Erdogan Suspects US Sympathy for Coup

Reports that Russian President Putin may have tipped off Turkish President Erdogan about last week’s coup attempt – while the U.S. apparently stayed silent – suggest a possible reordering of regional relationships, says John Chuckman.

By John Chuckman

Events in Turkey just become stranger with each passing day. We now have Middle Eastern and Persian sources, cited by Russian and German papers, that Russia’s security agencies overheard helicopter radio transmissions by the coup participants, and President Vladimir Putin warned President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about what was happening, likely saving his skin.

If true, this would help explain the apparent ineptness of the coup forces. My first hypothesis explaining this ineptness plus other peculiarities of the coup was that the plotters were unwittingly working in a dark operation run by Turkish security forces, intended to make them fail while flushing them out and giving Erdogan a free hand.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on July 20, 2016. declares a state of emergency for three months with the goal of eliminating his internal enemies. (Turkish government photo)

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on July 20, 2016. declares a state of emergency for three months with the goal of eliminating his internal enemies. (Turkish government photo)

This possibility of Russian advance warning put together with Erdogan’s own belief that the coup originated in America should yield some serious geopolitical shifts in the region. We could have an even stronger rapprochement between Turkey and Russia than was already underway, a rapprochement, by the way, which could well have helped tip the United States into giving a wink and a nod (and of course, as always, some cash) to Turkish rebel forces.

But that would not be the only reason for America’s supporting a coup. The truth is, from the American point of view, Erdogan’s erratic behavior – shooting down a Russian war plane, firing artillery into Syria at American Kurdish allies, blackmailing Europe over large numbers of refugees resident in Turkish camps, and still other matters – over the last few years has added uncertainty and potential instability to a strategically important region.

Even if the United States were not involved in the coup, although right now Turkey’s government appears to believe firmly that it was, Putin’s warning would add a powerful positive element to Russian-Turkish relations. Just as America’s failure to warn Erdogan adds a new negative element to Turkish-American relations.

After all, no one is better equipped for international communication interception than the U.S. National Security Agency. If the United States were not involved, why didn’t it warn Erdogan? Either way, the outcome is negative for Turkish-American relations.

One of the strongest suggestions for American involvement is the fact that Turkish jets, for bombing and fuel supplies, took off from the Incirlik Airbase during the coup. This airbase is Turkish, but has many Americans resident, including some high-level ones since there is not only a sizable air force stationed there but an estimated fifty thermonuclear bombs. The Turkish commander, Gen. Bekir Ercan Van, was in daily contact with the Americans and sought asylum in the United States before he was arrested by Turkey.

Putin’s Resistance to Coups

If it is true that Putin warned Erdogan, this would also be the second time Putin has blunted the success of a major American-inspired coup, as he very much did in Ukraine. Seems as though poor old America, for all its grossly swollen and over-paid security services, just cannot run a good coup anymore.

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015. (UN Photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015. (UN Photo)

Putin is disliked by Washington’s establishment precisely because he successfully blunted a huge and costly operation in Ukraine, so disliked that NATO has been pushed dangerously into something resembling the terrifying preparations for Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa in Eastern Europe, 1941.

And, of course, Putin also has thwarted the American effort to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad with paid and supplied proxy forces of mercenaries and religious maniacs. Interestingly, Erdogan has been a key player there. French intelligence has just estimated that even now about a hundred thugs cross the border from Turkey into Syria each week.

If Putin has now also stopped a Turkish adventure, the hissing in Washington will likely become much louder.

A new relationship between Turkey and Russia offers a lot of possibilities, none of them favorable from America’s point of view, the restart of the Turkish Stream natural gas project being just one.

And if Europe speaks up or acts too strongly against Erdogan’s counter-coup measures, there’s always the possibility of a new release of refugees from Turkish camps, something which could genuinely destabilize the European Union after so many other recent woes. And smooth control of the E.U. has been one of America’s chief policy objectives for years.

Of course, we should remember that Churchill’s famous quote – about a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma – originally applied to Russia in the days of Josef Stalin. The observation may now apply to Turkey, but it does not apply to contemporary Russia. Putin’s deft moves have made some of America’s clumsy efforts at re-ordering the world resemble Stalin’s approach to international affairs.

John Chuckman is former chief economist for a large Canadian oil company.

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32 comments for “Erdogan Suspects US Sympathy for Coup

  1. Joe B
    July 22, 2016 at 10:11 am

    This is what I’ve been saying since the coup, in comments that have been “moderated” out of other websites.

    But there appears to be little reason to accuse Erdogan of “instability” here: “shooting down a Russian war plane, firing artillery into Syria at American Kurdish allies, blackmailing Europe over large numbers of refugees resident in Turkish camps.” The warplane was shot down by personal decision of the pilots who have been arrested, and if the decision was made higher up it was probably by the air force coup officers. Taking care of 3 million refugees for a mere $6 billion – barely enough for a year’s food – is hardly to be called “blackmail” by Turkey – it is the EU blackmailing Turkey to take care of them. And the Kurdish revolutionaries may be “American allies” – but why is that, when they are enemies of Turkey? Without taking sides there, Turkey shelling them is not “instability.”

    The question is why the US would regard Erdogan’s shift to Russia-Iran-Syria as a reversal. Erdogan let the US use Incirlik as a base to attack ISIL a year ago, so the US accusation of him supporting ISIL is propaganda with a different motive. The Erdogan authoritarianism accusations look like more of the same: everyone expects a crackdown after a military coup. So the US is hiding its motives for regime change and is trying to fool the people of the United States and no one else.

    Apparently it is Erdogan’s rapprochement with Syria and Russia that offends the US, because it reverses US actions against Syria in pursuit of Israeli campaign bribes, and offends the US loonies seeking to create a quagmire for Russia as it did in Afghanistan.

    • scarido
      July 23, 2016 at 7:07 am

      Hmm, sounds plausible.

    • AJ
      July 23, 2016 at 4:56 pm

      $6 billion to feed 3 million people for one year? So a refugee will eat $2 million worth of food in one year, yes that sounds credible, now what else are you saying?

      • tim
        July 23, 2016 at 11:22 pm

        So a refugee will eat $2 million?

        Try $2,000 ….$6 billion/ 3 million? hth … now what else are you saying?

      • Kingsley Adam
        July 24, 2016 at 2:35 am

        $2000
        your maths is off

  2. Sam F
    July 22, 2016 at 10:31 am

    This is a strange statement, that “NATO has been pushed dangerously into something resembling the terrifying preparations for Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa in Eastern Europe, 1941.” In fact Hitler massed 180 divisions of infantry and armor on the USSR borders, and when the invasion began, claimed that Russia had amassed an invasion force there, when in fact its defensive forces were under orders not to respond to provocations. The USSR lost 2 million men, 6000 aircraft, 3000 tanks and 3000 artillery pieces in three weeks in an operation the Nazis called “infanticide.”

    So where is NATO being provoked by Russia? Nowhere.
    Where are the invisible armored battalions the US claims that Russia brought into Ukraine?
    Why does the US provoke Russia in Afghanistan, Georgia, Ukraine, and Syria?
    Is this not exactly what Hitler did in 1941?
    Is this not the US prelude to Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa, to be unleashed by Hitlary? Or even Trump, once persuaded by the NSC.

    Let’s see the evidence of aggression before we accept this Israeli/MIC propaganda.

    • Drew Hunkins
      July 22, 2016 at 11:02 am

      Excellent points all, Sam F.

    • Marko
      July 22, 2016 at 4:11 pm

      Those would be excellent points , Sam F , if not for the fact that you have misinterpreted what Mr. Chuckman has written. NATO , in fact , IS Hitler in Chuckman’s scenario. He’s not suggesting that Putin has pushed NATO to act , rather that the U.S. has pushed NATO to act ( and without justification , as you noted ).

      • Sam F
        July 22, 2016 at 5:44 pm

        It is ambiguous: “Putin is …so disliked that NATO has been pushed dangerously into something resembling the terrifying preparations for Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa.” On second re-reading I decided that “so disliked that NATO has been pushed” means that the author believes that Putin is doing the pushing, a rationalization for a NATO intervention. But perhaps he just left the critical point very unclear.

        • Al
          July 22, 2016 at 8:30 pm

          Not, it’s not ambiguous. It is clear to me that the author stated that it is the U.S. pushing NATO into a dangerous situation.

          • Rob Roy
            July 23, 2016 at 4:47 pm

            You’re right, Al.

    • Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
      July 22, 2016 at 8:46 pm

      Israel is neutral when it comes to Ukraine. Don’t be anti-Semitic.

      • Sam F
        July 23, 2016 at 1:07 am

        RRT, there is no implication of that in my statement. Most Jews do not share your opportunism in promoting their group above all others, thank goodness, and you are doing them no favors. When you learn to cut out the bogus “anti-semitism” accusations, people may have some use for your thoughts.

  3. Kiza
    July 22, 2016 at 11:14 am

    The shootdown of the Russian bomber over Syria was an action by US with the help of Saudi Arabian and Turkish airforces (the head of the Turkish airforce was a general educated in US). It was an air ambush organised without informing Erdogan or Davutoglu (PM at the time) and designed to poison the newly established business relationship between Turkey and Russia. Why do you think Putin was prepared to forgive Erdogan so quickly – Erdogan never knew despite taking credit initially.

    The US is still very worried about this business relationship between Turkey and Russia. Erdogan is an extremely unsavoury character, but did Putin just show that he can take a page out of the US playbook? It is the old – he may be an SOB but he is our SOB. Nevertheless, Russia probably does win from the coup failure, warning or no-warning. But the stain remains on US – why did it not warn Erdogan when it almost certainly knew, even if it was a false coup organised by the Turkish intelligence MIT to cleanse Turkey of opposition. Erdogan may be rightfully unhappy at so many things in Turkey happening with US knowledge behind his back.

    • Kiza
      July 22, 2016 at 6:20 pm

      “Am I the Sultan of this vilayet or that other closet Muslim Obama?” Erdogan must be complaining.

      • Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
        July 22, 2016 at 8:47 pm

        Idiot. Obama is not a Muslim. I despise you, Trump supporter.

        • Kiza
          July 24, 2016 at 5:41 am

          I am honored that Hasbara Central in Tel Aviv (the contract possibly outsourced to India judging by your tag) has dedicated one of their trolls just to little me and my comments. You are my personal troll now.

    • Murali
      July 22, 2016 at 7:58 pm

      I don’t know if it was US operation to down the plane. But one thing I am sure they (I mean the US, KSA and Turkey) were in it all together. But when Putin responded assymitrically and that cost Erdogan a bundle and started to tank his economy then he had no choice but to look East and try to mend the relations with Russia. Putin’s genious is he didn’t take the episode personally and accepted the apology. Now the US, KSA didn’t like this new found friendship so they have to have a new poodle in Turkey. Unfortunately for Obama Erdo boy is little too smart and a hard nut to crack at least for now.

    • Ivan
      July 25, 2016 at 7:55 am

      Kiza…”the head of the Turkish airforce was a general educated in the US”. …interesting, the head of the Turkish air force was among those arrested following the coup.

      • Kiza
        July 27, 2016 at 2:21 am

        Well, most of the Turkish military top brass have been “educated” in the US (means coopted). Even before the coup, Erdogan has preventatively arrested and sentenced more than 300 of those guys. After the coup, there are none left. Apparently, Erdogan even arrested the two pilots who did the ambush on two Russian bombers over Northern Syria on behalf of the US (I do not believe that Obama knew about this ambush, it was a Deep State job). Finally, the guy who shot dead the parashutting Russian pilot, the Gray Wolves character named Chelick (means “stainless steel” in Turkish) would not have a high life expectancy now. Of course, the Grey Wolves are the famous Turkish paramilitary shock troops (nut jobs).

        Now, Erdogan will nicely wash his hands of ISIS, after his family made billions in ISIS trade, and blame it all on US agents in Turkey. How nice, a real blow-back US style.

  4. Joe Tedesky
    July 22, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    The below link is to an article written by Graham Fuller.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/graham-e-fuller/gulen-movement-not-cult_b_11116858.html

  5. legal eagle
    July 22, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    Considering Erdy’s behavior since he stabbed Russia in the back by shooting down the Su-24 makes ANYONE sympathetic to a coup. Getting that psychopath out of office wouldn’t exactly be a bad thing.

    • Sam F
      July 22, 2016 at 6:01 pm

      You need to read the articles and comments before claiming to be an “eagle.”

  6. IAL
    July 22, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    Let me see if I get this straight. Our government here in the US, which has aligned itself against our Constitution with the likes of criminal global bankers and terrorist states like Saudi Arabia while propagating wars all over the globe and destroying relationships with countries that are more of a strategic problem like Russia that hold nuclear arsenals, is surprised that Putin would alert Turkey to a possible coup attempt by the likes of our “intelligence” community?

    Give me a break! These people in the intelligence community and the US millitary are clowns that work for criminal bankers. Their plays are all to obvious at this point – first Iraq for a proposed pipeline (and the maps are on the internet so check for yourself), then Lybia for oil (with the likes of the French brought about by incompetent, favors-for-cash Clinton, then Syria for another pipeline (again map on the internet), when they know that Russia is a giant oil and gas company and needs the oil/gas market for its survival and thus will do what it takes to make sure they suceed.

    Perhaps, in the schools that these “intelligence” people attended, they did not teach them that Russian physicists and scientists are top-notch. I know, because I have worked with them on academic physics projects. So, when you are going to pick people to “work with” in the world who do you pick ‘intelligence” people? You went for the dumb Neanderthal Saudi’s that spend their time chopping off people’s heads – basically the cave men of the world – instead of working with the smart people – who, have the same level of intelligence – thus setting up a back and forth of STUPID that will continue forever because a contest cannot be won when the level of those playing the game is at the same unless the outcome on a global scale is nuclear war or a mind meld.

    Here is what you need to know Feral Government – the American people ARE NOT GOING TO FIGHT A WAR WITH RUSSIA! And this is what you are going to do – You are going to stop siding with the likes of brutal dictators in public in the media – like Saudi Arabia and this nut job in Turkey that is an ISIS wannabe – both of these countries with ties to terrorism. And you are going to stop with all of this NATO Russian border garbage trying to get a war started with Russia. In fact, NATO is not needed because if you would get these New World Order/Bilderberg banking idiots and their globalist cronies under control and stop fighting wars on their behalf NATO is not needed because Russia then could get along with Europe and the US.

    How do I know that you are going to do this? Because the people of this country are NOT GOING TO SUPPORT this nonsense ANYMORE in OUR NAME!

    This governent does not represent the American people and WE ARE SICK AND TIRED OF IT! Those of you in the government work for the people – not a bank or your own bank account. If you are unwilling to do that, or if you are too dumb to understand that your actions are not SMART – RESIGN NOW. Becasuse there are plently of geniuses in this country that are not working due to your stupid slave-work policies and your alliance with criminal bankers and human rights abuses that can FIX THESE PROBLEMS if given the chance.

    Many of you have proven OVER AND OVER again that despite your higher educations in “top” universities, that you are the equivalent of the government clowns in the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Well, here is what I say to that. We do not need any more “top men” working on problems – we need Indiana Jones! – who is out of work and working part-time anyway thanks to your incompetent polices.

    DONE! Every single day there is another bushel of stupid from this government!

    IAL Ph.D., MBA

    • Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
      July 22, 2016 at 8:49 pm

      There is no such thing as the NWO.

      • Rob Roy
        July 23, 2016 at 4:59 pm

        Yes, there is. (In fact, it’s the title of Kissinger’s new book.)

        • IAL
          July 23, 2016 at 6:42 pm

          Thanks Rob Roy, apparently RRT would rather tell us what we don’t know and call us names instead of learning on his own. Sad.

          IAL Ph.D., MBA

  7. jfl
    July 22, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    I agree with the Canadian oil economist, except that the Churchill quote seems to apply not to Erdogan but to Turkey itself, at least from Putin’s longer-than-next-quarter point of view.

    Joe B, looking for something to agree with you on – I think Erdogan is definitely unstable and that he definitely is/was a big supporter of ISIS, although he may just a have made yet another volte face – I find it in your last paragraph, although I don’t think the US neo-cons needed prodding from their soul-brothers in Israel on this one, they were the originators of their vile actions in Syria just as in Afghanistan. Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Ukraine.

    Sam F, much easier to agree with you, although you don’t mention the biggest shocker here … the European peoples’ going along with the US driven NATO on this aggression. They’re the ones who are going to pay for NATO’s aggression against Russia if and when it occurs, Uncle Sam is across the ocean from Russia, with his “let’s you and them fight!”. As you point out, Americans have no idea what real, devastating warfare on our own territory is, we’ve only dished it out to others in theirs. The Russians lost 20 million people to the US/UK 200 thousand each in WW II … and the USA claims to have won the war! The US and the UK purposely dragged their feet on the western front, hoping that the NAZIs would destroy Russia for them. It was only when the Russians had destroyed the NAZIs instead, and were heading for Europe that that the US and UK opened the western front. History according to the USA is a one-sided and wrong affair. I join Drew Hunkins’ applause.

    Kiza, I am definitely now wondering about US involvement in the shoot-down of the Russia jet by the Turks, and I hadn’t before. But I think that Putin is less enamored with Erdogan than with Turkey. If Turkey were to leave NATO and concentrate instead on repairing relations with Syria, Iraq, and Iran – as well as with Russia and China – things would be looking up for peace in the Middle East, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. The CIA will certainly do its best to keep that from happening! The CIA are incapable of doing anything positive at all. They deal exclusively in deceit, death, devastation, and destruction and, thanks to Obama and Brennan, our USA is now identified exclusively with the CIA and Graham E. Fuller’s al-CIAduh.

  8. jfl
    July 22, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    Yeah IAL! Now make sure you and all your friends vote for the Green or the Libertarian candidate in November, or write-in the name of someone you / they know and would like to see as POTUS. If we turn in a total of 3rd party / write-in / ‘spoiled’ ballots that beats both of the criminal elephant / jackass gang’s candidates your message will have been delivered in their faces and made undeniable, they will have been delegitimated and we all will be shocked, emboldened, and energized to realize that we really do have the power. That with a little organization on our end we can run the whole show, just as we’re supposed to do. And if the Green or the Libertarian actually wins, that wouldn’t hurt either. If not now, when?

  9. E Wright
    July 23, 2016 at 5:29 am

    I don’t see the logic in this argument. Russia and Turkey are traditional enemies due the Ottoman Empire’s loss of the Crimea to Russia. The latter’s support for Kurdish and Armenian independence (for geopolitical reasons) also mitigates against friendship. Russia’s presence in Syria is seen by Turkey as encirclement.

    The US has exploited Turkey’s insecurity. But now we have a new element – the rise of Islamic determinism (jabr). Once upon a time it was Sadaam Hussein who carried the mantle. Erdogen is the first strong man to emerge since then. He has no intention of rapproachment with anyone. What he wants is a new Islamic Century along with a new caliphate. Of course he will try all sorts of tactical manouvres to get his way, including counter-coups and playing off both Russia and the US.

    Is he dangerous? Not as dangerous to Europe as the attitudes of some Eastern European leaders actually, who would be happy to provoke direct border skirmishes (specifically in the Kaliningrad exclave) with Russia. In the short to medium term Erdogan only wants to break out of Russian encirclement. Putin might be able to do a deal with him on that, but it doesn’t make them friends.

    Erdogen’s Turkey does however represent an existential threat to Israel in the long run. This is perhaps the single most important reason why the US uses so much of its resources in this part of the world – to maintain Israel’s integrity. It is also the reason why a dirty war between MIT and Mossad will heat up.

  10. Mark Thomason
    July 23, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    US involvement is becoming ever more obvious. The access journalism of our major media give it away, as they cry and moan about failure of the coup, reflecting the insiders who were involved.

    The questions are what Erdogan could do about it, and whether he would choose to do any of those things. The price may be too high for him to do anything, except keep a watchful eye on the treacherous US agents in his country.

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