Fethullah Gulen
© AP Photo/ Selahattin Sevi, File
CIA-backed terrorist trainer and recruiter Fethullah Gulen
turkey coup
Continuing our coverage of the coup in Turkey (see here for the previous updates, and here for my previous Focus), news from the past two days has not slowed down. It's coming fast and hard. Erdogan has just announced a 3-month state of emergency.

In FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds's recent commentary, she made the comment that detaining or firing a few thousand individuals would do little to counter the scope of the Gulenist fifth column in Turkey. Well, since those initial numbers, Turkish authorities have fired thousands more public officials and employees.

Breaking it down in numbers so far, the following have been suspended from their previous positions (close to 60,000 people in total): 21,000 private teachers (including 1,577 university deans, public and private - 626 institutions have been closed), 15,000 Education Ministry personnel (latest report adds an additional 6,500 staff members), 399 Ministry of Family and Social Policies employees, 257 employees in the office of the prime minister, 8,000 police officers, 3,500 soldiers, 3,000 judges and prosecutors (all of whom are under investigation) including 2 constitutional judges and 262 military judges/prosecutors, 492 clerics, 130 MIT spies, 120 generals and admirals (that's just under 30% of all generals), and the commander of the Turkish Gendarmerie Gen. Galip Mendi.

More than 9,300 people are currently under investigation for involvement in the coup. In addition to all government officials, all university professors have been banned from traveling abroad. Turkey's main religious body has banned all religious funeral services for military troops killed during the attempted coup; it only applies to those who actively took part, not those who participated "unwittingly or under duress".

There are conflicting reports over the possibility that 14 ships and 2 helicopters of the Turkish military - including 25 special forces involved in a raid on the hotel Erdogan was staying at during the coup - are still unaccounted for. (Turkish officials deny it; Turkish media reports they're missing and could seek asylum in Greece.) As I speculated in my previous article, the Turkish Armed Forces have confirmed that they knew the coup was to take place: "On July 15 the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) was informed [about the coup attempt]... in this regard... the country's airspace was closed, military aircraft flights were prohibited." (Speaking of helicopters, check out this footage of the attacks from Friday.)

Details leaked about the kill-or-capture mission directed against Erdogan on the day of the coup:
Hurriyet reported that First Army Commander Umit Dundar contacted Erdogan on Friday night, about an hour before the coup began, to inform him that putschists had started to move on his position, allowing time for the president to escape before soldiers stormed his place of residence.
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The newspaper said that special units backed by helicopters stormed the hotel to arrest or assassinate the president, about a half hour after he left. By that time, he was on his way to Istanbul.

Details of the story were confirmed by Al-Jazeera Istanbul bureau chief Abdul Azim Mohammed, who added that the three helicopters from the military's special forces that arrived at Erdogan's hotel in Marmaris were carrying 40 soldiers with the intention of killing or capturing the president.
YeniSafak editor Ibrahim Karagul directly accused the U.S. of this plot to murder Erdogan. PM Yildirim's convoy was also targeted by Gendarmerie members on its way from Istanbul to Ankara

The leaks also included details on how the plotters communicated, and how they were forced to put their plans into effect prematurely:
Al Jazeera also received leaks of a series of WhatsApp messages between the coup leaders and participants. They had created a group on the smartphone application to communicate and send commands to their fellow conspirators. The leaks show that the group was active, with the coup leadership receiving responses from their subordinates. According to the leaked messages, the coup was planned to start at 3am, but an emergency forced them to bring forward the start of their plot in Ankara and Istanbul.
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The leaked messages include an order to the coup forces present on the Bosphorus bridges to allow some stranded citizens to leave and to kill any resisting police officers trying to cross the bridge.

Copies of the leaked messages confirmed that former air force commander General Akin Ozturk was the mastermind of the attempted coup, and that the original plan was to declare a state of emergency and curfew and halt air traffic at 6am.
In another leak, WikiLeaks has pushed forward their release of some 300,000 emails sent by Erdogan's AKP party members. WL assures its readers that the leaks come from a legitimate source not connected "in any way" to the recent coup (how they can be so sure of that is anyone's guess - do they know every individual involved in the failed coup?). The leak was allegedly obtained a week before the coup, with emails dating from 2010 to July 6, 2016. Upon their release, WikiLeaks reported coming under some intensive cyberattacks. For its part, the Turkish government has responded by blocking online access to WikiLeaks.

New arrests include: Erdogan's military air force aide Erkan Kivrak, Erdogan's chief military adviser Col. Ali Yazici, 14 servicemen who attempted to attack Erdogan during the coup attempt, and the 2 pilots accused of shooting down the Russian Su-24 back in November (arrested for coup involvement, not the shoot-down). As Joe Quinn wrote at the time, it seemed unlikely to us that Erdogan would do such a thing. He was "the last to know" and - put in the position of holding the blood-soaked dagger in his hand - took responsibility for what was probably carried out by the very fifth column he is now purging. The CIA/NATO/Gulen network wanted to make sure Turkey could not align more closely with Russia, and it worked. Now, that trend is reversing, dramatically.

The Turks shamed the U.S. for sheltering the CIA-backed terrorist Gulen. The Americans responded, saying, "Show us the evidence, send us the extradition request." Well, Ankara has done just that. PM Yildirim told parliament today:
We have sent four dossiers to the United States for the extradition of the terrorist chief. We will present them with more evidence than they want.... We have more than enough evidence, more than you could ask for, on G眉len. There is no need to prove the coup attempt; all evidence shows that the coup attempt was organized on his will and orders.
White House spokesman John Earnest told reporters:
There were materials presented by the Turkish government in electronic form to the US government related to Mr. Gulen's status, and the Department of Justice and Department of State will review those materials consistent with the requirements of the extradition treaty between the United States and Turkey that's been on the books for more than 30 years now.
The Western hypocrites are reacting as expected. After it became clear that the CIA coup was a failure, Obama expressed support for Erdogan's government. Now, the leaders of the "free" world are taking off the mask, bit by bit. For example, Nato SG Stoltenberg, sanctimoniously braying, "Being part of a unique community of values, it is essential for Turkey, like all other Allies, to ensure full respect for democracy and its institutions, the constitutional order, the rule of law and fundamental freedoms." Kerry: "NATO also has a requirement with respect to democracy. ... The level of vigilance and scrutiny is obviously going to be significant in the days ahead. Hopefully we can work in a constructive way that prevents a backsliding."

Turkey is mulling reinstating the death penalty, which is verboten for an EU member. Thus, if brought back into practice, it would end Turkey's chances for accession to the EU. At this point, it doesn't look like Turkey cares. It may even be the opportunity for the EU to refuse them, sparing Turkey the bother of telling them to go to hell. What will they do now? Well, economic warfare is surely on the table (S&P just downgraded Turkey's sovereign credit rating), not to mention increased terror attacks in Turkey (from Gladio operatives as well as blowback from the 'moderate rebels' in Syria who won't be too pleased with their supply lines being cut). At this point, Turkey's relationship with the EU and NATO is looking shaky at best. What will NATO do to retain control of the coveted Incirlik air base?

As I mentioned in my previous article, Iran is pledging to stand by Turkey's government. Rouhani and Erdogan spoke recently by telephone, discussing "prospects for peace in the region". Azerbaijan has also renewed its support for the Turkish government by taking an Azeri TV station off the air which planned to broadcast an interview with Gulen, calling it "overt terrorist propaganda" and claiming it would damage Baku's strategic links with Turkey. Iraqi FM Ibrahim Jaafari says Iraq is willing to mediate between Syria and Turkey in order to help improve relations between the two countries. (It's possible Turkish forces have pulled out from Iraqi territory since the coup attempt.) Speaking of which, in his discussion with Rouhani, Erdogan said, "we are even more determined to work hand-in-hand with Iran and Russia to resolve regional problems and to strengthen our efforts to return peace and stability to the region and to free it from the terrorists." Fars News Agency reports that Turkish intelligence agents were pulled from Aleppo back to Turkey.

If you have the time, check out this insightful analysis from William Engdahl. He writes:
What is interesting to watch now will be the foreign policy of Erdogan: Rapprochement with Russia, reopening talks on the Russia Turkish Stream gas pipeline to the Greek border. The simultaneous Erdogan rapprochement with Netanyahu. And most critical, Erdogan's apparent agreement, part of Putin's demands for resumption of ties, that Turkey cease efforts to topple Assad by covertly backing DAESH or other terrorists in Syria and training them in Turkey, selling their oil on the black market. This is a huge geopolitical defeat for Obama, probably the most incompetent President in American history (even though he has some serious competition for the title from George W. Bush and Clinton).
In short, the CIA really screwed the pooch on this one. They went all in and lost the pot. If anything, they have given Erdogan all he needs in order to align even further with Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Iraq.

However, there are still some uncertainties. After Erdogan's apology, Russia allowed tourists to travel to Turkey after the previous months' ban. Now, in response to the political situation in Turkey, Aeroflot has once again restricted tourist travel to Turkey "until the situation improves". Is this strictly a response to the immediate, tense political climate? Or a hint that Turkey's relationship with Russia is still very conditional. 'Chocolates, roses, and poems' won't be enough to regain Russia's trust and forge a strong international relationship.

And while some were speculating that Turkey would basically boot NATO out of Incirlik, airstrikes recommenced after the base was shut down and blockaded for only a day or so. Ankara is still set to receive its first two F-35 Joint Strike fighter jets from Lockheed, which makes sense: all companies like Lockheed care about is getting paid. Syria's Kurds are also blaming Turkey for fabricating "a pretext to attack us" by claiming that the pilots who bombed parliament have fled to the Kurds' Rojava autonomous region.

The situation in Turkey is far from clear. With the suspension of close to 60,000 government, military, and private employees, there is bound to be some loss of coordination and functioning until these institutions re-stabilize. Turkey isn't yet out of the dark, and it remains to be seen how reliable Erdogan will be in realigning his foreign policy according to anything resembling a sane approach. Stay tuned, because it's bound to be interesting!