(United States): Turkey’s best and brightest officers are usually dispatched to serve at NATO in Europe or the U.S. Most of these officers were from the Air Force. Since they were not as loyal to the government as Erdogan wanted them to be, they needed to be purged. But how?
Starting from April 2016, a rumor for a possible military coup attempt was deliberately started. The goal was to see who would be sympathetic to the cause. The military establishment, headed by Hulusi Akar, spread this rumor wherever he went.
There was a prevalent conviction in the army that a coup attempt was highly likely and the establishment, especially army chief Akar, had his blessing. It was a ruse, designed to bring together non-loyalist generals, trick them into a small plot and purge them altogether.
The army, intelligence agency MIT and Erdogan’s inner circle had started to prepare lists of thousands of officers to be purged. It included many four-star generals as well as colonels and majors. Air Force would take the biggest hit.
Especially in Ankara, the army establishment made sure to keep pilots in the capital. Some had to leave for NATO duty in Europe (but prevented), some of them were appointed just days before the coup. The goal was to keep them all in Akinci air base and catch them red-handed.
Half a dozen and very experienced combat jet pilots in Diyarbakir were called to Ankara that night (for no reason). They didn’t participate in any activity, but all of them are now in prison for the coup attempt.
Anyone the government wanted to purge from the army — Kemalists, Gulenists, pro-Western folks — was called for duty that night. Most of them were told that they were part of what they called TMH — anti-terrorism operation. They had no idea what was coming.
Pro-Russian group within the Turkish military, a network of officers called Eurasianists and led by Dogu Perincek, helped Erdogan prepare the list of pro-NATO officers for the purge. They also made sure that the night of coup attempt was as smooth as possible. Many generals in the Turkish army said the coup attempt was programmed to fail.
They did whatever it takes to make sure that the people hated coup plotters: They killed police, civilians, created scary sonic booms by flying low, bombed the parliament, and Erdogan’s palace. Over 250 people were killed that night.
During that night, Erdogan said this plot was a “gift from God” to cleanse the military. The massive purge campaign has started. Director of U.S. National Intelligence James Clapper said the Turkish government was arresting their interlocutors.
Over 400 officers posted to NATO in Europe and the U.S. were summoned back. Those who went back were arrested upon arrival in Turkey. Others refused to go and sought asylum. Turkey had been waging a full-scale war against pro-NATO, pro-Western officers in the army.
The purge went so far that Turkish Air Force was almost completely depleted. Turkey started to call back pilots who previously failed exams and asked commercial airliners to help them with pilots.
Now that the army was cleaned from generals who didn’t want to go into Syria, few weeks after the coup attempt Erdogan ordered the army to invade northern Syria. It was a hard task for an army that was falling apart and deeply demoralized.
Despite few easy victories in first weeks, Turkey got bogged down in a town called al-Bab. For 6 months the army struggled to take it from ISIS. Turkey had no pilots to fly F-16s to help the ground army in northern Syria. Erdogan’s govt asked the U.S. for help. It never came.
Erdogan was so frustrated with the U.S. that he turned to Moscow for help. Russia was also reluctant to help Turkey in Syria that would eventually hurt Syrian Kurds. To show Turkey that Russia is a better ally than the U.S., Moscow agreed.
The U.S. was alarmed and decided to help Turkey in intelligence sharing and air back-up in order not to further alienate Ankara and push it toward Russia.
One year passed and Syria is cleared from ISIS, the U.S. is now training and building a robust force from mostly Kurds and Arabs in areas liberated from ISIS.
Erdogan vowed to invade Kurdish-held Afrin, sent a military convoy to the Syrian border and started daily bashing of the U.S. He thinks the U.S. is creating a Kurdish state let in Turkey’s backyard.
Erdogan is absolutely determined to invade Afrin, but there is one problem: There is no Turkish pilot to fly F-16s (they are in prison). So Erdogan, leader of a NATO member country, turned to Iran and Russia for help.
Turkish army chief Akar went to Moscow today to ask for Russian permission. Turkish officials are also seeking Iran’s permission for the military campaign. The U.S. is again alarmed over a possibility that Turkey, Russia and Iran may fight against U.S.-backed and trained army.
Last night, Pentagon released this statement to assure Turkey that “we are still friends” and that Washington is not building an army but just simply training them.
This thread is about how Erdogan, with the help of pro-Russian group, purged the Turkish army from pro-NATO generals, aligned with Russia and Iran and made the army an unstable force in the region.