News Corp Australia Network article featuring ICSVE and Deputy Director Ahmet S Yayla, Ph.D.
by Jamie Seidel
A TURKISH newspaper has named a US general as “leading” the recent failed coup, considerably escalating tensions between the two countries.
TURKEY’S former anti-terrorism chief has warned that an article accusing a US general of orchestrating the failed coup represents a serious threat to US citizens.
Turkey, which has declared a three-month state of emergency after a failed coup attempt on July 15, admits to having detained more than 13,000 people in the military, judiciary and other institutions.
The wave of arrests, possibly much higher than the official figure, has alarmed NATO allies and European leaders with fears the moves represent an attempt by Turkey’s controversial President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to cement his hold on power and remove all forms of opposition.
Turkish officials insist that the purge of all levels of society is necessary to protect its democracy from threats both within and without.
And it seems it believes the United States is one such threat.
Pro Erdogan supporters wave a Turkish national flag during a rally at Bosphorus bridge in Istanbul. Public sentiment has been turning against NATO ally, the United States. Picture: AFPSource:AFP
Professor Ahmet Yayla, Former Chief of Counter-terrorism for the Turkish National Police and a member of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism, has pointed to today’s front page of a pro-Erdogan newspaper as a major and dangerous escalation in rhetoric.
The Yeni Safak newspaper appeared on news stands today with the headline “This man led the coup”, accusing United States Army General J.F. Campbell of commanding the uprising a little more than a week ago.
It reportedy quotes ‘high level government officers’ as voicing claims that the US CIA spy agency backed coup forces and plotters.
Professor Yayla points out General Campbell recently retired.
He also says the article, being in such a pro-Ergodan mouthpiece, represents a serious risk for US citizens now inside Turkey — including consular and military staff.
“This anti-American rhetoric reminds (me of) the ‘79 Iranian revolution and what happened afterwards. It is a very dangerous approach,” he wrote.
A Turkish anti riot police officer stands guard on a tank after a military position on the Bosphorus bridge was taken over in Istanbul on July 16. Picture: AFPSource:AFP
ACCUSATIONS OF INVOLVEMENT
Accusations of possible US involvement in the coup attempt have been circulating since the events of July 15.
Several of the fighter planes involved in bombing government facilities took off from the jointly operated Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey, where the US holds a NATO stockpile of nuclear weapons and conducts air strikes against the Islamic State.
Public anger has on several times been vented upon US reporters attempting to cover pro-Erdogan demonstrations in recent weeks.
This has prompted US President Barack Obama to assert that he had no knowledge of, or involvement in, the coup attempt.
Obama told Erdogan in a telephone conversation last week that any reports that the United States was involved in the planning for the attack were “unequivocally false.”
Mr Obama also reiterated that he hoped “there is not an over-reaction that could in some fashion lead to curtailment of civil liberties”
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacts after attending the funeral of a victim of the coup attempt in Istanbul. He vowed today to purge the “virus” within state bodies which he blames on key opposition figure Fethullah Gulen. Picture: AFPSource:AFP
HEART OF THE MATTER
At the centre of Turkey’s growing dispute with the United States is the key opposition figure, Fethullah Gulen.
Gulen, once a close friend of Erdogan’s, is the spiritual leader whom Turkey accuses of having orchestrated the plot to overthrow the government.
The preacher, who lives in a compound in rural Pennsylvania and whose foundation runs a global network of religious schools, charities and media interests, has strongly denied the accusations against him
The United States says it will only extradite Gulen to Turkey once sufficient evidence of his involvement has been presented.
Erdogan has reacted with affront.
Turkish Ambassador to the United States Serdar Kilic has said Turkey was working “in a way commensurate with the time-tested alliance relationship between the two countries.”
He said tens of thousands of pages of evidence, developed by investigators since 2013, can be presented to the US Justice Department.
“We are trying to communicate to our partners and allies the threat posed by this terrorist organisation to the Turkish state structure and the Turkish democracy,” he said. “It should have been listened to more closely.”
NOTE: Professor Ahmet Yayla has contacted the author to highlight that Turkish media is reporting the US general ‘led’ the coup, not that he was a ringleader.