Turkey’s Erdogan to US General: ‘Know Your Place’

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In a public statement in Ankara after the attempted coup, the Turkish president lashed out against the American military establishment.

By William Reed

Turkish President Recept Tayyip Erdogan (left) shown with his nemesis Fethullah Gulen, who he accuses of being behind the coup. (Photo: © Reuters)

 “We’ve certainly had relationships with a lot of Turkish leaders, military leaders in particular,” General Votel said at the Aspen Security Forum meeting in Colorado. “I’m concerned about what the impact is on those relationships as we continue.”

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper also echoed General Votel’s statements.

The failed coup and the government’s backlash have “affected all segments of the national security apparatus in Turkey,” Clapper stated. “Many of our interlocutors have been purged or arrested.”

Referring to the U.S.’s Middle East strategy, Clapper added, “There’s no question that this is going to set back and make more difficult.”

On July 29, in a public statement in Ankara caught on video, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan lashed out against Votel’s comments. “A human is supposed to feel embarrassed a little bit. How dare you make this decision?” he railed. “Who are you? First, you will know your place. You will know yourself. When you – in the name of democracy – need to thank this state that has repelled this coup attempt in my country, on the contrary, you side with coup plotters. After all, the coup plotter [Fethullah Gulen] is in your country. You are feeding the coup plotter in your country. This is obvious.”

Erdogan continued, “You can never convince my nation. My nation knows who is involved in this trick now. They very well know [through] such statements who is behind this act and who the mastermind is. You reveal yourselves with these statements. You expose yourselves. Turkey will not fall for these games.”

Turkey Crackdown after Failed Coup

Amnesty International has issued some statistics on the situation following the failed coup in Turkey:

  • 131 media outlets and publishing houses have been shut down including 3 news agencies, 16 TV channels, 23 radio stations, 45 newspapers, 15 journals and 29 publishing houses.
  • At least 89 arrest warrants were issued for journalists. More than 40 have been detained.
  • At least 260 people were killed and more than 2,000 injured amid the failed coup attempt in Istanbul and Ankara, according to government accounts.
  • More than 15,000 people have been detained since the failed coup.
  • More than 45,000 people have been suspended or removed from their jobs, including police, judges and prosecutors, and others.
  • More than 1,000 private schools and educational institutions have been closed and 138,000 school children will have to be transferred to state schools.
  • Turkish police in Ankara and Istanbul have reportedly been holding detainees in stress positions for 48 hours. Detainees have been denied food, water and medical treatment, and been verbally abused and threatened. Some have been subjected to severe beatings and torture, including rape.
  • No independent human rights monitors have been provided with access to detention facilities in Turkey after its National Human Rights Institution was abolished in April 2016.

In addition:

  • Turkey has also cancelled the passports of 50,000 people the Islamist government suspects of being dissidents.
  • 63 teenage boys aged 14-17 who attended a top military high school have been arrested and prevented from being in touch with their parents. A lawyer for the boys said that they were duped into coming to school the night of the coup after being promised they would be meeting famous soccer players. They were then given camouflage uniforms and guns with empty magazines.

“Traitors’ Cemetery”

A “Traitors’ Cemetery” has recently been created in Istanbul to hold the bodies of coup plotters who died in the failed coup attempt.

Government officials have branded people allegedly involved in the attempted coup as “traitors” and “terrorists” undeserving of a proper burial. Turkey’s state-funded Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) also issued a directive denying funeral prayers and services for them.

Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas said: “May every passer-by curse them and let them not rest in their tombs.”

U.S.-Turkey Relations

The U.S. still maintains the false view that Turkey is absolutely necessary for the U.S. because Turkey provides an access to a land base to the Middle East.

They refuse to believe that the U.S. or the West can be just as effective without Turkey. The old anti Soviet fears are still there, and it seems that the U.S. will not budge from the opinion that the U.S. should support Turkey, no matter what Turkey does.

To many who hold this view, Turkish crimes are not important or relevant to the geopolitical considerations of the U.S. and its military goals.

Even Turkey’s documented facilitation of the Islamic State fighters through its territory or the rising dictatorship of  Erdogan have not change the Western considerations of support.

It seems that Turkey can slaughter its Kurds en-masse (which they have) or Turkey-supported terror groups can massacre Alevis and Christians in Iraq and Syria daily with no reaction from the U.S.

Turkey has seen that it has suffered no consequences for its invasion and occupation of Cyprus for decades.

With blessings from the West, Turkey has been able to devastate the Hellenic and Armenian cultural heritage of Anatolia, systematically attack and destroy historic churches and other Christian sites, ban the Alevi faith and the Kurdish language and oppress all non-Turkish cultures in a tyrannical manner.

Turkey is still allowed to deny, whitewash and even take pride in the 1915 Armenian genocide.

Tragically, it seems that what Western powers are mostly interested is to keep their monetary and other interests in Turkey for as long as it lasts.

And while that happens, the thousands of victims of Turkey’s brutality will lie in their graves or prison cells and be damned.

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