Turkish Double Talk

And just because this seems to connect all my posts from today.

Today’s Zaman, January 17, 2012:

According to reports by Turkish intelligence agencies, Heron unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) operated by Israel that have been observed in Hatay and Adana provinces in recent months spied for the terrorist Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK).

Turkish intelligence agencies prepared a report after the detection of two Israeli Herons in Hatay and Adana roughly two months ago, claiming that the Herons are collecting intelligence on Turkish military units in order to aid PKK operations in those regions.

The report asserts that the PKK’s training camps in northern Syria, near Turkey’s Hatay border “where Turkish military border posts are relatively weak” were established in those locations based on intelligence collected by the UAVs.

Today’s Zaman, January 17, 2012:

Intelligence units have warned that the Quds Force, a special unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, plans to send a group to Turkey to carry out a series of demonstrations that may include a bomb attack on the Embassy or Consulate General of the United States.

The Turkish Security General Directorate (EGM) has warned police departments in all 81 Turkish provinces that they must be vigilant and remain alert to the existence of such a threat. The intelligence pertaining to the possibility of such an attack was delivered in a secret letter to the information department at Turkey’s General Directorate of Security. The written statement indicates that a team linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard will be sent to Turkey and that it may be planning to bomb the US embassy or consulate general in the country. The Quds Force is infamous for its role in attempting to export Iran’s revolution to other countries through the instigation of chaos and by acting as the overseas branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp.

However, facts about the force are well-guarded and scarce. The statement further details that the team intends to stay in five-star hotels in the city where the plan is to be carried out and that as a result, caution should be exercised when dealing with non-Turkish individuals staying at such lodgings. The statement also noted that groups linked to the Lebanon-based Hezbollah may also take part in the plotted demonstrations or attacks.

35 replies
  1. MadDog says:

    All of this spy vs spy, double-dealing, plots within plots treachery stuff reminds me a lot of the time immediately before the onset of World War I.

    The only question remaining for me is who will be the Gavrilo Princip and who will be the Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

    The tinder is oh so dry and merely awaiting the touch of a match.

  2. Bustednuckles says:

    Why the hell not, we have been shooting down our own drones because the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.

    Btw, Happy New Year and thank you so much for all the weed digging you have done and continue to do, after all these years.


  3. PeasantParty says:

    So Isreal is going to throw the bird at the US and do what they want anyway. Then they will call on our tax dollars, military, and debt to support them all the way.

    For Isreal to have such an advance intelligence system, somebody forgot to forward the memo that the US and its banks are BROKE!

  4. MadDog says:

    Reminds me of Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on first?”

    Drones flown by Israel for the PKK.

    “According to reports by Turkish intelligence agencies, Heron unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) operated by Israel that have been observed in Hatay and Adana provinces in recent months spied for the terrorist Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK)…”

    As I commented last week, drones flown by the US for Turkey:

    U.S. drone initiated strike on Kurds

    A U.S. Predator drone mistakenly targeted smugglers in southeastern Turkey, killing 35 Kurdish civilians, a report said.

    The drone, was one of four based at Incirlik Airbase in southern Turkey, launched the airstrike in December on the village of Ortasu, sources told Turkey’s Aydinlik…”

    So we have drones flown by Israel supporting the PKK which has been fighting Turkey while the US flies drones for Turkey who are fighting the PKK.

    Makes my head spin.

  5. orionATL says:



    i remember that, now that you remind me.

    i occurs to me that this little story involving turkey vs. israel, with the u.s. supporting turkey (at last nominally) may reveal the backbone of the entire set of events roiling middle-east diplomacy for the last few months – since “scary spy”.

    to whit, i wonder if most of the diplomacy-roiling events transpiring since october may not be the result of a covert conflict between israel and the u.s.

    for example, why would the u.s. fly for turkey and the israelis for turkey’s most vivid nightmare?

    for example, if the u.s. is working for a new model for syrian gov’t, then israel is threatened, not least with losing some of its excuses for retaining arab territory seized in war.

    for example, the new, fluid circumstances in egypt must create great anxiety in israel among its strategic thinkers – egypt is no longer a given zero.

    for example, might the israeli’s have manipulated the u.s. drone downed in iran?

    for example, might israel be having territory-lost nightmares about an impending negotiated change in gov’t in the long u.s.-friendly jordanian gov’t?

    is not iraq, without a brutal u.s. boots-on-the-ground presence, not once again a potential israeli adversary?

    and populous and highly capable iran can only add to the fears of impermanency of an intransigent right-wing israeli theocracy.

    i suggests that israel is wiggling and squealing in all directions because a new demographic-political reality has overtaken its decades-old reliance on world-sympathy for past wrongs in europe and on self-righteousness with respect to its vicious treatment of palestinians it imprisoned in gaza for decades within the realm of its mid-eastern home.

    in short, israel is pitching a fit and fighting its parental u.s. about its sudden need having to accomodate or be annihilated.

    like south africa before it, israel first felt the pinch, and is now feeling the push, of the many deep injustices it has done the palestinans, of new arab governing models, and of arab population pressure.

  6. Bob Schacht says:

    What you call Turkish Double-Talk is the normal language of Middle Eastern diplomacy. To call it “lying” is to over-simplify. Middle Eastern diplomacy is nuanced. Meaning is shaded one way or another, in various degrees of grey. Hardly anything is truly black or white. If a Middle Eastern diplomat says, “It’s a beautiful winter day!”, then the proper response to self would be, “I wonder what he meant by that?” Diplomats who have worked with each other for decades can understand the meaning behind these seemingly benign statements, whereas the unwary newcomer would not even realize that there are layers of meaning. The politics of modern Turkey is descended from the politics of the Byzantine Empire, and it is no accident that the word “byzantine” means

    a. Of, relating to, or characterized by intrigue; scheming or devious: “a fine hand for Byzantine deals and cozy arrangements” (New York).
    b. Highly complicated; intricate and involved: a bill to simplify the byzantine tax structure.
    n.(Read more )

    Chess was invented in India and then brought into ancient Iran by about 600 BC. Ever since, Indians and Persians have been refining and developing the art of chess. Every chess player who has advanced beyond beginner status knows that sometimes you have to take a loss in order to win a greater prize later on, and that sometimes a seemingly easy victory may be short-lived. Consequently, it sometimes feels like someone is playing “eleventy dimensional chess.” And every chess player with intermediate skill knows that it is important to think not just about the next move, but at least 3-4 moves ahead. This is how the Middle Eastern diplomat thinks.

    To complicate everything, there is a Persian language complex called T’aarof or Tarof which has political applications. It is sort of like etiquette, but is complicated by the fact that a gambit by one speaker is not meant to be taken by the other speaker. So, for example, a Persian might offer you something. You like that something, so you gratefully say, Thank you! I’ll take it. But that would be very bad manners. You are supposed to refuse it, at first. The real bargaining comes later. This can give diplomatic conversations a kind of House of Mirrors feel, unless you are familiar with the custom. (By the way, I’ve experienced a variant of this style of etiquette in a compartment on the Oriental Express with Bulgarians.)

    Americans are likely to take the first offer at face value, and fail to understand that it is only the opening gambit of a game of chess.

    Bob in AZ

  7. MadDog says:

    @orionATL: My personal opinion is that Israel as a country and as a society has gone off the deep end, and I don’t know that it will be able to recover. You’ve identified a number of the symptoms.

    This is one of the reasons for my comment at # 1 above.

    There seem to be occasions in human history where sanity no longer prevails. Where sanity has no chance of stopping the madness that surrounds it. Like the madness that led to World War I.

    Roger Cohen of the NYT has this “Don’t Do It, Bibi” Op-Ed piece that some would describe as “cautionary advice” from a concerned America.

    I’m afraid that I instead see his editorial as a plaintive lament for the coming tragedy that no one seems to be able to stop.

    There are certainly brilliant people among the Israelis, but no one can understand logic and come to any other conclusion that nothing good can possibly come from an Israeli attack on Iran.

    So if by logic one knows for a certainty that doing something will produce an outcome worse than what now exists, then why proceed?

    That is why I come to the conclusion that Israel and its society are beyond reason.

  8. emptywheel says:

    @Bob Schacht: I think you’re overreading. To the extent that I’m attributing anything to anyone Turkish, it’s to their Intelligence agencies that are simultaneously sowing played down stories abt israel and bumped up ones abt Iran.

    That is, this is about intelligence–where everyone lies, regardless of culture–not about diplomacy.

  9. lysias says:

    The İskenderun naval base in Turkey near the Syrian border that the PKK attacked two hours before the Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla happens to be in Hatay province. A lot of Turkish politicians thought the two attacks had been coordinated. (Any Turkish naval assistance for the flotilla would have come out of the İskenderun base.)

  10. orionATL says:


    yeah, that’s pretty much my feeling.

    there seems to me be equal parts of determination and desperation in israel’s foreign policy these days, together with obliviousness to the social realities of the modern world in its domestic policies.

    as always in human affairs, fanatic devotion to a pathological social system underlies such foolish, cruel, ultimately self-destructive behavior as israel’s government is engaging in (are you listening, america).

    in israel’s case it is profound anti-semitism (arabs are semites too, remember) underwritten by fanatical judiaism; in the case of the american south, to provide another example, it was white superiority and state-sponsored segregation, underwritten by religiosity and white poverty.

    the ultimate reality is that israel cannot survive as an apartheid state based on religious purity. its models should be switzerland, the netherlands, maybe hong kong, singapore, or dubai – still better, the phoenicians. it’s strength should be in trade and banking, not in the “purity” of its citizens’ expression of judaism.

    but that day is not this day and may never arrive.

  11. lysias says:

    İncirlik Air Base, a joint Turkish-U.S. facility, is in Adana province.

    SecAF [Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley] Visits Incirlik Air Base (Dec. 23, 2011):

    Donley also discussed the importance of Incirlik AB and its role in current operations.

    “I don’t have to tell you that Incirlik AB is a strategically important installation,” Donley said. “We depend on you to support and protect U.S. and NATO assets and interests and people throughout Turkey.

    “You’ve obviously been an active participant in our operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya,” he said. “An incredible 69 percent of C-17 (Globemaster III) sustainment cargo bound for Afghanistan and Iraq has come through Incirlik (AB).”

  12. lysias says:

    @MadDog: The regional war that would result from an Israeli attack on Iran would give Israel the opportunity to practice ethnic cleansing and relieve if not eliminate its Palestinian problem.

  13. Bob Schacht says:


    @Bob Schacht: I think you’re overreading. To the extent that I’m attributing anything to anyone Turkish, it’s to their Intelligence agencies that are simultaneously sowing played down stories abt israel and bumped up ones abt Iran.
    That is, this is about intelligence–where everyone lies, regardless of culture–not about diplomacy.

    You’re right, I did get somewhat carried away. But regarding intelligence work, you’re right (but oversimplifying) to say that everyone lies. It would be more accurate to say that people in intelligence are trained in the use of “disinformation”– and to be effective, they need to tell the truth *some of the time*. And one of the ways that they lie is to tell a partial truth cloaked in disinformation.

    BTW, your top post ends with a long quote. Is your conclusion missing? You usually don’t end your posts with a quote.

    Bob in AZ

  14. lysias says:

    @orionATL: Note that the PKK guerrillas who attacked the naval base probably came out of the PKK training camps in northern Syria near the Hatay border that the Today’s Zaman article mentions. That article also says those bases were established using intelligence about Turkish troop dispositions [presumably in Hatay province] obtained by the Israeli drones. That would mean the Israeli program to support the PKK with drone intelligence was already in operation in the spring of 2010.

  15. orionATL says:


    very informative.


    p.s. my wife and i spent about a month in turkey decades ago. what a wonderful country. extraordinary history – hittite, trojan, roman. great people.

  16. lysias says:

    More details from Arutz Sheva: Turkey Claims Israel is Aiding Kurdish Rebels:

    The report also claims that Kenan Yıldızbakan, a PKK member who commanded an assault against a Turkish naval base in İskenderun in 2010, has made repeated trips into Israeli territory, a fact which reinforces suspicions of a possible link between Israeli and the PKK.

    Two weeks ago, the Turkish army nearly downed an Israeli UAV that was observed spying above the Turkish 14th Hawk B. Brigade Command in Hatay’s Kırıkhan district for four hours.

    Turkish media said the aerial vehicle was hovering over the brigade command post in order to capture pictures of missile batteries and radar equipment. It was spotted by military personnel, the reports said, but before they could get permission to attack it the drone moved out of range.

  17. lysias says:

    More details from PanArmenian Net: Israeli Heron UAVs collect intelligence on Turkish military units – report:

    In a related development, phone conversations between Mehmet Veysi Dilekçi and Mesude Yasak recently intercepted during investigations into the KCK, included discussions relating to Israeli support for the PKK. Dilekçi and Yasak, who were arrested during a Turkish operation against the KCK in December in Siirt, mentioned a convoy of 400 trucks supplying aid to the PKK that was sent by an Israeli civil society organization – which was identified as Hae Anshei Targum in the Star daily – in 2010.

    The Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) is a political umbrella organization that allegedly includes the PKK.

  18. Gitcheegumee says:

    I seem to recall that Blackwater was sent to the Caspian Region VERY early on as part of the Caspian Guard initiative.Also, Turkey accused Blackwater,a few years back, of smuggling arms to PKK. ..Anybody remember that?

    (BTW, Global Research.ca has an enormous compendium of past and current pieces in their oil and energy sector. Rick Rozoff, Mike Chossudovsky in particular have some very detailed pieces that may be of interest to some here..)

  19. Gitcheegumee says:

    Pardon if this has been already posted,bit I don’t recall ever seeing it:

    Turkey to train Libyan police officers

    A Libyan delegation would visit Turkey soon to discuss the issue.

    NOTE: An exceptional EW thread ..”Scahill:Prince is Conducting Grey Mail” from a couple of years ago discusses some tangential issues and topics relating to this thread.

    Turkish Police Department will train Libyan police officers.

    A Turkish delegation led by Security Department’s Deputy Director General Ahmet Pek arrived in Tripoli on Saturday to shape the projects within that scope.

    The training in Turkey was planned to begin on March 4.

    A Libyan delegation would visit Turkey soon to discuss the issue.

    Pek told AA that Libyans had an intensive training demand from Turkey, adding that some of the Libyan police had officers already begun training in Jordan.

    Turkey to train Libyan police officers | Diplomacy | World Bulletin
    3 days ago – A Libyan delegation would visit Turkey soon to discuss the issue.

  20. MadDog says:

    OT – Will we or won’t we? Via the National Journal:

    Insiders Detail Obama Administration’s Tough Choice About Iran

    “The Obama administration is locked in a fierce internal debate about whether to order military strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities, a move that would represent a high-stakes gamble that Iran’s nuclear program could be destroyed without triggering a new Mideast war.

    High-level deliberations about issues as important as Iran are held behind closed doors in secure facilities at the White House and the Pentagon, rarely giving outsiders a view of various options under discussion.

    Now, however, competing essays by Matthew Kroenig and Colin Kahl, who both stepped down recently from jobs in the Pentagon’s Mideast policy shop, are offering an unusual look inside the White House deliberations about how far to go to stop Iran…”

  21. Gitcheegumee says:


    Apparently, Blackwater and its affiliates have had contracts to provide security in Israel going back to 2005 through September 2012,according to this Alternet piece. Quite interesting,in retrospect:

    Obama’s Blackwater? Chicago Mercenary Firm Gets Millions for …


    Apr 2, 2009 – Federal records obtained by AlterNet reveal a multi-million dollar contract for a private U.S. paramilitary force operating out of Jerusalem.

    AND,from just one week ago:

    Blackwater Affiliate Coming to Israel | Indy News Israel

    Jan 11, 2011 – An affiliate of the Blackwater security firm is reportedly coming to Israel – specifically to the Judea and Samaria regions – in order to provide …

  22. Bob Schacht says:

    @Gitcheegumee: I am not surprised. Blackwater’s ideology links easily to the hawks of Israel. Their objectives may ultimately differ, but they seem like eager partners now. Each is trying to use the other.

    Bob in AZ

  23. orionATL says:


    “… In a related development, phone conversations between Mehmet Veysi Dilekçi and Mesude Yasak recently intercepted during investigations into the KCK, included discussions relating to Israeli support for the PKK… mentioned a convoy of 400 trucks supplying aid to the PKK that was sent by an Israeli civil society organization – which was identified as Hae Anshei Targum in the Star daily – in 2010…”

    oh, you mean like the turkish flotilla determined to supply civilian aid to the palestinians,

    which the israeli military felt free to attack, murdering civilian volunteers aboard and detaining the ships?

    israel and its military have fallen a long way down since the six-day war –

    and are now in repression free-fall.

  24. orionATL says:


    “the judea and samara regions”‘ i asked myself?

    “why would any american need security anywhere within israel”, i asked myself.

    well, it turns out that the judea and sumaria regions are not israel, they are what we have always called “the west bank”, i.e., jordanian territority.

    so american diplimats beed protection while working in the west bank?

    from whom, one might ask.

  25. Gitcheegumee says:

    @Bob Schacht:Bob, I suspect that israel AND Saudi Arabia’s interesta all intersect with Blackwater’s-who happens to be headquartered in Dubai now.

    Bob,and oATL, in the EW thread I mentioned earlier,”Scahill: Prince is Conducting Grey Mail” . there were several commentaries regarding Cofer Black,his alliance with Blackwater…and his longstanding history with King Abdullah of Jordan.

    Scahill: Prince Is Conducting Graymail | emptywheel

    Dec 4, 2009 – 173 thoughts on “Scahill: Prince Is Conducting Graymail” … The greymail idea seems by far the best explanation for Eric’s bizarre spectacle. …. So message to the Civil Attorneys — “I just poor as a churchmouse, having given …

    NOTE: Comments # 117,118,and,128 deal specifically with Black and Jordan…and Jordan’s reported reputation as a particularly brutal locale for torture.

  26. Gitcheegumee says:


    The Alternet story is by Scahill and really is a must read,imho…and,for the record, I have no idea whatever happened to the Turkey/Blackwater kerfuffle about BW smuggling arms to PKK several years back.

  27. orionATL says:


    “… BW smuggling arms to PKK several years back …”

    good grief, there is no rationality in any aspect of american middle-east clandestine skulduggery.

    we veer from a truly stupid plot to give iran fake bomb plans (which the russian scientist involved immediately spotted as obviously flawed), to hiring and paying a security firm which also feels free to sell arms to dissident opponents (pkk) of one of our most important military and muslim allies – turkey.

    let’s remember this:

    it all began with the cia’s authorized vendetta against mossadegh, a successful but foolish and unwarranted cia caper.

    it has ended with america entirely losing its moral compass after repeated foolish interventions in the middle east.

  28. Gitcheegumee says:


    Over at Tom Dispatch ,Pepe Escobar has a couple of great new pieces,one giving a timeline rundown of Middle East misadventures. And he pretty much echoes your sentiment that these forays have resulted in blowback,time and time again.

    I keep thinking about Iran Contra…and how it has gone from bad to so much worse since those days.

Comments are closed.