America’s Friends Get Arrested in Turkey’s Post-Coup Purges

FAILED COUP, BIG BACKLASH.
PHOTOGRAPHER: DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
FAILED COUP, BIG BACKLASH. PHOTOGRAPHER: DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/GETTY IMAGES


Date posted: July 29, 2016

ELI LAKE

Many of the Turkish officers that are the key counterparts for U.S. counterterrorism efforts have been arrested or purged after a failed coup earlier this month.

This is the frank assessment of both the U.S. general in charge of the Middle East and South Asia, Joseph Votel, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Neither man sugarcoated their words Thursday at the Aspen Security Forum.

“It’s affected all segments of the national security apparatus in Turkey,” Clapper said. “Many of our interlocutors have been purged or arrested. There is no question this is going to set back our cooperation with the Turks.”

Votel said he was “concerned about the longer term impact” of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s post-coup purges and arrests, though he said the U.S. had ways to manage it. He also acknowledged that some of the Turkish officers who have been arrested worked closely with the U.S. on the fight against the Islamic State. “I think some of them are in jail,” he said.

The U.S.-Turkish relationship today is particularly important in the fight against Jihadists. Last year, Erdogan’s government allowed American training at Turkish bases and the U.S. and its allies to fly bombing runs into Syria out of the Incirlik air base. Incirlik is particularly important for U.S. interests because many of the military’s drones, sensors and other intelligence and surveillance platforms used in the Middle East are based there.

Over the last 18 months, Erdogan has also done much more to cooperate with the U.S. on the flow of foreign fighters into Syria through Turkish territory. Jeh Johnson, the U.S. secretary for homeland security singled out the Turks for special praise on this front Wednesday evening at the Aspen forum.

But since the coup, there has been tension. “Obviously, we are very dependent on Turkey for basing of our resources,” Votel said. “I am concerned it will impact the level of cooperation and collaboration that we have with Turkey.”

Erdogan has arrested the Turkish general in charge of Incirlik for his role in the aborted coup this month. Following the failed coup, the power for the base was cut. Full U.S. operations there only restarted this week.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is still trying to restore its operations at the Diyarbakir base on the Syrian border, where the U.S. runs personnel recovery missions.

Some of the tensions following the coup surround Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric who has lived in the U.S. since 1999. Erdogan says Gulen’s followers in the middle ranks of the military are responsible for the coup. The government has fired thousands of teachers, military officers and other civil servants accused of being members of Gulen’s shadow network. Erdogan has also demanded the U.S. extradite Gulen, who holds a U.S. green card.

The Obama administration has not acceded to Erdogan’s demands, saying they would need to see the Turkish government’s evidence before sending Gulen back to Turkey. Meanwhile, some in the Turkish press have also accused the U.S. of playing a role in the coup, specifically saying that a retired general, John Campbell helped toorchestrate it.

Robert Amsterdam, an international lawyer who has been hired by the Turkish government, told me Thursday that he disagreed with the assessments of Votel and Clapper. “Our information is that a lot of key folks remain,” he said, referring to senior Turkish military officers who have worked closely with the U.S. government.

James Jeffrey, a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey and a fellow today at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, agreed with Amsterdam. “I have not heard of significant purges of the Turkish intelligence agency or of the foreign ministry,” Jeffrey told me. He added that the purges following the coup so far had not affected those at the highest levels of the Turkish military, most of whom were exonerated and are now back on the job.

“At such a delicate time in Turkish-American relations we need to be very careful about what we say publicly about the relationship,” Jeffrey warned. “After all, the senior military and civilian leadership in Turkey in many cases feel they were about to be killed in this coup.


This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Source: Bloomberg , July 28, 2016


Related News

Police raid successful Gülen-inspired schools, kindergarten in eastern Turkey

As one of the numerous raids against the schools affiliated with Gülen movement, popularly known as Hizmet Movement, two schools and a kindergarten were raided by police along with inspectors on Friday morning.

Gülen’s lawyer condemns Erdoğan’s accusations, TÜSİAD calls for sanity in country

Prominent Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen’s lawyer, Nurullah Albayrak, condemned Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s latest comments about Gülen.

Turkish expats in Singapore concerned over state of emergency back home

Dr Nawab says: “What is more accurate is to describe it as a community of people who, perhaps, subscribe to the ideas of Fethullah Gulen. “They put in a lot of effort to integrate within Singapore society. Many of them are married to Singaporeans and are naturalised citizens. I am talking about Turks who would take you to durian parties.”

A Muslim Cleric That America Should Support

Usually, when Americans hear the term “Muslim cleric,” they cringe. Yet there’s an Islamic religious leader who calls for peace and inter-faith dialogue, whose supporters are being rounded up by an increasingly authoritarian leader. Backing the right leader could be the key in the war against ISIS.

Arab world should embrace the Gülen model

According to Algerian author, Professor Mohammed Babaammi if the Arab world embraces the Gülen model, it will be able to find a cure the problems it has had for centuries. “In fact I believe that the Arab world would embrace such model as it is coming from people who share the same belief and geography with Arabs,” he said.

Friends of Hrant slam gov’t attempt to associate Dink murder with Gülen movement

A group called Friends of Hrant Dink, including lawmakers and activists, has harshly criticized the government’s recent attempt to associate the Dink’s murder with the Gülen movement, inspired by the teachings of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, calling on authorities to expose the real criminals behind the murder.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Judiciary acts in line with legally unfounded police report to describe Hizmet as terrorist

Fear and paranoia still stalk Turkey two months after the failed coup

Kimse Yok Mu’s Healing Hand Extended to Two Thousand Nepalis

Nigeria: When Hearts Converged Through the Language Festival

Uplifting Orphans in Moldova

Under arrest for months, 62-year-old teacher dies of cancer in prison

Former Turkish officer at NATO: Coup attempt was never meant to succeed

Copyright 2023 Hizmet News