William R Collier Jr
ALARM BELLS RING OVER ERDOGAN’S INTENTIONS
Is Turkey secretly preparing for war again Greece? Meanwhile, a Turkish politician says Erdogan is secretly arming ISIL and al-Qaeda. Is Erdogan a secret Salafist bent on war and dictatorship?
Three developments are raising alarm bells regarding the true intentions of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s Islamist, and possibly Salasfist, Prime Minister. The three developments include accusations that Erdogan is arming ISIL and al-Qaeda, accusations that Erdogan will set up a presidential dictatorship if he wins the August 10th to 24th Presidential elections, and accusation that his military is preparing for war against Greece.
A Turkish politician from the “Republican People’s Party” has made the stunning accusation, with alleged documentary proof, that the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister, is actively funneling money and weapons to the so-called “Islamic State”, an extremely radical Salafist group that has seized territory and is terrorizing Muslims and non-Muslims who do not conform to their ideological fanaticism.
Party Deputy Chairman Bülent Tezcan held a press conference on the very steps of the Turkish Parliament in Ankara. According to Tezcan, a National Intelligence Organization (MIT in Turkish) truck was seized in the city of Adana as part of an investigation several months ago. The documents, which Tezcan showed at the press conference, revealed that police who seized the truck discovered a large stash of small arms.
Tezcan said, “the records leave no room for doubt that the government has sent weapons and ammunition to the terrorist organizations al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria.” Attached to the weapons were further documents, written in a Cyrillic script, probably indicating that they are Russian. The truck picked up the shipment from Ankara’s Esenboğa Airport, having been flown in, possibly from Russia, according to the testimony of the driver and other people involved in the shipment.
He said, “the weapons that were given to ISIS have now beeen turned against Turkish citizens. “ He also asked “whether the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government have struck a deal with ISIS?” This is the part of the government in power.
Most sensationally, he accused the government of arming these groups directly.
“So have you [the government] carried the missiles you will throw at Turkey with these trucks in advance? Was it these trucks that carried the weapons used in the Reyhanlı attacks?” he asked. He was referring an attack in the border town of Reyhanlı on May 11, 2013. The attack resulted in 53 causalities and is believed to have been carried out by al-Qaeada.
“Is it not a crime in international law to arm the militants of ISIL and al-Qaeda like this in the Middle East?” Tezcan asked during the press conference. “We know the answers to all of these questions and the government also knows the answers and they will one day give their answers in front of the Supreme State Council in Turkey, the name the Constitutional Court assumes while trying the current or former members of a government, and before international courts.”
The idea that elements of the Turkish government might be arming such groups goes hand in hand with reports that Turkey and Qatar are alone in the Muslim world urging Hamas to turn down cease-fire offers in what some see as a bid to create further unrest and instability. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party may be seeking to create external bogeyman and crisis in order to gain support during elections, or they may be secretly pursuing a Salafist agenda, which is worrisome to Turkish citizens.
The second accusation leveled against Erdogan is that he is plotting to create a dictatorship.
The first round of the Turkish Presidential Elections is slated for August 10, 2014 and some fear that Erdogan wants to win at all costs. Currently, he is the Prime Minister and as President It is expected that if Erdogan won the Presidency he must resign as Prime Minister, but if he chose to hold on to both offices together he could set himself up as a dictator, say some opponents.
Recently. Erdogan raised eyebrows when he stated that Israel’s operations in Gaza were far worse than anything Hitler did.
The Turkish people do not support groups like al-Qaeda or ISIL and if these accusation gain traction it could hurt Erdogan in the polls on August 10. Erdogan wants to change the Turkish system of government through a new Constitution that would make the government a “presidential system” in which the President holds most of the power.
It is alleged that Erdogan arranged to supply the weapons for two reasons- a secret Salafist sympathy and to barter for the release of 32 Turkish hostages held by ISIL, seized from Mosul, Iraq, in order to “look tough.” ISIL for its part has threatened to kill Erdogan, but, critics say, “he doesn’t appear to be a man under threat.”
The third allegation is that Erdogan is plotting to wage war against Greece.
Since 2011, military observers have raised suspicions that Erdogan intends to attack Greece on the European mainland itself.
In December of 2011, the Turks began to take deliveries of 52 offensive amphibious bridges, which delivery has now been completed. The bridges would allow the Turkish Army to cross the Evros River which separates Turkish territory from the Greek mainland. The Turks also took delivery of 40 heavy de-mining vehicles which could be used to push past any Greek minefields in potential area of operations.
All of this equipment, which has value only in offensive operations, was delivered solely to the 1st Army in Eastern Thrace and to no other units of the Turkish Army.
On November 13, 2013 Greek Secretary of Defense Athanasios Davakis claimed, “There is no doubt that there is an active threat formulated by our neighbor and there is also no doubt that there is over-concentration of military forces on the Ebro (river) and Asia Minor (Aegean), and significant increase in military spending in Turkey. Also, no one denies that they have a daily air and naval practice concerning violations, procedures for search and rescue, which means that our country must at all times have corresponding and similar data, in order not to be found lacking in this reality. Since that is the fact, then (we must) manage defense planning at all levels including new structures which will weight the proper assessment of the threat and our country’s national strategy. ”
Erdogan is believed by some to be harboring a secret Salafist ambition which would come into the fore only if he wins this Presidential election, which many fear will be “highly irregular.” Others dismiss this as highly speculative and sensationalist, including many Greek politicians, who have often spoken of an improvement of Greco-Turkish relations.
Greek efforts to broaden its base of support, including with China, out of nervousness about NATO’s commitment to its sovereignty, especially in light of the Ukraine crisis, might seem understandable in light of these development in Turkey, and while few seriously believe Erdogan is a secret Salafist, the low probability is offset by the severity of the possible consequences if this is true. If these allegations are true, however, it would seriously alter the geopolitical reality in the region and could lead to a rupture of NATO.
Stay tuned here as we will continue to cover this and analyze events.