It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Flush with his third and most resounding electoral victory, Recep Tayyip Erdogan bestrides the Turkish stage like a colossus. That victory was his alone: polling shows that more than half of the 50 percent of Turks who cast their votes for the piously Islamic ruling Freedom and Justice Party (AKP) last month were voting for the ruggedly populist prime minister himself, not his party. His electoral pitch looked far ahead, to 2023—the 100th anniversary of the founding, under Kemal Atatürk, of the modern, and secular, Turkish state following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. He makes no bones about intending to be in charge from now until then, as a president endowed with greatly expanded powers under a new Constitution that will refashion Turkey on the model of what he calls “democratic conservatism,” but that his political opponents grimly characterize as Islamo-fascist.
In Washington, the State Department affirmed its “total faith” in all Turkish institutions, civilian and military. Ria Oomen, the European Parliament’s Turkey rapporteur, was positively gushing: “Turkey is getting more democratic by the day.”
The European Commission has blandly described the Ergenekon and Sledgehammer trials as “an opportunity for Turkey to strengthen confidence in the proper functioning of its democratic institutions and the rule of law.”
But the way the investigations have been conducted, and the ever-swelling list of detainees, suggests not so much a democracy resolutely confronting malign forces from the past as Stalin’s military show trials of 1938 and Hitler’s systematic crushing of all opposition after coming to power in 1933. As the supposedly “pragmatic” Erdogan stealthily undermines the separation of state and religion that was Atatürk’s key reform, there is a reek of totalitarian sulfur in the Turkish air.
...journalists, academics, businessmen, and even jurists are vulnerable: anyone who criticizes the AKP; champions equal rights for Turkey’s large Kurdish minority; or, still more perilous, probes the penetration of Turkish schools, universities, media, and bureaucracy by the AKP’s own “deep state” ally, a wealthy and powerful Islamist movement directed from luxurious self-exile in the U.S. by Imam Fethullah Gülen, Erdogan’s friend and mentor.
Rather than a secular democracy, Erdogan is turning his country into an Islam-tilted dictatorship. Eight years ago, 300,000 secularist Turks waved banners showing Atatürk’s picture as they demonstrated against Erdogan’s increasingly Islamic agenda. Nevertheless, Erdogan has remained popular. Through three successive elections since 2003 he’s won the prime minister’s job. He’s since been elected president.
The skies above Syria are crowded with military planes from various nations. However, the non-stop bombardment of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) seems to be producing nothing in return. The group still maintains the ability to strike anytime, anywhere - even in the US. And while Western nations along with Russia are trying to destroy IS, some of America’s alleged "allies" in the region seem to be playing their own game. Can a war be won in such conditions? Can progress be made if only some are committed to end the fighting? We pose these questions, and many more, to an ex-CIA agent and counter-terrorism expert. Philip Giraldi is on Sophie&Co today.