July 29th, 2016

Now Turkey’s Erdogan has come for the journalists

The purge in Turkey continues:

Turkey’s authorities have issued detention warrants for 42 journalists, local media say, as part of an inquiry into the failed coup on 15 July.

Prominent commentator Nazli Ilicak is said to be on the list. Ankara has not publicly commented on the claim.

The authorities have already detained or placed under investigation thousands of soldiers, judges and civil servants.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to purge state bodies of the “virus” he says caused the revolt…

Speaking of journalists, I’ve been impressed by how little journalists seem to know about what’s going on in Turkey at this point. It’s not that I know what’s going on there, either; it’s just that MSM journalists often seem to ignore the many successful grabs for increased power that Erdogan has been making during the past few years, as though none of it has much importance and all of this is presently occurring in a vacuum.

Very often the story reads that Erdogan is the “democratically elected leader” of Turkey, and ignores the fact that he was barred from running for the powerful PM office because of term limits, and then got around that rule by running for the figurehead president’s office and then took on greatly increased powers that are not supposed to go with that position. Erdogan’s forcing out of the actual PM and replacing him with a figurehead who is under Erdogan’s thumb—how many MSM articles even mention any of that at this point?

And then there’s the question of the origins and purposes of the coup. This BBC article is so tentative and speculative about who was behind the coup that you can’t help but think they’re just guessing. And that’s not just the BBC, either; most of the articles on the subject don’t seem to know a thing more than this:

It looks as if the coup attempt of 15 July was staged mainly by the gendarmerie and air force personnel.

Key parts of the military fiercely condemned the coup attempt. The chief of the armed forces and two generals from the naval forces were reportedly taken hostage by the junta.

The armed forces chief has reportedly been released, but the whereabouts of the naval generals is still unknown.

There are several theories as to who was behind this failed coup attempt.

One theory suggests it was a “false flag” event staged by President Erdogan to gain more power, but common sense dictates the event went too far to be a false flag.

Another theory embraced by the Kurdish movement is that Kemalists – secular followers of the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk – in the army tricked the Gulenists into staging a coup. They knew it would fail and that it would lead to a long-awaited cleansing of Gulenists from the military.

Another theory stems from a police source, who said that the AKP government had been planning to arrest Gulen-supporting army officials on 16 July. The source claims that when the coup-plotters learned about this, they went ahead and initiated the coup earlier than planned – hence the sloppiness.

President Erdogan and his ministers blame the Gulen movement for the coup, and say that this attempt is the group’s last gasp.

He may be right, but there is a lot that does not add up.

Firstly, using violence – let alone staging a coup – is not the Gulen movement’s typical modus operandi.

There’s a lot that doesn’t add up, all right.

What does appear to be true is that the Erdogan government had purged the military even before any of this happened, and did it with the help of the Gulenist group that Erdogan now accuses of engineering the coup against him. With the military gone, now the Erdogan faction and the Gulenists may be fighting for the right to control the leavings.

This has a familiar ring. Purges are what the left does when it ascends to power. It’s also what the Nazis did, what Saddam Hussein did, what Khomeini did, and on and on and on. Hitler’s Knight of the Long Knives is an especially famous and bloodcurdling example:

The Night of the Long Knives…was a purge that took place in Nazi Germany from June 30 to July 2, 1934, when the Nazi regime carried out a series of political extra-judicial executions intended to consolidate Hitler’s absolute hold on power in Germany. Many of those killed were leaders of the Sturmabteilung (SA), the Nazis’ own paramilitary Brownshirts organization; the best-known victim was Ernst Röhm, the SA’s leader and one of Hitler’s longtime supporters and allies. Leading members of the left-wing Strasserist faction of the Nazi Party (NSDAP), along with its figurehead, Gregor Strasser, were also killed, as were prominent conservative anti-Nazis (such as former Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher and Gustav Ritter von Kahr, who had suppressed Adolf Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch in 1923).

Hitler moved against the SA and its leader, Ernst Röhm because he saw the independence of the SA and the penchant of its members for street violence as a direct threat to his newly gained political power. Hitler also wanted to conciliate leaders of the Reichswehr, the official German military who feared and despised the SA—in particular…

At least 85 people died during the purge, although the final death toll may have been in the hundreds, and more than a thousand perceived opponents were arrested.

In terms of numbers, Erdogan is going Hitler one better, although it’s possible he won’t go the fully bloody killing route (don’t be surprised if he does, though, at least for some, and we don’t hear too much about it).

As for Khomeini:

In a talk at the Fayzieah School in Qom, 30 August 1979, Khomeini warned pro-imperialist opponents: “Those who are trying to bring corruption and destruction to our country in the name of democracy will be oppressed. They are worse than Bani-Ghorizeh Jews, and they must be hanged. We will oppress them by God’s order and God’s call to prayer.”

The Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and his family left Iran and escaped harm, but hundreds of former members of the overthrown monarchy and military met their end in firing squads, with exiled critics complaining of “secrecy, vagueness of the charges, the absence of defense lawyers or juries”, or the opportunity of the accused “to defend themselves.” In later years these were followed in larger numbers by the erstwhile revolutionary allies of Khomeini’s movement—Marxists and socialists, mostly university students—who opposed the theocratic regime. Following the 1981 Hafte Tir bombing, Ayatollah Khomeini declared the Mojahedin and anyone violently opposed to the government, “enemies of God” and pursued a mass campaign against members of the Mojahedin, Fadaiyan, and Tudeh parties as well as their families, close friends, and even anyone who was accused of counterrevolutionary behavior.

Sound familiar? Such up-and-coming dictators consolidate their power by either engineering a crisis or using an already-existent crisis (the anti-Erdogan coup might have been either) to justify conducting the purge. And then there’s the dictator’s goal—which in Erdogan’s case is Islamist and personal domination of the once-secular republic [sic] of Turkey.

[NOTE: After I completed writing this post, and just as I was about to publish it, I saw this post at Legal Insurrection, which goes into some of the details about the detainees:

So far [Erdogan] has shut down 131 media outlets and purged 50,000 people. Authorities have arrested 18,044 people.

The post quotes Reuters thusly:

“…[T]he list includes journalists, such as Sahin Alpay, known for their leftist activism who do not share the religious worldview of the Gulenist movement. This has fueled the concerns that the investigation may be turning into a witch-hunt of the president’s political opponents.”

May be turning”? That would be funny if it weren’t so serious.]

26 Responses to “Now Turkey’s Erdogan has come for the journalists”

  1. expat Says:

    I read somewhere today tat Erdogan is now also going after economic analysts, one of who talked about the feects of the coup on Turkey’s economy. In the statement I read Erdogan said that he was insulting the president. Erdogan made the same charge about a comedian in Germany. Apparently, he wants everyone to sing his praises.

  2. Cornhead Says:

    So glad Obama supported democracy and all that stuff.

    And ISIS transits its oil through Turkey.

  3. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    This isn’t really about Erdogan, he’s just Islam’s current top agent in Turkey. If he hadn’t stepped up, Islam would have found someone else. This is about Islam’s intolerance of any non-Islamic form of governance.

    Islam demands submission and will eagerly use whatever level of violence is required to achieve submission. Collaborative conversion, death or ‘living’ on your knees are the only choices it offers. Islam is an ideological cancer and, half-way measures are futile when dealing with a cancer.

    The biggest problem is that the Left is using Islam as a cancerous virus to tear down the West’s resistance.

  4. parker Says:

    Erdogan has stated he wants to remake Turkey as the state of the caliphate. Byzantine plots and counter plots on the part of parties known and unknown appear to be unfolding in our NATO ‘ally’.

  5. OM Says:

    Neo:

    Additional analysis of Erdogan, the coup, and democracy in Turkey from a US national security perspective.

    ERDOGAN’S LAST OFF-RAMP: AUTHORITARIANISM, DEMOCRACY, AND THE FUTURE OF TURKEY

    http://warontherocks.com/2016/07/erdogans-last-off-ramp-authoritarianism-democracy-and-the-future-of-turkey/

  6. Gringo Says:

    Very often the story reads that Erdogan is the “democratically elected leader” of Turkey…

    I am reminded of how often after the 1973 coup Allende was described as “democratically elected,” which conveniently ignored that Allende was elected with 36.3% of the vote, and never had a majority in Congress. The phrase “democratically elected” applied to Allende also ignored that three weeks before the Coup the also “democratically elected” Chamber of Deputies passed a Resolution with a strong 63% majority which stated that Allende had repeatedly and systemically violated the laws and Constitution of Chile.

    https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Declaration_of_the_Breakdown_of_Chile%E2%80%99s_Democracy

  7. expat Says:

    I got a message today from the US embassy that there will be a huge protest (15,000) on Sunday in Cologne. It is being staged by “pro-democracy” groups that are protesting the coup. A few other demos of about 2,000 that are for or against it are also expected. The embassy warns US citizens to stay away from the area and also from other large crowds.

    Erdogan has for quite a while been telling Turks in Germany not to assimilate. It’s not a good situation. I should mention that Cologne has a large Turkish enclave, which is the type of place the least assimilated live.

  8. Mike K Says:

    Obama is envious.

  9. Cornflour Says:

    I don’t speak Turkish, and i don’t know anybody who lives in Turkey, but I’ve had the time and curiosity to read quite a few reports on the coup.

    So far, it looks as if it’ll be years before we know what happened. Obviously, the plotters themselves aren’t talking. On the other side, Erdogan and his supporters are using the coup to stage a purge and a putsch. A narrow definition of the plotters isn’t in their interest. As much as they can, they want to spread the coup’s stain to all of Erdogan’s enemies, rivals, and critics.

    Not especially penetrating observations, but that’s all I’ve got.

  10. Nick Says:

    Name an Islamic country that hasn’t gotten worse in the past 7.5 years.

  11. Frog Says:

    Coming soon to the country we live in….a non-violent putsch. Can you say SCOTUS? The majority of Federal District and Appeals judges are Democrats now. Their rulings are increasingly partisan, without a rational legal basis.
    Open your arms and your hearts to a wave of Sotomayors under Hillary. Fat, flatulent, and female.

  12. neo-neocon Says:

    Nick:

    Egypt? El-Sisi?

    Jordan?

  13. Tim P Says:

    Neo,

    Gringo (6:15) said, “I am reminded of how often after the 1973 coup Allende was described as “democratically elected,” which conveniently ignored that Allende was elected with 36.3% of the vote…”

    So true. Yes I agree that today’s media is very ignorant of getting, let alone understanding the deeper more (dare I say it) nuanced aspects of foreign affairs.

    But I also think they are simply parroting what this administration wants them to say and what it says itself. The media’s servile obedience to the left in general, and to this administration in particular has been brought pretty much out into the open to the point where they will tacitly acknowledge that they are basically the publicity arm of the democrats.

    Other recent developments in Turkey, Erdogan has today cancelled 50,000 passports. A few days ago I read that he revoked the licenses of all ham operators in Turkey (approx. 3000) also. It sounds to me like preparations to insure that the coming real clamp down, power seizure, and executions will not get into the news cycles until it’s too late.

  14. Fred Says:

    Following the 1981 Hafte Tir bombing, Ayatollah Khomeini declared the Mojahedin and anyone violently opposed to the government, “enemies of God”

    In the summer of 1988, the Islamic Republic of Iran executed in secret an estimated 5000 political prisoners across the country. The killing, ordered by an extraordinary fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini himself, was relentless and efficient. Prisoners, including women and teenagers, were loaded on forklift trucks and hanged from cranes and beams in groups of five or six at a time in half-hourly intervals all day-long. The victims were intellectuals, students, leftists, members of opposition parties and ethnic and religious minorities. Many were jailed for no more than distributing leaflets, having a banned book or being accused by “a trusted friend of the regime,” according to Amnesty International.

    The massacre was the climax of a massive elimination campaign conducted by the regime from 1981 to 1989: during that bloody decade around 20,000 political prisoners were executed across Iran.

    Iran Tribunal to Uncover Iran’s “Srebrenica”

  15. Fred Says:

    Name an Islamic country that hasn’t gotten worse in the past 7.5 years.

    Name one place / Village living in peace and no crimes no laying honest & lovable people who are under Islamic Law and Sharia

  16. blert Says:

    Cornhead Says:
    July 29th, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    So glad Obama supported democracy and all that stuff.

    And ISIS transits its oil through Turkey.

    &&&&&&&

    ISIS transits EVERYTHING through Turkey// Erdogan.

    His own son is highly involved in ‘remarketing’ ISIS crude oil exports.

    He HAS been ‘brought ’round’ by Putin, though.

    Turkey no longer belongs inside NATO, nor inside the Common Market.

    It’s no longer a part of the West.

    It’s a caliphate.

  17. blert Says:

    neo-neocon Says:
    July 30th, 2016 at 12:23 am

    Nick:

    Egypt? El-Sisi?

    Jordan?

    &&&

    Their economies have been destroyed — and so they are now living off of eleemosynary impulses.

    Tourism into to MENA has collapsed:

    Turkey
    Egypt
    Syria
    Jordan

    Even

    Greece,
    Yugoslavia — that whole zone

    have been torn up.

    The Greek situation gets glossed over — not admitted as being the foundation for her Euro currency distress.

    Greece has DEADBEATS all over the countryside.

    Italy is doing its best to round them up and put them in — de facto isolation// bachelor’s prisons.

    You can witness the kvetching on YouTube, BTW.

  18. Dennis Says:

    The comments so far have been very interesting especially the facts about Allende, a leftist martyr, who tried to become a dictator in Chile.

    When I first read about dictators murdering their own supporters I was shocked. It seems so counterintuitive that a dictator becomes stronger by murdering his supporters but it obviously works since so many powerful dictators have done just that. So far one has mentioned the biggest murder of all, Mao, who murdered thousands of his fellow communists when he was resting up from torturing and killing innocent commoners.

  19. Ymarsakar Says:

    If you do not purge evil, evil will purge you first. That’s just how this world works.

  20. AesopFan Says:

    Dennis Says:
    July 30th, 2016 at 8:24 am
    The comments so far have been very interesting especially the facts about Allende, a leftist martyr, who tried to become a dictator in Chile.

    When I first read about dictators murdering their own supporters I was shocked. It seems so counterintuitive that a dictator becomes stronger by murdering his supporters but it obviously works since so many powerful dictators have done just that.
    * * *
    Early on in a revolution, all the factions have about even amounts of power and “legitimacy” – so the person who is most determined to become dictator has to eliminate potential rivals as soon as it becomes feasible for him to progress without their help.
    That’s my reading, anyway.

  21. Big Maq Says:

    “This isn’t really about Erdogan, he’s just Islam’s current top agent in Turkey. If he hadn’t stepped up, Islam would have found someone else. “ – GB

    Actually, it is precisely the opposite.

    Erdogan, not unlike the Ayatollah Khomeini, are using their “interpretation” of their religion to herd, cajole, and appeal to people – and eliminate or isolate the rest who cannot be.

    For tyrants and would be tyrants, it is just another way to divide and conquer. Religion is their tool.

    Is it any different from only a few hundred years ago when our “western” rulers used religion as one of their tools – “Divine Right of Kings”. Rather darn close to “Sharia Law”, IMHO.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_right_of_kings

  22. razzbuddy Says:

    It is dispiriting as a parent of a son living and working in Istanbul. He’s invested 5 years working, has lots of Turkish friends and has enjoyed living there. We visit him every year and this past April it was really noticeable in the decline of tourists. It is even worse now a few months later. He says everyone is very quiet and trying to pretend things are as normal as possible. It’s not of course. This situation is very bad for their economy and of course, I worry about him as well.

  23. neo-neocon Says:

    razzbuddy:

    I hope your son stays safe.

    The people of Turkey are among the most Westernized in the Middle East, and have been ever since Ataturk. It was not accomplished without great difficulty, and unfortunately the forces going against that are winning right now, as they did in Iran (another greatly Westernized country) back in 1979.

  24. Ymarsakar Says:

    Early on in a revolution, all the factions have about even amounts of power and “legitimacy” – so the person who is most determined to become dictator has to eliminate potential rivals as soon as it becomes feasible for him to progress without their help.

    It reminds me of Robbes Pierre’s Committee of Public Safety. His rivals in the revolution, got so afraid of him, that they purged him first, thinking Pierre was going to purge them.

    Generally having rivals in a revolution is a bad thing. Stalin vs Trotsky. That’s because your support is filtered through these different “heirs” of the Revolution, and it would be better to consolidate the support. Just like heirs fight and kill each other to pursue a throne. Revolutions did not produce anything better than mankind has known in government and power.

    External enemies are fine, so let’s look at Mao vs Chiang Kai Shek in China. Mao liked the Japanese occupation, he used it as an excuse to bleed the nationalists dry, by making the Nationalists fight the Japanese occupation, while Mao hid out and conserved his forces. All the while declaring that he was beating the Japanese back. Then when Kai Shek won the war and pushed the Japanese out, then Mao attacks the nationalists in a civil war. So the Japanese, being “external enemies” isn’t a threat to your public support or your ethnic support. Those are your people, they aren’t going to become disloyal suddenly.

    However, if the nationalists won fame, glory, and reputation, and gained enough of Mao’s allies to defeat Mao on the battlefield, then there’s a Real Problem.

  25. blert Says:

    It’s almost NEVER commented upon, but Chiang was receiving IMMENSE amounts of American war support — especially financially. ( $43,000,000 in GOLD — the largest tranche ever given by Congress, IIRC )

    This all stopped when Japan surrendered.

    Chiang didn’t see it ( the termination, the atomic bomb, coming )

    For his domestic purposes, he proceeded to continue to spend large — but without the economic base to support his spending.

    So, he used the old, old, old, Chinese technique. He hyper-printed his currency. ( China not only invented paper, she invented paper money and hype-inflation, too. )

    Chiang was CUT OFF because he was so corrupt and thus so offended EVERY Western military officer — to include George Marshall — as Secretary of State that they all bitterly complained that the boy was no serious leader of men.

    Needless to say, Chiang was above taking ANY Western military advice.

    Instead, he pre-peated the wails of Thieu.

    “Give me, give me…”

    America DID give Chiang ENTIRE weapons factories — most notably those that manufactured the Thompson machine gun.

    ( Deemed obsolete by the War Department, but highly regarded by all Asians. Both the Russians and the Americans were jumping straight towards today’s assault guns, having recognized the significance of the German weapon. )

    It was just such weapons that faked out US troops when Mao launched Southern Chinese armies against MacArthur’s UN expeditionary forces. All concerned assumed that the racking of the bullets in the Chinese Thompsons came from friendly troops — and so dismissed the acoustic signature of ChiComs enveloping all forward positions. The key troopers making this fateful mistake had all served in WWII and recognized the distinctive sound from the first.

    Of course, Mao intended to DESTROY the Southern Chinese armies against MacArthur. They were his internal enemies — the last defenders of Chiang.

    This logic entirely eluded all Western officers — and is never brought up in the official histories of the military campaign. Yes, they never had a clue, hence such films as:

    “Pork Chop Hill” (Gregory Peck )

    YEARS after the Korean War such a film could be crafted — oblivious to the end as to why suicidal assaults were occurring all the way through.

    As you probably guessed, Mao NEVER used his own boys — his Northern armies.

    They stood way behind the front and forced the Southern armies into their own destruction, with America providing the ammo.

  26. Ymarsakar Says:

    It’s almost NEVER commented upon, but Chiang was receiving IMMENSE amounts of American war support — especially financially. ( $43,000,000 in GOLD — the largest tranche ever given by Congress, IIRC )

    Lend Lease to China, Russia, and Britain should be well known. It’s not a secret that FDR was shipping gold and supplies to Russia.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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