While Pollyanna stories in the mainstream media tout Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the U.S. for the U.N. General Assembly as “an opportunity to reset ties” with Washington, statements by one of Erdogan’s top advisers threatening ‘operations’ against opponents in the U.S. tell the real story.
That is as shocking as it is alarming.
As reported by The Daily Caller, Ibrahim Kalin told reporters that Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization would stake out and target supporters of Erdogan’s rival Fethullah Gulen in the U.S. He has lived here since 1999.
With no compunction, Kalin announced Erdogan ordered “operations” against opponents on American soil, including potential kidnappings or even assassinations.
For anyone who thinks the Islamist president of Turkey is uttering empty threats, consider the fact that Turkish intelligence units kidnapped six Turkish nationals in Kosovo last March and brought them back to Turkey for trial as Gulen supporters.
In 2013, three Kurdish activists were murdered in Paris most likely by Turkish intelligence officials, according to French authorities.
Erdogan holds Gulen and his network of supporters – whom the Turkish president refers to as FETO (Fethullah Terrorist Organization) – responsible for the failed coup in Turkey in the summer of 2016.
“Operations similar to the one conducted in Kosovo can be carried out in other countries. All should know that Turkey will not allow the FETO to breathe a sigh of relief,” Kalin said Friday, adding that Erdogan “has given very clear instructions on this issue.”
As The Daily Caller reported in 2017, at least six journalists and academics living in exile in the U.S. were tracked and photographed by pro-government Turkish news outlets. Their photographs were published along with videos of their everyday activities – including shopping, running errands and even picking up their children.
“Rest assured that they will feel Turkey breathing down their neck,” Kalin said, adding, “Our relevant units are working very professionally. I cannot share any details but anything can happen anytime, anywhere.”
Clarion Project was in touch with one such journalist, who was told that Turkish intelligence officials had put pressure on the journalist’s employer to shut down the journalist.
During Erdogan’s last visit to the U.S. in May 2017, “supporters” of the Turkish president attacked a group of peaceful protesters (see video below) in Washington, D.C. The attackers broke a police line and violently charged the group. The protesters included members of Turkey’s minority populations — Kurds, Armenians, Greeks and Yazidis – who have particularly felt the brunt of Erdogan’s oppressive policies.
Victims of the attack, including women and elderly men, said their attackers were not ordinary civilians, but people with military training, “likely from Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail.” It appears that way from the video:
While some have brushed off Kalin’s remarks as an attempt to scare off protesters of Erdogan’s presence in the U.S., they should be taken seriously.
Statements such as these are not only a serious violation of international law if acted upon, they represent the upmost in gall and are reflective of a regime that is out of control.
More should come.