Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Deceitful Manipulation by a Totalitarian Islamist

"Since 2014, when Mr. Erdogan was elected president after 11 years as prime minister, he has sought to transform Turkey from a parliamentary democracy into an “executive presidency,” essentially without checks on his power. In that context, Mr. Erdogan’s recent statement that the failed coup was a “gift from God” is ominous. As he seeks to purge still more dissenters from government agencies — nearly 70,000 people have been fired so far — and to crack down further on Hizmet and other civil society organizations, he is removing many of the remaining impediments to absolute power. Amnesty International has revealed “credible” reports of torture, including rape, at detention centers. No wonder Mr. Erdogan’s government suspended the European Convention on Human Rights and declared a state of emergency."
"Turkey’s president is blackmailing the United States by threatening to curb his country’s support for the international coalition against the Islamic State. His goal: to ensure my extradition, despite a lack of credible evidence and virtually no prospect for a fair trial. The temptation to give Mr. Erdogan whatever he wants is understandable. But the United States must resist it."
"Violent extremism feeds on the frustrations of those forced to live under dictators who cannot be challenged by peaceful protests and democratic politics. In Turkey, the Erdogan government’s shift toward a dictatorship is polarizing the population along sectarian, political, religious and ethnic lines, fueling the fanatics."
"For the sake of worldwide efforts to restore peace in turbulent times, as well as to safeguard the future of democracy in the Middle East, the United States must not accommodate an autocrat who is turning a failed putsch into a slow-motion coup of his own against constitutional government."
Fethullah Gulen, Islamic scholar, preacher, social advocate.

"In 2001, the Justice and Development Party—known by its Turkish initials, A.K.P.—was founded by a group of men led by Tayyip Erdoğan. A dynamic former mayor of Istanbul, Erdoğan had recently emerged from prison; he had been jailed by the country’s military leaders after giving a speech that included the lines “The mosques are our barracks . . . and the believers our soldiers.” The next year, he announced his candidacy for Prime Minister. In campaign speeches, he proclaimed himself an Islamist, a voice for pious Turks, but he also promised to keep Islam out of politics."
Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker
Supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are dispersed with shots in the air by the military at Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey, on July 16, 2016.
Supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are dispersed with shots in the air by the military at Taksim Square on the night of July 16, 2016, in Istanbul, Turkey.  Murad Sezer -- Reuters
One of Turkey's philanthropists, a liberal, secular activist, became the focus of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had him arrested and imprisoned on two charges, one of which was his "contact with Henri Jak Barkey and foreigners who were among the organizers of the July 14, 2016 coup attempt". That liberal activist, Osman Kavala, was supposedly in attendance and conspired with an American academic, Dr. Henri J. Barkey who had convened an academic workshop on Iran on an island close to Istanbul.

That was the fateful night of an attempted coup against Recep Tayyip Erdogan. That failed coup resulted in a hard backlash, giving the Turkish President the opportunity to mount a campaign of massive proportions, one of repression on a wide, indiscriminate scale that is still raging through the country. Professor Barkey knew nothing of the coup and its immediate aftermath. He had a conference to speak at, a workshop for academics, and he proceeded to honour his commitment to those present from within the Turkish academic community. After which he left Istanbul to return to his home in the United States.

And then he discovered how prominent he has become in the Erdogan sphere of punishment meted out for criminal action against the state of Turkey, with the media shouting headlines that he had appeared on Buyukadanot Island at that academic workshop for a covert purpose which had nothing to do with foreign relations with Iran, but to focus on manoeuvres linked to the coup. Unknown even to himself he was the link between the CIA and the attempted coup that went awry. 

The professor, most comfortable in his bailiwick, teaching at Lehigh University and alternately appearing at Washington think tanks along with aiding the State Department's policy planning staff, had no idea he was a tool of the CIA, involved in undercover work and intelligence, tasked with directing the failed coup. Five Turkish scholars who had been in attendance at that conference have been stripped of their passports and temporarily detained, their academic credentials completely defamed.
People occupy a tank in Istanbul, Turkey, on July 16, 2016. Turkish Prime Minister Yildirim reportedly said that the Turkish military was involved in an attempted coup d'etat. The Turkish military meanwhile stated it had taken over control.
People occupy a tank during the attempted coup -- Tolga Bozoglu, EPA
Now news that a Turkish prosecutor has issued a warrant for Professor Barkey's arrest. Also charged was Metin Topuz, a U.S. consular employee. Detained by Turkey several weeks ago, that detention was the spark that led to a standoff seeing both countries suspend issuing visas. And nor did Metin Topuz as well attend the conference; his name has no familiar ring to Professor Barkey. So, then, among the 140,000 Turks that have been imprisoned, fired or sanctioned by the Erdogan administration among whom are 150 journalists and 6,000 university employees, are these three men, philanthropist Kavala, diplomat Topuz and Professor Barkey.

Propagandists for Erdogan insist that Professor Barkey had brought along with him from the U.S. a convicted murderer named Scott Peterson, a man imprisoned in California presumably interchangeable with an American journalist who happened to be at the meeting, with the very same name. It is clear in Turkey that the United States government and its international intelligence arm were deeply involved in the plot led by Erdogan's nemesis Fethullah Gulen, the man behind the coup.

Erdogan's charges have been proven beyond a doubt; hasn't he after all, been unsuccessful in persuading the U.S. government under two administrations of the necessity of surrendering the Turkish Gulen living in Pennsylvania to Turkey to face his due punishment? 

A file picture from March 15, 2014, shows Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic scholar and founder of the Gulen movement, during an interview at his residence in Pennsylvania.
A file picture from March 15, 2014, shows Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic scholar and founder of the Gulen movement, during an interview at his residence in Pennsylvania.  Selahattin Sevi—Zaman Daily News/EPA


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