THE NEOCONS AND FETHULLAH GÜLEN

“Turkey, a country of about 70 million Muslims, most of whom are religious, is ruled today by a conservative party with an Islamic pedigree and a humane, tolerant, and democratic track record.”
~ Thomas Patrick Carroll.

The neocons are upset with Turkey again and particularly with Fethullah Gülen’s AKP. This month’s edition of The Middle East Quarterly, a publication of the neoconservative Middle East Forum and whose editor is the extremely anti-Kurdish Michael Rubin–also of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)–has an article on Gülen that was most likely dictated by the paşas. The author is the director of the Turkish Media Project at MEMRI.

Here’s something on MEMRI from Sourcewatch:

According to its website, founded in February 1998 “to inform the debate over U.S. policy in the Middle East, MEMRI is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization. MEMRI’s headquarters is located in Washington, DC with branch offices in Berlin, London, and Jerusalem, where MEMRI also maintains its Media Center. MEMRI research is translated to English, German, Hebrew, Italian, French, Spanish, Turkish, and Russian.”

MEMRI’s stance is that it is opposed to Islamic fundamentalism, not Islam itself, although the integrity of this position may be questioned because of links on MEMRI’s website to certain evangelical Christian organizations who take a harder line on Islam. Yigal Carmon, MEMRI’s founder, is a former advisor on terrorism to the Israeli Prime Ministers, Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin, so he actually worked for both Labor and Likud governments. Praise for MEMRI should be taken with a grain of salt since it is almost always motivated by politics, not the quantity or quality of MEMRI’s work.

MEMRI has gained currency with most pro-Israel writers, as well as right-wing publications. For example, New York Times writer Thomas Friedman, a influential foreign affairs columnist, has used MEMRI translations a number of times in his columns. MEMRI is cited in several publications, such as The Times, The Washington Times, The Weekly Standard, The Jerusalem Post, The National Review, The Toronto Sun, Wall Street Journal, Libertad, FrontPageMagazine, Columbia Journalism Review, Associated Press, etc.

Also, from Rightweb:

According to MEMRI—which maintains offices in Washington, Berlin, London, Tokyo, and Jerusalem—its main subjects of interest include jihad and terrorism, U.S. and Mideast politics, reform in the Arab and Muslim world, Arab-Israeli conflict, inter-Arab relations, economic studies, and Arab antisemitism. MEMRI’s slogan, “Bridging the Language Gap Between the Middle East and the West,” does not convey the institute’s stridently pro-Israel and anti-Arab political bias. MEMRI was previously more forthcoming about its political orientation in its self-description and in staff profiles on its website. But its website now offers no information about its staff, board of directors, or funding.

[ . . . ]

The background of MEMRI’s founders illuminates its political orientation. Yigal Carmon is a reserve colonel in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), having served in the IDF/Intelligence Branch from 1968 to 1988. In that capacity, Carmon, who was born in Romania, was acting head of the civil administration in the West Bank from 1977 to 1982. He served as counterterrorism adviser to premiers Shamir and Menachem Begin from 1988 to 1993. In 1991 and 1992 Carmon was a senior member of the Israeli delegation to peace negotiations with Syria in Madrid and Washington.

Meyrav Wurmser, an Israeli-born analyst of Mideast affairs, received her doctorate from George Washington University in Washington, DC, where she wrote on Zeev (Vladimir) Jabotinsky and the Revisionist Movement. According to Arab Media Watch , Jabotinsky “brokered the marriage between Zionism and fascism.” Wurmser, who has taught at Johns Hopkins University and the U.S. Naval Academy, is a central figure in the right-wing’s web of Middle East policy institutes, as is her husband, David Wurmser. According to the Hudson Institute, “Through her work at MEMRI [she] helped to educate policymakers about the Palestinian Authority two-track approach to ‘negotiating peace’ with Israel: calling for peace in the English press and with Western policymakers while inciting hatred and violence through official Arab language media.” Before joining the George W. Bush administration as a State Department policy adviser under John Bolton, her husband was an American Enterprise Institute scholar and associate of the Middle East Forum.

Just as during the last few years Michael Rubin has written paşa-inspired anti-AKP articles at The Middle East Forum and the AEI, so the current anti-Fethullahçı piece at The Middle East Forum is an interesting work of propaganda and, like all good propaganda, it uses truth to weave together a number of whoppers. For example, on the number of mosques and imams in Turkey:

Today, Turkey has over 85,000 active mosques, one for every 350 citizens—compared to one hospital for every 60,000 citizens—the highest number per capita in the world and, with 90,000 imams, more imams than doctors or teachers. It has thousands of madrasa-like Imam-Hatip schools and about four thousand more official state-run Qur’an courses, not counting the unofficial Qur’an schools, which may expand the total number tenfold.

On Fethullahçı education:

Nurettin Veren, Gülen’s right-hand man for thirty-five years, estimated that some 75 percent of Turkey’s two million preparatory school students are enrolled in Gülen institutions.[12] He controls thousands of top-tier secondary schools, colleges, and student dormitories throughout Turkey, as well as private universities, the largest being Fatih University in Istanbul. Outside Turkey, his movement runs hundreds of secondary schools and dozens of universities in 110 countries worldwide. Gülen’s aim is not altruistic: His followers target youth in the eighth through twelfth grades, mentor and indoctrinate them in the ışıkevi, educate them in the Fethullah schools, and prepare them for future careers in legal, political, and educational professions in order to create the ruling classes of the future Islamist, Turkish state. Taking their orders from Fethullah Gülen, wealthy followers continue to open schools and ışıkevi in what Sabah columnist Emre Aköz called “the education jihad.”[13]

The overt network of schools is only one part of a larger strategy. In a 2006 interview, Veren said, “These schools are like shop windows. Recruitment and Islamization activities are carried out through night classes … Children whom we educated in Turkey are now in the highest positions. There are governors, judges, military officers. There are ministers in the government. They consult Gülen before doing anything.”[14]

Just remember that whenever you think about the new Fethullahçı university that’s recently opened in Hewlêr and don’t be shocked when the next generation of Southern Kurdish leaders “consult Gülen before doing anything.”

On the Turkish police, no surprise here:

Fethullahists have also made inroads into Turkey’s 200,000-strong police force. Their infiltration has had a compounding effect, as Fethullahist officials have purged officials more loyal to the republic than the hocaefendi. According to Veren, “There are imam security directors; imams wearing police uniforms. Many police commissioners get their orders from imams.”[21] Adil Serdar Saçan, former director of the organized crimes unit within the Istanbul Directorate of Security, confirmed these statements in reports he prepared on the Fethullahist organization within the security apparatus. In a 2006 interview, he said . . . At present, over 80 percent of the officers at supervisory level in the general security organization are members of the [Gülen] cemaat.[22]

Now you know why the police were beating the shit out of Kurdish women and children last Newroz and why I blamed it on AKP–the Fethullahçı.

On the TSK and its Islamists:

According to Veren, Gülen has argued that the military expels no more than one in forty Islamist officers; the rest remain in undercover cells. While such allegations may seem the stuff of conspiracy theory, recent leaks to pro-AKP media suggest a number of Islamist sources within the military ranks, creating speculation that followers of Gülen now populate the senior infrastructure of the Turkish General Staff. Such speculation gained additional credence after the August 2008 Supreme Military Council (Yüksek Askeri Şura, YAŞ), which, for the first time, declined to expel suspected Islamists from military ranks.

Just like you read here in August.

There’s much more at the article, here, at The Middle East Quarterly.

Of course, I have a really difficult time believing the paşas propaganda which says, as it does in the article, that Taraf is a Fethullahçı paper. If that’s true, then why has Taraf had trouble getting advertising revenue? Why couldn’t Taraf just get funding from a Fethullahçı bank? Simple answer: Taraf is not Fethullahçı. Why is this neoconservative author complaining about the severe police crackdown against Turkish leftists at Taksim Square last May Day? Since when have neoconservatives ever cared about Leftists or trade unions? Where were the neoconservatives or the extreme right-wing fascist Americans when Leftists were massacred in Taksim Square on May Day in 1977? Well, they don’t bitch about that because at the time the paşas were in full control.

The fact also remains that Gülen is a resident of the US, recognized as an educator of “extraordinary ability” even though his only formal education consists of five years of elementary school.

But this article is an expression of frustration between the neoconservatives and the Israeli lobby against the Fethullahçı government’s anti-Israel statements over Gaza. They needn’t be alarmed, however; in spite of Vecdi Gonul’s lie that the AKP government has never signed an arms deal with Israel, Cemil Çiçek, and others, assures everyone to the contrary. In fact, the AKP government did sign a deal with Israel in 2005 for Israeli Heron UAVs, with a pricetag of at least $150 million.

At one time the neoconservatives did support the AKP, with Bush giving his blessing for Erdoğan’s takeover of the Prime Ministry, when he was not in any position to take that job due to his conviction for crimes against laiklik.

The US thought it could control the Islamists it backed in Afghanistan and it thought it could control the Islamists it imported into Bosnia. That’s just like both the US and Israel thought they could control HAMAS and the paşas thought they could control Turkish Hezbollah. These idiots have always thought this way and they’ve always been dead wrong.

Well, there’s one thing the neoconservatives, the Israel lobby, Gülen, and the paşas all have in common–none of them have ever shed a tear over the Ankara regime’s severe repression of the Kurdish people.

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