Connect with us

Latest

News

Staff Picks

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

Published

on

1,445 Views

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.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of

Latest

Foreign Banks Are Embracing Russia’s Alternative To SWIFT, Moscow Says

Given its status as a major energy exporter, Russia has leverage that could help attract partners to its new SWIFT alternative.

Published

on

Via Zerohedge


On Friday, one day after Russia and China pledged to reduce their reliance on the dollar by increasing the amount of bilateral trade conducted in rubles and yuan (a goal toward which much progress has already been made over the past three years), Russia’s Central Bank provided the latest update on Moscow’s alternative to US-dominated international payments network SWIFT.

Moscow started working on the project back in 2014, when international sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea inspired fears that the country’s largest banks would soon be cut off from SWIFT which, though it’s based in Belgium and claims to be politically neutral, is effectively controlled by the US Treasury.

Today, the Russian alternative, known as the System for Transfer of Financial Messages, has attracted a modest amount of support within the Russian business community, with 416 Russian companies having joined as of September, including the Russian Federal Treasury and large state corporations likeGazprom Neft and Rosneft.

And now, eight months after a senior Russian official advised that “our banks are ready to turn off SWIFT,” it appears the system has reached another milestone in its development: It’s ready to take on international partners in the quest to de-dollarize and end the US’s leverage over the international financial system. A Russian official advised that non-residents will begin joining the system “this year,” according to RT.

“Non-residents will start connecting to us this year. People are already turning to us,”said First Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Russia Olga Skorobogatova. Earlier, the official said that by using the alternative payment system foreign firms would be able to do business with sanctioned Russian companies.

Turkey, China, India and others are among the countries that might be interested in a SWIFT alternative, as Russian President Vladimir Putin pointed out in a speech earlier this month, the US’s willingness to blithely sanction countries from Iran to Venezuela and beyond will eventually rebound on the US economy by undermining the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency.

To be sure, the Russians aren’t the only ones building a SWIFT alternative to help avoid US sanctions. Russia and China, along with the European Union are launching an interbank payments network known as the Special Purpose Vehicle to help companies pursue “legitimate business with Iran” in defiance of US sanctions.

Given its status as a major energy exporter, Russia has leverage that could help attract partners to its new SWIFT alternative. For one, much of Europe is dependent on Russian natural gas and oil.

And as Russian trade with other US rivals increases, Moscow’s payments network will look increasingly attractive,particularly if buyers of Russian crude have no other alternatives to pay for their goods.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

US leaving INF will put nuclear non-proliferation at risk & may lead to ‘complete chaos’

The US is pulling out of a nuclear missile pact with Russia. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty requires both countries to eliminate their short and medium-range atomic missiles.

The Duran

Published

on

Via RT


If the US ditches the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), it could collapse the entire nuclear non-proliferation system, and bring nuclear war even closer, Russian officials warn.

By ending the INF, Washington risks creating a domino effect which could endanger other landmark deals like the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and collapse the existing non-proliferation mechanism as we know it, senior lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev said on Sunday.

The current iteration of the START treaty, which limits the deployment of all types of nuclear weapons, is due to expire in 2021. Kosachev, who chairs the Parliament’s Upper House Foreign Affairs Committee, warned that such an outcome pits mankind against “complete chaos in terms of nuclear weapons.”

“Now the US Western allies face a choice: either embarking on the same path, possibly leading to new war, or siding with common sense, at least for the sake of their self-preservation instinct.”

His remarks came after US President Donald Trump announced his intentions to “terminate” the INF, citing alleged violations of the deal by Russia.

Moscow has repeatedly denied undermining the treaty, pointing out that Trump has failed to produce any evidence of violations. Moreover, Russian officials insist that the deployment of US-made Mk 41 ground-based universal launching systems in Europe actually violates the agreement since the launchers are capable of firing mid-range cruise missiles.

Leonid Slutsky, who leads the Foreign Affairs Committee in parliament’s lower chamber, argued that Trump’s words are akin to placing “a huge mine under the whole disarmament process on the planet.”

The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The deal effectively bans the parties from having and developing short- and mid-range missiles of all types. According to the provisions, the US was obliged to destroy Pershing I and II launcher systems and BGM-109G Gryphon ground-launched cruise missiles. Moscow, meanwhile, pledged to remove the SS-20 and several other types of missiles from its nuclear arsenal.

Pershing missiles stationed in the US Army arsenal. © Hulton Archive / Getty Images ©

By scrapping the historic accord, Washington is trying to fulfill its “dream of a unipolar world,” a source within the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“This decision fits into the US policy of ditching the international agreements which impose equal obligations on it and its partners, and render the ‘exceptionalism’ concept vulnerable.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov denounced Trump’s threats as “blackmail” and said that Washington wants to dismantle the INF because it views the deal as a “problem” on its course for “total domination” in the military sphere.

The issue of nuclear arms treaties is too vital for national and global security to rush into hastily-made “emotional” decisions, the official explained. Russia is expecting to hear more on the US’ plans from Trump’s top security adviser, John Bolton, who is set to hold talks in Moscow tomorrow.

President Trump has been open about unilaterally pulling the US out of various international agreements if he deems them to be damaging to national interests. Earlier this year, Washington withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program. All other signatories to the landmark agreement, including Russia, China, and the EU, decided to stick to the deal, while blasting Trump for leaving.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

Converting Khashoggi into Cash

After two weeks of denying any connection to Khashoggi’s disappearance, Riyadh has admitted that he was killed by Saudi operatives but it wasn’t really on purpose.

Jim Jatras

Published

on

Authored by James George Jatras via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The hazard of writing about the Saudis’ absurd gyrations as they seek to avoid blame for the murder of the late, not notably great journalist and Muslim Brotherhood activist Jamal Khashoggi is that by the time a sentence is finished, the landscape may have changed again.

As though right on cue, the narrative has just taken another sharp turn.

After two weeks of denying any connection to Khashoggi’s disappearance, Riyadh has ‘fessed up (sorta) and admitted that he was killed by Saudi operatives but it wasn’t really on purpose:

Y’see, it was kinda’f an ‘accident.’

Oops…

Y’see the guys were arguing, and … uh … a fistfight broke out.

Yeah, that’s it … a ‘fistfight.’

And before you know it poor Jamal had gone all to pieces.

Y’see?

Must’ve been a helluva fistfight.

The figurative digital ink wasn’t even dry on that whopper before American politicos in both parties were calling it out:

  • “To say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr. Khashoggi is an understatement,” tweeted Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. “First we were told Mr. Khashoggi supposedly left the consulate and there was blanket denial of any Saudi involvement. Now, a fight breaks out and he’s killed in the consulate, all without knowledge of Crown Prince. It’s hard to find this latest ‘explanation‘ as credible.”
  • California Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that the new Saudi explanation is “not credible.” “If Khashoggi was fighting inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, he was fighting for his life with people sent to capture or kill him,” Schiff said. “The kingdom and all involved in this brutal murder must be held accountable, and if the Trump administration will not take the lead, Congress must.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan must think he’s already died and gone to his eternal recreation in the amorous embraces of the dark-eyed houris. The acid test for the viability of Riyadh’s newest transparent lie is whether the Turks actually have, as they claim, live recordings of Khashoggi’s interrogation, torture, murder, and dismemberment (not necessarily in that order) – and if they do, when Erdogan decides it’s the right time to release them.

Erdogan has got the Saudis over a barrel and he’ll squeeze everything he can out of them.

From the beginning, the Khashoggi story wasn’t really about the fate of one man. The Saudis have been getting away with bloody murder, literally, for years. They’re daily slaughtering the civilian population of Yemen with American and British help, with barely a ho-hum from the sensitive consciences always ready to invoke the so-called “responsibility to protect” Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya, Syria, Xinjiang, Rakhine, and so forth.

Where’s the responsibility not to help a crazed bunch of Wahhabist head-choppers kill people?

But now, just one guy meets a grisly end and suddenly it’s the most important homicide since the Lindbergh baby.

What gives?

Is it because Khashoggi was part of the MSM aristocracy, on account of his relationship with the Washington Post?

Was it because of his other, darker, connections? As related by Moon of Alabama: “Khashoggi was a rather shady guy. A ‘journalist’ who was also an operator for Saudi and U.S. intelligence services. He was an early recruit of the Muslim Brotherhood.” This relationship, writes MoA, touches on the interests of pretty much everyone in the region:

“The Ottoman empire ruled over much of the Arab world. The neo-Ottoman wannabe-Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan would like to regain that historic position for Turkey. His main competition in this are the al-Sauds. They have much more money and are strategically aligned with Israel and the United States, while Turkey under Erdogan is more or less isolated. The religious-political element of the competition is represented on one side by the Muslim Brotherhood, ‘democratic’ Islamists to which Erdogan belongs, and the Wahhabi absolutists on the other side.”

With the noose tightening around Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS), the risible fistfight cock-and-bull story is likely to be the best they can come up with. US President Donald Trump’s having offered his “rogue killers” opening suggests he’s willing to play along. Nobody will really be fooled, but MbS will hope he can persuade important people to pretend they are fooled.

That will mean spreading around a lot of cash. The new alchemy of converting Khashoggi dead into financial gain for the living is just one part of an obvious scheme to pull off what Libya’s Muammar Kaddafi managed after the 1988 Lockerbie bombing: offer up some underlings as the fall guys and let the top man evade responsibility. (KARMA ALERT: That didn’t do Kaddafi any good in the long run.)

In the Saudi case the Lockerbie dodge will be harder, as there are already pictures of men at the Istanbul Consulate General identified as close associates of MbS. But they’ll give it the old madrasa try anyway since it’s all they’ve got.Firings and arrests have started and one suspect has already died in a suspicious automobile “accident.” Heads will roll!

Saving MbS’s skin and his succession to the throne of his doddering father may depend on how many of the usual recipients of Saudi – let’s be honest – bribery and influence peddling will find sufficient pecuniary reason to go along. Saudi Arabia’s unofficial motto with respect to the US establishment might as well be: “The green poultice heals all wounds.”

Anyway, that’s been their experience up to now, but it also in part reflects the same arrogance that made MbS think he could continue to get away with anything. (It’s not shooting someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, but it’s close.) Whether spreading cash around will continue to have the same salubrious effect it always has had in the past remains to be seen.

To be sure, Trump may succeed in shaking the Saudi date palm for additional billions for arms sales. That won’t necessarily turn around an image problem that may not have a remedy. But still, count on more cash going to high-price lobbying and image-control shops eager to make obscene money working for their obscene client. Some big American names are dropping are dropping Riyadh in a sudden fit of fastidiousness, but you can bet others will be eager to step into their Guccis, both in the US and in the United Kingdom. (It should never be forgotten how closely linked the US and UK establishments are in the Middle East, and to the Saudis in particular.)

It still might not work though. No matter how much expensive PR lipstick the spinmeisters put on this pig, that won’t make it kissable. It’s still a pig.

Others benefitting from hanging Khashoggi’s death around MbS’s neck are:

  • Qatar (after last year’s invasion scare, there’s no doubt a bit of Schadenfreude and (figurative) champagne corks popping in Doha over MbS’s discomfiture. As one source close to the ruling al-Thani family relates, “The Qataris are stunned speechless at Saudi incompetence!” You just can’t get good help these days).

Among the losers one must count Israel and especially Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. MbS, with his contrived image as the reformer, was the Sunni “beard” he needed to get the US to assemble an “Arab NATO” (as though one NATO weren’t bad enough!) and eliminate Iran for him. It remains to be seen how far that agenda has been set back.

Whether or not MbS survives or is removed – perhaps with extreme prejudice – there’s no doubt Saudi Arabia is the big loser. Question are being asked that should have been asked years ago. As Srdja Trifkovic comments in Chronicles magazine:

“The crown prince’s recklessness in ordering the murder of Khashoggi has demonstrated that he is just a standard despot, a Mafia don with oil presiding over an extended cleptocracy of inbred parasites. The KSA will not be reformed because it is structurally not capable of reform. The regime in Riyadh which stops being a playground of great wealth, protected by a large investment in theocratic excess, would not be ‘Saudi’ any longer. Saudia delenda est.”

The first Saudi state, the Emirate of Diriyah, went belly up in 1818, with the death of head of the house of al-Saud, Abdullah bin Saud – actually, literally with his head hung on a gate in Constantinople by Erdogan’s Ottoman predecessor, Sultan Mahmud II.

The second Saudi state, Emirate of Nejd, likewise folded in 1891.

It’s long past time this third and current abomination joined its antecedents on the ash heap of history.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

JOIN OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Your donations make all the difference. Together we can expose fake news lies and deliver truth.

Amount to donate in USD$:

5 100

Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Advertisement

Advertisement

Quick Donate

The Duran
EURO
DONATE
Donate a quick 10 spot!
Advertisement
Advertisement

Advertisement

The Duran Newsletter

Trending