We all know it from the movies of Costa-Gavras: once “the leaders of the free world” start visiting your country frequently, carnage won’t be far behind.
Nowadays, the capital city of Turkey, Ankara, looks very much like the set of a Costa-Gavras movie (except, of course, what we really want to see happens off-camera). First, James Cartwright, then Vice Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, came to Turkey on the 16th of May 2011, when the imperialists were preparing to invade Libya. He visited the NATO base in İzmir which would become the general headquarters directing the massacres of Libyan people. Then, in July 2011, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and CIA Director David Petraeus showed up in Ankara. They were followed by US Vice President Joe Biden and US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta, who paid us a visit in December 2011.
Few in Turkey thought that the Americans were visiting our country to discuss their plan about how to promote human rights in the region. Their long convoys of black cars with flashing lights on top, guarded by men whose eyes were hidden behind sunglasses, were sinister. Those who had read a certain USAID report knew what it was about: “The United States seeks to develop Turkey as a base for regional leadership on organized crime, counternarcotics, nonproliferation, and counter-terrorism,” says the report. A four-in-one job, given to the empire’s most valuable neo-colony of the moment.
Apparently everything is going according to the plan. Take the Turkish Prime Minister’s attitude towards the NATO intervention in Libya. On 28 February 2011, PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had said: “Should NATO intervene in Libya? It is pure nonsense. What has NATO to do with Libya? . . . We said that we are against this. . . This is out of question.” Less than a month later, on the 21st of March, the Prime Minister changed his mind: “NATO should intervene in Libya to ensure that Libya belongs to the Libyans.” A brilliantly ironic method to give Libya back to its own people.
A couple of months later, the Americans and their collaborators decided to turn the NATO base in İzmir Province of Turkey into a Land Force Command Base from which imperialist operations against the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa will be launched.
Operation Libya is not over yet. The generous Turkish state didn’t abandon the Libyan people in their troubled times. The Turkish state declared that it donated 30 police cars and 6,000 police uniforms to Libya’s collaborator regime and that it would train the Libyan police. The press conference announcing this magnanimous gift featured a photo opportunity for the philanthropic Turkish Minister of Economy, the Libyan Minister of Economy, and the director of the Turkish Agency for Cooperation and Development. The Turkish authorities evidently found more traditional development aids like housing, education, and health to be too cliché.
It took less than a month to change the Prime Minister’s opinion about the NATO intervention in Libya, and it took even shorter to persuade him to abolish his government’s signature “zero problem with the neighbors” policy, once the United States decided that the new targets of its aggression should be Syria and Iran.
First, a memorandum was signed between the US and Turkey on 14 September 2011 to establish a radar system in the Kürecik region of Malatya Province. Turkish authorities said that the radar system belongs to NATO, not to the US. The pro-government media did all they could to veil the fact that it is the US, and its ally Israel, who will benefit from this radar system. It was claimed that “US authorities” reassured their Turkish counterparts that “the intelligence will be out of reach for any non-NATO countries, including Israel.” A barefaced lie.
Compare that with a New York Times report on the same topic:
The data from the radar in Turkey — combined with an array of other data and American intelligence assessments of missile threats — will be shared with allies, including Israel, in keeping with longstanding arrangements, officials said.
“It’s a U.S. radar,” said one senior official. . . .
The radar will be placed at a Turkish installation about 435 miles from Iran, officials said. A similar American missile-defense radar already operates in Israel.
In line with the aforementioned USAID report, Turkey, in the name of “regional leadership,” now became a base, a mere proxy, for imperialist aggression. Jonathan Steele of the Guardian likened Turkey to Honduras, a country that was used as a US base during the Contra war against the Nicaraguan revolutionaries. According to an ex-CIA officer, Philip Giraldi, “unmarked NATO warplanes are arriving at Turkish military bases close to Iskenderun on the Syrian border, delivering weapons from the late Muammar Gaddafi’s arsenals.”
If Giraldi’s report is correct, Turkey is indeed the Honduras of the Middle East for a new Contra war, illegally harboring, training, and arming Syrian terrorists against the Syrian state. Naturally, the international corporate media, on a crusade against the “cruelties” of the Syrian regime, say little about the fact that Turkey remains the champion of human rights violations of all kinds, including the recent massacre of 34 civilians, mostly children, in Uludere-Şırnak Province of the country.
The Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs has already openly declared that Turkey is ready for a military operation against Syria . . . if its NATO “allies” agree. My country is being dragged into a war by the United States, whose leaders have always valued Turkish soldiers so much — as much cheaper alternatives to American soldiers.
Eren Buğlalılar may be contacted at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.