TURKEY’S SLIDE INTO DICTATORSHIP: What is the destiny of Turkey? Hopeless future or bright horizons?

TURKEY’S SLIDE INTO DICTATORSHIP:

What is the destiny of Turkey? Hopeless future or bright horizons?

* Democracy, as “government by and for the people”, is indispensable for Turkey.[1] Though, the term democracy per se doesn’t provide a magic key to open all the doors, particularly those locked by power-holders for many years. Even more, key aspects of democracy have been weakened at the expense of empowering “the one” more and more. Election system lacks transparency and full justice. Interest groups are under a huge pression. Legislative power addresses Erdogan’s own interests, than those of public. Executive-legislative balance of power no longer exists. Media strictly follows Erdogan’s orders, giving no floor to different views. Latest polls reveal that AKP[2] has still more than 50% [3] albeit all things seem dire.

* To change the course towards dictatorship and autocratic rule, any military solution is not a solution at all. Whatever the solution is, it has to be long-lasting as it also has to take Turkey to Western leauge. Although, historically, “to be or not to be” struggle seems to be against to “outsiders”, in fact, major and more fervent discussions has taken place internally in order to determine the direction, define the orientation, and draw the destiny of the State. It was such a struggle that Turks had to witness even four coup d’état (1960, 1971, 1980 and 1997),[4] exploiting the gaps in civilian governance, destroying gains in building a sound democratic culture, and taking the country each time 10 years back. Accordingly, during this phase, due to the massive purge so far, Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) should prepare itself mentally and philosophically in order to remedy as quickly as possible from the biggest brain drain the history has ever seen.

* In this context, internal factors has little or no say to discrown Erdogan. Rather, international community which is (or should be) unrest with Erdogan’s unstabilizing and dissociating policies must show up and call a spade a spade without falling into Erdogan’s trap of refugiee bluffing. Two major drawbacks seem to purposive: claims of corruption (linked with Zarrab case) and support to ISIS. To say, the Moscow report [5]about Turkey’s weapon supply to ISIS can be kept on the UNSC agenda by the Western Powers. Although Turkey hasn’t approved the Rome Statute yet, Erdogan’s crimes might be investigated when referred to the ICC Prosecutor by the UNSC pursuant to a resolution adopted under chapter VII of the UN charter. Thus, Russia’s obsolete attempt can be revived by the other members of UNSC, notably the Western ones. What Erdogan does (and did) in Syria corresponds to the main crimes defined by ICC: crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crime of aggression.

* Claims of corruption needs to be investigated by international organizations in terms of money laundering, smuggling etc. Foreign governments should also incline their eyes to these allegations since Erdogan’s international crimes are of such a capacity that can hit every target regardless of international law and humanitarian values. To sum up, Erdogan has turned out a threat more dangerous for the Western World (but also regional states) than, ironically, Turkish society.[6]

* Turkey, in terms of various aspects, has been subject of a historical walk from Central Asia towards Europe. This lasting trip has left differentmarks not only on the era and places that witnessed the movement, but also on thepeople who kept interaction, in some way, with the Turks. Being inheritor of Ottoman Empire, Turkey has always sought ways, throughout the walk, to preserve its power to fight, charm to impress, and ability to shape. History, culture and religion have appeared as means to put all these aims into practice under “soft power” umbrella, whereas military power has acted, when necessary (i.e. 1950 Korea, 1974 Cyprus), as a key factor so as to remind “friends and foes” Turkey’s presence. But now, all those parameters are completely out of question in that none can suffice to discrown Erdogan though it fights against all three.

OVERVIEW OF POST-ERDOGAN ERA:

MULTIWRECK REMOVAL, AND SO WHAT?

* Polarization within the society will stay as a big challenge even in post-Erdogan era. Turkey, with its high-voltage faultlines, is vulnerable to ethnic or religious-based conflicts, which got worse under the AKP governments for 15 years. Those who will be in charge after Erdogan (or AKP) will have to face with deepened problems related to Kurds and religious extremists. The former directly refers to basic rights stem from being a humankind (ie. Linguistic rights), whereas the latter has deep roots in mindset degeneration and lack of target-specific, high quality training. Erdogan and AKP has always used Kurds’ demands as a trump card intended for his Machiavelist goals, such as winning elections, instead of struggling to find permanent solutions thereby resting Kurds helpless vis-á-vis PKK. Eventually, the AKP governments failed to recognize the fact that security-focused approach on its own promise nothing less than futility.

* Extremism appears as another challenge pending to be dealth with. Fed by Erdogan’s discriminating manner towards those who are not Sunnis, religious extremism have gained ground more than ever before. The reason lying behind of Erdogan’s policy has its origin in Mawdudi’s sayings, who is among the masterminds of political Islam:

 “If… leaders and rulers be pious and devoted to God, the entire society will certainly follow the course of righteousness and devotion to the Almighty. Even the wicked will be constrained to do good… But if the reins of (the) state are in the hands of agnostics and evil men, the entire fabric will be permeated by the spirit of disobedience to God, tyranny and immorality… God’s earth will be inundated by tyranny and oppression.” [7]

Therefore, even in post-Erdogan era, extremist mindset will still be surviving so long as it finds followers, and succeds to exploit faultlines within the society. Tolerance, respect, and understanding will have to be fostered by the help of various tools at every levels, from family to state affairs.

* There exists a consensus among supporters of democracy on post-Erdogan agenda, though prioritization may differ. One solution can be applying to Pareto analysis. According to Pareto, as known well, 80% of the problems are caused by 20%, which points out, in our case, necessity to start with TAF, the one covers only 20% of state affairs whereas creating the bulk of the problems. It is foreseen that multiwreck removal will be longlasting at every level, and the Caterpillars needed will be those who were purged from every level (HOWs specified below)

* It is not a cautious approach to anticipate a quick mindset shift of the public. Yet, to clean the idea of Political Islam whose roots plunge deep into the past appears as crucial one, which means the people will no longer be swallowed by the politicians exploiting religious terminology to attract more and more voters. It may need to put into effect some legislative and Constitutional regulations as a barrier in front of such attempts (see Figure). The worst scenario is overlapping of rise of political Islam (yes, again!) and regional instability. It merits to draw attention: it is not about Erdogan or AKP itself. On the other hand, the relationship between Turkey’s political Islam and regional instability stands for how those two feed each other in many aspects.

* Russia factor will be weakened once Erdogan, to say Political Islam, regime collapses. Russia has never ended up his historical dreams, and used all tools, range from diplomacy to military, in order to realize them. Erdogan’s Russia “sympathy” arises from helplessness instead of being a strategic option. Russia will stay a neighbour state, but no more, in post-Erdogan era provided political Islam also weakens. Otherwise, paramiliter groups such as SADAT will continue to gain ground in a context of power vacuum till all falls into place.

* Turkey’s modernization (Westernization) efforts are all but 300 years old. What makes this journey so tottering is being in a continuum in terms of perpetual reforms the aim of which is getting narrower to the West. However, the EU, as a national goal, has played facilitator role for Turkish policy makers to complete several institutional reforms. Those to be crowned in post-Erdogan era must stick to that path. Defining the West as the best destination for Turkey’s longwinded marche doesn’t necessarily mean excluding the rest of the world, notably Middle East, Mediterranean and Central Asia. Rather, the review maintains that only when Turkey turns its face towards the West can it preserve its power to fight (NATO), charm to impress (EU), and ability to shape (culture, history and religion).

BIG BUBBLES FOR TAF IN POST-ERDOGAN ERA:

RECONSTRUCTION, RECONCILIATION, REORIENTATION

* Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) has lost its military effectiveness during this period of time, which has disastrous impacts upon operational efficiency as a powerful military for regional stabilisation. Then, first and foremost, TAF must return to war practices from coup protection practices.[8] Under the pretext of 15th July, TAF has adopted the latter which gave way to selection against merit in promotion system, heavily restriction of trainings and exercises, centralized and convoluted command, as a result poor tactical proficiency. This will the first step of reconstruction, a part of full-scale military reform including professionalism.[9]

* Due the fact that military effectiveness should be considered within a hierarchical dimension, it would be no wise to anticipate good news from the battlefield without empowering political and strategic effectiveness. One of the most controversial issues will be on civil-military relations, and civilian supremacy must remain as a vital goal no matter what the recent history says.[10] As a purposive tool, a (more) democratic constitution will make it easier for the military to justify its position vis-a-vis civilian control.

* Reconciliation must be both with the historical and cultural values and the people, including those who were purged (once upon a time!).[11] TAF has suffered a great deal from neglecting historical values inherited from its ancestry.[12] Regrettably, it is as hard as starting from scratch. But at the end, the goal must be get TAF somewhere that each member thinks, reads, questions and produces.[13]

* The most difficult one, reorientation, should also cover the main missions of TAF even to the extent that it can even be discussed the military’s perception of its role in Turkish society as “guardians” of the secular regime. Self-confident and open-minded staff can reorient TAF towards the main goal: security of the state. Before that, promotion and training systems will be in need of comprehensive revision to have self-confident and open-minded personal, backbone of reconstruction period. To conclude, overall military organization should be restructred to keep away from, as Norman Dixon’s say[14], military incompetence in two ways: “directly, by forcing their members to act in a fashion that is not always conducive to military success, and indirectly, by attracting, selecting and promoting a minority of people with particular defects of intellect and personality.” The former refers to what we experienced in the past, while the latter addresses to what we witness today.

FROM HERE TO THERE:

THE PROBABLE COURSE OF EVENTS

* In the midterm it seems likely that Turkish public will find itself in a turmoil fed by economic crisis, regional instability, and outrageous political revenge between political Islamists (AKP) and extremist nationalists (Dogu Perincek’s side). Thus, Turkey’s near future is subject to four driving forces along with global trends: social fragility / marginalization (including tendency towards religious extremism), economic sitation, Syria conflict, and mutual positions of today’s so-called allies (AKP and Perincek).

* Social fragility deepens by the help of economic crisis, and faultlines awaken by discrimination policies against Kurds, and Alevis. Due to economic stagflation and currency fluctuations, a great deal of enterprises go bankrupt thereby multiplying unemployment rate. On the other hand, AKP-backed upper class keeps making money by large-scale tenders and projects, which worsens injustice in income distribution and creates widespread unrest even among AKP supporters. Further, institutions begin to fail since they lose their independency and fall under the influence of political desires. Early outcomes of the purge at every level and the biggest brain drain the history ever seen can show its face, fort the first time, with an economic collapse triggering all other driving forces. The trade deficit deterioretes as export to European Union hits bottom by force of credit rating agencies’ negative assessments.

* The AKP government continous to turn up pressure over Kurds through sword of damocles, judicial investigations, and assassinations. Leading Kurds, notably HDP deputies and mayors, are arrested and detained with the aim of provoking Kurd population against the State. Being still away from officially recognized as “place of worship” by the Government, Alevi’s “cemevleri” are targeted by extremists aiming to trigger a sectarian conflict betwen Sunnis and Alevis. In case it fails, the next phase (or simultenaously with the former) is to assassinate key political, religious, or cultural figures of Kurds and Alevis, to land the crimes on other side (nationalists for Kurds, Sunnis for Alevis), and to lay the groundwork for a civil war. Erdogan and AKP sees it as a last resort for obfuscation crimes they committed for years. In accordance with this purpose, extremists (ISIS militants and SADAT members) whose actions were deliberately overlooked at the expense of letting them strenghten are mobilised for the common goal. The European Commission issues a declaration blaming Erdogan for discrimination policies against those under attack of extremists, and calling for immediate action to stop violence throughout the country. In parallel, France submits a report to United Nations Security Counsil, accompanied with proofs of Erdogan’s relations with the extremists and his role in widespread violence.

* Meanwhile, human right violations in all over the country escalate. Prisons and detention centers are overcrowded with all but real criminals. Poorly educated and politicized police forces don’t hesitate to torture and maltreat to those in custody, while judges and prosecuters continue using law as a weapon against opponents. Human Rights Watch and UN Watch condemns human rights violations in Turkey, asking Turkish authorities and democratic World to take immediate actions. HRW also criticises International Criminals Court for lack of investigations into violence actions ongoing.

* Lacking a realistic guidance and sound military plans, Turkish Armed Forces loses not only effectiveness but also its way in Syria, which in turn causes to withdrawal under the same pretext of removal the tomb of Suleyman Shah. In fact, that the costs of the operation reaches a untolerable point is the main reason hidden by pro-Erdogan media outlets. Erdogan discharges Hulusi Akar, Chief of the General Staff, along with the commanders of Land, Air and Sea Forces, who played their parts featly during 15th July coup-fiction. Moreover, Erdogan pins responsibility for the failure in Operation Euphrates Shield on these four-star generals, claiming that his political guidance is misinterpreted and corrupted improperly by military planners, notably command staff.

* Another tension between Erdogan and Perincek escalates when it comes to decision over command staff assignment. The former greedily wants to see “partisan” and pledger generals around him, while the latter sees it as a do or die. Meanwhile, Turkish Armed Forces gradually loses its unit cohesion, technical skills, and morale under the command of poorly qualified generals who remind Arab counterparts leading their armies to the catastrophe during and after Six Day War in late 1960s. Each side uses every means possible to get down the other on his knees. Perincek dredges up Erdogan’s crimes and corruptions, while Erdogan starts another purge against pro-Perincek soldiers and officials. Foreign intelligence services take part in this fight by leaking Erdogan’s voice and hidden camera records to the press. Determined not to lose its strength, Perincek provokes the public to dethrone Erdogan under the name of “National Consensus Coalition”. In the meantime, international organizations decide to investigate the Erdogan-linked proofs released by the press, which tightens the circle for Erdogan.

* Being afraid of overseas trip due to the investigations ongoing, Erdogan follows the developments in his 1100-room Presendial palace. Social tension comes to a boil owing to economic crisis, aggression towards Alevis and Kurds, intolerance for opponants, widespread arrests and torture, heavy cost of Syria conflict, reescalating terrorist attacks of PKK, and extremist nationalists’ provocations. Erdogan supporters that begin to fear that things are out of control search ways to flee abroad. Being the first time in its history, more than 1 million furious, disappointed and desperate people walk towards the Presidential Palace. Though Erdogan orders security forces to fire on demonstrators and shed bloods of hundreds, he fails to hinder the collapse of neither the Palace, nor dictatorship itself.

* Boeing CH-47 Chinook waits for the passengers with rotors turning……..

[1] One could argue that Turkey has evolved from democracy to dictatorship, but it doesn’t change the fact that Turkey has (and will have) no better way to be able to survive in its region.

[2] It goes without saying that AKP means Erdogan.

[3] http://www.internethaber.com/yarin-secim-olsa-son-ankette-o-parti-ucusa-gecti-1739354h.htm

[4] 15 July was intentionally ruled out, because I call it as “coup-fiction” rather than a real attempt. The reasons are out of scope of this paper.

[5] http://yournewswire.com/un-report-turkey-is-main-supplier-of-weapons-to-isis/

[6] For sure, it depends on expiration date of Erdogan.

[7] Princeton Readings in Islamist Thought: Texts and Contexts from al-Banna to Bin Ladin, eds. Roxanne L. Euben and Muhammed Qasim Zaman (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009), p.82.

[8] For detailed definitions, see Caitlin Talmadge, The Dictator’s Army: Battlefield Effectiveness in Authoritarian Regimes (New York: Cornell University Press, 2015, pp.13-18)

[9] I call it “reform”, because I have no doubt that it will be a lasting and painful phase.

[10] Narcis Serra sums up well what I mean: “(…) the government must determine and apply security policy and military policy, as well as embed the armed forces into the administration of the state as just one more branch of the latter and not as an institution that dialogues with the other Powers in the state.” Narcis Serra, The Military Transition: Democratic Reform of the Armed Forces (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), p.239.

[11] Not only people, but also institutions such as War College.

[12] For more to know the advantages the Ottomans Military enjoyed, see Princeton Readings in Islamist Thought: Texts and Contexts from al-Banna to Bin Ladin, eds. Roxanne L. Euben and Muhammed Qasim Zaman (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009), pp.120-121.

[13] To understand better, it will suffice to compare two official journals of two Armed Forces: JFQ of the United States, and Silahlı Kuvvetler Dergisi of TAF.

[14] Norman Dixon, On the Psychology of Military Incompetence (London: Pimlico, 1976), p.169.

Eren Erdem’s (member of TUR Parliament, Main Opposition Party, CHP) Speech on ISIL at Turkish Parliament, 29 June 2016

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Eren Erdem is main opposition party (CHP) member of the Turkish Parliament. He delivered a  speech (29 Jube 2016) on the support provided to ISIL by the government. During his speech he provided clear evidence of such support and requested to activate a Committee to investigate the issue. He was later accused of being a traitor by pro Erdogan Media.

Turkish Intelligence Sharing with Russia, Stockholm Syndrome

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New Turkey’s ‘Native and National’ intelligence Sharing with Russia, Iran and Syria

‘Native and National’ Intelligence Sharing:  ‘Stockholm Syndrome’

The meaning of the word intelligence and its meaning and significance for a country

The word intelligence evokes various connotations for every person depending on their specific background and perceptions. In our daily life, if you ask a person  this question, you would quickly realize that they are aware of the topic but what they understand from the word intelligence differ significantly.

The word intelligence is the plural form of the arabic word of colecting news and information. According to the Turkish Language Institution Updated Turkish Dictionary, the word intelligence is described as ‘newly gathered information, news, to recieve information.’

According to our and many NATO military manuals, it is explained as ‘in the process of providing a situational assessment, crafting course of actions, developing plans and operations plans and their executions, conclusions that are reached through the collection,interpretation, assessment and merger of total existing information on regions that is of importance in the near term and long term.’ In short, intelligence equals to Information+Analysis+Interpretation.

In any case, it is a reality that intelligence is a critical topic for any nation’s existence. For example, any US citizen that was born can become a President but to become the CIA director, one needs to be a US citizen for seven generations.

Turkey’s Intelligence Structure which was integrated with the West (NATO, US etc.) before the despicable 15 July coup attempt.

Intelligence is and will continue to be a significant topic for Turkey as well, which resides in a quite troubled neighborhood.  Almost all weapons systems of Turkey, who has been a NATO Ally for more than 60 years, are Western based. Naturally, its Armed Forces organziational structure and technical base are also aligned with the West.  It was the case for the intelligence domain until the despicable 15 July coup attempt.

 

The events that unfolded after the 15 July coup attempt, which was described as a gift from God and its implications for the intelligence domain.

In the purge against the Turkish Armed Forces after the despicable coup attempt, there are two main branches that are under the weapon sight: ‘Personnel and intelligence Branches’. These are not chosen by accident. Any reader that is close to the subject would validate the truth that if an Armed Forces lacks professional personnel/manpower and intelligence enablers, the technologhy that it possesses would not translate into combat power.  The real force multipliers are well trained personnel, and robust intelligence apparatus.  The immediate dismissal of personnel from the aforementioned branches and their replacement with incapable self-ambitious personnel is not by accident either.

The repurcassions of such a monumental widespread purge will be long lasting: The brain death of Turkish Armed Forces has taken place. However, this subject which is full of lessons needs to be recorded in history as the second Commitee of Union ad Progress (İttihat ve Terakki) but will not be delved further in this article, which is beyond the scope of this article.

At this unprecedented time which is labeled as state of emergency, with the judicial branch that is designed by the inexperienced Perincek-AK judges and the Ergenekon-Balyoz leftovers who have returned with immense revenge sentiments, well trained pilots, special force operators and the Staff officers have been systemically put out of the system. This resulted with the TGS’ hand being tied. Simultaneously, as the plan for the personnel dimension was ongoing, the intelligence domain was not left untouched.

The ‘overarching mind’ that prepared itself way before for this immense purge, simultenously attacked to all components of intelligence structure, started the operation a year before by strenghening the police intelligence and delegating  GES Command from TGS to MIT, which tries to solve problems by sending a few missiles down range to trigger a conflict with Syria. As of today, there is no capable cadres that can fill the posts for  foreign intelligence services, therefore there is no capacity. More frankly, today, there is no and can not be intelligence that Turkey can share with regards to any development around the world, excluding the ones taken from the NATO Intelligence Pool (BICES). From now on, not only Turkey’s hands are tied but eyes are blinded and ears are blocked.  This is critical and we will get back to this point later.

However, the Turkish intelligence which was paralyzed at all levels including the fight agianst PKK and the defense of the homeland, is capable in one area: ‘Baath type intelligence’. New Turkey’s deep and shady Baath intelligence is gaining ground and protection every day, incomparable to its former status.

The last activity of this intelligence approach included allegations of monitoring and recording internet activities of its own citizens by using specific technologies and profiling them accordingly. [1] It is exactly this intelligence which allowed for a Turkey where multiple bombing can happen at the center of capital and voluntarily brought Turkey to the edge of a civil war along with the problems at the border.

Axis shift of Turkey: The action plan for ‘Native and National’ intelligence sharing with Russia, Iran and Syria without making it public.[2]

With its several dubious aspects still in question, right after the 15 July coup attempt, as it was explained in detail previously, the secular cadres who have resisted to Erdoğan’s New Turkey vision has been purged from TSK which resulted with the Country experiencing a visible axis shift, the Western direction of the Turkish Republic turned to the opposite direction to Russia and Iran. Not a platonic love in nature, Erdoğan and later the Foreign minister has apologized and thanked to Mr Putin by saying ‘As they say, true friends become evident during diffiult times and Russia has demonstrated this.” declaring this love affair to the whole world.

This emerging affair has also impacted all relatives and resulted with the arrest of the pilot who downed the Russian jet and the Foreign Minister  Çavuşoğlu declaring “I would like to visit the wife of the Russian pilot and express my condolences.”

At the same time, the main advisor to the Iranian religious leader Ayetullah Ali Hamaney and former Foreign Minister Ali Ekber Velayeti, underlined that this coup attempt demonstrated which country is a friend or a foe and finalizd this temporary mutah marriage.[3]

Naturally, it is possible to see the impacts of these evolving relationships in the intelligence domain, which should be the most private sphere of a nation.The higher echelon of the Russian Parliament, Federation Council’s Defense Commitee Deputy Chair Frants Klintsevic, in his interview to İzvestiya, said that without any declaration to the Turkish public, Turkey was included in an intelligence sharing pool between Russia, Syria, Iraq and Iran. Klintsevic continued  by adding “ NATO’s position after the coup attempt has disappointed Turkey and according to some analyst, the Western powers might be behind this attempt. Therefore, Erdogan and the Turkish government understood  that  they can establish relations with Russia”[4]

In an effort  to foster this relationship, out of synch with the established conventions, Turkish CHOD Gen AKAR has conducted a visit to Russia with Head of Intelligence Fidan who was his partner at the tragicomical coup attempt night and still questions remain after almost 4 months.  The timing of this visit was meaningful as well as the accompanying partner was quite daring. The formal TGS announcement with regards to the visit is as follows: Turkish CHOD Gen Hulusi AKAR, as a reponse to a formal invitation from Russian Fedaration CHOD Gen Valery GERASIMOV, is conducting a visit to futher mil to mil cooperation topics between two countries and exchange views on regional developments.[5]

There is no out of the ordinary situation up to this point. The real strange issue is in the details: Gen AKAR has conducted this visit with National Inetelegence Service’s (MIT) pro-Iranian chief with whom he was together all day during the dubious 15 July coup attempt at a time when news were circulating about Turkey’s inclusion in the Russian-Iranian intelligence sharing network.

 

Intelligence Sharing: Do you have the intelligence for sharing?

Right at this point,  we need to expand upon the intelligence sharing issue. It is no rocket science; you need to produce intelligence and share this intelligence in exchange for other intelligence from friend and allied nations.

Now the question is simple. Does Turkey have any intelligence to share with the Allied nations? At this point after all the developments in teh aftermath of the attempted coup, this is not possible.  Then, why would the other nations share their intelligence with an Ally who does not provide any intelligence? The reason is simple: NATO intelligence pool (BICES)

As a NATO Ally, Turkey is integrated in the BICES[6] intelligence pool and can access to intelligence that is provided by other nations.

Naturally, one would easily question if you would take this intelligence and share with a country that is the very reason why NATO is founded at the first place and also with Iran, who is the usual suspect. This is a very sensitive issue and a huge scandal.

It is evident that NATO will not hesitate to take the necessary actions and might even push Turkey out of the Alliance.  Furthermore, the widespread purge against the Western educated qualified personnel that was filling NATO posts along with the rumors of procurement of a Russian air defense system[7] has strained the already thinned bonds with the Alliance.

Turkey, with her current positioning in the international arena, is viewed as an unfaithful/cheating partner who is taking intelligence from NATO’s intelligence pool and providing it to the Russia-Iran pool, or at the very least has a very high proabability to do so. The real outcome of the operation to the intelligence leg is this.

In addition to all these, as it is not case where thousands of officers, NCOs-especially pilots and staff officers who are contributing added value to the operational effectiveness of the TSK- executing a operation in Syria, deploying considerable number of units to the border[8] and demonstrating signs of a potential operation is completely contrary to any reasoning and common sense, and a choice hard to explain.

Especially, any potential operation inside Iraq without the consent of the Iraqi government will bring Turkey face to face with US. It would be quite naive to expect NATO to stand with Turkey in a conflict with Iraq. The most likely scenerio is that Erdoğan would isolate itself from NATO and this would have a definite honeymoon effect on Turkey-Russia relations.[9]

In conclusion, instable in its intelligence axis, rigged, and being a little pretentious, this vicious approach is bearing its fruits immediately. For those who already know,  although it is stating the obvious, for the majority who is not familiar with the topic, it is with utmost importance to state it: With Erdoğan and his cadre’s vague and open disclosures, the Turkish Republic is becoming the suspect for relaying the intelligence of NATO to the evil Russia-Iran axis.  Furthermore, it is pushed to the Iraq-Syria hell with its hands tied  and are bound to see with other’s eyes and hear with other’s ears.

Nowadays, when Turkey is emptying the NATO ranks and footholds, and strengthening Russia-Iran footholds on the opposite side, it is important to point out the silence of the former friends (NATO/EU/US) when all the aspects of democracy, such as rule of law, right to ownership, freedom of press, protecton of life is continued with the ‘intelligence sharing’ topic. For example, at the Foreign Minister Meeting in October, did the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg  ask about the “sharing intelligence to the new friends and Allies” to the Foreign Minister Cavusoglu and if he did, how did he respond. Were the other Allies informed about this newly formed intelligence sharing mechanism? Nobody knows.

Turkey’s drift to the Eastern axis primarily towards Russia, is a much deeper anomaly than how it is viewed at a first glance.  It is beneficial to remind the public especially in these days where every thing that belongs to the past is swept away: The reason why Turkey put a lot of effort to join the NATO Alliance -including participating in Korean War,which was thousands of miles away and giving 718 martyrs- was the Russia’s predecessor, Soviet Union.  Today, Turkey is rapidly moving away from the West and entering into a contradiction where the very protection it recieves is coming from the security umbrella of the Alliance it is moving away from. This situation resembles to the hostage feeling the Stockholm Syndrome. We can only hope that the the hostage will respond to the outside warnings and wake up from the syndrome.

 

 

 

[1] https://www.donanimhaber.com/guvenlik/haberleri/Amerikan-internet-sirketinin-calisanlarindan-Turkiye-ile-ilgili-sok-iddia.htm

[2] http://www.sozcu.com.tr/2016/yazarlar/zeynep-gurcanli/yerli-ve-milli-2-1478728/

[3] http://www.star.com.tr/guncel/irandan-turkiye-aciklamasi-darbe-girisimi-sonrasi-haber-1130303/

[4] http://www.turkishny.com/headline-news/2-headline-news/225423-rusya-turkiye-ile-istihbarat-paylasacagiz#.WBpiG9UrK1s

[5] http://www.tsk.tr/TSKdanHaberler/Haber_76

[6] https://www.militaryperiscope.com/terms/t0000072.html

[7]http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turkiye/615559/Cumhurbaskanligi_acikladi…_Turkiye_fuze_savunma_sistemi_icin_Rusya_yla_anlasti.html

[8] http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-deploys-tanks-to-silopi-across-from-iraq.aspx?PageID=238&NID=105629&NewsCatID=352

[9] http://www.aei.org/publication/could-turkey-in-iraq-kill-nato/

“The stream of violence in Turkey shows President Erdogan is a control freak who can’t tame his own country”

Things are spiralling out of control in Turkey. Yesterday’s incident in Istanbul is a clear show of this.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/01/stream-violence-turkey-shows-president-erdogan-control-freak/

 

Hybrid Warfare Against Turkey

 

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HYBRID WARFARE AGAINST TURKEY

As Hybrid warfare is not new, since Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and the war in Ukraine it has become a new buzzword that is widely used, both by military and civilian actors. While there is some confusion over the term–which leads to some difficulty in defining what it really is–what is at stake is how deadly it may create effects on global & regional security.  

A recent example to be cited for hybrid warfare was recently  carried out in Turkey, especially against Turkish Armed Forces in two phases. The initial phase was Sledgehamer / Ergenekon trials at 2007.  Both cases were later sought to take over control of the Turkish Armed Forces.  Sadly, the aftermath purge left Armed Forces at a crossroad to loose some of its top brass. Not only ultranationalists who were part of the planned coup, but also secular and western minded officers were purged at those times.Between those two phases the corruption scandal that surfaced on 17 December 2013 gave Erdogan a golden opportunity to “cleanse” police forces and legal bodies.

The second phase on the other hand started after decision was made for perpetrating the notorious 15 July Coup attempt. This attempt was performed with affiliated extensions against Turkey’s center of gravity, Turkish Armed Forces, which has managed to keep Turkey in the Western liberal bloc and away from all kinds of adventures, especially in Syria and Iraq  despite Erdogan’s megalomaniac ideals.

Another crucial point related to this flawless hybrid operation, which targets nothing other than Turkey’s survival is the skill shown in correctly understanding sentiments of groups able to help effect intended results. In this sense, Erdogan’s egos and crimes, and ultranationalists  hatred were very well organized to be merged against Gülenists who were declared as common enemy. There was no mistake in phasing of the operation, determination of the targets of the phases and their timings.

Before the second phase that was targeted at Armed Foces, phase, the intent  was to again cleanse “Police, Judiciary and Economy Bureaucracy”. When the Police-Judiciary-Economy bureaucracy caught Erdoğan red handed, the historical opportunity emerged spontaneously. In return for forgiveness of the ultranationalists and the blessing of Perinçek, Perinçek and his team sometimes covertly and sometimes overtly supported Erdoğan, whose crimes were clearly known and archived by them, to purge the best cadres in the Police-Judiciary-Economy bureaucracy under the cover of being Gulenist.

Before the second phase, the purge was so deep in the second most critical public domain or “Judiciary” that the only ones that mattered belonged to the Perinçek’s team or were inexperienced young AKP militia who had attained office with unlawful administrative tricks not in conformity with the Constitution. Those latter were to be eliminated when necessary by the former group. The situation in the security bureaucracy, “Police”, became no different. With a nuance; while the dark Perinçek’s guys in the security bureaucracy were reinstated with praises, Erdogan succeeded in quickly filling the vacancy in the police with the ISIL/DAESH minded paramilitary groups that he had been trying to raise for years through the Ottoman organization, Menzil Group, SADAT and the likes. The men who carry out unbelievable tortures in the prisons and in the detainee centers  at this moment are mostly members of these groups. As for the economy bureaucracy; firstly, bureaucrats of all independent audit institutions were replaced by those who obeyed without questioning, then, either these independent boards’ authorities were taken or were they terminated. Today, Turkish Central Bank has a President who lacks qualifications to fill his seat but has a proved allegience to Erdogan. He has been instrumental in increasing or lowering interest rates when asked by Erdogan.

In the second part after 15th July; TAF was chosen as the target and actual attack was carried out by using the redesigned judiciary and Ergenekon-Balyoz remnants freed by a political decision implemented by the former. In this hybrid attack to the gravity center of Turkey, Russia utilized Perinçek’s  extensions in the TAF and Turkey. With this attack deemed as “a blessing from God” by the so-called Commander-in-Chief of TAF, approximately 200 generals, many combat pilots and well-educated staff officers were dismissed, arrested or detained in a short period of time like 3 months without any confrontation. Even in an armed confilict losses would would not come close to what has been witnessed so far. As opposed to the propaganda made by the government mouthpiece media, TAF has not been strengthened by purging traitors. But it has been weakened and the country has been made ready for an occupation or civil war.

Thousands of officers and non-commissioned officers were dismissed from the TAF after the July 15 coup attempt mainly through decrees having the effect of law published on July 27, July 30, September 2, and September 7. Yet this process, in which “footprints of horses and dogs have mingled” as Erdogan puts it, is not yet over. In the last period, this unlawful purge keeps on with termination of assignments of the majority of the elite military officers who have been working in NATO and Military Diplomatic Missions abroad. Those officers were not even in Turkey on 15th of July. Most of them have been removed from the public service. How do these dismissals affect the TAF’s battle effectiveness? This question is especially important where the AKP government has pushed the country into the quagmire of Syria and Iraq in an effort to create a victory story deemed necessary for life long presidency or dictatorship. Erdogan hopes to seem greater from the founding father M.K.Atatürk of the Nation with this last move by pretending to have made progress in attaining Mosul and Aleppo, two historical marks in Turks minds.

It is no secret that before the July 15 coup attempt, there was a strong resistance in the TAF, especially in the top echelons against AKP government’s aspirations to launch an operation in Syria. Since Turkey does not have effective missile defense and electronic systems, Syrian surface to surface missiles (SSM),  which also can carry chemical war heads and surface to air missiles (SAM), posed serious threat for Turkish Air Force and as such to the nation. In this respect, all  decisive personnel who opposed to comply with the practices threatening  national security have been declared traitor and eliminated so far. One of the most striking  examples is as follows: Gen. Akın ÖZTÜRK was declared to be the Number One of the failed coup as propaganda and was later exonerated as was understood that he was actually trying do exactly the opposite, to prevent it. His efforts to prevent the coup attempt was verified by Turkish General Staff announcements also. During one of his visits to War College in Istanbul he stated:”If I am declared traitor one day, you should know that Turkey has been involved in a conflict with Syria”.

For a better understanding, staff officers constitute the intellectual powerhouse of the Armed Forces. Selected after hardest exams and a detailed scrutiny into their social and familial lives and career paths, those officers belong to the best 10 percent of the TAF. Their main characteristic is their allegiance to the secular ideals of Atatürk, their belief in Western liberal ideals and their professionalism. Unfortunately, about 90 percent of those staff officers have been purged so far to leave only a fraction of them to fill critical posts in strategical Headquarters or the units in combat mission in Syria,  Iraq and borderlines. If those in the last group die in an operation, they would be martyrs whereas their survival meant being labeled as terrorists. The seats of those purged are being filled with ultranationalists (the Perinçek team) and the ISIL/DAESH minded personnel (SADAT, Menzil teams). The common denominator of these new staff is their lack of higher military education, inexperience in working in multinational or operational/strategical HQs, inadequacy in language skills and articulating themselves, let alone to defend national interests. Those are behind wealth benefiting from this newly opened space rather than making sacrifice for the nation. For better insight, just recently 15 officers resigned from a brigade that was assigned to move from Trakya to Gaziantep, a city close to Syrian border for possible future operations. The more dangerous threat emanating from these inadequate cadres would be that these two crazed groups would not tolerate each other and turn the country into hell with bloodshed.

The history of a century ago repeats itself today. The AKP administration, which plays the role of the Union and Progress Party (İttihat ve Terakki), together with the TAF cadres who are today’s Gen. Envers, are forcing TAF, which is worse off than the time of Sarikamis operation in terms of operational abilities and capabilities, to launch an operation in Iraq and Syria quagmire where US, UK and even Russia abstain from conducting a land operation. In addition to major problems such as ineffective intelligence system, lack of modern ammunition, inadequate air and missile defense and electronic war capabilities, which are indispensables of modern warfare, the “brain death” of the TAF has been realized with the liquidation of outstanding personnel.

Air force…

The most serious status in this context has been reached in the Air Force, which is the indispensable force of today’s operations. The Turkish Air Force, which has been the leader in terms of operational effectiveness in the region before July 15, is incapacitated of trained personnel who are the most effective force multipliers. Because it is both a costly and a long-lasting process to train a combat ready pilot. As the Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş explained, the pilot seat ratio dropped to 0.8 in the Air Force where hundreds of fighter pilots were discharged of their services.  On the other hand, this ratio dropped below 0.5 after this announcement as more than one hundred military pilots more were arrested. This ratio should be between 1.5 and 2.0 depending on the type of aircraft. While this means that there should be about twice as many pilots as the number of planes, the number of pilots in the Air Force dropped to less than half of the number of planes. Some of the remaining pilots, who have go to police station for judicial control in the morning, fly the most destructive war machines during the night together with their ally colleagues for the Operation Euphrates Shield and operations in Mosul. Even some fighter pilots flying out of the country with official orders are banned from going abroad by judicial decisions, which exhibits this dilemma. Although it has been evaluated by Air Force Commander Abidin Ünal that having ideal cadre  would take 2 years by shutting down this battle pilot’s opening, international security experts underlined in an assessment made on 19 September 2016 when there were 100 pilots more than today that it would take at least 10 years for the Air force to have the ideal cadre structure of before July 15th.

It should be questioned how the TAF, especially the Turkish Air Force, can continue an operation even when the situation of personnel and ammunition before July 15 is taken into consideration when Turkey involves in a war in Syria. Moreover, the contribution of any operation with a “conquerer” approach to Turkey’s interests in Syria should be discussed. Nearly 200 generals and elite staff officers who were purged after 15 July formed the backbone of the Turkish General Staff and Force Commands, mainly headquarters. All in all, it is understood that the opposition to any such adventure in Syria insistingly formed a strong incentive for the purges of those.

In case of an adventure in Syria, the incapacitated TAF in terms of personnel status of after July 15th and the Air Force which is about to be depleted of modern ammunition, can only have limited operational effectiveness not to be sustained in the long-term. Moreover, the Air Force can barely fly fighter jets – even for air defense of the mainland territory – using pilots who are subject to judicial control. If we consider the possible loss rates in the event of an operation and the stock of modern ammunition that is about to be depleted, Turkey will soon become a nation not having an Air Force or at least a non-flying one.

Navy..

The situation regarding purges is the same in the Navy as well. The purge of Admirals, Commodores and Ship Commanders and staff officers has been similar or even more intense than other force commands. However, the difference is hidden in by whom those vacant positions are filled.

The Naval Forces Command was the most prepared force for the failed coup and its aftermath. In the immedeate aftermath of the coup attempt, Navy terminated assignments of 40-50 personnel from command group on the next day, July 16, 2016. Even more interestingly, those newly appointed to replace the former group started work in their new offices on July 17, 2016 Sunday morning. Normally known as the force command of the TAF having the most problematic bureaucracy, the Navy and the current Commander of the Navy acted so fast for replacements, which revealed that they had already known and made preparations long beforehand. At the moment, as Perinçek often proudly expressed in TV programs, the Naval Forces Command has been seized by Ergenekon-Balyoz residues (Perinçek team) in terms of both command and planners.

Army…

Army’s general purpose and attack helicopter pilots are at the forefront of the targeted groups in this purge as well. At least 20 attack helicopter pilots have been dismissed so far. The situation is even worse than this in the Special Forces Command, which is one of the most elite troops of the TAF. Special Forces Command, currently commanded by the Ergenekon-Balyoz residues, is rapidly returning back to its former covert activities.

The damage to the Army is not limited to this. Especially; Brigadier and Major Generals were almost completely purged and these cadres were filled with the Ergenekon-Balyoz residues (Perinçek team) and ISIL/DAESH minded personnel (SADAT, Menzil teams) after the Supreme Military Council meeting, which lasted for 30 minutes in 2016 (normally takes a week). The commanders of the 20 Brigades, who are now and will be in charge of the Syria and Iraq operations, are formed from these personnel and those who objected to these operations due to concerns for Turkey’s survival have been purged on this occasion.

Perhaps the most important one is that almost all of the generals and staff officers working in the Turkish General Staff and Land Forces Headquarters were dismissed. It is not difficult for the experts to know that the TAF (in patricular Army) has lost its planning ability and the chain of command has been filled with cliques having different motivations.

With this ongoing purge, Army has been deprived of the professional human resources required even for the struggle with the PKK terror inside the borders of the country, let alone  plan, execute and manage results of a cross-border operation against a state and It has been pushed into Iraq-Syria ring with tied hands and eyes.

Erdogan’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

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SADAT- International Defense Consultant Firm

 SADAT is a Turkish based, private defence consultant company, which was founded on 28th of February 2012. It is the single defence company in Turkey, for international consultancy on defence and military education. The company was founded by 23 retired armed forces officers and NCOs. The vision of the company as it is written at the company’s own web-site follows  as: (http://www.sadat.com.tr/media/brosur/brosur.pdf)

“SADAT aims at estabishing the cooperation among Islamic countries in the sense of military and defence industries, in order to assist the Islamic World to take the rank it deserves among the Super Global Powers as a self-sufficient military power, by submitting them the services regarding the organization of Armed Forces, defence consultancy, military training and ordanance.We also aim to provide training on conventional warfare as well as special operations.”

 Who is the founder of SADAT?

The founder of the company is Adnan Tanrıverdi who is a retired one-star Army general. He was retired from Turkish Army in 1996 while he was the J head of Military Health Services in Turkish General Staff. He was forced to retire allegedly having an anti-secular, radical Islamic mindset and practices. During his miliary service, he had worked as a military planner at Special Ops Department  at TUR General Staff. After his retirement he was a columnist at Turkish Akit, who is widely known as a radical-İslamist newspaper. Between 2012 and 2016 he was the director of SADAT, just after the coup attempt, he was assignde by Erdoğan himself as his top military adviser.

Some Key Issues about  SADAT

  • SADAT had received lots of skepticism for its getting full support of AKP from the very outset of its foundation. There were some well founded discussions at the media that SADAT is meant to be AKP’s “revolutionary guards” as it is the same in Iran. It was even circulated at the anti-AKP Turkish Media that SADAT is as an illegal formation under legal disguise on the orders of Erdoğan in 2012.
  • It was allegedly claimed that SADAT has been training a secret armed organization to serve as an alternative army to Turkish Security Forces (TSK) and carry out bloody attacks on the orders of Erdoğan. As a quote from a famous whistblower, Fuat Avni, who had a credible record of uncovering corruption and irregularities rampant among the government officials and claims to be in the inner circle of President Erdoğan told that “People and organizations that speak out against the Erdogan will not only be tried, but will also be targeted by this secret armed organization,”, regarding the alleged organization as a building stone for a possible civil war in Turkey.
  • The repressive regime of Erdogan has been secretly building SADAT as a paramilitary force with the help of retired Islamist and neo-nationalist generals since 2011 using Libyan and Syrian theatres for drills. The staged coup attempt on July 15 gave Erdogan a fresh mandate to turn over the helm of the NATO alliance’s second largest army to this paramilitary group, with many distinguished officers including four-star generals purged without due process or investigation and replaced with partisans.
  • SADAT was accused of once training ISIS members but stopped when Western Intelligence organizations found out about it. There are numerous well founded claims at Turkish leftist media that SADAT trains teenagers from the youth branch of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Osmanlı Ocakları (Ottoman Organization) – a movement whose members are open supporters of Erdoğan – as triggermen to stage bloody attacks in Turkey and abroad.
  • The Russian Report to United Nations about Erdogan’s support to ISIS, which was submitted to UN Security Council and later taken back again by Russia, was referring to SADAT many times as a tool of Erdogan to conduct covert ops both inside Turkey and also in Syria.

http://www.birgun.net/haber-detay/ak-ordu-ve-ak-emniyet-suphesi-124586.html

  • A company document dated July 25, 2015 shows Sadat hired Samih Ghasham, the owner and general manager of the Ocean Gate Group, as a contractor to operate in the MENA & Gulf regions as a liaison for Sadat. Posted photos indicate Tanrıverdi is a frequent visitor to Libya, meeting with Libyan generals and Turkish Embassy officials. A Saudi Arabian link to Sadat is provided by a retired colonel named Ghazi Al-Harbi.
  • Before the coup attempt and also after the coup attempt, the members (of two opposition parties at Turkish Parliament had officially requested inquiries from the government for the activities of SADAT, each time the authorities provided no answer. This clearly shows that SADAT is an illegal company which is well supported by the current government as a secret armed force which is responsive to AKP’s needs.
  • Some radical organizations that SADAT are allegedly linked with are mentioned at open sources. The Russian Report to UN also indicates that SADAT is closely linked with Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD) to find warriors for ISIS. (http://halkinkurtulusu.net/?p=8547 )
  • Erdogan orchestrated a change that went largely unnoticed amid massive purges that have so far amounted over 100,000 from the military and branches of government. The change was buried in a government decree dated Oct. 31, 2016 that included a long list of dismissals and many changes. It said “retired officers and noncommissioned officers are tasked with involvement in the recruitment of military personnel and cadets to the Turkish Armed Forces until 2020.” This critical change effectively gives the entire personnel policy of the Turkish army to SADAT’s director, Tanrıverdi. He is the point man who will reshape NATO’s largest army after the US by steering recruitment policy until 2020. Tanrıverdi is known for his Islamist ideology and has counseled Erdoğan for years although in an unofficial capacity.
  • The Syrian operation by Turkey-backed rebels is effectively run by SADAT, whose headquarters are now located in Erdoğan’s palace. The orders and targeting are provided to the Turkish military by Sadat people, who have only one vested interest, which is to help Erdoğan fulfill his caliphate-style ambitions in the region. Even if the top brass may be unwilling to proceed on some of Erdoğan’s orders, that would not matter much given the fact that Erdoğan has already placed loyalists in field command positions to bypass the chain of command.
  • If Erdoğan’s vision succeeds, NATO’s second largest army will soon turn into an Islamist bastion that will breed religious zealots just like the Grand Ayatollah’s Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). This is a clear and present danger to the NATO military alliance.

How is SADAT linked with the coup attempt on15 July 2016?

  • There is vast evidence at the social media (especially twitter and facebook) that at the night of the coup the members of SADAT, fully equipped with weaponnary, was pre-organized before the beginning time of the coup, and had just poured to the streets of Istanbul and Ankara embedded with the regular protestors. Some members of SADAT and Ottoman Organization had uploaded their bloody photos and videos as they were either killing wildly the troops on the streets or splashing out bullets on the protestors without even noticing them if being as coup attempters or protestors.
  • SADAT was reportedly involved in the orchestrated coup attempt of July 15, and its militants were the ones who shot civilians on the streets rather than enlisted soldiers in the Turkish military. This paramilitary force was all over the country on the night of the coup and the following days, conducting drills on behalf of President Erdoğan. This trial run mobilization was successful, and it means Erdoğan will be able to use them much more effectively in the future when they were called upon to crush political opponents or to quell civil unrest. SADAT’s name again resurfaced at October 2016 within the context of a staged mutiny and false escape plan in prisons that hold political prisoners and critics of Erdoğan. According to reports, SADAT militants will launch a killing spree in prisons under the pretext of an orchestrated escape plan plotted by Erdoğan’s operatives.
  • Some reports of arrested officers have revealed that they saw people with military uniforms who do not actually look like regular Turkish military. There are also reports of transportation of some heavy infantry weaponary in İstanbul to Ankara to AKP Youth Centers.