Why Turkey’s Erdogan Stumbled

In his rise to power, Turkish President Erdogan won popular support by showing independence in foreign affairs but then got caught up in his own grand ambitions, including support for violent “regime change” in Syria, setting the stage for an electoral rebuke, as ex-CIA officer Graham E. Fuller explains.

By Graham E. Fuller

It was welcome news that Turkish President Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan was dramatically foiled in his bid to win a majority in Turkey’s recent parliamentary elections. Those elections were in essence a referendum on ErdoÄŸan himself and his ambitions to create a super-presidency in which he could legally extend his increasingly authoritarian ruling style for years to come.

The Turkish public clearly recognized that ErdoÄŸan had overextended himself and had lost his touch in the increasing self-adulation and erratic ruling style over the past few years. The AKP, even with a plurality of votes, will not now be able to form a government without the participation of one or more opposition political parties.

Turkish President Recep Erdogan.

Turkish President Recep Erdogan.

Washington, which had grown increasingly irritated with ErdoÄŸan’s policies and unpredictable style in recent years, now hopes that a new Turkish government, even a coalition, will significantly change Turkey’s foreign policy strategies and tactics.

Don’t bet on it. Despite ErdoÄŸan’s personal excesses and recent poor judgment in foreign policy, the main thrust of his earlier foreign policies is unlikely to change significantly. While we can’t know yet what kind of ruling coalition will emerge in the weeks ahead, no combination will dramatically change the substance of Turkish policies.

In my book of last year, Turkey and the Arab Spring: Turkey and Leadership in the Middle East, I set forth detailed arguments for why AKP foreign policy in its first decade of rule (up until the turmoil of the Arab Spring) represented a new, profound, substantive, and permanent strategic shift in Turkey’s foreign policy vision.

What are those key elements of AKP strategy?

–As a “lite” Islamist party, the AKP moved to embrace and celebrate Turkey’s Islamic heritage and identity, much to the approbation of a majority of Turks; that identity had been suppressed under previous decades of imposed, official, authoritarian secularism that alienated large segments of the traditional Turkish population. The AKP moved to acknowledge and embrace Turkey’s central role in the past centuries of Middle Eastern history in the form of the Ottoman Empire. In this sense it represented “the return of history”, Turkey’s re-acknowledgment of itself as, among other things, a Middle Eastern culture.

–The AKP moved to distance itself from key U.S. policies in the Middle East which it had judged to be flawed, failing, and, above all, harmful to Turkey’s own interests: U.S. refusals to negotiate or deal with its chief opponents in the region (Iran, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Palestine, and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq); coupled with the U.S. invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan; and U.S. unconditional backing of Israel).

–Foreign Minister DavutoÄŸlu proclaimed a new policy of “zero problems with neighbors.” That meant abandoning its long-term ideological hostility against virtually all of Turkey’s neighbors and working to reach accommodation on all bilateral issues where possible. Ankara’s new relations were revolutionized in respect to Iran, Syria, Iraq, Hamas, Hezbollah, as well as with Russia and China, efforts that were hugely successful in promoting Turkish economic and political interests in these regions.

“Zero problems with neighbors” actually embraced a new ideological open-mindedness and flexibility, very much at odds with U.S. policies that were quick to brand countries and leaders as enemies; in DavutoÄŸlu’s view, how you address another country can heavily influence your relations with it.

–A new sensitivity to Arab issues and a desire to witness the spread of democratic values whose absence DavutoÄŸlu saw as a key source of the region’s weakness. But Turkey nonetheless accepted existing rulers of the day as a reality.

–A “global” vision of Turkey’s place in the world that included a Eurasian dimension (close relations with Russia, China, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Central Asian states), expansion of interests and ties into Africa (especially Muslim Africa), and even early forays into Latin America. Turkey proclaimed its interest in preserving Islamic culture across the Muslim world and bolstering Islamic development.

–Ankara encouraged the spread of high-quality Turkish schools in over 100 countries under the aegis of Fethullah Gülen’s huge Islamic civic organization Hizmet (Service) whose vision openly championed building schools, not mosques, as the best way to advance the Muslim world as a whole.

(Ironically, ErdoÄŸan later came to feel threatened by the Islamic credentials and growing power of Hizmet, especially in its willingness to call out the AKP government on corruption issues; ErdoÄŸan has since proceeded to demonize his former ally and conduct an hysterical and obsessive witch hunt against it.)

In short, Turkey saw itself as becoming a significant major player with a broad visionary foreign policy while its economy attained the position of number 16 in the world, becoming a new international hub. Turkey was democratic, it removed the military from politics for the first time ever, had a powerful army that was part of NATO, all while bidding to meet EU criteria for membership.

Most Muslim states would have given their eye teeth for accomplishments like this, especially when coupled with AKP’s confidence in being able to still say no to the U.S. on key foreign policy issues.

Whatever new government emerges in Turkey, these milestones will almost surely persist. Turkey is never going back to being a “loyal American ally.” It will never again deny its Islamic identity (although it will likely downplay some of the Islamic rhetoric).

It will not destroy the valuable international network of Hizmet schools. It will not reject the foundations of Turkey’s broad political, economic and cultural soft and hard power. Turkey will not cease to be the most important Muslim country in the world, without benefit of oil.

But then Turkey’s foreign policy went off the rails with the roller coaster events of the Arab Spring. (So did America’s). It could not decide whether to deal with existing realities, or to push for democratic change that would alienate authoritarian rulers.

ErdoÄŸan’s personal prestige got particularly caught up in overthrowing Bashar al-Assad in Syria at all cost, a massive mistake. A new government will likely walk back from that blunder. A new government will also be less sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood (but will not condemn it.) It will work with Iran as a vitally important neighbor. It will not give up its Eurasian (Russian, Chinese) ties. It will maintain its strategic independence from Washington.

So we should welcome the curtailing of much of ErdoÄŸan’s new and dangerous megalomania and personal ambitions. But don’t expect any new government to introduce dramatic changes in foreign policy either.

Graham E. Fuller is a former senior CIA official, author of numerous books on the Muslim World; his latest book is Breaking Faith: A novel of espionage and an American’s crisis of conscience in Pakistan. (Amazon, Kindle). [This article originally appeared at grahamefuller.com]

32 comments for “Why Turkey’s Erdogan Stumbled

  1. Abe
    June 26, 2015 at 12:04

    In the Empire of Chaos’ plan for “The New Middle East” http://www.oilempire.us/new-map.html the new state of “Free Kurdistan” will be carved out of Iraq, Syria, Iran and Turkey.

    Why? Because it “is preferable for the United States.”

  2. Piotr Berman
    June 26, 2015 at 07:58

    In voting/demographic turns, AKP lost 2% of vote of non-Turks voting for HDP, leftist, liberals, feminists ?? 3% of votes going to MHP, I guess not because of “excessive pro-Kurdish stand” as it was before, but because of the perception of corruption (Guelinist among them?), and 4% of Kurds voting for HDP. Everything considering, political base of Erdogan is remarkably stable, but is falls short of the majority.

    AKP got the votes of conservative Sunni Kurds who were doubly peeved by policies hostile to Islam (scarf bans and perhaps more) and to Kurdish language, and of some folks sympathetic to mild Islamism and disenchanted with the corruption and economic ineptitude of Kemalist governments that ruled before. The economy boomed, but it overly relied on construction, and too little on manufacturing and exports, and it stumbled to a degree. Basically, half of the vote loss is because of the fresh and virulent hostility to Kurds, and that caused the loss of the majority.

    I was expecting a larger loss. However, another large disenchanted minority, Turkish Alevites (there are also Kurdish Alevites) already voted only for the Kemalist parties, and Erdogan manages to mesmerize a large block with his energetic personality. However, his ego can be barely confined in Turkey, which is quite a bit smaller than China, Russia etc.

    Erdogan stumbled because went nuts and ditched the basic tool of state craft which is playing double games. Kurds of Rojava were fighting with the jihadists who were the only effective force that could bring Syria to the fold of orthodox Sunni Islam, so support of jihadists would screw them in a major way. Which was a neat bonus, as their fighters were Marxists KPP allies, while Erdogan’s Kurdish allies were conservative Sunnis. But he forgot that the blood can be thicker than religion, and at the time of Kobane siege he insulted the sentiments of the Kurds in the most spectacular way (and he is still at it).

    In the same time, NATO persisted to play the double game, it was desperate to find a force in Syria that would be hostile both to the regime and to fanatical Sunnis, and there was nobody else but Kurds fitting the description (if only in part). In this manner KPP-led Kurds got air support and weapons. I cannot imagine the arm twisting that was involved, amazing that Erdogan still seems to have two functional hands. Not that NATO abandoned “moderate jihadists”.

    My wishful thinking projection is that if Erdogan will have to modify policies or be eliminated from the political scene. HDP managed to play “united popular front” very well. In Kurdish heartland, a local head of conservative Sunni Kurds was killed, HDP members were killed in revenge and some “Kurdish Hezbollah” were killed, but now it is put as the plot of the “deep state”, which is quite believable. HDP has a potential of gaining more votes, both among conservative Kurds and progressive non-Kurds, would new election come to pass quickly. If the blame would be on pig-headedness of Erdogan, AKP could loose some more. A loss of extra 4% of the vote can have super-proportional effect, right now AKP got only as many votes as CHP and MDP, and they could loose part of the “premium” for being the largest party.

  3. kathy
    June 26, 2015 at 02:49

    You’re actually presenting an article by the person who was the father-in law to the uncle of the Tsarnaev brothers?

  4. Abe
    June 25, 2015 at 16:04

    In 2014, Fuller was interviewed for the Turkish daily newspaper, Radikal. The interview later appeared on the Al-Monitor media site.

    Radikal: How do you think ISIS [IS] was born?

    Fuller: I think the United States is one of the key creators of this organization. The United States did not plan the formation of ISIS, but its destructive interventions in the Middle East and the war in Iraq were the basic causes of the birth of ISIS. You will remember that that the starting point of this organization was to protest the US invasion of Iraq. In those days it was supported by many non-Islamist Sunnis as well because of their opposition to the Iraq’s occupation. I think even today ISIS [now the Islamic State] is supported by many Sunnis who feel isolated by the Shiite government in Baghdad. ISIS was benefiting from the Shiite agenda of the [former Prime Minister Nouri al-] Maliki government. I hope with the departure of Maliki and his replacement by someone who will watch out for Sunni-Shiite balance, polarization in Iraq will diminish. This is the only way to get rid of ISIS, never militarily.

    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/politics/2014/09/turkey-usa-iraq-syria-isis-fuller.html

    Fuller’s statement that “The United States did not plan the formation of ISIS” obscures the very direct US involvement in the creation of ISIS, which was not gotten rid of with al-Maliki’s departure.

    Al-Qaeda is viewed by many as a long-term CIA asset.

    The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Al-Qaeda re-boot, rapidly expanded during General David Petraeus’ tenure as CIA Director (September 6, 2011 – November 9, 2012).

    In fact, Petraeus was directly involved at key stages of the destruction of the Iraqi, Syrian and Libyan civil societies.

    RELENTLESS VIOLENCE IN IRAQ

    In June 2004, Petraeus was promoted to lieutenant general and became the first commander of the Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq in June 2004.

    This newly created command had responsibility for training, equipping, and mentoring Iraq’s growing army, police, and other security forces as well as developing Iraq’s security institutions and building associated infrastructure.

    Acclaimed as a counter insurgency expert, Petraeus “built relationships and got cooperation” by training and equipping the Iraqi ministries of Defense and Interior. These units became notorious for their secret prisons, torture centers and mass killings.

    Training and weapons distribution was haphazard, rushed, and did not follow established procedures, particularly from 2004 to 2005 when security training was led by Petraeus. When Iraq’s security forces began to see combat, the results were predictable.

    Petraeus continued to fail upwards. In January 2007, President George W. Bush announced that Petraeus would succeed Gen. George Casey as commanding general of Multi-National Force-Iraq.

    THE SURGE

    Based on the Petraeus Doctrine that “more terror is better,” the good General implemented a massive security crackdown in Baghdad combined with the infamous “surge” in coalition troop strength.

    Petraeus’ “surge” was credited for a reduction in the death rate for coalition troops. The Iraqi Ministry of Interior reported similar reductions for civilian deaths.

    However, a September 2007 report by an independent military commission headed by General James Jones found that the decrease in violence may have been due to areas being overrun by either Shias or Sunnis. In addition, in August 2007, the International Organization for Migration and the Iraqi Red Crescent Organization indicated that more Iraqis had fled since the troop increase.

    In short, Petraeus’ vaunted counter insurgency strategy to “secure the population” had succeeded by further depopulating and ethnically polarizing Iraq.

    Thus Petraeus was instrumental in advancing the US plan to effectively divide Iraq into three states: a Sunni state across wide swaths of central Iraq and Syria, a Shi’ite state in the south, and a Kurdish state in the north.

    After serving as CENTCOM commander (2008-2010), commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan in Afghanistan (2010-2011), Petraeus was nominated by Obama to become the new Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. On 30 June, 2011, Petraeus was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate 94–0.

    ESCALATING ATTACKS IN SYRIA AND IRAQ

    Shifting from CENTCOM to the International Security Assistance Force to Central Intelligence, Petraeus was well-positioned to coordinate a “new way forward” in the Syrian conflict.

    In August 2011, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), formerly known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq, began sending Syrian and Iraqi ISI guerillas across the border into Syria. Led by Abu Muhammad al-Jawlani, this group began to recruit fighters and establish cells throughout the country.

    On 23 January 2012, the group announced its formation as Jabhat al-Nusra, more commonly known as al-Nusra Front. Al-Nusra grew rapidly into a capable fighting force with popular support among Syrians opposed to the Assad regime.

    In July 2012, al-Baghdadi released an audio statement online announcing that the group was returning to the former strongholds from which US troops and their Sunni allies had driven them prior to the withdrawal of US troops. He also declared the start of a new offensive in Iraq called Breaking the Walls, which was aimed at freeing members of the group held in Iraqi prisons. Violence in Iraq began to escalate that month.

    ATTACKS IN LIBYA

    Jihadists who had fought in Iraq and Afghanistan were recruited to overthrow Gadhafi in Libya. Weapons had been shipped to these forces through Qatar with American approval.

    In the spring of 2012, Petraeus made several trips to Turkey to facilitate the supply operation.

    According to multiple anonymous sources, the diplomatic mission in Benghazi was used by CIA as a cover to smuggle weapons from Libya to anti-Assad rebels in Syria.

    Petraeus allegedly was running the CIA ratline, transferring Libyan arms and Al-Qaeda forces to southern Turkey so the terrorists could launch attacks into Syria.

    Seymour Hersh cited a source among intelligence officials, saying that the U.S. consulate had no real political role and that its sole mission was to provide cover for the transfer of arms.

    The September 11-12, 2012 attack on the Benghazi hub of CIA activity allegedly brought end to active US involvement, but did not stop the smuggling of weapons and fighters to Syria.

    When Petraeus resigned, purportedly due to the FBI’s discovery of the Broadwell affair, Petraeus was scheduled to testify under oath the following week before House and Senate committees regarding the attack on the Benghazi consulate.

    Petraeus’ official actions as CIA Director, not his personal indiscretions, were a political liability to Obama during the 2012 election.Apparently the US was and is “all in” with various Al-Qaeda incarnations in Libya, Syria and Iraq.

    BRAND WARS

    Advancing the Petraeus Doctrine that “more terror is better,” the 2013-2014 battles and power struggles among the factions culminated in the notorious beheadings and the brand launch of Islamic State as a “worldwide caliphate”, providing an excuse for 2015 American airstrikes in Syria.

    Supply operations through Turkey have continued apace.

    But don’t ask “one of the top American experts on Turkey” about such matters.

    Fuller would rather talk about how ErdoÄŸan stumbled and how brand Gülen “is preferable for the United States.”

  5. Abe
    June 25, 2015 at 12:15

    Who Is Graham Fuller?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaHvtzmc1zI

    A narrative has begun to emerge from the background noise of the Boston bombing story that paints a very different picture from what we have been told. We have the uncle of the bombing suspects emerging as a media darling for his denunciation of the brothers, who just so happens to have worked with USAID and was living and working at the home of a top CIA official who has actually advocated “guiding the evolution of Islam” to destabilize Russia and China in Central Asia. Now we have several of the pieces of the puzzle that Edmonds’ predicted in the past few weeks falling into place: that the bombers were likely being run by the CIA; that the event would bring focus on radical terrorism who have hitherto been painted as “freedom fighting allies” of the US; and that the case may be used as leverage to make new inroads on the Syria standoff between Washington and Moscow.

    And several of the pieces of this puzzle revolve around Graham E. Fuller, former National Intelligence Officer for Near East and South Asia, a proponent of political Islam, an inspiration for the Iran-Contra affair, a character reference for CIA darling Fethullah Gulen, a former RAND analyst, and the father-in-law of the Boston bombers’ uncle.

  6. Robledal Pedregoso
    June 24, 2015 at 22:20

    The article and comments seem to confirm my fear that the ME will be the source of the (perturbation) that will get us closer to Orwell’s hellish perpetual warfare world order. Gen. Eisenhower’s warning was for naught as we have multiple military-industrial complexes in corrupt conniving beneficial parasitic links with the ruling Klepto-Oligarchies that run the (In)Security Council. The YPG has shown the way but Erdogan and this country will find a way to attack them. I think they are rattled by the YPG amazons that have more courage and persistence than any armed group. In the back of their minds they fear the women of this world to rise and destroy the current blasphemous world order!

    • Abe
      June 25, 2015 at 00:36

      The YPG are People’s Protection Units or People’s Defense Units (Kurdish: Yekîneyên Parastina Gel‎). The armed wing of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Rojava, the group is one of the Kurdish forces in Syria. The YPG started to make advances into territories controlled by ISIS and inhabited mostly by Sunni Muslims, such as the border town of Tell Abyad in June 2015

    • Abe
      June 25, 2015 at 02:28

      The Kurdistan Workers’ Party, commonly referred to by its Kurdish acronym, PKK (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê) is a Kurdish organization based in Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan

      The PKK has been placed on the terrorism blacklists of Turkey and a number of allied governments and organizations.

      The military alliance NATO has declared the PKK to be a terrorist group; Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952, and fields the group’s second-largest armed contingent. Closely tied to NATO, the European Union—which Turkey aspires to join—officially lists the PKK as having “been involved in terrorist acts” and proscribes it as part of its Common Foreign and Security Policy.

      First designated in 2002, the PKK was ordered to be removed from the EU terror list on 3 April 2008 by the European Court of First Instance on the grounds that the EU failed to give a proper justification for listing it in the first place. However, EU officials dismissed the ruling, stating that the PKK would remain on the list regardless of the legal decision. Most European Union member states have not individually listed the PKK as a terrorist group.

      The United Nations only blacklists al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and affiliated groups and individuals, pursuant to UNSCR 1267. As such, the PKK has never been designated as a terrorist organization by the UN, though three out of five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council treat it as such on an individual basis.

      The PKK is designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US State Department and as a Proscribed Group by the UK Home Office. Additionally, France prosecutes Kurdish-French activists and bans organizations connected to the PKK on terrorism-related charges, having listed the group as a terrorist organization since 1993. However, French courts often refuse to extradite captured individuals accused of PKK connections to Turkey due to technicalities in French law, frustrating Turkish authorities. On the other hand, Russia has long ignored Turkish pressure to ban the PKK, and the group is also not included in the official terror blacklist of China (PRC).

      The following other individual countries have listed or otherwise labelled the PKK in an official capacity as a terrorist organization:

      Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Canada, Germany, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, and Syria.

  7. Abe
    June 24, 2015 at 12:23

    Fuller’s certainly got some ‘splainin’ to do.

    Rest assured, it’ll pass the CIA’s Publications Review Board (PRB).

    At this point, the more important questions may be:

    To what extent has “perception management” penetrated Consortium News?

    Is there a CIA taint at Consortium News?

    Is it past time for Consortium News to send its resident “realist” cabal of ex-CIA analysts packing?

  8. Winston
    June 24, 2015 at 04:30

    Mr. Fuller needs to fess up to his ties to Gulen. He would be no better than Erdogan. Erdogan just a classic example of corrupting power.

    • Abe
      June 24, 2015 at 11:40

      Ignoring the commenter’s false equivalence (“no better than”), it’s crystal clear that corruption is NEVER the reason why a US “partner” gets targeted for “regime change”.

  9. Abe
    June 24, 2015 at 01:41

    Yeah, I know, Fuller has Consortium News bona fides.

    Back in April, Fuller was cited for his brilliant observation that the notion “that the Houthis represent the cutting edge of Iranian imperialism in Arabia – as trumpeted by the Saudis” was a “myth.”

    Well, duh!

    Besides Turkey, guess what other US “regime change” project “partner” is on the new “regime change” short list.

    • Abe
      June 24, 2015 at 01:47

      The House of Saud may have control over the oil, and thereby control over the peninsula, but it is becoming increasingly clear that it does not have total control over its people. And, while no one knows whether a true general uprising in Saudi Arabia will come to pass, the war in Yemen might possibly be the spark that finally sets the oil drum ablaze.

      Saudi Arabia’s War on Yemen Comes Home
      By Eric Draitser
      http://journal-neo.org/2015/06/24/saudi-arabia-s-war-on-yemen-comes-home/

    • Abe
      June 24, 2015 at 01:52

      To the north, Saudi Arabia has actively contributed to the destruction of Iraq and Syria, and on the African continent, Saudi Arabia has played a role in destabilizing both Egypt and to a far greater extent Libya. Should the tides turn in any of these theaters of war, the temptation for those victimized by Saudi Arabia’s meddling to in turn help fuel chaos upon the Arabian Peninsula, will be overwhelming.

      To say that Saudi Arabia is a nation in need of friends is an understatement, and Riyadh might finally have realized that Washington sees its “favorite” autocracy as it does all other client-states, expendable. However, so sociopolitically, economically and geopolitically disfigured from its role as chief regional facilitator for Washington and London’s agenda, it may have left itself with no alternatives.

      Saudis to Offer Putin a Deal He Can’t Refuse?
      By Ulson Gunnar
      http://journal-neo.org/2015/06/19/saudis-to-offer-putin-a-deal-he-cant-refuse/

    • Anthony Shaker
      June 24, 2015 at 12:24

      Good point about the payback awaiting Saudi Arabia from its victims, and a truly excellent article by Dr. Fuller. From my contacts with journalists around the Arabic-speaking Middle East, it seems a tidal wave is in the making. There is not much doubt in the “Arab” world’s public mind about the Saudi footprint in nearly every disaster to visit the region since the parleying that began with Zionist colonists, well before the creation of Israel, and which ended in selling off the prime real estate: Palestine.

      History aside, the fire has already been lit inside the Kingdom with the Yemen War. There are not only daily skirmishes and massive strikes against military bases inside Saudi territory, but some tribes in the south have already declared rebellion and an intention to separate from the Kingdom. These are not even the Shi’ite Muslims in the oil-rich eastern province whom the Wahhabi rulers have been trying for decades to uproot.

      If I were an ex-patriot working anywhere in the Arabian Peninsula, I would be packing tonight.

      The British and French have created something rotten on the Peninsula. The United States would be well-advised to clear out before everything falls on top of its head, with incalculable international consequences, as it struggles to deal with a rapidly changing world. This world is clearly no longer unipolar. Anyone who tries to impose his will on the rest, even through soft power, is liable to be dealt a death blow. It is that serious, and America is not an island anymore. I say this not as a wish, but because the stakes are now far greater than they were just before Syria and Ukraine.

      The only sensible thing to do at this stage, before it is too late, is to swim with a view to reaching shore. It is in everyone’s interest!

    • Abe
      June 24, 2015 at 13:34

      Just what makes Dr. Fuller’s article “truly excellent” in your mind, Anthony?

      One thing is certain: the “Saudi footprint in nearly every disaster to visit the region” did not happen without the full faith, trust and encouragement of the United States.

      And now we have the Saudis being scapegoated for the kitchen sink: the sale of Palestine to Israel.

      You can hear the laughter all the way from Tel Aviv.

      As far as the fire in spreading through the neighborhood, there have been 15 air strikes and 111 drone strikes in Yemen. With the exception of the first lethal drone strike in Yemen in 2002, all 15 air strikes and 111 drone strikes have been launched during the Obama administration http://securitydata.newamerica.net/drones/yemen-analysis.html.

      That’s gotta make a lot of friends for the Saudis.

      Yessiree, the game is on in the Middle East.

      The perpetrators won’t stop until every Muslim nation is wrecked beyond recognition.

      Then CIA’s army of Gülen movement “moderate Islam” Quislings will reign ‘o’er the rubble. Far better than CIA’s army of “liver eating jihadis”.

      There will be no more complaints about “corruption” then.

    • Anthony Shaker
      June 24, 2015 at 14:52

      Thanks for your reply, Abe. You see, no one needs to scapegoat Saudi Arabia. The Wahhabis were meeting Chaim Weizmann on how to divide Palestine well before the creation of Israel. Their dealings with the British are often characterized as poor guileless savages who were duped by the diabolical British and then the Americans. True, the British have been experts at diabolical schemes since the Scottish wars and their conquest of Ireland and the other isles; and the Saudi tribes were indeed desert brigands–of the worst kind. But the Saudis did sell Syria, Iraq and, as I said, Palestine. Only Palestine was reserved for the “poor and huddling masses” of persecuted Jews on the rubble of Palestinian society.

      I think this article is “excellent” because it reflects exactly my perceptions of what happened that finally dislodged the Ataturk dregs of Westernizing “secularism.” As if Islamic civilization had not been multiconfessional and multidimensional for 14 centuries! The same Westernization happened in Japan (beginning with the Meiji regime), Russia, China and many smaller countries. But Westernization caught on quickly in the Muslim world after Napoleon. At the helm of this process was the Ottoman Sultan and Egypt.

      Erdogan and his cohorts have simply been exploiting widespread sentiments in Turkey proper that all this Westernization business has been a hoax. It was, of course, historically incorrect, because the Ottoman Sultanate was, in fact, one of the most successful and longlasting multiconfessional states in history. The Greek PAtriarch was an equal to the Skaykh al-Islam as advisors.

      But modern Turks have always known that Western Europe is a divisive, extremely destructive force bent on creating ethno-racial-religious enclaves throughout the Islamic world, particularly the Ottoman empire, which extended almost to the heart of Europe at one time.

      Agreed, Erdogan is an ideologue, flaky but of the worst kind. His ilk is not much better than the Congressional Republicans. Nationalists everywhere are good at wrapping themselves with the flag but they are usually the first to sell their country, as we now observe in technicolor in the United States. Many Republicans are common traitors who have sold their country to foreign Zionist interests, and they routinely sell their electorates to criminal-types common in the corporate world.

      But I am not a propagandist, and I want to call a spade a spade. Erdogan and his weird-minded Prime MInister Davutoglu did raise genuine popular hopes for change. What Turks received instrad has been downright criminal. From a country in the midst of an economic boom, which by the way Syria began to rival in some economic sectors before its dismantlement, Turkey has stumbled and is falling.

      Let us hope that this is the end of Erdogan. Like ISIL, he speaks gleaming about Islam. But then, many Muslims refer to ISIL, Syria’s Nusrah Front and the terrorist rabble fighting for foreign interests around Syria and Iraq as the pagan Arab revenge against the Prophet Muhammad. Somehow those Peninsular Arabs survived Islamic civilization and have come back to wreak havoc on everyone, exactly as they did again and again during the Prophet’s lifetime. No one likes or wants them.

      Except for Bedouins and other Arab elements in various countries in North Africa and the Levant, in fact, there are no “Arabs” in the Arabic-speaking world. And “Arabism” is a form of nationalism that matured in the 1950s. The British and French were only too happy to recognize something anonymously called “Arab” to describe Arabic-speaking peoples. And then they tried to destroy “Arab” nationalist because the likes of Egyptian President Gamal Abd al-Nasser complicated their plans after WWII. So they, the French and Israel attacked Egypt mercilessly in the 1950s.

      Incidentally, the Saudi Wahhabis had no trouble selling Palestine because they did not even consider the Palestinians “Arab,” as British communiques in the 1920s reveal. The Arabization brainwash took a long time.

      I guess what I am trying to say is let’s leave our ideologies and preconceptions by the wayside and try to understand what is happening for a change before condemning the Saudis for being dupes. They are dupes, but much more!

    • Abe
      June 24, 2015 at 19:09

      Thank you, Anthony, for articulating your perceptions.

      Historical and political discussions are beguiling indeed.

      For example, if we want to call a spade a spade, we may observe how these “excellent” perceptions have been staples of Israeli press and Zionist political discourse for more than six decades. These ideologies and preconceptions obviously have not been left by the wayside.

      Sure, we can explore how modern Turkish identity is as much an invention as modern Israeli identity. We can even discuss the merits Islamist governmental tyranny versus Judaist or Christianist governmental tyranny.

      In any event, it does appear that your perceptions and Fuller’s reflect one another in what you both neglect to mention:

      1) US and allied military and intelligence activity in the region, including direct support of Al Qaeda/ISIS through Turkey.

      2) CIA support of the Gülen movement.

      One need not be a defender of ErdoÄŸan or the house of Saud to recognize that “Arab Spring” was as much a “regime change” contrivance as the previous decade’s British and American “plan to bring democracy to the Middle East.”

      Yes, for a change, let us try to understand what is happening.

    • Anthony Shaker
      June 25, 2015 at 08:43

      You keep misrepresenting other people’s arguments and drawing the wrong conclusions about their “loyalties,” which should be left alone in arguments among people supposedly sharing the same concerns. We all have personal idiosyncracies and notions about this or that cloud your judgment.

      I agre with you that the “Arab Spring” was about regime change. But only republican government have fallen or are being attacked mercilessly because Saudia Arabia supported by Israeli have organized a violent comeback.

      I have no idea whom the CIA pays or if Gülen is on the payroll. But I do know that Gülen appears to favor coexistence with the Zionist race colony. This is enough to give an idea of where they come from. I don’t need someone to point out their CIA links. It is a bizarre movement that claims to adopt ideas from a “Sufi” figure under the old secularist regime named Badiuddin. A dissident and an opponent of secularism, he was neverhteless a modernizing thinker whose Sufi roots are, at best, tenuous.

      Gülen is just a bizarre movement claiming its own (tenuous) links with the Ottoman past, including the old passion for Rumi, who is the greatest Persian-language mystic-poet. Its leader claims to draw from his teachings.

      I love Rumi, and mystical philosophy (my area of exertise), and if you know any Farsi, I hope someday you can enjoy and learn from him. But in the end, Gülen’s leader, like Erdogan, is cut from the same ideological cloth as Erdogan. Both have an agenda and they are using what had once flowered, and was alive and filled with even more promise, to advance short-term objectives and then claim a “cultural rebirth” for Turkey when all they are doing is burying the remains of their culture in belief systems glued together to cover this or that political or economic interest.

      I thought we were done with ideology. ISIL and every Wahhabi-takfiri terrorist obviously did not. And they are having a field day as modern society decomposes. Anyway, they obviously banked on the Muslim world being ready for more of the same.

      Jihadi Islamism is part of the same mountain of westernizing Socialist and Leninist relics, except it now serves do-eat-dog capitalism and human parastitism. A mutation of National Socialism, you might say. Anyway, the same “nationalist,” self-worshipping disease as Zionism, Nazism’s closest ideological parent. We might as well throw in in Fench President François Hollande in the lot, the Imperialist Socialist, as if the whole lot were not!

      Apart from Fidel Castro and some old revolutionaries, for whom I have no bound in my admiration, whatever their ideology, but sadly whose time has come to a close, leftism and so-called progressive politics turn my stomach almost as much as Erdogan, Gülen and Wahhabism. But that leftist tradition is long dead and buried anyway, give or take a few armchair revolutionaries and “activists.”

      Talking to those today is like talking to a wall of conspiracy theorists. They include all kinds of wild obscurantists. This is how the ultra-right used to talk all the time. I have been around. To separate the frauds from those who do care and can do something worthwhile, all it takes is to talk sensibly about things and avoid feeding the beast with self-serving theories about everything under the sun except their ipods. The frauds throwing rocks at imagined “sick pigs” when they can’t see the pock on their own faces.

      Whether or not their theories are true, history is not driven by the conspirators, but by those who follows them. That is where my concerns lie, and I respectfully urge you the same.

    • Abe
      June 25, 2015 at 13:48

      Fuller’s “personal idiosyncracies and notions about this or that” include a breathless enthusiasm for the “bizarre” Gülen and Hizmet.

      Fuller obviously doesn’t “need someone to point out their CIA links” or draw “wrong conclusions” about where his “concerns lie”.

      Fuller would prefer that “absurd” questions about CIA activities be “left alone”.

      Fortunately for us all, journalists and researchers, so casually deemed “conspiracy theorists” and “wild obscurantists”, continue to ask questions and point out facts about Fuller.

  10. Abe
    June 24, 2015 at 00:50

    Two uncles of the terrorist brothers, Ruslan Tsarni and Alvi Tsarnaev, were deeply tied to the CIA, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and the Chechen resistance – key elements involved in the western route of Caspian Sea oil. The CIA link of Ruslan Tsarni goes through his former father-in-law, Graham Fuller, a former vice chairman of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council and a geopolitical scholar along the lines of Zbigniew Brzezinski and Samuel Huntington. In fact, both men supported Fuller’s work and both, along with Henry Kissinger, seem to have been Fuller’s mentors since their days at Harvard in the late 1950s, both at the Department of Government and the CIA-linked Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. Fuller is primarily occupied with the question of how to manage the Islamic world.

    Boston Bombing of 2013: Another case of Brzezinski-linked blowback from managing Central Asian terrorism?
    By Joël v.d. Reijde
    http://www.isgp.nl/Boston_Bombing_2013_CIA_Graham_Fuller_Brzezinski

  11. Abe
    June 23, 2015 at 23:43

    Germany’s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) published a video report of immense implications – possibly the first national broadcaster in the West to admit that the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) is supplied not by “black market oil” or “hostage ransoms” but billions of dollars worth of supplies carried into Syria across NATO member Turkey’s borders via hundreds of trucks a day.

    The report titled, “‘IS’ supply channels through Turkey,” confirms what has been reported by geopolitical analysts since at least as early as 2011 – that NATO member Turkey has allowed a torrent in supplies, fighters, and weapons to cross its borders unopposed to resupply ISIS positions inside of Syria.

    Germany’s DW Reports ISIS Supply Lines Originate in NATO’s Turkey
    By Tony Cartalucci
    http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2014/11/breaking-germanys-dw-reports-isis.html

    • Abe
      June 24, 2015 at 00:23

      In November 2014, German national broadcaster DW reported on convoys of hundreds of trucks per day crossing into Syria from NATO-member Turkey with impunity, enroute to ISIS terrorists, finally explaining the source of the terrorist army’s fighting capacity.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akbfplUcjLU

      The trucks were reported by DW to have originated from deep within Turkish territory – most likely NATO air bases and ports.

      The report titled, “‘IS’ supply channels through Turkey,” confirms what has been reported by geopolitical analysts since at least as early as 2011 – that ISIS subsides on immense, multi-national state sponsorship, including, obviously, Turkey itself.

  12. Abe
    June 23, 2015 at 23:22

    Articles by ex-CIA analysts are impressive exercises in cognitive redaction.

    Former Pakistani CIA Station Chief Graham Fuller decries Erdogan’s “personal excesses and recent poor judgment in foreign policy”.

    Unmentioned by Fuller, Erdogan’s excesses include serving as a NATO supplier of arms and aid to Al Qaeda/ISIS.

    In addition, unmentioned by Fuller, Erdogan’s poor judgement includes flirting with a gas transit pipeline deal with Russia.

    Looks like Erdogan has stumbled his way onto the “regime change” short list.

    Most notably unmentioned by Fuller is CIA sponsorship of Fetullah Gülen.

    Nope. No inadvertent disclosures of classified information here.

    • Abe
      June 23, 2015 at 23:32

      — Was the relationship between Gulen and CIA depended on both parties benefits? If so what were their benefits? How did CIA supported Gulen to develop and grow his foundation?

      William Engdahl: Yes, clearly. For the Gülen Cemaat it enabled a vast business empire to be created which gained more and more influence by placing its people inside the police, the courts and education ministry. He could build his recruiting schools across Central Asia with CIA support. In the USA and Europe, CIA-influenced media like CNN gave him beautiful free publicity to overcome opposition to open his schools across America. For the CIA it was one more tool to destroy not only an independent secular Kemalist Turkey, but to advance their Afghan drug trade worldwide and to use Gülen’s people to destabilize opponent regimes that CIA network in Washington, the “deep state” wanted to get rid of.

      Sibel Edmonds, former FBI Turkish translator and “whistleblower,” named Abramowitz, along with Graham E. Fuller, as part of a dark cabal within the US Government that she discovered were using networks out of Turkey to advance a criminal “deep state” agenda across the Turkic world, from Istanbul into China. The network that she documented included significant involvement in heroin trafficking out of Afghanistan.

      On retiring from the State Department, Abramowitz served on the board of the US Congress-financed National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and was a co-founder with George Soros of the International Crisis Group. Both the NED and International Crisis Group were implicated in various US Government-backed “color revolutions” since the 1990’s collapse of the Soviet Union, from Otpor in Serbia to the 2004 Orange Revolution in Ukraine, the 2013-14 coup in Ukraine, to the 2009 Green Revolution in Iran, to the 2011 Lotus Revolution in Tahrir Square in Egypt.

      Graham E. Fuller had been immersed in the CIA’s activities in steering Mujahideen and other political Islamic organizations since the 1980’s. He spent 20 years as CIA operations officer in Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Afghanistan, and was one of the CIA’s early advocates of using the Muslim Brotherhood and similar Islamist organizations like Gülen Cemaat to advance US foreign policy.

      — How does CIA work via Gulen schools at Middle-Asia?

      William Engdahl: First it should be noted that Russia moved swiftly to ban the Gülen schools when the CIA began the Chechyn terror in the 1990’s. In the 1980’s when the Iran-Contra scandal broke in Washington (a scheme authored by Fuller at CIA), he “retired” to work at the CIA and Pentagon-financed RAND think-tank. There, under RAND cover, Fuller was instrumental in developing the CIA strategy for building the Gülen Movement as a geopolitical force to penetrate former Soviet Central Asia. Among his RAND papers, Fuller wrote studies on Islamic fundamentalism in Turkey, in Sudan, in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Algeria. His books praise Gülen lavishly.

      After the fall of the USSR, Fetullah Gülen’s cadre were sent to establish Gülen schools and Madrasses across newly-independent former Soviet states in Central Asia. It was a golden chance for the CIA, using the cover of Gülen religious schools, to send hundreds of CIA agents deep inside Central Asia the first time. In 1999 Fuller argued, “The policy of guiding the evolution of Islam and of helping them against our adversaries worked marvelously well in Afghanistan against the Russians. The same doctrines can still be used to destabilize what remains of Russian power, and especially to counter the Chinese influence in Central Asia.”

      Gülen was named by one former FBI authoritative source as, “one of the main CIA operation figures in Central Asia and the Caucasus.” During the 1990’s the Gülen schools then growing up across Eurasia were providing a base for hundreds of CIA agents under cover of being “native-speaking English teachers.” Osman Nuri Gundes revealed that the Gülen movement “sheltered 130 CIA agents” at its schools in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan alone in the 1990s.

      — Gulen migrated from Turkey to USA at 1999, 3 days after Kurdish movement leader Abdullah Ocalan was kidnapped and brought to Turkey. What did it mean? Could Gulen co-operate better with CIA when he moved USA?

      William Engdahl: I think the CIA feared Gülen would end in prison and could be far more useful in US sanctuary where they could feed his image better and pump up his aura. Now clearly Gülen fears to return to Turkey even though he legally could. That says a lot.

      http://journal-neo.org/2015/03/16/turkey-deserves-better/

    • Abe
      June 24, 2015 at 14:50

      Sibel Edmonds on Gulen Schools
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DB8QbD-6Wjw

      Sibel Deniz Edmonds is a former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) translator and founder of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC).

      Edmonds gained public attention following her firing from her position as a language specialist at the FBI’s Washington Field Office in March 2002. She had accused a colleague of covering up illicit activity involving Turkish nationals, alleged serious security breaches and cover-ups and that intelligence had been deliberately suppressed, endangering national security.

    • Abe
      June 24, 2015 at 15:02

      “the deal with certain segments in the United States is furthering the interests of the people who are interested in the energy sources in Central Asia, and that is the — whether it’s oil or whether it’s natural gas, and basically it’s a fight.

      “The best way to describe it is Cold War is not over. It’s a continuation of Cold War over those nations”

      Sibel Edmonds 2009 Deposition Transcript
      http://www.bradblog.com/Docs/SibelEdmondsDeposition_Transcript_080809.pdf

    • Abe
      June 23, 2015 at 23:38

      The Turkish Stream project is both important and urgent for Russia. Having abandoned an earlier version, the South Stream, which would have taken Russian gas beneath the Black Sea to Bulgaria, in response to European sanctions, Moscow now relies on the yet-to-be-built Turkish route for access to Western markets. Russian energy company Gazprom has recently announced that deliveries are envisioned to start as early as December next year.

      From the Turkish perspective, however, the picture is more complicated. The aims of Turkey’s energy policy are two-fold: first, to satisfy surging energy demand from a growing economy, and second, turning Turkey into an energy transit corridor between the producers to its east and the consumers to its west. Under the right conditions, Turkish Stream can serve both aims, and this is why, instead of rushing to jump on the Russian bandwagon as the debt-ridden Greeks did, Ankara wants to bargain its way to an optimal deal.

      Turkey is an energy-buying country and it currently depends on imports for about 93% of its oil consumption and 98% of its gas consumption. Russia is a main source for Turkey’s energy imports: out of the 41.1 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas Turkey bought from abroad during 2014, 26.9 bcm came from Russia. In recent years, Turkey managed to diversify its sources; ten years ago, in 2004, Russia’s share in Turkey’s gas imports was 80%, it has gone down to 65% by 2014. However, given the large volumes involved, and the instability plaguing alternative sources in the Middle East, Turkey is likely to remain dependent on Russia for its gas in the foreseeable future.

      Russia-Greece pipeline: Will Turkish Stream ever stream?
      By Altay Atli
      http://atimes.com/2015/06/russia-greece-pipeline-will-turkish-stream-ever-stream/

    • Abe
      June 24, 2015 at 00:15

      Taking advantage of a Syrian military stretched thin to protect everywhere at the same time, high concentrations of well-coordinated Al Qaeda forces, based in NATO-member Turkey as well as in US-allies Jordan and Saudi Arabia, have attacked across several fronts. The tactical and strategic gains are minimal compared to the initial stages of the West’s proxy war against Syria beginning in 2011, but the Western media is intentionally fanning the flames of hysteria specifically to break both support for Syria from abroad, and fracture resistance from within.

      This latest attempt to overwhelm the Syrian people, its government, and its armed forces comes with several shocking revelations. Previously, veteran award-winning journalists foretold the coming conflict in Syria, warning how the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel were openly planning to use Al Qaeda as a proxy force to overthrow Syria first, then Iran and how it would unfold into a cataclysmic sectarian war. There were also signed and dated policy papers advocating the use of terrorism and the provocation of war to directly target Iran after Syria and Hezbollah had been sufficiently weakened.

      However, now, there is a US Department of Defense (DoD) document confirming without doubt that the so-called “Syrian opposition” is Al Qaeda, including the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS), and that the opposition’s supporters – the West, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar – specifically sought to establish safe havens in Iraq and eastern Syria, precisely where ISIS is now based.

      […]

      DoD Document Admits Plot to Carve Out Safe Haven for ISIS

      Judicial Watch, a US-based foundation seeking “transparency” in government, released a 7 page document dated 2012, detailing the background and status of the Syrian conflict. It admits that the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda form the basis of the “opposition.” It then admits that […] “there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered t he strategic depth of the Shia Expansion (Iraq and Iran).”

      That “Salafist principality” mentioned by the DoD in 2012 is of course now known as the “Islamic State.” The DoD at the time openly admitted that the opposition’s foreign sponsors supported the creation of such a principality, and clearly ISIS must have had such support to maintain its hold on vast expanses of territory in both Syria and Iraq, while propping up a military machine capable of fighting the combined forces of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. Indeed, the DoD’s admissions in this document explain precisely how ISIS has been able to perpetuate its activities throughout the region – with “Western countries, the Gulf States, and Turkey” supporting these efforts.

      Washington Confesses to Backing “Questionable Actors” in Syria
      By Tony Cartalucci
      http://journal-neo.org/2015/05/25/washington-confesses-to-backing-questionable-actors-in-syria/

  13. Zachary Smith
    June 23, 2015 at 22:35

    I dunno. It’s clear enough that Erdogan has met with a small setback, but his power is still enormous, though nowhere near the levels he still dreams of.

    A search of google news turns up information that he’s been playing snuggle bunnies with Israel again. That can’t be unrelated to the election setback. One possibility – Israel smashes the new convoy moving towards Gaza. Erdogan uses lip-glue. Buddies again! In return, Israel does something nice like blowing up some installations in Turkey – leaving lots of careless debris pointing to the Kurds as the bad guys.

    Then quickly hold a new election where the ungrateful Kurdish swine are disenfranchised. Net result: Erdogan gets to become the new Sultan after all.

    Or something like that. I really do doubt that he’s given up. Likewise, I’d expect that Israel would welcome a northern counterpart to Egypt – groveling/compliant.

  14. Andrew Nichols
    June 23, 2015 at 22:35

    Foreign Minister Davutoğlu proclaimed a new policy of “zero problems with neighbors.” That meant abandoning its long-term ideological hostility against virtually all of Turkey’s neighbors and working to reach accommodation on all bilateral issues where possible.

    Syria? No problems with neighbours??? Seriously? The headchoppers would surely have struggled to get much traction without the active support from Ankara. That support will come back to bite them once these crazies notice that Turkey is a bit too western for the caliphate and needs their attention once they’ve overrun Syria and Lebanon and slaughtered anyone who isnt a sunni.

  15. Anonymous
    June 23, 2015 at 22:12

    A quote from thecarticle:

    “But then Turkey’s foreign policy went off the rails with the roller coaster events of the Arab Spring. (So did America’s).”

    And here I thought America’s foreign policy had been completely off the rails illegal, constituting blatant war crimes, by with the propagandizing of the US public t to get backing the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq along with subsequent policies that included sadistic torture.

    And what exactly was it about the Arab Spring, or during the Arab Spring, that cuased US policies to “go off the rails” even further than they already had been?

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