Turkish ministers knew about the 2016 coup attempt - former AKP deputy
The Turkish ministers were told there would be a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, 15 to 20 days beforehand, but did not take the warnings seriously, Mehmet Metiner, a former member of parliament for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), told the pro-government Star newspaper.
Metiner said there would be new attempts to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, if the government failed to learn lessons from 2016.
“When someone told ministers and our officials within security-intelligence bureaucracy 15 to 20 days before the coup attempt that there would be a coup, those allegations were not taken seriously. Even on the night of the July 15, in the beginning many of us did not think it was a coup attempt,” Metiner said.
Metiner said it was time to reflect on those mistakes, given the failures of both intelligence agencies and top ranking generals to identify the government’s real friends and enemies.
The Turkish government blames the secretive Gülen movement for the coup. The movement was once allied to the AKP, but the two wings of Turkish Islamism fell out when Gülenist prosecutors charged ministers and their relatives with corruption in 2013.
Metiner accused some AKP parliamentarians of backing the corruption investigations and complaining when the government dismissed the prosecutors and judges in the case.
“If we forget those who adopt this discourse of victimhood, we might always find ourselves facing new threats,” Metiner said. Source
Turkish-funded mosques in the United States centres for political mobilisation - academic
Mosques funded by Turkey in the United States are not apolitical as Ankara claims but are used for religious and political radicalisation, Columbia University’s Director for the Programme on Peace-Building and Rights told Fox News. “These mosques are not places of worship,” David L. Phillips said. “They are centres for political mobilisation functioning like madrasas, distorting Islam and radicalising youth.”
One prominent recent investment, the broadcaster said, was a $110-million worship centre in Lanham, Maryland, a place neighbouring Washington D.C. There have been allegations across Europe that Turkish government-funded mosques are being used as intelligence-gathering stations, with potential enemies of the Turkish state identified and reported on, Fox said.
However, the Turkish government has denied the accusations, saying they are part of a smear campaign by the Gülen movement, an Islamic sect that over the past few years has gone from being government allies to being accused by the government of perpetrating a 2016 failed coup attempt. Source
EU reaction mixed as Turkey lifts state of emergency
The European Union welcomed Turkey’s lifting of the two-year state of emergency on July 19, but voiced fears it could be offset by other restrictive legislative measures.
In a statement, the EU reminded President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government that “concrete and lasting improvements” on the rule of law were essential for closer ties between Brussels and Ankara, which is in talks to join the bloc.
“The end of the state of emergency in place in Turkey since the coup attempt of 2016 is a welcome step,” said the European External Action Service, the EU’s diplomatic arm.
“We believe the adoption of new legislative proposals granting extraordinary powers to the authorities and retaining several restrictive elements of the state of emergency would dampen any positive effect of its termination,” it added. Read the full article
Former Turkish prime minister warns of serious crisis risk
Tansu Çiller, a former prime minister of Turkey, warned of a crisis in the corporate sector after some large companies began talks with banks to restructure their loans.
“I see a very serious expectation of a crisis in the private sector,” Çiller said , according to Turkish columnist Abdulkadir Selvi.
Çiller, who accompanied Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the campaign trail as he successfully fought re-election on June 24, said the new, enhanced presidential system for Turkey would help overcome the impending crisis.
Turkish corporates have amassed more than $220 billion in unhedged foreign currency debt, taking advantage of a flow of cheap money to emerging markets following the global financial crisis of 2008. The debt has become more expensive to repay after the lira slumped against the dollar. It has lost more than 20 percent in value this year to trade at about 4.84 per dollar. It was as strong as 1.15 against the U.S. currency before the crisis struck.
Companies including Doğuş Group, owned by Turkish billionaire Ferit Şahenk, have applied to banks to restructure billions of dollars in loans they had amassed for buyouts and investments in real estate, services and energy. Saudi Oger, the Saudi telecommunications company, has defaulted on almost $5 billion of debt owed by phone company Turk Telekom, prompting banks to seize it and place it in a special purpose vehicle earlier this month.
Çiller, a professor of economics, ruled Turkey as prime minister between 1993 and 1996. During her tenure, large-scale capital flight from Turkey due to lack of confidence in her budget deficit targets led to the almost complete collapse of the lira and the central bank's foreign currency reserves.
Erdoğan is a strong leader and will overcome Turkey's economic problems, helped by the presidential system introduced following the elections, Çiller said, according to Selvi. Source
Army marks 44th anniversary of Cyprus peace op
Turkish Armed Forces on Friday marked the 44th anniversary of Turkey’s military operation conducted to protect northern Cyprus’s Turkish population. Friday marks July 20 Peace and Freedom Day in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which commemorates Turkey’s ‘Cyprus Peace Operation’ -- a huge military intervention to protect Turkish Cypriots from inter-communal violence which struck the island in 1974.
In a Twitter post, the military wrote: “We commemorate our martyrs and veterans with mercy and gratitude on the 44th anniversary of Cyprus’s Happy Peace Operation.” It also released a video showing the operation conducted 44 years ago.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Turks and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor power. The latest attempt to reunify the long-divided Mediterranean island ended in failure in 2017 after two years of negotiations. Source
British court seizes passport of FETO coup bid suspect
Judging him a flight risk, a British court on Thursday confiscated the passport of a fugitive Turkish businessman wanted for involvement in the July 2016 defeated coup in Turkey. The passport of Hamdi Akin Ipek, the former head of Koza Ipek Holding, was confiscated to prevent him from leaving the U.K. during his judicial process.
Turkey’s extradition request for Ipek with the approval of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) was previously submitted to British authorities. After his arrest this May, Ipek was released on £50,000 ($64,000) bail. In Britain, extradition requests are referred to the court with the FCO’s approval.
If the court finds the arrest warrant and the extradition request proper, the court’s decision is also implemented with FCO approval. Ipek, accused of attempting to overthrow Turkey’s government and violate the Constitution, faces up to two aggravated life sentences if convicted. He is also facing 132 years in prison for setting up an armed terror group, military and political espionage, forging documents, and laundering money. Source
President to make decisions alone, dissenters will be fired - Erdoğan’s top adviser
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will decide on how to run the country singlehandedly under the country’s new system of government, and any personnel who do not fit in will be immediately replaced, according to Mehmet Uçum, one of the president’s chief advisers.
The new system would make it possible for issues that had been held up under the old parliamentary system to be resolved in the space of hours through Erdoğan’s direct intervention, Uçum told journalist Hande Fırat of Hürriyet newspaper.
The system that would make this possible will likely raise the hackles of the opposition, however, as it places full responsibility for the country’s administration on Erdoğan’s shoulders, according to Uçum.
The president’s adviser outlined the workings of a system in which political boards and institutions would serve in only an advisory capacity, passing their analyses up to the president for consideration.
“To whom will all of these (dossiers) be sent? To the president. Who will receive the drafts prepared by political boards? The president. Why does the president need to make the decisions on his own? Because under the new system, the president is the person who holds political responsibility,” said Uçum.
Another advantage of amassing so much authority under the president is that it reduces the danger of conflicts within government because it simply removes room for dissent, said Uçum.
“If any kind of discord does arise, then this won’t turn into a systemic problem, but one of implementation. What does this mean? The sources of discord can be removed overnight, and replaced with people who can do the job properly,” Uçum said.
While Uçum was effusive that the system would become an “inspiration” to other countries, other observers were less enthusiastic. Duke University professor Timur Karan tweeted that such a system “assumes the president is omniscient.” Source
Six US senators seek to restrict loans to Turkey over 'pastor' ruling
Six U.S. senators introduced bipartisan legislation on July 19 to restrict loans from international financial institutions to Turkey "until the Turkish government ends the unjust detention of U.S. citizens", a senate committee statement said.
The move followed a Turkish court decision on Wednesday to keep U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson in jail during his trial on terrorism and spying charges, a case that has deepened a rift with NATO ally Washington.
The bill, dubbed the Turkey International Financial Institutions Act, directs the U.S. executive of the World Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to oppose future loans, except for humanitarian purposes, to Turkey, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations statement said.
It said the opposition should continue until Turkey is "no longer arbitrarily detaining or denying freedom of movement to United States citizens (including dual citizens) or locally employed staff members of the United States mission to Turkey." Read the full article
Erdoğan makes legal move against opposition leader, 72 MPs
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has asked prosecutors to start legal proceedings against Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and 72 of his parliamentary deputies on charges of insulting the president.
The move follows a decision by the Ankara prosecutor’s office to investigate Kılıçdaroğlu for the offence, Hürriyet newspaper and other Turkish media reported on Wednesday. The 73 politicians allegedly shared a cartoon of Erdoğan on social media that was first held up by students of the Middle East Technical University (METU) at a recent protest against Erdoğan.
It is possible that a criminal case against 73 of the CHP’s 144 politicians in the 600-member assembly, amounting to a simple majority of its MPS, could result in their immunities from prosecution being lifted by Erdoğan’s party and its political allies, meaning they would be banished from the assembly if found guilty by the courts.
Mahir Unal, spokesman for the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) was scathing in his remarks for Kılıçdaroğlu and the CHP earlier on Wednesday saying they were siding with terrorists. The insults against Erdogan had to stop as the country was completely fed up with them, he said.
The crime of insulting the president in the course of his duties carries a jail term of between one and three years. tems of two years or less are often reduced by the courts to a suspended sentence and/or a fine.
The case comes at a time when the CHP is criticising an AKP move to tighten anti-terrorism laws as the government lifts a state of emergency in the country, in place since a failed military coup in July 2016. The measures taken under emergency rule have been slammed by the European Union, the United States and human rights groups for their anti-democratic nature. The draft legislation means some of the measures allowed under the state of emergency will continue to be implemented.
Kılıçdaroğlu has repeatedly lambasted Erdoğan for being a dictator and an authoritarian, prompting Erdoğan to file and win a series of civil suits for insult.
Erdoğan’s opponents say he is using the measures taken under emergency rule, which have included locking up deputies of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and tens of thousands of civil servants, to strengthen his authoritarian hold on the country and eradicate all political dissent.
The AKP says the sanctions are needed to protect democracy as the country battles with outlawed groups including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Fethullah Gülen movement, which Turkey blames for orchestrating the coup attempt.
The CHP has also angered Erdogan after many of its supporters voted for the HDP in parliamentary elections on June 24, held concurrently with a presidential vote. The HDP passed the minimum 10 percent voter threshold required to win seats in the assembly, meaning the AKP now needs the backing of its ultranationalist allies, the Nationalist Action Party (MHP), to pass legislation.
Erdoğan assumed enhanced presidential powers last Monday, following his inauguration. He will rule until 2023, Turkey's centeneary year, when fresh elections are due to be held. Erdoğan has established a presidential cabinet after the role of prime minister was abolished. He has also shrunk the number of ministers and put his son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, in charge of the Treasury and Finance Ministry. Source
|2 Years of July 15 Coup Attempt with Figures, Reports|