Digging Into Turkey’s Attempted Coup

Digging Into Turkey’s Attempted Coup
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

On July 15th, the government Turkey survived a coup attempt that sought to unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. As a member of both the United Nations and NATO, an ally in the conflict seeking to defeat ISIS, and with a bid for acceptance into the European Union on the table, faraway Turkey became an instant concern to the West. The unrest especially drew attention because of Turkey’s proximity to the land currently possessed by the Islamic caliphate ISIS.

The government Turkey survived a coup attempt that sought to unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, pictured above. (Image from Wikipedia)

What happened in Turkey clearly stems from its early 20th century moves away from militant Islamism. For 600 years, the Islamic Ottoman Empire ruled the region from which it launched several attempts to conquer Europe. Perhaps the most famous of these was the naval battle at Lepanto in 1571 when an outnumbered fleet of Europeans defeated the Islamic foe. Other forays by Islamic forces met defeat at Vienna and Belgrade. This series of setbacks led to several centuries of a most welcome live-and-let-live policy by the Islamic world.

After World War I, in which Turkey participated, a more modernized nation began to take shape. Determined Islamists bristled under the leadership of Mustafa Kamal Ataturk, who became Turkey’s leader in 1923. The term “Ataturk,” meaning father of Turkey, is an addition to the name of the country’s leader who is greatly revered by more secular Turkish Islamists. A Muslim himself, Ataturk relaxed but didn’t destroy the Islamic hold on the nation. His rule had always angered some who resented the acceptance of numerous Western ideas and values for their country.

In 2014, a more determined follower of Islam, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, won election as the nation’s president. The July 15th coup, led by those who preferred Ataturk’s ways, sought to erase numerous trends and revisions in Turkish life. But quick action by Erdogan and his followers overwhelmed the less militant Muslims in the military and many other posts within the nation. In a matter of days, Erdogan’s followers accomplished firing 9,000 police officers and 21,000 educators. They suspended 21,000 schoolteachers and either detained or suspended 10,000 soldiers, 2,700 judges and lawyers, 1,500 university deans, and 1,500 of the government’s finance officials. Added to this upheaval, the government shut down more than 100 electronic and print media outlets and instituted censorship over other suspected adversaries of the government. President Erdogan had quickly demonstrated his determination to reemphasize Islamic practices as he put an emphatic stop to the modernization of the past century.

Turkish officials blamed the attempted coup on Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Islamic cleric who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States for the past 15 years. The Erdogan government calls his followers in Turkey the Gulenist Terror Organization (FETO). Gulen has emphatically denied having any role in the failed coup, but the Erdogan government has demanded his extradition from America. He remains – for now – at his home in Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, the Turkish government has enraged secular Turks by canceling some celebrations honoring Ataturk while commemorating past Ottoman victories and celebrating the birthday of Mohammed.

It seems completely correct to believe that Turkish Islamists led by President Erdogan have gained more power because of the incident and their success in quashing it. Erdogan has reached out to some of his adversaries in hopes of calming fears, but Turks who wanted modernization – and they include freedom from some of the Islamic-style strictures seen in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere – are the losers. Will there be more unrest generated by those who want a return to Ataturk’s ways? Only, time will tell. But Turkey is now in the hands of a more regimented government that has gained more power by severely putting down the forces behind the failed coup.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


The “28 Pages” Still Shielding Answers

The “28 Pages” Still Shielding Answers
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

It was 15 years ago that sensational attacks by Islamic militants in hijacked commercial airliners crashed into New York’s Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. Thousands perished and investigations were launched but many unanswered questions remain.

On July 15, Congress finally released the 28 classified pages of the famous 9/11 Commission Report, but will it help those seeking answers? (photo from Wikipedia)

In late June of this year, the New York Times published a front-page article written by two of its reporters about some of those unanswered queries. Specifically, were the 19 hijackers aided in their plot by the Saudi Arabian government? The Times article focused on 28 classified pages from the 2002 congressional findings that have been declared secret and kept from public scrutiny. The 28 pages have recently been brought to light, but what have they shared?

What we do know about two of the hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, is that they arrived in the United States on January 15, 2000. Neither spoke English or had any appreciation of America’s ways. They were taken care of via arrangements seemingly made by Fahad al Thumairy, a Saudi consular official stationed in Los Angeles who also served as an Imam at a mosque where the two men were seen. Another man on the Saudi government’s payroll, Omar al-Bayoumi, arranged for housing and provided for other needs of the two.

Bayoumi helped the two hijackers settle in San Diego where the local imam was Anwar al-Awlaki, an American who had become an extreme radical with ties to Al Qaeda. Awlaki eventually fled to Yemen where he became heavily involved as an Al Qaeda recruiter, continually inciting Muslims within the U.S. to engage in Jihad. He was later killed in a drone attack at his base of operations in Yemen.

Questioned about Hazmi and Mihdhar, former San Diego-based FBI official Richard Lambert stated, “I have to believe something was planned for the care and nurturing of those guys after they arrived. They needed help getting settled and making preparations [for their deadly hijacking attack].”  Thumairy lost his visa after giving unsatisfactory responses to questions about the two men and about his role as an imam. He returned to Saudi Arabia in 2003. And was questioned by American authorities in 2004. Unsurprisingly, Thumairy insisted that his assignment at the Los Angeles consulate had been routine. But he also denied knowing Bayoumi despite the fact that 21 telephone calls between the two over a two-year period had been discovered.

After the Times article appeared, 9/11 widow Kristen Breitweiser released further details bearing on the secreted 28 pages and the connections of the hijackers. Working with four other 9/11 widows who are collectively known as the “Jersey Girls,” Breitweiser told of a terrorist summit held in Malaysia in January 2000 attended by Hazmi and Mihdhar and leaders of Al Qaeda from several countries.

The leading “Jersey Girl” claims that Bayoumi shared his phone with Hazmi and Mihdhar. She unearthed information showing 32 calls to the Saudi Embassy in Washington, 37 calls to the Saudi Cultural Mission in Washington, and 24 calls to the Saudi Consulate in Los Angeles by “someone” who had used this particular telephone. All of these calls were placed during the first five months of 2000.

So questions remain about Saudi Arabia’s connections with some of the hijackers. And, there are many more unanswered questions about the 9/11 attacks and the radical Islamists who conducted them.

Will the newly released 28 pages of secreted information provide some answers – even possibly showing that the Saudi Arabian government had a hand in caring for some of the 9/11 hijackers as they plotted their deadly attack?

However, cover ups have become a regular feature of the U.S. government’s conduct. In this case, it seems that the beneficiary is the Saudi Arabian government. Why their possible involvement in a sensational crime should be shielded is a question that needs to be answered.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


Another Turkey Coup Attempt: Will it Affect Us?

Another Turkey Coup Attempt: Will it Affect Us?
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

The nation of Turkey sits in Western Asia. That is, most of it. A small part of Istanbul, the great city in Western Turkey (formerly Constantinople), can be found across the Bosphorus Strait that separates Asia from Europe. This European portion of Turkey (a mere three percent of the nation’s land area) is geographically and even culturally part of Europe.

A charter member of the United Nations (membership since 1945), Turkey also became a member of the NATO alliance as far back as 1952. A huge U.S. air base sits in the Asian part of the nation. In addition, Turkey has applied for membership in the European Union. Therefore, what happens in Turkey is of great concern to the West, certainly including the United States.

Turkey has experienced several coup attempts in recent years (1960, 1971, and 1980). Each failed and each sought to increase the secularization of the nation. The latest attempted coup d’état during July 15-16 failed almost immediately. After a surprising absence in the early hours of the plot, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan emerged and reasserted control. Immediately, the government forces captured several thousand military personnel along with an equal number of judges. Some commentators labeled the coup a failure through ineptitude. But others have speculated that Erdogan engineered the short-lived event in order to centralize and increase his power.

Turkey is at least 95 percent Muslim; some claim that the figure should be 99 percent.  Without doubt, yearning exists among a small percentage of the people for a more Westernized style of living. But Islam rules, not as strictly as in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and elsewhere, but a dominant force nevertheless. Erdogan himself is a relatively strict follower of Mohammed. Suspicion has arisen that he engineered the plot so it would quickly fail and, while being put down, provide him an opportunity to increase his power and send a message throughout the nation not only that he is solidly in control, but that Islam and many of its controlling strictures would continue to prevail, even grow tighter.

Over the years, military forces within Turkey have become a sort of watchdog or guardian of a partial secularization of the nation. Hence, a more committed Muslim such as Erdogan would surely seize any opportunity to water down, even eliminate, such a challenge to Islam’s power. Ergodan’s allies have claimed that Fethullah Gulen, an exiled Turkish cleric living in Pennsylvania, engineered the coup. Gulen immediately denied having any role whatsoever. But Ergodan has asked the U.S. to extradite Gulen to face charges back in Turkey. Is such a request real? Or has it emerged to help cover up Ergodan’s creation of the now-failed plot that will undoubtedly result in an increase in his power and more dominance by Islam.

Three years ago in Egypt, the military rose up and, in a lightning coup d’état, deposed elected president Mohammed Morsi, a strict follower of Islam. That country went from rule by increasingly dominant Islamists to a more westernized secularism under the generals. Turkey seems to have undergone exactly the opposite transition as a result of the recent coup attempt. How Erdogan deals with the judges and military personnel he has in custody will indicate how deeply Islam will rule in the future. Meanwhile, ISIS in next-door Syria and Iraq looks northward to Turkey to see if help in achieving its draconian goals will be forthcoming from its nearest neighbor.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


Altering Our Constitution Unconstitutionally

Working at The John Birch Society headquarters in Appleton Wisconsin, each staff member arrives at work every morning knowing they are fulfilling their responsibility to uphold the Constitution. When chatting with Larry Greenley, director of missions here at headquarters, he explained his reasoning for working here relevant to the Constitution; “Pretty much all of my work here at JBS revolves around the Constitution. We fully support the Constitution as originally intended by the Founders. One of our major goals is to create sufficient understanding among the voters to enable the election of a constitutionalist majority to both houses of Congress, and ultimately the election of a constitutionalist to the presidency.”

To secure our unalienable rights, the U.S. Constitution was adopted in 1787 by our founding fathers. Otherwise known as the supreme law of the land, the U.S. Constitution originally consisted of seven Articles. Once recognized as the quintessence of liberty, today it is viewed as a hindrance to the greater agenda of the establishment elites.

In order to gain control over mankind, it is essential to destroy freedom.  The members of each successive generation have been losing their individual rights, yet the widespread indoctrination is so clever, that the average person is completely unaware. Starting with the act of abortion and finishing with discrimination against elders, at each stage of our lives we are incrementally being stripped of our liberties.

In the last two weeks, the first, second, and fourth Amendments have been put at great risk by the government.  Whether focusing on freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, or requirements for search warrants, it cannot be denied that we have to wage a constant battle to uphold our Constitution.

When presenting a problem such as this, it is fashionable to provide a solution.  How important it is to know your Constitution and your individual rights cannot be stressed enough.  The only way to defend yourself is to know exactly what you are defending.

Take some time to review and understand The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America.  Coming soon, a more in-depth reading will be provided looking directly at the topic of republics versus democracies as well as how our Constitution established a republic and not a democracy.

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The Declaration of Independence located in the front hall here at JBS headquarters.

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Howard Chandler Christy’s Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States located in the front entrance here at headquarters.