Turkish Government is

Suing US politicians and diplomats


Turkey launches investigation into 17 US politicians, bureaucrats and academics over last year's attempted coup

By Emily Shugerman on Independent

Those named include the former CIA director John Brennan and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer.

On the eve of a major constitutional referendum, Turkish prosecutors have launched an investigation into 17 US politicians, bureaucrats and academics in connection with the attempted coup that rocked President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government last year.

Included in the investigation are former CIA Director John Brennan, former CIA Deputy Director David Cohen, and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer. The officials are accused of collaborating with Turkish resistance groups to overthrow President Erdogan, a Turkish state-run news service reported on Saturday.

Also named in the inquiry are Preet Bharara, former US attorney for the Southern District of New York and Henri Barkey, director of the Middle East Program at the Wilson Center.

The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul plans to investigate the individuals’ entry to Turkey, their meetings while there, and any ties to Turkish expatriate Fethullah Gulen and the Gulenist movement he founded.

Turkey experienced its bloodiest coup attempt in recorded history on 15 July, 2016, when a subset of the Turkish military drove tanks into the streets and dropped bombs on Istanbul and Ankara. The coup was eventually quelled by President Erdoğan's loyalists, but 241 people were killed and 2,194 injured.

The Turkish government blames the attempted coup on Fethullah Gulen, a former supporter of Mr Erdogan who has lived in exile in the United States since 1990. Mr Gulen is a moderate Muslim cleric who engaged in a battle for power with the more conservative Mr Erdogan in 2013. The 17 officials on the list are now suspected of working with Mr Gulen to orchestrate the coup from abroad.

In a telephone interview with The Independent, Mr Barkey denied anyone on the list had contacted Mr Gulen in years. Turkish officials, he claimed, launched the investigation to stir up anti-Western sentiment ahead of the county’s constitutional referendum on Sunday.

“To have a big indictment of the former head of the CIA, the former US prosecutor from New York, this is one more little reminder to the public that these nasty foreigners are the ones who organised the coup attempt,” Mr Barkey said.

Sunday’s referendum could shift the Turkish system of government from parliamentary to presidential, expanding Mr Erdoğan’s power over national security, the judicial system, and more. Critics claim the change would strengthen Mr Erdogan’s increasingly autocratic grip on the country.

Mr Erdogan has fallen out of favour with the west in recent years for jailing journalists and labelling opposition parties as terrorist organisations. Now, voters who seek to curtail the president's powers say they have received death threats ahead of Sunday's referendum.

Surveys from polling company Konda showed a 51 per cent chance of a “yes” vote on Saturday.

Article posted at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/chuck-schumer-john-brennan-named-in-investigation-of-turkish-coup-erdogan-gulen-a7685451.html

Oops, I hurt Erdogan’s feelings

By Michael Rubin on American Enterprise Institute

For a man who depicts himself as a great leader on the world stage, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems fragile, an Ottoman snowflake. You see, today I woke up to news that Turkey’s leader had filed a nine-page criminal complaint against me.

Here’s my confession:
  • Did I write about Erdogan’s corruption? Yes.
  • Did I write about Erdogan’s crackdown on political dissent? Yes.
  • Did I suggest that Erdogan is setting Turkey down a path to ruin? Yes.
  • Do I support exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen or his organization? No. But I draw conclusions based on evidence, not Erdogan’s political grudges. Sometimes I might agree with what Gülen says or does, and other times I don’t. Now, isn’t it ironic, Mr. President, that your supporters used to criticize me for criticizing Gülen? I know the literary reference will be lost on you but isn’t this what George Orwell meant when, in 1984, he wrote “We’ve always been at war with Eastasia”?
  • Did I suggest that something smells fishy about the evidence put forward by Erdogan about last summer’s coup? You bet I did. Frankly, most of it seems just as fake as the dossiers Erdogan (and supporters of his then-ally Gülen) put forward to support the Ergenekon and Bayloz cases.
  • Do I believe Erdogan’s cynical approach to the Islamic State and the Kurdish negotiations have sparked a terrorist blowback in which hundreds of Turks have died? Yes.
  • Do I believe Erdogan might end his career as Metin Yüksel did, or in a Qatari or Russian exile? That’s not a threat, it’s just a reading of Turkey’s dangerous polarization and what has happened in the past when outlets of civil dissent are shut down for political reasons. Now, President Erdogan, here’s some advice: When you have truth on your side, you needn’t try to arrest or intimidate your opponents. As for your case against me? I’m not alone. People aren’t stupid. You’re trying to show yourself as strong to your supporters, but such antics only expose you as weak.
More than half of Turks share similar concerns. American and European diplomats have reached the same conclusions. So too have many Arab states. Yes, you can reach out to Russia but, be aware: Russian President Vladimir Putin wants only to use you; he does not care about Turkey, and will throw you away when he’s done with you. But, if I hurt your feelings, Mr. President, let me apologize: I’m sorry that history will not remember you any more kindly than it does Murad IV.

Article posted at http://www.aei.org/publication/oops-i-hurt-erdogans-feelings/