Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan lives in a world of foreign intrigue and mischief making. Now his penchant for dark forces seems to be rebounding on his government – with a vengeance.
Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), accused of increasingly authoritarian tendency, are being challenged by nearly a week of widespread public protests across Turkey, which has even unnerved Washington and sent tourists and foreign investors fleeing.
The protests, which began peacefully in Istanbul last Friday, have now spread to the country’s capital, Ankara, and dozens of other cities and towns in almost every province.
The prime minister’s typically intransigent attitude and the excessive police violence towards the demonstrators have galvanized the general public further into demanding his resignation.
What began as a peaceful sit-in against the government’s plan to turn an iconic public park in Istanbul into a shopping mall has escalated into a host of underlying grievances against Erdogan and his AKP administration.
Chief among the grievances is the way Erdogan has turned his country into a launch pad for NATO’s covert war for regime change in Turkey’s southern neighbor, Syria.
Since March 2011, NATO member Turkey has acted as a conduit for weapons and mercenaries to infiltrate and destabilize Syria with a campaign of terror carried out by extremist Sunni and Wahhabi militia.
Erdogan’s Turkey, along with Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan, has acted as an attack dog for the senior NATO players of Washington, London and Paris, to wreck Syrian society and force the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad.
It is part of a rolling plan of regime change by NATO across the oil- and gas-rich Middle East in which the Arab regimes of the Persian Gulf and Erdogan’s AKP government are serving as battering rams. The ultimate target is Syria’s main regional ally, Iran.
This criminal covert war of aggression, which has resulted in as many as 80,000 Syrian deaths, has been conducted under the cynical guise of “supporting a pro-democracy uprising.”
Never mind that the foreign backers of “democracy” include some of the most dictatorial regimes on earth, the other awkward fact is that the so-called “rebels” on the ground are largely foreign mercenaries who have negligible support among the Syrian people.
Yet when Assad has repeatedly pointed out – with cogent evidence – the nature of the foreign conspiracy afflicting his country, he has been denounced as an irrational liar.
One of his main detractors has been his erstwhile “friend” – Turkey’s Recep Erdogan. The Turk leader has condemned Assad as “a butcher” and is leading the NATO chorus for the Syrian president to abandon his sovereign office – without any regard for the democratic wishes of the Syrian people.
The irony is that now Turkey is being assailed by massive, genuine public protests demanding democratic accountability on a range of issues, Erdogan turns around and excoriates his own people as being the agents of “foreign governments”.
Thousands of Turks have been injured and arrested over the past five days by riot police sparing no heavy-handed tactics to crackdown on peaceful demonstrators. Two youths have been killed so far, the latest in the southern city of Antakya from gunshot wounds that witnesses claim were fired by Turk security forces. At least two protesters have lost their eyes from police firing tear-gas canisters at point-blank range.
Media reports put the number of separate protests at over 230 in 67 cities across Turkey, including the major ones of Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Adana.
Among the estimated hundreds of thousands of people getting out on the streets are secularists, Islamists, professionals, businessmen, workers, unemployed, environmentalists and human rights activists. Trade unions have now called for general strikes this week in support of the protests; and universities have postponed final examinations in a move seen as encouraging students to attend the anti-government rallies without compromising their graduation plans.
In the midst of this nationwide chaos and dissent, Erdogan has decided to fly to Morocco for a four-day official visit, dismissing the demonstrations, on his departure, as being all “a foreign plot”.
“Our intelligence work is ongoing,” Erdogan said with sinister tones. “It is not possible to reveal their names. We shall be discussing these with them and will be following up, in fact we will also settle accounts with them.”
That sounds like the ravings of a paranoid leader who is living in a parallel universe “detached from reality” – as he so often derided Syria’s Bashar al-Assad for.
The difference is that Assad is firmly attached in the reality of his country and people being subjected to a criminal foreign conspiracy of mass murder and sabotage – a conspiracy that Erdogan has played a leading role in fomenting and fuelling over the past two years.
The criminal intrigues that Erdogan has embroiled his country in against Syria have come back to haunt the Turk population.
Not only are they horrified by the violence that Erdogan has helped to unleash against Syrian civilians, including the use of chemical weapons by the NATO-backed al-Qaeda terrorists, but these same mercenaries are bringing that wanton terror back into Turkish communities.
In the past week, Turk media reported the arrest of several members of the Al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra front who were armed with chemical weapons materials. It was reported that the terror group was on its way to carry out an atrocity in the southern Turkey city of Adana.
The presumed purpose of that bomb plot was to create a “false flag” event that would be blamed on Syrian government forces, thereby giving NATO a pretext to mount a direct military intervention in Syria. That intervention was top of Erdogan’s agenda when he visited US President Barack Obama in Washington last month.
The same murderous ploy was used on 11 May – five days before Erdogan’s trip to Washington – when two car bombs exploded in the Turkish border town of Reyhanli in southern Hatay Province, which killed more than 50 people, mostly Turkish citizens. Reliable reports say that massacre was the work of al Nusra and that Turk military intelligence may have colluded with the killers. Predictably, Erdogan blamed the Reyhanli atrocity on Syria, without a shred of evidence.
But the Turk prime minister’s intrigues are wearing transparently thin. An increasing number of Turkish people know that the suffering in Syria and Turkey is a result of his egotistical machinations for aggrandizing regional power at the behest of his NATO masters.
Maybe Erdogan was calculating that by bending over backwards to please NATO in its regional regime-change strategy, he would secure for himself world stature and a long-sought-after place for his country as a member of the European Union.
But with the scenes of public disorder and vicious repression now erupting across Turkey, Erdogan’s calculations and best-laid plans would seem to be finally biting the dust.
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