By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
With each passing day, Turkish President Erdogan is becoming increasingly dictatorial. The arrest of 11 members of the opposition pro-Kurdish party, HDP, is the latest in a long string of Erdogan’s dictatorial policies.
Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon official and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, wrote a devastating exposé on Erdogan last week, listing some of his scandalous actions!
I have summarized Rubin’s lengthy article which was posted on Newsweek magazine’s European edition website, under the title, “Twelve Questions Turkish Journalists Dare not Ask”:
1. How did Erdogan become a billionaire?
Erdogan was raised in a poor family until he became Mayor of Istanbul when he faced 13 corruption probes. In 2004, when he was Prime Minister, the U.S. embassy in Ankara reported in a cable to Washington that “he had at least eight Swiss bank accounts.” In addition, secret phone recordings revealed his instructions “to liquidate perhaps a billion dollars in cash. Erdogan used his power over the courts to quash the case and arrest prosecutors and judges who sought to pursue it.”
2. Where is Erdogan’s university diploma?
Erdogan claims to have graduated from Istanbul’s Marmara University in 1981. His degree may have been forged. “A four-year degree is a prerequisite for the presidency. If Erdogan lied about having a degree, can he remain as president?”
3. Is there another story behind the coup attempt?
Erdogan fired and jailed thousands of his political opponents, accusing them of being the followers of Fethullah Gulen, the alleged mastermind of the July 15 coup attempt, which the Turkish President called “a gift from God.”
4. If there is a FETO, is there also an ETO?
Erdogan called Gulen’s movement “the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETO).... If it is permissible to talk about FETO as a terror group, would it be equally acceptable to refer to the Erdoganist Terror Organization (ETO)?”
5. If Gulen is a terrorist, why did Erdogan work with him till 2013?
Gulen and Erdogan had practically identical religious philosophies until their split in 2013. Why is Gulen a ‘terrorist’ now?
6. Why is it OK to report on PKK attacks but not on ISIS?
“When the PKK or fringe Kurdish groups attack, it often dominates the headlines in Turkey for days as the investigation continues, authorities name suspects, etc…. But when ISIS has attacked, the Turkish government has put an embargo on reports about the investigation.”
7. Why did Turkish intelligence help the Nusra Front? And ISIS?
“Evidence is overwhelming that both the Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, and ISIS itself, have received arms, support and equipment from authorities in Turkey. When journalists broke the story -- and provided photographic evidence -- Erdogan’s response was to arrest the editor of the newspaper that published the scoop. Likewise, when Turkish soldiers stopped an arms shipment into Syria, Erdogan ordered the soldiers’ arrest rather than the smugglers....”
8. Was a Turkish death squad behind the Paris assassinations?
“In 2013, assassins executed three Kurdish activists in their office in Paris. All three were PKK members.... The French captured Omer Guney, a 32-year-old Turk who had arrived in France at age 9. Telephone intercepts after the murders show him calling back to handlers in Turkey’s intelligence agency....”
9. Why did Erdogan appoint his son-in-law oil minister?
“Berat Albayrak, Erdogan’s 37-year-old son-in-law, became Turkey’s energy minister on November 24, 2015. Was he the best qualified? Or were other factors at play?”
10. Can we talk about Erdogan’s associations?
Erdogan is a close friend of Yasin al-Qadi, a Saudi businessman, who, according to the U.S. Treasury Department “had alleged ties to Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden until 2014.” Erdogan persistently declared: “I know Mr. Qadi. I believe in him as I believe in myself. For Mr. Qadi to associate with a terrorist organization, or support one, is impossible.” Erdogan is also close to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar of Afghanistan who has “allied himself with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.” Another friend, Khalid Meshaal (the militant leader of Hamas), visited Turkey as Erdogan’s personal guest!
11. What deal have you struck with Putin?
After Erdogan and Putin buried the hatchet earlier this year, they agreed on a pipeline deal and held talks on the Turkish purchase of a Russian missile system. Were there any secret agreements?
12. What explains the court’s 2008 refusal to close the AKP?
In 2008, Turkey’s constitutional court came close to dissolving Erdogan’s ruling party. But, at the last-minute, one justice switched his vote. It is alleged that “a businessman, long hounded by Erdogan, wired money into that justice’s account just before the vote.”
During a Nov. 6 ceremony in Istanbul to receive an honorary doctorate, Erdogan proudly proclaimed: “I don’t care if they call me a dictator or whatever else. It goes in one ear, out the other!”