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Erdogan’s Purge is a Sign of Panic

The purge is not a power bid by a calculating President. It is an act of desperation by a government in conflict with the country’s institutions taken shortly after it came close to being violently overthrown.

Alexander Mercouris

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Andrew Korybko has grasped the single most important point about the effect of the attempted Turkish coup on international relations.  This is that for the time being at least Turkey is in no position to pursue an ambitious foreign policy.

There continues to be a debate underway about whether the coup was a genuine coup attempt or was a false flag operation organised by Erdogan himself in order to consolidate his control of Turkey. 

The correct and obvious answer is that it was most definitely not a false flag operation but was very much a genuine coup.  All the information pouring out of Turkey both during and after the coup confirms that.  This was a fully genuine coup against Erdogan’s democratically elected government carried out by Turkey’s “Deep State” and involving all parts of it, and one which moreover came within a whisker of success.   It only failed because news of the coup leaked out just in time, enabling the government and the Muslim clergy to mobilise popular resistance to it.

This explains the purge currently underway.  This is being misinterpreted as a sinister power-bid by Erdogan to tighten his grip on Turkey.  Frankly it doesn’t look like that to me at all.  On the contrary it looks to me to bear all the hallmarks of something else: blind panic.

Let us first look at the facts of the coup.  It is simply not true – as many still say – that only a small number of junior officers were involved.  On the contrary senior generals were involved both in Istanbul and Ankara, with the senior commanders of the troops located near both cities ordering their troops onto their streets.

Let me repeat here another point which I have made before: apart from one report of an F16 fighter shooting down a rebel helicopter, there is no evidence that any part of the Turkish military rallied to the government’s support or that a single military unit came to the government’s defence during the coup.  The coup was not actively opposed or suppressed by the military.  All the military units caught on film during the coup – including the tanks in the streets, the air forces jets flying over Istanbul and Ankara, the troops blocking the Bosphorus bridges and occupying Takshim Square, and the helicopter gunships which attacked the parliament building – supported the coup.  The coup failed because confronted by angry crowds of civilians, the troops in many of the units involved in the coup eventually refused to obey the orders of the coup plotters and abandoned the coup.

Since the collapse of the coup it has become clear that sections of the navy also supported the coup, with possibly reliable reports of risings on some naval ships.  Indeed it seems that some military units and bases in remote parts of the country continued to resist the government for several days after the collapse of the coup, a fact which shows how widely and deeply supported the coup in fact was.

It is clear moreover that a serious attempt was made during the coup to arrest the senior members of the government – including of course Erdogan himself – and that the coup plotters were willing to use extreme force to achieve their goals.  Film has now surfaced of troops firing at civilians in Istanbul.  In addition government buildings in Ankara – including the Presidential palace and the parliament building – were bombed from the air and fired on by tanks, and there are even scattered reports of some loyalist officials being murdered.  There are also credible reports that the hotel where Erdogan was staying was bombed, and that rebel F16 jets searched for – but apparently failed to find – the private jet in which he fled.

Last but not least – and just to confirm how wide support for the coup within Turkey’s establishment was – there are credible reports that some senior officials within the Turkish judiciary sent out instructions whilst the coup was underway ordering the courts to treat orders from the institutions being created by the coup plotters as legally binding.

In light of all this the suggestion Erdogan stage-managed the coup himself is a fantastic one.  On the contrary all the facts show that he and the other members of his government were utterly shocked by it, and were seriously frightened for their lives during it.

That explains the massive purge now underway.  Erdogan and his supporters are acting in the classic manner of frightened people: lashing out in all directions as they see – and not without cause – enemies everywhere.  In this sort of atmosphere anyone who comes under the slightest suspicion risks being arrested or sacked, with the latest reports suggesting that the total number of people so far caught up in the purge already runs to 60,000.  Calls for the restoration of the death penalty are no more than what one would expect in this kind of atmosphere.

Much of the speculation of Erdogan being behind the coup turns on the misconception that the coup was too amateur to be genuine.  On the contrary all the known facts point to the coup being very carefully planned and professional.  One should not be misled by the fact the coup failed.  Most coups fail if they encounter resistance from the legitimate authorities and the civilian population in their first hours.  In Moscow in August 1991 an attempted coup collapsed almost immediately when it ran into civilian opposition despite the coup plotters having arrested the country’s President and despite the coup having been ordered by the ministers of the interior, state security and defence.

Far too much is also being made of the fact that the coup plotters carried out the coup on the basis of a pre-existing plan for a military exercise, and that many soldiers gave up during the coup as soon as they were confronted by angry civilians.  Neither fact is at all surprising.  It is usual for coups to follow the outlines of already pre-prepared exercises, which makes preparing the coup simpler and easier to conceal.  As for the fact that many soldiers quickly gave up when confronted by civilians, it is notoriously difficult to get young soldiers – of whom many in the Turkish army are conscripts – to shoot at civilians who are their own people, just as it is notoriously difficult to get junior officers to order their soldiers to do so, especially when they doubt that the orders to shoot are coming from the country’s legitimate authorities.  In the circumstances it is completely unsurprising that as the coup unravelled many soldiers – unsure what to do and uncertain about the legality of the orders they were being given – in end put up no resistance and simply gave themselves up.

One should not expect the soldiers of today’s Turkish army to behave with the discipline and ruthlessness of the Janissaries of Selim the Grim.  What is most remarkable about the Turkish coup is not that many soldiers quickly gave themselves up, but that some military units persisted with the coup – and were prepared to go on shooting at their own people – for hours and in some cases even days after the coup had visibly begun to fail.

The central fact about the Turkish coup is that Erdogan and his supporters can no longer trust any part of Turkey’s Deep State.  On the contrary they must now feel themselves locked in a life or death struggle with it.  Their fear and panic – which is driving the purge – in the circumstances is completely unsurprising.  It is not paranoia.  That would suggest their fears are unfounded. On the contrary the facts show they are only too well founded.

The result is exactly what Andrew Korybko says: with the Turkish government and much of Turkey’s civil society now locked in conflict with the key institutions of the Turkish state – of which the Turkish military has traditionally been the most important – there is simply no scope for Turkey to conduct an aggressive foreign policy whether in Syria or anywhere else.  Turkey’s priority for the moment is its own massive internal crisis.   There is no time or will for anything else.

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Ukraine’s President Says “High” Threat Of Russian Invasion, Urges NATO Entry In Next 5 Years

Poroshenko is trying desperately to hold on to power, even if it means provoking Russia.

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Via Zerohedge


Perhaps still seeking to justify imposing martial law over broad swathes of his country, and attempting to keep international pressure and media focus on a narrative of “Russian aggression,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko denounced what he called the high “threat of Russian invasion” during a press conference on Sunday, according to Bloomberg.

Though what some analysts expected would be a rapid flair up of tit-for-tat incidents following the late November Kerch Strait seizure of three Ukrainian vessels and their crew by the Russian Navy has gone somewhat quiet, with no further major incident to follow, Poroshenko has continued to signal to the West that Russia could invade at any moment.

“The lion’s share of Russian troops remain” along the Russian border with Ukraine, Poroshenko told journalists at a press conference in the capital, Kiev. “Unfortunately, less than 10 percent were withdrawn,” he said, and added: “As of now, the threat of Russian troops invading remains. We have to be ready for this, we won’t allow a repeat of 2014.”

Poroshenko, who declared martial law on Nov. 26, citing at the time possible imminent “full-scale war with Russia” and Russian tank and troop build-up, on Sunday noted that he will end martial law on Dec. 26 and the temporarily suspended presidential campaign will kick off should there be no Russian invasion. He also previously banned all Russian males ages 16-60 from entering Ukraine as part of implementation of 30 days of martial law over ten provinces, though it’s unclear if this policy will be rescinded.

During his remarks, the Ukrainian president said his country should push to join NATO and the EU within the next five years, per Bloomberg:

While declining to announce whether he will seek a second term in the office, Poroshenko said that Ukraine should achieve peace, overcome the consequences of its economic crisis and to meet criteria to join the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization during next five years.

But concerning both his retaining power and his ongoing “threat exaggeration” — there’s even widespread domestic acknowledgement that the two are clearly linked.

According to The Globe and Mail:

While Mr. Poroshenko’s domestic rivals accuse him of exaggerating the threat in order to boost his own flagging political fortunes — polls suggest Mr. Poroshenko is on track to lose his job in a March election — military experts say there are reasons to take the Ukrainian president’s warning seriously.

As we observed previously, while European officials have urged both sides to exercise restraint, the incident shows just how easily Russia and the West could be drawn into a military conflict over Ukraine.

Certainly Poroshenko’s words appear designed to telegraph just such an outcome, which would keep him in power as a war-time president, hasten more and massive western military support and aid, and quicken his country’s entry into NATO — the latter which is already treating Ukraine as a de facto strategic outpost.

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The Stampede of the Gadarene Swine: US Leaders Allowing Ukraine to Pull Them into Global War

There is no way in any sane assessment that the Ukrainian forces – and certainly not the neo-Nazi militias recruited in the west of the country to terrorize the east – can be regarded as “brothers” of the US armed forces.

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Authored by Martin Sieff via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


George Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel was right – Again: The only thing the human race learns from history is that it learns nothing from history.

In 1914,the British Empire, largest in human history and one of the longest-lasting, charged into World War I to defend “gallant little Belgium” whose King Leopold over the previous 30 years had carried out one of the longest, largest genocides of all time, killing 10 million people in the Congo.

Germany, wealthiest, most prosperous nation in Europe, blundered into the same needless war when feckless Kaiser Wilhelm II causally gave sweeping approval to Austria-Hungary to annihilate the tiny nation of Serbia. Millions of brave and idealistic Russians eagerly volunteered to fight in the war to protect “gallant little Serbia.” Most of them died too. There is no record that any of the Serbian leaders after the war visited any of their mass graves.

Now it is the United States’ turn.

Since the end of the Cold War US policymakers, presidents and their congresses have carried out virtually every stupidity and folly imaginable for any major power. The only one they have so far avoided has been the danger of stumbling into a full scale world war.

However, now, with the escalating and increasingly hysterical US support for the shady and risk-taking junta in Kiev, President Donald Trump risks committing that most dire and unforgivable of all horrors.

Trump today is no more than putty in the hands of his national security adviser John Bolton, one of the masterminds of the catastrophe that was the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Bolton is just like his hero Winston Churchill a century ago during World War I. He always gets his way, always gets the wars and battles he wants and bungles them embarrassingly every time. And like the young Churchill, Bolton never learns, never mellows and he never changes. It is always everybody else’s fault.

Churchill finally did grow and learn. His famous activities of the 1930s were not meant to start a new world war with Germany under the far worse leadership of Adolf Hitler: He wanted to avert such a war.

The invaluable diaries of Ivan Maisky, the Soviet Union’s ambassador to Britain through the 1930s make clear that even then Churchill was eager – alone in the British ruling classes – to establish a serious close defensive alliance with Josef Stalin and the Soviet Union. He recognized that would be the only way to box in Hitler and prevent a global catastrophe.

But Bolton has not learned from his hero – Quite the reverse. He is now impelling Trump on a reckless course of empowering the dangerous adventurers who with US support have seized Ukraine and have spent the past nearly five years wrecking it.

Even worse, the same kind of absurd sentimentalizing of an obscure, tiny or unstable ally that doomed Britain, Russia and Germany to unimaginable suffering and loss in 1914 now permeates US decision-makers, strategists and their pontificating pundits about Ukraine. On March 1, 2016, US General Philip Breedlove, then NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) memorably referred to “our Ukrainian brothers and sisters” in a Pentagon press briefing

There is no way in any sane assessment that the ramshackle Ukrainian forces – and certainly not the neo-Nazi militias recruited in the west of the country to terrorize the east – can be regarded as “brothers” of the US armed forces. The US and Soviet troops who met on the River Elbe on April 25, 1945 after advancing a combined more than 2,000 miles to liberate Europe from the darkest tyranny in its history could truly be called “brothers.”

However, the US military today and the Ukrainian forces they are being drawn in to protect certainly are not “brothers and sisters.” No poll has been taken since then across the United States, as far as I am aware as to whether the American people would be willing to risk full-scale nuclear war to defend a government in Ukraine that is demonstrably unpopular among its own people.

Trump was elected president in November 2016 precisely because he was the only candidate in that shock election who unambiguously called for the United States to end its 70-year fixation with getting pulled into one endless war and confrontation after another around the world. It would be the darkest of ironies if instead he took America into its last and most catastrophic conflict – a nuclear confrontation from which there could be no recovery, no escape and no survival.

Britain, Russia and Germany in 1914 were all destroyed by the deliberate plotting and manipulations of vastly smaller or weaker allies run by psychopathic gamblers. The rulers of Kiev today, in their entirely reckless disregard for the dangers of global thermonuclear war clearly fit into that category.

Policymakers in Moscow recognize this dire reality. Their counterparts in Washington remain amazingly totally blind to it. Their only idea of strategy is the suicidal stampede of the Gadarene Swine in the Gospels off the end of a cliff. And they are taking the entire human race with them.

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FBI, CIA Told WaPo They Doubted Key Allegation In Steele Dossier

The WaPo sent reporters to every hotel in Prague, trying to figure out if Cohen was ever there, and came away empty.

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Via Zerohedge


FBI and CIA sources told a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter that they didn’t believe a key claim contained in the “Steele Dossier,” the document the Obama FBI relied on to obtain a surveillance warrant on a member of the Trump campaign.

The Post‘s Greg Miller told an audience at an October event that the FBI and CIA did not believe that former longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen visited Prague during the 2016 election to pay off Russia-linked hackers who stole emails from key Democrats, reports the Daily Caller‘s Chuck Ross.

“We’ve talked to sources at the FBI and the CIA and elsewhere — they don’t believe that ever happened,” said Miller during the October event which aired Saturday on C-SPAN.

We literally spent weeks and months trying to run down… there’s an assertion in there that Michael Cohen went to Prague to settle payments that were needed at the end of the campaign. We sent reporters to every hotel in Prague, to all over the place trying to – just to try to figure out if he was ever there, and came away empty. -Greg Miller

Ross notes that WaPo somehow failed to report this information, nor did Miller include this tidbit of narrative-killing information in his recent book, “The Apprentice: Trump, Russia, and the Subversion of American Democracy.”

Miller also admits that the dossier’s broad claims are more closely aligned with reality, but that the document breaks down once you focus on individual claims.

Steele, using Kremlin sources, claimed in his dossier that Cohen and three associates went to Prague in August 2016 to meet with Kremlin officials for the purpose of discussing “deniable cash payments” made in secret so as to cover up “Moscow’s secret liaison with the TRUMP team.”

Cohen’s alleged Prague visit captured attention largely because the former Trump fixer has vehemently denied it, and also because it would seem to be one of the easier claims in Steele’s 35-page report to validate or invalidate.

Debate over the salacious document was reignited when McClatchy reported April 15 that special counsel Robert Mueller had evidence Cohen visited Prague. No other news outlets have verified the reporting, and Cohen denied it at the time.

Cohen last denied the dossier’s allegations in late June, a period of time when he was gearing up to cooperate with prosecutors against President Donald Trump. Cohen served as a cooperating witness for prosecutors in both New York and the special counsel’s office. –Daily Caller

Cohen’s attorney and longtime Clinton pal Lanny Davis vehemently denied on August 22, one day after Cohen pleaded guilty in his New York case – that Cohen had never been to Prague, telling Bloomberg “Thirteen references to Mr. Cohen are false in the dossier, but he has never been to Prague in his life.”

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