Why is the USA Supporting Erdogan’s Regime?
The US Government is often very quick to criticize any other government oppressing its own people. Interestingly, the Obama Administration has been extremely reluctant to condemn horrific treatment of peaceful Turkish protestors at the hands of the brutal state police.
To understand the relationship between Turkey, current and former Turkish Governments and the USA, one should take a stroll back in time. After that, I will explain how once dramatically anti-secular, Sharia Law advocate, hard-liner Islamist Erdogan was easily elected in the country.
The United States and Turkey share membership in NATO, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the G-20.
Turkey has been a member of NATO (North Atlantic Alliance) since 1952. The USA Incirlik Air Base was completed at the end of 1954. The air base is used by Turkish, United States and British Air forces jointly. Currently, there is an ongoing court case about the land that the USA Air base was built. Three Armenian Americans, who have deeds proving ownership of properties taken from their families during World War I, are seeking compensation for 122 acres (0.49 km2) of land in the region where the base is partly located.
The air base has been used in almost all USA interventions in the Middle East and Central Asia, from the Gulf War to the Afghanistan Invasion. The base will most likely be used if the USA decides to intervene in Syria. Although Turkey’s parliament did not approve US troops using the base to invade Iraq, this time Erdogan signaled a green light for its full usage in case of an intervention in Syria by the US military. The USA has another air base in the city of Izmir located on the Aegean Sea coast. Turkey also receives a large number of USA military and financial aid, on and off.
Aside from being a military alliance, NATO is also a political alliance, originally established to curtail the influence of Russia –then Soviet Union- in the region. Turkish counter-guerrillas, domestically and in many other capacities have taken a primary role in NATO’s infamous clandestine stay-behind operations in Europe, known as “Operation Gladio”. The purpose of these operations were to continue anti-communist actions with the leadership of the CIA, in the event of a Soviet invasion and conquest. These operations were often undertaken without the knowledge of the countries’ elected governments. Italian magistrate Felice Casson once said Turkey was home to the most powerful branch of Operation Gladio.
In 1973, the Prime Minister of Turkey, Bulent Ecevit revealed the Operation Gladio counter-guerrillas existence in Turkey and threatened to shut down the USA air base. But the base remained open after the USA provided military and naval assistance to Turkey, following the Turkish intervention in the Island of Cyprus in 1974.
Whose bright idea was “moderate Islam”? What does it mean for Turkey?
The Republic of Turkey has been established after World War I from the ashes of the former Ottoman Empire. After centuries of empirical rule, Turkish people opted for a democratic Republic with the leadership of the Republic’s founding father Mustafa Kemal. The new Republic was established as a secular country with a modern constitution that gave voting rights to women, ahead of many Western countries. Turks, despite being a culturally conservative Muslim nation, and experiencing several coup d’états throughout the Republic’s political history, never challenged their country’s secular, laic system until Erdogan’s AKP party took over in 2003.
A former CIA station chief in Kabul and the author of “The Future of Political Islam,” Graham Fuller wrote a book about Turkey, titled “The New Turkish Republic: Turkey as a Pivotal State in the Muslim World” which was published in 2008. In his book, he fervently promoted the idea of “Moderate Islam”.
Although the book was published in 2008, the concept of political, moderate Islam has been taking roots within Turkey with the full support of several clandestine organizations, remnants of Operation Gladio guerillas turned politicians, and one particular Imam who has been living in USA since the late 1990s.
Suddenly the USA and the entire West were in love with the “Moderate Islam” and supported Islamists to politically exert their power in Turkey, while they kept their governments fully secular without Christianity or any other religion’s influence. The West was enamored with Erdogan, who once was arrested for his anti-secular, Sharia Law promoting activities in Turkey.
What is the connection between Graham Fuller, the Imam who lives in the USA, and Erdogan?
To solve this puzzle, we must first learn a little bit about the Imam Fethullah Gulen, his influence on Erdogan’s election and his connection to the USA, particularly to the CIA.
Although known as a “Moderate Islam” advocate in the USA, Gulen was a staunch enemy of secularism in Turkey. He pushed for an authoritarian Islamic state and was charged with seeking to overthrow the secular Turkish government, to implement a Sharia Law based Islamic Republic in its place, before his escape to the USA in 1998.
Gulen who calls himself an Islamic Scholar, despite not having any formal theological education, has several hundred educational organizations such as K–12 schools, universities, and language schools that have been established around the world, mainly Central Asia, Caucasus, Balkans, and including the USA.
The origin of his immense wealth, estimated to be in billions of dollars which he used to open and operate these schools all over the world, is still unclear. But in Turkey, Gulen’s vast fortune has helped Erdogan create the Justice and Democratic Party ( AKP), which gained control of the government in 2003. Gulen and Erdogan’s close relationship goes back decades before these events.
Gülen and Erdogan were both students and followers of Sheikh Sa’id-i Kurdi (1878-1960), also known as Sa’id-i Nursi, the founder of the Islamist Nur movement. After Turkey’s new Republic was established, Kurdi demanded, in an address to the new parliament, that the new republic be based on Islamic principles. He turned against Atatürk and his reforms and against the new modern, secular, Western republic.
With the full financial support of Gulen, Erdogan’s AKP started the Islamization of the Turkish society. During the AKP’s first term in government, the Erdoğan government changed textbooks, emphasized religion courses, and transferred thousands of certified imams from their positions in the Directorate of Religious Affairs, to positions as teachers and administrators in Turkey’s public schools.
Soon after Erdogan came to power, one of his first initiatives was to infiltrate the Judicial Branch of the Turkish Government with hard-liner Islamists who were openly against the idea of a “laic” and “secular” Turkey. The next step towards his Islamic Republic was to penetrate the police with more Islamists and anti-secular AKP followers. The third step was undertaken by dismantling the top brass of the Turkish Military which are known to be supporters of the secular government system.
Gulen’s influence on the Erdogan administration continues in full force. During the Turkish delegation’s official visit to the USA on May 14, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arınc made a visit to Gulen. Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News reported that Arınc, although he said he did not consider Gulen a political figure, asked for his advice on Turkey’s foreign policy.
There are 32 Turkish-American associations in U.S.A. which are established as secular and not religiously affiliated. According to a statement given by the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) Communications Director Hakan Dakın, no one from the delegation made a visit to any of these associations during their last visit to the U.S.A.
The preacher has been living in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania since his escape from Turkish justice. How did he receive his residency status while he was ‘wanted’ by the Turkish Government? Remember the ex-CIA Graham Fuller mentioned above? Yes, the same man who served 15 years as an intelligence officer in various countries of the Middle East and Asia. He was one of Gulen’s official references in Gulen’s Green Card application, along with another ex-CIA George Fidas and former US ambassador to Turkey Morton Abromovitz, after Gulen defected to the USA from Turkey in 1999 (See page 4).
In 2010, a retired Turkish Intelligence Chief, Osman Nuri Gundes, published his memoir titled “Close Witness to Revolutions and Anarchy” where he claimed Fethullah Gulen’s worldwide Islamic movement based in Pennsylvania has been providing cover for the CIA since the mid-1990s, and in that time-frame, the movement “sheltered 130 CIA agents” at its schools in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan alone.
So now you know why the USA Government will not criticize Erdogan, because the USA Government, through the Imam who lives in Pennsylvania, has helped Erdogan come to power. Plus, the USA needs Erdogan under its command while the volatile situation in Syria, the power play of the West and the USA against Russia, Iran, and China, still continues.