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Just Because You’re Paranoid Doesn’t Mean They’re Not All Out To Get You, Mr Erdogan – Chapter Two

(See the 12th July post for Chapter 1.)

Ever since the small scale attempted coup in 2016 Mr Erdogan has been desperately arresting anyone he can think of, not just who might have been involved, but who might have any reservations at all about his style of leadership.  This blog certainly does not make a habit of siding with Donald Trump on foreign policy matters (see, for instance, yesterday’s post on the scandal of disaster relief for Puerto Rico)..

However, some context on the events leading to the latest US sanctions against Turkey (and the devastating effect they will have, if imposed, on Turkey’s crumbling economy) is important.

Erdogan’s bogeyman is Fethullah Gulen who lives in USA. The two of them were best mates until 2013 when Gulen started investigating Erdogan on corruption charges. Since then, Erdogan has become very afraid of his old friend and the Gulen movement is a proscribed terrorist group in Turkey. Its aims – to promote education, religious tolerance and civil society – are unusual ones for terrorists, but Erdogan has his reasons. (It is sometimes noted that the second murder victim in Agatha Christie stories, is usually the person who witnessed the first murder.)

None of the participants in the coup have ever expressed any allegiance to Gulen and Gulen himself denied having anything to do with it. No evidence that Gulen was behind the coup attempt has ever been presented and international intelligence agencies have generally dismissed the idea. Still, Erdogan immediately arrested and detained over 40,000 people and fired another 60,000 from their jobs on suspicion of siding with Gulen’s coup. 4,000 judges have been dismissed and/or arrested – that’s a quarter of the total number in Turkey.

Nor is there any evidence (or none that anyone has ever put forward) against Andrew Brunson.He was indicted in March on charges of espionage and having links to terrorist organisations, including the Gulen Movement. So far as anyone can tell, Brunson, is just an evangelical Presbyterian pastor who has lived in Turkey for more than 23 years with his wife and three children, according to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), an organisation that has advocated for his release.

So, let’s be clear. No one has put forward any evidence that Gulen was behind the coup attempt and no one has put forward any evidence that Brunson has anything whatsoever to do with Gulen.

Andrew Brunson is just the latest pawn in Erdogan’s paranoid game. It began a few months ago when Erdogan appeared on TV and said, “Give us the pastor back,’ they say. Well, you have a pastor as well. Give that one back to us, then we will give (Brunson) back to you.”

In other words, the charges against Brunson are completely bogus and he just wants a prisoner swap so he can take out his old nemesis, Fethullah Gulen.

Now, Erdogan says Turkey will boycott the US technology such as i-phone and buy Samsung and Turkey’s own Vestel instead. Smart move, if you want to help Turkey step back into the dark ages. The currency has already fallen by 40% this year and 7% in the last week alone. Mr Erdogan’s paranoia is in danger of taking it to the point of collapse – and it might even take him with it.

Andrew BrunsonWho’d have thought a simple Presbyterian Pastor could bring down the Turkish economy

 

If you think that one day the fountain pen may yet be mightier than the sword and for all you need to know about everywhere,

 read The Dweller’s Guide To The Planet 

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