Erdogan's Enemy-Terrorists: Kurds, Gulenists
"[This would represent] a landmine for our relationship [between Turkey and Canada]."
"Canadian officials, Members of Parliament], policy chiefs [and] many high-level people, they think they can use in future (sic) [to accept bribes such as paid trips to Turkey from Methullah Gulen's organization]."
"People are brainwashed, they use these schools [Gulen Hizmet charter schools] for recruitment. This is dangerous for Canada as well. Our advice is be careful about these schools."
"We [Turkey] did not receive any kind of statement from any Western government that they support the democratically elected government [of Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party, post-attempted-coup]."
Cemalettin Kani Torun, deputy chair, Turkish parliamentary foreign affairs committee
|Recep Erdogan has accused the West of 'supporting terrorism' AFP|
It's not exactly a charm offensive. Mr. Kani is leading a cross-party delegation in Canada, to raise the alarm of the 'terrorist threat' represented by Methullah Gulen and his followers. More in the nature of a vitriolic blame offensive, the repeated declarations that a 'democracy' has been threatened by the violence of a military coup that failed because the courageous ordinary people of Turkey stood up to defend their president and his Islamist political party, while the West simply yawned.
Failing the most basic courtesy of commiseration, of offering assistance to the Republic of Turkey in its hours of turmoil. We should hang our heads in shame and abject apology. And perhaps round up all those Turkish-Canadians who subscribe to the Gulenist ideology. We would then have the option of imprisoning them or returning these Canadian citizens to a revenge-ridden Turkey. And that would most certainly ensure that the Canada-Turkey relationship will be healthy and sound.
Not that democratic Turkey is failing to defend itself on the home front, having used the expeditious occurrence of the failed coup to strike hard against all those within the country that Ankara suspects have plotted against the government. And here we speak not of thousands of military personnel of high-to-middling rank persuaded that their president-for-life has dismantled the traditions that secular-governing Turkey was so proud of, but of tens of thousands of Turks.
The Turkey that Mustafa Kemal Ataturk bequeathed to his nation as a forward-looking, cosmopolitan nation wedged between progressive, modernized, secular-governed Europe and the backward Middle East mired in its quagmire of theism, sectarian and tribal antipathies and ruling kingdoms and sheikdoms has undergone a 90-degree seachange, a steady return to the grip of Islamism. And Islam excels at punishing its enemies.
President Erdogan has recovered the momentum he had briefly squandered in his imperial autocratic impulse, caught between NATO membership and its solidarity in battling Islamic State, expecting Turkey as a member to do likewise rather than nurture ISIL, and his blind rage at Russian intervention in a conflict where the detestable Bashar al Assad has been slaughtering Sunni Syrians with the backing of Shiite Iran, Hezbollah and Iraq.
How does all that disquieting violence and wretched misery impact on Canada? The reach of a cleric who once supported Erdogan, but became disgusted with his totalitarian Islamist compulsion to transform the nation in fond memory of the glory days of the monolithic and powerful Ottoman Empire. What was, can once again be recalled. Just as Vladimir Putin, Erdogan's newfound buddy has his own aspirations to reinstate the Soviet Union.
Cleric Methullah Gulen, despite years of exile voluntarily removing himself to the United States to be domiciled there and out of reach of Erdogan's vengeful grasp, has a wide and faithful Turkish following who prefer to subscribe to his brand of Islam. Mr. Gulen in fact, runs an empire with his followers integrated throughout every level of Turkish society and professions, both within Turkey and among Turks who have emigrated to other countries.
And it is the Gulenists who escaped persecution in Turkey by migrating elsewhere that Erdogan's emissaries warn about. Having arrested tens of thousands of Turkish police, military, journalists, lawyers, academics and students, Ankara has turned its sights on Turks abroad who support Mr. Gulen and his aspirations for Turkey. They are terrorists all, and those countries who support their citizenship are nurturing terrorists.
Turkey is now turning its face away from its former Western allies, who were never quite convinced that Turkey was as much European as it is part of the Middle East. Under the long propaganda arm of the Justice and Development Party, Turks no longer take pride in their tradition of having one foot in Europe the other in Islamism. The West and its interests have been transformed into the enemy.
|More than 30,000 Erdogan supporters marched in Cologne, Germany in early August. Getty|
The West, in fact, has been well infiltrated with the presence of Turks, most of whom support Erdogan and their version of Islamist democracy. Like many immigrants, retaining the fondness of dual nationality. The divisions between Turks with those loyal to Erdogan as opposed to those faithful to the Gulenist ideology of tolerance and secular-type government has been brought to the West and will play out as it will.
Erdogan's rage that the United States insists on proof that Methullah Gulen was behind the failed coup before they would begin to entertain the Turkish demand that he be returned to Turkey to stand trial for treason, for which the death penalty appears to be on the cusp of reinstatement, manifests itself in the extension of anger directed toward all Western nations, none of whom have expressed solidarity with a government on a witch-hunt.