Also in Media: Erdogan’s Countercoup

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Estimated number of “coup plotters” killed: 24.

Civil service firings and suspensions: 50,000.

Detained: 9,000

In BackChannels’ opinion, the coup — the real one — has been successful.

At the end of an interview (published July 15) with Slate contributor Isaac Chotiner, Jenny White, a professor at Stockholm University’s Institute for Turkish Studies, notes, “In previous coups the army took over because they thought institutions were not working properly or being populated with Islamists. But the institutions were still there. This time, the institutions themselves have been destroyed.”

Here follow a passel of factual and more recent reporting on the countercoup as President Erdogan consolidates his Putinesque domination (“different talks — same walk”) of Turkish politics.

BBC.  “Turkey coup attempt: Crackdown toll passes 50,000.”  July 20, 2016:

Before the vote, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said that once emergency measures are invoked, the country would suspend its participation in the European Convention of Human Rights. He said the move was justified under a convention article allowing for such a suspension in times of emergency.

CBS/AP.  “More arrests as Turkish leader tightens the noose.”  July 21, 2016:

The detentions reported by Anadolu news agency come hours after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a three-month state of emergency that is expected to expand the crackdown.

Already, nearly 10,000 people have been arrested while hundreds of schools have been closed. And nearly 60,000 civil service employees have been dismissed from their posts since the failed coup Friday.

Newton, Jennifer.  “Now Turkey suspects 15,000 TEACHERS over ties to Fethullah Gulen as Erdogan demands US hand the cleric over.”  Daily Mail, July 19, 2016.

Pamuk, Humeyra, and Ece Toksabay.  “Turkey says no return to past repression despite state of emergency.”  Reuters, July 21, 2016: “Governments can impose curfews and declare certain public and private areas off limits, and it can ban or restrict meetings, gatherings and rallies.”  Add to the elimination of freedom of assembly the possibility of warrantless searches and extralegal — or capriciously approved — murder, torture, and press censorship.

RFE/RL.  “More Arrests In Turkey As State Of Emergency Takes Effect.”  July 21, 2016:

Nearly one-third of Turkey’s roughly 360 serving generals have been detained. The Defense Ministry is investigating all military judges and prosecutors and has suspended 262 of them, broadcaster NTV reported, while 900 police officers in Ankara were also suspended on July 20.

Turkey’s education system has been hit particularly hard during the ongoing crackdown. The Education Ministry on July 20 added more than 6,500 new names to the list of 15,200 school employees suspended, state media reported.

Sarlyuce, Isll, Angela Dewan.  “Turkey coup: What does the state of emergency mean for democracy?”  CNN, July 21, 2016.

Withnall, Adam.  “Turkey suspends European Convention on Human Rights in wake of coup.”  Independent, July 21, 2016.

Earlier, from the coup period

Chotiner, Isaac.  “How Turkey Came to This:  The attempted military coup isn’t the country’s first.  but this time is different.”  Slate, July 15, 2016:

They think of it as recalibrating democracy, but they can’t get rid of pandering to religion because people are conservative. And Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) managed to pull that off to such an extent that they now have half the population, in part because that part of the population has been constantly pushed back and disrespected.

Koplow, Michael J.  “The Coup Attempt Will Leave Him Stronger.”  Foreign Affairs, July 18, 2016:

The 1997 “postmodern” coup that deposed Erdogan’s political mentor, Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, and led to Erdogan’s subsequent imprisonment and suspension from politics for religious incitement only reinforced the notion among non-elite Turks that the old secular establishment, of which the army was the cornerstone, would never fully cede power.

It was only when Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) co-founder Abdullah Gül won their 2007 stare-down with the military over Gül’s candidacy for president (which the army opposed because Gül’s wife wore a headscarf), that Erdogan seemed to gain the upper hand and be in position to alter the balance of power with the army for good.

Pipes, Daniel.  “Why I Rooted for the Turkish Coup Attempt”.  Middle East Forum, July 18, 2016.

Before the “Coup”

The Economist.  “Erdogan and his generals: The once all-powerful Turkish armed forces are cowed, if not quite impotent.” February 2, 2013.

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FTAC – “Occupation”? The “Middle East Conflict”, Preoccupation and the Power of Old Lies

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Occupied by whom and what?

Regarding the origins of the PLO: https://conflict-backchannels.com/…/quote-manipulation…/

Hamas – Muslim Brotherhood (way out of step with Wasatia Moderation and Reconciliation) – and wealthy: Haniyeh and Mashaal have developed reputations as billionaires.

The “camps” of Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt: Arab-created and managed.

For partial isolation in geopolitical space, the refugees of 1948 may become an ethnolinguistic cohort — a “People” — by (x) beliefs x calendar x customs x language (!) x rituals — but in clinical overview, the same have been abused by Arab powers and by Moscow.

In the efforts of the Soviet to establish and sustain power in the middle east, endemic Russian anti-Semitism became a message promoted by the same to encourage an Arab bond.

https://conflict-backchannels.com/…/ftac-tip-to-the…/

The Soviet Union self-dissolved almost 25 years ago, but the character of its political existence did not leave Russia, and continued disinformation plus promotion or tolerance for terrorism (Moscow has in recent years hosted PFLP and refuses to this day to designate Hezbollah or Hamas as terrorist organizations) have remained a part of Putin’s “neo-imperial” Russia.

The common bond and cause for a still reckless mythology — Jew hate and discomfort in general with “the west” — the generally higher-integrity, democratic, humanist, and open societies.

Fatah and Hamas have their “track records” as governments. Why they serve as the interlocutors of the Palestinians – now isolated and subject to the same post-Soviet and Muslim Brotherhood forces — should be a difficult question to answer in retrospect.


The twin basis for the middle east conflict: the “Zionists” stole their property from “The Palestinians” and Israel “occupies” the land.

The Ottoman Land Code of 1858 “brought about the appropriation by the influential and rich families of Beirut, Damascus, and to a lesser extent Jerusalem and Jaffa and other sub-district capitals, of vast tracts of land in Syria and Palestine and their registration in the name of these families in the land registers”.[8] Many of the fellahin did not understand the importance of the registers and therefore the wealthy families took advantage of this. Jewish buyers who were looking for large tracts of land found it favorable to purchase from the wealthy owners. As well many small farmers became in debt to rich families which led to the transfer of land to the new owners and then eventually to the Jewish buyers.

In 1918, after the British conquest of Palestine, the military administration closed the Land Register and prohibited all sale of land. The Register was reopened in 1920, but to prevent speculation and insure a livelihood for the fellahin, an edict was issued forbidding the sale of more than 300 dunams of land or the sale of land valued at more than 3000 Palestine pounds without the approval of the High Commissioner.[9]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_land_purchase_in_Palestine – as viewed 7/21/2016

There’s more to the stories of indigenous Jewry in Palestine, the capitalization of agriculture in Palestine, and the purchasing – not stealing – from Arab leaseholders of serious tracts of property in Palestine. To overlook that part of history, one must lie about how capital and labor developed on the land and peacefully and productively changed its demographics, both Jewish and Arab.

As regards “The Occupation”, the comment tells the truth about the KGB, Arafat, and the PLO; about the role played by the famously anti-Semitic Soviet in the “winning” of the Arab world (for a short while); and about Hamas and its most famous billionaires.

When it comes to Arab intransigence over the “middle east conflict” (never mind what’s going on in Syria and Iraq – the term obsessively refers to the conflict forced on Israel), one must suppose some fathers would rather lie to their children — and have their children lie as well — than disappoint them.

Addendum – Principal or Transactional Regard? – Choose Principal – Regard Will Come of That

Although the awesome conversation on the middle east conflict strives for “balance” Israeli and Palestinian interest, the actions of the old KGB and its approach to the manipulation of information plus, perhaps, the Arab leadership’s own language behavior across time have left the Arab world and the Palestinians arguing through the invention of multiple alternative narratives, all of which devolve to the delegitimizing of the presence of the Hebrews in the Land of the Hebrews.  Basically, if one does not recognize the “Palestinian People”, why should the same recognize the “Jewish People”?  The question begs for the “I’m okay – you’re okay” hug that it cannot and must not receive, the difference between the effects of “magical thinking” and empiricism and reason being what it is: one leads “the masses” in an abyss; the other keeps individuals en masse from it.

Also from the awesome conversation —

None contest links to the land by Arabs resident on it at the time of Israel’s chartering.

None contest the status of the same as refugees of war caught between armies, as none contest the role of the Arab armies as intending the annihilation of the Jews on the land, and thereby placing Jewish militia in the historic defensive position.

None contest the Jews as having for all functional intents militarily and politically secured _their_ state in 1948.

What happened to the proposed Arab state for the areas that are today “contested” — but not so much: Gaza, I’ve heard, has been “Judenrein” since 2005.

A “People” can be many things these days. After all, who are the “American People”?:)

Still, one might ask: how do the Palestinian People differ from the Arab People?

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Also in Media: “Why We’re Post-Fact” | Peter Pomerantsev | Granta Magazine

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As his army blatantly annexed Crimea, Vladimir Putin went on TV and, with a smirk, told the world there were no Russian soldiers in Ukraine. He wasn’t lying so much as saying the truth doesn’t matter. And when Donald Trump makes up facts on a whim, claims that he saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheering the Twin Towers coming down, or that the Mexican government purposefully sends ‘bad’ immigrants to the US, when fact-checking agencies rate 78% of his statements untrue but he still becomes a US Presidential candidate – then it appears that facts no longer matter much in the land of the free. When the Brexit campaign announces ‘Let’s give our NHS the £350 million the EU takes every week’ and, on winning the referendum, the claim is shrugged off as a ‘mistake’ by one Brexit leader while another explains it as ‘an aspiration’, then it’s clear we are living in a ‘post-fact’ or ‘post-truth’ world. Not merely a world where politicians and media lie – they have always lied – but one where they don’t care whether they tell the truth or not.

How did we get here?

Read more by Peter Pomerantsev in Granta (July 20, 2016) : Why We’re Post-Fact | Peter Pomerantsev | Granta Magazine

Breathtaking Doublespeak Out of Turkey’s Countercoup

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The following appeared in The Washington Post yesterday (Turkey is expected to curb military power as purge expands”), but not so juxtaposed:

“The counter-coup is not over yet,” said Soner Cagaptay, a Turkey expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He said he believes that Erdogan is using the coup attempt as a “one-time window” to consolidate power and lead Turkey toward being a single-party state.

&

“But the president also made clear a couple of other things,” Earnest said. “The first is that the United States doesn’t support terrorists, the United States doesn’t support individuals who conspired to overthrow democratically elected governments. The United States follows the rule of law.”

The first paragraph has to do with a policy analyst’s prognosis for Turkey as an open democracy, the kind more familiar to Washington than to Moscow.

The second — the speaker is White House press secretary Josh Earnest — indicates Washington’s equivocal stance toward Turkish President Erdogan’s consolidation of power with Fethullah Gulen as a “chip” being played in the diplomacy.

So the United States “doesn’t support individuals who conspired to overthrow democratically elected governments”.

How “democratically” was Morsi elected in Egypt — and how democratic proved his administration?

Perhaps it was best the Egyptian people answered with their army, and the Muslim Brotherhood has been rightly purged from power in Egypt.

Similar dynamics apply to coup and countercoup in Turkey, which to BackChannels looks awfully manipulated in the state’s favor before it began, but that’s another story for exploration in a later post.

For the time being, Washington promotes “rule of law” — but look at how Turkey’s ruler has treated the same concept to effectively suppress the same throughout his nation and invest it all in . . . himself.

It appears that in Erdogan’s idea of the Turkish state, what democracy was designed to prevent it has instead enabled.

Addendum – Additional Reference

CBS/AP.  “More arrests as Turkish leader tightens the noose.”  July 21, 2016:

The detentions reported by Anadolu news agency come hours after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a three-month state of emergency that is expected to expand the crackdown.

Already, nearly 10,000 people have been arrested while hundreds of schools have been closed. And nearly 60,000 civil service employees have been dismissed from their posts since the failed coup Friday.

Newton, Jennifer.  “Now Turkey suspects 15,000 TEACHERS over ties to Fethullah Gulen as Erdogan demands US hand the cleric over.”  Daily Mail, July 19, 2016.

RFE/RL.  “More Arrests In Turkey As State Of Emergency Takes Effect.”  July 21, 2016:

Nearly one-third of Turkey’s roughly 360 serving generals have been detained. The Defense Ministry is investigating all military judges and prosecutors and has suspended 262 of them, broadcaster NTV reported, while 900 police officers in Ankara were also suspended on July 20.

Turkey’s education system has been hit particularly hard during the ongoing crackdown. The Education Ministry on July 20 added more than 6,500 new names to the list of 15,200 school employees suspended, state media reported.

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Also in Media: “Tunisia, The Only ‘Beacon of Hope’ Shining Out of The Arab Spring”

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The “Arab Spring,” by contrast, “was relatively tame” in Morocco, Feuer stated, a country that has pursued under its monarchy a “tried and true preference for a very gradual type of reform.”  She cited the expanded parliamentary powers and human rights provisions of the 2011 constitution, while Brown credited Morocco with MENA’s most “comprehensive Countering Violent Extremism strategy.”  Morocco’s security sector, anti-corruption, and rule of law reforms demonstrate that the government has attempted to “find chinks in its armor” and “close the doors that predatory groups in the region have managed to use,” he stated.  “The monarchy in Morocco has managed to stay ahead of the curve” of political unrest, Tadros concurred.

Read more by Andrew Harrod: Tunisia, The Only ‘Beacon of Hope’ Shining Out of The Arab Spring – 7/14/2016.

Also in Media: “Erdogan’s Islamist mobs know that their moment has finally arrived” | Coffee House

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The leader of HDP, the pro-Kurdish parliamentary party that Erdogan has accused of terrorism, and the CHP – the Kemalist party traditionally closest to the military – denounced the coup.

Now, looking back, questions abound. Whose coup was it anyway and were ‘the people’ in fact organised mobs of Erdogan supporters, pre-warned and ready to take control of the streets? Why did the junta take control of the bridges and airports of Istanbul and various government institutions in Ankara while leaving the President free to call for supporters to fill the public squares to defy the tanks and defend democracy?

Read more by Yvo Fitzherbert in The Spectator: Erdogan’s Islamist mobs know that their moment has finally arrived | Coffee House – 7/17/2016.

FTAC – Russia vs NATO – Freeze Frame

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Whatever the state of affairs may be, the staging is in for the next Administration.

Putin has reinvented Russia as a neo-imperial power with privileged classes anchored by the “New Nobility” (FSB) and the oligarchs with himself a level or two above all he has leveraged (in service to his own unlimited narcissistic supply).

The United States has managed to force Putin to attempt to produce a national economy based on other than oil revenues and skimmed proceeds from others states — and Putin has produced law for punishing the oligarchs from exporting their capital (capital flight in Russia over many years plus the loss of anticipated oil revenues plus sanctions have had good effects).

NATO has moved its machinery into place to stall additional inroads against former Soviet clients, and it has recently put on a demonstration of power against Russia’s own parading of nuclear might.

I got to tell you have so many years of tracking the Islamic Small Wars and discovering the “Phantoms of the Soviet” in contemporary foreign affairs, this is scary stuff!

Of course, there are “Phantoms of the Soviet” also in American domestic affairs.

Start with Black Lives Matter and the Chicago Coalition Against Racism and Political Repression along that line and end in the murky affection between V. Putin and D. Trump and the oddness of Trump’s having for his political advisor the same Paul Manafort as Ukraine’s deposed President Yanukovych.

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FTAC – Turkey (and Hungary) – Medieval Absolute Power vs Modern Distributions

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Let me suggest this: we see opposed medieval forces in “Russia vs Turkey” but we don’t so easily discern “Medieval vs Modern” in Russia and Turkey vs NATO (I know Turkey is a NATO member but it may no longer be what a NATO member should be — distributed power, secular, reasoning).

Peacocks vs The People

While NATO focuses on the military defense of the democratic open societies of the west, its opposition, including NATO members Hungary and Turkey, appear to focus on authoritarianism, corruption (encouraged), cults of personality, and the greater encouragement of medieval conflicts involving modern weapon systems.

Troika Putin-Assad-Khamenei-(Baghdadi) have produced a whole theater of politics and combat (BackChannels titles the production “Assad vs The Terrorists”, also “The Syrian Tragedy”), and while the analyst’s perception may be that of a wickedly callous totalitarian and tyrannical bid to control the public perception of events, the public appears to be buying it: those who have incubated ISIS have now to enjoy the glory of destroying it over as long a period of time as may please them.

With Putin having extracted an apology from Erdogan over the Turkish response to aggressive Russian piloting (akin to Netanyahu’s apologizing for the defense of Israel against the Gaza Flotilla and weapons stored aboard the Mavi Marmara), Erdogan has appeared to stiffen his resolve to destroy democracy in Turkey and replace it with himself.

Having alluded to Hungary’s Orban as being of similar “malignant narcissistic” type, two to a few recent titles might suffice for support: “Vladimir Putin’s Little Helper: Hungary’s Viktor Orban is abetting Moscow’s push to sow chaos in the European Union.  But at what cost?”  (by Paul Hockenos, The New Republic, April 19, 2016); “Putin’s Messenger Boy: Viktor Orban in Moscow” (Hungarian Spectrum, February 17, 2016). For good measure: Orban and Press Freedom; Orban and Corruption; Orban and Fascist Nationalism.


Posted to YouTube by “Russia Insider” June 24, 2016.

Listen / read what Putin has to say.

Also note the related YouTube feed.

By way of comparisons, what has the penultimate classically liberal democracy — my very own United States of America — to show for its values?

Hillary Clinton and Corruption

Donald Trump and Nationalism

This ain’t no Yankee Doodle election coming up.

However, it will still be free and fair with an entire electorate free to publish and speak as it may, demonstrate where it may wish (with equal and fair permitting and wondrous order, for the most part, considering the emotions involved), and talk itself through its own national issues and sense of purpose, which is not to “rule the world” but perhaps produce a world less given to self-aggrandizing tyrants.

I’ve reserved “Fascist” from “Nationalism” with Trump because . . . he’s an American: BackChannels expects him to reject his role in the development of his own idolatrous cult of personality and to put Americans first in the representation of the many cultures, manners, and personalities that have co-produced America’s magnificent tapestry and its related wealth.

Immediately Related on BackChannels

“Cold War? –> Cold Struggle”, March 15, 2016.

Countercoup – On the Immediate Aftermath

Morris, Loveday, Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Souad Mekhennet.  “Turkey is expected to curb military power as purge expands.”  The Washington Post, July 19, 2016.

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