NEO – Turkeys Surprise Elections – What Next?

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by Gwenyth Todd  with New Eastern Outlook, Moscow

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The seven golden domes of St. Petersburg
The seven golden domes of St. Petersburg

[ Editor’s noteWhen Gwenyth Todd was on the National  Security Council, Turkey was part of her beat… and yes, she speaks the language fluently, among several others. So she was my perfect choice to ask to give us a post op on the huge upset in the Turkish elections.

She knows the area like the back of her hand and has contacts there, although in the constant surveillance world we live in now, having contacts and getting information from them is not a given. The risks must be carefully weighed, even for expressing opinions that can get your life changed in a jiffy, and permanently.

Gwenyth has been there and done that, having broken up an impending false flag attack during the Bush gangster years, which was to be used to strike Iran before Bush left office, something he wanted on his resume.  She survived an assassination attempt for this act purely by changing some plans she had made, so she did not show up for what as going to be her last mission.

Years of punishing pending criminal charges followed, the usual making an example to others thinking of doing the right thing, but were eventually dropped after certain parties had left government. Susan Lindauer went through a similar torment on a different case, and with charges dropped in the last weeks of the Bush administration.

VT considers itself fortunate to have Americans like these two ladies to share their stories and talents, as corporate media certainly will not. We are, and always will be, the publisher of last resort, while others play it safe and take a pass… Jim W. Dean ]





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Democrat - or wolf in sheeps clothing?
Democrat – or wolf in sheep’s clothing?

– First published  …  June 17, 2015

Erdogan

In the run-up to last week’s Turkish elections, most observers expected Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his AK Party to win a healthy two-thirds majority.

Had the AKP won, it would have paved the way for President Erdogan to make sweeping changes to Turkey’s constitution, potentially granting him dictatorial powers reminiscent of those of long-dead Ottoman Sultans.

There were two major schools of thought predicting a massive AKP victory. One was composed of those convinced that Erdogan would intervene behind the scenes and rig the elections in AKP’s favor.

The other was composed of people, many of whom are paid by President Erdogan’s corrupt party machine, to believe and spread the word internationally that Erdogan’s Turkey is a fantastically modern, democratic, free society on a path towards economic super-stardom.

The shocking game-changer for AKP fortunes came in the form of a spike in votes for a primarily Kurdish political party called HDP (“Peoples’ Democratic Party) mostly located in Turkey’s Southeastern region. The HDP picked up enough new seats to pass the minimum 10% threshold for any political party in Turkey to be included in government.

The fact that a predominantly Kurdish party could get this far was something of a shock to all. Many people are unaware that President Erdogan’s forces have never really stopped oppressing the Kurds in Turkey’s Southeast.

This is largely because they only hear good news concerning President Erdogan’s reasonably amicable relations with Iraqi Kurds, as well as meaningless announcements that President Erdogan has negotiated an tentative ceasefire with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’Party or PKK through an agreement with its incarcerated former leader.

Few have actually paid attention to the never-ceasing military and law-enforcement operations against Turkey’s Kurds. After all, those who report bad news in Turkey risk losing their livelihood or even their lives in President Erdogan’s Turkey.

Erdogan is unlikely to accept this defeat for his AK Party without a fight. He does not want to draw too much international criticism and is thus likely to look for a simple democratic solution. The simplest thing he can do in the short term is to reduce the numbers of HDP members to below 10% by charging enough HDP members with the crime of supporting Kurdish separatism, or even banning the HDP party outright.

During the past few days, Erdogan has begun decrying Kurdish terrorist activity in Syria and in Turkey. This could well be “preparation for surgery” in excising the HDP from Parliament. Such a move would be unlikely to elicit intense Western criticism or even hold the public’s attention via CNN for more than ten days. New elections would be called and this time President Erdogan would pay much closer attention to securing his desired results.

Even if President Erdogan does not remove the HDP obstacle, he is almost certainly ready to stop at nothing to maintain his iron grip on Turkey. He has fought hard, stopping at nothing to attain his powerful position and it is almost inconceivable that he would accept defeat now, when he has come so far.

Analyst and former Presidential Advisor Gwenyth Todd
Analyst and former Presidential Advisor Gwenyth Todd

Few people want to acknowledge just how far Turkey has drifted from its once crucial role as a critical Western ally in a dangerous neighborhood.

Turkey has gone from being NATO’s arguably most strategically positioned member during the Cold War to being, at best, a bridge between the West and the Muslim World and to being, at worst, a corrupt troublemaker run by a megalomaniac.

Erdogan has publicly called on his followers to start a potential nuclear war in the region by rising up and marching to wrest Jerusalem from Israeli control. How could this dire change have occurred without anyone stepping in earlier?

The world has been very slow to notice the dangerous erosion of Turkey’s role as a Western ally since the AKP came to power in 2002. Erdogan was hailed as the best hope for Turkey to be admitted to the European Union, because he was willing to undercut the Turkish military’s role as guarantor of a secular Turkish state.

No one stopped to consider that Erdogan’s touting of “religious freedom” might be a ruse to destroy the Western-allied, secular Turkish state created by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. In hindsight, while politically incorrect to say so, it was always absurd to think that the European Union would allow a truly Muslim state into its club.

Anti-Islamic sentiment runs too high in various European Union countries. A secular Turkey would have been the only acceptable Turkey for the EU and even then, the Greeks and Cypriots would never have agreed.

Yet over the past decade, the U.S. and Europe cheered on Erdogan as the best hope for Turkish EU membership, even as secular, military, political, media and business figures were steadily but quietly incarcerated and/or served with ruinous fines to force them into submission. If those tactics did not work, critics of Erdogan have died under mysterious circumstances, been ruined financially, been driven into exile or silenced through blackmail and threats.

Meanwhile, during the past decade, Turkey has increased its popularity as a tourist destination and investment opportunity and few visitors ever scratch below the shiny AKP gilded image of Turkey to see the unprecedented corruption of President Erdogan and his cronies.

Certainly it was clear that there were popular protests: we all heard about them on the news, but they seemed to be about trivial things like shopping malls and were thus easily ignored.

Hagia Sofia is a former Greek Orthodox basilica, later a mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul, and a tourist draw
Hagia Sofia is a former Greek Orthodox basilica, later a mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul, and a tourist draw

More women were wearing headscarves, but it was politically incorrect to question that since it seemed to be a personal religious or fashion choice. Billboards of Erdogan were popping up everywhere and some observers commented that they were replacing images of Atatürk, but again, it did not seem that important.

For many, it was not until President Erdogan unveiled his 1,150 room Presidential Palace in 2014 that they started to look more closely at President Erdogan’s agenda.

During this time of tourism, economic boom and public glitz, Erdogan had presented himself as the only credible regional champion of Palestinian rights, while also advertising himself as a friend to Turkey’s fractious Kurdish population.

Adullah Ôcalan
PKK’s Adullah Ôcalan

As far as the Kurds were concerned, Erdogan managed to focus international attention on an apparent peace deal he had reached with Adullah Ôcalan, the long-imprisoned former leader of the terrorist Kurdish PKK organization.

Few people questioned whether Öcalan, after almost 20 years in prison, actually still wielded sufficient power among Turkey’s Kurdish population to be able to influence events. People wanted to believe in Erdogan and those who questioned him frequently found themselves in grave danger.

As for the Palestinians, in 2010 Erdogan tried a doomed-to-fail publicity stunt and sent a flotilla of ships, purportedly carrying humanitarian relief supplies but also heavily packed with international journalists, to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

Nine Turkish activists were killed in the Israeli operation to block the flotilla. Erdogan’s image as a defender of the Palestinians received a huge boost, even though he accomplished nothing that actually helped the Palestinians.

When the flotilla incident publicity died down. Erdogan apparently decided that the best way to harass the Israelis was to wield power over the government of a country bordering Israel.

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Adventures in Syria

President Assad meets with Syrian troops
President Assad meets with Syrian troops

In 2011, Erdogan held high hopes that Egypt, under the new leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood, would help him lead the effort to pressure Israel.

Simultaneously, Erdogan was quietly stirring up tensions in neighboring Syria by arming disenfranchised Sunni Muslims and encouraging them to overthrow the Syrian Ba’athist government led by President Bashar Al-Assad, himself a member of the Shi’a Alawite sect.

Erdogan stressed the sectarian Sunni vs. Shi’a aspect of Syrian society and managed to unleash complete chaos inside Syria by training and arming disenfranchised Syrian Sunnis. Still, however, Bashar Al-Assad retained control in Syria and furthermore, in a serious blow to Erdogan’s strategy, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood was overthrown with support from the U.S., Europe and Israel.

In spite of disappointment over losing Egypt, Erdogan was full of hope that he would gain Western military support in overthrowing Syrian President Assad if he could just stage a false-flag chemical weapons attack. He appears to have done so in Aleppo, Syria and in Rehanli, Turkey, although he vigorously denies having done so. Still, as Seymour Hersh noted correctly, forensic studies of the chemicals used in these attacks did not come from weapons in Syria’s military arsenal.

U.S. President Obama, fortunately, was advised quietly at the last minute in August 2012 that he was being advised to bomb Damascus based on false information about supposed use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime against the Syrian people.

[ Editor’s Note: VT supplied information directly to the White House that Israel had set up radio signals to impersonate the cell phone calls between two Syrian officers discussing the logistics of obtaining and moving chemical shells, knowing that the NSA would pick the conversations up and they would be used as “proof” of Assad ordering an attack. I might add that VT has sent warnings on impending false flag attacks on other occasions and been thanked, quietly, by the appropriate institutions… Jim W. Dean ]

President Obama also realized that even some of his closest advisors, many of whom were being lobbied by former US officials on Erdogan’s payroll, were feeding him Erdogan’s lies about Assad.

A number of prominent Obama administration foreign policy advisors were subsequently replaced in 2012 and 2013, albeit under the guise of unrelated reasons, from sexual misconduct to normal turnover of cabinet members following a Presidential election.

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Conduit for Weapons and Irregular Fighters

A Turkish court has issued arrest warrants for four prosecutors and one military officer in a controversial case over the interception last year of trucks that allegedly contained arms bound for neighboring Syria, reports said Thursday. The four prosecutors had been reassigned and then suspended after they ordered the search of several trucks and buses in the southern provinces of Hatay and Adana near the Syrian border in January 2014 on suspicions of smuggling “ammunition and arms” into Syria. A series of documents had circulated on the Internet indicating that the seized trucks were actually National Intelligence Agency (MIT) vehicles delivering weapons to Syrian Islamist rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad. (File photo)
Border town – A Turkish court has issued arrest warrants for four prosecutors and one military officer in a case over the January 2014 interception of trucks that allegedly contained arms bound for neighboring Syria, reports said. A series of documents had circulated on the Internet indicating that the seized trucks were actually National Intelligence Agency vehicles delivering weapons to Syrian Islamist rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad. (File photo)

Meanwhile, President Erdogan ensured Turkey became the undeclared gateway for any terrorist wishing to fight with the radical, brutal Sunni An-Nusrah rebel brigades in Syria. An-Nusrah was not strong enough to unseat Assad however.

What the world next witnessed was the formation of the even more brutal Islamic State in Syria or ISIS, which was made up largely of exiled Iraqi Sunnis who had fled to Syria and were prepared to fight to the death to drive the Iranian-backed Shi’a militias out of Iraq.

The weapons used by An-Nusrah and later ISIS were and are frequently NATO weapons, further implicating Edogan and Turkey.

Apologists for Erdogan claim that the NATO weapons have been seized came from the camps of Western-armed Iraqi Army forces crushed by ISIS but it is highly likely that Turkey is responsible for providing many sophisticated Western weapons to ISIS.

Erdogan also likes to turn a profit, so thanks for Turkish materiel and other support must also be given for the financial support for ISIS by Gulf Arab states wishing to offset Turkey’s role as the primary supporter of this radical Sunni movement. It is a classic case of rivals exploiting each other unthinkingly, but with devastating consequences.

Erdogan took his continued support even further. According to credible reports, when three trucks belonging to the Turkish Intelligence Service were stopped at the Turkish border with Syria, they informed the border guards that they were carrying humanitarian aid.

The border guards managed to open one van and reportedly found it full of weapons. When the border guards tried to seize the trucks, an armed stand-off ensued and the trucks passed into Syria.

The Customs Service complained and Turkish judges ruled the actions of the truck drivers illegal. Erdogan’s response to the judicial finding against his own weapons smugglers operating government trucks epitomizes Erdogan’s illegal tactics: he charged the judges with treason for daring to support any challenge to his National Intelligence Service operations.

Being able to act without any lasting negative consequences may help explain why President Erdogan lost track of political reality somewhere along the way, as he successfully silenced all opponents and critics inside Turkey. Most observers believed that Erdogan would rig these latest elections to ensure AKP a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

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Election Surprise

Erdogan
Erdogan

It seems, however, that Erdogan has been riding so high on the crest of his wave of corruption that he convinced himself he no longer needed to worry about internal political opposition. He looked as stunned as everyone around him when, instead of gaining seats in Parliament, the AKP lost a significant number of seats and with it, the AKP majority.

It is clear that Erdogan is leading Turkey down a dangerous path. He operates behind a cloak of normalcy and it is only once a new onerous policy has been implemented that anyone takes notice. Even then, in this world of 24 hour news coverage, the world audience quickly turns their attention away from significant events inside Turkey.

As long as the archaeology, the beaches, the hotels and the friendly tour guides continue to be accessible, outsiders will ignore even the most egregious violations of acceptable democratic practices.

It is now up to the Turkish people who said “No” to Erdogan in these recent elections to follow through and stop the AKP from regaining its previous levels of power. Political parties like the HDP will have a tough time standing up to AKP pressure and harassment, but they and their sympathizers are Turkey’s only hope of stopping Erdogan from turning Turkey into a truly destructive force in the region.

The outside world has shown that they will not intervene, regardless of how distressing it may be to witness Erdogan’s destruction of modern Turkey as we know it.

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Gwenyth Todd is a former Advisor to President Clinton and an expert in international security policy, having an M.A. from Georgetown University, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Author Details
Jim W. Dean is Managing Editor of Veterans Today involved in operations, development, and writing, plus an active schedule of TV and radio interviews. He broke into television work doing Atlanta Public TV programs for variety of American heritage, historical,military, veterans and Intel topics and organizations since 2000. Jim’s only film appearance was in the PBS Looking for Lincoln documentary with Prof. Henry Lewis Gates, and he has guest lectured at the Army Command and General Staff School at Fort Gordon, GA.

He is working to find time now to database his extensive video archive of Americana and interviews filmed during his public TV days so individual topic segments can be key word searched to quickly use in future multi-media projects.

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