No investigation has been launched in the United States in connection with Turkey’s comments of the Gulen movement’s possible role in the Russian ambassador’s murder, a senior US Department of State official told TASS.
John Kirby, spokesman of the US State Department, said “Secretary [Kerry] has raised concerns about some of the rhetoric coming out of Turkey with respect to American involvement or support, tacit or otherwise, for this unspeakable assassination yesterday because of the presence of Mr. Gülen here in the United States.”
The Jabhat Fatah al-Sham organization (formerly the al-Nusra Front) claimed to be responsible for Monday’s murder of Russian Ambassador Andrey Karlov’s in Ankara. Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu had even told his US counterpart John Kerry that both Turkey and Russia “know” that the Gulen movement was behind the ambassador’s murder.
However, Erdogan has a problem: Whereas Ataturk came to power as a military general, Erdogan has a democratic mandate to govern. Ataturk’s Turkey was rural and only 10 percent of the country was literate at the time, with most educated people supporting his agenda. Erdogan’s Turkey is 80 percent urban and nearly 100 percent literate, and many well-educated Turks oppose his agenda.
Karlov’s murderer was Mevlüt Mert Altintas. He did not grow up in a vacuum. Five years ago, Erdogan acknowledged his goal was “to raise a religious generation.” Altintas is its product. He was seven years old when Erdogan came to power; his whole schooling was under Erdogan. If history is any pattern, the violence in Turkey is just beginning and Erdogan will not be able to contain it, even if he is inclined to try.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the tragic assassination of Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, who was speaking at an art gallery in Ankara,” said Eyup Sener, chairman of the Turkish Cultural Center New Hampshire. “We condemn in the strongest terms this heinous act of terror. No terrorist act can be justified, regardless of its perpetrators and their stated purposes.”
Turkey has a terror problem. The Islamic State, Kurdish extremists and radical leftists each pursue targets inside Turkey seemingly with impunity. Turkey is no stranger to terrorism, but for decades it managed to control the problem. Turkey’s security forces were efficient. Today, however, the situation has changed. Turkish President Erdogan has purged the military, the police, and intelligence professionals.
Issuing a press statement following the latest terrorist attack in Turkey on Saturday, Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen claimed that Turkey is being dragged into a civil war but underlined that sympathizers of the movement sometimes called after him would always remain peaceful no matter how they are treated.
Fethullah Gülen: I condemn, in the strongest terms, the cruel terrorist attack carried out beside the Istanbul Beşiktaş Football Stadium that cost the lives of 44 of Turkish citizens, the majority of whom are members of the security forces.
“Even if you get more civilian control, it’s not more democratic,” Lars Haugom, a Norwegian expert on Turkish army, said. “It seems to be about party control, with [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan and the AKP seeking to strengthen their control of the military.” Ceren, a general’s daughter, fears there’s little left to stop the authoritarian Erdogan now. “No one can say no to him,” she said. “This is his kingdom now.”
Western officials have preferred to raise concerns over the steady dismantling of Turkey’s free institutions only privately with their counterparts in Ankara. This approach has failed. That failure has left many millions of pro-democracy Turks to fend for themselves, while a once-fringe ideological element in the AKP, reared on Islamist supremacism, has been emboldened.