Economic crisis may spark second coup - Perinçek Part 2
In part two of Ahval's exclusive interview with Patriotic Party leader Doğu Perinçek, he shares his unique view of Turkey's situation after the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, and the explosive claim that the country's economic woes could lead to support for another coup attempt.
In part one, Perinçek stated that a Russian strategist with known ties to the Kremlin, Alexander Dugin, had reported information about unusual military activity to President Erdogan's key advisers on July 14, a day before the actual coup attempt. Here is what follows:
“You are saying that the government knew about this beforehand? Then, why did they wait? Could they have prevented the deaths of 250 people?”
Put yourself in the place of the government. You have received this information, what are you going to do? On the night of July 15, I myself called (Prime Minister) Binali Yıldırım and I called the president’s staff. Of course, I could not reach either Mr. Yıldırım nor the President, but I called to tell their close staff that the Turkish military was not involved in this coup, that the coup was a trap by the U.S. and supported by Fethullah (Gülen), that the TSK (Turkish Armed Forces) was absolutely against the coup, and that we had to hold tight that night. But, I saw this, that the government’s ties with the military were broken. That is, they kept asking, ‘Is this true? You are sure the military is not involved with the coup? Is it as you say, the work of another group?’ Questions like that. So, we learned that they were not able to get reliable information from inside the TSK. We have to look at their situation carefully. That is, we have to evaluate the situation created by the ruling AKP, and look at the stalemates or negative situations they created for this to occur. Then, we can answer the question of what could they have done, which is not much as they did not have the ability to respond effectively.
You don’t find it strange that a TSK command level person was detained at a wedding one day after Alexander Dugin informed the government on July 14? They didn’t raise the threat level? No increased vigilance or security alert? You are tying all this to a lack of ability?
If we, the Vatan Partisi (Patriotic Party) had been in power, we would have immediately taken steps to bring under control all elements, detained various parties, and would have disarmed them. How much the AKP was able to do then is something one has to learn from them. But, if we are concerned that they knew beforehand and closed their eyes deliberately and let this happen so they could obtain the means to suppress the population, this is not a realistic analysis at all. It is such a dangerous thing to even imagine, because they are not very powerful. To let certain powers in the TSK and the ones engaged in the coup go forward with their plans, so they can be apprehended later is not realistic, it doesn’t match real life.
There is something else, of course, the matter of power or control. Let’s say they have the police, but within the police there are many Fethullahist cells. Or, they don’t have control over the TSK. They are in a somewhat hopeless situation. Also, in such situations, some don’t want to believe this is happening, that the intelligence is incorrect and so forth. But, I believe it was due to lack of capability.
You either have to be in control of the police, or the military. If you don’t have control, you can’t stop a coup with a phone. This can be a headline: ‘You can’t suppress a coup with a telephone.’ Actually, if you pay close attention to the president during announcement on his phone, you can see from his face that they were not in control of the situation and how weak they are. He didn’t have authority or power, nor control. He wasn’t a man who was in control or had authority.
Do you think other groups were involved besides the Gulenist group?
No other group was part of it. I can say this with certainty. But, it was obvious that there were others who thought to benefit from the coup, thought to improve their standing. And, then there were others who appeared to have ‘let’s see who comes out on top, I will side with the winner’ attitudes. There were those, too.
The police or several police officers protecting Erdoğan in Marmaris turned out to be members of FETÖ. The pilot who flew the president’s plane from Dalaman to Istanbul was supposedly FETÖ. The five pilots who bombed the headquarters of the coup, Akinci Air Force Base, have been arrested for being members of FETÖ. The captain at the General Staff Headquarters in Ankara who we all made into a hero turned out to be a member of FETÖ. There are those who say FETÖ members protected Erdoğan against the coupists. What do you make of this?
These people may have been members of FETÖ, but the pilot could not have killed Erdoğan. Why? Because killing him was not the purpose. First, the coup actors did not want to kill Erdoğan, but to try him in court, to humiliate him, and create a situation which was in their favour. If they had wanted to kill him, they would have killed him. But it is obvious they wanted to arrest him. Either they were not members of FETÖ, or maybe they were, but could not go against the orders of the TSK.
Look carefully. There is a serious political struggle in which the public is pitted against the tank. Like, ‘The public suppressed the coup, they won against the military.’ This is very wrong. I said this to Binali Yıldırım when he called me, too. The military stopped this coup. Of course, the public was on the side of the military.
If the U.S. was behind the coup, why would they allow such an amateurish, poorly-enacted coup?
The US is losing everywhere. They are losing in Syria. They are losing in Iran. They dragged (Iraqi Kurdistan Regional President Massoud) Barzani into a referendum and were shown their powerlessness. In looking at the past few years of U.S. history, it has always been like this, powerless, hopeless, helplessness and incapable. As a declining power, the things the U.S. can do are limited. In fact, if you read Trump’s last security report, one can see this powerlessness and hopelessness detailed. That is, the belief that the U.S. can do everything, and accomplish a successful coup is in the past.
In your Nov. 27, 2015 interview, you said the Gülen movement had been largely eliminated. That this was enough. That the military was not touched, but you don’t think Fethullah Gülen has any real power within the TSK. Were you mistaken?
You have made an excellent point. They had organised far beyond what we at the Patriotic Party imagined. Actually, we fell foul of them, were imprisoned. My friends and I were put in prison as part of the Ergenekon case. That is, we have known FETÖ for 50 years, but never knew they were this strong inside the Turkish military. I said as much during that interview, too.
Can we say that the possibility of another coup by the TSK or something similar is zero after all the ‘purging and liquidation’?
Because of the economic crisis we are facing, there may be those who want to leave the coup in the lap of the military. That is, we are entering a period of a long and deep economic crisis.
You are talking about 2018?
Yes, 2018. We can see it. There will be a decrease in imports. Businesses, which relies on imports, will suffer. Some businesses will close. There will be layoffs.
You are saying all this could lead to another coup in the country?
No, I am not saying that it will lead to a coup. But, if we don’t find a solution to many of these problems, and if there are protests in the streets, which we can’t control, the U.S. is planning this and ready to implement their plans. As a matter of fact, they have said it. U.S. powers have stated that they are going to turn Turkey into hell in 2018. Under these circumstances, even if they don’t want to, some will say there is no peace in Turkey and will just leave this for the military to manage. But, I believe the TSK will remain wise to these plans and won’t fall into this trap. Turkey is entering an era of solutions. There is no threat of a coup in the near future, but there is a solution proposed by us, the Patriotic Party. Why do we always think it is impossible to find solutions for crises? I am saying that Turkey will come up with a solution from this crisis. There is a great saying, “Blind, dead-ends result in strong solutions.” Turkey is entering a dead end, but will end up with a strong solution. Just like Mustafa Kemal. And, that solution is the Patriotic Party.
In the United States, American newspapers constantly write that in the TSK, the NATO supporters lost. They say that those supporting the Atlantic side lost and the Eurasian side won. These analyses are correct. The Atlantic supporters lost and those who love their country, the Kemalists won. This also shows to a large degree, that the threat of a coup is lifted because, a coup would have come from the ones supporting the Atlantic side.
Abdullah Gül has been in Aydinlik newspaper’s headlines for several days. The eight articles in the news are actually things for which you held Erdoğan responsible Doesn’t this mean that you are blaming Gül for the things for which you have blamed Erdoğan?
No. That is, if you look at the past, of course, they worked together. If we are looking at the past, what you have said could be taken seriously. But, what the Tayyip Erdoğan government is doing today is going after FETÖ and the PKK. Abdullah Gül, on the other hand is part of the leadership planned by the U.S.. I am not saying that he is part of the plans, but he is a friend of FETÖ.
Regarding the U.S., what do you think of the conclusion of the Zarrab case? Do you think there will be other trials?
Turkey should not be concerned with this too much.. The government made a big mistake. If the government had stated “Hey, America, you can’t interfere with any trade, money exchanges, or financial transactions between Turkey and Iran, cannot impose an embargo or sanctions on our activities, we are an independent nation,” this trial would have been meaningless and become unimportant. But, they did not address it head on. The reason being is tied to the trial. The trial showed that there is some corruption in Turkey. That is the concern. The situation is not just about the sanctions or embargo. It’s about the fact that with the financial transactions, there are several people who personally benefitted and took commissions or bribes. The ruling AKP was seriously concerned. They were unable to take a principled stand. The threats against the AKP weakened their resolve.
What do you think of what is happening in Iran now?
The U.S. has no alternative in Iran. They can’t remove this regime and put in another government in its place. As it is, the political rivalry is between the conservative Ayatollah (Ali) Khamenei, and the reformist, President (Hassan) Rouhani. There were some economic concerns, which led to unrest and protests. This is how it started. Immediately after, agents from the U.S. and Israel entered the protests and worked to foment greater conflict.
If a government close to the U.S. were to be established in Iran, it would be very much against Turkish interests because Turkey and Iran together, foiled America’s plan for Kurdistan. We can’t choose the Iranian regime. That is the Iranians’ job.
Journalists like Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan, Nazli Ilicak, Sahin Alpay are currently in prison. Even if they have made appearances on newspapers and television channels close to the Gülenists, these journalists do not by any convincing measure have “organic links” to the group. Besides these, there are a great many imprisoned journalists from religious, Kurdish and other backgrounds; Turkey has turned into a prison for journalists. What are your thoughts on the government and judiciary’s approach on this matter?
We do not support the imprisonment of any journalist on the basis of writing news and doing their job as journalists. But have those names you quoted really been arrested for doing journalism, or for their links to the Fetullahist Terror Organisation and the PKK? It is, of course, up to the Turkish judiciary to determine this. The people in question were very openly serving FETÖ’s purposes during the Ergenekon and Balyoz trials. Let me give you an example: They published headline news claiming that I had crossed over into Iraq in the boot of a car with 23,000 G3 rifles, along with the General Staff. You would need 20 articulated lorries to carry that many rifles, in a convoy spanning two kilometres. Yet they managed to fit them in the back of a car. Why? Because they were in service to FETÖ’s schemes.
Akin Atalay is also in prison because of the case against Cumhuriyet. Can Dundar and Erdem Gül's trial regarding the Turkish Intelligence trucks carrying weapons to Syria is continuing. Before any of this took place, Aydınlık was the first newspaper to report on these trucks. How do you see this trial? Was this a disclosing of state secrets?
Look, you should examine the case file carefully. When Aydınlık reported this story, the media blackout had not yet been called. That’s for starters, secondly we have the prosecutor’s opinion: Can Dündar reported that news with the full intention of overthrowing the government. I am not saying the prosecutor’s view is correct or incorrect; I am explaining why Aydınlık is not under investigation. Again, according to the prosecutor, Aydınlık reported that news with journalistic aims, in order to inform the public.
NOTE: After the first part of the interview had been published, Perinçek said that Melih Gökçek, the former Mayor of Ankara, called him. Gökçek told him that Alexander Dugin had not shared the type of intelligence with him that had been claimed.
In Perinçek’s words: “Melih Gökçek called me to say that Alexander Dugin had spoken to him together with a large group. According to Gökçek, Dugin did not make any claims about “disquiet” in the Turkish army. Rather, Gökçek told Dugin that Gulenists had shot down the Russian fighter jet [on 24 November 2015]. However, I know for a fact that Dugin told this to Tayyip Erdoğan's top advisers. . I remember that he told both them and Gökçek. After their meeting, we met and spoke with Dugin and the Russian delegation in a hotel in Ankara. Dugin told us that he had passed on this information at that meeting."