[Opinion] Erdoğan’s self-coup continues

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Türkmen Terzi 

On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, the Republic of Turkey is going to commemorate the victims of the abortive putsch in every corner of the country and in diplomatic missions abroad.

Without waiting for any court finding, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was quick to accuse Fethullah Gülen, the spiritual leader of the faith-based Gülen movement, of masterminding the coup while it was underway.

The Turkish state officially declared the movement the number one threat to the country and a terrorist organization immediately after the bloody night.

The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement on the night of the coup.

“This coup attempt was staged in no uncertain terms by the Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization (FETÖ). Our government has been constantly exposing the real motives of this terrorist group and its leader, Fethullah Gülen, to all allies and partners. The foiled coup is the latest criminal act revealing the danger posed by FETÖ,” the statement said.

Five years have passed since the July 15 coup attempt on which no light has so far been shed.

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which together with its ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), holds a majority of seats in parliament, has never allowed the legislature or any international body to properly investigate the attempted coup.

A parliamentary investigation commission that was formed with the approval of the Turkish Parliament held its first meeting on Oct. 7, 2016.

It decided to hear many retired generals, former ministers and mayors, but not the key state actors. Then-Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and National Intelligence Organization (MIT) head Hakan Fidan have never been asked to appear before the commission.

The commission consists of nine lawmakers from the AKP, four from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), one from the MHP and one lawmaker from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). But the investigative commission ended its work upon the order of President Erdoğan.

The Turkish opposition is still questioning the role of Erdoğan and AKP members in the coup attempt.

Speaking to journalists and representatives from television stations in İstanbul on April 3, 2017, Turkey’s main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu stated that the July 15 coup attempt was “controlled,” claiming that Erdoğan had information about plans for the coup and had control over it but nevertheless decided to let it proceed.

Kılıçdaroğlu said his party had a dossier of evidence showing that the coup attempt was carried out with Erdoğan’s knowledge.

While addressing a large rally of Turkish village and neighborhood heads (mukhtars) at the presidential complex in Ankara on April 5, 2017, Erdoğan hit back at Kılıçdaroğlu, saying: “If you have any personal dignity, show yourself and prove it. I have never been deceived in politics nor would I deceive someone.”

Former pro-Kurdish HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş, who has been imprisoned since November 2016 for “insulting the Republic of Turkey, the Turkish nation, the Turkish state and state institutions and the president of Turkey,” accused Erdoğan of failing to stop the coup plotters with the aim of consolidating his power.

In a parliamentary group speech in Oct. 4, 2016, Demirtaş claimed Erdoğan had lied when he said he had learned about the coup attempt from his brother-in-law. He said Erdoğan knew of the coup attempt beforehand and that the biggest plot of July 15 was a coup within the coup: Erdoğan’s counter coup.

Demirtaş said all lawmakers talk about this reality in the halls of parliament but that they fear speaking about it publicly.

Apart from the Turkish opposition, foreign intelligence experts and journalists also called the events of July 15 a coup attempt and a counter-coup.

German intelligence expert and author Erich Schmidt-Eenboom said in a program on German’s ZDF television station that the Gülen movement was not behind the failed coup attempt, but that Erdoğan conducted a counter-coup. This he based on intelligence reports from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND), the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported in April 2017.

Wayne Madsen, a retired US naval officer who blogs on security and intelligence affairs, told Politurco.com last week in a live interview that the July 15, 2016 coup attempt in Turkey was Erdoğan’s self-coup.

Madsen said former President Donald Trump’s first national security advisor Michael Flynn, whose business associates have been indicted on conspiracy charges related to Flynn’s efforts to smear Turkish cleric Gülen at the behest of the government of Turkey, had several meetings with Turkish government representatives in April 2016 to kidnap Gülen.

Madsen said Flynn is an expert in “military deception” and that he used those skills when he praised Turkish coup plotters in a speech in the US while the coup was underway but later supported the Erdoğan regime in an article published in The Hill on Nov. 8, 2016.

Jorgen Lorentzen, Norwegian director of the documentary “A Gift from God” about the July 15 coup attempt and the serious post-coup human rights violations in Turkey, said Western secret services do not believe that Gülen masterminded the coup attempt and that they know everything about Erdogan’s illegal activities but keep silent as Turkey is a strong member of NATO.

Lorentzen, who was vacationing at his summer house in Turkey with his Turkish wife and children at the time of the coup, recently told Politurco.com that the background of the coup attempt is still a mystery and that NATO members agreed not to reveal the secrets of the night of July 15.

The latest important revelations came from Turkish mafia boss Sedat Peker, who claimed that Turkey’s current Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu armed a large number of civilians with unregistered guns during the coup attempt. Soylu was the country’s labor minister at the time. Peker shared details on Twitter that Soylu took over many companies belonging to Gülen followers.

It is obvious that the distribution of unregistered guns to civilians on the night of the coup attempt, as revealed by the exiled mafia boss, required preparation.

It seems the Erdoğan government knew about the coup attempt long before and prepared for it. Many July 15 eyewitnesses mentioned that some civilians fired on the crowd.

The AKP never allowed autopsies on people who died on the night of the coup; therefore, it is not clear if these unregistered guns were used for killing civilians who were in the streets to stop the coup attempt.

Erdoğan’s government has never shown any intention of shedding light on the night of July 15, an incident that caused the loss of more than 200 lives.

Erdoğan’s government and politically motivated Turkish courts instead continue arresting pregnant women, elderly people, teachers, businesspeople who donated to the poor or who had a bank account with Bank Asya, which was affiliated with the Gülen movement.

More than 500,000 people were investigated, close to 100,000 arrested and dozens died in Turkish prisons, some under suspicious circumstances, under Erdoğan’s post-coup purge.

Erdoğan continues kidnapping educators from Kosovo to Kyrgyzstan to Kenya, in violation of international law, but interestingly enough, major Western powers have failed to speak out forcefully against Erdoğan’s human rights abuses.

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