Türkiye facing the American Empire
With three weeks to go before the Turkish presidential election, the debate is changing. From being for or against Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Islamism, it is becoming for or against the alliance with the United States. The outgoing president is regaining points in the polls that predicted him to lose. He has gone from being an Islamist to a nationalist. Whether this will be enough to allow him to win is not yet known, but if he does win, it is to be expected that he will withdraw Türkiye from NATO.
Polls show President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan losing to United Opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in Turkey’s May 14, 2023 presidential election. This possible domestic turnaround is leading the incumbent president to radicalize his position on international matters. Until now, he appeared to be halfway between the United States on one side and Russia and China on the other. Now, his political party presents him as the saviour of Turkish independence in the face of Washington’s darker side. In contrast, he portrays his competitor as a Yankee henchman, which he probably is not.
The United States is thus paying the price for the assassination attempts on the Turkish president, especially the one that led to the failed coup of July 15, 2016, after Ankara decided to build a gas pipeline with Moscow and even bought weapons from it. In addition, Washington is blamed, rightly or wrongly, no one knows, for causing the recent earthquake that cost the lives of tens of thousands of Turks. Public opinion thus shares a strong anti-American sentiment in a country that has given much to the United States since the Korean War (the Turkish army won and fought a decisive battle there, saving the United States from disaster) and has suffered much from them with the Kurdish drama (the CIA has taken control of the PKK and encouraged its terrorist actions, thus holding a “gun to Ankara’s head”).
U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Flake took the liberty of ostensibly visiting candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. Flake is an old-school Republican, a friend of John McCain, who like him comes from Arizona, where they were one of the two senators. He screamed against Donald Trump’s entryism and left the party to get closer to Joe Biden, who appointed him ambassador. By showing up with Kılıçdaroğlu, he thought he was doing the right thing and doing good. Mistake: he gave grist to Erdoğan who rushed to declare, “Joe Biden’s ambassador visits Kemal. Shame on you, think with your head. You are an ambassador. Your interlocutor is the president. How will you behave after this and ask for an appointment with the president? Our doors are closed for him, he cannot enter. Why not? He needs to know his place.
In the same vein, Interior Minister and Vice President of the Presidential Party, Süleyman Soylu, publicly condemned the U.S. ambassador during the earthquake, telling him to remove his « dirty hands from Turkey ». All Turks noticed that the Westerners withdrew their ambassadors from the country in the two days before the disaster, as if they knew about it before it happened, and that they delayed sending relief supplies. Soylu added: “Every U.S. ambassador is wondering how he can harm Turkey. This has been one of Turkey’s greatest misfortunes for years. They gather other ambassadors and try to give them advice. They do the same in Europe so that the US embassies rule Europe.
The Turks, who are very nationalistic, approve. But the minister is still a mafioso and an Islamist, publicly denounced by another godfather, Sedat Peker, now on the run. The latter revealed in a series of videos posted on the Internet that Süleyman Soylu and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım’s son used al-Qaeda soldiers to overthrow the 2016 putschists. He delivered weapons to them through a private military company, SADAT. They were the ones who defeated the insurgent soldiers on the Bosphorus Bridge.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was a street thug who entered politics in Necmettin Erbakan’s militia, the Millî Görüş. He distinguished himself on the side of the Muslim Brotherhood in Afghanistan, then supported the Islamists in Chechnya. He came to power in Turkey with the help of the CIA, against which he is now turning. If no one doubts the sincerity of his reversal, everyone wonders whether it will be lasting or not, whether he will not become an agent of Washington like the others. In his name, Süleyman Soylu pushes the envelope further. Without denying Erdoğan’s heavy past, it is a matter of making people forget his involvement alongside Daesh against Syria.
Speaking to party youth on April 17, Süleyman Soylu thus described globalization as an attempt by the United States to use the rise of international trade to destroy all cultures and make their own triumph. He then attacked the European Union, whose leaders he described as subservient, to the point of calling it “America’s mule”.
He went on to note that the “American empire” is losing its reputation. Europeans are Washington’s spadassins in Africa. That is why Africans hate them. In the end, “it is the whole world that hates America”. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has allied himself with Washington, he is “in too much of a hurry” and, without meaning to, he is putting the future of Türkiye in great danger.
It should be remembered that Turkey is still a member of the Atlantic Alliance and hosts Nato military bases.
In the midst of the election campaign, President Erdoğan will inaugurate the launch of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant next Thursday. This is the first VVER-type pressurized water reactor with a unit capacity of 1,200 MW, built by Rosatom. To mark the occasion, the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, has been invited to the ceremony, although he is unlikely to attend.