Something big will happen in Turkey soon.

"Erdogan was always a loose cannon. Now he has become unmoored. Paranoia is endemic in Turkish politics because so much of it is founded on conspiracy. The expression "paranoid Turk" is a pleonasm. Islamist followers of the self-styled prophet Fetullah Gulen infiltrated the security services and helped Erdogan jail some of the country's top military commanders on dubious allegations of a coup plot. Last August a Turkish court sentenced some 275 alleged members of the "Ergenekon" coup plot, including dozens of military officers, journalists, and secular leaders of civil society. Now Gulen has broken with Erdogan and his security apparatus has uncovered massive documentation of corruption in the Erdogan administration. Erdogan is firing police and security officials as fast as they arrest his cronies. There is a world difference, though, between a prosperous paranoid and an impecunious one. Turkey cannot fund its enormous current borrowing needs without offering interest rates so high that they will pop the construction-and-consumer bubble that masqueraded for a Turkish economic miracle during the past few years."  Asia Times


There is something deeply disturbing about the situation in Turkey.  I have the feeling that some catastrophic event waits for the moment of its appearance.  I would very much like to hear from the Turks who read and comment on this forum as to their views concerning the immediate future in their country.  pl

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46 Responses to Something big will happen in Turkey soon.

  1. b says:

    Ten years of credit fueled bubble are coming to an end. The falling Lira has made energy 30% more expensive over the last few weeks. The state is still covering that though. But after the local elections in March the game is over and prices will rise much faster. While the lower Lira helps exporters they also depend on imports of foreign products. The current spat with Bulgaria that hampers fright traffic to Europe makes that even more difficult. Erdogan will soon have high inflation and high unemployment. Not a good position to win elections.
    But what “catastrophic event” could happen and for what purpose?
    And why is ISIS systematically capturing all border posts between Syria and Turkey? What are their plans for Turkey?

  2. toto says:

    I’m impressed at the remarkable equanimity of Turkish democracy: apparently the state has been infiltrated by Nationalists AND Islamists AND Gulenists! How can you get more pluralistic than that?!

  3. I agree with PL! Time will tell! Not much time no doubt!

  4. Charles I says:

    Well til then I learned a new word of which I am guilty over and over and over. Thanks

  5. Matthew says:

    toto: I noticed that too. So I’m confused: if the Gulenists manufactered cases against the military over the last 10 years, what faith do we have that they aren’t manufacturing cases against Erdogan now?

  6. turcopolier says:

    Charles I
    Is there an analogous organization in Canada to the Sons of the American Revolution or Descendants or Mayflower colonists? pl

  7. ISL says:

    All: From, Nouriel Roubini’s site, the Fed’s tapering of Quantitative Easing is going to bring the easy money rushing home from the developing economies, squeezing them hard. In such a situation, instability if unlikely to persist for long without blowing up one way or another.
    That noted, I hope the Fed remains concerned about the US economy – no one forced countries like Turkey to get hooked on cheap credit, so . . .

  8. Bandolero says:

    I think the most important part of that column are the words:
    “Spengler is channeled by David P Goldman. He is Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum”
    The Middle East Forum is headed by Daniel Pipes, undoubtedly “a good friend” of Israel.
    I find that important. What’s currently going on in Turkey I would describe as a fight between Brother Erdogan and the Gülen organisation of “friends of Israel.” After the war against Syria is lost and Russia and China outmaneuvered Turkey in the Caucasus and Central Asia, the break points of the alliance of the Turkish brothers and the Turkish “friends of Israel” seem to go front stage. The strength of the “friends of Israel” of course is Wall Street, while the strength of Erdogan and his brothers is the Turkish street.
    About what’s at stake I think is the future direction of Turkey. Will Turkey continue to be a “Green Belt” proxy of the US and Israel or will Turkey go to the Shanghai 5, as Brother Erdogan would like it to have? FD-2000 could be the beginning of a new direction in Turkey, and Israel won’t like it.
    Because a lot is at stake I guess both sides fight with heavy punches under the belt.

  9. Alba Etie says:

    b –
    What also is new; if not odd is that Turkey is either already buying, (or about to purchase big ticket items) from the PRC military – such as a non NATO compatible ABM system . Could this be a diplomatic head fake – or something more..

  10. Bandolero says:

    I think ISIS is systematically capturing all border posts between Syria and Turkey because ISIS sees an “infidel” (not my view, but I believe it’s theirs) NATO-GCC threat is coming from Turkey.

  11. bth says:

    I’d also look at the high costs of fuel which impact current account deficits in EM countries. Turkey had the highest gasoline prices I had ever seen. Argentina imports heavily, so does India, China and due to nuclear problems Japan. Ukraine imports NG heavily. I’d like to point out that EM market weakness is about the sustained expense of imported fuel.

  12. confusedponderer says:

    Erdogan’s people have introduced a bill into parliament that would allow the Turkish telecom authority to block down web sites without a court order.

  13. Did I mention that earthquakes and water availability make Turkey tough to govern in any case?

  14. Tyler says:

    Steve Sailer over at had a pretty indepth series of articles on Turkey and the Gulenist movement, and how it looks like its infiltrated America in some ways as well. Definitely worth a look.

  15. Charles I says:

    Without looking it up, and more fully understanding the S.A.R or the D.M.C’s, I don’t think specifically so. Our history I dimly recall refers to the Family Compact that ruled Upper Canada, now Ontario, long ago. There are still all sorts of Catholic and Protestant lodges and that sort of thing now devoted to Good Works. I know a lot of charitable Masons, and in Canada at least, the Masons are still infused with a lot of Englishmen.
    I will look into this shameful lack of knowledge or recall, but I have to read F.B.’s book first.
    A lot of our patriotic history as both Dominion and constitutional parliamentary democracy was so over laid and intertwined with Empire and Commonwealth that separate independent truly Canadian patriotism was likely viewed as seditious for a long time. Regional, Native or Linguistic patriots pre-Canada, sometimes compounded of all three as with Louis Riel, were anti-Empire terrorists. The British won out and made a British linguistically divided country.
    Today, and for a good long while, and out of ignorance, I would count the Canadian Legion, which is our independent Veteran’s organization as such an organization.
    We love our vets, who are currently the subject of a sh*tstorm up here due to the government’s shoddy treatment of them. It may affect the next election.
    Legions – bars/community centers – in every community, struggling with changing demographics and tough economies. As I think of the Legion centrally Located in Bala where I live, to me, and I’m certain, to many informed and ignorant alike, they and our Vets are the singularly analogous organization.
    The Conservative government is currently trying to cash in on manufactured patriotism selling n an Empirephilic interpretation of wars rather than the vets as embodiment and focus of our sentiment. History, unlike vets, seems cheap and malleable.
    Thank you for making me think of all this. I’ll look into it.

  16. Peter Brownlee says:

    I have been wondering for some time how Erdogan’s attempts at gross desecularization will square with the near-universal adulation and celebration of Atatürk — whose revolution (and personality and lifestyle) modes of was explicitly secular and Western in focus.
    Telcos now will have to retain all comms records for two years I think.
    Coup, anyone?

  17. Pat Lang,
    The United Empire Loyalists are descendants of Americans who supported the crown during the revolution and afterward emigrated to what is now Canada, settling mainly in the Maritimes and Upper Canada. They would be analogous to their distant cousin of the Sons and Daughters of The American Revolution. There is also a society of descendants of the early settlers of New France who would be equivalent to Mayflower descendants.

  18. Thomas says:

    That Kunuri and Ishmael Zechariaih have still not commented is another worrying part.
    Could the catastrophic event be a civil war between the AKP and Gulenists already quietly underway?

  19. turcopolier says:

    Their silence worries me as well. pl

  20. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Colonel Lang, SST;
    Sorry about the radio silence. There is nothing to worry about; Turkey is reasonably calm. The tayyip government is now trying to control the net but they will have a hard time. I will try to write a summary of what is going on by tomorrow. COl. Lang is right: things are fixing to blow and when they do, it will be interesting.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  21. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    I apologize for this late response. Colonel Lang is quite right. Turkey is undergoing perilous times and the situation can turn kinetic quite rapidly. The AsiaTimes article is actually an optimistic take on the issue. Following the raids on the houses of some ministers/their sons where millions of (undocumented) dollars were found, the followers of the gulen nurcu movement are being purged from the police, municipal government and judiciary posts that they have been occupying for the last 10 years. They, in turn, are publishing and posting details of corruption in the tayyip circles. His children, his ministers, MPs, the whole lot, are clearly implicated and the issues cannot be denied. Rather than trying to defend the indefensible, the tayyip government is trying to stop these documents from circulating by imposing bans on the media and, now, on the internet. Whether these will work and get tayyip past the upcoming election is an open question. In the cities tayyip & co. have lost their moral authority and most -including a lot of tayyip’s ex-supporters- do not trust the police or the prosecutors. The opposition parties are extremely ineffective; they are, actually, part of the problem. The sheeple, say about 40% of the population, may still vote for tayyip; his supporters are distributing coal, food, appliances, etc. in the ghettos surrounding the cities. The elections are not going to solve any of the structural issues that the country is facing; tayyip needs to find money and find it fast. This is unlikely. In addition, there is a drought in the most fertile farming regions which may put significant pressure on staple food supplies in as little as four months. The population is calm at this point, but things are moving. A very small event can trigger a very large explosion. In my opinion Turkey’s problems cannot be solved without serious societal conflict. Events like these demonstrate the wisdom of having the means of defending one’s own, independent of any regime which might be in power.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  22. Kunuri says:

    Sorry all, I have been been working on location. Will comment as soon as I unpack.

  23. Kunuri says:

    Something big has already happened in Turkey, the arrests of December 17 has put into motion events that would change the course of politics in years to come.
    First of all, the AKP government is exposed. The scandals and lies has not yet trickled down to hapless masses who vote for him consistently, but it is happening. Secondly, it has unified the secular opposition and caused the in betweener neo liberals to reconsider their support.
    Thirdly, the rift between the Tayyiban and the Gulenistas has destroyed the Justice system so completely that all court cases maybe retired going back 12 years.
    I get my best information from the taxi drivers, at worst, three years ago the support for AKP government was unshaken, the trust in their ability to get things done, the stability they brought, and implicitly the glee they felt in finally being free to practice their religion without the fear of the Army. Now it seems they are not so sure which may manifest itself in AKP supporters staying at home in the upcoming nationwide municipal elections and handing AKP their first real set back at the polls.
    Things are stable enough on street level, but so much is happening all at once, journalists and news outlets are complaining about not being able to keep up.
    But the most worrying of all, is the revelations of AKP support for ultra Islamists in Syria and implicit Al Kaida support coupled with the very credible allegations of bypassing the ambargo on Iran. RTE maybe stepping on some very big toes.

  24. Kunuri says:

    Thanks Ishmael Zechariah, this is a very accurate sum-up, I had in plans writing up something similar, though I could not possibly hope to match your eloquent prose here.

  25. Kunuri says:

    Not really, people just ignore the possibility of an earthquake and the possibility of drought, as long as Minister of Agriculture organizes large rain prayer events. Yes, he does-why worry about water.

  26. Kunuri says:

    That is most worrying, if it becomes law. Look out for a second Gezi. I read through the proposed bill and it is watertight, no way to go around it using proxies or VPNs. I may not be able to post here, it is that serious, since I am a bona fide dissident.

  27. Kunuri says:

    The heavy punches will soon be replaced by interballistic, intercontinental missiles, and pinpoint guerilla hit and run tactics. Sure is interesting to watch and follow the “War of the Turbans”. I just hope that it doesn’t turn into “The Hunger Games”.

  28. Kunuri says:

    I think it is Erdogan’s folly and an empty bluff. He has already made an about face on that contract. But I am not sure with which one.

  29. turcopolier says:

    “I may not be able to post here, it is that serious” Erdogan is Obama’s friend? pl

  30. Thomas says:

    Kunuri and Ishmael Zechariah,
    Good to hear all is well with you. Semih Idiz of Al-Monitor is calling for Gul to show his backbone, can he make a difference in the current situation?
    “Events like these demonstrate the wisdom of having the means of defending one’s own, independent of any regime which might be in power. ”
    The best argument for the Second Amendment. Your tone seems like you will have to surf a tsunami.

  31. Kunuri says:

    Albayim, yes, it is that serious. If this bill becomes law, one man appointed by RTE can decide what gets posted on the internet. The proposed bill is extremely vague and open to interpretation, and since there is no longer an independent judiciary in Turkey, what RTE says is law.
    Erdogan and Obama are two different universes. Yes Erdogan was Obama’s friend for a while, but no longer. US citizens are under unconstitutional scrunity, I know. But there is still the Supreme Court, an enlightened US public, institutions, and US has gone through McCarthy days, prohibitions, and misinformation of all kinds leading to things as serious as unending wars. But it is different here, the majority of voting public is gullible, RTE gets state of the art public manupulation advice straight from Carl Rove school of how to steer an unsuspecting religious inclined public, and RTE is a great orator.
    I happen to believe that parallels between Obama and RTE are mute, different personalities, different contexts. So, they were never really friends, but certainly, they are not even allies anymore. Much hoped for moderate Islamic Democracy hopes is now officially collapsed, of course, we all knew that it was an oxymoron from the beginning. I think it was a neocon dream, but dream they do, don’t they?

  32. Kunuri says:

    Semih Idiz makes sense, thanks for bringing him to fore.

  33. kodlu says:

    Since Gul signed all kinds of dubious government legislation previously, I don’t expect him to challenge Erdogan publicly. The two are not as different as one might think and Gul is scarier, never showing his real emotions, unlike Erdogan. If Erdogan stumbles spectacularly he will then move in. What no one knows, since reliable independent opinion polls don’t exist, is how people will vote.
    Recently someone has been leaking phone calls by Erdogan to TV network executives to cut short a live broadcast of a news conference by Bahceli, leader of an opposition party. He is clearly out of control. Who tapped the phone? It would be easiest at the TV networks’ switchboard I guess.
    We are no longer in the heady days of Gezi. There will be a long struggle to get rid of AKP since the opposition parties are not very inspiring.

  34. Thanks Kunari!
    Have you ever been in a large earthquake or prolonged drought or lived worked or visited Turkey?

  35. turcopolier says:

    As I understand Kunuri is a Turk who lives and works in Turkey. pl

  36. Thanks PL!
    And Fred the US Federal Reserve has been funding the various Central Banks it favors for several decades, certainly since Nixon devalued the US dollar by 40% in 1971. The ECB has been a favorite. These are secret ops classified as highly as many classified compartmented programs elsewhere in DoD, the IC, and Executive Branch. NO LEAKS HERE!

  37. Kunuri says:

    Albayim, I am a Turk by birth, but I lived in US for 32 years before I moved to Turkey. I bought the American dream and ideals from day one, but have never foregone my heritage, which is as proud as my adopted country. As you can discern from the contents of my posts, I never comment on American politics, although I keep up diligently and some of it I am extremely critical when it detours from the American ideals. For me, being critical of US while I am overseas borders on being ungrateful for what America has given me.
    I try to do the same about Turkey when I am in US.

  38. Kunuri says:

    I happened to be visiting in August 99 earthquake. It was terrible, but I still don’t see how the possibility of earthquake in Turkey, which is real, and drought, which is possible, but not probable makes it difficult to run an economy as you commented earlier. If you can explain it to me, please?
    By the way, a small drought will do wonders for Turkey to teach a lesson to those in charge. Turkey is essentially a water rich country, but due to climate change, pollution, wasteful usage and gross mismanagement of resources indeed brought the water to critical levels. Just a small effort can again bring the water resources back to plentiful levels. But it is still not a factor in economy and people’s daily lives.

  39. Thomas says:

    Thank you for your perspective, Gul admits that being involved in Syria harms your national interests which shows he has some common sense unlike Erdogan.
    Good luck to all of you in the future.

  40. Charles I says:

    oy thanks,the only org I actually once knew the name of!

  41. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Thanks for the kind words. Be safe.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  42. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Like Kodlu, I also think that gul and erdogan are two faces of the same coin. gul is much better educated and shows a better front. He probably understands the risks better, but he is no savior. At this point the corruption within Turkey needs to be extirpated. Surgery, not antibiotics, are needed. This may cause a lot of grief, a tsunami, if you will.
    Turkey’s gun laws are very strict but folks in rural areas, and quite a few in smaller urban areas, may have an argument handy if needed. Most males have served in the military and have a better-than-rudimentary familiarity with arms. Quite a few have been in combat against kurdish separatists. Most Turks, male and female, also have the mindset to use weapons if/when needed. These will not easily turn and run ( ).
    Things may be interesting in the next few years.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  43. W.F.! Most modern American historians beleive Loyalist might well have been a majority of the American Colonies population!

  44. zuhal says:

    How you can get more pluralistic? Sir, Turkey is a country where anything is possible; best example now is the opposition party: “islamic-nationalist-left wing”
    (this is not my personal view. it is not a coalition. this is how they define themselves. Marx with a Kur’an in one hand and a rifle in the other.)

  45. zeynep heyzen says:

    If I am allowed to go back to question about Turkey…
    “I have the feeling that some catastrophic event waits for the moment of its appearance.”
    War seems inevitable. But a renaissance as well.
    But I am neither an analyst nor an academic, so I won’t interpret latest developments, I will just list them. How you will read them, is up to you. These are double, triple checked information since I believe %90 of I read are lies and manipulations.
    1. There are new gas fields in Mediterranean sea. Most important is Tamar (Stakeholders in the Tamar field, headed by Noble Energy of Houston, Tex., and its Israeli partners Delek Group and Avner Oil & Gas. )
    2. Jordan is buying its gas mainly from Egypt but last week they signed a 21 000 million euro deal with Israel. (Channel 2 said a key broker of the Jordanian deal was U.S. deputy assistant Secretary of State for energy diplomacy, Amos J. Hochstein.)
    After 2016, Egypt will be losing its 260 million euros annual income, give or take.
    3. Forbes published an article about Russia-syria relations. Mediterranean emerging as a possible alternative to Russian gas for European consumers, Moscow has found a point of entry: Syria. Shortly before the New Year, Russia’s SoyuzNefteGaz signed a $90 million deal to support Syria’s first offshore effort.
    4. Leviathan, which lies in deeper water 80 miles west of Haifa, is expected to go onstream in 2016. Australia’s Woodside Petroleum signed a deal with Noble Energy and Delek this month to buy a 25 percent stake in Leviathan for some $2.25 billion, with Noble Energy holding 30 percent and the Israeli partners a combined 33.86 percent.
    And Leviathan field last month signed a 20-year, $1.2 billion deal to supply gas to planned a Palestinian power plant once Leviathan starts production in 2016 or 2017. Leviathan is estimated to hold some 540 billion cubic metres of gas, enough to supply Europe for a year.
    Now -we have the gas and rival countries russia, usa and israel- who wants to sell it to Europe. But how to transport?
    1. Through Cyprus. (That would involve construction of a $10 billion liquefied natural gas plant, possibly a floating facility off southern Cyprus, from where special tankers would carry the gas to terminals in Europe and Asia, where LNG fetches prices that are double those on the European market.)
    2. Through Turkey. They can make a pipeline snaking northeast across the Mediterranean seabed to Turkey, which wants to transform itself into the key energy hub between the Middle East, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.
    3. This puts Turkey in a though position with Russia who needs Syria and there is the problem: Egypt or Israel? Will money (billions for a country who will have an economic crash otherwise) be enough for Turkish government to choose Israel over religion?
    **a second, more hypothetical problem is the civil war in Syria.
    Facts: Suddenly Israel (with Isreali-american-australian etc partnership companies) became the biggest gas supplier int the world. They need Turkey for cheap transport.
    Right now European market is dependent on Russian gas. To the west, Russian-Syria partnership was likely to worry other international actors who’d hoped the Eastern Mediterranean gas find would provide a long-term, viable alternative to Russian gas.
    Then as you know, the Syrian civil war happened.
    Turkey for the first time since the cold war has many cards and therefore many actors are in play.
    Yesterday Obama and Erdogan (Turkish PM) spoke on the phone and USA made it clear that they have an agreement about Syria. (Both countries want to end “people’s sufferings.”) 1 day later, we heard rumors about a bombing on the border and some turkish newspapers published articles about Syria wanting to bomb Turkey.
    If Russia loses its deal with Syria, Israel will be the main gas provider of Europe through american-israeli-australian etc companies. Turkey and Cyprus will be profiting.
    Then, suddenly Eu had a deal with Iran, about nucleer plans where a USA official -unnamed- said “we have our concerns” but Ashton was clear that “Europe is satisfied” with the deal.
    Brave is the man who can guess…

  46. Cetin says:

    Civil war is very close.
    This time worse than any other civil wars in this century.
    USA and its puppets will loose in the end.
    Turkiye will again become a free, secular, Kemalist country in its region which will have more and better relations with Middle Asian Turkish Republics, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Russia, India, China.

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