradition. Ataturk was authoritarian and introduced one party state. Hatred of Kurds, Greeks and Armenians was pretty much institutionalized. Strangely enough, the one-party of Ataturk evolved, without changing name, into the "leftist" CHP of today. In 70-ties a more fascist movement emerged with youth organization being Gray Wolves (Gray She-wolf was a totemic animal of ancient Turks who had wolf head on their standards, they emerged as a nation in todays Mongolia, "Ergenokon" refers to a mythical earlier period). MHP is mixing authoritarian Kemalism with Sunni bigotry (e.g. they scored some pogroms of Alevis.)

AKP started its political rule as "moderate Islamist" (like equal rights for women that wear scarfs), tolerant and "modernizing". Since the "big bad military coup" already made largest steps in modernizing the economy, these were not huge changes, as far as I could figure, he attracted a lot of Islamic investments from the Gulf that created a boom in real estate sectors and allowed to balanced the budget and leave some spare for impressive public works, and larger opening of European market lead to some industrializing boom. Friendly business tycoons made fortunes, and they got all types of necessary permits by having their own mini-media empires very friendly to AKP. Sponsoring mosque building was appreciated as well.

In recent years, particularly after the split with Hizmet, AKP was increasing authoritarian and "fascist". For starters, the split started from revelations on huge corruption which were strangely selective but most probably real. I perceive selectivity because the revealed bribes were Iranian, while I am pretty certain that Gulf bribes were (and are) larger. (I theorize two non-exclusive reason, Hizmet is Sunni Islamist after all, and it is in co-dependency with CIA, which is in co-dependency with the Gulf royals). Erdogan boldly ordered a huge purge in police and judiciary, so it is a bit strange that even larger purge is on order today. Large part of people on purge lists are probably some opponents of blanket corruption and arbitrary confiscations. Same with purge of the media: Hizmet-related media is long gone! And while private schools are probably in large proportion related to Hizmet, the purge in public universities is more related to the opposition of the war with Kurds that is breadth taking in brutality and concept (basically, whack them to submission).

More fascistic symptoms: youth wing strangely similar to Gray Wolves, providing muscle to intimidate opposition. Using word "Armenian" in cursing the opposition. E.g. when a Kurdish town was locked down, police trumpeted from bullhorns: "You are all Armenian". Mayor of Ankara routinely uses word "Armenian" to denigrate opponents. So in more personal and less formal communications all opponents are "Armenian", and in more official speech, "Gulenist".

We also know well how cozy was Erdogan with ISIS. He was literally foaming at his mouth when Americans prevented ISIS from wiping out Kurds of Kobane. Under the watch of Erdogan's stooges, ISIS was recruiting widely in Turkey, both "foreign tourists" and local (one mostly Kurdish province has a very large percentage of sympathizers) and in due time, ISIS was unleashed on HDP Kurds (the disclosed pattern was that ISIS fighters were returning to Turkey, then interrogated, then let to roam free and finally bombing HDP meetings, killing scores, which led to the end of "political process" and war. This war was necessary to regain the parliamentary majority, and to secure the cooperation of the "traditional fascists" of MHP.

So Turkey became a purge society where incorrect election results are corrected with violence and media confiscations. Kurds who were forced to abandon villages by the previous bad military rulers are now forced to abandon cities that are pacified Roman style (they make desert and they call it peace). As b duly noted, the purges were mild, but that just means that they are repeated often. One version of the recent events is that the government prepared a huge list of officers to be purged to "prevent a coup", and the list was leaked convincing some officers on the list to stage the coup. And while the purges are bloodless by old standards (say, elimination of Janissaries or Stalin's purges), they are strange. Governors are nominated, and of less than 100, 30 are on new purge list. ALL university deans, as approved by ALL university presidents. Who presumably will be purged next. There is a method in this madness, but also madness in the method.

And now, the silver lining: Erdogan may abandon his hitherto favorite project, supporting violent regime change in Syria, so he can pray in Umayyad mosque with a fellow Sunni head of state being the host. THAT may be a bit hard. The combination of purges and incorrect foreign policy is frowned upon in the West, but West is far from the energetic force of the past. Turkey can play the "Russian card", "refugee card" etc. Gulf money that props the balance of payment and the real estate market is harder to placate, and in combination, they can drive Turkish economy to standstill, in spite of all the opportunities in Iran and Russia. And Erdogan still has a dream. (He also dreamed of the mosque in Cuba, described by Columbus, probably a rock with pinnacles, and offered to build a mosque there to make it more of a reality, Cuban authorities gently declined.) Thus I suspect that the "opening to Eurasia" will be limited to pipeline deals, which should not be a problem but the West has its own sanity issues.

A little fantasy projection: South Stream mutates into Turkish Stream and reaches the shores of Rumelia, continues through Greece, and then is blocked by FYROM under mighty pressure of the West. Then Greece plays the trump card: lets Macedonia call itself Macedonia, so FYROM is no more. Greek nationalists and all the little schoolchildren that learned FYROM name are despondent.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 23 2016 1:58 utc | 49

Re: My comment @ 24 -- Oops. Shooting in Munich, not Hamburg. I was in a hurry to get to an appt, and on the way heard that the Munich police stated there was no info at that time linking the shooter(s) to ISIS or other terrorists.

Posted by: jawbone | Jul 23 2016 2:38 utc | 50

Bashar al-Assad, speaking of Turkey to Cuba's Prensa Latina: "But what is more important than the coup d’état itself, we have to look at the procedures and the steps that are being taken by Erdogan and his coterie recently during the last few days, when they started attacking the judges; they removed more than 2,700 judges from their positions, more than 1,500 professors in the universities, more than 15,000 employees in the education sector.
"What do the universities and the judges and that civil society have to do with the coup d’état? So, that reflects the bad intentions of Erdogan and his misconduct and his real intentions toward what happened, because the investigation hasn’t been finalized yet. How did they take the decision to remove all those?
"So, he used the coup d’état in order to implement his own extremist agenda, Muslim Brotherhood agenda, within Turkey, and that is dangerous for Turkey and for the neighboring countries, including Syria."
Re: The Kurds. The world is full of tribes that would like their own country. The Kurds are one of the largest of these groups, although they are divided in language, form of govt and the Iraqi Kurds are known to have recently plotted a massacre against the Syrian Kurds. Syria took in the Kurds when they were driven from Turkey; they were allowed to settle and given the same rights as all sectors of Syrian society. Their leadership thinks they would like to take some of Syria's land and a big chunk of the oil that belongs to the Syrian people. Even if you label this "democracy" it's not just. They have democracy now; what they want is theft.
Personally, I've never had any doubt that the mobsters who run the US want to break up Turkey. Here's the Gulen-Powell map provided by agreement in 2003 to which Erdogan was a party. President Gül signed the secret document on 2 April 2003 during his term as Turkish Foreign Minister. In a TV Interview on 24 May 2004 Gül confessed to the secret agreement but the fact has been kept well outside mainstream media coverage and the political discourse ever since.

Posted by: Penelope | Jul 23 2016 4:51 utc | 51

"The travel ban for academics and the suspension of teachers’ licenses comes amidst a nation-wide, sweeping purge against alleged coup plotters, demands to re-instate the death penalty, and to do so swiftly to bring traitors to justice.

"Ironically, Gülenists have been linked to the planting of false evidence during the so-called Ergenekon and Balyoz trials against several hundred, republican and secular military officers. The accused were acquitted by the supreme court. However, the decapitation of the secular – republican cadres in Turkey’s officer corps had succeeded.

"Firing all of Turkey’s 1,555 deans is, according to critics, not merely aiming at purging Gülenists and / or coup plotters. nsnbc has spoken with a professor at Gaziantep University who wishes to remain anonymous. Professor (NN) stresses that the purge of academics is likely to affect secular academics, scholars, intellectuals as well as teachers, who have been vocal about the AKP’s Islamization of the education system, that among others, encourages girls to leave school at an early age while researchers at Gaziantep University found that about one in every three marriages in Turkey is a child marriage."

Posted by: Penelope | Jul 23 2016 4:53 utc | 52

@Piotr Berman - excellent synopsis

@grieved - b says "The plan will be to divide the Kurds into various factions and to instigate these to fight each other." I can't see this as the way of Russia - or at least, the way of Putin. Something more elegant must be fashioned to allow the Kurds a way to live on (what I assume are) their ancestral lands, in harmony with all the others of ancient descent. -

Russia is against partitioning of existinb states. The Kurds will not get one country if Russia has a say in it. The solution Russia supports is federalism within the exiting state.

The Kurds have been robbing lots of Arab land in recent times. Kirkuk in Iraq and also in Syria. That this has been ancestral Kurdish land before is mostly a myth. The areas were always extremely mixed. Kirkuk will not stay in Kurdish hand s if any Arab Iraqi has a say in it. There might be a war over this.

Posted by: b | Jul 23 2016 5:49 utc | 53

It is disingenuous to call the method of passing a new labor law in France "authoritarian". First, it is their constitution, which was designed to fit the grand figure of Charles de Gaul. Second, the procedure is not outside the scope of checks and balances.

I have impression that the State of Emergency is somewhat cosmetic in Turkey. The judicial system got "modernized" is such a way that people can be kept for months in jail without much problem, and impressive purges were introduced before SoE. It is a bit like "Presidential system" that Erdogan craves. If you managed to get the position of unquestioned leader of a majority party, you may have an official position of "member of Parliament without a ministerial portfolio (current situation in Poland) or "a retired officer" (the situation for years in Poland between the war and a direct inspiration of the current one). Erdogan revels in pomp, and his followers like it.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 23 2016 7:10 utc | 54

@49 pb, 'And Erdogan still has a dream.'

Thanks for the synopsis. The present fascist's dream is what looks to be the fly in the ointment to me. I realize that Russia looks and sees Turkey, not so much Erdogan, just as it looks and sees Syria, and not so much Assad, but how can Russians justify sinking the dough into pipelines to / in Turkey when Erdogan's dreams are likely to resurface at the end and discover them to be Turkish property, one way or another? The same goes for all cooperative ventures involving Erdogan.

@53 b,

I realize Russia's federal dreams and my hat's off to Russia for taking such an approach. The other approach - new borders, winners / losers - is not at all practicable, so, while very difficult, the federated approach is at least not impossible. It does seem to have had a long history in the Soviet Union? It requires compromise on all sides. I wonder what level of backwardness and destruction it will take before all the 'players' concede that compromise is the way forward?

I'm afraid that here, too, Erdogan is just not up to it. But I imagine that Russia has the patience to await a Turk who is. Perhaps the Syrian, Iraqi, Iranian / Kurdish problems can be solved first.

Thanks to both b and Pyotr for sharing the wealth.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 23 2016 8:28 utc | 55

The Russians are feelin' their oats ...

Victory over terrorists in Syria on the horizon: Russian FM

“The situation in Syria has seriously changed in the past seven months, and preconditions have emerged for us to defeat terrorists and to organize the truest intra-Syria dialogue, so that only Syrians themselves could decide the future of their country,” Lavrov said on Friday.

We don't need no stinkin' round table of the non-Syrians in Switzerland/

“Iraq was not broken, Libya was not broken, Syria was not broken. They (Western powers) started to fix the situation, and they got what is happening there now,” Lavrov said.

What can be added to that ...

The Russian foreign minister also described the potential disruption of "the ethno-confessional balance" in Syria as outrageous.

“The Middle East is the place where the three divine religions of Islam, Judaism and Christianity have co-existed for thousands of years. What is happening in Syria now threatens to destroy the ethno-confessional balance, which has endured despite deadly wars," Lavrov said, adding, “If we witness the disruption of this balance in our time, it would be a disgrace for all of us.”

Yes. The direct refutation of IS ... and of Israel.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 23 2016 8:56 utc | 56

@48, karlof

I'm sorry Karlof. It was my own, before your post, that took the thread off-topic.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 23 2016 8:58 utc | 57


and to it fast -- should read

and do it fast

Posted by: Ronald | Jul 23 2016 15:41 utc | 58

Thank you, b, for this very insightful summary.

We see now that Erdogan has been busy after the coup taking care of the domestic public opinion, knowing that internationally Russia and her allies have his back now - to a degree. His internal support seem cemented, soon he will make probably moves to clean his image abroad.

For me the MIT was the missing piece of the puzzle - it's them who are behind the Turkish involvement in the carnage in Syria and Iraq.

The news about MIT HQ under attack during the semi-coup did it fit, I guess it was just more of "fog of war" being spread around the whole issue.

It would be really interesting what has been happening happened in Incirlic, the crux of the plot.

Posted by: ProPeace | Jul 23 2016 20:59 utc | 59

should be "did NOT fit".

There cannot be peace in the ME without cleansing the MIT.

Posted by: ProPeace | Jul 23 2016 21:01 utc | 60

@60 pp, 'It would be really interesting what has been happening happened in Incirlic, the crux of the plot.'

'It would be really interesting [to know] what has been happening / happened in Incirlic, the crux of the plot.' I guess? If so, I agree. It's always interesting to know what's happened anywhere.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 24 2016 1:03 utc | 61

@49 piotr.. thanks for that..

Posted by: james | Jul 24 2016 1:06 utc | 62

Re: CIA/NATO Turkey Coup attempt: A Canadian connection?

see also:

The Coup d'Etat Was Against Kemalists

Posted by: John Gilberts | Jul 24 2016 11:58 utc | 63

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

- Karl Rove

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 24 2016 12:43 utc | 64

Posted by: John Gilberts | Jul 24, 2016 7:58:59 AM | 63

Yep, it seems Kemalists and the Erdogan part of AKP have united.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 24 2016 15:55 utc | 65

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 24, 2016 8:43:41 AM | 64


well, failing ....

March 2016, Michael Rubin, Will there be a coup against Erdogan in Turkey

So if the Turkish military moves to oust Erdogan and place his inner circle behind bars, could they get away with it?

In the realm of analysis rather than advocacy, the answer is yes. At this point in election season, it is doubtful that the Obama administration would do more than castigate any coup leaders, especially if they immediately laid out a clear path to the restoration of democracy.

Nor would Erdogan engender the type of sympathy that Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi did. When Morsi was ousted, his commitment to democracy was still subject to debate.

That debate is now moot when it comes to the Turkish strongman. Neither the Republican nor Democratic front-runners would put U.S. prestige on the line to seek a return to the status quo ante. They might offer lip service against a coup, but they would work with the new regime.

Coup leaders might moot European and American human rights and civil society criticism and that of journalists by immediately freeing all detained journalists and academics and by returning seized newspapers and television stations to their rightful owners.
I make no predictions, but given rising discord in Turkey as well as the likelihood that the Turkish military would suffer no significant consequence should it imitate Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s game plan in Egypt, no one should be surprised if Turkey’s rocky politics soon get rockier.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 24 2016 18:34 utc | 66

@66 somebody

The neo-cons go for Turkish coups at the drop of a hat. I remember Wolfowitz calling for a coup by the Turkish military when parliament refused to let the USAF use Incirlik during its invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. Democracy is an empty word to them, a 'good' descriptor of their side with no real meaning. I am sure the US was involved in the coup against Erdogan. At the very least they failed to warn him it was coming. Any 'ally' of the neo-con ruled USG cannot afford to turn their back on the USA for even a second.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 24 2016 20:07 utc | 67

Iraqi FM calls on Arab states to pressure Turkey into recalling troops

“We have called on the Turkish government many times via diplomats to return their forces to Turkey,” said Jaafari during the 27th Arab League Summit held in Mauritania’s capital Nouakchott on Monday.

He noted that Turkey had vowed to withdraw its troops, but is yet to abide by its promise. He further stressed that Iraq had no need for Turkish troops on its soil.

Last December, Turkey deployed some 150 soldiers, equipped with heavy weapons and backed by 20 to 25 tanks, to the outskirts of Mosul, the capital of Iraq’s northern Nineveh province.

Ankara claimed the deployment was part of a mission to train and equip Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the fight against Daesh terrorists, but Baghdad denounced the unauthorized move as a violation of Iraq’s national sovereignty.

“Iraq’s policy of good neighborliness and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries and its commitment to good relations with Turkey does not mean it is prepared to neglect its sovereignty, which is still violated by the Turkish forces,” Jaafari said.

I guess that put's the lie to Erdogan's conversion to the new religion of peace and light among Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran?

Posted by: jfl | Jul 25 2016 23:16 utc | 68

jfl@68- how so does it put the lie to anything? Coup attempt happens a week ago, and other than Jaafari's statement all old news from presstv.

Posted by: hejiminy cricket | Jul 25 2016 23:30 utc | 69

@69 hc

Well, there was an uptick of hope, perhaps not in your cold heart, for things in the area after the coup went down and the perceived rapprochement between Russia, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran ... that they all might decide to hang together rather than separately. During the coup there was a report of Turkish troops heading out of Iraq and back to Turkey, and at least one thereafter that the Turkish withdrawal from Iraq was real. According to this report, it was not. Is not. Likely will not be, with respect to Iraq. And the Turk's minions are battling on in Syria.

I'm still - always - ready to be convinced that the light's just flickering a bit ... but have seen nothing to counter what contrary evidence I do see.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 26 2016 1:07 utc | 70

jfl@70 - fair enough. I just haven't seen anything definitive that would imply a move either way. It seems to me Erdogan needs some time to successfully decouple from the west with his head still attached.

Posted by: hejiminy cricket | Jul 26 2016 1:28 utc | 71

@71 hc

We hope together, then.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 26 2016 1:37 utc | 72

You are completely wrong about the coup in 1980. It was the start of acceleration of Islamization of the country. The so called secular generals considered Islam as the antidote of the socialist left, which was flourishing in the country at the time. Vast majority of the people who were missing, killed, executed, and prisoned were socialist left. There were almost no islamists among people who were persecuted, just few radical nuts were jailed for few years only. In fact, Gulen was one of the first to thank the Junta of 1980 for bringing order.

Gulen movement has been supported by Turkish secret service since 1970s; apparently also by american secret services at least since 1980s. Gulen himself was one of the original organizers of "struggle with communism associations" in 1960s, with the support from the state of course.

Sir, you need to read a lot more about Turkish history

Posted by: kemerd | Jul 26 2016 23:13 utc | 73

@73 kemerd, 'In fact, Gulen was one of the first to thank the Junta of 1980 for bringing order.'

None other than Graham E. Fuller, the Godfather of Al-CIAduh, backs up that observation:

Gülen has always supported the concept of the importance and dignity of the state, in the best Ottoman tradition. He has supported the state against earlier Islamist movements that raised Islam over the state. He even felt compelled to support the military takeover of the state in 1980 in order to preserve the state in the face of left-wing/right-wing guerrilla warfare raging in the streets.

Fuller attempting to make the case for the warm, cuddly Gülen in comparison with the cold. brutal dictator the Erdogan has become. The Godfather of Al-CIAduh is defending his Islamic Plan B. And Robert Parry, for reasons known perhaps only to the NSA, has lent him his previously trusted platform to speak from.

I think they - Erdogan and Gülen - are both in it for themselves, fighting over the same stolen horse of Islam to prance about and lead on. Fuller is as well, and, as a good CIA man, is in it just for the fun of spreading death, devastation, and destruction amidst "America's enemies" worldwide as well. "America's enemies" have grown now to include just about everyone. They just prioritize among them. Turkey's apparently risen toward the top of the stack.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 27 2016 4:36 utc | 74

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