TURKEY: ERDOGAN CLAIMS VICTORY IN LOCAL ELECTIONS

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After what was seen as a test of his popularity, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed victory in local polls.

His Islamist-rooted AK party is on course to win between 43 and 47 percent of the vote.

The strong showing could now encourage Erdogan to contest the presidency in an August election or introduce legislation allowing him to run for a fourth term.

The opposition CHP trailed with 26 to 28 percent in an election campaign which has seen the government tighten its grip on the courts, purge thousands of police and block access to Twitter and YouTube as it tried to stem a flow of graft allegations.

Erdogan has warned his foes that they will “pay the price” for plotting his downfall.

Such was the tense build-up to the local polls that during voting there were several deaths in clashes.

In one province a gunfight between two families left six people dead and nine others wounded.

TURKEY GOES TO THE POLLS IN LOCAL AND MAYORAL ELECTIONS

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The polls opened in Turkey on Sunday morning for local and mayoral elections which could determine prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s political future.

He is not standing, but has been a regular campaigner for his Justice and Development Party (AKP).

These are the first elections since last June’s mass protests. The Republican People’s Party – the AKP’s main rival – will fight to win the vote for mayor from Erdogan’s ally Kadir Topbas.

Sunday’s vote is seen by many as an unofficial referendum on the prime minister’s administration ahead of the August presidential and 2015 parliamentary elections.

The Turkish government came under fire in December when a corruption scandal saw several of Erdogan’s allies arrested.

In the lead up to the March elections, the government blocked Twitter and YouTube in Turkey. Erdogan claimed social media platforms were spreading misinformation.

Saturday saw pro- and anti-government rallies take place in Istanbul.

Bora Bayraktar, euronews’ correspondent was in Istanbul:
“At this point where I stand in Istanbul the voting is going on smoothly,” he said. “Polls will be open until the evening and the results are expected to be heard around the midnight.”

The public may be divided, but polls suggest the AKP will come out on top.

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TURKISH LEADERS CAST THEIR VOTE IN LOCAL ELECTIONS

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The AK Party of Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken an early lead in local elections, reports say.

The polls are being seen as a key test for Mr Erdogan ahead of presidential elections in August and parliamentary elections next year.

It is the first vote since mass protests last June, and subsequent government corruption scandals.

Mr Erdogan is not standing but has campaigned tirelessly in support of his Justice and Development Party (AKP).

With more than 24% of the votes counted, TV channels reported the AKP was polling at between 43-48%.

The party has been aiming to equal or better its 38.8% share of the vote in 2009.

Voting in the local assembly and mayoral elections passed off peacefully in most areas, but eight people were reportedly killed in two separate incidents involving supporters of rival candidates.

Feuding families were said to have clashed in the southern city of Hatay and the eastern province of Sanliurfa.

The prime minister has been eyeing a run for the presidency in August – the first time voters will directly elect the head of state – or may seek to change the rules to allow him to seek a fourth term in office.

Online ‘misinformation’

In the run-up to Sunday’s poll, the government blocked Twitter and YouTube, following a series of online leaks.

Mr Erdogan said social media were spreading misinformation.

On Saturday pro- and anti-government factions held rival demonstrations in Istanbul, which saw the Gezi Park protests of May and June last year.

The opposition Republican People’s Party is fighting in Istanbul to win the mayor’s office from Mr Erdogan’s ally Kadir Topbas.

The BBC’s James Reynolds in Istanbul says opposition candidate Mustafa Sarigul drove around the city in an open-topped bus – throwing out red T-shirts to spectators leaning from their balconies.

Mr Erdogan is himself a former mayor of the city and the vote has become an unofficial referendum on his administration, our correspondent says.

A close race had also been expected in the capital Ankara. The loss of either city would be a major embarrassment for the prime minister.

“What the people say goes,” Mr Erdogan said after casting his ballot in Istanbul on Sunday. “The people’s decision is (to be) respected.”

‘Foreign plot’

The prime minister has purged hundreds of people from the judiciary and police since several of his allies were arrested over a corruption scandal in December.

He has accused the judiciary of being behind a series of wiretaps and social media leaks allegedly exposing major corruption, and blamed the probe on a “foreign plot”.

The scandal has pitted the prime minister against a former ally, US-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen, who has many supporters in the police and judiciary.

Mr Erdogan accuses Mr Gulen of using his supporters in the police and judiciary for a “dirty campaign” to try to topple him.

Mr Gulen denies the allegations but those close to the movement, known as Hizmet (“Service”), say they fear a crackdown after the elections.

The Islamist-rooted AK Party swept to power in 2002 on a platform of eradicating the corruption that blights Turkish life.

The government faced major street protests last year sparked by plans to raze Istanbul’s Gezi Park and redevelop it. The police crackdown galvanised anti-government demonstrators in several cities.

The anger which led to the unrest flared up again earlier this month, with the news of the death of a 15-year-old boy who had been in a coma since last June after being hit by a tear gas canister during a protest.

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EIGHT DEAD IN VIOLENCE DURING TURKEY ELECTIONS SEEN AS A REFERENDUM ON RULE OF RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN

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Turkey’s municipal elections have been marred by violence. Security officials said eight people have died as fights broke out between rival candidates in two villages near the southeastern border with Syria. Six were killed in a shoot-out in Sanliurfa province where local hospitals treated the wounded.

The election is being viewed as a crisis referendum, say analysts on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s 10-year-rule. He was not standing but criss-crossed the country in the build up to Sunday’s vote campaigning for his Justice and Development Party – the AKP. Tensions had risen in advance of the ballot and the PM was in defiant mood when he cast his vote.

“So far in political rallies there have been undesirable statements and speeches, our public today will have the last word, they will express themselves,” he said.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu the leader of the Republican People’s Party the main opposition was quoted as calling Erdogan “the world’s most immoral man” in the build up to the ballot.

His party has portrayed the PM as a corrupt dictator ready to hang on to power by any means.

Voting went ahead peacefully in most parts and the clashes which led to the eight deaths were over local council positions and not directly linked to the wider tensions in the country.

Erdogan is hoping the election will boost his standing after allegations of a corruption scandal and a string of damaging security leaks.

The Islamist – rooted AK Party is aiming to equal or better its 2009 vote of 38.8 percent. A vote below the 36 percent mark would be considered a huge blow to the PM.

SOUND AND FURY ON THE BOSPHORUS

As chaos swirls around Turkey’s embattled prime minister, can the opposition take advantage?

By Lauren Bohn | Foreign Policy

ISTANBUL, Turkey — In one of Istanbul’s cosmopolitan districts on the winding Bosphorus Strait, two female campaigners stood armed to the teeth with campaign gear — pamphlets, pins, balloons, and a trailer booming patriotic beats. “Here’s the plan,” said a soft-spoken Gulsun Karsli. “We’ll go house to house and remind people why the Justice and Development Party (AKP) is the best.”

“But first,” she paused and smirked, “We’ll take a selfie.”

Turkey is currently in the hectic throes of election season. On March 30, voters will go to the polls to elect the mayors of Istanbul, Ankara, and local municipalities across the country. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party appears poised to come out ahead, with polls projecting that the AKP holds roughly a 10-point lead over its main rival, the Republican People’s Party (CHP).

Tensions, however, are high. In an increasingly polarized political landscape, the vote is essentially a referendum on not only Erdogan’s increasingly white-knuckled grip on the country, but on the very identity of modern Turkey.

But even in Kadikoy, a district that AKP historically loses, the team of AKP campaigners — a brigade of sharp-tongued, smart-phone wielding women — isn’t worried.

“Look, Erdogan’s transformed this country and turned it around completely from when I grew up,” says Seyda Ertem, a businesswoman who studied at Barry University in Miami. She says her long, blonde hair and penchant for trendy clothes come as a surprise to many, who don’t expect an unveiled, stylish woman working for the Islamist AKP. She says that she has been asked derisively how much money she’s being paid to support the party.

“It’s all just noise,” she says, rolling her eyes. “There is no solid opposition, just noise.”

Indeed, there’s been quite a bit of noise in Turkey this year. Last summer, Erdogan’s government fired tear gas and water cannons at demonstrators protesting against his plans to demolish Gezi Park, a beloved green space in Istanbul, to make way for yet another mega-mall. The protest wasn’t merely about trees, but a larger fight over the identity of the country and who ultimately decides upon that identity. The park became yet another battleground in the country’s perennial struggle between Erdogan’s self-proclaimed pious constituency and a secular elite rooted in the military.

Since then, major rifts have emerged between the AKP and its erstwhile ally, an Islamic movement led by Fethullah Gulen, a reclusive cleric based in Pennsylvania.

The tug-of-war has culminated in a stream of leaked audio recordings, which reveal an extensive and sticky web of state corruption. In one purported leak, Erdogan tells his son to dispose of large sums of money. In the most recent leak, high-level security Turkish officials discussed potential military operations in Syria.

But even more revealing than the leaks has been Erdogan’s reaction — more indicative of a recalcitrant child than a world leader. After allegations of corruption surfaced, he reportedly replaced police commanders involved in the probe and high-profile prosecutors. In February, he pushed parliament to pass a law that allows the government to blocks websites without a court order.

Erdogan wasn’t bluffing about his intent to control the flow of information in Turkey. His government blocked Twitter last week, citing the leaks as a reason, then blocked YouTube — where new leaks had been posted — on March 27.

As Turkey’s diverse political battles look set to converge on election day, a few key issues will define the country’s future in the days and year ahead. One of them is the cultural and political divergence of Turkey’s urban metropolises and its Anatolian heartland.

During the height of Gezi Park protests, my colleague Elmira Bayrasli and I hopped on a plane and traveled to Kayseri, an industrial city almost 400 miles away from Istanbul, which has witnessed extraordinary economic growth in the past decade. From this vantage point, regime change looked unlikely: Only a handful of activists sat in a park protesting, while most shook their heads and laughed as they walked by.

It’s not just Kayseri that has experienced an economic boom under Erdogan — the whole country has prospered. Before the current political crisis, the economy saw an average annual growth of 5-7 percent. Those reforms translated to vast social mobility: Turkey’s middle class mushroomed to 59 percent of the total population — up from 25 percent in 1995. So too did the AKP’s electoral power: in the 2002 elections, the party secured 34 percent of the vote in parliamentary elections. Five years later, its support had increased to 47 percent, and in 2011 the AKP secured nearly 50 percent of the Turkish vote.

Such sweeping improvements made Erdogan a darling on the international circuit, with the West heralding him as a model for Muslim-majority neighbors in the region. “The Turkish model” was the all the rage not just in the West, but across the Middle East: While on a reporting trip to Gaza in fall 2011, I saw stores named “Erdogan” selling shirts and mugs emblazoned with his smile.

Back at home, Erdogan has remained engaged with the large rural underclass that catapulted him to power — an underclass that saw itself as historically suppressed under previous governments. Until the AKP’s rule, the staunchly secular military was the arbiter of Turkish political life, enforcing the goal of forced Westernization and secularization held by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey.

Ataturk’s vision, for instance, included a ban on women wearing the Islamic headscarf in public spaces like universities. When at a gathering of AKP members, I’m usually offered a chain of stories on how they, their wives, sisters, and mothers were forced to study abroad or quit their jobs because of the ban. Erdogan’s wife, Emine, was reportedly prohibited from entering a military hospital in 2007 when she refused to remove her headscarf.

“[Critics] say Erdogan is back-tracking on women’s rights, on liberties, because he’s an Islamist,” says Zeynep Yilmaz, a 61-year-old teacher. “So I ask: ‘Ataturk was a champion when I wasn’t allowed to show my face at a university?’”

Kemalism, as Ataturk’s ideology is known, marginalized the country’s conservative and religiously observant underclass, who regarded themselves as “Black Turks” — suppressed by the “white” secular elite. Until Erdogan’s rise, this elite, with its close connections to the military, exercised almost complete control of the country.

“In this country, there is segregation of Black Turks and White Turks,” Erdogan has said. “Your brother Tayyip belongs to the Black Turks.”

This populist outreach, however, only goes so far. Erdogan’s recent moves to stifle dissent have led to some criticism — even among some of his supporters — that he is creating a political order as imperious as the one he supplanted.

“Power is a dangerous thing … a very dangerous thing,” Fatma Bostan Unsal, a co-founder of the AKP, recently told me. She had been soft and guarded with her critique of Erdogan, but voiced muted worries that the party has increasingly revolved around him alone. “Power needs to listen to the people,” she said. “It corrupts … you have to be careful.”

While Turkey experienced a decade of gleaming economic growth, its amazing run might be coming to an end — and that could spell trouble for the AKP’s political dominance. Turkey’s economy has stalled for the past year: consumer confidence has declined and, in December, the International Monetary Fund warned that the country — with a significant current account deficit — could face a sudden slowdown.

So far, however, Erdogan’s populist appeal has compensated for any economic challenges. On a recent trip to Fatih, a conservative district of Istanbul, residents complained to me about rising costs, and voiced fears over a lack of job opportunities. When I asked them, many whom had voted for the AKP, if their political allegiances have consequently shifted, they stared at me in near confusion.

“The AKP know who we are,” said Ozgul Celik, a 57-year-old construction worker. “And we know them. We are them.”

While the average AKP voter may be relatively clear about what they believe and what they want, the opposition’s identity is harder to define. As we’ve seen across the Middle East for the past few years, while mass protests may grip television coverage and convulse Twitter feeds, they often fail to spark the creation of dominant political movements. During the days of the Gezi Park protests, instead of trying to harness the moment of discontent that had captured the world’s attention, many activists seemed loathe to reach outside their comfort zone.

Many were resigned that those not protesting couldn’t be convinced to abandon Erdogan, as though they were too far-gone — naïve, brainwashed, religious fanatics.

That attitude has sometimes bred a kind of fatalism among Erdogan’s opponents. When I asked Mehmet Pekbas, the press officer of the Kayseri chapter of the Republican People’s Party, the AKP’s greatest rival, how he was planning to reach out beyond his known constituency, he shrugged. “The AKP uses religion to reach people,” he said. “We are at a disadvantage from the start.”

The only thing that seems to unite the diverse elements of the opposition, then, is the fact that they are not AKP. In that sense, Erdogan is actually the opposition’s best ally: In instigating and antagonizing them, he’s giving them a rallying point. And yet, across Turkey, many still looked upon the upheaval in Gezi Park in confusion, asking what “they” stood for and what “they” wanted.

At a massive AKP rally in Istanbul last summer, attended by hundreds of thousands, the party played on those divides like a well-versed instrumentalist. AKP leaders called Gezi protesters “White Turks” who didn’t want democracy, but rather the sole power to define the culture of modern Turkey. It’s the same charge their opponents volley right back at them.

The unproductive, condescending back and forth has proved nothing, save Turkey’s deep inability to internalize democracy. But until Erdogan’s opponents harness the discontent beyond an echo chamber of dissent and sporadic cat-and-mouse protests, the AKP won’t be leaving the halls of power anytime soon.

Back on the Bosphorus in Uskudar, an AKP stronghold, a middle-aged woman shook her hips to the tune of the party’s official campaign song blaring from a campaign van: “He is the people’s man/ A confidant of the oppressed/ He is a nightmare to the cruel/ Recep Tayyip Erdogan!”

“This is a strong Turkey because of him and the AKP,” she said, waving a bouquet of red carnations the party was distributing to passersby. “Who else has accomplished what they’ve accomplished?”

Behind her, a teenage boy glared at her with his eyebrows raised in both amusement and thinly veiled disgust. He stuck out his tongue and chucked two red carnations into a trash-bin.

TURKEY: POPULARITY TEST FOR EMBATTLED ERDOGAN IN LOCAL ELECTIONS

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He is better known for his thunderous tones.

But campaigning for Sunday’s local elections has taken its toll on Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

After his falsetto delivery on Thursday drew ridicule from detractors, he did not take part in the ruling AK Party’s closing rallies.

He may have lost his voice but Erdogan’s party looks set to win at the polls against Kemal Kilicdaroglu’s main opposition Republican People’s Party.

And this, despite a corruption scandal, leaked recordings and controversial social media bans.

But not everyone supports Erdogan. Victory for his ruling party would mean a fearful and intimidating future according to Istanbul resident Cihan Kurnaz.

Fellow Istanbul dweller Ahmet Oz, however, disagreed, saying that
Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted party is the best choice, for peace and stability.

“There is no alternative,” he said.

These local elections will be the first real test of the prime minister’s popularity since last summer’s anti-government protests.

His AK Party is tipped to win but some polls indicate a close race in the key battlefields of Istanbul, where Erdogan was once mayor, and the capital Ankara.

SCANDAL: MASS MEDIA CENSORS SHOCKING ADMISSION OF TURKISH FALSE FLAG

Corporate press brazenly lies about bombshell audio tape

Paul Joseph Watson
Infowars.com

The mainstream media has spun, mischaracterized and outright lied about a shocking leaked audio tape in which top Turkish military and political officials brazenly plan to stage a false flag attack on their own country in order to create a pretext for war on Syria.

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Shocking details of dialogue between top Turkish officials reveals clear evidence of them scheming to launch a staged provocation against Turkish interests that would be blamed on Syria as a justification for military invasion.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan admitted the authenticity of the tape when he described the leaking of the audio as “villainous” and “immoral,” before moving to ban YouTube.

“I’ll make up a cause of war by ordering a missile attack on Turkey,” states Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkish intelligence.

“It’s a direct cause of war. I mean, what we’re going to do is a direct cause of war,” adds Deputy Chief of Military Staff Yasar Guler.

Plans to attack the Suleiman Shah Tomb, which is in Syria but considered Turkish territory and guarded by Turkish special forces, are also discussed, with Al-Qaeda terrorists playing the role of patsies.

“Prime Minister said that in current conjuncture, this attack (on Suleiman Shah Tomb) must be seen as an opportunity for us,” states Ahmet Davutoglu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

We can also prepare an attack on Suleiman Shah Tomb if necessary,” responds Fidan.

“Listen, listen commander if it’s a pretext we’ll give you one. I’ll send over four men and have them fire eight rockets on an empty lot. That’s not the problem! Pretexts can be arranged,” adds Fidan.

Ambassador Feridun Sinirlioglu responds by asserting that the staged attack will have “legitimacy” because it will be seen as a strike against Al-Qaeda and Turkey will have “the whole world backing us”.

“If necessary, we’ll mount an attack against that place (Suleiman Shah Tomb),” states Fidan, adding, “we’ll do the attack up front.”

To be clear, this confirmed audio tape represents ‘caught red handed’ concrete evidence of Turkish officials planning attacks on their own country to be blamed on Syria as a pretext for military invasion.

The officials also consider how the U.S. would react to the plan, fearing that it could backfire because Turkey may be perceived as weak due to its inability to protect its own interests.

Following yesterday’s bombshell revelation of the false flag plot, the mainstream media reacted in unison by ignoring the shocking content of the actual dialogue and instead making the story about how Erdogan banned YouTube, without specifically explaining why it was banned.

Innumerable news outlets euphemistically described the tape as containing discussions about plans for Turkish “intervention” in Syria, mischaracterizing the context and censoring the fact that the tape was a brazen admission of high Turkish officials planning a staged provocation as a pretext to attack Syria.

Reuters even reported that the conversation, “appeared to centre on a possible operation to secure the tomb of Suleyman Shah,” when in reality the conversation is about attacking the tomb, not securing it.

BBC News report about the tape said it “relates to a discussion of possible military operations in Syria,” completely omitting the fact that the tape is centered around Turkey attacking its own interests in a staged provocation.

CNN report goes to great lengths in exploring how and why the audio tape was leaked while failing completely to mention its actual content.

An L.A. Times report states that the tape discusses “possible military intervention in Syria”. Although the article quotes some portions of the tape, it completely omits key sections where Turkish officials admit they plan to launch false flag attacks.

Although a Washington Post article about the leaked tape prints the full transcript, the actual report mischaracterizes it by asserting, “The officials mull whether to strike — or even use ground troops — against the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, a jihadist group rooted in Syria.” The article fails to mention anything about Turkish officials planning to “make up a cause for war” by launching an attack against their own country.

None of these major publications dared to reveal the actual core of the story – that the tape contains bombshell revelations of Turkish military and political officials planning attacks on their own country as a casus belli for war on Syria.

Only USA Today somewhat accurately covered the story, reporting that the tape revealed, “that top Turkey officials were plotting to fake an attack against their own country as an excuse to wage war on Turkey.”

Given Turkey’s NATO membership and its close ties with the United States, this scandal is at least on a par with the Benghazi stand down yet has received minimal and almost universally distorted media coverage given its staggering importance.

MEDIA BURIES BOMBSHELL ADMISSION OF TURKISH GOVERNMENT PLANNING FALSE FLAG ATTACK

Establishment press in stunning display of spin & censorship

Paul Joseph Watson
Infowars.com

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Turkish government officials were caught red-handed in a leaked audio tape planning a false flag terror attack as a pretext to invade Syria, but the mainstream media completely buried the key aspect of the story and made it all about Prime Minister Erdogan blocking YouTube.

TURKISH LEADERS ADMIT TO PLANNING FALSE FLAG TERROR TO JUSTIFY A WAR IN SYRIA

Washington’s Blog

Zero Hedge reports:

As we noted here, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan had blocked Twitter access to his nation ahead of what was rumored to be a “spectacular” leak before this weekend’s elections. Then this morning, amid a mad scramble, he reportedly (despite the nation’s court ruling the bans illegal) blocked YouTube access. However, by the magic of the interwebs, we have the ‘leaked’ clip and it is clear why he wanted it blocked/banned. As the rough translation explains, it purports to be a conversation between key Turkish military and political leaders discussing what appears to be a false flag attack to launch war with Syria.

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Among the most damning sections:

Ahmet Davutolu: “Prime Minister said that in current conjuncture, this attack (on Suleiman Shah Tomb) must be seen as an opportunity for us.”

Hakan Fidan: “I’ll send 4 men from Syria, if that’s what it takes. I’ll make up a cause of war by ordering a missile attack on Turkey; we can also prepare an attack on Suleiman Shah Tomb if necessary.”

Feridun Sinirliolu: “Our national security has become a common, cheap domestic policy outfit.”

Ya?ar Güler: “It’s a direct cause of war. I mean, what’re going to do is a direct cause of war.”

Feridun Sinirolu: There are some serious shifts in global and regional geopolitics. It now can spread to other places. You said it yourself today, and others agreed… We’re headed to a different game now. We should be able to see those. That ISIL and all that jazz, all those organizations are extremely open to manipulation. Having a region made up of organizations of similar nature will constitute a vital security risk for us. And when we first went into Northern Iraq, there was always the risk of PKK blowing up the place. If we thoroughly consider the risks and substantiate… As the general just said…

Yaar Güler: Sir, when you were inside a moment ago, we were discussing just that. Openly. I mean, armed forces are a “tool” necessary for you in every turn.

Ahmet Davutolu: Of course. I always tell the Prime Minister, in your absence, the same thing in academic jargon, you can’t stay in those lands without hard power. Without hard power, there can be no soft power.

A full translation can be found here

And just in case you had faith that this was all made up and Erdogan is right to ban it… he just admitted it was true!

To summarize: a recording confirming a NATO-member country planned a false-flag war with Syria (where have we seen that before?) and all the Prime Minister has to say is the leak was “immoral.”

Erdogan is not amused:

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan described the leaking on YouTube on Thursday of a recording of top security officials discussing possible military operations in Syria as “villainous”and the government blocked access to the video-sharing site.

“They even leaked a national security meeting. This is villainous, this is dishonesty…Who are you serving by doing audio surveillance of such an important meeting?” Erdogan declared before supporters at a rally ahead of March 30 local polls that will be a key test of his support amid a corruption scandal.

In other words, the Turkish Prime Minister has admitted that the tape is authentic .. and is between top Turkish military and political leaders.

Good Morning Turkey names names as to who was involved in the discussion:

Turkey’s foreign minister, intelligence chief and a top army general …. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Undersecretary Hakan Fidan, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu and Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler ….

Indeed, Turkey has been sheltering and training Syrian rebels for man years, and there have beenallegations for years that Turkey was instigating false flag attacks and blaming Syria.

Nothing New … Governments from Around the World Admit They Carry Out False Flag Terror

Sadly, this is common, since governments from around the world admit they carry out false flag terror:

  • A major with the Nazi SS admitted at the Nuremberg trials that – under orders from the chief of the Gestapo – he and some other Nazi operatives faked attacks on their own people and resources which they blamed on the Poles, to justify the invasion of Poland. Nazi general Franz Halder also testified at the Nuremberg trials that Nazi leader Hermann Goering admitted to setting fire to the German parliament building, and then falsely blaming the communists for the arson
  • Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev admitted in writing that the Soviet Union’s Red Army shelled the Russian village of Mainila in 1939, and declared that the fire originated from Finland as a basis launching the Winter War four days later
  • Israel admits that an Israeli terrorist cell operating in Egypt planted bombs in several buildings, including U.S. diplomatic facilities, then left behind “evidence” implicating the Arabs as the culprits (one of the bombs detonated prematurely, allowing the Egyptians to identify the bombers, and several of the Israelis later confessed) (and see this and this)
  • The CIA admits that it hired Iranians in the 1950′s to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its democratically-elected prime minister
  • As admitted by the U.S. government, recently declassified documents show that in the 1960′s, the American Joint Chiefs of Staff signed off on a plan to blow up AMERICAN airplanes (using an elaborate plan involving the switching of airplanes), and also to commit terrorist acts on American soil, and then to blame it on the Cubans in order to justify an invasion of Cuba. See the following ABC news reportthe official documents; and watch this interview with the former Washington Investigative Producer for ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.
  • 2 years before, American Senator George Smathers had suggested that the U.S. make “a false attack made on Guantanamo Bay which would give us the excuse of actually fomenting a fight which would then give us the excuse to go in and [overthrow Castro]“.
  • And Official State Department documents show that – only nine months before the Joint Chiefs of Staff plan was proposed – the head of the Joint Chiefs and other high-level officials discussed blowing up a consulate in the Dominican Republic in order to justify an invasion of that country. The 3 plans were not carried out, but they were all discussed as serious proposals
  • A U.S. Congressional committee admitted that – as part of its “Cointelpro” campaign – the FBI had used many provocateurs in the 1950s through 1970s to carry out violent acts and falsely blame them on political activists
  • The South African Truth and Reconciliation Council found that, in 1989, the Civil Cooperation Bureau (a covert branch of the South African Defense Force) approached an explosives expert and asked him “to participate in an operation aimed at discrediting the ANC [the African National Congress] by bombing the police vehicle of the investigating officer into the murder incident”, thus framing the ANC for the bombing
  • An Algerian diplomat and several officers in the Algerian army admit that, in the 1990s, the Algerian army frequently massacred Algerian civilians and then blamed Islamic militants for the killings (and see this video; and Agence France-Presse, 9/27/2002, French Court Dismisses Algerian Defamation Suit Against Author)
  • Senior Russian Senior military and intelligence officers admit that the KGB blew up Russian apartment buildings and falsely blamed it on Chechens, in order to justify an invasion of Chechnya (and see this report and this discussion)
  • According to the Washington Post, Indonesian police admit that the Indonesian military killed American teachers in Papua in 2002 and blamed the murders on a Papuan separatist group in order to get that group listed as a terrorist organization.
  • The well-respected former Indonesian president also admits that the government probably had a role in the Bali bombings
  • As reported by BBC, the New York Times, and Associated Press, Macedonian officials admit that the government murdered 7 innocent immigrants in cold blood and pretended that they were Al Qaeda soldiers attempting to assassinate Macedonian police, in order to join the “war on terror”.
  • Former Department of Justice lawyer John Yoo suggested in 2005 that the US should go on the offensive against al-Qaeda, having “our intelligence agencies create a false terrorist organization. It could have its own websites, recruitment centers, training camps, and fundraising operations. It could launch fake terrorist operations and claim credit for real terrorist strikes, helping to sow confusion within al-Qaeda’s ranks, causing operatives to doubt others’ identities and to question the validity of communications.”
  • United Press International reported in June 2005:

    U.S. intelligence officers are reporting that some of the insurgents in Iraq are using recent-model Beretta 92 pistols, but the pistols seem to have had their serial numbers erased. The numbers do not appear to have been physically removed; the pistols seem to have come off a production line without any serial numbers. Analysts suggest the lack of serial numbers indicates that the weapons were intended for intelligence operations or terrorist cells with substantial government backing. Analysts speculate that these guns are probably from either Mossad or the CIA. Analysts speculate that agent provocateurs may be using the untraceable weapons even as U.S. authorities use insurgent attacks against civilians as evidence of the illegitimacy of the resistance.

  • Undercover Israeli soldiers admitted in 2005 to throwing stones at other Israeli soldiers so they could blame it on Palestinians, as an excuse to crack down on peaceful protests by the Palestinians
  • Quebec police admitted that, in 2007, thugs carrying rocks to a peaceful protest were actually undercover Quebec police officers (and see this)
  • At the G20 protests in London in 2009, a British member of parliament saw plain clothes police officers attempting to incite the crowd to violence
  • A Colombian army colonel has admitted that his unit murdered 57 civilians, then dressed them in uniforms and claimed they were rebels killed in combat
  • U.S. soldiers have admitted that if they kill innocent Iraqis and Afghanis, they then “drop” automatic weapons near their body so they can pretend they were militants
  • The highly-respected writer for the Telegraph Ambrose Evans-Pritchard says that the head of Saudi intelligence – Prince Bandar – recently admitted that the Saudi government controls “Chechen” terrorists

So Common … There’s a Name for It

This tactic is so common that it was given a name for hundreds of years ago.

“False flag terrorism” is defined as a government attacking its own people, then blaming others in order to justify going to war against the people it blames. Or as Wikipedia defines it:

False flag operations are covert operations conducted by governments, corporations, or other organizations, which are designed to appear as if they are being carried out by other entities. The name is derived from the military concept of flying false colors; that is, flying the flag of a country other than one’s own. False flag operations are not limited to war and counter-insurgency operations, and have been used in peace-time; for example, during Italy’s strategy of tension.

The term comes from the old days of wooden ships, when one ship would hang the flag of its enemy before attacking another ship in its own navy. Because the enemy’s flag, instead of the flag of the real country of the attacking ship, was hung, it was called a “false flag” attack.

Indeed, this concept is so well-accepted that rules of engagement for navalair and land warfare all prohibit false flag attacks.

Leaders Throughout History Have Acknowledged False Flags

Leaders throughout history have acknowledged the danger of false flags:

“This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.”
- Plato

“If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”
- U.S. President James Madison

“A history of false flag attacks used to manipulate the minds of the people! “In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs it is the rule.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

“Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death”.
- Adolph Hitler

“Why of course the people don’t want war … But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship … Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
- Hermann Goering, Nazi leader.

“The easiest way to gain control of a population is to carry out acts of terror. [The public] will clamor for such laws if their personal security is threatened”.
- Josef Stalin

People Are Waking Up to False Flags

People are slowly waking up to this whole con job by governments who want to justify war.

More people are talking about the phrase “false flag” than ever before.

CONFIRMED: NATO’s PLANS FOR FALSE FLAG ATTACK ON TURKEY REVEALED

Tony Cartalucci 
Land Destroyer

It has been revealed that NATO has been planning a false flag attack against Turkey to justify the Turkish invasion of northern Syria, the International Business Times reported in its article, “Turkey YouTube Ban: Full Transcript of Leaked Syria ‘War’ Conversation Between Erdogan Officials.”

Image: Turkish Military (Wiki Commons).

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ban of YouTube occurred after a leaked conversation between Head of Turkish Intelligence Hakan Fidan and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu that he wanted removed from the video-sharing website.It released the full transcript of a leaked conversation between the head of Turkish intelligence Hakan Fidan and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. The Times reported:

The leaked call details Erdogan’s thoughts that an attack on Syria “must be seen as an opportunity for us [Turkey]“.

In the conversation, intelligence chief Fidan says that he will send four men from Syria to attack Turkey to “make up a cause of war”.

Deputy Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Yaşar Güler replies that Fidan’s projected actions are “a direct cause of war…what you’re going to do is a direct cause of war”.

Turkey’s foreign ministry said the leaked recording of top officials discussing the Syria operation was “partially manipulated” and is a “wretched attack” on national security.

In the leaked video, Fidan is discussing with Davutoğlu, Güler and other officials a possible operation within Syria to secure the tomb of Suleyman Shah, grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman empire.

The Western media has purposefully obsessed myopically over Turkey’s ban of Twitter and Facebook and leaks regarding “corruption,” in an attempt to sidestep conversations revealing Turkey, a NATO member for decades, planning a false flag attack that would lead to an intentionally provoked war with neighboring Syria.

This comes as Turkey provides air support, logistics, and artillery cover for members of the US State Department designated terrorist group Al Nursa who have been leading an ongoing offensive from Turkish territory into Syria’s northwestern province of Latakia.

Since the operation began days ago, Turkey has fired on and shot down a Syrian warplane that was targeting Al Nusra militants in Syrian territory. While Turkey claims the warplane violated Turkish airspace, the plane crashed in Syrian territory, and the pilot ejected and was recovered on Syrian soil. The incident has been used by Turkey to lay the rhetorical groundwork to further escalate tensions between Ankara and Damascus, most likely in an attempt to serve as an impetus for war instead of NATO’s riskier false flag operation.

Turkey’s belligerent posture in the north of Syria is matched by a joint US-Saudi offensive in the south, near the Syrian-Jordanian border city of Daraa. Called the “Southern Front,” the offensive appears to already have been neutralized by Syrian security forces.

Regarding the creation of the “Southern Front,” the US corporate-funded policy think tank, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, even stated in its post, “Does the “Southern Front” Exist?,” that:

Rather than an initiative from the rebels themselves, word is that it was foreign officials that called on rebel commanders to sign a statement declaring their opposition to extremism, saying it was a precondition for getting more guns and money. Since beggars can’t be choosers, the commanders then collectively shrugged their shoulders and signed—but not so much to declare a new alliance as to help U.S. officials tick all the right boxes in their reports back home, hoping that this would unlock another crate of guns.

With the “Southern Front” arriving on the battlefield stillborn, and NATO resorting to false flag attacks in blatant support of Al Qaeda-affiliated terror organizations, the West’s desperation in what appears to be a strategic “last gasp” is palpable.

MAN IN THE MIDDLE

Why Abdullah Gul Will Disappoint the West

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GUL
Gul and Erdogan at a ceremony to mark Republic Day, October 29, 2013. (Umit Bektas / Courtesy Reuters)

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By Steven A. Cook | Foreign Affairs

Many observers, both in Turkey and abroad, believe that this is Turkish President Abdullah Gul’s moment to shine. In recent months, Turkey’s democracy has careened wildly off its democratic path, as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has resorted to increasingly authoritarian measures — including a ban on access to Twitter and YouTube — to suppress what he believes is an existential threat posed by his onetime ally Fethullah Gulen, a charismatic Turkish cleric who has followers in positions of influence throughout the government. Erdogan seems intent on trying to excise Gulenists from Turkish society entirely. Erdogan’s paranoia has also moved the AKP toward becoming an authoritarian cult of personality.

This is where many Turks, Europeans, and Americans have hoped that Gul would step in to steer Turkey back onto a democratic course. In mid-February, Gunay Hilal Aygun, a columnist for the Gulen-affiliated Today’s Zaman, asked, “Will President Gul let the Turkish people down?” The Financial Times picked up on this theme a few weeks later when the editorial board called on Gul “to take a stand” against Erdogan. What these observers seem to want is for Gul to come down from the apolitical confines of his presidential office and directly challenge Erdogan for leadership of the AKP, with a promise of restoring the party’s original coalition, which included pious Muslims of all stripes, Kurds, secular liberals, and the business elite. These hopes aren’t entirely fanciful, but they are far too optimistic. In fact, they have fundamentally missed Gul’s broader reading of Turkish politics.

Gul has carefully cultivated his reputation as a moral voice in Turkey’s transition to democracy, and in recent months he has not shied from expressing his displeasure with Erdogan’s style of leadership. In response to the government’s ban on Twitter after Erdogan vowed to “eradicate” the service, Gul tweeted, “The wholesale shuttering of social media platforms cannot be approved. I hope this practice will not last long.” Months earlier, at the opening session of the Grand National Assembly, Gul distanced himself from the prime minister’s increasing authoritarianism, declaring, “I have always acted with the awareness that democracy requires tolerance, patience, perseverance and sacrifice. I was also mindful of the fact that democracy is a system of checks and balances.” And in responding to last spring’s Gezi Park protests, Gul’s diplomatic manner and vocal support for peaceful dialogue with protesters contrasted starkly with Erdogan’s thuggish defiance.

All of this is consistent with Gul’s demeanor in meetings with journalists and private interlocutors, where he has offered implicit but unmistakable critiques of the prime minister. He has also hinted that he might return to politics sometime in the future, raising speculation that he would challenge Erdogan. The fact that the president has not been caught up in the ongoing corruption scandal that has enveloped Erdogan and the AKP since last December has only intensified speculation about Gul’s political plans.

But for all of his appealing attributes, Gul has consistently stopped short of taking action. Rather than use the powers of his office to thwart Erdogan’s worst instincts, Gul has done the opposite. Since last June, he has signed into law a slew of restrictive measures supported by Erdogan and passed by the AKP-dominated Grand National Assembly. These new laws range from restricting the Internet to making administering first aid a criminal offense under certain circumstances, to prevent good Samaritans from giving aid to protesters. Gul has also signed into law a measure that strips the independent Supreme Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors of its power to make any judicial appointments and transferred that authority to political appointees at the Ministry of Justice.

Gul’s aides have tried to paint his actions as attempts to make the best of a bad situation. For example, Gul approved the Internet access bill but included the proviso that the parts of the legislation that most egregiously violated international norms be revised. Yet Gul’s more idealistic supporters were stunned that he would give his assent at all. They couldn’t understand how the man whom they believed clearly disapproved of Erdogan’s authoritarianism had been so willing to act as his accomplice.

But Gul’s behavior should not come as such a surprise. It is the product of his understanding of Turkey’s present political situation and his own broader political goals. The fact that Gul has failed to challenge Erdogan doesn’t mean there aren’t differences between the two men. There is no reason to doubt that Gul is sincere when he expresses democratic ideals. But for the present moment, at least, Gul believes that it is necessary to subordinate his ideals for the sake of maintaining the stability and strength of the AKP.

As Turkey’s president, Gul is legally not permitted to have a political affiliation, and he has done his best to stay above day-to-day politics. But his past as a political operator can’t be denied. Gul — along with Erdogan and a number of others — is a founder of the AKP. As they built the party in 2001 and 2002 they looked to dysfunctional coalition governments of the 1990s, which were composed of various small parties with limited appeal, as a cautionary example. They observed how personal rivalries pushed the previously venerable Motherland and True Path parties into oblivion. Gul and his partners wanted their AKP to rise above all that and to be able to capture a broad share of the public. Just 14 months after founding the AKP, the new party garnered 36 percent of the vote in national elections. The rest is history.

Whatever his other political beliefs, Gul believes that the AKP remains the only vehicle for Turkey’s transformation (and for his own personal ambition). In that sense, anything that Gul does to fracture the AKP would be devastating to his own lifelong political project. Even if he knows that the AKP has lapsed from its reformist origins, Gul likely believes that its disintegration would be worse, since it would return Turkey to the destabilized politics of the recent past.

And Gul would not be wrong to think so. If he directly challenged Erdogan, he would surely receive praise from Turkey watchers in Europe and the United States. But that would hardly compensate for the bruising political battle he would have initiated with Erdogan. For all of the discussions about fissures developing within the party since the Gezi Park protests and a few resignations after the corruption scandal broke, the AKP has remained remarkably cohesive and loyal to Erdogan. Most of the party’s parliamentarians owe their position to the patronage of the prime minister, and Erdogan remains wildly popular among the AKP supporters in the public. Gul has loyalists of his own in the party, of course, but the apolitical nature of the presidency has constrained him from broadening his base within the AKP.

And Gul has surely noticed, during this extended season of Turkish political tumult, that Erdogan has proved to be a fearless combatant. The Gulenists within the police, judiciary, and state prosecutors’ office have thrown virtually everything at him, and the prime minister has only responded in kind. Erdogan’s call for a ban on Twitter and YouTube reflects his willingness to do Turkey harm in pursuit of trying to save himself.

Erdogan’s evident lack of judiciousness is the reason that outsiders believe Gul should assert himself; from Gul’s perspective, it also the reason he should refrain from doing so. A civil war between pro-Erdogan and pro-Gul factions of the AKP would only serve to benefit their common political enemies, the Kemalists. When Kemalism was the dominant ideology in Turkey, pious Turks like Gul and Erdogan were subjected to routine repression. The rise of the AKP has mostly reduced Kemalism to a hollow ideology, something to which many Turks only pay lip service as they go about their business. But Kemalist forces still exist in Turkey throughout the judiciary, the bureaucracy, academia, big business, and the military. To the extent that a fight with Erdogan would provide an opportunity for Kemalists to return to the fore of national politics, Gul will avoid taking on his old ally.

The president is likely better off avoiding a direct confrontation with Erdogan, signaling his disapproval for the prime minister’s excesses, and hoping that the electoral process provides an opportunity for Turks to alter their country’s current nondemocratic trajectory. The key word is “hope.” Although Erdogan has given up the idea of becoming president under a new constitution that would have granted the presidency broader and more direct political powers, AKP lieutenants have openly floated the idea of changing party bylaws to allow him to serve additional terms in his current office. If that happens, which seems likely, Gul will remain under Erdogan’s shadow. Perhaps Gul is planning to bide his time until Erdogan thoroughly discredits himself with his supporters. But, in that case, he may be waiting a long time. All of Erdogan’s excessive actions to date — banning Twitter and YouTube, attacking civil society organizations, intimidating the press, and making accusations about foreign plots aimed at bringing Turkey to its knees — have played well with his constituency.

It is hard not to sympathize with Gul. He is the voice of reason — or at least portrays himself that way — in a political environment where so many seem to have taken leave of their senses. But he also believes he has no good options available to him. By wading into the AKP morass, he thinks he would ultimately only be doing damage to himself, his party, and Turkey as a whole. Those who are desperately waiting for Gul to make a move will most likely remain disappointed. He will remain outside the battle — torn between his political ideals and his calculations of political interest.

SEVGI AKARCESME: ‘TURKEY LOSING ITS DEMOCRACY, TURNING AUTHORITARIAN’

Turkey has long been revered as a beacon of democracy in the Muslim world, but the corruption scandal rocking the nation has led to a clampdown by its government. And with the grip tightening on the judiciary, Internet and even Twitter, Turkey’s civil society is being put to the test. Will the country live up to its democratic reputation or will it take an authoritarian turn? Oksana is joined by a senior editor at Today’s Zaman, Sevgi Akarcesme, to examine these issues.

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