Erdogan calls for unity
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has just addressed a large gathering of Turks and well wishers at an arena in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. Erdogan has often addressed Turks living outside of the Republic of Turkey although in parts of the European Union, he and other officials from Ankara have been prohibited from doing so, particularly in Germany and The Netherlands.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, a close post-Yugoslav ally of Ankara, Erdogan had no such problems, even though earlier in the day, it became known that the Fethullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO) had called for an assassination on Erdogan. Erdogan responded that he would not bow down in front of such terrorist threats. His speech went ahead as scheduled with no disruptions.
During his speech, the Turkish President emphasised the importance of unity among the Turkish nation which within the context of his speech includes Turks both inside and outside of the Republic of Turkey. He pledged that Ankara will do more to help Turks maintain their language and culture abroad through the building of schools and cultural centres and vowed to make all Turkish embassies and consulates abroad a more open place to conduct financial and other transactions for Turks abroad.
He also encouraged unity among all Turks in the face of traitorous individuals who often represent the Turkish nation abroad. In so far as this is the case, Erdogan called upon patriotic Turks with duel-citizenship to stand for elected office throughout Europe in order to better communicate the unified message of Turkish people.
Erodgan’s appearance was a reaction to US/FETO meddling in Turkey’s affairs
While the social media of Balkan Serbs and other Orthodox peoples of southern Europe have been critical of Erdogan’s allegedly “neo-Ottoman” speech in the heart of a former Ottoman territory, the reality is that Erdogan’s visit to Sarajevo was by no means provocative but was instead the opposite – it was reactive.
Throughout the 20th century, Turks immigrated to Europe and in particular, to places like Germany in order to seek employment in the booming West Germany economy that was short of both skilled and unskilled labourers. In this sense, there was an economic rather than political motivation for such migrations. Today however, the enemies of Turkey are attempting to add an ideological component to the otherwise economic path that many Turks took towards life in the European Union.
Today, as Turkey’s economy continues to grow and with both wages and employment levels increasing, the United States and its European partners have begun a campaign to effectively ‘weaponize’ Turks living in Europe in order to use them as de-facto agents in a wider hybrid war against Erdogan’s multipolar Turkey.
The primary weapon for this campaign to turn Turks abroad into agents of aggression against Ankara is FETO.
The US uses FETO to undermine Turkey’s security and its relations with Russia and the wider ‘global east’
It is no secret that the US is a benefactor of FETO. FETO’s infamous cult-like head Fethullah Gulen lives in exile in the United States in spite of multiple requests from Turkey to extradite the wanted terrorist ringleader. Furthermore, recent months have seen multiple arrests of US consulate workers in Turkey due to their affiliation with FETO.
For the United States, FETO serves as a de-facto “regime in waiting” whose use to Washington continues to grow as Turkey’s multipolar pivot towards new ‘eastern’ partnerships with countries including Russia, Iran and China becomes a source of extreme consternation for the US.
In 2016, FETO attempted to seize power by instigating a coup led by FETO loyalists in the Turkish Army. Due to a tip-off from Russian intelligence, President Erdogan was able to find refuge and rally his supporters on social-media who abruptly put an end to the would be act of treason.
Since then, Turkey has purged much of the Army, police, civil service, judiciary and academia of FETO members and sympathisers, just as any country would do the same if members of a violent terror group were found to have infiltrated elements of the “deep state” and civil society.
In addition to being responsible for the attempted coup of 2015, FETO infiltrators in the armed forces are now believed to be responsible for the 2015 downing of a Russian jet on the Syria-Turkey border, while an FETO member of the police brutally assassinated Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey in December of 2016. In line with its American patron, FETO is keen to de-rail Turkey’s presently good ties with Russia and bring the country back into the unilateral US/NATO/EU orbit.
FETO lays down roots in the Balkans
Currently, FETO is using the west Balkan state of Albania and the NATO occupied Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija as its main base for operations. Ankara’s relationship with both Albania and the Pristina regime have plummeted as a result, while this phenomenon has also resulted in a historically strong relationship with formal long-time rival Serbia. When one realises that Albania is today little more than a client state of the USA while the occupied Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija is home to the US military base Camp Bondsteel, it becomes clear that US friendly territory is incredibly fertile ground for FETO.
FETO also has cells in Bosnia which remains a source of worry for Turkey, but unlike in Albania, the Bosnian authorities remain staunch allies with Turkey while unlike in Albania where Turlophobia is widespread, Bosnia’s population is generally staunchly pro-Ankara.
Because of this, Sarajevo was a clear choice for Erdogan to fight back against the US/FETO attempts to turn the Turkish diaspora and other European Turkophiles into agents of a terrorist organisation. Erdogan made no attempt to hide the fact that this was his clear agenda. Instead, he overtly called for patriotic Turkishness to become a strong force for resistance against the terrorist organisations that the US and its partners are helping to infiltrate regions with a strong Turkish diaspora population. Erdogan even called for his supporters to “land a strong Ottoman slap on the face of the terrorists” during his speech. His meaning could not be clearer.
Of course, with German authorities and European media reluctant to report racist terrorist attacks on Turkish people, Turkish mosques and Turkish shops in Europe, in an age where most so-called “hate crimes” and terrorism are front page news, it is no leap of faith for Ankara and for the patriotic Turkish diaspora to understand that there is an open conspiracy in Europe to minimise or even ignore crimes committed against specific Turkish targets.
Today one is witnessing the odd-phenomenon of the generally socially conservative and politically multi-polar pan-Orthodox and Shi’a Muslim world accusing Turkey of doing the same thing which it is accused of doing by the socially ultra-liberal and politically pro-unipolar actors in the US and EU. Namely Turkey is accused of “provocatively” trying to “re-Ottomanise” Turkey’s near abroad by geopolitical actors that otherwise agree on virtually nothing.
In reality, the pan-Orthodox and Shi’a worlds have been duped because of a misunderstanding of the 21st century anti-Turkish position of Washington, Brussels and Berlin. Today, the western powers are intent on provoking Turkey through hybrid terrorist attacks and a wider terrorist sponsored culture-war and info-war against Ankara in the form of FETO. The ultimate goal is to push for further agitations against Turkey from within all the while turning the Turkish diaspora into effective agents of and funding sources for FETO.
Turkey and its partners, including Russia (which has never criticised Erdogan’s rallies abroad, unlike European powers) realise this new hybrid threat. Part of combating this threat is to make sure that the Turkish diaspora is more loyal to Ankara than to FETO. Erdogan’s speech in Sarajevo was made for this purpose. It was not a provocation but an act of fraternal unity against a dangerous US sponsored terrorist organisation.