The Ongoing Collapse of Turkey’s Secular Democ­racy and… the West’s Abetment of an Islamic State in Turkey? (part 3/3)

Off the keyboard of Allan Stromfeldt Christensen

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Published on From Filmers to Farmers on August 29th, 2016

Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner

 


The enemy of my enemy is my friend? (montage by DonkeyHotey)

Things continue to be heating up in Turkey as you may have heard (Turkey has now entered the Syrian war for the first time), and much of it, I think, is explainable by way of the recent one-day meeting that Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had with Russia's president Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg on August 9th, the first foreign visit Erdoğan had made since the failed Turkish coup on July 15th. The stated purpose of the talks was to return to pre-crisis relations, that being before Turkey had one of Russia's fighter jets shot down in November of 2015. This rapprochement included all the niceties of Russia allowing charter flights and tourists to resume their trips to Turkey, Russia allowing Turkish construction companies access to Russia, and Turkey lifting its firewall against Russia's online news portal Sputnik. But those were by no means cover for the meat of the meeting, of which Putin and Erdoğan made no efforts of hiding from. According to Putin, "The most important point here will be our joint energy projects." And according to Erdoğan, "I must say at the beginning that Turkey will grant a strategic investment status to the Akkuyu nuclear power plant."

Said nuclear power plant in Akkuyu was planned as the first of four 1,200 MW reactors under a $20 billion agreement made between the parties in May of 2010, but whose construction was shelved by Russia after last year's jet crisis. However, it should go without saying that Turkey needs its "juice" if it wants to extend its ultimately futile grasp on industrial civilization just a little bit longer, and if doing so means it has to reluctantly capitulate (apologize) to mother Russia (for downing its fighter jet), it capitulates.

But while nuclear power plants can do a good job of firing up Turkish boob tubes, the even bigger source of "juice" here is the Turkish Stream pipeline which was originally announced in December of 2014 and meant to deliver natural gas to Turkey and the rest of Europe, but which was also shelved by Russia after the recent jet crisis. Russian natural gas is certainly no small matter for Turkey, seeing how after Germany Turkey is the second largest consumer of Russian natural gas, and whose imports account for 55% of its supplies. But with the recent capitulation-cum-rapprochement, Erdoğan can now give a sigh of relief and proudly claim that "The Turkish Stream project with Russia will be realized swiftly following a thorough review."

Meetings between Erdoğan and Putin weren't the only talks going on though, as a Turkish delegation was also in Russia to chat about coordinating actions on Syria. As Turkey's foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu put it, "Let's fight against the terrorist group [ISIS] together, so that we can clear it out as soon as possible." Or as the yahoos at Yahoo conveyed, "Turkey on Thursday [August 11th] called on Russia to carry out joint operations against Islamic State (IS)." That, however, is rather cute.

But if you want daft, then look no further than Foreign Policy. While Turkey has now directly entered the Syrian war for the first time, Foreign Policy has stated that United States aircraft that backed Turkey's offensive provided "a crucial indication that the Turkish intervention has received Washington's acceptance."

Acceptance? Sure, just like somebody would actually care about the opinions of their sociopathic ex in regards to the new life they're building – without them. To explain this a bit, let me do so by relaying my final thoughts on the recently attempted Turkish coup. For starters, and to reiterate something I stated in part 1,

[S]ince I tend to think that getting to the heart of many of these matters generally involves following the energy rather than following the money, this, I think, is where the underlying motives and reasons for the recent attempted coup – real or not – can be found.

Nonetheless, and even with that point of view, I still couldn't initially see enough corroborating evidence that would give me more than a hunch about the coup's possible legitimacy, or of its supposed staging. Fortunately though, a post-coup article by Turkish writer Efe Aydal again shed some light that none of the 100+ articles I'd previously read from the mainstream media came close to even touching on, or that any of the non-mainstream conspiracy-minded ones explained without being out to lunch. As Aydal sees it,

If a Turkish government becomes too strong and turns against USA, they get overthrown. The only difference is, this time they [the US] failed. I believe it was because Erdoğan saw what we saw [that his new much-too-uppity way of doing things and his infighting with Gülen implied the expiry of his shelf-life in the eyes of the United States]. He gave the names of Gülen followers to the military, so that they can be purged [before he was]. Gülen followers in the military panicked and tried to stage a pre-mature coup, and screwed up.

Yes, it's been said many times that the coup was so sloppy that it just couldn't have been real, but there's just too many off-the-cuff theories that could counter such assertions: What if one or several coup plotters got cold feet and backed out at the last minute, spoiling the operation? What if some of the coup plotters were double agents who then tipped off Erdoğan? What if some other double agent(s) sabotaged the coup by feeding false information to coup leaders in Istanbul and Ankara, telling them that Erdoğan had been successfully captured, which then lead to their much-too-early emergence, errant claim of victory, and thus their exposure and eventual arrest? Either way, who really knows?


"See to it that my new BFF-FAW is made aware"
(photo by Vasily Smirnov)

As if all that weren't enough, Nafeez Ahmed and a few others have relayed the rumour that Russian intelligence, which is said to have a significant presence in Turkey, tipped off Erdoğan of the imminent coup and so allowed for his ultimate escape. (For the record, Erdoğan says his brother-in-law tipped him off – what are brothers for after all?)

But regardless of who did or didn't tip off Erdoğan (supposing that the attempted coup was real), there's essentially four main theories to explain the attempt to overthrow Turkey's government:

  • it was a botched CIA-led coup
  • it was a botched Gülen-led coup
  • it was a botched joint CIA-Gülen coup
  • it was an autocoup, purposefully failed – and thus staged – by Erdoğan

Taking into account all that I've already written in parts 1 and 2, if one were to go by the logic of cui bono – who had the most to gain out of a real or fake coup – the most obvious culprit would of course be the United States. Although it can be a bit too fashionable to point the finger at the United States for all the world's ills, there's no denying the fact that the United States' utmost and dire existential concern is to maintain its control of the oil flows, and by extension its most important export of all – US dollars (the world's reserve currency). So my guess, and that's really the best any of us but a few can offer, is that the attempted coup was in fact real, and that it was orchestrated by the United States – be it with or without the assistance of Fethullah Gülen himself and/or other Gülenists (FETO), of which seems to be a strong likelihood. The United States' purpose was to replace Erdoğan with a spineless stooge who would nix the Turkish Stream pipeline in favour of the Southern Gas corridor pipeline in order that, via the petrodollar system, the United States could maintain its position as arbiter of the stuff that makes industrial civilization go, maintain demand for US funny money, and lastly, preserve its hegemonic position as the lone king of the dung hill.

To maintain all this ultimately required a compliant stooge-in-command, regardless of whether or not he was aiding and abetting the rise of a terrorist group that has been brutally killing hundreds of people and wreaking havoc across the world, and regardless of whether or not he was trying to transform Turkey back into an Islamic state.

Yes, following a recent statement made by Turkey's parliament speaker that overwhelmingly-Muslim-Turkey should have a religious constitution, Erdoğan did opine that "the state should have an equal distance from all religious faiths." But if his "mob rules" approach (mentioned in part 1) of responding to the people's desire for reinstatement of the death penalty is any indication of his application of "democracy," it's not hard to imagine some point in the future where Erdoğan might come around to a possible people's "democratic" desire for an Islamic state.

As if all of that weren't convincing enough, Nafeez Ahmed conveyed some words purportedly given in early 2016 by King Abdullah of Jordan to a group of senior congressional representatives in Washington DC: "The fact that terrorists are going to Europe is part of Turkish policy and Turkey keeps on getting a slap on the hand, but they are let off the hook." And as the King is also said to have stated, this is all part of Erdoğan's ultimate plan to bring forth a "radical Islamic solution to the region."

In other words, if the United States didn't mind abetting the transformation of Turkey into an Islamic state, it wouldn't really matter which of the two – Erdoğan or Gülen – was in control (Güdoğan?), and pretty much came down to which one of them was the most willing to do the United States' bidding. And as the quote by Erdoğan relayed in part 2 makes obvious, that is most certainly not Erdoğan.

But backing up for a moment, if the creation of an Islamic state was the ultimate motive of both Erdoğan and Gülen, for the United States to support either of them would of course seem incomprehensible since common sense has it that the United States wouldn't be interested in supporting anybody that wanted to introduce a religiously-oriented government, be it in Turkey or elsewhere. Aydal has some opinions on that one as well:

"USA is against radical Islam"? That’s bullshit. USA and its ally countries love radical Islam. Because radical Islam means you can control the whole country by controlling a few clerics.


Nyet!

That is, by way of controlling a few clerics (and/or religiously-oriented politicians), and thus the people, and thus the nation, the United States is better able to maintain its geopolitical position in the area, is better able to control energy supplies, and is better able to maintain its world reserve currency status and demand for US dollars. And rather than the other side, it gets to nominate its accredited cheerleader – who wields a pen(-pen) instead of a pom-pom – to write the book The End of History.

But to the dismay of American keepers-of-the-dung, history can have an ugly way of rearing its head. For make no mistake about it, Turkey had little to zero concern with whether or not the United States "accepted" its incursion into the Syrian war against ISIS. On the other hand, and while not forgetting who it was that Erdoğan and a cadre of Turkish diplomats met with three weeks ago, retired senior Turkish diplomat Ünal Çeviköz is said to have stated that, "Turkey would not have launched 'Operation Euphrates Shield' on Wednesday without a green light from Russia."


Señor Anglo #2: "$1 bills for everybody!"
(Turkish Presidential Press Office photo handout)

That being said, the United States' vice-president Joe Biden did in fact finally get a chance to take a break from his hectic schedule of practicing his golf swing to actually pay a visit to Turkey a few days ago. His visit to "convince Turkey that the United States had no role in, and did not condone, [the] July 15 coup attempt" didn't go over so well, what with Turkey sending low-ranking officials – like Ankara's deputy mayor – to greet him at the airport, and seeing how "[a]s the vice president spoke, the Turkish leader sat back in his chair, stone-faced." Likewise, whatever bribes Biden put on the table undoubtedly fell on deaf ears, particularly if what he was trying to offer was suitcases full of $1 American bills.

And while Biden was arriving in Turkey, Turkey's military was begining its siege in Syria, whose story probably goes a little something like this: Working off of Nafeez Ahmed's assertions mentioned in part 1, head-honchos in the United States and NATO probably aren't all that interested in putting an end to ISIS, and are rather fine with the headache it poses for Russia's ally Bashar al-Assad. At the same time, ISIS-backed and/or inspired shenanigans in Western countries provide a welcome excuse for authoritarians in those countries to curtail freedoms and foment fearful, malleable, and obedient populaces.

In the meantime, Russia does has a slightly more genuine dislike for ISIS, but only so long as it's not bothering its allies and kicking around a mess in its sandbox. In all likelihood then the quote by Çavuşoğlu mentioned at the beginning of this post was just for show, and it's quite likely that Erdoğan is simply being put through his inition rites by mother Russia.

And the recent spate of attacks in Turkey by ISIS? Nothing new about those actually, besides an increase in frequency. Most likely, ISIS leaders realized that with those to its north now shifting their alignment from the United States to Russia, it was about to get its goose cooked by Turkey. As put by the Independent, Turkish "[o]perations hope to cut off ISIS supply lines and smuggling channels for its lucrative trade in oil," a marked difference from Turkey's previous role of assisting ISIS smuggle its oil through the port in Ceyhan. So rather than wait around until it got flattened by Erdoğan and company, ISIS leaders in vulnerable areas decided to send out a few expendables in hopes that they could go out with a bit of a bang.

And those United States aircraft that backed Turkey's offensive? Well, put in the awkward position of being exposed for sitting on its laurels regarding ISIS, the United States probably had little choice but to try and save face by tagging along – and in effect do Russia's work for it.

But anyway, having said all that, and having learned that there's more to Turkey than awesome falafels, I don't think it really matters whether the coup was fake or not, who's for or against ISIS, or whether capitalism or communism is the superior system for burning through the fossil fuels as fast as possible. What matters is that Atatürk's Turkey is deteriorating further and further, that millions of secular Turks could very well see their country descend into a neo-Ottoman Islamic state, and that the atrocities that have been recently taking place in France and Germany may just be dress-rehearsals for the carnage and blowback that can be expected in the future, be it in Europe, the United States, or elsewhere. Aided and abetted by the West, all so that its elites can look a little more exalted than the "adversary," and so that its plebs can slum it for just a little bit longer than the other side's plebs in the last days of the black-excrement-powered world we call industrial civilization.

With all that in mind, it should of course still be asked: What option(s) do us "lowly" ones – Turks and the rest of us – ultimately have? Not that it would miraculously solve all our problems, but getting off of fossil fuels and adapting ourselves to the ecologies of our places as much as we can is probably the best that we can do. For although the reforms that Atatürk put in place are certainly worthy of being championed, the modern (generally capitalist) states we were brought up with – and which secular Turks have generally been working toward like most of the rest of us – aren't going to be able to function in the same accustomed-to-way without the copious supplies of fossil fuels that have somewhat seen their day due to the onset of peak oil (Turkish translation here) and declining EROEI levels (Turkish translation coming soon – see the Turkish translation page for updates).

But not only is that easier said than done, but it's easier to say for those of us not in Turkey. Because if the collapse of industrial civilization weren't enough to digest and deal with, throw on top of that a possible Islamic state breathing down your neck and the collapse-related problems that the rest of us in the West have seem like a walk in the park.

Which then begs refinement of the previous question: For those of us non-Turks (who already have more on our plates that we even realize), what help is there that we can offer? To be honest, I haven't a clue; clamour for our politicians to open our doors to those few lucky/unlucky Turks that might start applying for asylum and hope we don't inadvertently let in a few jihadi-wannabes while we're at it?

NOTE: Upon completion of the last part of this Turkish trilogy a few changes were made to parts 1 and 2 to better clarify things and improve the overall structure. Those changes are explained at the bottom of those two posts. But as for part 3, the lead image for part 3 was switched back to its originally intended position of lead image for part 1 (where Señor Anglo #1 can be found), and the image that lead part 1 for two weeks was switched back to its originally intended spot as lead of part 3.

One Response to The Ongoing Collapse of Turkey’s Secular Democ­racy and… the West’s Abetment of an Islamic State in Turkey? (part 3/3)

  • Disaffected says:

    Very nice analysis! With regard to what can we do to help the Turks? I'd say that question's best directed to the Russians, as US "aid" is always a double-edged sword under the best of conditions, and it almost never comes in any other form than military aid anyway. Turks continue to suffer from the decidedly unfortunate fact that they reside on crucial world geo-political real estate. Probably the only the thing anyone living there can do to save themselves and theirs is to get the hell out of Dodge pronto to any place that will have them, other than the US of course, which is already a powder keg waiting to blow. Learning enough Russian to at least get by and stocking up on cold weather gear would be a good idea as well. Siberia will be cold as hell about the time they arrive.

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