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Monday, October 5, 2015

'Sometimes NATO Ally' risk rupture in Turkey’s ties with Germany.

'Sometimes NATO Ally' risk rupture in Turkey’s ties with Germany.(TZ).

The main challenge the Islamists in the Turkish government and their ringmaster President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have in recent years brought upon bilateral ties with Germany -- the powerhouse of the European Union and Turkey's largest trading partner -- is their promotion through state-sponsored activities of a hostile brand of political Islamist ideology amid the Turkish and Muslim diaspora.

When his popularity waned at home, Erdoğan turned to highly divisive and hateful politics to sustain his rule in the hope of consolidating the support of Sunni Turks behind the AKP government. He did not mind at all exporting these divisions to Germany. His hostile narrative stigmatizing Alevis, Kurds and moderate groups such as members of the Hizmet movement inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has been reflected in the community of some 3 million Turks living in Germany. Just like he abused the reins of state power to provoke vulnerable groups in Turkey, he tried to do the same in German society with relentless clandestine activities.

The German government knew long ago how corrupt a politician Erdoğan is before the details of the massive corruption investigations into his graft network were exposed in December 2013. Although German intelligence had a clear understanding of the corruption scheme, the 2007 Deniz Feneri (Lighthouse) charity case that was tried under the German criminal justice system provided the first public snapshot into Erdoğan's dealings.

The suspects that embezzled millions of euros from Germany's Turks were convicted and the charity's assets were confiscated. German prosecutor Kerstin Lötz said, “The main suspects are in Turkey,” and sent the case file to Turkey. Yet the AKP government covered up the scandal by hushing up the Turkish leg of the investigation into the charity group and cleared all suspects. Had the case been pursued, it would have led to the conviction of senior Islamists in the AKP government.

The second and perhaps more troubling concern emerged within the German security establishment when Turkey's neck-deep involvement in supporting radical groups fighting to topple Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria reached out to expatriates in Germany. Erdoğan's secret support for radical groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Jabhat al-Nusra and the Ahrar al-Sham was closely monitored by German intelligence.
Several test cases where Turkey failed to turn over high-profile ISIL suspects detained by Turkish police and wanted in Germany but instead let them join ISIL's ranks in Syria convinced Chancellor Angela Merkel's government that Erdoğan is simply playing a duplicitous game regarding the security of its allies.
The main group being watched closely by German intelligence for some time is the Ahrar al-Sham, a Turkey-backed group that has attracted more Turks to its ranks than any other radical group fighting in Syria. After intense pressure from NATO allies, Islamists in Turkey have by and large scaled down their support to al-Nusra since the summer of 2014 in favor of trying to prop up the Ahrar al-Sham as the main fighting force against al-Assad's regime. Erdoğan unsuccessfully tried to convince allies that the anti-ISIL battle should include support for the Ahrar al-Sham, which Turkey's Islamists described as moderate.

Who can blame the German government for growing suspicious about Turkey's real intentions? Last year's leaked audio of a high-level security meeting at the Turkish Foreign Ministry about possible military action in Syria via a false-flag operation that was leaked by the US's National Security Agency (NSA) was a public reminder of that rift with Turkey. In the recording, senior officials including then-Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and MİT head Hakan Fidan discussed how Turkey could start a war with Syria, what the legal grounds would be to do so and if it would be possible to create a pretext to deliberately drag Turkey and by extension NATO into a war with Syria. They also discussed a false-flag operation by having mortars firing into Turkey from Syria to ostensibly create the legal grounds for a war.

Turkey has come to a “make or break” point under the Islamist regime that effectively staged a coup by shelving the Constitution, suspending the rule law and trampling fundamental rights. If Erdoğan gets his wish via early elections to continue ruling this nation of 78 million people in an unchecked and unrestrained fashion, and therefore ensures the continuation of the same approach with radical and violent religious groups, we are likely to see a more serious rupture in relations with not only Germany but also other allies and partners across the world. Read the full story here.

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