BFP Exclusive: Turkish Power Struggle Impedes NATO’s Campaign in Syria

Gülen Movement Determined to Topple Erdoğan at All Costs

Since the end of last year, Turkey has been engulfed in a spectacular power struggle between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the shadowy network of self-described “imam, preacher, and civil society activist” Fethullah Gülen. Due to the help of his friends in Langley, like for example Graham Fuller and Morton Abramowitz [1], Gülen managed to build a multi-billion dollar movement with millions of followers and a presence in 150 countries.[2]

The Gülen movement, also known as Hizmet, used its considerable influence in Turkey to launch an all-out attack on former ally Erdoğan at the end of last year, after the Turkish Prime Minister had fallen out of favor with Gülen and Washington.[3] When last December’s corruption scandal failed to bring down the government, Hizmet tried to discredit Erdoğan by exposing his role in supporting terrorism. At the end of last year, Gülen’s mouthpiece Today’s Zaman started to highlight the connection between Saudi terrorist financier Yasin al-Qadi and the AKP government as well as the Erdoğan family.[4] Although al-Qadi’s activities in Turkey had been known for years, Hizmet spared no efforts to highlight the al-Qadi-Erdoğan connection in the media but, as discussed previously, the coverage ignored a few important points:

“Gülen-controlled media have publicized much of this in last few days but they will not dare to mention that al-Qadi is a Gladio B operative who had previously the backing of Fethullah Gülen and that he took part in the now infamous pre-9/11 meetings at the U.S. embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan, where illustrious characters like Bandar bin Sultan and Ayman al-Zawahiri showed up. After all, the Gülen movement itself plays a central role in the Pentagon's Operation Gladio B.”[5]

This also explains why Yasin al-Qadi could continue to conduct business with impunity in Turkey, Azerbaijan and other countries despite funding Ptech Inc. and ending up on several terrorist lists. The “terrorist” label, which had been removed in the meantime, is now being applied again and al-Qadi’s friend Erdoğan faces the same problem. Other terrorist supporters like the former U.S. Ambassadors to Turkey, Morton Abramowitz and Eric Edelman, who are featured in Sibel Edmonds’ State Secrets Privilege Gallery along with Graham Fuller, emphasized that Erdoğan’s days are over.[6] So Hizmet has resorted to drastic measures in order to topple the disgraced Turkish Prime Minister.

2014 started with a bombshell. Utilizing their enormous influence in the Turkish police, Gülen’s followers stopped a truck carrying weapons and ammunition on its way to Syria. The truck was escorted by members of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and allegedly hired by the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (İHH).[7] İHH has a long history of supporting terrorists in accordance with U.S. foreign policy from Afghanistan to Bosnia and Chechnya.[8] Given Turkey’s key role in the NATO-GCC-Israel campaign to remove the Syrian government, this arms shipment is hardly surprising. What makes this incident so remarkable is that this campaign and Turkey’s involvement were exposed by the Gülen movement, which is otherwise supporting NATO’s war in Syria. The Erdoğan-led government responded immediately by removing the police officers who had followed and stopped the truck in Turkey’s Hatay Province.[9] Other purges followed and by now thousands of police officers and several prosecutors have been removed or transferred in the ongoing power struggle.[10]

Hizmet subsequently focused on leaking recordings of wiretapped conversations, which highlight the corrupt and criminal activities of Erdoğan and his associates. Faced with one embarrassing leak after another, the Turkish Prime Minister turned to his former friends in Washington and asked for support. Pro-Erdoğan media alleged that he got a positive response and that Fethullah Gülen could possibly be extradited to Turkey.[11] But the White House lost no time in denying these reports and demonstrated its support of the U.S.-based Imam and his vast movement.[12] Meanwhile, the leaks continued exposing more and more explosive information:

Turkish Airlines allegedly shipped weapons to unknown groups in Nigeria, which has been ravaged by violence between the army and Boko Haram militants, a new incriminating phone call revealed on Tuesday.

The leaked conversation is the latest blow to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been hit by a corruption probe ensnaring his key allies and a widening phone-tapping scandal.[13]

Erdoğan tried to prevent the leaks from spreading via social media by banning Twitter, to no avail. Instead he drew heavy criticism from all over the world further damaging his approval ratings, which have been declining rapidly over the past months.[14] With Turkey’s local elections just a few days away, Hizmet decided to deliver a final blow. On March 27, another audio recording incriminating Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and other high-level officials was leaked:

The voices of the illegal recording believed to belong to Davutoğlu, National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Hakan Fidan, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu, and Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Gürel.[15]

According to Turkey’s Foreign Ministry, the disclosed meeting had taken place at FM Davutoğlu’s office, where the officials were discussing the security situation in Syria. But the content of the audio recording has to be taken with a grain of salt. PM Erdoğan has regularly defended himself by saying that the leaked tapes were manipulated to give a false impression [16] and, as FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds cautioned, there is some truth to this claim when it comes to the latest leak:

“The tape/audio has been heavily tampered with; if authentic, then they have taken statements/conversations from several different contexts and time frames, and then they've patched them together after sanitizing, censoring. For example: you don't hear any mention of US/NATO or the Pentagon, yet they left the part with the UN in there ...”

If taken at face value, the audio recording is absolutely damning, especially considering the fact that the al-Qaeda mercenaries of the NATO-GCC-Israel axis are losing ground in Syria and Turkey’s willingness to get militarily involved.[17] In order to justify an intervention in Syria, Davutoğlu & Co. allegedly discussed selling the idea that Turkey has to protect the tomb of Süleyman Shah, a historic shrine that is under Turkish jurisdiction but located inside Syria's northern Aleppo province, from Islamist insurgents. Head of Turkish intelligence Hakan Fidan proposed staging a false flag to lend credence to this ridiculous idea:

Ahmet Davutoğlu: “Prime Minister said that in current conjuncture, this attack (on Suleiman Shah Tomb) must be seen as an opportunity for us.”

Hakan Fida: “I’ll send 4 men from Syria, if that’s what it takes. I’ll make up a cause of war by ordering a missile attack on Turkey; we can also prepare an attack on Suleiman Shah Tomb if necessary.”

Feridun Sinirlioğlu: “That’s what I told back there. For one thing, the situation is different. An operation on ISIL has solid ground on international law. We’re going to portray this is Al-Qaeda, there’s no distress there if it’s a matter regarding Al-Qaeda. And if it comes to defending Suleiman Shah Tomb, that’s a matter of protecting our land.”[18]

Just one day before the fateful leak, Turkish FM Davutoğlu was busy selling the terrorist threat in an exclusive interview with Agence France-Presse.[19] Simultaneously, pro- Erdoğan newspaper Daily Sabah took the same line: “Al-Qaeda Offshoot ISIL, A New Terror Threat For Turkey”.[20] In this context, Hizmet’s manipulated audio recording appears authentic but we have to consider the source, Gülen’s CIA-sponsored movement, which is now clearly prioritizing toppling Turkish PM Erdoğan over toppling Syrian President Assad. In a clear reference to Gülen’s shadowy network, Davutoğlu blamed a “parallel structure inside [the state]” for the leak and vowed to investigate “everybody and everything”.[21] Shortly thereafter, the first suspect, a Gülen-linked columnist, was detained.[22] Erdoğan’s response was to block YouTube, where all leaked recordings had been uploaded.[23] So the Western media could not ignore the incident. But the reporting focused entirely on Erdoğan’s passion for censorship instead of addressing the real issue: Hizmet had again exposed the terror campaign of the NATO-GCC-Israel axis in Syria in order to get rid of Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan.

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Christoph Germann- BFP Contributing Author & Analyst
Christoph Germann is an independent analyst and researcher based in Germany, where he is currently studying political science. His work focuses on the New Great Game in Central Asia and the Caucasus region. You can visit his website here

[1] Sibel Edmonds, “Did You Know: The King of Madrasas Now Operates Over 100 Charter Schools in the US?,” Boiling Frogs Post, 20 October 2010: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2010/10/20/did-you-know-the-king-of-madrasas-now-operates-over-100-charter-schools-in-the-us/.

[2] Tim Franks, “Fethullah Gulen: Powerful but reclusive Turkish cleric,” BBC, 27 January 2014: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-25885817.

[3] Sibel Edmonds, “Turkish PM Erdogan: The Speedy Transformation of an Imperial Puppet,” Boiling Frogs Post, 18 January 2014: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2014/01/18/turkish-pm-erdogan-the-speedy-transformation-of-an-imperial-puppet/.

[4] “Report: Al-Qaeda suspects flee after Turkish gov’t blocks raid,” Today’s Zaman, 26 December 2013: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-335038-report-al-qaeda-suspects-flee-after-turkish-govt-blocks-raid.html.

[5] Christoph Germann, “The New Great Game Round-Up: January 5, 2014,” Boiling Frogs Post, 5 January 2014: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2014/01/05/the-new-great-game-round-up-january-5-2014/.

[6] Sibel Edmonds, “CIA-Gladio’s Zionist Operatives Urge Obama to Overthrow Erdogan’s Administration,” Boiling Frogs Post, 23 January 2014: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2014/01/23/cia-gladios-zionist-operatives-urge-obama-to-overthrow-erdogans-administration/.

[7] Fevzi Kızılkoyun, “Turkish governor blocks police search on Syria-bound truck reportedly carrying weapons,” Hürriyet, 2 January 2014: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-governor-blocks-police-search-on-syria-bound-truck-reportedly-carrying-weapons-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=60494&NewsCatID=341.

[8] Ibid., Germann.

[9] “Police officers removed after stopping truck allegedly carrying weapons to Syria,” Hürriyet, 3 January 2014: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/police-officers-removed-after-stopping-truck-allegedly-carrying-weapons-to-syria.aspx?pageID=238&nID=60522&NewsCatID=341.

[10] Constanze Letsch, “Turkish police caught in middle of war between Erdoğan and former ally Gülen,” The Guardian, 9 February 2014: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/09/turkish-police-fethullah-gulen-network.

[11] “Gülen Could Be Extradited To Turkey,” Daily Sabah, 14.03.2014: http://www.dailysabah.com/politics/2014/03/14/gulen-could-be-extradited-to-turkey.

[12] Tolga TANIŞ, “Turkish PM's account of Obama's Gülen response 'not accurate,' White House says,” Hürriyet, 8 March 2014: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-pms-account-of-obamas-gulen-response-not-accurate-white-house-says-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=63341&NewsCatID=359.

[13] “Turkish Airlines allegedly ships arms to Nigeria, tape reveals,” Agence France-Presse, 18 March 2014: http://news.yahoo.com/turkish-airlines-allegedly-ships-arms-nigeria-tape-reveals-202353840.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory.

[14] Terri Rupar, “Turkey’s prime minister banned Twitter, but these images show he can still muster huge crowds,” The Washington Post, 24 March 2014: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/03/24/turkeys-prime-minister-banned-twitter-but-these-images-show-he-can-still-muster-huge-crowds/.

[15] “WRAP UP: Ankara on alert after spying on security meeting leaked,” Hürriyet, 27 March 2014: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/wrap-up-ankara-on-alert-after-spying-on-security-meeting-leaked.aspx?pageID=238&nID=64190&NewsCatID=338.

[16] Ralph Boulton, “Ahead of vote, Erdogan paints picture of Turkey besieged by enemies,” Reuters, 27 March 2014: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/27/us-turkey-election-idUSBREA2Q0XG20140327.

[17] Tony Cartalucci, “Turkey Vs. Syria: NATO’s Last Gasp?,” New Eastern Outlook, 26.03.2014: http://journal-neo.org/2014/03/26/turkey-vs-syria-nato-s-last-gasp/.

[18] Mimi al Laham, “Leaks Reveal Turkey using ALQaeda for False flag in Syria,” SyriaNews, 27 March 2014: http://www.syrianews.cc/leaks-reveal-turkey-using-alqaeda-false-flag-syria/.

[19] “Turkey vows 'any measures' against Syria threats,” Hürriyet, 26 March 2014: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-vows-any-measures-against-syria-threats.aspx?pageID=238&nID=64135&NewsCatID=338.

[20] “Al-Qaeda Offshoot ISIL, A New Terror Threat For Turkey,” Daily Sabah, 26 March 2014: http://www.dailysabah.com/nation/2014/03/26/alqaeda-offshoot-isil-a-new-terror-threat-for-turkey.

[21] “Turkey’s FM implies espionage from within ministry over Syria leak,” Hürriyet, 28 March 2014: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkeys-fm-implies-espionage-from-within-ministry-over-syria-leak.aspx?pageID=238&nID=64232&NewsCatID=338.

[22] “Gülen-linked pundit detained over leak of key Syria meeting,” Hürriyet, 29 March 2014: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/gulen-linked-pundit-detained-over-leak-of-key-syria-meeting.aspx?pageID=238&nID=64274&NewsCatID=338.

[23] Paul Vale, “Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan Moves To Block YouTube Following Similar Ban On Twitter,” The Huffington Post, 27 March 2014: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/03/27/turkey-erdogan-youtube-twitter_n_5044280.html.

Additional Omitted Points in CIA-Gulen coverage & A Note from ‘The Insider’

Crucial Details Missing in the MSM Coverage of the Recent Intel Chief’s Exposé

gulenLast week I wrote about the Washington Post’s incomplete and one-sided coverage of the recently published memoir by former Turkish Intelligence Chief Osman Nuri Gundes exposing CIA Operations via an Islamic Group in Central Asia. Since then I have gone over the same book’s review and coverage by the Turkish mainstream media, and I have interviewed reporters and sources in Turkey who have read the book, followed the coverage, and or are intimately familiar with the topic. With that I now have several additional points on this exposé which further illustrate the journalistically mind-boggling piece marketed by the Post. Writing my previous piece cost me an associate whom I like and respect. It shouldn’t have. I still believe this was a case of institution-Government-editors vs. the journalist, with the former winning. I am not going to weigh my writing, modify my facts, alter the truth, tweak, and censor based on worries of losing a source, or a friend, or even readership. With that said I’ll briefly list my points gathered from documented facts and interviews, and sources familiar with Gundes’ recent book and Gulen.
 
Extensive Coverage in the Turkish Mainstream Media

As one might expect, the Turkish mainstream media (all major newspapers, magazines, radio & TV channels) extensively (and very intensely) covered the recent publication of Gundes’ book. The following are the main points on former Turkish Intel Chief Gundes’ CIA-Gulen allegations which were documented and reported by every single media outlet in Turkey (since mid December), including this one written by one of the most prominent journalists at Milliyet:
 
1-     In Central Asia, within Gulen’s Islamic schools, the CIA operatives worked under the guise of ‘American Teachers teaching English.’

Okay, the Washington Post article, going through the exact same publications/articles forgot to add these crucial details, which would have paved the way for journalistic investigation(s) leading to either confirmation or denial. The following is the only detail the article provided:

In the 1990s, Gundes alleges, the movement "sheltered 130 CIA agents" at its schools in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan alone

In this case, as others had done already, the existence of mysterious American teachers teaching English in Gulen’s schools in Central Asia has already been confirmed.

2-     The American Teachers working at Gulen’s Islamic Schools in Central Asia possessed US Diplomatic Passports.

I contacted my source, formerly with the State Department, and he confirmed issuing diplomatic status for at least 50 Americans to teach in former Soviet republics. When I asked him whether they were employed by the State Department, he said: ‘Not officially.’ I asked him whether they were connected to the CIA, and he responded, ‘I wouldn’t know.’ I inquired about the direct foreign employer(s) of these American teachers, and this was his response: ‘Private Turkish companies in education fields and several NGOs in Turkey.’ This particular source was retired in 2004. [Read more...]

Did You Know: The King of Madrasas Now Operates Over 100 Charter Schools in the US?

Fethullah Gulen Takes the Great Game a Step Further

gulenThe Controversial Muslim preacher has now extended his tentacles into schools in the United States, where he controls and operates more than 100 charter schools within a calculatively set up maze of dubious NGOs. Fethullah Gulen, whose organizations’ net worth is estimated to be somewhere between $22 billion and $50 billion, owns and operates over three hundred Madrasas around the world, including Pakistan, Central Asia, and the Caucasus. While Gulen’s suspicious and secretive Madrasas have been shut down and or restrained in countries such as Russia, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, based on these governments’ justified suspicions that his schools had more than just education on their agendas, his rapidly and secretively expanding charter school empire here in the US has gone quite unnoticed and unacknowledged.

In less than a decade Gulen’s Islamic network in the US has established over 100 publicly funded charter schools in 25 states. What makes this eyebrow raising phenomenon a very disturbing case is the fact that despite official documents and publicly available data Fethullah Gulen is going out of his way to deny his connections to these schools. The question is why? Here are a few excerpts from a USA Today article in August 2010:

The schools educate as many as 35,000 students — taken together they'd make up the largest charter school network in the USA — and have imported thousands of Turkish educators over the past decade.But the success of the schools at times has been clouded by nagging questions about what ties the schools may have to a reclusive Muslim leader in his late 60s living in exile in rural Pennsylvania.

Top administrators say they have no official ties to Gülen. And Gülen himself denies any connection to the schools. Still, documents available at various foundation websites and in federal forms required of non-profit groups show that virtually all of the schools have opened or operate with the aid of Gülen-inspired "dialogue" groups, local non-profits that promote Turkish culture. In one case, the Ohio-based Horizon Science Academy of Springfield in 2005 signed a five-year building lease with the parent organization of Chicago's Niagara Foundation, which promotes Gülen's philosophy of "peace, mutual respect, the culture of coexistence." Gülen is the foundation's honorary president. In many cases, charter school board members also serve as dialogue group leaders.

…lawmakers, researchers and parents are beginning to put the schools under the microscope for hiring practices — they import hundreds of teachers from Turkey each year — and for steps they take to keep their academic profile high.

The schools' unacknowledged ties to Gülen, they say, mock public schools' spirit of transparency.

My regular visitors are familiar with my on and off coverage of Fethullah Gulen and his movement. Others who have not read our previous commentaries and updates on this topic can check them out here, here, and here . I can sit and write volumes on Gulen’s history and his ‘real’ operations, but I am going to limit the length of this piece and provide you with a list of significant facts and background relevant to this particular post without going into other details: [Read more...]