Monday, January 28, 2013
A NOTE FROM OUR SPONSOR
If any of us have to ask who “our boys” were, we'll never be invited to the party at that restaurant-bar in Tyson's Corner. In retrospect, the wishes of the American establishment and the Turkish establishment dovetailed neatly and completely. We wanted the coup. The Turkish general officers wanted it. They had prepared for it. No one who knows the country, or its military, or their relationship with the CIA during the seventies, thinks they were waiting passively for events to ripen.
If they stepped aside in the run-up to the coup, it was only to foment chaos on a grander scale with less visible origins. It was like the assassination of Abdi Ipekci that was never really solved. Like the rogue bands of Gray Wolves they allowed to run rampant all over the subcontinent of Turkey and later over the continent of Europe. And like a lot of other bad things for which they could never be held responsible.
Recently, however, in the spring of 2012, a trial was opened in Istanbul that brought serious charges against the leaders of the coup of 1980. Although the charges were specific, the purpose is to have them answer for their sins. These were many, including the torture and murder of thousands of Turkish citizens.
Before the dragnets that followed the coup were done with their work, more than half a million people, most of them leftists, were arrested. Wages were frozen, unions were suppressed, journalists were imprisoned, and academia purged.
The left wing in Turkey virtually ceased to exist as a result of these “reforms.” The right wing, though also subject to arrest and punishment, did not experience anything like the blanket that covered and finally smothered the left. Some fascists were put in jail, two Gray Wolves were hanged, but the devastation was so one-sided that it did not compare.
The families of the victims, disproportionately left-wing students and militant organizers, are happy that the government has owned up to its duty even at this late date. But they do not—with good reason—see the current Islamic government as a friend to freedom, and especially not to left-wing freedoms.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s regime is simply a different extension of the clandestine authoritarianism that has ruled Turkish life from the “deep” for decades. What the families of the lost hope for from the trial is some closure, so the healing process can at long last begin.
They probably won’t have more than that. General Evren is ninety-four years old and pleading ill health. Only time, and the Turkish judicial system, which is badly flawed, will tell whether justice has been served. For all the ones who didn’t make it, we can only say rest in peace.
And now for a note from our sponsor.
If you really want to know what happened in the dark depths of Mehmet Ali Agca’s life, and how it happened—in other words, if you want the real skinny—lend your ear to the thrice-told tale of THE SATAN MACHINE. It’s on sale nearly everywhere right now.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
.: OUR BOYS DID IT! True to form, the circumspect o...: OUR BOYS DID IT! True to form, the circumspect officers who met at the Selimiye Barracks did not act on the things they ... If you have to ask who Our Boys are, you missed it!
OUR BOYS DID IT!
True to form, the circumspect officers who met at the Selimiye Barracks did not act on the things they had discussed for quite a while--another year and more. The official line, stated after the coup had taken place, was that the army waited patiently to see if the civilian government could sort out the troubles by itself.
The implication was that the military would have preferred a rational civilian settlement for the problems that bedeviled the country, but could not wait forever. The commander of the coup, General Evren, was a bit more blunt when he said, “I wanted to wait until the knife hit the bone.”
The real problem—the hidden problem—was that the military had done a great deal to encourage the chaos that existed in Turkey at that time. Right-wing elements did their best to prepare the conditions that would cause the army to step in. They were quite forthright about it, telling anyone who would listen that was their goal.
On a more subterranean level—the decision level--those connections were never to be known by anyone who had to ask. MIT, the Turkish intelligence service, was at that time close to the Turkish military, and closer still to those ominous and arrogant Counter-Guerillas who had tortured Ugur Mumcu. General Evren, in fact, had been head of the Counter Guerillas before he assumed his newer position as the head of the coup.
The Counter-Guerillas had been involved in so many violent episodes throughout the seventies that they could hardly be distinguished from a pack of Gray Wolves. Unlike MIT, they did not seem to be very much involved with the heroin trade, but that was because they were so busy in other areas.
It’s clear in retrospect that the Counter-Guerillas were among those responsible for killing and wounding hundreds of leftists during the May Day Parade in 1978. They used snipers for that clandestine exercise, shooting from rooftops and hotel rooms, but no methods were barred to them. They knew that there was no chance the police, who knew where their orders came from, would intervene to stop the slaughter.
At the very least, what happened in the seventies throughout the country marked the beginning of an incestuous gathering of patriots and thugs that has come to be known by the fearsome, anonymous name of the Deep State. Trying to sort the conflicting lines of mayhem, especially who told whom to do what, has been since that time almost impossible to determine. Even things like who told whom to kill are lost in that very deniable chain-of-command.
The only thing anyone can be sure of is that authoritarian elements in the military and the government decided to take charge of the direction of the country to save it from itself. And they reserved the right to keep saving it whenever necessary.
Paul Henze, for one, was ecstatic when he heard the news of the successful coup. At that time CIA Station Chief in Ankara, he sent a cable (remember those?) to Washington saying “Our boys did it!”
Saturday, January 26, 2013
THEY BROUGHT THEIR WIVES
There’s only one piece missing from the puzzle now.
Was there a purpose behind all this other than disinformation? The CIA and the rest of the intelligence agencies might have been waiting to jump on the assassination bandwagon for a while, but they weren’t responsible for the attempt on the pope’s life. At least not that anyone could discover. They were simply capitalizing on the blood of the lamb.
So if the CIA didn’t do it, or the KGB, or even the Bulgarian CSS, what motivated the attempted assassination of the pope? Or the successful assassination of Abdi Ipekci?
The first thing to realize is that there was a bigger picture in Turkey, too. In fact, it’s so big that the smaller pieces—or clues—don’t seem in retrospect to be relevant.
It’s been said, for instance, that the killing of Abdi Ipekci was done at the behest of the heroin trader Ugurlu, who knew that the editor was looking into his smuggling networks.
That’s a reason to kill.
It’s also been said that the Gray Wolves were offended by any voice of public moderation and meant to silence the one who was most respected in the land.
That’s a reason, too, though more abstract.
Other reasons have been put forward, such as the ease of killing a prominent but unprotected man like Ipekci. That was Agca’s explanation—or one of them. He said that he had chosen Ipekci from a list of targets because the man had no security. He looked up Ipekci’s name in a phone directory, staked out the street on which he lived, and the rest was straightforward.
This is one case where the reader might be tempted to believe a lunatic liar like Agca. He probably would be advised to do so if something else was not at work in the background. Something much bigger. Control of the entire country, let’s say.
The coup that occurred in September 12, 1980, in Turkey was carried out with a purpose and efficiency that no other replacements of the civilian government had done in the Turkish past. It happened quietly and was nearly bloodless in the beginning. The planning seemed perfect.
That was because the basic elements of the coup began early. In December 1978, a couple of months before Ipekci was assassinated, a group of senior army officers met at the barracks in Asian Istanbul, bringing their wives along to provide window dressing and disguise the purpose of the meeting. They wanted the deepest secrecy because the subject of their discussion was the subversion of the government.
The Turkish military don’t usually categorize their coups in such stark terms. They like to see themselves as the arbiters of last resort. Saviors, in other words, if not in truth. These are men who step into the breach when the civilians have proven their incompetence once more. Whether the act of stepping in conditions the electorate to expect, and often welcome, their intervention is something that should not be discussed outside the barracks.
And they have always, to date, returned the reins of government back to the civilians in the end, which is a rare feat in the worldwide history of military coups. That's the one salient fact that gives the Turkish military a head feint at credibility, and it must be said that it's an important distinction. In most Middle Eastern countries, the military that takes over the government is the government for life.
The Turkish military also seemed to realize that the military who took the reins of government was the one that held the nastiest end of the stick. A lot of money could be made under the table, of course, but there was far too much aggravation for the dollar.
And no honor at all.