Stuffing Turkey

By Maurice07 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22784526

By Maurice07 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22784526

Watching events unfold in Turkey last night was surreal. It was difficult to tell the various players apart, let alone pick credible voices.

By midnight EDT I was skeptical — more than I usually am.

— President Tayyip Erdoğan was allegedly in the air at some point, allegedly asked for asylum in Germany which allegedly wasn’t granted. He allegedly flew back into Istanbul airport. Did he not seek asylum anywhere else?

— Social media was throttled or shut off in some reports, but Erdoğan managed to Facetime to an audience which is ostensibly throttled, in order to call them to defend him by rallying in the streets.

— Fighter jets and armed helicopters were flying overhead, but Erdoğan called civilians to rally in the streets? Some civilians were killed by aircraft firing on them after Erdoğan’s call to rally.

— No political party claimed responsibility for the relatively small number of “insurgents” conducting the coup. For some reason, the military members responsible for the coup undressed and disarmed on the Bosphorus bridge.

— Earlier today, Erdoğan removed 2,745 prosecutor and judges from duty.

— Reports claim U.S. intelligence was taken by surprise by the coup.

Electricity has been cut to the U.S. Incirlik air force base, where a number of nuclear gravity bombs are kept. The bombs are not an immediate threat (read the thread at that link), but who knows this?

Let’s not forget the recent attack on the Istanbul airport, responsibility for which has only been assigned by Turkish officials.

The whole thing stinks, like a Thanksgiving Day bird left out of the fridge a couple days too long.

Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, geek since birth. Opinions informed by mixed-race, multi-ethnic, cis-female condition, further shaped by kind friends of all persuasions. Sci-tech frenemy, wannabe artist, decent cook, determined author, successful troublemaker. Mother of invention and two excessively smart-assed young adult kids. Attended School of Hard Knocks; Rather Unfortunate Smallish Private Business School in Midwest; Affordable Mid-State Community College w/evening classes. Self-employed at Tiny Consulting Business; previously at Large-ish Chemical Company with HQ in Midwest in multiple marginalizing corporate drone roles, and at Rather Big IT Service Provider as a project manager, preceded by a motley assortment of gigs before the gig economy was a thing. Blogging experience includes a personal blog at the original blogs.salon.com, managing editor for a state-based news site, and a stint at Firedoglake before landing here at emptywheel as technology’s less-virginal-but-still-accursed Cassandra.
35 replies
  1. John Casper says:

    Thanks Rayne.

    Via Twitter, most reliable takes sound like Erdoğan orchestrated this, so he could further remove counterweights to his power.

    • Bardi says:

      “most reliable takes sound like Erdoğan orchestrated this, so he could further remove counterweights to his power.”

      Exactly what my friends in Turkey say. This is a move to bring more religion into the Turkish government.

      • bloopie2 says:

        Honestly, you think there is ANY reliable information available as to the high level motivations of what happened? Also, you do realize that Turkey has a long history of coups that were not orchestrated by the incumbents, don’t you? Why shouldn’t this be yet one more? Or is it more “fun” to think “Conspiracy!”?

    • bloopie2 says:

      Yes, Twitter (where anyone can post anything), in the first few hours after an event, is always a reliable source of accurate information as to hidden things like motives and causes. Right.

  2. What Constitution? says:

    It’s Hillary Clinton’s fault. Just like BENGHAZI BENGHAZI BINGHAZEEEEE !!!

    !!!!!!

  3. Synoia says:

    “This is a move to bring more religion into the Turkish government.”

    In part maybe. Bigger Picture: All hail Caliph Erdogan, the Ottoman Empire is reborn.

    Saudia Arabia will have a large part in the new empire, containing the religious Capital and birthplace of the Prophet. The Land between Turkey and Saudi Arabia (Iraq, Syria and Jordan) will become provinces of the Empire as before.

    The Turkish army is dispatched to keep the peace in the troubled Syria and Iraq, in conjuration with the Empire’s longtime allies, the United States and Israel.

    We know the Turkish army will succeed, because it will be able keep the peace immediately after the Saudi Funding for ISIS is stopped, as it has achieved its objectives.

  4. bloopie2 says:

    Why do we need to know Right Now? Certainly there will be analyses and real information coming in, in the days ahead. Do you think the world owes you a full and correct real time readout of what is happening halfway around the world? So the information was conflicting–so what? Why did that affect your life?

  5. scribe says:

    It started smelling off before I went to bed last night, about 10 or 11 ET. The long and the short of it was that there were reports – all this is from German media, who seem to have a better handle on covering things Turkish b/c of the large Turkish population in Germany – a coup-faction armed helicopter had missile-attacked a police HQ (in Ankara or Istanbul, I can’t remember) and killed a good number of people. OK. And then there was another report of a jet fighter shooting down an armed helicopter. OK. And then Erdogan is flying into the airport while an air battle is going on.
    .
    Now, I can’t speak for anyone who is a president, but I would have to believe that no sane president and no sane presidential security detail and surely no same presidential pilot would intentionally fly into an ongoing air battle, especially when one aircraft has already been shot down. At night. You could get your president killed and, if you didn’t, the president might be pissed enough about being exposed to that kind of danger that he’d still have his security detail killed, not to mention the pilot. “There’s old pilots and bold pilots, but no old bold pilots….”
    .
    And then there’s the whole CNN Turkey thing. In one second, CNN is reporting armed soldiers have stormed the station and they expect to be taken off the air presently. In the next, there’s a report Erdogan will be speaking to the Nation on … CNN.
    .
    And then there’s the whole thing about the military chief of staff being left out. On the one hand, that makes sense if it’s a revolt of the colonels, like (for example) in Greece in the ’60s. But that one was CIA-sponsored (the democratically elected government was getting too liberal) and we’ve heard how the USG was blindsided by this. (I know … CIA lies. But this was up and down the chain.) Similarly, in Africa there are routinely coups by lower-level officers or even enlisted personnel, but no one in the USG really cares about that unless there’s oil involved and, even then, the coups just substitute one bunch of thieves for another and the resource extraction goes on uninterrupted. The thing is, if the military was so split that part was pro-coup and part anti, there was no outward manifestation of that split such that the higher-ups didn’t know about it? These guys work with and for each other all the time and, given the size of this there’s no way it could have been kept secret from the military’s own CI/OPSEC people. It seems fair to conclude, then that either Erdogan found out about it in advance and played along, all the while preparing to crush it, or it was a setup he engineered to purge the secularists in the military, the military having long been the secular counterweight in that society.
    .
    If I were Erdogan, though, I would not expect to be getting visa-free entry into the EU anytime this millennium. That, because the right-wingers in the EU countries – France, Germany, Austria, Poland leading the pack – will have nothing to do with introducing more people they consider (rightly or wrongly) to be potential Islamic terrorists into the EU, free to cross borders and such without visas, etc. I was in Europe for a couple months this spring and can tell you the anti-Islamic fervor is pretty high and, even now, news reports showed just how ridiculously easy it is for people with ill intent to cross into the EU from the Balkans. Even with a trunkload of AK47s. (ZDF did a special report where they rode along with a gunrunner doing just that; he ditched them at the border and crossed, then disappeared on the far side when he skipped their meet-up.) And this is starting to make the pro-Brexit folks look positively smart.
    .
    The one report I give a lot of credence is the one quoting Erdogan saying there will be terrible retribution on the coup participants. Whether it will be the actual participants or just Enemies of The State regardless of their coup participation, I think we know the answer.
    .
    And that thing about disarming and disrobing? Given the propensity of people to wear suicide vests, I suspect the only thing that might dissuade soldiers taking Enemies of The State prisoner from shooting them outright for fear the prisoner might blow himself up at an opportune moment would be for the surrendering person to be buck naked.

  6. Rayne says:

    bloopie2 (2:34) — Nobody *owes* me a response RTFN. Even if they did, they could lie to me. That’s why I learned how to dig for information on my own. But I do want facts RTFN because conflict in Turkey can lead to a snap decision on the part of leadership in US, EU, Russia which sets off a cascade of violence in mere moments.

    That episode last year about a Russian jet? Just one example of a situation with potential to snowball like a pyroclastic flow.

    Or don’t you realize how bloody close we’ve been to WWIII with full-on traditional warfare instead of the out-of-sight-out-of-mind global cyberwar?

    • bloopie2 says:

      My apologies. The sense I got from your original post was that you were pissed off that you personally didn’t know whether it was a real total coup, or a half coup, or a fake coup. That was my point; sorry if it didn’t come across clearly. I will try to be more explicit with future comments.
      .
      Obviously the powers that be need to know that stuff, as soon as possible. But do I? I personally have no influence on how to respond. Do any of us here, personally, have any influence on how to respond? I believe that it’s unrealistic to think that simply because we can see video of an event in real time, we should be able to know immediately the reasons for it and the consequences of it.
      .
      And I am waiting for all the conspiracy theorists on this post to come up with facts to support same.

      • bmaz says:

        Do we have an abiding need to know right away. No, perhaps not ultimately. However, since we are flooded with information and graphics, it would be nice if more of it were accurate and presented with appropriate context.

  7. Rayne says:

    jo6pac (6:22) — Thanks for sharing the link here. Comes to similar conclusions, I think. Erdoğan’s demands for more presidential power certainly make it easy to assign a motive, even if a third party nation-state was the instigator.

  8. Rayne says:

    scribe (3:56) — The possibility of encouragement by an outside party exists; might explain why intel may not have seen this coming. But if this had outside instigation, Erdoğan was quite ready to take advantage of it. The attack on Istanbul airport could have triggered prep work under the guise of looking for terror support. WRT the disrobing — makes it easy to reveal suicide vests, but it also makes it very easy the alleged perps to blend into populace once re-garbed. Just seems fishy.

  9. wayoutwest says:

    The tinfoil hat crowd would be celebrating this coup, had it been successful, as a necessary evil to stop the Mad Islamist Erdogan from using our sacred western democracy to advance political Islam with the support of the majority of Turks. This is the rationale they used to justify the coup in Egypt and they don’t seem to care about the results and suffering in Egypt nor do they have much use for democratic institutions if they interfere with their Islamophobia.

    Those nutters who claim Erdogan ‘orchestrated’ this plot need to explain how he convinced thousands of military officers to commit suicide to further his religious goals, but they won’t.

  10. greengiant says:

    I was taking screenshots of flightradar24 Thy8456 yesterday as the alleged “Erdogan” plane with transponder operational left its holding pattern East of Biga and proceeded to land in Istanbul. I am not sure of the timing, but then came a report of a big explosion at the airport. By that time the “coup” forces at the airport had already given up. If the “coup” had been serious, they should have sent their helicopter reserve forces to the airport instead of CNN Turk.
    But then if the “coup” had been serious they should have planned for tens of thousands of civilian casualties ala Uzbekistan a hundred fold.
    Flying your Turkish government gulfstream 4, with transponder on in the middle of a coup?
    Some media hash that Erdogan’s hotel was not bombed as he stated at the airport.

    Not sure how Twitter works, but the oldest asylum rumor I found was from @kylegriffin1
    Producer on MSNBC’s @TheLastWord. Senior US military source tells NBC News that Erdogan, refused landing rights in Istanbul, is reported to be seeking asylum in Germany.

    Sibel Edmonds suggested this was “prop” warfare, thinking this was a bona fide US “actor” supported coup. I think the “US” NATO commanders have not always been hip locked to US government.
    See Stavridis, Breedlove per intercept ( yes Marcy’s “dubious” short term employer).
    Probably a matter of time until various US actors are supporting conflicting sides at the same time, whether the Ukraine, Turkey, Syria, or Pakistan.

  11. martin says:

    Hahahahahahahaha…. I’m laughing my ass off while handing it to the worlds Legal Imperialism for their successful campaign of total instability in the Mideast while the Arms manufacturers of the 1% lift glasses of $4k per bottle of Champagne at the top of the Burg Kalifa while LOL’ing at the stupidity of the Mideast.

  12. Rayne says:

    bloopie2 — WRT (7:01) — Do you have any idea what kind of audience this site draws? For some portions of the audience, what they see here may be the first they read on a topic, let alone in depth on a topic.

    WRT (10:15) — Yeah, pretty sure I noted way back that Switzerland had been collecting air samples for years, and instead of decreased pollution as EU emissions standards were tightened, pollution remained the same or grew worse. But the EU permitted the continued shenanigans with cars submitted for testing, like removal of all the car’s interior or taping all joints to reduce drag. It wasn’t just VW in this respect. It was every EU car maker and every EU member state. VW just happened to be the worst of the lot with its fraudulent “clean diesel.”

    • bloopie2 says:

      “Removing the interior”. Reminds me of an old (very old) comment in Car and Driver magazine, about a performance test of a Buick GS-455 (for you young-uns, that’s a nice midsize Buick with a huge pre-emissions V8 stuffed under the hood). The testers were impressed that a luxury vehicle could perform so well, and noted that the factory had only asked the testers to “turn the air conditioning off” when they did the track tests (!). What a difference a couple generations makes; such performance is still available now, at allowed emissions levels, but costs a bunch. And of course the improved vehicle handling makes up for it; a present-day VW could run circles around that Buick.
      .
      And on an unrelated transportation matter, more evidence is arriving to suggest that the EgyptAir crash a while back (disappearance over the Mediterranean) was caused by an onboard electrical problem that turned into fire that resulted in loss of control and thus the crash into the water. There is a history of such things; TWA 800, for one, was brought down by an electrical short circuit igniting fuel vapors in an empty fuel tank. Regrettable. Still, if all our things were built to the standards of commercial airliners, they would be a hell of a lot more expensive, and last a hell of a lot longer assuming the periodic maintenance were undertaken. Cars are getting there; I currently have two Toyotas near or over 200K miles.
      .
      Which of course (at this early hour) segues into a reminder that “lasts forever” is a phrase that is anathema to manufacturers. Check this New Yorker article on LED lamps and how their manufacturers are dealing with the issue of planned obsolescence; it includes a history showing that incandescent bulbs were originally designed to go bad after a limited time, and how they are intentionally designing lamps with shoretr lives. Naughty? Sure. But then, would there otherwise be the money (profits) needed to implement really long life technology? Maybe.
      .
      http://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/the-l-e-d-quandary-why-theres-no-such-thing-as-built-to-last

  13. Les says:

    The dissident soldiers were going to be hanged or shot for treason anyways. The charges had been filed and the police were rounding up the suspects before the coup started.

    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/ankara-prosecutors-office-completes-broad-indictment-against-gulenists.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101656&NewsCatID=509

    Some of these things, such as openly talking coup to civilians and foreigners, has been reported in the Voice of America in the past several months.

  14. Rayne says:

    Les (12:53) — “hanged or shot for treason anyways.” Kind of chill attitude toward what looks like 6000 potential deaths.

    • Les says:

      They were essentially forced into a course of action. Talk of civil war where military factions openly fought was also being forewarned. My expressing sympathy for the moderates over Erdogan doesn’t help them now.

      I would take issue with some of the political commentators that have been saying that Erdogan is merely establishing a system in which the presidential wields power like that of the United States. That speaks loudly about much democratic systems can become authoritarian or despotic and people can come to accept it.

  15. Les says:

    The administration had prepared lists of people to be arrested, which some are using as evidence that the coup was planned.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-07-18/erdogan-purges-8000-cops-europe-voices-concern-coup-was-staged-prepared-arrest-lists

    Turkey obviously had been making the list when they labeled the Gulenists as a terroist group back in May, and were preparing a crackdown.

    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-to-add-gulen-movement-to-list-of-terror-groups-president-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=99762&NewsCatID=338

  16. Rayne says:

    Les (10:04) — I think it’s pretty clear the real coup is Erdoğan’s assault on Turkey’s legal system, and he’d planned it by developing a Dolchstoßlegende and labeling the Gulenists as the internal threat.

    What is about to happen is a crime against humanity.

    • bmaz says:

      It is clearly a plan that is being ruthlessly and quickly executed. At this point, far as I can discern, the only question is did Erdogan cause this coup to execute the plan, or simply waited for something like it to occur to execute his plan?

  17. Rayne says:

    bmaz (12:08) — Given the lack of claims of responsibility for the Istanbul airport terror attack and his earlier rebuffed demands for expansion of presidential powers? I think this is all Erdoğan. Picking up police means he’s removing anybody who might claim he planned this. Too many tells like the F-16s tailing his plane that didn’t force him out of the country.

    I am really very worried about what will happen next. Too many people think this ‘coup’ was the Reichstag fire. I think it was the airport attack.

  18. Les says:

    The Istanbul airport attack could’ve been an attempt by the Gulenists to weaken Erdogan by forcing him to crack down on the faction in the military supporting ISIS.

    ISIS is a fairly easy cover. Everyone seems to have a twitter or facebook account where they can create ISIS propaganda and claim responsibility.

    Saw this on the purported ISIS attack in Bangladesh which the authorities appear to think was the work of Pakistani intelligence to hinder progress on a new US-Japan-Indian deepsea naval port.

    http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2016/07/09/effort-contain-china-failed-bangladesh-strike-cuts-down-abe-covert-naval-gambit.html

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