From: "Katia M. Peltekian" <[email protected]>
Subject: ANKARA: Turk neo-nationalists, ultra-nationalists form axis of evil

Today's Zaman, Turkey
June 1 2008



Turkish neo-nationalists and global ultra-nationalists form an axis of
evil


Why would Gündüz Aktan, a former ambassador and a
declared nationalist, refer to both Carl Schmitt (1888-1985) and
Schmitt's staunch critic, Leo Strauss (1899-1973), in the same article
as sources of inspiration to define the current domestic political
struggle in Turkey?

Aktan did this in his farewell article to the readers of the Radikal
daily on June 9, 2007 and claimed that Turkey's situation coincided
with Schmitt's view that politics is a struggle of different
lifestyles that can be fatal. Schmitt is known to be the ideologue of
National Socialism, and Leo Strauss was a Nazi survivor who immigrated
to the US to become the theoretician of the neo-conservative
ideology. What brought these two unlikely bedfellows together and made
them a source of inspiration to Aktan was their uncompromising
antagonism against liberalism. Schmitt believed that through its
endeavor to reconcile opposites, liberalism was an effort to change
the intrinsic characteristics of politics and Strauss believed in "the
continuation of the existing hegemony" by any means necessary. Schmitt
believed that war is a way to keep the current hegemony so it has to
exist to prevent the spread of liberalism. Strauss believed that
"noble lies," robust internationalism, declarations of emergency,
immunity from accepted rules and laws and, finally, the
aestheticization of violence were all legitimate methods to preserve
the standing hegemony.

Turkish neo-nationalists (Ulusalcı) do not have the
intellectual depth of Gündüz Aktan, but their
operational strategies overlap with those of Schmitt and Strauss to
such an extent that it is unexplainable without a link between the
various embodiments of the Ulusalcı ideology -- such as the
Å?emdinli gang, the Red Apple Coalition, the Ergenekon gang and
the Republican rallies -- and the two conflicting ideologues of
neo-conservatism. The link is in human form: Michael Rubin, Daniel
Pipes, Matthew Bryza, Barry Rubin, Zeyno Baran and Soner
Ã?aÄ?aptay (directly) and Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz,
Richard Perle and Robert Novak (less explicitly).

The most visible link between the American neo-cons and the Turkish
Ulusalcıs is the love affair between Rubin and the
self-marginalized Turkish daily Cumhuriyet. Rubin, an associate of the
American Enterprise Institute (AEI), is the inventor of the term
"Islamofacism." In his articles in the Middle East Forum journal he
has openly praised names like Serdar Akinan, Tuncay Ã?zkan and
Nihat Genç and compared Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
ErdoÄ?an to French racist Jean-Marie Le Pen and Austrian fascist
Jörg Haider. What is interesting and unacceptable about Rubin
is the fact that though he has attacked Turkey after the March 1
memorandum with the worst of words, he was still invited to the War
Academy in Turkey to give a conference. Rubin's claims about Fethullah
Gülen reflect the rhetoric of the Ulusalcıs to the point
that he uses Gülen's name in its distorted form (Fetullah), as
is done by the Ulusalcıs of Turkey.

For an anti-imperialist newspaper like Cumhuriyet, Rubin, a political
strategist working with figures like William Kristol and Robert Kagan
who are leading the openly imperialist Project for the New American
Century (PNAC), should be the last name to be praised or used as a
reliable source in their pages. But this fellow and Cumhuriyet have
developed a fruitful relation wherein Rubin cites Cumhuriyet's
distortions as a source and then Cumhuriyet carries them to its
headlines as if they belonged to Rubin himself. This vicious circle of
"referencing" is used by other Ulusalcı
publications. Aydınlık weekly, for example, uses its
relations with Andrey Melnikov of Nezavisimaya, a daily published by
the Izvestia Group in Russia, and Yana Amelina, a foreign policy
editor for the Russian News Agency, in the same way. They are informed
directly by Aydınlık or through its grandmaster
DoÄ?u Perinçek's son Mehmet Perinçek, who has a
post-graduate degree from Moscow, and later on Aydınlık
refers to them as reliable sources of information about the Justice
and Development Party (AK Party), the future of Turkey, Islam and the
Gülen Movement. These Russian names are expectedly from the
supporters of the Eurasia Movement and have good relations with Mehmet
Perinçek due to his active role in Eurasianist circles. The
Moscow bureau of the Ulusalcıs is run by Mehmet Perinçek
and, in a striking similarity to Rubin, they have also organized
conferences in Turkey managing to reach the core of the secularist
establishment.

Political analyst Emre Uslu says that it is almost impossible to
detect the organic links of the Ulusalcıs with the West because
these people were the ones who once managed almost all relations
between Turkey and the West. So their relations may be a continuation
of old innocent relations. These relations are also hard to detect,
according to Uslu, because they are being managed by institutions,
think-tanks and academicians that have legitimate covers.

The think tanks actively engaging the Turkish Ulusalcıs are
AEI, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the Hudson
Institute. The institutional relations between the American neo-cons
and the Turkish Ulusalcıs are run by the office of Dick Cheney,
Richard Perle of AEI and Zeyno Baran of the Hudson Institute on the
American side and, on the other side, by Mustafa Süzer, former
owner of Kentbank and a close associate of Perle, and Ä°lhan
Selçuk, "big brother" of Cumhuriyet. Süzer's meetings
with Dick Cheney were disclosed in the Turkish press and never denied
by either side. Selçuk is also reported to have spoken with
Cheney's advisors and established a back-channel with the US vice
president's office through Elçin Poyrazlar, the Washington
representative for Cumhuriyet. Writing in the Yeni Å?afak daily,
Taha Kıvanç claimed that this back-channel had already
been established before the American occupation of Iraq and that
Selçuk had promised the Americans Turkey's support in return
for American neo-con support for the Turkish Ulusalcıs to come
to power in Ankara.

Cengiz Ã?andar claimed in a recent article in the Referans daily
that the Ulusalcıs are using the pretext of a future American
operation in Iran as an opportunity to convince the neo-cons that an
Ulusalcı government in Ankara would serve them better.

The think tank connections of the Ulusalcıs are working both
ways: The Ulusalcıs receive tactics and information from the
think tanks, and they also try to influence the American
administration through the think tanks. One example of this
reciprocity can be seen in the articles of the Washington Institute's
Ã?aÄ?aptay, in which Ã?aÄ?aptay has not only
labeled Turkey's AK Party government as a danger to Turkish-American
relations, but has even guided former President Ahmet Necdet Sezer on
how to prevent the AK Party's further growth and Constitutional
reforms. The Hudson Institute meeting in which the scenario of a
possible military intervention in Turkey was discussed with two
high-ranking Turkish generals in attendance is another example.

This advisory connection is evidenced mainly in newspaper articles
from neo-con writers. The Washington Times, The Washington Post and
The New York Times frequently publish articles by the American allies
of the Ulusalcıs. Figures like Rubin, Pipes, Jim Hoagland and
Novak try to convince Americans that post-July 22, 2007 Turkey is no
longer an ally of the US; that the AK Party government would feel
better at home in Iran than in the US; that the AK Party uses the
rhetoric of EU membership and economic development to conceal its real
intentions; that the real allies of America in Ankara are the soldiers
and the American should work with them alone; that Turkey should not
be taken into the EU; and that Turkey will soon become a second Iran
in the region. One protagonist of this last absurd idea is Rubin, who
wrote recently in National Review Online that a prospective return of
Gülen to Turkey would have the same effect as Khomeini's return
to Iran from Paris and called on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
not to support the AK Party government even in the name of
democracy. Rubin was sarcastically critical of the American Ambassador
in Ankara Ross Wilson, who managed to convince Rice to stand by
democracy in Turkey, claiming that Wilson knew only partying in the
garden of the embassy.

Ulusalcıs also have allies in the US State Department. Richard
Perle is said to have worked on the name of the Turkish
Ulusalcıs to convince -- successfully - Assistant Secretary of
State for European Affairs Dan Fried that the AK Party is no good for
the American policies in or around Turkey. Ali Aslan, the Washington
representative of the Zaman daily, thinks that this is the only
explanation that could explain why Fried could not stand firm against
the e-memorandum of April 27, 2007. It was also claimed that State
Department diplomat Matthew Bryza, long-time boyfriend and, more
recently, husband of Zeyno Baran, was the person who wrote the
declaration read by Fried that gave the Turkish military the "green
light" by saying that the Americans were not on any side of the
discussion. The extent to which Bryza was influenced by his wife is
not known, but the similarities in their rhetoric against the AK Party
are striking. Baran, who was already a controversial figure due to her
involvement in the infamous Hudson Institute meeting, her article in
Newsweek that predicted a military coup in 2007 and her involvement
with the colored revolutions in Kyrgyzstan, Georgia and Ukraine, is
known to have given speeches on several occasions claiming that the AK
Party would, in time, return to its Islamist roots and that the
Turkish public voted for the AK Party on July 22 with the assurance in
mind that the army would oust the AK Party if it tried to change the
system in Turkey.

Another channel for Ulusalcıs to reach American ears is the
lobbyists that worked for Turkey in the past but lost their contracts
with Ankara. These companies are contracted by Ulusalcıs
because their names are already associated with that of
Turkey. Ulusalcıs are even able to reach low-ranking employees
of lobbyists that are currently working for Turkey. One such case is
the Livingston Group, which campaigns against Armenian genocide
allegations. Frank Gaffney, an employee of this company, wrote in a
Washington Times article that Turkey should be kept out of the
European Union.

The Eastern connections of the Turkish Ulusalcıs are more
detectable but smaller in number. Russian political scientist
Aleksandr Dugin from the Eurasia Movement is well known in this
regard. He even protested the recent arrests of Ulusalcı
Ergenekon militants in Turkey and claimed that Ergenekon was a
supporter of Russia in Turkey. He claimed that Veli
Küçük was the mastermind of the military project
to turn Turkey's face to Russia. Küçük, on the
other hand, had activities organized around the Azerbaijan Cooperation
Association. Sources following the Ulusalcı organizations claim
that DoÄ?u Perinçek's daughter, Kiraz Perinçek,
who is at the head of the Turkey department of Chinese Radio, and
Adnan Akfirat, the head of the Turkish-Chinese Business Association,
are working to create a rapprochement between Turkey and China.

The Western and Eastern connections of the Ulusalcıs are a
reflection of the pre-July 22 election alliance forged between the
Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party
(MHP) in Turkey on a global scale, and these relations are no less
paradoxical. Ulusalcıs want Turkey to close its gates to the
world and to "continue their traditional authoritarian elitist
hegemony" within these closed gates. But they are not powerful enough
to close those gates from within, so they turn to their traditional
enemies, "the American imperialists," to shut them in Turkey's
face. The irony is that there are some Americans who are lending their
ears to that call.

01 June 2008, Sunday


KERÄ°M BALCI ANKARA