Designed to Fail: Turkey’s Clumsy Coup Strengthens Erdoğan’s Autocracy

It is not hard to see that “Erdoğan” answers quickly the question, “cui bono?”, who benefits, from the bloody and botched attempt at a coup d’etat by the most experienced and competent military golpisti in the world. Erdoğan himself called it “a gift from God.” Echoing Bibi Netanyahu’s 9/11 comment, “This will help us,” with a similarly accurate assessment, Erdoğan promptly arrested thousands of military in connection with the coup and for good measure deposed thousands of judges. It was as if the lists were already in hand. The death penalty will be reinstated if dutiful PM Yildirim gets his way.

This was a coup designed to fail, and the top military officials involved were obviously set up for slaughter. It need not have been engineered and executed by Erdoğan. But it was not engineered by the Turkish army. The Turkish army has never failed a coup attempt in its existence. It is a master at this art, performing the last one, against Erdoğan’s predecessors of the Refah (Islamic Well-being Party) without bloodshed.

Times have changed. This was not the first horrific massacre in Turkey in recent months; the string goes back to an ISIS suicide attack last year at a Kurdish relief agency in Suruç and the twin bombing of a leftist Turk and pro-Kurdish demonstration in Ankara. It was easy to guess Erdoğan’s hand behind these attacks. Both were attributed to ISIS, which indeed they were, but Erdoğan is the closest of ISIS bosses, and there too, Erdoğan got “a gift from God”, the smiting of his enemies.

However, it appeared that the most recent ISIS terrorist attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport followed and perhaps was a response to a radical shift in Turkish policy vis-a-vis the combatants of WW3. Erdoğan broke the hearts of the CIA and ISIS at once when he issued an apology to Russia for downing its jet, began to re-entertain the Turkstream project with Gazprom, and entered into supposedly ‘secret’ negotiations with Assad. He even offered Russia some space at Incirlik air base, right next to where the US and NATO keeps some 90-odd nuclear weapons, just because he knew the Russians had no need nor interest in parking their jets at the base.

This is not entirely to dismiss the possibility that we have reached the inevitable stage when proxies and puppets are abandoned by the Western elites, and ISIS and al-Nusra, no longer pampered, strike back at their masters. I thought this might be the case after the Istanbul Ataturk Airport attack. One could also say the same about Turkish military-industrial interests hurt by the prospects of a declining ISIS ratline and pipeline. Perhaps they too have ‘struck back’ at their former bosses.

However, following this botched and bloody coup, with its one clear victor, I believe it likely Erdoğan has not changed his spots in the slightest and is primarily culpable for this tragic day in Turkish history. The principle quandary is to what degree he was involved.

Kevin Barrett, among others, subscribes to the thesis that this was a “let it happen on purpose” event, whereby Erdoğan was kept abreast of the plot by his own intelligence services, and let it proceed in order to snare its perpetrators. Clearly, he had been drawing up lists for a while since several thousand other opponents, mostly judges, were also swept up in the aftermath as subversive elements. Though I usually concur with Barrett’s analyses, especially of false flags, an area in which he is an expert, I disagree entirely with the exonerating light in which Barrett paints Erdoğan.

As to the instigator, many Erdoğan opponents in Turkey now blame the wily master himself and call the event “staged.” Many others, including Erdoğan only a few minutes after the coup began, blame Fethullah Gülen. This is the Pennsylvania based imam whose long alliance with Erdoğan was roughly and rudely broken in 2013 when Erdoğan got all nasty against Israel.

It is widely known in Turkey that Gülen is a CIA asset. (Perhaps not so widely known, he is a major Clinton funder, while the spirit of his “mission” is much like that of George Soros.) For US readers, the interviews of Sibel Edmonds and Chapter 10 from William Engdahl’s Lost Hegemon fill in the blanks sufficiently to establish this charge in superabundance. Because of these well-known connections, a few Turkish officials broached the “US did it” line. Erdoğan neatly skirted this direct charge with his “Turkey must not be run from Pennsylvania”. The requests for extradition have not yet been made formal, and anyway, such a process could be drawn out endlessly.

As so many times going back to the start of US war on Iraq 2.0, the ‘Endless War’, at which time Erdoğan denied the use of Incirlik air base to the US campaign (oh so naughty and independent!), there have been countless instances of seemingly fierce loggerheads between the so-called Islamist capo and US leadership. Lost on the US public is the fact that Erdoğan’s fervent and pious pursuit of neo-liberal economics in Turkey — disguised by token efforts at Islamic banking — endear him to the US elites that really count.

As usual, lots of bark between NATO allies is accompanied by little bite. Turkey, the US, and Israel love to fight and make up. Erdoğan plays this game better than Kerry or Netanyahu. Nevertheless they each make trips and promises to Moscow that they inevitably intend to reverse if at all possible. These spats among crime organizations have historically been much ado about nothing. However, it is true that Russia’s success in Syria – and perhaps Brexit — have turned several tables on the Western alliance’s plans of global conquest, and now desperation reigns among the conspiring nations, their internal factions, their proxies and their puppets.

This is the larger global context in which the false flag coup event must be considered. Let us explore briefly the range of interpretation given by officials and the press about this oddly-incompetent Turkish putsch in light of recent apparent reversals in official Turkish policy.

A Plausible Range of Interpretations:

The official Turkish line fingering Gülen and even the US behind him does not necessarily emphasize the fact that the attack followed Erdoğan’s public apology to Russia and his initial rapprochement to the Syrian war opponents. (Perhaps the AKP thugs, mostly indistinguishable from Grey Wolf thugs, are still too hateful for that piece of news.) Nevertheless this is the interpretation offered by many sympathizers of Russian intervention into the ISIS wars and by Russia supporters around the world.

Andrew Korybko, another writer who, like Barrett, I concord with an overwhelming percentage of the time, believes the coup attempt probably was just such a reprisal for the Russian rapprochement. I am dubious, not that such a motive would be considered justified at CIA Central in Langley, VA, or that the US has the means, but rather because the event so obviously favored Erdoğan. It did not seem to endanger him in the least.

Among the most suspicious elements of the hectic day’s reports is that rebel F-16s had Erdoğan’s plane, en route to Istanbul, in its sites with radar locked on the President’s plane and his accompanying F-16’s — but oddly did not shoot. Unmentioned — but even odder — is the almost-unbelievable conclusion that Erdoğan’s fighters also did not respond when they were locked on by a hostile radar!

It was reported today that the rebels attacked the Marmaris hotel where Erdoğan was staying “just moments after” he had left, but initial reports said he had been gone “two hours” before the Marmaris attack began. If the latter is true, that’s some poor information-sharing amongst history’s best putschers, the Turkish army.

Such facts as these undermine Korybko’s hope that Erdoğan has been genuine in his recent openings to Russia. The economic rationale for such a move is clear, to be sure, but it was clear at the time Turkstream was offered and refused as well. Certainly too the public US support of the Syrian Kurdish YPG turns Erdoğan — and the military — towards Assad and Russia as well. But these are plainly shot-gun marriages of convenience. The bigger Turkish “family” is with NATO, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.

The evidence that the coup was “staged,” as many opposition Turks and I now believe, and staged not to succeed, undermines another kind of hopeful thinking in Kevin Barrett’s analysis. Barrett believes Erdoğan’s Islam is genuine, whereas I see it as a sham, contradicted by his every action. As Barrett’s fellow editors at VT point out, Erdoğan, has been the principle benefactor of ISIS and profiteer of their oil-for-arms trade. This is just the start of it. Erdoğan uses the label “Islamic” like George Soros uses “humanitarian” and Hillary Clinton uses “female.” Its a utter falsification.

Even in the realm of real-world politics, it is also wishful thinking to believe that Erdoğan is genuine in his tentative promises towards a ‘separate peace’ with Russia, one in which his efforts are paralleled, — many fail to recognize — by high level politicians in a number of European NATO powers, including Germany and Greece.

Of course, insofar as the immediate and pressing needs of self-preservation are concerned, Erdoğan will make those baby steps towards appeasing the odds-on favorite to win WW3. But all of the Western alliance is making amends one way or another towards Putin. That is, factions within each of these countries are doing so, opposed by others with too much invested for a ‘re-set’. Some, like the CIA and Erdoğan, the Houses of Sa’ud and Likud, are deeply “invested” in ISIS. An internal war now is taking place whereby Western factions press others towards the hot seat, while trying to stay out of the limelight themselves. That’s Empire of the Chicken-Hawks for ya.

Indeed, even the US seems to have abandoned some of its own long-held aims in the Middle East, if the contrite looks on John Kerry and Victoria Nuland’s faces during their recent visit to Moscow reveal anything substantial from talks about which we are told nothing substantial from official channels. Paralleling Turkey’s gestures to Russia, the US itself now is uttering the once-banned word “cooperation” about terrorism in Syria. But Kerry never keeps his word; why should he keep it now that the word (and world) is changing, slightly? The same may be said of Erdoğan. Though the language of the playbook is different, the strategies are the same: “call black white and white black, up down and down up; lie your way to the top.”

Analysis of Political Context

This failed coup appears to be a false flag. It obviously displays deception, at least of its own duped leaders, from the very start. However, the possible parties involved are many and confusingly overlaid. Since Erdoğan has had complete control over the Turkish media for the last six months, we also have precious little information to go on. I will entertain a bit further the most likely theories for the true agents and motives behind this phony coup attempt.

The most likely option, in my opinion, is that Erdoğan himself was largely in control of the operation, perhaps by “letting it happen” and then some. This does not rule out the possibility that Fethullah Gülen, or the Hizmet movement and its sympathizers in Turkey, were also involved, or yet higher agencies, like the CIA. Gülen supporters, once so close to Erdoğan, especially during their gutting of the Turkish military in the Ergenekon ‘parallel state’ trials, now themselves are accused of being the ‘parallel state.’ What goes around comes around.

There is some truth even in these deep state dissimulations. Turkey’s military, long a hotbed of radical nationalism and Grey Wolf thuggery, evoked the ire of the US on several occasions since it has been NATO’s eastern front. But this larger history of the Kemalist state perfectly reflects the smaller micro-cosm of Erdoğan’s neo-liberal corporatocratic state: much bluster about identity and difference was for show, on all sides. Beneath the table, the US, Turkey and its Middle East allies, have been running fat “rat lines” of arms and worse and getting rich and powerful while doing it.

To be sure, Gülen has been securely connected to the CIA, as Sibel Edmonds, Turkish-American 9/11 whistleblower and geo-political commentator extraordinaire and Erdoğan too was submissive to the same clique, at least until 2013 when he and Gülen seemingly parted ways. Indeed, how could it be otherwise? What remains to ascertain is how much Erdogan willingly went along with his handlers. His close family profiteering to the worst aspects of the Langley program does not exonerate Erdogan, though he may have bolted when he saw he was not just a tool for their “divide and conquer”plans in Syria and Iraq, but that his own realm was also destined for something similar. Edmonds is right to see the true “deep” font of Turkish evil going decades back and inevitably traceable to CIA and NATO manipulation, especially since the 1980 coup. Gülen is Islamist “controlled opposition”, that much is clear. According to Edwards, whose familiarity with the subject is extensive, the CIA and Gülen infiltrated even the Gezi Park protests, in order to undermine Erdogan’s independence, perhaps hoping to turn it into “Turkish spring”.

In fact, Turkey’s military-based Ergenekon ‘deep state’ has always been beholden to the US and NATO ambitions. It may appear to have had its share of autonomy during the Cold War, but was always a mainstay of a united Western effort to snuff out ‘commies’ wherever they may crop up. Headed up by NATO and the CIA and operating mostly in Brussels, Italy, and Turkey, the infamous Gladio operations utilized local right wing terror organizations to blow things up and kill people and then blame it on the left. Turkey has been an even more integral part of Gladio II, the Islamist flavored continuation of a post-Cold War covert terror campaign against Russia and its satellites. This never changes no matter how the US swings Democrat or Republican or Turkey votes Kemalist or Islamist. Perhaps Erdogan is merely a “bureaucrat” working for the Evil Empire, but he seems to have made himself a fortune and a despot’s crown while trading in blood.

The Stink Leads to Erdoğan

The most damning aspect of the violent vindictive and clumsy coup attempt was its incompetence and total failure. Could the CIA really be in charge? Well, yes. I have not ruled out the possibility that these ‘foreign’ elements engineered a purposefully faulty coup attempt. However, if the CIA-Gülen umbrella are responsible, and it is indeed a gesture contra Erdoğan for his moves to Russia, then it remains the case that he is still addressed as ‘one of their own’, on the verge of wayward action. The pathetic coup attempt may in this case be interpreted as a ‘stick’, a ‘gentle’ warning to Erdoğan (not to the dozens of innocents brutally murdered) to make sure he does not honor his verbal rapprochement with Russia and Syria. But a good padrone always mixes some sugar in the salt: a great deal of help cleaning up domestic opposition was offered as a ‘carrot’.

To uphold the position that Erdoğan has really turned his back on US pressure and started sticking up for Turkey and Islam must ignore damning evidence to the contrary. Its proponent must argue that he became, in the last five years, more and more an abject puppet of US influence even as he took despotically to himself more and more Turkish power. This is outlandish.

Erdoğan has continued to act in the interests of the same US-NATO-Israeli-Sau’di mission for the Middle East and “Pipelinestan” that he always has. His public rant against Israel was never matched by action. He turned down the Turkstream just last year. He long has been the principle supporter of ISIS and his family got rich on their illicit and blood-soaked oil trade. He conspired with Turkish National Intelligence, the MIT, to arm Jubhat al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham, ISIS and the other takfiri terrorist groups. Emulating chicken-hawk ‘life examples’, Erdoğan was first personally to claim responsibility for downing the Russian jet and first personally to back off when evidence emerged that the event happened over Syrian territory.

Though he claims to be Muslim, Erdoğan never has personally claimed a “neo-Ottoman” project. Perhaps the diploma-forger actually knows that he would need to be of the family of Osman to claim leadership of the House of Osman. He might have to start revising his behavior as well.

The real Ottomans had an extraordinary record of ‘tolerance’ and accommodation of religious and ethnic difference, with one, chronologically contoured exception, the Alevis after 1500. This all changed with the pernicious introduction of ‘nationalist’ ideologies into the empire in the 19th century, just when Western banking interests were indebting and enslaving Ottoman economic interests and Western political pressure made extra-territorial claims on their commercial agents in the failing dynastic realm, and turned to dividing Christian from Jew, Shi’a from Sunni, thereby beefing up an age-old strategy of conquest with the novelties of industrial might.

Erdoğan has followed the latter example, not the former. Erdoğan is true to the modern Western colonial empire, nationalist in identity, that despises the ‘other’ nations. He pursues an identity politics that shifts just a few categories in respect to the Grey Wolfs. As his power has coalesced, Erdoğan has pursued the opposite of his early “zero problems with neighbors” policy, drummed up by the equally duplicitous Davutoğlu (the PM who was sacrificed recently for Russia’s sake.)

After lulling religious Kurds into the AKP, Erdoğan struck first and pre-emptively against a peace he had earlier engineered. For over a year, he has avidly pursued a bloody war against the Kurds, even using his ISIS proxies against them within the borders of Turkey. Alevis too have been viciously persecuted under Erdoğan, and stand to be losers of the failed coup as well. An Alevi colonel was the first leader’s face to appear among the hapless golpisti. Erdoğan’s Wahhabist fervor against the brilliant syncretistic religious practices of Alevis that were widespread among the early Ottomans and other Turkmen in Anatolia, is pure “Enlightenment-era” modernity, equipped with simplistic hard “identities” that obsessively must be “purified,” and literalist “epistemologies” where the Revealed Text or the Book of Nature is presumed to have a single literal meaning.

Finally, Erdoğan’s neo-liberalism, a 1%’ers economic philosophy supporting debt-based usurious interest charged against everybody who uses the phony fiat currency in circulation, contradicts not only the Islamic animus against usury (riba’) but the sensible statism embodied in its Islamic patrimonial responsibility for zakat, or taxed charity, considered as an institution of public welfare that was at the heart of traditional Muslim stated responsibilities to ‘re-distribute’ resources to its subject populations.

It is time to recognize that Erdoğan is no Ottoman and ISIS ain’t Islamic. It is time to hold the signifier’s feet to the signified’s fire. They do not seem so ‘arbitrarily’ connected then, do they, M. Saussure?

Perhaps most revealingly, for those who believe Erdoğan’s religious mask is genuine, by 2014 he had sidelined Abdullah Gül, the government’s one voice of reason during the Gezi protests. True Muslims have been sidelined, only monsters of manipulation remain in the upper ranks of the AKP. Even if a spade calls itself a heart, you should call it a spade – especially if you are a heart!

Who does he stand for, besides the House of Erdoğan? Well, the same ol’ same ol’.

If Erdoğan has, in stages, emptied the army of the old guard in favor of AKP supporters, he still pursues the old guard’s fierce nationalist agenda and every NATO program of conquest that comes his way. Where he departs from their policies, perhaps, is only in the juvenile eagerness with which he conducts terror-support campaigns and a House of Erdoğan empire (not of Osman). Despite many public spats with the US, Europe, and with Israel, Erdoğan has not budged an inch from the positions and policies of their unified program, expounded at Brookings, for “deconstructing Syria” and Iraq and channelling Qatari gas through pipelines to the Mediterranean at the expense of Russia and Iran.

What has changed? Only perhaps the dawning realization among Turks, Europeans, and even US masses that “deconstruction” is meant by the globalists for these borders as well. Thus there remains the outside possibility that Erdoğan’s own sense of self-preservation is pushing him towards recognizing the emerging eastern alliances as better partners than the fanatical war-mongers of the West. However, a closer analysis suggest Erdoğan is up to his old false flag tricks, each bloodier than the last.

Analysis of the Failed Coup Attempt

Crumbling hours after it began, the failed coup stinks of incompetency, of far too few resources, and especially of misinformation among its leaders about the degree to which the rest of the Turkish Army would support its claims. Almost none did. Thankfully, it was over quickly. Too many innocents lost their lives at the hands of trigger-happy golpisti and AKP thugs.

There was never any possibility this coup could succeed. The control points were few, and the most important point of leverage was neglected. The first lesson of Putsch 101, it seems to me, is to isolate the presidential palace, with the president in it! Erdoğan was vacationing in Marmaris with the Islamist jet set. He first responded to notice of the coup d’etat utilizing the social media he despises to call for Turks to stand up for the democracy he equally despises.

Erdoğan’s AKP supporters took the streets to be sure, and were probably those responsible for completely unnecessary violence against ordinary soldiers ordered by their superiors to take part. Turkey requires military service; it was obvious that many of these kids, beaten to a pulp by fanatical Erdoğan supporters, had no idea what was going on. Some of these soldiers, reportedly, were told this was a “military exercise.” Anyway, they were ‘following orders.’ Though the law was recently changed, the Turkish military long had the role of defending the Constitution, which indeed has been thoroughly gutted and trashed by Erdoğan.

“Use of the Media”, surely ranks too among the first lessons taught in Putsch 101. The coup leaders indeed took over several organs of media, but not all of them. But after shooting up the place, the still unknown and unsigned leaders of the coup made no substantive complaint against Erdoğan. It really wouldn’t have required a lot of work. Instead of, say, posting the RT documentary on Erdoğan’s family business with ISIS, they only proposed a Peace Council to return Turkey to constitutional order as outside they carried on with their chaotic and violent rebellion.

Low-flying F-16s and loud percussive devices were used to frighten the population.But again, the bark was worse than the bite, except for innocents. The principle points attacked and commanded by the left-footed golpisti were especially in Ankara, the capital, around key political, parliamentary, police, and intelligence operations. Attacks on Parliament and perhaps the MIT headquarters seemed to provoke fires and other damage as well as some casualties. The Prime Minister’s office was destroyed, perhaps along with sensitive documents.

The only truly successful attack carried out was on the Gölbaşı Special Forces Department headquarters outside Ankara. Seventeen officers were killed when a helicopter gunship fired on their command center. This, reportedly, was later shot down by loyalist F-16s.

The rebel soldiers also commanded bridges, big squares, and the airport, in Istanbul, or tried to. A shoot-out on the blocked Bosphorus Bridge left several dead. Vicious reprisals were made on the soldiers there when the coup was over. In Taksim Square, it seems, Turks overwhelmed tanks and other military vehicles, and arrested frightened soldiers sent to secure these public places and enforce a curfew. The Istanbul airport was never fully secured by the rebel forces and when Erdoğan touched down, the coup was basically over.

These, effectively, were all the actions undertaken to secure two enormous cities, Ankara of 4.5 million and Istanbul of 14 million, and a country of 75 million.

How was it put down? The official story says “You the People (who support Me)”. Erdoğan’s call to his supporters to take to the streets may well have been joined by thousands of opposition party supporters, all of which condemned the coup in no uncertain terms. But the AKP resistors seem to have been front and center, and responsible for most of the ‘counter-revolutionary’ fervor.

Among the most curious announcements made in the aftermath was that 42 helicopters had gone missing. The Turkish press, now completely expunged of opposition writers, worries that a Coup Number Two could be on the way, but that seems an unlikely and suicidal possibility, unless they have vastly more resources hidden away after losing their top 10,000 plants. I ask rather if these missing helicopters could be meant for ISIS? Now that’s the kind of CIA-Gülen-Erdoğan deal that benefits everybody involved. If there is one thing that suggests Erdoğan be exonerated, it is that the US press, independent and alternative to mass-mind-controlled, is united it condemning the man they like to label “Sultan” and “Ottoman”, knowing nothing of either.

It may well have been a CIA operation, a desperate maneuver to sustain their most proximate proxy state in the area, ISIS. This has become endangered by Erdoğan’s political shifts eastward, as much as by Russian aerial campaigns. Whether Erdoğan’s move was genuine, or duplicitous, if it harbored subterfuge or surrender, the pieces of the n-dimensional chessboard are fraying at the edges of WW3, individual pieces fleeing for their lives as the alliance crumbles. ISIS and al-Nusra, proxies of the CIA (through Turkey) now battle the Pentagon’s proxies, the Kurdish YPG, already in northern Syria. (Of course, Raytheon, for the moment, couldn’t be happier.) Retired DIA head General Michael Flynn, Trump’s foreign policy and military advisor (never a serious VP candidate) represents those US generals that are plainly pissed at our policies of supporting takfiri terror groups, though they never say so in so many words. It does not divide so neatly, Pentagon versus CIA, however. Just look up General Breedlove.

Is the possibility that the helicopters are meant for ISIS outlandish? Not so much. As VT already has reported, the US, probably the CIA, already may be developing an ISIS airforce, employing the Ukraine and swindling Croatia in the process. A dozen refurbished MIGs may be on the way to the CIAliphate. By the same token, it may be the whole bloody blunder of a coup was cover for theft of a stash of helis by infiltrators at Incirlik airbase.Infiltration is their speciality, though it helps to have cooperative border blindness.  Once on the ropes, ISIS now may be hoping to rebound. From the looks of it, the AKP thugs will make good ISIS cannon fodder. Whichever way you interpret it, it is clear the Global GangWars are coming home to roost.This likely means hier bei uns as well.

About neithernoreithermore

i am an historian of the present and past
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1 Response to Designed to Fail: Turkey’s Clumsy Coup Strengthens Erdoğan’s Autocracy

  1. Pingback: Turkish Coup Attempt Reconsidered | Caravansaray Posts

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