Turkish commentary describes military as
"major source of anti-Americanism"

US/MIL/RUSSIA/TURKEY/UKRAINE/GEORGIA/UK - Turkish commentary describes military as "major source of anti-Americanism"

Released on 2013-03-11 00:00 GMT

Email-ID 1848008
Date 2011-08-02 14:37:12
From ben.preisler@stratfor.com
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[OS] US/MIL/RUSSIA/TURKEY/UKRAINE/GEORGIA/UK - Turkish commentary
describes military as "major source of anti-Americanism"


Turkish commentary describes military as "major source of 
anti-Americanism" 

Text of report in English by Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman website on 
1 August 

[Commentary by Emre Uslu: "Turkish military: A source of 
anti-Americanism in Turkey"] 

A Washington-based Turkish expert has argued that the source of  anti-Americanism in Turkey between 2005 and 2009 was the Justice and  Development (AK Party) government's policies. Unlike such arguments, I  counter-argued in my columns and briefs published in the Jamestown  Foundation and Today's Zaman that the original source of  anti-Americanism in Turkey was the neo-nationalist entities affiliated  with the army. 

When I reviewed the content of the Internet sites founded and  administered by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), as evidenced by the  admission of the military as well as the Defence Ministry during the  "e-memorandum" investigation, I realized that the source of the  anti-Americanism in Turkey was the US's strategic partner, the armed  forces. The following examples were taken from the irtica.org website,  which show that the military serves as the major source of  anti-Americanism in Turkey. The following excerpt from the irtica.org,  an official propaganda site sponsored by the TSK, is the introduction of  a lengthy piece that incites anti-Americanism: 

"Global powers use radical Islam in the Caucasus against Russia. Russia,  which seeks a reliable place within the global balance of the 21st  century as the inheritor of the Soviet Union contained by the US during  the Cold War by a 'green belt' [a string of Islamic allies], is  currently facing two Islamist challenges. Even though this seems  contradictory, both radical Islam and its so-called antidote, moderate  Islam, are acting together in the country. 

The use of moderate Islam for multiple purposes 

Tatarstan President Mintermir Seymiyev is opening religious schools and  universities in an attempt to promote the moderate Islamic model that  they would prefer, whilst the Russian government is seeking to found an  Islamic university in an effort to address the threat of radical Islam. 

Islam in the Caucasus 

As far as moderate Islam is concerned; ironically, Russia is using its  moderate Islam approach for multiple purposes. Differentiation remains  visible and alive in the post-Soviet period. The Caucasus' model of  Islam is still resisting through radical Islam, whereas the Tatar  approach to Islam is trying to reconcile with moderate Islam. 

Post-Soviet Russia pragmatically merges authoritarianism and flexibility  towards Muslim minorities. The US is using moderate Islam for the  instability of Russia, whereas the Moscow administration tries to use  political Islam in the Caucasus against radical Islam. In relation to  this, the Moscow administration has even taken action to use the  moderate Islam threat posed in the Republic of Tatarstan and in  Chechnya. 

However, even though it gives the impression that Islam has been allowed  in the Tatarstan, the Russian administration still holds the initiative.  The ban imposed on Said Nursi's works because they allegedly contained  extreme statements and spread hatred, is now officially in effect in  Russia. The process was initially started by an investigation against  the Nur movement in Tatarstan in 2005. 

In other words, even moderate Islam should be under control of the  Moscow administration. However, the possibility that Russia loses  control over these groups is a strong possibility. In fact, the Moscow  administration views political Islam as an important element because of  its potential to improve ties with the Islamic world. ... Russia has  been seeking to improve its relations with Islamic countries by  emphasizing its efforts in Tatarstan. Seymiyev, who accompanied Russian  President Vladimir Putin on his tour through the Middle East, was given  a reward by the Saudis for his service to the Islamic faith; this is 
part of the new policy of Putin vis-a-vis the Islamic world. 

The Strategic Vision Meeting between Russia and the Organization of  Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held in Istanbul in February with the  participation of President Seymiyev and OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin  Ihsanoglu, constituted a strong platform for the joint projects that  Russia and the OIC member states could take up. It is a matter of  curiosity how the improving ties between Russia and the Islamic world,  which started in 2005 when Russia acquired observer status in the OIC,  will be reflected in Russia's policies towards its Muslim population. 

Gulen's efforts 

Another danger in connection with moderate Islam in Russia is the  activities of the Fethullah Gulen movement. The activities of this  movement have been under scrutiny since the mid-1990s. The Moscow  administration implemented its new security concept in 2001 in an  attempt to make sure that moderate Islam does not take root in the  country. Since then, 18 schools of the movement have been shut down. In  2003, 10 teachers working in Gulen schools were deported from  Baskurdistan. The number of deported teachers has increased to 50 in two  years.

The Russian Secret Service (FSB), which has been closely  following the activities in Gulen movement schools, has concluded that  the training and the curricula in these schools included elements that  undermined Russian national security. The service even found that some  of the teachers working in these schools had been acting as spies on  behalf of the US and Britain, involved in some coup attempts in the  Turkic republics and ! played roles in popular uprisings in these  countries.

The Russian authorities, in response to these activities,  have shut down eight schools in Tataristan, four in Baskurdistan and one  each in Karacay-Circassia, Yakut-Saha, Astrahan and Dagestan. Mustafa  Kemal Sirin, head of Tolerans Foundation, who serves as Gulen's  representative in Russia, was banned from entering the Russian  Federation in September 2003. By this operation, Putin gave the message  that he was aware of the threat posed by political Islam for his  country. Whether this message has been received can only be confirmed by  the passage of time. 

However, Russia has been reviewing its global energy policies in recent  years. It seeks to use the advantages of being an energy-rich country.  The Moscow administration, which has earned huge amounts of money from  oil exports owing to the increasing energy prices, now feels safe from  the political, diplomatic and military operations of multinational  companies. However, students trained in the educational institutions of  the moderate Islam project are slowly climbing up the ladder of success.  The colour revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia are cases that the Russian  Federation needs to consider as examples." 

I will keep presenting examples proving that the military has been  promoting Eurasianism (a political movement regarding political  identity: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurasianists[1]) in line with the  Ergenekon ideology and relying on anti-American sentiments while  maintaining cooperation with the US. 

Source: Zaman website, Istanbul, in English 1 Aug 11 

BBC Mon EU1 EuroPol FS1 FsuPol 020811 em/osc 

(c) Copyright British Broadcasting Corporation 2011

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Benjamin Preisler
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