By Brandon Turbeville
With Turkey now undergoing the largest military/governmental purge in
modern history, the question of Turkey’s future in terms of its
domestic stability and structure is in flux and the possibilities facing
the world, especially Syria, in regards to any changes of Turkish
foreign policy are shaky as well. But even as the question of Syria’s
future remains, what about who initiated the coup? Who was behind it?
Why was it launched? In other words, what the hell is happening in
Unfortunately, there is not a clear answer to this question. There
is, however, context into which we may place the situation for a better
understanding of the possibilities and the potential directions of
Turkey’s and, as a result, the Middle East’s future. Indeed, what is
happening in Turkey will have reverberations that span across the globe
in every direction.
The first thing that one must be aware of when discussing the crisis
in Turkey is that Turkish politics, like internal politics of most
nations but especially those of Middle Eastern countries and those with
heavily fractured elements of political, ethnic, religious, and
historical/imperial baggage, is extremely complex. While forces at the
top of the pyramid may control the direction of the country, at the
operative level, there are several different factions in motion in
Turkey. Even within branches of the Turkish governmental structure,
factions are a major issue that must be considered for any amount of
The Factions – Turkey 101
In simplistic terms, there are largely three factions in the Turkish
government that one must be aware of in order to understand the
complexity of the issue. The first faction is the Erdogan/AKP faction
which largely works arm in arm with the Muslim Brotherhood networks and
within the Islamist orbit as well as the wealthier or upper-middle class
type constituency of Islamist society. The second faction is the
Turkish nationalists, also known as the Kemalist Turks. This faction
tends to be more embedded in the “deep state” which, in this context,
means the internal structure and backbone of the Turkish government. For
this faction, one might think Egypt or even, in some way, Ghaddafi of
Libya as well as Nasser of Egypt and Ataturk of Turkey long ago. This
faction is nationalist but traditionally has been more open to dialogue
with the world and its neighbors as opposed to acting as a spear in
imperialist engines. The third faction is now being discussed more and
more in the mainstream media in the West as a result of the coup. This
faction is made up of the Gulen Movement, led by a wealthy businessman
with close ties to the CIA and based inside the United States.
Eric Draitser of Stop Imperialism described the factions in much the same way. Draitser says:
Most people don’t realize this but there are three major factions that in various ways vie for power.
The first is Erdogan and AKP (Justice & Development Party) which
is in the milieu of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is close to those same
networks and pursues MB policies, representing the typical petit
bourgeois class that MB always represents.
The second is the Kemalist Turkish nationalists. They are
historically connected to the Turkish military and deep state, similar
to Egypt. They have historically been friendly with NATO while
maintaining a somewhat friendly attitude to neighbors and Russia.
The third is the faction around Fetullah Gulen, the super-rich
Turkish businessman who runs one of the world’s largest charter school
and private school networks. He is very close to the CIA and has been
more or less at war with Erdogan for the last few years.
These three factions have been fighting for power for a while now,
and it is these conflicts that really drove Erdogan to consolidate his
power as he has, and implement the draconian laws that have created
Turkey’s police state.
So what we see are the embedded nationalists who are continually
trying to rein in Erdogan’s insanity as well as his deep connection and
subservience to NATO and the Western imperialists. However, the Gulen
Movement, acting as a U.S. –backed wing of potential destabilization was
always waiting in the lurch to act as a pressure and possibly
replacement for Erdogan and the AKP if the two were ever to get too far
out of line.
Even the Turkish military is factionalized. “[The]Military is not [a]
homogeneous organization – [there are] many factions – [which] has been
an issue the US and NATO have tried to solve for decades,” says Tony
Cartalucci of Land Destroyer. [The] trick now will be figuring
out which faction is fighting which. There were obviously factions
opposed to Syrian war, others supporting it (with NATO/Erdogan & Co.
involved). Obviously if the anti-war faction is going to come out on
top, that is the absolute END of NATO in the Middle East, in Syria, and
beyond. We are talking a titanic shift here no matter which way this
goes… [This is an] incredibly dangerous time.”
Which Faction Was Responsible For The Coup?
The question now remains, even as Erdogan engages in the biggest
governmental/military purge since the days of Nazi Germany and Soviet
Russia, who was actually responsible for the failed coup against the
Turkish president? The options as they present themselves are, of
course, any one of the factions mentioned above – The Kemalist
Nationalists, Gulen Movement, and even the AKP/Ikwan networks. There is
also the possibility of an outside force being involved in the coup as
well, particularly of the American variety. There is also the option of a
combination of two or more factions having been involved.
In what would, at first glance, look like the most obvious option,
the Kemalist Nationalists would no doubt have reason enough to want to
overthrow Erdogan. Having instigated a second civil war with the Turkish
Kurds/PKK, gross abuse of the Turkish Constitution and the
constitutional form of government, the crackdown on civil liberties,
dissent, political rivals, and anything resembling a free media, Erdogan
has turned Turkey upside down and moved the country even further down
the road of authoritarianism. Erdogan’s foolish blunder in Syria, the
elimination of a peaceful neighbor, Turkey’s growing cooperation with
Israel, and the provocation of Russia (to the point of shooting down a
Russian military jet) is thus threatening to turn an internal crisis
into an external one of international dimensions. Erdogan’s support for
ISIS and other terrorist organizations for use against the Syrian
government has made Turkey a pariah amongst nations of good will and a
ticking time bomb of Islamic fanaticism inside its own borders.
Erdogan’s subservience to the will of NATO and the Western imperialists
such as the United States, Britain, and France among others is also a
finger in the eye of any nationalist sentiment as well it should be.
Such is the hostility created when one spends truckloads of money on
imperialist ventures that can, in no way, benefit the Turkish people but
that could have immense dangers to them while, at the same time,
allowing Turkish infrastructure to lag behind that which is needed in
the 21st century.
All of this would be justification on the part of the nationalists to
launch a coup against Erdogan. However, there has been no evidence –
beyond the fact that Erdogan has arrested many of the members of this
faction in the aftermath of the coup – that they were actually behind
it. Thus, the possibility that the coup was initiated by Kemalist
nationalists is becoming one of the least likely scenarios.
The Gulen Movement
Turkish President Erdogan has leveled the blame
for the failed coup on the backs of the Gulen Movement, a “religious
and social group” that Turkish officials have, in the past, claimed has
attempted to “create a parallel state inside of Turkey.” The group is
led by Fethullah Gulen, a Sunni cleric living in “self-imposed” exile in
the United States ever since 1999. Erdogan himself was once allied to
Gulen but that partnership fully broke down in 2013 and, ever since, he
has attempted to remove all vestiges of the organization from power in
for Erdogan and for the Turkish people, Gulen’s members are not card
carriers. Instead, they are largely secretive and opaque. They do not
generally identify themselves publicly and thus they are harder to purge
from the government.
However, Gulen is much more than a mere Islamist organization vying
for power in Turkey from abroad. There is much evidence that Gulen is
actually a front for the CIA. Having had a number of reports – from
WikiLeaks releases showing Turkish intelligence officers admitting
knowledge of CIA connections to Gulen to statements from whistleblower
Sibel Edmonds stating the same – revealing that Gulen is essentially
controlled by or, at the very least, working with the CIA.
As Joshua Cook of Truth In Media wrote:
A classified communication
reveals that many secularists in Turkey are convinced that the ruling
Justice and Development Party (AKP) is the creation of the United States
Government (USG), and that Washington bolsters and funds the Fethullah
Is the CIA or another agency in the USG using the Gülen movement to
fund “cold war” operations overseas? Is the USG using the Gülen Islamic
schools to influence Central Asia with a more “moderate” version of
Islam to rival more racial Islamic sects?
Some claim that Gulen is a front for the CIA. See here and here.
If there is anyone who knows the truth about the inner workings of
U.S. and Turkey relations it is FBI whistle-blower Sibel Edmonds.
is considered the “the most gagged person in American history.” The USG
invoked “state secrets privilege” in her case and she is prevented from
revealing government corruption and cannot discuss certain aspects of
her knowledge regarding her case. The DOJ’s Inspector General stated her
claims are credible and Edmonds says her claims can be backed up by FBI
Benswann.com’s Joshua Cook asked Edmonds via email about her thoughts
regarding Gülen. Edmonds has been covering the Gülen movement for years
and has extensive research on her website.
Cook asked Edmonds, is Gülen a threat to US interests?
“This has to do with Gülen’s role in terrorism,” said Edmonds. “Under
the guise of schools [Madrasas] in Central Asia & Caucasus his
network is involved in training terrorists [from Chechens to other
Islamic Jihadis in the area]. The bureau had him under investigations
since 1998. However, they were prevented from pursuing the cases
[despite all evidence collected] due to direct pressure from the
CIA/State Deptment. How do I know? Some of the case files were under the
division where I worked [counterintelligence]. Other investigations
were being conducted under the FBI’s crime & terrorism division.”
Cook asked, “Is the CIA using the Gülen network to fund CIA ops in Turkey?”
“They did,” said Edmonds. “It was also a channel for money laundering
for their $20 billion worth network. They bring teachers from Turkey.
They provide them with decent/high salaries, but then, they force them
to voluntarily and individually contribute over 50% of their income to
their various front charity organizations … I met with several
ex-teachers and spoke with them in 2006-2008; however, because of overt
and covert threats from Gülen’s network to their families in Turkey,
they were not willing to come forward or go on record.”
While under oath during a legal disposition, Edmonds, was asked if she had any information regarding Fethullah Gülen.
“He landed on the Turkish government’s wanted list and was going to
be persecuted for wanting to replace Turkey’s secular government with an
Islamic/Sharia-type of government. When he was wanted in Turkey for
that and was going to go jail, he actually got on a plane and came to
the United States, and was given immediately a visa to stay in the
United States,” said Edmonds.
Edmonds states that Gülen has close ties to training militant Muslims.
Edmonds claims in her testimony that
“Gülen established more than 300 Madrasahs in Central Asia and what he
calls universities that have a front that is called Moderate Islam, but
he is closely involved in training Mujahideen (Al-Qaeda) – like militia
Islam who are brought from Pakistan and Afghanistan into Central Asia
where his Madrasahs operate, and his organization’s network is estimated
to be around $25 billion, and that he has close ties to training
When asked if she considers Gülen a threat to U.S. interests, she responded, “100%, Absolutely.”
In addition, in his book Witness To Revolution and Near Anarchy, retired Turkish intelligence official Osman Nuri Gundes says the Gulen Movement “sheltered 130 CIA agents” at the organizations’ schools in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan alone.
Dr. Aland Mizell of Kurdish Aspect,
while arguing that there is a relationship between Gulen and the CIA,
stresses that he believes this relationship is more mutual than
dominant-submissive. Essentially, he argues that the relationship is
symbiotic. Mizell writes,
In the past Dr. Necip Hablemitoglu,
professor of history at Ankara University studied the relation of
Fethullah Gulen’s community with the CIA. In his study he claimed that
the CIA used Fethullah Gulen or that Gulen worked for the CIA. Dr.
Hablemitoglu was assassinated in 2002, and his case has still not been
solved. Regarding Gulen’s connection to the CIA, former Turkish
Intelligence Chief, Osman Nuri Gundes, in his memoir claimed that
Gulen’s movement has been providing cover for the CIA since the
mid-1990s, and that in the 90s, the movement sheltered 130 CIA agents at
its schools in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan alone. The memoir revealed
that the CIA operates in Central Asia by using the Gulenists’ movement.
Furthermore, the Washington Post, hastening its news sells, printed the
partial and prejudiced coverage of this recently published memoir by
Chief Gundes. I think that the publication was an important piece
although not a fair, objective news analysis, but rather a marketing
tool and a kind of propagandistic journalism for the Gulenists. I think
that the author failed to demonstrate the intense secrecy of the
organization and neglected to conduct further investigation to see if
the Gulenists do have a connection with the CIA.
. . . . .
It is no secret that the CIA and Washington support Gulenists in
Central Asia to counter the Iranian version of the Shia religious
influence there. After the collapse of the Soviet-Union in 1989, there
was a social, political, and religious vacuum. Central Asian states were
weak, so obviously the world would ask who would fill that vacuum.
Even at that time when Gulen sent his followers to Central Asia, he
asked them to hasten, urging, “If you don’t go now, later this door
could be closed, and others will fill your place.” It was not a surprise
that Islam filled that vacuum because the majority of the Central Asian
countries have a Muslim heritage. Having recently emerged from an
atheistic Communism, they more readily embraced their traditional
religion. But after the collapse of Soviet-Union the balance of power
changed as well. Before this downfall, the East was dominated by the
Soviet-Union and the West by America, but afterwards the United States
became the single superpower and thus had its chance to extend its power
to Central Asia.
. . . . .
The story of the CIA’s involvement in this strategy emerges at this
point. In the short run the Turkish social and economic model would
restrain the Iranian model of Fundamental Islam and thus slow the growth
of Fundamentalism in Central Asia and would prevent a confrontational
approach to the region’s problems. But Washington did not calculate the
long-term US interest in the region because in the long run aligning
with Turkish Islam could backfire and could damage the U.S.’s economic
interests in the Central Asian and Middle Eastern regions. For example,
in 1979, the U.S. supported the small evil Taliban regime in order to
contain the seemingly larger evil of the Soviet-Union. After defeating
the bigger evil, the small evil became problematic for the U.S. in that
region. The U.S.’s interest in Central Asia would be affected long-term
by the new growth of the Turkish version of Islam. Today this version of
Islam has become almost a dominant power in Central Asia especially in
Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan. The political space to gain
such power may have resulted from Gulen’s courtship with the CIA in
. . . . .
As for his relation to CIA, it is clearly mutual and symbolic one. As
in Biology, the two live in association with one another. The specific
from of symbiosis is mutualism in that both benefits. The CIA believes
that it ameliorates radicalism by associating with Gulenists, and Gulen
receives the protection and a foil by the CIA’s involvement
Regardless of whether the relationship between Gulen and the CIA is
symbiotic or one in which the CIA controls Gulen entirely, there
nonetheless seems to be a relationship. Consider what Osman Softic wrote for Open Democracy, itself a foundation-funded Soros operation, in February, 2014 where he stated,
In 1953, the US clandestinely helped to
overthrow the nationalist Mossadiq government in Iran. It had its hands
in Sukarno’s downfall in Indonesia in 1965 and in 1973 it overthrew
President Salvador Allende in Chile. Instead of those popular leaders,
the US installed some of the cruellest dictators of the twentieth
century: Shah Reza Pahlavi, Suharto and Pinochet.
In connection with this analogy it may be worth mentioning another
set of allegations to the effect that some of the Gülen schools in
Central Asia have served in the past as convenient cover for 130 CIA operatives in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, who spied for the US government while working as English teachers.
In his memoirs Osman Nuri Gundes, former head of the Istanbul branch
of the Turkish Intelligence Service (MIT) even mentioned “Bridges of
Friendship” as the code name of those operations. This particular case
of alleged abuse of the Gülen schools by the CIA was later elaborated on
by Cibel Edmonds in her memoirs Classified Woman: Sibel Edmonds Story.
Edmonds is a former FBI translator who later became one of the most
well-known American whistle blowers in the domain of national security.
Edmonds claimed that the key link between Fethullah Gülen and his
movement with the CIA was Graham Fuller, a prominent intelligence
analyst at the RAND Corporation, former CIA station chief in Kabul and
Vice President of the National Intelligence Council.
Although he dismissed the allegations about the role of Gülen’s
schools in hiding CIA operatives, Fuller admitted that he provided a
reference to Gülen at the time the US immigration authorities planned to
expel him in 2006.
Fuller wrote a letter to the FBI and the US Department of Homeland
Security in defence of Gülen. Fuller wrote that he believed Gülen was
not a threat to America. Due to this support, Gülen was allowed to stay
in the United States. Another person who also wrote a similar letter in
defence of Gülen was Morton Abramowitz, former CIA operative in Turkey
who later served as a US ambassador in that country.
If the Gulen Movement is thus responsible for the failed Turkish
coup, we must then look at the possibility that the CIA and other
branches of U.S. intelligence were involved as well. Just as the
nationalists have their reasons for wanting to see Erdogan deposed, the
Western intelligence/imperialist factions might very well have their
own, albeit 180 degrees different from those of the nationalists. Keep
in mind, Erdogan’s Turkey has, over the last several weeks, expressed
greater tendency toward reconciliation with Russia both in terms of
geopolitical issues as well as economic projects. After having apologized to Russia
for the downing of a Russian jet, relations between the two countries
seemed to have warmed despite the continuation of a deep rift between
them on the issue of Syria and terrorism. With the issue regarding the
shoot down of the Russian jet now largely solved, both Russia and Turkey
are now able to use the recent warming of relations to get back to
business setting up and developing the Russia-Turkey gas pipeline.
It is for this reason that some researchers have suggested that the
United States is behind the Turkish coup, perhaps using Gulen as the
battering ram against Erdogan so as to disrupt the potential
Russia-Turkey cooperation and Turkey’s political move toward Russia.
Essentially, this is the position of researcher and geopolitical analyst with the Katehon think tank in Moscow and writer for Sputnik News, Andrew Korybko.
“The US leveraged its influence over the Turkish military via the
Gulen faction to stage the coup attempt. Washington was shocked at the
Russian-Turkish detente and wanted to offset Ankara’s new foreign policy
rethinking,” Korybko says. “Turkey will more than likely shut down the
Syrian border and implicitly agree to President Assad remaining in
office, despite whatever face-saving statements they make to the
“Furthermore,” Korybko adds, “Russia is organizing a regional
coalition of powers between Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Iraq, which could
also possibly be used in dismantling the US’ attempt to militantly
create a “second geopolitical Israel” out of “Kurdistan.” Also, Russia
and Turkey are on the brink of resuming the Balkan (Turkish) Stream
pipeline, and this regional megaproject could seriously effect
geopolitical change if it’s completed, as I’ve repeatedly written about
in many interviews.”
Korybko also argues that the handprints of U.S. intelligence are all
over the coup. “The coup perpetrators want to overthrow Erdogan and
reverse his recent foreign policy shifts,” he says. “They also want to
implement a ceasefire with the Kurds that would give them autonomy,
“federalism”, or perhaps even independence (whether de-jure or
de-facto). This would make it much easier to dismantle Syria through the
YPG’s unilateral “federalization” attempt. Truth be told, there are
many reasons that Turks and their military have to be seriously upset at
Erdogan, not least because of his Islamization attempt to transform the
constitutionally secular country, but the language used during the coup
(“democracy” and “human rights”) clearly points to a hidden American
hand. None of this is surprising though, since I had been following this
strategic undercurrent for nearly a year now and have posted excerpts
for all relevant articles during this period on my Facebook page.”
Korybko adds that “This coup attempt was engineered as the US’
unipolar fallback plan for salvaging their regional foreign policy in
the Mideast and reversing the multipolar inroads that Russia had made
with the Russian-Turkish detente.”
The Fourth Option – U.S. Intelligence Launched Coup WITH Erdogan
But perhaps there is a fourth option available that is able to
explain exactly what happened in Turkey over the weekend. While the
Turkish nationalist may have had a number of reasons that would provide a
rational motive for attempting to overthrow Erdogan, the evidence, at
least at this time, does not support the case that they actually did.
There is, however, evidence, that one of the second or third options
or a combination of the two were indeed involved heavily in the coup
attempt. But, if the United States or the Gulen Movement or the United
States through the Gulen Movement had attempted to overthrow Erdogan, we
are seeing a puzzling response from the Turkish government. Thus, the
fourth option is that Erdogan and the United States conspired together
to stage a coup that was destined to fail in order to use it as a
justification for a major purge in the Turkish government and military.
Indeed, as Tony Cartalucci writes in his article “Turkey’s Failed Coup A Gift From God,”
if the United States was truly involved in the Turkish coup or even if
the U.S. had merely facilitated the coup via the Gulen Movement,
Turkey’s response has been “disproportionately subdued.” “No one is
suggesting that Turkey would “go to war” with the United States,” writes
Cartalucci, “but even amid diplomatic rows of far lesser significance,
nations have expelled diplomats and withdrawn the use of their territory
for specific uses by the nation in question. Turkey, so far, has done
none of this in regards to the United States.”
the U.S. was truly involved in the Turkish coup one would expect a
number of actions to follow the incident. First, as Cartalucci suggests,
we would expect to see the expulsion of diplomats and the expulsion of
U.S. forces from Turkish territory, namely Incirlik Air Base. We would
expect the closure of the rather large American embassy in Ankara.
Likewise, Turkey would then be forced to rethink its membership in NATO
since, despite the organization being based upon the concept of
“collective defense,” no one came to Turkey’s aid even though the coup
would be considered an overt act of war against the Turkish government.
We would also expect to see Turkey move closer to Russia, Iran, and
possibly China as well as some elements of Europe. At this time,
however, we have seen none of these actions taking place.
So there now stands as a distinct possibility that the United States
was indeed involved in the coup but that it was not alone. In fact,
there is mounting evidence that the other party was Erdogan himself.
But why would Erdogan support a coup against himself?
The answer to that question may lie in simply asking “Who benefits?”
from this entire situation. One need only consider the words of Erdogan
shortly after the coup where he stated “They will pay a heavy price for
this. This uprising is a gift from God to us because this will be a
reason to cleanse our army.”
With Erdogan a member of NATO who has done nothing but NATO’s bidding
in the extreme and who has not responded with even the slightest
punitive measures against the country it is claiming is responsible for
an attempted coup on its government is now receiving a “gift from God”
which gives him the pretext and justification for purging his military
and government of nationalist elements on a scale that has not been seen
since the mid -20th Century. This purge of nationalists has been the
desire of both Erdogan and the United States as well as NATO for
decades. Now, they get their wish.
As Tony Cartalucci writes, “It [the coup] will represent a 21st
century ‘Reichstag fire’ leading to a 21st century ‘Hitlerian purge,’
removing the last remaining obstacles to President Erdogan and the
corrosive institutions he has constructed in their collective bid to
seize absolute power over Turkey.”
At this point in time, we can only watch and gauge the reactions of
Turkey and the subsequent behavior of the Erdogan government. Will
Turkey engage in punitive measures or will it double down against Syria,
Russia, Iran, and political dissent within the country? Without being
privy to inside information, Turkey’s behavior will tell us all we need
to know in regards to who was behind this coup.
If Erdogan did indeed conspire with the United States to stage a coup
and provide a pretext for a massive crackdown and purge of his
political enemies, then the man known for narcissism and delusions of
grandeur made one hell of a gutsy move that appears to be paying
dividends in the form of solidifying his control over the country. If
this is case, then Turkey is in for an even rougher ride and,
unfortunately, so is Syria.
Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President.
Turbeville has published over 650 articles on a wide variety of
subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil
liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s radio show Truth on The Tracks can be
found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. His website is BrandonTurbeville.com He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.
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