A lot of the info I've been getting I've had to send to secure, but I
wanted you to see some of it so you can be thinking about it and working
on verifying some of these issues, researching further, etc.. We can
discuss this over the phone too. below is what i have from 2 different
sources. Really excited about my meetings in Turkey. You'd better have a
good doner kabob place picked out for me in Istanbul. Will keep you
posted on my plans.
Thanks for your work on the Turkish airlines. Next step is to map out the
MFA. FInd all the localtions where Turkey has established new diplomatic
missions in recent years.
US is putting heavy pressure on Turkey right now to sign the Armenia
protocols and open the border. (he kept asking me why the US keeps
pressuring Turkey on this and then finally gave me the following answer).
The reason is because the US needs an alternate supply route to
Afghanistan, and needs it fast for the surge of 30,000 more troops. To do
that, they need the Turkish-Armenia border to be opened. The route would
go from Turkey to Armenia to Azerbaijan then onto Turkmenistan.
railway between Turkey and Armenia is there, can be ready to go within 15
days. It's not going to be a problem. This will be for non-military
supplies. understand that Turkey is very modern and different from other
Muslim countries... anything US needs, from potato chips to bottled water,
Turkey has and can offer cheap. I have heard this from the businessmen in
Turkey arranging the logistics and from US officials here who are
negotiating the deal. US officials are discussing this with TUrkey now and
want to make this happen by April 24, the anniversary of the "genocide".
THe undersecretary was just here for this.
(I asked him to walk me through how that discussion goes)
There is a disconnect. In these talks, the US tells Turkey, stop dragging
your feet on the Armenia protocols. Keep the Nagorno-Karabakh issue
separate and open the border first. In return, US will agree to setting up
the historical commission on the genocide claim (to dispute the claim) and
recognize Turkey's "legitimate" border with Armenia. That way, Turkey will
be able to deflect pressure at home from those that oppose the
But Turkey cannot separate N-K issue from the Armenia protocols. We have
told the US we will sign it, but the US has to be the one to pressure
Armenia to make concessions on N-K first. That is the TUrkish promise to
Azerbaijan. Tell me why doesn't the US do something to pressure Armenia
on this? (I then brought up the Russia factor and said that for that to
happen US would also have to be having a discussion with Russia on this)
He says, how do you know they aren't?
Don't you think Russia wants to be
part of this Afghanistan supply network? more leverage for them.
When the US tells Turkey stop dragging your feet and sign it, then TUrkey
says we can't ignore N-K. The Turkish government also believes that the US
pres should have enough control over Congress to shut the genocide debate
down. The genocide resolution will make it to the committee, but depending
on how these negotiations go, I dont think it will go beyond that.
(source was extremely negative toward Israel in this discussion)
Turkey doesn't want to see war with Iran. Turkey won't support sanctions.
We will abstain in the UN vote. A US war with Iran will unravel all the
foreign policy investment Turkey has made over the years. The Palestinian
issue, the Syrian negotiations, everything will be destroyed by it. ISrael
will gain a great deal of "undeserved" power from a strike on Iran.
Israel doesn't pay for anything... anything. THe Israelis are causing a
lot of problems for us. (I probed him more on this). Look at what
influence Israel has in Azerbaijan and in Turkish domestic politics.
There is a very powerful and affluent Jewish community in Azerbaijan that
works with and tells the AZ government to turn against TUrkey, that they're fundamentalist, etc. Israel is also doing the same thing among
secular businessmen, military, etc in Turkey. They are trying to cause
problems for AKP. I think the Turkish-israeli relationship will get
worse. We keep asking the US, why don't you do more to pressure Israel.
US hasn't done anything to pressure Israel on any issues.
We, TUrkey, are
trying to show that we are the only ones that will at least challenge
Israel and use the same lingo that US uses toward Iran - embargo,
leverage, etc - against Israel. Even when Netanyahu ran into the Greek PM
in Moscow, do you know what he said? Turkey is becoming a big threat,
watch out, etc. How is this helpful?
Source doesn't think Turkey will host US BMD and agrees with our position
---------------------------------------------- Gulen 'sleeper' cells
I talked to him about what I learned from another source about the
Gulenist 'sleeper families'. He confirmed that this is the case and
explained in more detail how it works. Essentially you will have a family
where the wife will be very modern, no headscarf, the man can go drinking,
vacation on the French Riviera, get a Russian prostitute, etc., the kids
will grow up secular, socialize with military kids in school. The whole
time though you will have them report regularly to a case officer in
Gulen, who will place them strategically in institutions where they need
to build influence. We also discussed the specific ways in which the
Gulen targets its opponents or potential agents of influence (some good
things for me to be aware of given stratfor's profile in turkey - very
similar to the Chinese method of buying influence on a grassroots level).
In short, it's very difficult to tell who you're talking to. You could be
sitting down with someone bashing AKP and drinking whiskey, and they could
be a hardcore Gulenist.
Gulen's Relationship with AKP
We've talked about AKP's symbiotic, but often tense relationship with
Gulen. Need to note that Gulen doesn't like Erdogan. When the AKP last
faced the threat of being banned, Gulen supported them through the whole
ordeal, but as soon as it was clear AKP would remain, orders were given to
Gulen media to attack Erdogan in the news. Gulen is much closer
ideologically to Gul and Davutoglu. Need to watch this dynamic closely.
How to tell a Gulenist
-Gulenists will not refer to the Gulen movement as Gulen, but as Hoca
Ofendi; anti-Gulenists will refer to it as Gulen or worse, by the leaders
first name Faitullah
- see how paranoid the person you are talking to is with their phone. If
they bring it to a mtg and leave the battery in, they could be Gulenist,
ie. not afraid to talk. If they are paranoid and disassemble or check
their phone at the front lobby (this is apparently common now in Turkey),
then they are afraid of Gulen/police surveillance.
- when talking to a man, pay attention to the metal of their ring.
Hardcore Islamists won't wear gold and will wear silver instead. It is a
very symbolic thing in Turkey religiously to go from gold to silver or
- Gulenists love to use cosmic and galactic sounding names for their
organizations - anything to do with space, milky way, time (zaman), peace
and harmony, etc.
Gulen Influence in Police Intelligence
I asked how the Gulen developed into such an unbelievably sophisticated
intelligence organization. He explained in detail how the Gulen were able
to build so much influence within the police intelligence. The police were
always the weaker force in Turkey. It was always the military intelligence
of course that had the most clout.
The way he explained it was that the
gendarmerie, the branch of the Turkish armed forces that patrols the
countryside (outside of police control) controlled some 97% of the
country, while the police controlled some 3% of the population in urban
Turkey. In the early 1990s, the PM at the time, Ciller, while very
secular, thought it would be a good idea to build up the police intel as a
way to counter the military and balance power more effectively. The US at
the time supplied the Turkish police at the time with surveillance
technology and other forms of technical equipment and expertise (remember
this was a time when cell phone technology was starting to take off).
Turks then developed an indigenous capability and empowered themselves
through that. The Gulen started early in placing their people in the
police ranks, realizing that the institution would rise to power. Today,
the police intelligence is the main institution driving all these
Ergenekon investigations, tax audits, etc. It's a political tool, and a
very effective one at that.
Turkey won't take IMF loan
Turkey won't take the IMF loan. They'll continue to keep the issue alive
but string it along and make clear that they're past the worst part of the
economic storm. Why won't they take it? IMF is placing a condition on
the loan for Turkey to create an independent tax audit body. There's no
way AKP/Gulen could agree to that. The tax audits are what allows them to
neutralize their business and media opponents (very Russian-like).
Rise of AKP oligarchs
Strongest areas of Gulen/AKP influence -- police, lower judiciary,
ministry of foreign affairs, newly established universities
AKP/Gulen is still far behind the nationalists in the banking sector. Emre
and I are breaking down the top 10 Forbes Turkish business families over
the past several years, and clearly the mainstay secular families
(Sabanci, Koc, Dogan, etc) are dominant. That said, the AKP/Gulen may not
have the support of the multi-billionaires, but the strength of the
small-med business families cannot be ignored. These together make up a
In our discussion, we broke down the four types of business families in
a) Those that are staunchly secular/nationalist, anti-AKP and anti-Gulen
b) Those that are secular/nationalist and anti-Gulen but more neutral
toward AKP out of business interest (Sabanci, Sahenk (NTV), Dogus,
c) Those that are pro-AKP, fake supporters of Gulen for their own business
and personal protection - (Calik, Zorlu)
d) Those that are legitimately pro-AKP and pro-Gulen - (Ulkher)
The Gulen Business Cycle
(this is so cool... i'm going to create a visual graphic of this cycle for
the series we publish)
This is how the Gulen spreads beyond Turkey in business territory:
Say I'm a button maker for dress shirts in Denizli, Konya, Kayseri,
Gaziantep, etc (these are all more conservative provinces where AKP/Gulen
has strong support). If I support AKP/Gulen, then they will arrange a spot
for me in the supply chain and set up contracts for me with all the shirt
makers I need to do business with. If I don't cooperate, they'll deny me
land, and I'll have the tax auditing office come after me.
Gulen in Africa
Now, to spread internationally, we've talked already about how Gulen is in
the balkans, a lot of the former Soviet space, etc but it's more difficult
to operate in some of these areas where they don't know Islam or where you
have strong authoritarian regimes. Africa, however, is perfect because
you have little to no transparency, it's virgin territory and it's
chaotic, lots of Muslims and undeveloped.
Gulen/AKP will organize a big business forum in X African country. Usually
organized by Tuscan business lobby group. Tuscan will work with the MFA
officials and the ambassador there to faciltate your business contacts.
You'll get a lucrative contract. In return, you donate a sizable sum to
fund a school in the country. These Gulenist schools (note - i have tons
of research on this - many of them are also in the US) have top-notch
facilities and disciplines, ie. where the elites of these countries would
send their kids.
The idea is to indoctrinate the children of these state
leaders early in these schools so that when they rise to power, they are
already tied into Gulen. Very sophisticated, deliberate and long-term
approach to build influence in these countries. A lot of the elites in
these countries will become paranoid because they can't be sure if these
kids will turn on them and charge them for not being good Muslims, etc.
The point is for the Gulen to be able to influence political decisions and
raise the political elite in these countries.
To map out where Gulen is operating, we are going to look at a couple
a) where Turkey has opened up new embassies recently (there's been a ton)
b) new Turkish Airlines routes that have opened recently
* note Calik just got a contract for a refinery in Sudan .. beat out the
Indian bid. AKP/Gulen helped facilitate this deal. They're focused a lot
on Sudan lately.
Gulen and universities
Turkey's long-established universities are run and dominated by the
secularist/nationalists. But Gulen is creating its new class of
universities. In past 7 years, the number of universities in Turkey has
grown from 70 to 140.. nearly doubled. These are all privately funded by
Gulenist businessmen. I'll be checking out some of these universities
while I'm there.