30 Ağustos 2013 Cuma

ERGENEKON TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS

ENGLISH
The footnote links do not work; you will have to scroll down to to the footnotes for expanded information. Opening the blogsite on two seperate windows and keeping one on the footnotes will make it easier to go back and forth. Sorry for the inconvenience, I'm no expert!.

Other links should work.


August 5th 2013; the notorious Ergenekon conspiracy case was slated to to have its final hearing and pass out its verdicts.

The Ergenekon “conspiracy” trials is itself a great conspiracy, a major operation launched by US/Globalist interests in a grand scheme to rearrange the Middle East according to their own interests.

It does not help here to say that one does not believe in conspiracy theories because the trials are very real, have been going on for years, and disbelieving one conspiracy precludes disbelieving the other. Either you believe the AKP government’s thesis that there has been a conspiracy, or disbelieve it and subscribe to the alternate view that that whole conspiracy is a fiction created to serve another conspiracy!

The thesis of the AKP regime and its supporters has been that a terror organisation called Ergenekon has been attempting to overthrow the democratically elected government by force, and that this organization has been behind similar plots and conspiracies against the legitimate wishes of the population, said plots including but not confined to the previous military coups. This has been the legitimization of the arrest and incarceration of literally hundreds of the best of Turkey’s elite, comprising journalists, academicians, officers and intellectuals.

With effective control over the media, whose complicity was purchased through advantageous business deals and a blind eye to tax evasion, public opinion was lulled into credulity and apathy. Dissident voices were few enough to be allowed to go on publishing and broadcasting their anti-government views; that much was necessary to maintain the illusion abroad of a liberal democracy- but not so far as to preclude clampdowns if the AKP felt threatened!

The globalist/capitalist interests which the AKP serves, and in whose service it has come to power, have provided Turkey with the sparkle and glitter proper to their image. A rash of shopping centers mushrooming all overn the land- some next to each other, some smack in the middle of an already bustling shopping street, offer nothing but the same names: LCWaikiki, McDonald’s, Miss Selfridge, Media Markt, Sephora, Saturn, Body Shop, Marks & Spencer, Pizza Hut etc. etc., plus a smattering of Turkish chains like Remzi Kitabevi, Teknosa, and Paşabahçe.[1] The purchasing power is obligingly provided by banks (all but two already under foreign ownership) that shower their clients with credit cards, with the net result that most of the population is heavily in debt and people are fearful of any social upheavel that may send their interests up through the roof, so complacency seems the best option.
Seeing the Ergenekon witchhunt going so well, the AKP supplemented it with others, most famously with the Balyoz (“Sledgehammer”) coup plot allegation which decimated the commanding staff of the navy, but also others like the espionage trials targeting younger officers and the “28th of February” trials against the anti-fundamentalist National Security Council resolutions of February 28th, 1997.[2]

Turkey has been a NATO ally of the United States since  February 18th, 1952, and relations have sometimes suffered from anti-American sentiment among left-wing youth.[3] There were times when relations soured with the Turkish establishment as well, such as US arms embargo against Turkey following the Turkish military operation in Cyprus in 1974. [4] The embargo prompted Turkey to nationalize most NATO bases in the country. Still, relations have remained fairly stable until the end of the Cold War.

Turkey’s political scene was heavily influenced by the cold war: Turkey shared borders with Warsaw-pact nation Bulgaria on the west and the Soviet Union itself on the east, and Turkey’s armed forces were the second largest in NATO. 

The unrest and violence on the streets in Turkey that led up to the three military interventions in 1960, 1970 and 1980 may all be interpreted as the cold war turning hot on a smaller scale. Real issues became confused with ideologies, facts with myths, doubletalk from all sides blurred realities until no one was quite sure what one was fighting for. The reaction to heavy US influence which appealed at first to nationalist sentiments with slogans like “Neither the USA nor Russia, a fully independent Turkey”, later drifted towards an “internationalist” outlook which eschewed nationalism and national symbols, and discredited Ataturk and his republic almost as much as the AKP is doing right now.[5]
 
So long as the Cold War continued, the left was susceptible to influences from the Eastern Block, primarily the Soviet Union but also China, which is most probably the reason for the progressive de-nationalization and internationalization of the leftist movements, leaving the “defense of the flag” to the right.[6]
 
When factional violence became too extreme, the cost in lives too high, the Armed Forces intervened- as they have in 1960, 1970 and 1980.[7] I refrain from using the term “coup d’état” because none of these interventions aimed at changing the regime,but were actions taken in extremis when civil war was imminent and, in the case of the 1980 intervention, had already started. If anything, the purpose was a return to the status quo. Though all three military interventions were against right-wing governments, there was fear of the chaos leading to a left-wing revolution, so they had the acquiescence of the US.[8]
The cold war ended with the collapse of the Soviet empire and the domino-effect dissolution of the regimes of the sattelite states. I was working at a studio in West Berlin at the time of the disintegration of East Germany and witnessed souvenir hunters chipping away bits of the Berlin Wall piece by piece. I witnessed East German uniforms and Soviet insignia sold off flea-market style as relics of a bygone age, and was amazed to see the 41 year old German Democratic Republic blow away like soap bubbles. 

Checkpoint Charlie was a crossing point at the Berlin Wall between the Allied controlled West Berlin and the Soviet sattelite German Democratic Republic, or East Germany.  When the wall was opened and East Germany disintegrated, the once strictly controlled Checkpoint Charlie became a touristy fleamarket where Soviet and East German uniforms, medals and paraphernalia were sold. Die DDR ist nicht verkauflich ("The German Democratic Republic is not for sale") I had heard a defiant East Gerrman TV commentator say in 1990. Above the shoppers' heads- the flag of the German Democratic Republic, for sale.
(Image from my own camera, 1991.)

Uniforms of the defunct army of the German Democratic Republic for sale.
(Image from my own camera, 1991.)

The similar collapse of the gigantic and powerful Soviet Union was likewise unbelievable, but because for us it was the other side of the fence, it didn’t touch me personally, it didn’t bother me at all.
After official unification of East and West Germany on September 3rd 1990 I was again surprised at discontent expressed by the Germans who had previously clamored for unification with cries of Die Mauer muss Weg!- “The Wall must Go!”. I did not comprehend the disappointment of the East Germans whose forty-one year journey had come to naught. This wasn’t “unification”, this wasn't two halves becoming one, this was one part taking over the other, disbanding its army, its institutions, automatically transforming the population of the former Deutsche Demokratische Republik into parvenues living in the Neue Bundesländer- “New States of the Federation”.

I could only think smugly: “how weak the fabric of communism! Such a thing is not possible with us, in the Republic of Turkey, where we fought for and won our own independence, and founded our own Republic!” Time is a cruel teacher! 

Even as the Soviet giant disintegrated, Soviet republics splitting away in spite of the Red Army’s formidable nuclear arsenal, I never thought anything of the like could possibly happen to us.

Then strange things started to occur. Being the sole remaining superower, the US took to flexing its muscles much more than we were accustomed to seeing. Just before the final dissolution of the tottering Soviet Union (December 26th, 1991) the Gulf war of 1991 saw the overwhelming military force of the US steamrolling over Iraq.[9] Turkey’s civilian president Turgut Özal was all for jumping on the bandwagon; it was the military that declined to take part in military action. Turkey agreed to allow the use of NATO bases on its territory during the conflict and moved forces along the Iraqi border, diverting some valuable Iraqi military resources away from the theater of war, but never went into actual combat. When pressed to accept an active military role Turkish Chief of Staff Full-General Necip Torumtay resigned (December 3rd, 1990).[10] The US had gathered a large coalition of states to participate in, and thus legitimize, the military action against Iraq, and the army of staunch NATO ally Turkey was not taking the bait.[11] This did not go down well with Uncle Sam.

With the the Iran hostage crisis of 1979-81 the US recognized a new threat to its authority, a new force to challenge its might as a world power- the mysterious eastern religion of Islam, with fanatical suicide warriors. The mullahs of Iran had overthrown the Shah and established an autocratic rule, frustrating US attempts at establishing a Pax Americana in the Middle East. The Taliban of Afghanistan, once supported by the US to oust the Soviets, had turned out to be uncontrollable fanatics forever waging civil war in an already impoverished country, aiming to maintain and spread an oppressive medieval lifestyle. With the Soviet threat neutralized, the beast of Islam seemed the next threat to be dealt with. 

Around the same time that the US led “coalition” was driving into Iraq in order to liberate Kuwait, Yugoslavia was entering a decade of internal warfare that would split it up into six countries.[12] The oddball in this group was Bosnia- Herzegovina, a region with a large muslim population. If the Bosniaks had their way, there would be an independent muslim nation in the middle of a christian Europe moving towards unification. 

Bosnia-Herzegovina declared its independence on March 3rd 1992, having to fend off the Yugoslav People’s Army of the essentially Serbian Federal State, the militia of the newly created purely Serbian Republika Srpska[13], and on and off with Croatia, with which it also often allied itself.

Bosnia-Herzegovina was recognized by the US and other Western nations on April 7th, 1992, one month after declaring independence. Its application for membership in the United Nations was accepted on May 22nd, 1992. From that point onwards, the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was entitled to UN protection in case of being aggressed. This had been the pretext for the US led “coalition” charging into Iraq; to liberate internationally recognized UN member Kuwait from occupation.

The war dragged on; Muslim Bosnia was strangled by christian Serbs, Sarajevo was under siege, its population blown up with morter shells or picked off by sniper fire while Europe and the US prevaricated. The gung-ho readiness for action so evident in the days leading up to the Gulf War had left its place to humming and looking the other way. The Yugoslav Federal State had abandoned even the pretence of trying to preserve the federation; the aim of President Milošević was a greater Serbia, and the method was “ethnic cleansing”.


The international community made a show by sending UN peacekeepers who were not allowed to shoot and fighter planes that were not permitted to fight. “Safe havens” were set up to defend refugees without providing the safety. 

The besieged enclave of Srebrenica was one such “safe haven” under the protection of the United Nation Protection Force (UNPROFOR). Lt. Col. Thomas Karremans, the commander of the contingent composed of 400 Dutch personnel assigned to keep Srebrenica "safe", abandoned the enclave and the 25 000 refugees in it to the mercy of the militia of the Republika Srpska under Gen. Rlatko Mladić who entered Srebrenica on July 11th, 1995.
 

Lt. Col. Karremans drinking a toast with with Gen. Mladić prior to abandoning Srebrenica and its refugees to the mercy of the Republica Srpska 
(Image from the media.)

A massacre followed, not the way you would expect, but according to reports, slow and piecemeal, much of it right around the Dutch battalion headquarters at Srebrenica/Potočari where the refugees were now crowding for safety. The murder spree went on for at least another 11 days.[14] Official estimates put the toll at 8000 deaths, some horrific, women suffering rape before murder. It looked as if the US and Christian Europe were waiting for the Serbs to exterminate this irritating Muslim community for them, without getting their own hands dirty. The Serbs would get a rap on the knuckles, be told to wait for a few extra years, and eventually be accepted into the growing European Union, with no surviving nation of Muslims for anybody to say “there goes the neighbourhood!”


Investigators of the Internatonal War Crimes Tribunal unearthing evidence of atrocities in Bosnia, July 24th 1996. 
(Image from the media.)  

The war in Bosnia, directed against a Muslim population in the heart of Europe, brutally carried out before the eyes of the world with no effective opposition from the civilized nations, caused profound and lasting resentment among Muslims of everywhere. The scar was deep and permanent, and the humiliation reserved for Muslim Iraq stood out in stark contrast to the leniency towards the blatant agression of the Christian butchers Bosnia.[15] NATO did finally take decisive military action, but only after the mortar attack into the market area of besieged Sarajevo on August 28th, 1995; actually the second time it happened.[16] Operation Deliberate Force put a stop to further massacres by the Republika Srpska and brought parties to the negotiating table. Along with several other former Yugoslav states, Bosnia-Herzegovina achieved independence and is now a sovereign state.[17] But the damage was done; the civilized Christian west had demonstrated its prejudices and double-standards, and bred prejudice in return. As if to rub it in even further, members of the Dutch unit at Srebrenica were awarded an insignia in December 2006 for their “behavior in difficult circumstances.” Dutch defense secretary Henrik Kemp pinned the first medal on Col. Thomas Karremans himself. This drew much reaction, including threats, which was at least part of the motivation for Col. Karremans’ decision to live out his retirement in Spain.


 Col. Karremans decorated for his valliant defense of the Muslim Bosniaks under his care. (Image from the media.)

The secular Turkish Republic had harbored western pretences. Throughout the Cold War era, the West was willing enough to humor the Turkish delusion that they could ever be accepted into the western family of nations. Turkey has officially been an applicant for membership in the European Union since 1987, and has been waiting at the siding as former Eastern Block “foes” whizz past into membership.[18]
 
With the Soviet danger gone, the West had little motivation to humor Turkish pretences. For one thing, being Muslims, the Turks were inherently unreliable, capable at any moment of growing fanatic and fundamentalist; all it would take was another Ayatoullah Khomeini! Turkey as secular republic on Western lines was considered as unstable and unreliable as Iran had been under the Shah! Turkey’s westernism was inseperable from a hero-worship cult called Kemalism, centered on Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the secular Republic, much like Stalinism, Maoism, and even the fanatical brand of nationalism that grew around Hitler and Mussolini. The West had outgrown hero-worship cults; for that it had Hollywood and super hero comics. Westernization associated with Kemalizm was unreliable because at any moment Turkish society could tire of its hero and fall prey to fundamentalist Islam. And if it didn’t, Kemalist nationalism made the Turks cocky, and that was not desirable either! After all, the cocky Turks had closed NATO bases after a US arms embargo, and blocked Turkey’s active participation in the first Gulf War.

Before all of this, before the first Gulf War even, back in 1989, the Pentagon had asked the RAND Corporation to submit a report on “the future of Islam and radicalism in Turkey”. The study group was headed by a certain Graham Fuller, erstwhile operations officer for the CIA with 20 years on the job. From 1986 to to 1988 he had been Vice-Chairman of the National Intelligence Council. In 1988, Fuller left the CIA  to join the RAND Corporation.[19]
Former CIA operative Fuller had served in diplomatic positions in the Muslim world, postings including Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, North Yemen, Afghanistan, and of course Turkey.

The report that issued from the think tank concluded that the best way to keep radical Islam from coming to power was to give “Moderate Islam” more leeway. The report acknowledged that Islamists the world over yearn for a return to government by religious law, the Sharia, but saw Turkey safe from falling into such extremes.

So the conception of the “moderate Islam” project predates the Gulf War and the Yugoslavian Civil war. 
 
At the time the Turkish president was Turgut Özal, the icon of Turkish capitalism who was fond of flaunting his chummy relationship with President George Bush Sr.[20] As mentioned above, Özal was more than ready to send Turkish troops into Iraq as part of the “international coalition” but was checked by his own ministers and chief of staff.
During Özal’s presidency, in 1991, shortly after the RAND report, Clause 163 of the Turkish penal code was removed. The clause had prohibited “...propaganda or persuasion towards founding the social, economic, political or judicial system on religious principles or the exploitation of religious feelings for propaganda purposes...”; with it gone, the gate was opened partway for the “moderate Islam” project, whatever the US understood of it.

Presidents Özal and Bush Sr.: the best of chums taking in the sights in Istanbul, July 1991!
(Image from the Media.)

Meanwhile, the lifting of the ban on the pre-1980 leaders was bringing in old faces that mingled with the new, and as old parties resurfaced, they avoided merging with the new ones, so that identical ideologies were sometimes represented by two different parties. Power changed hands, coalition followed coalition until the DYP (The “True Path Party”) now led by Tansu Çiller made an unholy alliance with Necmettin Erbakan’s Islamist RP (Refah Partisi, “Welfare Party”) on June 28th 1996.[21] The coalition government was formed, with Erbakan as Prime Minister (June 28th, 1996), causing much consternation among secularist circles who felt the future of the Kemalist Republic was threatened. This, as we have seen, did not coincide with the RAND commission report, who saw no risk for Turkey if “moderate Islam” was allowed some liberties. 

The Çiller-Erbakan coalition came at a time when the war in Yugoslavia and the reluctance of the West to defend the rights of the Muslims of Bosnia was very topical, hence a resurgence of Islamic sentiment and a sharper division of secular and Islamic mindsets in Turkey. 

The secularist Kemalist press and the left wing kept ringing alarm bells, and Erbakan, chuffed with the success of being the first unabashedly Islamist political leader to reach the position of prime minister in Turkey, did little to allay fears and suspicions.[22] Political opponents of both coalition parties magnified the dangers, hoping to gain some advantage by toppling the their rivals.[23]
The sensitivity of the Armed Forces was raised, high ranking officers assembled at the Gölcük naval base on January 22nd 1997 to discuss the threat of rising fundamentalism.
The municipality of Sincan, near Ankara, held a “Jerusalem Night” on January 30th, 1997, where a provocative play, “Djihad”, was staged and the Ambassador of Iran was guest of honor.[24] Soon afterwards, on February 4th, 1997, the Armed Forces made a show of force by rolling tanks and armored vehicles through the streets of Sincan.

On February 11th 1997 there was a march of women against the danger of the Sharia in the streets of Ankara.

The National Security Council convened on February 28th 1997 and after 9 hours of discussions, came upon a number of resolutions to safeguard the secular system and check the rise of fundamentalism. Prime Minister Erbakan was compelled to sign the resolutions on March 13th.[25]

The resolutions gave great importance to reinforcing the secular system of education, joining elementary and junior high school to make eight years of unbroken compulsory secular education, giving young people a chance to mature before deciding whether to take a religious path and enter a İmam-Hatip (clerical) school.[26]
 
Prime Minister Erbakan felt compelled to resign on June 18th 1997.

Contrary to the previous military interventions, February 28th could not have had US support; their view of “moderate Islam” would have demanded “leniency” towards Erbakan and the RP. Either that, or Erbakan's brand of "moderate Islam" must not have met US interests.

The RP was closed by the Constitutional Court on January 16th, 1998. It resurfaced immediately as the FP.[27] On June 22nd, 2001, the FP in turn was closed by the Constitutional Court, but only after the trials had streched on for more than two years. The party resurrected in two incarnations, Saadet Partisi, the “Party of Felicity”, on June 20th 2001, and the AKP, the “Party of Justice and Development” (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi), in power today.

An imam by the name of Fethullah Gülen had been attracting the suspicion of the military since the 70’s; he was even arrested and held, though eventually acquitted. He published his views continuously, attracting a following as well as suspicion.[28] He established a network of homes for young students in need of support called “houses of light” (Işık Evleri), really indoctrination centers. Gülen’s contacts were wide ranging; meeting on occasion President Turgut Özal, Prime Minister Tansu Çiller, Pope John Paul II, and a certain Morton Abramowitz, US Ambassador to Ankara 1989-1991 (appointed by George Bush Sr.). After 1991, Abramowitz became the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

A holy pair: Pope John Paul II and Fethullah Gülen at the Vatican, February 1998.
(Image from the media.)

Gülen left Turkey “for health reasons” in 1999, and has not returned since. He was tried in Turkey in absentia under anti-terrorism laws for “conspiring to overthrow the state” but was acquitted in 2006 because, according to the then new EU harmonization rulings, in order to be tried for terrorism, there had to be an actual terrorist act, or at least the clear intention of it.

In 2008 George Fuller, responsible for the above-mentioned Rand Corporation report advocating leniency to moderate Islam in Turkey, personally wrote a letter of support for Gülen’s US visa application. Gülen lives in a spacious ranch home in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, in the same state as the seat of the Rand Corporation (Pittsburgh).

Houses of the Holy: Gülen's modist domicile in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania.  
Gülen pretends to own nothing. I should be so poor!
(Image from the media.)
 
In 1994, a man named Tayyip Erdoğan became the mayor of Metropolitan Istanbul. He was a member of Erbakan’s RP at the time.[29] Reportedly, Ambassador Abramowitz, with whom also the political imam Gülen was acquainted, came in contact with Mayor Erdoğan. There is even a date given for the encounter: October 15th 1996, in Erdoğan’s office. Internet gossip relates more than one encounter, reaching earlier, which allegedly led to several Erdoğan visits to the United States.[30]

Aydınlık news item 20 October 1996.
"Abramowitz is preparing Erdoğan for Erbakan's place."
Necmettin Erbakan was Turkey's prominent Islamist leader and had already become prime minister in the coalition with Tansu Çiller's DYP.

Abdullah Gül was the “pretty boy” of the group; at the time of the protests against the US 6th Fleet in 1969 he was a student at Istanbul University and a member of the right-wing “National Turkish Students’ Union” and even the “committee of 40” responsible for the “Bloody Sunday” killings and woundings of February 16th, 1969.[31] He was reportedly kept away from the action, even persuaded to grow his hair to blend in with the apolitical and even the left wing youth. It is said he was being groomed for a showpiece role in the future. And he did rise; I have read that the religously inclined “National Culture Foundation”[32] provided him with the funds for postgraduate studies at Exeter University, 1976-78. Many graduates from this of this university reportedly hold important government and finance positions in the Middle East. Gül is also an alumnus of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, attached to the US State Department, his name appearing on the Bureau’s website; This was apparently in and around 1995, the time Erdoğan was being courted by Abramowitz.[33]

The Unholy Trinity: Gül, Gülen and Erdoğan.
 (Image from the media.)


The AKP was founded on August 14th, 2001, with Tayip Erdoğan as chairman. In the elections of November 3rd 2002 only 15 months later the AKP came to power with a clear majority with almost %34 of the vote, unencumbered by coalition partners, an incredible achievement for a new party with new faces.[34]

However, there was a hitch. Erdoğan was in trouble with the law. A poem he had recited during a speech had been used as a pretext to bring him to court- admittedly an abuse of justice to remove an unwished political figure from the scene, but his actions later in life have justified allegations that he was “openly provoking the people to enmity through exploiting differences in faith and race.”[35]

Erdoğan had to give up his position of mayor and spent four months in prison.[36]
 
When Tayyip Erdoğan became the chairman of the newly-founded AKP in 2001, he was a free man, but his conviction had saddled him with a ban on political activity. With the election victory of 2002, Abdullah Gül (mentioned above) became prime minister.

In December 2002, while prime minister Gül was keeping his seat warm for him, AKP leader Tayyip Erdoğan, flew to Washington to visit George Bush Jr, who gladly hosted the party leader who was still banned from politics (meetings beginning on December 10th, 2002, before the ban was lifted: http://www.amerikaninsesi.com/content/a-17-a-2002-12-10-8-1-87862857/796938.html  ). Meanwhile the newly elected AKP was working to lift the ban, which it managed to do on December 13th, 2002, with help from the “arch political rival” CHP.
Erdoğan still needed to get into the parliament. The AKP staged an interesting little switcheroo to get Erdoğan elected MP, the details of which you can read up in footnote 18 of “A Pencil Jab that Hurt”, 16 March- Mart 2013. Erdoğan claimed his seat, became prime minister (March 14th, 2003), and Abdullah Gül became the minister for external affairs.
The US was gearing up to knock out Saddam Hussein definitively, and desired useful servants in Turkey, just north, with NATO bases on its land. 
 
Turkey’s national agendas were different at the time; since the 70’s the Kurdish separatist PKK had been waging a guerilla war with some very violent and unethical tactics, and the successive Turkish governments had responded with justified military action and some unjustifiable underhanded methods over the years. Since the First Gulf War, Iraq could exercise practically no authority in the north, and an Iraqi Kurdistan had thus been unofficially created, shielded by the US-imposed “no fly zone” patrolled by US planes. The PKK was using this area for its base camps from which to launch attacks into Turkey. The Turkish Armed Forces regularly responded with operations into this area in pursuance of the insurgents. The US, on the other hand, had an interest in the creation of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq, a new state in the Middle East, completely reliant on the US, extending deep into the territory of NATO ally Turkey.

 Charred bus following a PKK assault on a military convoy in Bingöl, Turkey, on September 9th, 2012. The assault killed 10, wounded 63.
(Image from the media.)
The US made regular assurances of a united struggle against terrorism and declared the PKK a terrorist organization, but Turkish commanders in the region repeatedly reported deliveries of US aid to the PKK.[37]  The ideologies served by the allied US and the Turkish Armed Forces had clearly started to diverge. The US was envisioning a “new world order” for the post cold war world, with heavy focus on a new Middle East.[38] which would override the interests of the independent, secular and unitarian Turkish nation state. The AKP and its leadership had been created to lull Turkey into accepting the transformation, and Fethullah Gülen, the Imam in Pennsylvania, was to help mold the minds, remove national identity, and replace it with obedient, superstitious piety.
Meanwhile, the US was having trouble persuading the world to join a new coalition against Iraq. There was no new Iraqi aggression, for a decade the country had been groaning under an embargo, its skies patrolled by US (and British) jets enforcing the no-fly zones in the north and south, every so often taking out a Iraqi antiarcraft installation. To justify a new attack, the myth of “weapons of mass destruction” was perpetuated. To avoid the inevitable, Saddam agreed give clearance to UN inspectors, who consistently found nothing.

In Tony Blair’s Britain, an expert on biological warfare by the name of Dr. David Christopher Kelly who had served as a UN weapons inspector in Iraq had an off-the-record discussion with BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan. Dr. Kelly critcised the report that ensued from the investigation, pointing out dubious and unsubstantiated claims that, if taken seriously, could be used to justify invasion.[39] Gilligan broadcast what he had hearned on BBC’s The Today Show on May 29th, 2003, keeping his source clandestine. Kelly was traced and had to appear before two House of Commons Committees where he was positively grilled.[40] Directly afterwards, on July 17th, 2003, Dr Kelly left his Oxfordshire home for a walk, and never came back. His body was found dead the next morning in woodlands about a mile away. The conclusion of the subsequent inquiry: suicide!

 The late Dr. David Kelly
(Image from the media.)

The AKP was as enthusiastic about joining in the “coalition” against Saddam Hussein and charging into Iraq as President Özal had been over a decade ago. The new government, under Uncle Sam’s thumb, showed full compliance in spite of strong and vocal anti-war sentiment at home. The newly built Sabiha Gökçen airport in Istanbul was earmarked for US logistical needs and ships were under way carrying personnel and equipment to the port of Iskenderun. There was still the formality of authorization from the Turkish parliament but with the AKP majority it was considered to be in the bag

But for once the democratic system worked; when the motion for Turkish military participation and the stationing of foreign forces on Turkish soil was put to the vote on March 1st, 2003, some AKP members of parliament chose not to toe the party line and the results fell short of the required proportion, causing the motion to fail.[41] Turkey would not participate in this war, would not open its territory to belligerent forces. The ships carrying arms and personnel had to to make an about-turn and seek other hospitable harbors.

At the time of the parliamentary voting, Erdoğan had not yet been elected MP. He would’t be able to claim the prime ministers’ seat for another fortnight. (I redirect you to footnote 18 of  “A Pencil Jab that Hurt”, 16 March- Mart 2013) As for the Armed Forces, traditionally closely linked with the running of the country- there were divergent opinions in the upper ranks but as a body the military expressed no view in either direction. The US must have expected active support for what it saw as a NATO mission, and the parting of ways may have already become more definite than we here thought possible.

On July 4th 2003, in Al Sulaymania, Northern Iraq, US troops raided eleven Turkish soldiers (one captain, two lieutenants, 8 NCO’s) their interpreters, and a British national who happened to be there, searching for his daughter. They were arrested, with hoods placed over their heads. This was taken as an affront by the Turkish public, who called the hoods “sacks”. 

 
US soldier with Iraqi suspects wearig hoods ("sacks").
Actual photos of the Turkish soldiers with hoods over their heads are not available.
(Image from the media.) 

The insult was even harder to bear since it was coming for an allied country making use of our facilities.[42] When asked whether the Turkish government intended to give the US a note over the “sack incident”, prime minister Erdoğan smugly replied “what note? Are you talking about a musical note?”[43] When a similar question was directed at Minister of Exterior Gül he dismissed it as “a local case of officiousness” and added “great nations don’t apologize”, clearly stating where he thought we stood in the scale of greatness.[44] The humiliating incident was to launch the TGB’s “Sack Action” years later, whereby the young members of the group attempted to put “sacks” over the heads of NATO soldiers- preferably US but in their absence others will do.[45] 

The war in Iraq turned into a liability for the US, and thanks to the 4 votes that fell short on March 1st 2003, the bodybags that were regularly flown out Baghdad did not contain any Turkish soldiers. Those came from Turkey’s drawn out struggle with the PKK and on that front, the US was clandestinely ranging itself on the opposing side.
By 2007 Iraq had suffered a humiliating defeat, Saddam was captured and hanged, alumni of Fethullah Gülen’s institutions were making inroads into the state apparatus, most dangerously the Turkish police and judiciary.[46] With the police collecting the evidence and the prosecutors and judges conducting the trials the defendants were completely at their mercy. Much has been written about the infiltration of the police and the judiciary by the Gülen cult but the most detailed one was Ahmet Şık’s detailed study, “The Imam’s Army”, (İmamın Ordusu) which was impounded in a police raid on March 23rd, 2011, before it was published. It hit the internet immediately afterwards, and some time later it was published as “Thaaat Book” (Ooo Kitap, Postacı Yayıları, 2011). The censorship that jumped the gun is an attestation of its verity.[47] 

In 2007 it was time to vote for a new president, and the presidents in Turkey being elected by the parliament, it was clear the AKP would use its own majority to put its own man to the top. Many feared the AKP’s advances threatened the Republic and crowds united to make their voices heard in a series of “Republic Rallies”, the greatest one at Çağlayan Square, Istanbul, on April 29th, 2007. (I was there, and there must have been millions).


Cartoon for the French newspaper Le Monde by cartoonist Jean Plantureux ("Plantu") on the occasion of the "Republic Rally" at Çağlayan on April 29th, 2007

The AKP had its way, minister of exterior Abdullah Gül moved up to the presidency on Augut 28th 2007, to be wined and dined- excuse me- fruit juiced and dined by European royalty in the ensuing years.
The organizers of the “Republic Rallys” were gradually picked up, harrassed, or arrested on various pretences. The AKP style was taking form.[48] 

On June 12th 2007 a cache of bombs was “found” in a house in the Ümraniye neighbourhood in Istanbul. The police raid was prompted by a call, there is no proof other than the word of the police that the bombs were ever in the house, and this cruicial bit of evidence was destroyed by the police at a very early stage. This led to the arrest of No one realized the scope of what was coming, but the Ergenekon witchhunts had started, opening the way for the persecution of the elite of the Republic of Turkey, neutralizing some, terrorizing others, intimidating everybody else. 

A common pattern was established: an informant would call by phone, or send an e-mail- sometimes from abroad as in the “Adultery and Espionage” allegations- see footnote 1 of “Adultery and Espionage”, 28 April-Nisan 2013. There would be a search, and the police would find something- most frequently a plastic garbage bag under a cupboard or behind a refrigerator. Out of it would come documents, most commonly a CD with incriminating evidence. Many finds would be preceded by news in the pro-government press, notably Taraf and Zaman, both of them mouthpieces of Fethullah Gülen from across the ocean. In the early days of the witchhunt these bits of evidence- in some cases scribbled sketches “found” here and there - led to vast caches of weapons, such as those found in Gölbaşı, Ankara on December 8th 2009 or in the Zir valley, Ankara, on January 6th, 2009.[49] The allegation was membership in a secret terrorist organization called Ergenekon. The ammunition “finds” provided the weapons that would make the allegation stick.

The operation was really launched earlier, before the 2002 AKP election victory, before the party was even founded in August 2001, which would lend further credence to both the AKP and the Ergenekon witchhunt being two facets of the same US operation.[50] On March 1st, 2001 a curious personality, combination intellectual and small time swindler named Tuncay Güney was arrested in connection with a car smuggling affair. In course of a search conducted in his office, the police found “six sacks of documents” from which they unearthed some that referred to an organization called Ergenekon. In the course of the questioning, which included torture (his own claim), he gave whatever testimony the police wanted to get. The statements he made under pressure formed the foundation on which the Ergenekon case was built, and the Ergenekon “terror organization” was invented. Güney was soon released on bail, and flew to America, where he converted to Christianity. From there he moved on to Canada, where he converted, once again, to Judaism and even becoming a Rabbi. He still lives in Toronto leading a gay lifestyle (in both senses of the word), very comfortable and well to do, thank you! He appeared on a live interview by Skype connection on SkyTurk on February 8th 2013. I wrote about this in my article “Makes You Want to Scream”, 12 February- Şubat 2013, and included some quotes from the interview.

In the wake of the Ergenekon verdicts of August 5th, 2013, Güney was interviewed again, this time by the Hürriyet newspaper Aug. 22nd, 2013). Flaunting his expensive watches and jewellery before the Israeli flag at the head of his bed, he looks like a kosher Elton John.[51]

Would you buy a used car from this man? Would you go by his testimony? Tuncay Güney in his Toronto home.
 (Hürriyet, front page, August 22nd, 2013.)


Ergenekon is actually an epic, an origins legend of the Turks, and recounts how this race, living in a valley surrounded by mountains, grew populous and needed to break out through the constraining ring of mountains and spread out into the open world beyond. With the skills of their ironmonger Kava, they manage to melt a mountain of iron ore. A she-wolf named Asena is supposed to have led them through the passage thus opened.[52] It is interesting that in inventing this “terrorist organization”, the chose to give it the name of a heroic Turkish national epic, very fitting as a means of discrediting Turkish national sentiments, very ironic in employing the Turkish creation legend for the destruction of that nation.[53] 

Melting the mountain of iron: an illustration of the Ergenekon saga.
(Image from the media.)

The Ergenekon organization was allegedly out to overthrow the government by force, and it was also claimed to be the incarnation of the deep state- the shadowy backhalls of the state structure that launched clandestine, unethical operations and made bargains with the underworld. In this way, the support of many who had an axe to grind with the state structure was assured- until it became clear that few if any of the defendants had anything to do with whatever dark dealings had occurd in the past. The Ergenekon defendants were intellectuals, academicians, journalists, and officers- entire battallions’ worth of officers!

The first arms cache was supposedly found in a house in Ümraniye, İstanbul, on June 12th, 2007, the first of several. There is much suspicion that they were all planted in advance, enforced by the strange decision of the court to destroy this cruicial bit of evidence. The police  raid was prompted by a phone call . A common pattern was established: a denouncement, sometimes by an unidentified informant, sometimes by someone already in custody offered a chance to better his lot, followed  by a search, and the uncovering of a document which leads to a cache of weapons, such as the buried weapons found in Gölcük, Ankara, on December 8th, 2012, after the “discovery” of a sketched map during a search in the home of İbrahim Şahin, former deuty-chief of the Special Operations Office (Özel Harekât Dairesi), or the hard disc found in a sack placed under the fllorboards of the Naval Base at Gölcük on  December 6th, 2010 ,which lead to another cache in Poyrazköy, Istanbul between 21st and 24th of April, 2011and was used to give credibility to the "Sledgehammer" plot allegation.  (See “Sledgehammer”,  6 September-Eylül 2012, “Sledgehammer Verdicts”, 22 September-Eylül 2012, “Hammering the Sledgehammer”,  5 February-Şubat 2013 .)  
According to Aydınlık of December 13th, 2012, the best and most honorable of the nation is being persecuted with the testimonies of  thieves, murderers and rapists (like Yüksel Dilsiz, convicted of raping eight underage boys, Osman Yıldırım, of robbery and murder, Şemdin Sakık, PKK militant held responsible for the killing of 33 soldiers, “secret witness Aydos”, army deserter and swindler, caught stealing  sheep.) 

But the “terrorist” organization still lacked a clear terrorist act to its name. The opportunity came when the left-leaning newspaper Cumhuriyet was attacked thrice with grenades on My 8th, 10th and 11th, 2006, It was followed by one with firearms on the State Council (Danıştay), this time with an actual fatality.[54] 

The AKP was in power, the secular establishment was steadily being put into the defensive by the step-by-step encroachment of AKP style fundamentalism into the government and daily life- and the AKP was using the language of “liberty” to bring its reactionary changes about.

A schoolteacher who wanted to wear a türban had won the right in court.[55] The State Council overruled the decision; considering the religious headdress inappropiate for a schoolteacher the council voted 4 to 1 to reinstate the ban.
The conservative/religious newspaper Vakit attacked the State Council ruling from page 1 on February 13th, 2006, calling it “a scandal decision”. The big black headlines read “These are the (council) members”, accompanied by photographs and names, clearly setting them up as targets.

"These are the members." The headlines of the arch-conservative Vakit of February 13th, 2006 sets up the members of the State Council  involved in the decision against the schoolteacher's türban, setting them up as targets.

On May 17th a lawyer named Alparslan Arslan entered the State Council building, walked into the office of the department head, and fired eleven rounds into the occupants, killing one and wounding three.[56] It was immediately obvious from which side the violence was coming- the reactionary elements that constituted the electoral base of the AKP. But with the police and judiciary in its grip, it was a simple matter to turn the tables and produce, plant and invent the clues that would transform the attacks into Ergenekon operations.[57] 

Much of the Turkish press was bound by self interest to the government, since their owners had business interests that depended on the government’s good will. The two major opposition parties, CHP and MHP[58] made only a show of opposition, barking a lot but never biting, ending up aiding the government at every critical juncture.

Observing the apparent apathy all around, and not being brave enough to shout in the streets, I took to e-mailing my frustrated feelings to friends and acquaintances. April 13th 2009, was the day of the “12th wave” of Ergenekon roundups, this time targeting mainly academicians. I experienced such a constraining feeling then, as if I couldn’t breathe, as if none of us could breathe freely again, that I felt I had to do something to express my frustration. I put up our flag at the window and said “this flag stays there until those people come out!" I couldn’t keep that promise literally, but had to put up a new flag when the old one was too worn out. I recounted that story in “The Flag and the Ribbon”, 30 May- Mayıs 2012, and “Faded Glory”, 28 October-Ekim 2012.

I was teaching at the Maltepe University at the time of the roundup, and every week, I would put a sketch with a useful saying on the students’ desks. The day after the horrendous “12th wave” I made an extra one, a special, topical one. I shared it on my blog in the article “Provocation: Silivri, April 8th”, 13 April-Nisan 2013.

Seeing wave after wave of Ergenekon roundups going on without a hitch, the AKP expanded the game. On January 20th, 2010, Fethullah Gülen’s mouthpiece the Taraf newspaper printed a shockingly provocative accusation on its headlines: the Turkish Armed Forces had been planning to bomb one of our own mosques, and shoot down one of our own planes, all part of a conspiracy called Balyoz (the “Sledgehammer”) to create an excuse for a coup d’état. The roundups followed swiftly and extensively, this time aiming at the Armed Forces directly. I wrote about this in “The Sledgehammer”, 6 September-Eylül 2012.
  
While Gülen was lionized as the champion of “moderate Islam”, Erdoğan and the AKP paraded as the democratic liberators of autocratic Turkish society. The European and US press were ready to believe it, dismissing the outcry from Turkey against the AKP’s tightening stranglehold as being no more than resentful Kemalists fretting over their loss of power. But the sweeping arrests and the kind of people targeted could not go unnoticed. To critical queries the AKP brazenly responded that the journalists and academicians were not imprisoned and tried for practising their profession but because of their "terrorist activities".[59]
 
The roundup of journalists and academicians may have raised some eyebrows in the west and put a dent in Erdoğan’s liberal and democratic image, but the military could expect no sympathy. The Turkish Armed Forces have traditionally been seen as the guardians of the Republic- an image accepted even by its critics. The strictness of the periods of military rule, so criticised by intellectuals at home and abroad, have all been the outcome of the irresponsible and selfish practices of the politicians who have allowed, even provoked the country to descend into civil war conditions.[60]  In the aftermath the dead of the internecine slaughter are forgotten, blames are shifted left and right according to preferred ideology, and the politicians are exonerated as the victims. The soldiers always carry the blame, and this blame is exported to Europe by dissidents who naturally dislike authority, and is picked up by the West who has no reason to sympathize with a foreign army. Post-World War II Europe, with Franco’s civil war in Spain and the uniformed terror of Hitler’s Reich in its recent history, harbors an understandable distrust for things military- though the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace is still popular with tourists and the weddings of princes in uniform attract huge crowds. 

The voices of protest coming out of Turkey did not do much to help the case of the officers in prison, by far the largest group suffering from the persecutions of the “conspiracy” cases.  The CHP only pleaded the case of the journalists first and academicians and other intellectuals afterwards; the soldiers hardly at all- This is ironic, since most officers and their families consistently vote CHP! Only the left wing Labor Party, unrepresented in parliament and its leaders in prison, consistently took up their case. 

Not surprisingly, the vast majority of the arrests have targeted the armed forces, numbering hundreds of officers, young officers, high ranking officers, retired officers, senile old officers! Added to these are those driven to resignation through probes into their private lives, like the 110 pilots who had to quit their jobs in January 2013.

The wives and relatives of arrested armed forces members have come together to make a stand and have their voices heard. Considering themselves to have assumed the duties of their imprisoned husbands, brothers, uncles and friends, they have named their movement “Now It’s Our Shift” (Vardiya Bizde). Besides trying to inform the public and participating in various protest activities, they regularly hold a “Silent Scream” (Sessiz Çığlık) demonstration every Saturday in Istanbul, Ankara, and many other cities. (See: “Now It’s OurShift”, 6 November-Kasım 2012, “Hammering the Sledgehammer”, 5 February- Şubat 2013, “Makes You Want to Scream”, 12 February- Şubat 2013, “Devouring his OwnChildren”, 19 February 2013.)

Why is the country being deprived of all its defenses? Why is the spectacle so agreeable to our “allies”? The negative feeling nurtured over the years towards the Turkish Armed Forces can only explain the outlook of the general public whose opinions are molded by the media, but the intellectuals and the responsible people in higher positions in government must have other reasons. The negative image of Turkey as oppressors denying the Kurds their freedom and the Armenians their land is also something the public has obtained from the media.[61]
 
As for the intelligentsia, and the governments, they have far greater access to information; their embassies must be relaying news directly from the source and I am sure neither the US nor the European diplomatic missions harbor any illusions about Erdoğan, the AKP, and their intentions.
The Turkish Republic, deprived of its defences, is laid bare for the transformations deemed necessary for the creation of the "new" Middle East, peaceful and subservient. Turkey will be made to give up its eastern provinces to a new free Kurdistan, and Armenia is already making its bid for its own territorial claims. Since the Kurdish and Armenian claims overlap, it will be interesting to see how they go about sharing the spoils. As for our country, assuming that the rest doesn’t split up Yugoslavia-style, it will be goodbye to Turkey the ally and hello to Turkey the slave, the obedient Sunnite Muslim slave, there to string along the other obedient Sunnite Muslims of the Middle East, ready to neutralize the threat of Shiite Iran. It will be a peaceful Middle-East, to be sure, US-friendly and Israel-friendly and market-friendly.
The Turks will be liberated of the constraints of Kemalism, the burden of nationalism, the bothersome worries of free will, and give themselves over to complete obedience, to biyat, as the fundamentalists proudly call it. Gone is the heavy load of independent thinking; Atatürk’s own words “freedom and independence is my character” will be banned as sacrilege.

Having completely overturned the National Security Council resolutions of September 28th, 1997, discredited them, and arrested everyone who has had anything to do with them, the AKP launched a frontal attack on the educational system with view to de-secularizig, de-Kemalizing, de-nationalizing it, emphasizing religion. The Koran classes, subjected to restrictions under the 28th of February resolutions, were granted complete freedom of operation, with ever younger children being enrolled to learn long tracts of Arabic text without being able to understand any of it. 

Children in Koran class in Samsun; the best ten get a tablet computer. Their task is to memorize a text in a foreign language, in a different alphabet, without understanding a word! They might just as well look at the printed circuits inside the computer and believe they understand how it works.
(Image from the media.)

The 8 years of compulsory education has been abandoned in favor of something called 4+4+4, obliging students to start a year earlier. Even though the government maintains the whole 12 year stretch will be compulsory, there is little doubt in anyone’s mind that after the first 4 years daughters will be pulled out of schools and married off. They will only be ten years old at the time but these people don’t mind that. But don't let that bother you, this is “moderate Islam”, even the child brides will buy your products with credit from your banks and let their children fight your wars- in the name of Allah, naturally.

The Ministry of Education has taken away two cornerstones of the Turkish educational system: “the Oath” and Ataturk’s “Call to the Youth”. American friends, it’s like taking “The Bill of Rights and “The Gettysburg Address” out of the American curriculum.[62] 

Neighbourhood schools are being changed to Imam-Hatips, clerical schools, against the wishes of the families in the neighbourhood. Preaching democracy and freedom, and oh yes a moderate brand of Islam, Erdoğan and the AKP has been stuffing their very medieval and oppressive view of faith down our throats. Obey! Obey! Biyat! Biyat!

Whatever little national pride is left is already being kneaded into religious, superstitious dough and served with neo-Ottoman icing. Since shortly before the AKP ascension to power, the forgotten Ottoman coat of arms has burst into fashion, adorning everything from wall ornaments to pillow cases. The AKP is administering the opium of Ottoman power and glory to deprive us of our identity and independence while we are busy dreaming. When rattling sabres against Syria, in pusuance of the US agenda of toppling Bashar Assad, Erdoğan unabashedly uses the language of Ottoman expansionism. See: “War Drums of a Non-Militarist Government”, September 18th 2012. In the same article I mention the AKP’s warmongering through a dubious organization called SADAT.

Left: When prime minister Erdoğan appeared on the cover of its Novemer 28th, 2011 issue of Time Magazine, Erdoğan and his supporters were thrilled. That week the cover featuring the prime minister appeared on every edition of Time save the US one.
Right: Musa Kart, cartoonist for the newspaper Cumhuriyet, made this parody that suggests the real reason Erdoğan was so honoured by TIME.

Will we be selling off relics of our Republic to curious tourists in the near future? You know, like the Russian medals and East German uniforms in Berlin? Was the same invisible hand behind the unbelievable collapse of the Soviet giant? Is there a link between the reapparition and popularization of the Ottoman coat of arms and the reintroduction of the Romanov double eagle as the coat of arms of post-Soviet Russia? 

 Cover of the program of ceremonies for the baptism of Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna, 1899. She was murdered along with her father, Tzar Nicholas II and the rest of the Imperial family (and servants) by the Bolsheviks on July 17th, 1918.
(Image from the media.)

 The Hammer and Sickle was known the world over but now it is gone. As the Soviet Union collapsed, losing territory, power, and influence, Russia resurrected the imposing symbol of a bygone age. This double-eagle is now mounted over the gateway to the Russian consulate general in Istanbul.
(Image from my own camera.)

 The Ottoman coat of arms was practically forgotten by everyone except scholars. It started mushrooming all over the place in the '90's and is now practically a fashion.
(Images from my own camera.)
Russia took on a symbol of lost power and glory at a time of tremendous loss of real power and territory; is the Ottoman coat of arms the sugar to coat the approaching secession of Turkey’s eastern provinces? The members of the Russian imperial family, the Romanovs, murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918, were canonized as Saints.[63] 

  Reverentially kissing the sainted image of Tzar Nicholas II.
(Image from the media.)

Their remains were reinterred in 1998 at the Church of St. Peter and Paul in St Petersburg, close to their ancestors. Is there a parallel between the Orthodox-Tzarist mix that is replacing Soviet ideology and the Islamic-Ottoman mix that is being used to erase the Turkish Republic from history, as was the Soviet Union before it? Can we speculate a connection between the US reaction to the August 1991 coup aganst Gorbachev and the ongoing pseudo-legal liquidation of the Turkish Armed Forces to forestall a coup against Erdoğan?[64] Is Erdoğan Turkey’s Gorbachev, with a mission to effect a change of regime?

Would I be stretching it if I speculated a parallel between the death of Gen. Eşref Bitlis in a plane crash in 1993 and that of Ret. Lieut. General and rising politician Alexander Lebed in a helicopter crash in 2002? Lebed had entered politics and had made a bid for the presidency, finishing third in the 1996 elections. He had ideas like "preserving the army is the basis for preserving the government”, and was not wanting for popularity. Full-Gen. Eşref Bitlis was the Commander of the Gendarmerie. He was of the opinion that  American Forces stationed in Turkey against Saddam Hussein should be made to leave, and complained that the US was helping the PKK.[65]

Remains of the Beechcraft B200 that carried Gen. Bitlis to death. Inset: Gen. Eşref Bitlis.
Whodunnit?
(Image from the media.) 
  All of what I know as my country is being rent asunder before my very eyes, and I have no say in it. I am told this is a democracy and I should wait for the general elections. Even assuming the elections are fair- and there are good reasons to assume they aren’t- Turkey will have lost a good deal more by then. The manic drive for a new constitution that we don’t even need will end up splitting the country territorially and the nation psychologically. The US is pressing to get the new constitution out because it suits its plans for the new Middle East, the AKP is pressing for it because it’s the willing puppet of the US, the “opposition” MHP is complaining but rubber stamping it anyway because that’s what it’s there for, the "major opposition” CHP is raising a bigger fuss but presses for a speedy resolution anyway because that’s its mission, the BDP is pressing for it because the Kurds expect to get an independent country out of the deal and don’t give a sh.. what kind of a primitive medieval theocracy Turkey will be stuck with after they’ve upped and left- well, the way the discussions are going it probably won’t be called Turkey anymore.[66] 

The AKP has attacked the Constitution from day one. Enjoying a majority in parliament and the support of members of the “opposition” at every critical juncture, it has changed one clause after another.[67] And now it has finally come against the “unchangeable clauses”. These clauses are:


1) The Turkish State is a Republic. 

2) The Turkish Republic is a democratic, secular State under Rule of Law, in a spirit of national solidarity and of justice, respecting Human Rights, loyal to Kemalist Nationalism and to the main principles delineated at the beginning. 

3) The Turkish State, with its nation and territory, compose an undivisible whole. It’s language is Turkish. It’s flag is the red flag with a white crescent moon and star, as specified in the relevant law. It’s national anthem is the “Independence March”. It’s capital is Ankara. 

4) The declaration in clause 1, to the effect that the form of government is a Republic, those in clause 2 delineating the qualities of this Republic, and the precepts in clause 3 cannot be changed, nor may such a proposal be voiced.



Because clause 4 says the first three cannot be changed, the AKP wants to start with 4.


The TGB has openly declared that, if an attempt is made to change these laws, they will use their legal right to resist. You can witness their declaration near the end of the vidoclip of the article “Sailing for Samsun”, 4 August- Ağustos 2013.

There was a call to conscientious citizens to rally in front of the Silivri prison compound on the fateful judgement day of August 5th. No one expected the Silivri court to be any more just than when it passed the Balyoz “Sledgehammer” verdicts on September 21st, 2012.[68] Still, no one could afford to lose hope! The organizers clearly wanted a big, loud protest in front of the prison walls that would call the atention of the world in the same way the Gezi Parkı protests had done in June. The government wanted nothing of the sort, and declared the area out of bounds.


The Gezi Parkı protests of June 2013 attracted worlwide attention. This cartoon by Jan Plantureux ("Plantu") appeared in Le Monde.
See: "Taksim Promenade Park", 31 May- Mayıs 2013, "Everywhere is Taksim", 2 June- Haziran 2013, "Promenade Park Uprising Continued", 5 June-Haziran 2013, 
"The Western Front", 11 June-Haziran 2013, "Saturday in the Park", 17 June-Haziran 2013, 
"A Musical Interlude", 27 June-Haziran 2013, "Yet More Music", 6 July-Temmuz 2013.
The last thing the government wanted was this kind of publicity around the dubious justice of the Ergenekon trials.

The weekend started active. Two days before, on Saturday, August 3rd, there was a series of early morning raids and searches aiming at the TGB, the Labor Party, the Ulusal channel, and the Aydınlık newspaper, with a total of 14 taken into custody, including Aydınlık editor-in-chief İlker Yücel and TGB leader Çağdaş Cengiz.[69]


Like others taken in custody on Aug. 3rd, TGB leader Çağdaş Cengiz was released after the Silivri court passed its verdicts. There will still be a court case against him.
(Image from the media.)

That evening there was gas and water again at the shopping street İstiklâl Caddesi leading to Taksim square and surrounding alleyways, where the police managed to whip a small demonstration into a frenzy.[70] Everything led to believe the verdicts on Monday would be infuriating enough to ignite a major public outcry, and the government was ready for a showdown.

The Silivri Watch has been a kind of guard of honor for the captives of the Ergenekon, "Sledgehammer" and related cases. It has hosted and supported the families of the defendants and offered refreshment and a place of rest to demonstrators since September 9th, 2011. The Watch has been there for almost two years now, around the clock, through all kinds of weather. The heroic operation was spearheaded by retired municipal worker Hıdır Hokka.

 The tent of the Silivri watch, outside the prison compound.
(Image from my camera.)

 Hıdır Hokka (right) with defendant Lieut. Mehmet Ali Çelebi (left) who was not held in custody during the trials- he continued on active duty in the southeast. The photo is from March 11th, 2013, and Lieut. Çelebi had to appear in court that day.
Hokka was kept away from Silivri on June 5th with searches and interrogations. 
The verdict for Lieut. Çelebi was 16 years and 6 months.
(Image from my own camera.)

Hıdır Hokka still selflessly conducts his self-imposed mission. His home was one of the places raided and searched on Saturday, August 3rd. He too was taken into custody.[71] He was called in for police interrogation on Monday, August 5th, the very day of the final hearing at Silivri.

On August 5th, from about 6:00 in the morning, hundreds of gendarmes laid siege to the tent and containers of the “Silivri Watch”. The area of the “watch” was evacuated and a search was launched that was to take as long as the court was to have its final hearing. The pretext was a "letter by an informant" that there were arms concealed in the area. Hıdır Hokka himself was taken to detention directly from there.

From Sunday evening, August 4th, demonstrators answering the appeal had started to assemble at the departure points of their buses around the country, only to be obstructed by the police. Many buses were not allowed to leave at all, some did manage to set off, only to be obstructed along the way. Giving a play-by-play of the unfolding events, Ulusal asked participants to keep trying to reach Silivri, and if totally unable, to hold demonstrations wherever they were stopped.

On the morning of August 5th, myself and my wife got up to the sound of the alarm clock, had a light breakfast and, joined by my wife’s aunt, set out to the pick-up point for our bus. The rendez-vous had been set for 7:00 a.m. and we got there on time but there were no buses, just distressed, confused, frustrated people waiting. The bus drivers had been threatened by the police and had relented. 

The people assembled to heed the call but the buses weren't there!
(Image from my own camera.)

Some of the assembled citizens proposed to go by alternative means, some thought we should follow the instruction of holding demonstrations wherever we were stopped. The organizers (the Labor Party and the TGB) made the decision: assemble at “the Bull”- a sculpture at a central crossroads in Kadıköy- and to hold a demonstration there while the organizers looked for alternate buses.[72]

No buses, so a demonstration will be held where we have been stopped. Demonstrators move to "the Bull" of Kadıköy.
(Image from my own camera.) 

 The early morning march of the group.
(Image from my own camera.)

The citizens of Kadıköy approaching "their Bull".
(Image from my own camera.)

We marched along the still deserted streets of Kadıköy, shouting slogans. Once at “the Bull”, people ready to brave the sun huddled around the statue at the center while the rest receded into the shade on the sidewalks. A TOMA vehicle took up position facing us.[73]

TOMA poised for action, in case we step out of line! 
(Image from my own camera.)

  Demonstrator astride "the Bull", on the verge of stepping out of line- thankfully, it didn't come to that! The banner reads "Apply the Ruling of the Constitutional Court...". The Constitutional Court had ruled on July 4th, 2013, that defendants were not be held in custody without a verdict  for more than five years. Many defendants had been kept behind bars at Silivri for longer than that. The AKP  and the Silivri court ignored the ruling of course. 
(Image from my own camera.)

As the slogans and flag waving continued, people were trying to get in touch with acquaintances who had been attempting to get there by other means. News and photos kept arriving over cellular phones and portable computers. We learned that the roads to the prison compound were blocked from miles away, some had approached ground zero on foot overland, but could go no further because of lineups of police and gendarmes cutting the fields. 


While we were standing, shouting and waving flags, a photo arrived over the social media to a lady standing next to us. Some of her friends who had managed to get as close as possible to the Silivri prison compound had sent us this image of the security measures. The government was determined not to allow a mass demonstration that could draw the attention of the world to the "justice" administered there.

There was news that buses had been arranged for us, and by noon they started to show up, filling up and moving on as they arrived. But they were few, and widely intersperced. We decided to make our way with our own car, as far as we could go, and I inquired about the best way to get there, the roads being blocked. A gentleman from the Labor Party, who had come in from Yalova, asked whether he could join us. We went home, picked up our car, and drove off.

On the way our new acquaintance (in the excitement we never thought about asking his name) maintained telephone contact with friends who had gone on ahead, and so kept abreast of developments. By the time we were approaching the town of Silivri, we learned there had been gas and conflicts but it was all over. The verdicts had been passed and everybody was trying to make their way home. We decided to take him to the Labor Party offices in Silivri. It was approaching 16:00.

We all went there, and got some news of the day’s events. The sparks from the gas cannisters shot at demonstrators- some from helicopters- had set fire to the dried weeds in the fields. (The pro-government press was later to claim the demonstrators had started the fire).

"Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further!"
If you managed to slip through the intimidations, roadblocks and similar obstacles to reach Istanbul and from there to the turnoffs to the Silivri prison compound, you still got stuck at the final roadblocks. This is the coastal road; you can spot the sea behind. The prison compound is considerably inland; the sea is not visible from its hilly location. Reaching the compound means traversing the fields on foot.
(Image from the media.)
The people making their way over the fields. Some have travelled overnight only to be stopped at the turnoff.
(Image from the media.)

 The government's defensive lineup against the ragtag and unarmed army of the people. (Image from the media.)

 
 Like trying to reason with a wall!
(Image from the media.)


 Of course, there was gas. Why am I not surprised?
(Image from the media.) 
 
According to news reports, the sparks from cannisters set fire to the dried weeds covering the fields. The pro-government press blamed the demonstrators!
(Image from the media.)
 
While we were in the Labor Party office, three young men- TGB members- came in, sweaty and scorched in the sun. We heard their accounts, how they had made a makeshift barricade which was blown to pieces by the pressurized water, how they had witnessed one of their friends receive a powerful blow from a gas cannister. We also saw a few “souvenir” gas cannister. According to the printed text on the cannisters, they are produced in the USA- in Pennsylvania, the state that keeps popping up in this sordid story.

 Gas cannister used on August 5th to keep demonstrators away from the Silivri compound.
Pennsylvania, the Liberty State!
(Images from my own camera.)
Hoping to save the situation the best they could, the organizers of the protest called for a meeting at 18:00 at the Kadıköy ferry piers to declare “the nation did not recognize the Verdicts.” This meant dashing back to our point of departure, a long distance and on the other side of the Bosphorus, rendered even harder to get to by the mounting rush hour traffic.

So off we went again, arriving fifteen minutes late. The police lineup had taken its place, and we had until 19:00 to shout, protest, and beat it. Speakers of the Labor Party, whose chairman had just been condemned to life, vowed bitter and relentless struggle. The organizers wrapped up their fiery speeches punctually. The assembled crowd, in a show of defiance, stayed on, shouting slogans, waving flags, and photographing each other for another fifteen minutes, and then marched up along Baghdad Avenue until they reached the Göztepe park, where the rally turned into a forum.[74]

Rally at the Kadıköy piers, August 5th 2013, 18:00-19:00,
(Image from my own camera.)


 "The Turkish nation does not recognize the verdicts!"
Kadıköy rally, August 5th, 18:00-19:00 
(Image ftrom my own camera.)

Police at the ready at the Kadıköy piers area: 
make sure you're done with your protesting at 19:00 sharp!  
(Image from my own camera.)

The list of convictions is long, including generals, officers, former rectors, journalists, authors, businessmen, secretaries, thugs, hooligans, murderers. The purpose was to fabricate a connection between the targeted persons and smear disrepute by throwing real criminals into the mix. If you scan the long list of convictions, you will find, with exceptions, a reverse relationship between the length of the sentence and respectability.

Here are just the life sentences with their professions, in alphabetical order, so that you can judge the mixture yourselves:

- Alpaslan Arslan (Lawyer, hitman of the 2006 attack on the Danıştay, the Council of State): twice life without parole + 90 years.

- Ret. Full Gen. İlker Başbuğ, former Chief of Staff: life.

- Ret. Nav. Capt. Dursun Çiçek: Life without parole.

- Sevgi Erenerol (former press secretary of the Orthodox Patriarchate): life.

- Ret. Lieut. Gen. Mehmet Eröz: life.

- Ret. Full Gen. Şener Eruygur: life.
- Ret. Full Gen. Hasan Iğsız: life.
- Ret. Col. Fikri Karadağ: life without parole.
- Kemal Kerinçsiz (lawyer): life without parole.
- Ret. Brig. Gen. Veli Küçük: twice life without parole + 99 years 1 month.
-Mustafa Özbek (Chairman of the Metalworkers’  Union): life.
- Doğu Perinçek (chairman of the Labor Party): life without parole.
- Ret. Col.  Fuat Selvi: life.
- Ret. Full Gen. Nusret Taşdeler: life.

- Ret. Capt. Muzaffer Tekin: twice life without parole + 99 years.

- Ret. Full Gen. Hurşit Tolon: life.

- Ret. Nav. Lieut. Hasan Ataman Yıldırım: life without parole.

The first on the list -Alparslan Arslan- is really a killer, the one who carried out the attack on the State Council (Danıştay) on May 17th 2006; a disturbed soul who thought prayers made him invisible.[75] This crime, and the bomb attacks on the left-wing newspaper Cumhuriyet, mentioned earlier, provided the judges with the violent acts that were missing from the Ergenekon scenario.

The matter had been already been judged and a verdict given in Ankara years ago, with Alparslan Arslan and instigator Osman Yıldırım receiving life, but then the matter was mixed into the Ergenekon soup. The Ergenekon prosecutors met with Yıldırım in prison and got the desired incriminations. Yıldırım must have received promises and assurances. At the close of the hearing on August 5th Yıldırım was set free.[76]

After the fateful August 5th, 2013, day of suppressed protests, a new witchunt was instigated immediately, just as it had been following the Gezi events; smear campaigns, interrogations, the pro-government press pointing fingers, giving the signal that Erdoğan and the AKP promises nothing but more of the same.
The military intervention of June 30th 2013 in Egypt and the US refusal to condemn it scared our own fundamentalist strongman Erdoğan and he has taken Morsi’s fall like a personal affront to himself. Turkey stands practically alone in its unqualified support of the fundamentalist Egyptian leader. At the same time the bloodbath in Egypt that ensued from struggles between the government forces and Morsi supporters has provided Erdoğan and the AKP with the opportunity of seeming to take the moral high ground. Next week we should be observing August 30th, Victory Day, the national holiday most closely associated with the Armed Forces, the nemesis the AKP has been trying to crush![77] 

Now the government has started cancelling August 30th celebrations to respect the fallen of the pro-Morsi demonstrators in Egypt. And the Labor Party-TGB-Ulusal-Aydınlık front has announced its intent to celebrate to the full, appealing once again to the public to join in!

[1] Example: first IKEA opened a store on a hill near Ümraniye, Istanbul; not long afterwards a shopping area called Meydan sprouted on the plot adjoining it on one side, followed by another oversized one, Buyaka, on the other.  The “Promenade Park” (Gezi Parkı) uprising that put its stamp on last June exploded with the government’s insistence on building yet another shopping center on a park area in an already overbuilt neighbourhood, crammed with shops including, you guessed it, another shopping center within easy walking distance. See: “Taksim Promenade Park”, 31 May-Mayıs 2013.

[2] For Ergenekon you can check out:  “The Flag and the Ribbon”, 30 May-Mayıs 2012, “FadedGlory”, 28 October- Ekim 2012, “Silivri”, 18 December-Aralık 2012, “Being aHero”, 17 January- Ocak 2013, “Silivri, 18-02-2013”, 25 February –Şubat 2013, “The Dardanelles Broken Through”, 19 March- Mart 2012,  “To Silivri Again”, 29 March- Mart 2013,  and “Provocation:Silivri, April 8th”, 13 April-Nisan 2013, for the “Sledghammer” see: “TheSledgehammer”, 6 September-Eylül 2013, “’Sledgehammer’ Verdicts”, 22 September- Eylül 2012, “Reacting to the ‘Sledgehammer’ Verdicts”,  26 September-Eylül 2012,  “Now It’s OurShift”, 6 November-Kasım 2012, “Hammering the Sledgehammer”, 5 February- Şubat 2013, “Makes You Want to Scream”, 12 February-Şubat 2013, and “Devouring his OwnChildren”, 19 February- Şubat 2013, for “February 28th” see “A Turban by AnyOther Name”, 16 July- Temmuz 2012, and “Ataturk Out of Time”,  2 March- Mart 2013, for “September 12th” see:“The Trial of Evren and Şahinkaya”, 1 December-Aralık 2012, “1980 Minus One”, 1 December-Aralık 2012, and “The Stuff They Hoarded?”, 2 December 2012.

[3] The most memorable anti-US demonstrations occured during the visit of the US 6th Fleet in 1969 during which some US sailors were physically thrown into the water by left-wing demonstrators. (July 18th 1969). Prime Minister Erdoğan and several AKP bigwigs of today had been part of the Islamist pro American countermovement at the time, the conflict between the opposing parties often leading to bloodshed.

 
A US sailor being fished out of the water after being flung in by left wing protesters, July 1969.
(Image from the media.)

The dunked sailors had been part of the crew of the aircraft carrier USS Shangri-La,  and the locale of the incident was the shoreline at Dolmabahçe. Today, there is the spanking new five-star Shangri-La Hotel in the same general area, with Prime Minister Erdoğan’s Istanbul office just across the way in the old imperial Dolmabahçe Palace.

Left: USS Shangri-La.
 Right: a romantic publicity photo of the five-star Shangi-La Hotel on the shores of the Bosphorus, Istanbul.
(Images from the media.)

For more on the 6th Fleet and the events of 1968 see footnotes 14 and 15 of “APencil Jab that Hurt”, 16 March- Mart 2013.

 [4] The position of Cyprus has been a bone of contention between Turkey and Greece since the British left the island in 1960. Here is some background

Cyprus had been taken by the Ottoman Turks from the Venetians in 1571.
By the late 19th century, the Ottomans were considerably weakened, and in course of the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878, the Russians drove the Ottoman armies back practically to the gates of Istanbul. Only the intercession of the European powers saved the Ottoman capital, and in exchange for their mediation in the Berlin peace conference of 1878, the British acquired the priviledge of ruling the island, which would henceforward be Ottoman territory in name only. It was a “lease” deal, in exchange of a rent of 92 000 pouds per annum.

Wiith the entry of  the Ottoman Empire in the First World War on the German side in 1914, all pretence of Ottoman sovereignity in Cyprus vanished and British rule became official, lasting until 1960. 

By then, the Greek population was agitating for union with Greece and the less numerous Turkish population wanted to separate from the Greeks if and when the British departed. 

On August 16th, 1960, Cyprus achieved independence from Britain. As Britain, Turkey and Greece negotiated the terms, all three states agreed to guarantee and safeguard the independence and unity of the island. Article 3 of the Treaty of Guarantee states: “In so far as common or concerted action may prove impossible, each of the three guaranteeing Powers reserves the right to take action with the sole aim of re-establishing the state of affairs established by the present Treaty.”

On July 1974, the Military Government in Athens orchestrated a coup in Cyprus with the aim of annexation with Greece. Cypriot President Archbishop Makarios fled to Britain. The British prevaricated, hesitated to take action. 

Claiming its right to take move unilaterally in accordance with the treaty of guarantee, Turkey launched an attack on July 12th, 1974, entering capital Nicosia on August 14th. The Junta in Greece collapsed soon afterwards.

It is very unrealistic to assume Britain would have objected to the unification of Cyprus with Greece.

Following the successful Turkish military operation, the US imposed an arms embargo on Turkey, on the pretext that Turkey had used NATO arms against a NATO ally. In response, Turkey nationalized all but a few US operated NATO bases. This was the first serious rift between the US and Turkish establishments.

The Cyprus question remains unsolved.

[5]The youth movemnens that led to violent street clashes in the past pitted anti-American leftists, who departed more and more from national feelings as the confrontation escalated, and rightists who mixed religion, nationalism, pre-Islamic Turkism, and Ottoman glory, all of which they often presented as synonymous. The present day anti-AKP “nationalists”, equating national struggle with a fight against capitalism, see the “generation of 68” as their forebears, but during the demonstrations against the US 6th Fleet in 1969, to which I allude in footnote 3 above,  the flag they unfurled was the red flag of the Communist revolution. In the days leading to the “Bloody Sunday “of February 16th, 1969, left wing students of the Dev Genç (Devrimci Gençlik, “Revolutionary Youth”) at the Istanbul University hoisted a massive Red Flag onto the Beyazit tower in the campus (February 11th); the flag also bore the image of a youth killed during a police raid (Vedat Demircioğlu, who fell from a window of the Istanbul Technical University building at Gümüşsuyu). The opposing group, calling itself the “National Turkish Students’ Union” (MTTB. Milli TürkTalebe Birliği) raided the campus, pulled down the red flag, and hoisted the Turkish national flag in its place. The “Turkish National Students’ Union” and the “Society for Fighting Communism” (Komünizmle Mücadele Derneği) fired the enthusiasm of their partisans with a “Respect  to the Flag” rally.

On Sunday, February 16th, 1969, the two sides clashed, the “nationalists” violently beat up on the leftists while chanting prayes. Two leftist youths were stabbed to death. The police has been accused of siding with the nationalist/religious right wing ever since.

The violent defenders of the national flag in 1969  included names that would become  prominent in the AKP regime of today. The “Turkish National Students’ Union” included both future prime minister Tayyip Erdoğan and future president Abdullah Gül among its members.
(For “Bloody Sunday” see also footnotes 14 and 15 of “A Pencil Jab that Hurt”.)

Today the concepts of “nationalism” and “flag” have swiched sides: Pursuing the US-imposed policy of non-nationalist “moderate Islam”, the AKP seeks to undermine national sentiment and patriotism, underplay national occasions, and discredit national figures. The opposition- including the left- calling for unity in defense of the nation state, has united under the national flag and the image of Ataturk, the founder of the Republic, to oppose the AKP’s pro-US policies. The one-time  “nationalist” prime minister Erdoğan has gone on record with his words “we are an administration that has trodden every kind of nationalism underfoot”.  (February 18th, 2013, opening ceremony of a public housing project in Midyat, near Diyarbakır. You can hear the words from his own voice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuXMYjt_AN4 

The Turkish Labor Party, İşçi Partisi (litearlly “Workers’ Party”) and its earlier incarnations have  always received a minimal portion of the vote and is now unrepresented in parliament. Several party members including leader Doğu Perinçek are held in the Silivri prison on charges of membership in a “terrorist” organization called Ergenekon. Perinçek received life imprisonment on August 5th, 2013.)

With appeals to nationalist sentiments and the call to “unite in Ataturk”, the Labor party, through its newspaper Aydınlık and it’s sattelite-only channel Ulusal, has been instrumental in rousing widespread resistance against the AKP regime. The one block against the Labor Party obtaining more votes has been its more strogly communist-leaning  history, which it refuses to acknowledge, pretending consistently to have pursued the same ideology. A visible mark of the evolution of attitude has been the subtle change of the party emblem and flag; from a yellow star to a white star on a red field. 

The yellow star on a red field purposefully echoed the colors of Communist regimes like the Soviet Union and China, both incorporating yellow stars on red fields, and was practicaly interchangeable with the flag of Vietnam. (Originally the flag of North Vietnam, at war with the US an the US backed South Vietnam. When communist North Vietnam triumphed in 1975, the flag came to represent the whole of the reunited country.) In recent years, with Perinçek, his party and party organs making nationalist exhortations against the anti-nationalist AKP, the yellow star on the red field has turned to white, now recalling Turkisn national colors. The new official interpretation of the star motif is “Morning Star” (Turkish “Shepherd’s Star”), heralding the approaching dawn.

 Above: doğu Perinçek, Chairman of the Labor Party, before the old party flag.
Below: Hasan Basri Özbey, Deputy Chairman to the Labor Party, and the new Labor Party emblem.
(Since Chairman Perinçek's arrest on March 21st 2008, Özbey has assumed  most of the duties of the chairman. On August 5th, Perinçek received life without parole.)
(Images from the media.)

[6] In 1976-77, left-wing university students at the Middle east Technical University (ODTÜ) in Ankara would refuse to stand up for the National Anthem, then stand up to sing the “Socialist International”. 

The "Socialist International" was originally a French poem (l’Internationale) from 1885 by Eugene Pottier, set to music by Pierre Degeyter in 1888. It became the official anthem of the Soviet communist party.  Until 1943 it was also the Soviet National Anthem.

[7] May 27th, 1960, March 12th 1970, September 12th 1980.

[8] Critics claim the us staged the “coups”, though there is no concensus on even this point. 

The 1960 intervention could be termed a “revolution” since it was conducted a by part of the cadre of officers against the inclination of the rest, and as such is now increasingly finding support among left-wing nationalists, including  imprisoned Labor Party leader Doğu Perinçek. The other two interventions were executed within the chain of command as a necessary military action to save the country from degenerating into civil war. Clause 35 of the “Interior Service Law” (İç Hizmet Kanunu) of the Turkish Armed Forces outlined the military’s duties in case of dangers from within, and this law has been the legal authorization of the military interventions. It was finally changed this past July 13th by the AKP with support from the (Kurdish separatist) BDP and some (supposedly "opposition") CHP parlamentarians, disqualifying the Armed Forces as guardians of the Republic, leaving the country defenceless against the AKP’s shenanigans, as well as further PKK paramilitary action.

I do not believe the military interventions in Turkey were staged by the US, our great ally across the Ocean, but rather allowed by it.

[9] Though Iraq under Saddam Hussein attacked and occupied Kuwait quite illegally in 1990, the incident did not lack background.

Iraq:At the end of the first world war, Arab territories taken by British forces were artificially split into new nations by the victors, sometimes literally using rulers on maps, cutting across vast featureless landscapes. Iraq, with the proud, legendary capital Baghdad, was given a very limited access to the sea at the northern tip of the Persian Gulf. The British planted Emir Faisal as the first King of the puppet government of this new country.

Faisal bin Hussein al Hashimi had been the Emir of Hejaz, so likeably played by Sir Alec Guinness in David Lean’s 1962 epic Lawrence of Arabia. Faisal had been promised Syria in return for the help he supplied to the British in their struggle against the Ottoman Turks and in fact became the King of Syria on March 7th 1920. This did not gel with the French, who had already signed a secret pact with the British- the “Sykes-Picot Agreement”- back on May 19th, 1916, whch promised Syria to them. When the French pressed for their “rights” and obtained a mandate for Syria from the San Remo Conference of April 1920, the Syrians objected and the French resorted to military force, defeating the Syrians in the Battle of Maysalun (July 24th 1920). Faisal went into exile in Britain, and a year later, on August 23rd, 1921, he was crowned Faisal I, King of Iraq, by the British. The Iraqis weren't consulted.

In 1941 a coup d’état in Iraq threatened to undermine British interests, particularly the flow of oil in the ongoing war against Germany. The British invaded the country and reinstated the previous government. The occupation continued until 1947.

The British-instated Iraqi monarchy ended with the coup d’état of July 14th, 1958. There were more coups until the Ba’ath Party assumed power in1968. Saddam Hussein moved up through the Ba’ath party apparatus until he became president in July 1979.

As for Kuwait, it was an Ottoman territory since the 17th century, becoming a semi-autonomous emirate when the first emir, Sabah I Bin Jaber , assumed the title in 1756.

In 1899, under Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah, Kuwait made a treaty with Britain, authorizing Great Britain to control its foreign affairs in return for an annual subsidy- even though the Ottomans were hypothetically still in possession. In an Anglo-Ottoman convention in 1913 Sheikh Mubarak was recognized by both the British and the Ottomans as the autonomus ruler of Kuwait and hinterlands, but soon after the outbreak of the first world war the British declared Kuwait a British protectorate. This lasted until Kuwait was granted independence in June 1961. 

The US-British Kuwait Oil Company had discovered large oil reserves in the 30’s. BP and Gulf obtained favorably priced oil from Kuwait for decades, until Kuwait took over ownership of the Kuwaiti Oil Company in 1975.

The conflict: The 1889 agreement of Kuwait with Britain had split the Ottoman province of Basra, which Iraq claimed was integral  part of its own territory. After the Iran-Iraq war ebbed out in 1988, debt-ridden and depleted Iraq asked Kuwait to pardon its debts, which Kuwait refused. Kuwait, along with the UAE (United Arab Emirates), was also overproducing oil, well above the quotas set by OPEC, driving oil prices down- much to the pleasure of oil consuming western states but  hammering a further blow on war-torn Iraq which depended on its oil revenues for recovery. Iraq also accused Kuwait of stealing from its own oil reserves by slant-drilling and lodged an official complaint against Kuwait and the UAE to the Arab League on July 15th, 1990.

After Iraq occupied Kuwait on August 2nd 1990, the west saw its cheap oil threatened, and Israel, accustomed  to having its way through US backing,  used its own influence in the Western media and in the centers of power to isolate and squash Iraq before there could be a chance for a negotiated settlement. Iraq was visibly the aggressor in the matter of Kuwait, but Saddam was given no graceful way out . A  propıosal by France on January 14th 1991, supported by several other nations including  Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, Morocco and Tunis offered Iraq a chance to save face;  Iraq would pull out of Kuwait but an international convention would be called “at an appropiate time” to solve all of the regions’ problems, including the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian question. This echoed  Saddam’s own proposal of August 12th 1990 to resolve all cases of occupation in the Middle East simultaneously, including the Syrian occupation in Lebanon and Israeli occupations in Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine. Such a non-committal “concession” might have avoided the bloodbath by giving Iraq a reasonably dignified chance to backtrack, but the US, the UK and the Soviet Union (then almost expiring) objected.

The US developed a formula of setting conditions on its foe and moving the goalposts once the foe obeyed, a formula to be used again in the preamble of the Second Gulf War, in Libya, and in Syria. Instruments of propaganda assured public support in the west and made sure there would be no backing out. Pentagon reports of sattelite sightings of Iraqi arms buildup along the border were not substantiated by Soviet sattelite images of the same area at the same time. The worse tales of Iraqi atrocities turned out to be fabricated, such as the fiction of babies being pulled out of incubators by Iraqi soldiers and left to die. The public relations firm Hill & Knowlton reportedly received 11 million USD from the Kuwaiti government to sway US public opinion. Even after the incubator allegations had been proven to be fabrcations one year after the war, President George Bush Sr reportedly repeated them on television.

In retrospect, there can be little doubt that the US desired to seize the occasion to start its rearrangement of the Middle East. The war was swift and brutal, with US technological might flattening Iraq and massacring military personnel and civilians alike (remember the expression “collateral damage?”) A long convoy of military vehicles and troops on the retreat from Kuwait wasn’t spared (26-27 February 1991, the “highway of death”), and US combat ethics included burying Iraqi soldiers alive by bulldozing earth and sand over their trenches (24-26 February 1991).

US M60A1 main battle tank with an M-9 bulldozer kit 
exercising prior to Operation Desert Storm, 1991.
Meant for breaching defenses, tanks of this type were used to 
roll the earth and sand over the defenders, burying them alive.
(Image from the media.) 

President Bush declared a ceasefire on February 28th, 1991. Kuwait was liberated, and cheap oil was assured!

The US had called for a “coalition of nations” to act against Iraq and had a United Nations Resolution to justify the campaign. Once Kuwait was liberated, continuing the war until Saddam fell from power would have strained the coalition; the illusion of legal action could no longer be maintained. For that, the myth of  “weapons of mass destruction” had to be propagated.
The US did hope for a coup d’état to to topple Saddam, and during the struggle, sent signals to the Kurds in the north to rise against the Baghdad government. When the US-led coalition halted hostilities, Saddam’s soldiers turned on the Kurds with vengeance, forcing hundreds of thousands of them up against, and through, the Turkish border. This ultimately helped the US cause, serving as a pretext to impose “no-fly zones” on Iraqi aircraft within Iraqi airspace.
The sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council on Iraq on August 6th, 1990 after the invasion of Kuwait were not lifted after the expulsion of the Iraqi occupiers from Kuwait, crippling  and weakening Iraq further until the Second Gulf War in 2003.


If you have the stomach for it, the following website has some very strong images of the Gulf War and what it was like to be on the receiving end.



[10] So did Minister of  Exterior Ali Bozer, October 11th 1990, and Minister of  Defense Safa Giray, December 3rd 1990. 

[11] Coalition countries included Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Egypt, France, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Kuwait, Malaysia, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States. Germany and Japan donated financial assistance and military hardware. Turkey positioned 100 000 troops along its border with Iraq, forcing Iraq to divert forces there, and allowed use of NATO bases in Turkey, but did not engage in hostilities in spite of the wishes of the US and of president Turgut Özal.

[12] Bosnia-Herzegovnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia.

[13] Originally the “Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina”, established January 9th, 1992.

[14] 20-22 July 1995, 350 Srebrenica refugees who surrendered  to the Republika Sirpska militia near the village of Meces were forced to dig their own graves and shot. This is the latest date for Srebrenica-related murders I have found.

[15] I do not say this as a Muslim; I have refused all religious labels since April 26th, 2012. I say this as a human being and an impartial observer of blatant facts.

[16] Sources quote 38 deaths and 75 wounded on that day. A previous mortar attack directed into the same market area on February 5th 1994, a year and a half previously, had taken 68 lives, leaving 144 wounded.

In all fairness, I should note here that the UN-authorized NATO forces had struck the Serbs on some occasions, starting with NATO jets shooting down four Serbian aircraft in the no-fly zone on February 28th, 1994. But until Srebrenica and the second Sarajevo marketrplace mortar attack, UN and NATO action was frustratingly halfhearted.

[17] The present day state of Bosnia-Herzegovina is a mixed affair, composed of two entities; the Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the once arch-enemy of both, the Republika Srpska. There is no free state of Muslim Bosniaks after all.

[18] Around the time the Eastern block collapsed, the name of the union was still "The  European Community", evolved from the earlier "European Economic Community", and that one from the even earlier "Common Market". It would soon become the "European Union", marking the step-by-step edification of a new superstate- or so some expected. Turkey had signed a partnership accord with the European Economic Community as early as 1963.

[19] Acronym for Research and Development.

Project RAND was established by Gen. Henry H. Arnold, commander of the United States Army Air Forces for purely military purposes: namely, the planning of weapon systems for the future. From 1946 to ‘48 Project RAND was carried out by the Douglas Aircraft Company as research on intercontinental warfare. In 1948 the project seperated from Douglas Aircraft and became an independent, non-profit organization, not because the purposes were to be less military, but in order to avoid conflicts of interest that would endanger weapons contracts. It’s self-poclaimed mission is "further promote scientific, educational, and charitable purposes, all for the public welfare and security of the United States of America".

RAND has played a central role in developing US Defense Strategy including the “doctrine of nuclear deterrence through mutually assured destruction”, appropiately shortened to “MAD”.

Though many of the issues the RAND corporation deals with sound humanitarian, its 2005 annual report confirms that "about one-half of RAND's research involves national security issues”. Even assuming the purposes of this organization to be ultimately benevolent (social welfare, health insurance. criminal justice), this benevolence is restricted to a US vision of a worlwide Pax Americana with Uncle Sam calling the shots.

[20] Turgut Özal became the deputy drime dinister in charge of the economy after the  military intervention of September 12th, 1980. In the leadup to the free elections of November 6th 1983 he formed a political party, the “Motherland Party” (Anavatan Partisi, or simply ANAP), which became one of the three parties allowed to enter the polls. (There were independent candidates as well.) All established parties had been closed down by the interventionist generals, their leaders banned from politics in order to make a fresh start and put an end to the factional fighting based on old alliances. The reason the number of parties were confined to three was to avoid fragmentation of the vote and keep the different political directions close to the center.

The country’s devastated economy had recuperated considerably under the strict rule of the interim military government and Özal was credited with the revival. He was opening the way to globalization, with all that it implied, but it was too early to see the pros and cons of his policies at the time. The return of stability and the conciliatory messages and soft-spoken tone of candidate Özal persuaded the public; and the voters snubbed the military’s own choice, retired full-general Turgut Sunalp of the MDP (Milliyetçi Demokrasi Partisi, the “Nationalist Democracy Party”). The MDP garnered the least number of votes, the more socialist-leaning HP (Halkçı Parti, the “Party for the People”) of Necdet Calp coming in second, and Turgut Özal’s ANAP winning a clear majority with over 45% of the vote.

By 1989 there was enough dissilusionment to jeopardize ANAP’s hold on power. Özal executed the political acrobatics of having himself voted president by exploiting ANAP’s majority in parliament while that majority lasted. That was on November 1989; in the next general elections, October 20th 1991, ANAP had to cede to the newly formed DYP (Doğru Yol Partisi, the “True Path Party”), under  Süleyman Demirel. Demirel had returned to the stage when the ban on political activity imposed on him was lifted. By then Özal had already safely taken the presidential seat.

[21] On April 17th 1993, after President Özal died of a heart attack, Süleyman Demirel took a page from Özal’s book and used his party’s parliamentary majority to have himself elected president. From that day the DYP came under the leadership of Tansu Çiller. Between June 25th 1993 and March 6th 1996 Çiller served as the first and only female prime minister of Turkey..

Necmettin Erbakan had led a long struggle for Islamism, having founded successively the MNP (Milli Nizam Partisi- “National Order Party”) and the MSP (Milli Selamet Partisi- “National Salvation Party”), both of which had been shut down for “becoming a focus of activities against the secular state”.

[22] In founding the Republic, Ataturk had intended a multi-party democracy, but expected all parties to remain loyal to the basic tenets of the Republic, which included the concept of the “Secular State”. The first four clauses of the Constitution are “unchangeable"

In  the short history of the Republic of Turkey there have been several attempts to introduce multi-party democracy, the first two during Ataturk’s presidency. Each time, the basic tenets were threatened. The easiest tool to raise the masses being religion, the tenet of the secular state structure repeatedly came under attack. Each attempt at multi-party democracy ended with the closure of the new party.

The Turkish Republic made a more decisive move to multi-party democracy in 1946 with the creation of the “Democratic Party “(Demokrat Parti, DP). Like its predecessors, the DP did not hesitate to exploit religious sentiments to attract votes, equating the secular state structure with “Godlessness”.

Under Ataturk’s leadership, the Koran was translated into Turkish and published in 1932- so far as I  know an unprecedented endeavour, even though the Turks had entered the Islamic faith well over a thousand years ago. The traditionally Arabic call to prayer- the ezan- chanted by the muezzin was also translated into Turkish under Ataturk's directive and chanted in this new form for the first time on January 30th 1932 from the Fatih mosque in Istanbul. The Turkish ezan was made obligatory for all mosques in Turkey, and the practice continued for 18 years.

The DP came to power in the elections of May 14th, 1950 and did not delay in reintroducing Arabic as the language of the ezan- on June 16th,  just a month after the election victory. A little known fact is that with this reversal the Turkish ezan was not forbidden as the Arabic had been in 1932, but I don’t think anyone anywhere would dare attempt it, given the immoderation of the Turkish brand of “moderate Islam.”

The DP was ousted from power in the Republic's first military intervention, on May 27th, 1960; the one that most fits the definition of a “coup”. There were many reasons for the unrests that led up to it, and the matter of threatening the secular state did not play a major role. But right wing parties have consistently continued to exploit religion for political gain so that this artificially created conflict remains perpetually at the forefront, always obscuring real issues.

[23] ANAP, the “Motherland Party”, had been one of the three allowed to enter the elections of 1983, the first held after the military intervention of September 12th, 1980. (See footnote 20 above.)  With the slackening of restrictions, new parties- in reality old ones with new names- had entered the elections of 1987, including DYP (Doğru Yol Partisi, the “True Path Party”) which was a resurrection of the AP (Adalet Partisi, “Justice Party”), dissolved by the military government. The leader of the the AP had been Süleyman Demirel, who returned to lead the new DYP when the ban on politics imposed on him was lifted. ANAP and the DYP had identical political outlooks (center-right), and became rivals for the same electoral base.

When DYP leader Demirel became president after Özal’s death, the leadership of the party went to Tansu Çiller. Immediately, the rivalry between the ideologically twin parties degenerated into a personal feud between ANAP’s Mesut Yılmaz and the DYP’s Tansu Çiller, not the least because Çiller was female.

Though ANAP’s political heritage included concessions to Islamism (through its ideological connections with the DP and its successor AP), it actively took part in the outcry against the dangers of prime minister Erbakan’s Islamist policies. Anything was fair to topple a coalition that included Çiller’s DYP!

[24] The Ambassador of Iran was Mohammed Reza Bagheri, who made a strongly fundamentalist speech in the course of the evening. He was the guest of the RP Mayor of Sincan, Bekir Yıldız. Ambassador Bagheri was later called to the Ministry of External Affairs for his speech; mayor Yıldız was arrested and convicted

[25] The National Security Council (MGK, Milli Güvenlik Kurulu) convenes periodically to discuss matters of national security; the members are: the president, the prime minister, the chief of staff, deputys of the prime minister, ministers of justice, of defense, of internal and of external affairs, the commanders of the forces and of the gendarmerie. Though it is not  primarily a military council, as can be seen by the members, the military used to have much more influence than today. The general secretary of the National Security Council used to be an officer, since 2004 it is a civilian.

[26] Clerical school: Muslims insist their religion has no clergy, that communication between the believer and Allah is direct. However, Imams- who deliver sermons and lead in prayer, and the Hatips, who recite holy texts, exercise a strong influence upon the believers. They recieve their training in Imam-Hatip schools, which are easily transformed into indoctrination centers, especially if the government has taken a fundamentalist direction. If indoctrinated graduates make their way into government, a takeover is already partly achieved.

The resolutions of February 28th also included restrictions to and control of “Koran classes”, where children are made to memorize the Koran- the entire text- in the Arabic original, without understanding a single word! These classes not only dumb-down young fresh minds through rote memorization of sounds, but also serve as brainwashing centers for very young minds.

[27] Fazilet Partisi, the “Party of Virtue”. The party was formed even before the RP was closed down. After the resolutions of February 28th and the resignation of Prime Minister Erbakan, it became clear that the RP risked being closed down by court order. As a precaution, a party along  the same lines as the RP was founded on December 17th 1997. When the RP was closed by the Constitutional Court on January 16th, 1998, the MP’s, now left without a party, simply entered the ready-made FP. (The closure of a party did not affect the status of the MP's from that partry.)

[28] His views reflect those of Said Nursi (1878-1960), spiritual leader whose views at times fell at odds with the Republic’s outlook and who had to face forced relocation and even prison for the philosophy he was disseminating. The fear, as ever, was the danger of returning to a theocratic model.

Left: Said Nursi; his followers call him Bediüzzaman- "the Beauty of his Tİme". Well, I guess we shouldn't judge a book by its cover.
Right: Amazing pointless effort: poster of computer animated film about Said Nursi: "God's Faithful Servant:Barla" (Allah'ın Sadık Kulu: Barla, 2011, directed by Orhan Öztürk Esin, "Barla" being the locale of his relocation.) . Why not simply make it live action? Did they think they would reach the children this way?

[29] Refah Partisi, “Welfare Party”, mentioned above.

[30] Sources on the net give the following dates: April 17-21 1995, 17-22 November 1996, 20-23 November 1996, March 1st 1996, July 16th 2000.

[31] “The “National Turksh Students Union”,  Milli Türk Talebe Birliği, MTTB for short.. See footnote 5. See also Footnote 15 of “A Pencil Jab that Hurt”, 16 March- Mart 2013.

[32] Milli Kültür Vakfı.

[33] See footnote 17 of “A Pencil Jab thatHurt”, 16 March- Mart 2013.

[34] In this and the following elections there has been much suspicion of vote manipulation. There is widespread  speculation that the US may have brought its methods and expertise to play to get the results it wants.

[35] During a speech delivered at Siirt on December 12th 1997 Erdoğan recited a poem by Ziya Gökalp. It is difficult to come up with exactly what he recited because there are conflicting accounts. The most convincing is this: Erdoğan recited “Soldier’s Prayer” (Asker Duası) by Ziya Gökalp, a patriotic song with religious fervor from 1912, the Balkan wars era (which ended up disastrously for Turkey, by the way).  Only, he started with a stanza from another poem, with more religious ardor than the rest.

This other poem had appeared in the book “Turk and Turkishness” (Türk ve Türklük), published by the Turkish Standards Institute (Türk Standatları Enstitüsü, TSE.). The poem had been selected for publication by retired governor Ömer Naci Bozkurt, who had erroneously attributed it to Ziya Gökalp. The real author of the stanza was Cevat Örnek. The book, with the erroneous citation, had been proposed as recommended reading by the Ministry of Education.

Starting the poem with thie bombastic, religious stanza by Örnek, Erdoğan continued with Ziya Gökalp’s poem, but stppped short before reciting the last.  The ommitted stanza contains lines honoring the army.

The first stanza in translation (actually by Cevat Örnek)

The minarets are our bayonets, the domes our helmets
Our mosques are our barracks, the believers are soldiers,
This holy army guards my faith
Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar!(“God is Great, God is Great”)

This was followed by the first four stanzas of Ziya Gökalp’s “Soldiers’ Prayer”

My gun in my hand, my faith in my heart
I have two wishes, my religion and my motherland
My hearth is the army, my elder the Sultan,
God, lend your aid to the Sultan,
God, give him life in abundance.

Our path is war, our end martyrdom,
Our religion demands we serve in truthfulness,
Our mother is the motherland, our father the nation
God bring well-being to the motherland
God render the nation felicitious.

My standard is my belief in the One God, my flag the crescent,
One is green, the other red,
Show pity to Islam, inflict revenge on the enemy,
God, render Islam prosperous
God, bring disorder to the enemy.

Many brave young heroes on the field of combat,
They have become martyrs for the faith and the land,
May their hearths go on burning, may hope never die out,
God, don’t bring sorrow to the martyr
Don’t let his bloodline fall weak.

The following is the stanza Erdoğan omitted:

The commander, the officer are our fathers,
The sergeant, the corporal our elder brothers,
Standing in line and respect are our rules.
God, keep order in the army,
God, rener the standard supreme.

Erdoğan followed the recitation with the words: “every age has had its Pharaohs and Nimrods, and there will always be a Moses and Abraham to overcome difficulties to clear the filth from the roads”.

What else he said o his speech, I don’t know.

(He repeated the Pharaoh-Moses metaphor in connection after the overthrow of President Morsi on July 3rd 2012 by General Abdul Fatah al Sisi in Egypt, who would be the Pharaoh in this case, and did it more than once, most recently in Rize on August 26th, 2012: “Every pharaoh has his Moses”. Interestic choice of metaphor for someone who cultivates such an anti-Israeli image!)

[36] March 26th-July 24th 1999.

[37] Ret. Maj. Gen. Orhan Pamukoğlu who led combat missions in the region in the 90’s recounted his experiences in “Nothing New but the Forgotten” (Unutulanlar Dışında Yeni Bir Şey Yok, Harmoni, 2003.) On p. 133 he relates an eyewitness account of a supply drop by two US helicopters in 1993. The helicopters reportedly also evacuated the PKK wounded.

On p. 209 there is an account of two unarmed UN helicopters shot down by mistake by US fighters enforcing the no-fly zone in 1994. It is assumed that the UN helicopters had been mistaken for Turkish ones pursuing PKK insurgents. The mistake cost the lives of British, French, Belgian, Turkish, and also US officers who had been on board. (April 14th, 1994)

[38] On Sept. 11th, 1990, President George Bush Sr. elucidated his vision of the post cold war world with these words:

“Until now, the world we’ve known has been a world divided—a world of barbed wire and concrete block, conflict and cold war. Now, we can see a new world coming into view. A world in which there is the very real prospect of a new world order. In the words of Winston Churchill, a ‘world order’ in which ‘the principles of justice and fair play ... protect the weak against the strong ..' A world where the United Nations, freed from cold war stalemate, is poised to fulfill the historic vision of its founders. A world in which freedom and respect for human rights find a home among all nations."

How close the project has come to attaining those lofty ideals is for the reader to decide.

[39] Particularly the “45 minute claim”, to the effect  that Iraq was capable of deploying its biological weapons within 45 minutes.

[40] Foreign Affairs Select Committee, July 15th, 2003, and the Intelligence and Security Committee, July 16th, 2003.

[41] According to article 96 of the Constitution, an absolute majority of 268 votes were required; of the 533 MP’s who participated in the voting, 19 were undecided, 250 opposed, and 264 were for- just four votes shy of the required number.

[42] The decision of the Turkish parliament to withhold from active participation in the war had been a blow to the US, but Turkey was within its rights to choose whether to risk direct conflict with a neighboring country that had displayed no aggression against itself. During the Yugoslavian civil war, in spite of the UN resolution, NATO member Greece had refused to allow NATO planes to use its own airspace to enforce the no-fly zone against the Serbs over Bosnia-Herzegovina.

[43] In parliament, addressing his own party group, reacting to the questions of the opposition. To hear Prime Minister Erdoğan’s own words,  as well opposition leader Deniz Baykal and Minister of Exterior Abdullah Gül in parliament see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqd8g9Ap-2k

[44] See footnote 20 of  “A Pencil Jab that Hurt”, 16 March 2013.

[45] TGB: Türkiye Gençlik Birliği, the "Union of Turkish Youth. For the “sack action” see “Patriots vs. Patriots”, 24 January-Ocak, 2013.

[46] Gülen’s “establishments” include the “Houses of Light”, mentioned above, any İmam-Hatip (clerical) school where teachers are under Gülen’s influence and by extension, any mosque where an indoctrinated Imam is assigned, also institutons of good will that provide for the education of poor children, which the cult uses as a means of brainwashing, companies owned by converts who take it on themselves to convert their employees, Koran classes where ever younger children are made to memorize the entire Koran in Arabic without understanding it, and where the classes are supplemented with pseudo-spiritual propaganda pumped into the numbed young minds, and so on.

The race for a place in the Universities have caused institutions called “dershane” to sprout up around the country; these are private establishments that prepare students for the centralized university exam system.  Students must attend such establishments on top of their regular classes if they hope to get into an institute of higher lerning. A number of these institutions are run by Gülen, and a some of the many private universities as well.

There are rumors of members of the Gülen cult being slipped answers to the central university exams in order to open their way in to higher education and there into government and administration. I have also heard of children of poor families supported by the Gülen cult finding their way to the US for training as policemen.

Gülen schools are all over the world, including the US, which means this spiritual man has access to limitless amounts of money.

Check out this link:

[47] See footnote 11 of “Silivri”, 18 December- Aralık 2012.

[48] Some of the prominent names associated with the organizing of the “Republlic Rallys”:

Prof. Dr. Mehmet Haberal,  noted organ transplant surgeon, founder and rector of Başkent University in Ankara.  He denied taking part in the organization of the rallies. Taken into custody in the 12th Wave of yhe Ergenekon roundups, April 13th 2009 and not released until the final hearing of the Ergenekon trials on August 5th, 2013. On that day, he received  12 years and 16 months. Taking into account reductions and the time he spent in prison he was released. His international reputation might also have had something to do with it.

Prof. Dr. Fatih Hilmioğlu, former rector of İnönü University, Malatya. Taken into custody the same day and never released. On August 5th he received 23 years. He is now in an advanced stage of cancer.

The journalist Tuncay Özkan was one f the speakers at Çağlayan on April 29th 2007, his TV channel had broadcast the April 14th Ankara meeting live. He was taken into custody on Septemberl 23rd 2008 and was never released. He recieved life without parole in the final hearing of the Ergenekon trials on August 5th, 2013.

Türkân Saylan (Image from the media.)
Prof. Dr. Türkân Saylan: heroine of a victorious fight against leprosy. She was also chairwoman of the “Society to Support Contemporary Living”, “contemporary” in the sense of not bacward, not medieval. (ÇYDD, Çağdaş Yaşamı Destekleme Derneği). The society rendered a great service by helping young people of limited means receive an education, especially important in the case of girls. Since young people of limited means consist the pool from which Gülen and the AKP draw their most active supporters, it is natural that Saylan and her society would be targeted. In course of the “12th wave" of the Ergenekon razzias,  April 13th, 2009Saylan’s home and the ÇYDD offices were raided by the police. Several employees were arrested and computers and documents confiscated. Saylan had been suffering from cancer; she was  interrogated but not arrested. She died just over a month afterwards, on May 18th, 2009. The AKP’s mouthpieces in the media, includnig the state television TRT, started a smear campaign to destroy her positive image.

Retired Full-Gen. Şener Eruygur was the chairman of the ADD (Atatürkçü Düşünce Derneği, "Society for Kemalist Thought") and in this capacity was active in organizing the Republic Rallies of 2007. He was arrested on July 1st 2008 on charges of membership in the "Ergenekon Terror Organization". On September 17th 2008, while in prison (though not yet convicted), he suffered from a cerebral hemmorrhage, which allegedly caused him to tumble down a staircase. He was hospitalized afterwards, and suffered memory loss, and was released pending the conclusion of the trials. The Silivri court sentenced him to life imprisonment on that fateful August 5th, 2013.

The 72 year old Eruygur, hardly able to remember anything, was carted to prison in an ambulance on September 10th, 2013.

(Right)
Şener Eruygur on his way to life imprisonment.
(Image from the media.)





[49] A sketched plan allegedly  found during a search in the home of İbrahim Şahin, former deputy-chief of the Special Operations Office (Özel Harekât Dairesi) led to the Gölbaşı caché, and plans “found” in the possession of Lt. Col. Mustafa Dönmez led to the find in the Zir valley.
While Lt. Col. Dönmez was in custody at Silivri, his son died in a traffic accident in Azerbaijan in September 2012. Lt. Col Dönmez claimed he was murdered by members of the Gülen cult in the police. A month after the death of Lt. Col. Dönmez’s son, the son of another Ergenekon inmate died in a traffic accident, this time in Ankara. It was the son of Prof. Dr. Fatih Hilmioğlu,  in prison in Silivri as an Ergenekon defendant since 2009.

İbrahim Şahin and  Lt.Colonel Dönmez both recieved 49 years and 2 months on August 5th. Prof. Dr. Fatih Hilmioğlu received 23 years.

[50] Also before that fateful day, September 11, 2001, the World Trade Center tragedy. Whether this means anything, I don’t know!

[51] According to the article, the watch he was wearing at the time was  $5000.-! Direct quotation: “My lifestyle is more luxurious than yours.  If I sell one of the articles of jewellery, I’ll get $5700.- for it. This watch is worth $5000.-  . I have 20 more. I like the luxurious life. But unlike what they say, I don’t have CIA, MOSSAD or MIT (the Turkish intelligence service) behind me. But the money keeps coming, I wouldn’t know where it’s coming from.” He teaches the Thora in Toronto’s Beth Israel Center which, according to the article, is a training center for “underground Rabbis” of MOSSAD.

[52] For more on the Ergenekon legend see “Silivri”, 18 December-Aralık 2012.

[53] And it is a fabrication: for years the ancient Ergenekon legend had been the domain of the righti-wing ultra-nationalist militants represented by the MHP (Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi, the “National Movement Party”) and its antecedents. The names hauled into prison over the years on allegation of belonging to this “organization” cover such a wide spectrum that it is widely improbable that they could ever belong to the same organization, and most of them wouldn’t have been caught dead in any organization of that name. Today, it is a different story; the fundamentalist oppression has united the disparate opposition as never before, and the tale of a people breaking out throgh a mountain of iron has taken on a special meaning.

[54] The bombs failed to explode in the first two attempts. The third did, but no one was hurt.

[55] A türban is not a “turban”, but a headscarf with religious connotation. Appearing at a certain point in time as a religious symbol in Turkey, it has sparked a controversy with the sides becoming more uncompromising over the years. See “A Turban by Any Other Name”, 16 July- Temmuz 2012.    

[56] The department head was Mustafa Birden, who had voted to reimpose the ban on the headscarf. He was shot and wounded. Another who had voted the same way, Mustafa Yücel Özbilgin, was killed. Ayla Gönenç and Ahmet Çobanoğlu, also wounded, had not been in the voting, and Ayfer Özdemir, the fourth to be wounded, had voted against the ban.

[57] This was not the only time a crime was linked to the fictitious Ergenekon Terror Organization. A manifestly fanatical Islamist butchering of the occupants of a publishing house specializing in Christian Bibles in 2007 was amalgamated four years later into the Ergenekon case. Typical of all AKP justice, a dubious person was found to make the necessary denounciations. See footnote 8 of “Adultery and Espionage”, 28 April- Nisan 2012.

[58] Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi, the “Republican People’s Party”, and Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi, the “National Movement Party”.

[59] See footnote2 of “Say it with Ribbons”, 24 March- Mart 2013).

[60] See: “1980 minus One”, 1 December- Aralık 1980.

[61] Turkey is a unitary nation-state composed of many ethnic groups who are expected to accept the national identity “Turkish”, other ethnic identities being subordinate to that. The Lausanne treaty of 1922 obliges Turkey to recognize citizens of Greek and Armenian origin as “minorities”, which give them special rights, like their own schools. The Jews have waived that option, choosing to be considered 100% Turkish, thus part of the majority, which has not hindered them from maintaining and attending their synagogues and teaching whatever language they wish to their children, provided that they, like all other citizens, also speak Turkish. The Kurds have not been given special minority rights, and due to several uprisings in Turkish history, their strivings for linguistic and cultural rights have been looked upon with suspicion. Adding to the difficulty is the fact that the Kurds live in the border regions of four different countries- Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran, so any move towards unity threatens the territoral integrity of four nations.


Because they were not considered a minority, the Kurds of Turkey have had access to all kinds of jobs, even in the Armed Forces and government, all the way up to prime minister and president. The real obstacle to their happiness has been the poverty of the region, the poor level of educateion caused by the poverty and the remoteness, and directly linked to this, the abuse of the citizenry through village lords (ağa) who oppress the villagers and suck their  bloods dry. The ağa system is unofficial feudalism tolerated and even supported by politicians because an ağa brings in the vote of the whole village. The famous novel “Mehmed my Hawk” (İnce Memed)by ethnic Kurdish author Yaşar Kemal exposes the system.

When the PKK came on the scene, waging guerilla war against the Turkish state, it readily found recruits among the discontented youth in the villages. The first thing the PKK had to do was to keep the population discontented,  since any betterment of their lot would weaken their will to resist. So machines for building roads were set on fire and teachers were abducted and shot.

[62] See “The Oath”, 22 September-Eylül 2012  and “The Youth”,16 December-Aralık 2012.

[63] The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad canonized the members of the Royal Family and some of their entourage as saints in 1981. The Moscow Partriarchate followed suit in 2000, recognizing them as “passion bearers”, apparently a cut below “martyrdom”, but they are nevertheless venerated as saints.

[64] 19-21 August 1991, the “August Putsch”. Viewing the effects of President Gorbachev’s policies with alarm, a number of high government officials tried to head off the changes by staging a coup. President Mikhail Gorbachev was placed under house arrest. The KGB, the premier, the vice president. the internal affairs minister, the defense minister, and elements of the Soviet Army.

[65] About Lebed: The first round of the 1996 elections in Russia was held on June 16th, 1996. Two days after the first round of elections, Yeltsin appointed Lebed secretary of the security council and security advisor to the president. This assured Lebed’s endorsement of Yeltsin in the next round.  In October of the same year Yeltsin fired Lebed. In 1998 Lebed won the gubernatorial elections of Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia’s largest region. He remained governor of the region until the helicopter crash on April 28th, 2002 . Reason given: hitting electricity lines in the fog.

About Bitlis: The Turkish Government had allowed the US to station arms and military personnel on Turkish soil along the Iraqi border. This was Operaton Poised Hammer, launched to keep Saddam Hussein cornered in Baghdad, maintaining a no-fly zone in Iraq and protecting the Northern Iraqi Kurds safe from any action Saddam would attempt to undertake. There is not much doubt that the US intended to create a free Kurdish state there, which would claim large areas of Turkey as well. The PKK, was using the US umbrella to launch hit-and-run operations in Turkey, and Turkish officers on the spot claim the  PKK enjoyed the active support of the US. Turkish troops made frequent forays into Iraq pursuing PKK insurgents, so a Turkish military presence in the area was no more extraordinaryr than a US one.

On December 17th 1992 US fighter jets forced Gen. Bitlis’ helicopter to land. He had been on his way to Salahaddin in northern Iraq, and  due notification had been given to the US command.

On February 7th 1993 Gen. Bitlis went on record with his complaint to the effect that US planes taking off from the US/NATO base at İncirlik were delivering supplies to the PKK. Ten days later, on February 17th, he died in a plane crash. Reason given: icing on the wings.
Recent years have seen a revival of rumors connecting  Gen. Bitlis’ death to an alleged US operation. Almost instantly, the AKP government pointed the finger at the fictitious “Ergenekon Terror Organization”.

[66] In order to appease Kurdish feelings, it is proposed to remove the words Türk for “Turk” and “Turkish” from the Turkish constitution. Once the ethymological change is carried out so that the citizens of Turkey are no longer necessarily called Turks, the name of the country will be an anomaly and will be targeted in its tun. There are nasty rumors that “The Islamic Republic of Anatolia” is an option.  Having played such a great role in effecting the change, the Kurds will have left us by then. Their convicted leaderAbdullah Ocalan, direct participant in the negotiations and discussions on the constitution, will have certainly lived up to his name. Öcalan (a Turkish word) literally translates as “he who takes revenge”.

[67] After the military intervention of September 12th, 1980, a new constitution was prepared under the auspices of the generals. It obtained over  91% of the vote in the referendum of Nov. 7th, 1982. The AKP made a great fuss about it being “the coup-constitution” which was in line with the opinion propagated by the left wing over the years. The AKP set about changing it clause by clause, presenting it  topublic vote pointedly on September 12th 2010, the 30th anniversary of the military intervention of 1980. It passed with just under 58% of the vote.  But the AKP did not leave it at that; changes have been going on without pause, now with the secessionist paramilitary PKK and its imprisoned leader Abdullah Öcalan having a say.

[68] See: “’Sledgehammer’ Verdicts”, 22 September- Eylül 2012,

[69]See "A Hot Day Coming Up at Silivri”, 3 August- Ağustos 2013.

İlker Yücel had been the TGB leader before becoming Aydınlık’s editor-in-chief. Çağdaş Cengiz has been the new TGB leader since. Both were released after the August 5th heariing was over, as were all taken into custody that day, but must face the judge on charges of  “aiding and abetting the Ergenekon terror organization”.

There is an interesting anecdote concerning Çağdaş Cengiz. On May 25th, 2005 at 17 years of age, as a senior high school student in Muğla, he had been  taken into police custody and interrogated for reciting the poem “Traitor” (Vatan Haini) by Nazım Hikmet. He was taken into custody on the orders of the provincial governor who had been in attendance. 

At the time Prime Minister Erdoğan had been in office for three years and was still playing the tolerant liberal. Having once had to give up his position of mayor and spend four months in prison for reciting a poem, he had to view the treatment of the student critically, and he did, referring to the newly accepted “Copenhag criteria” and implying we had moved beyond this sort of censorship. Now, 8 years on, it seems we haven’t!

I quoted Erdoğan’s recitation in footnote 36; it is only fair that I qoute Cengiz’s:

“’Nazım Hikmet is still a traitor
"'We are a quasi-colony of America’ said Hikmet.
He hasn’t given up on being a traitor."
So said an Ankara newspaper
In blackest, screaming letters above three columns
In an Ankara newspaper, next to a photograph of admiral Williamson
The American admiral is smiling ear to ear in 66 square centimeters.
America granted 120 million Lira, 120 million Lira.
'We are a quasi-colony of America’ said Hikmet.
‘He hasn’t given up on being a traitor.’
Yes, I am a traitor, you are patriots.
I am a traitor against homeland and motherland
If motherland means your ranches,
If  motherland means the contents of your safes and checkbooks,
If motherland means croaking at the side of a highway
If motherland means shivering like a dog in winter, writhing with malaria in the summer,
If motherland means drinking our blood in your factories,
If motherland means the claws of your feudal lords,
If motherland means the Ilmühal-with-Spears (a book on Islam reflecting Ottoman outlook by 15th century mystic Mohammad Izniki), if motherland means a police truncheon,
If motherland means your subsidies and paychecks,
If motherland means American bases, American bombs,
The American fleet, and cannon,
If motherland means, not breaking away from our putrefied darkness,
Then I am a traitor.
Write with your big screaming lettersabove three columns,
"Nazım Hikmet is a traitor."
                                 Nazım Hikmet Ran, 1962

[70] I mention this towards the end of the article “Sailing for Samsun”, 4 August- Ağustos 2013.

[71] The struggle of Hıdır Hokka and the history of the Silivri Watch make up the subject of the book Açık Tanık Silivri by Füsun İkikardeş.  Kaynak Yayınları, 2013. The title translates as “Silivri, Disclosed Witness”, alluding to the “undisclosed witnwesses” the Silivri court uses to  incriminate its victims.

[72] “The Bull” (Boğa) is a cast sculpture by 19th century French sculptor Isidor Bonheur. According to the information on the wall inside the nearby Starbucks café it was taken by the Germans after the annexation of Alsace and Lorraine following the Franco-Prussian war of 1871, and sent  to Istanbul by Kaiser Wilhelm in 1917 as a diplomatic gift to the Ottoman Empire, its ally in the ongoing war. Other information I found on the net says it was one of the many pieces of animal sculptre purchased by Sultan Abdul Aziz in course of a state visit to Paris in 1867. 

The residents of Kadıköy have developed an affection to “the Bull”, seeing in it, some say, the spirit of resistance that has given the district its own atmosphere of freedom.

There was talk- perhaps just a rumor- that the AKP wanted to have “the bull” moved to another part of the city..

[73] Toplumsal Olaylara Müdahele Aracı ,”Vehicle for Intervening in Public Incidents”, armored  truckss with water cannon.

[74] After the government restricted access to the Gezi Park following the events in June there, parks around the city, and in several places around the country, have been turned into nightly forum.

The Gezi park maintains its notoriety in the eyes of the government. A “march for justice” launched at midnight, June 18th,  in Antalya, demanding the perpetrators of the beating and murder of Gezi demonstrators be brought to justice. Marching some 1000 kilometers from city to city in over a month, the group intended to culminate the grand action at the Gezi park. The government would have nothing of it, on the evening of August 20th the police blocked the way a few hundred meters from the park and told them to disperse. The marchers and their supporters attempted to continue their action where they were, at Gümüşsuyu park. The police would have none of that either, lunged in and dragged the demonstrators off for interrogation. One was an epileptic, and when the attack came, the police just dumped him and let the gathered people deal with him. He was hospitalized. The whole mess was broadcast live on Halk TV.
A sorry welcome after a very long walk.
Gümüşsuyu, Istanbul, June18th 2013.
(Image from the media.)

[75] An account (in Turkish) of the prayer that makes invisible can be found at:

 http://www.odatv.com/n.php?n=yandaslar-bu-duayi-biliyor-mu-0209111200


[76] He was sentenced to 8 years 4 months. With reductions and in view of the time already spent in prison, he was set free.

[77] For August 30th controversies of last year, see: “Ramadan, August 30th, and Mr. Incredible”, 17 August-Ağustos, 2012, and “Victory Day at a Summer Resort”, 1 September- Eylül 2012.

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