Category Archives: NATO

It’s Time, Mr. Trump: NATO Should Expel Islamist Turkey


On September 11, Turkeyish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan used a less than two week-old government decree to sack 28 elected mayors, of whom a dozen were arrested for “actively engaging in acts of terrorism.”

These firings represents a miniscule fraction of the government officials, including the military, who have been accused of conspiring to remove Erdogan from office in July.

In mid-July, Turkey’s major cities experienced a brief period of violence as members of the Turkish military tried to depose Erdogan’s government. Erdogan regained control of the country the next morning. He delivered a televised speech before civilian crowds at Istanbul’s airport, and pro-coup soldiers surrendered to government forces.

President Erdogan has attempted, with less than a wisp of evidence, to pin blame for the coup on the Gülen movement. Run by U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, the movement has a favorable attitude towards secularism. It promotes interfaith dialog between Muslims, Christians, and Jews, and stands against racism and anti-Semitism. The recently sacked Turkish mayors were also accused of ties to Fethullah Gülen.

As Erdogan would have the world believe, the Gülen movement is an allegedly Islamist supremacist organization. Erdogan insists that it wanted to overthrow Turkey’s government and establish a quasi-theocracy.

Like such other hostile states as Cuba, North Korea, and Iran, whose rulers find it useful to blame the U.S. for their own domestic troubles, Turkish officials have also accused the CIA of complicity in funding the coup to remove Erdogan from power.

The Gülen movement was one of Erdogan’s political allies until corruption allegations against members of Erdogan’s political party surfaced in July 2013. Since then, Erdogan has suppressed criticism of his policies by claiming that the scandal was evidence of a “civilian coup” against the government. The Gülen movement, along with other dissident groups, has been termed part of the “Deep State” — the group of supposedly allied conservatives and Islamists who work within the Turkish government and media to undermine democracy and create a revanchist Ottoman state.

According to Erdogan, the leader of the moderate Islamic movement that favors secularism orchestrated an Islamist coup in July while living in a small town in rural Pennsylvania. This proposition is far-fetched.

However, its underlying argument — that Islamists have taken control of Turkey’s government — is fact.

Erdogan himself, both before and after the failed coup, has been working steadily to transform Turkey into an Islamist state. As of today, Erdogan has succeeded. Although not an Iranian theocracy, Turkey’s leadership is explicitly Islamist.

Its values and goals are antithetical to American interests and those of NATO as an alliance of free, democratic states that respect the rule of law.

Such a nation has no place in NATO, despite its previous history as a critical American ally.

When he was prime minister, Erdogan initially oversaw broad Europeanization. Expectations grew that his government might achieve EU membership for Turkey. This changed in 2013, when Erdogan used a corruption scandal — in which members of his own political party and some of their relatives were accused of bribery and fraud — to sideline the Gülen movement. Erdogan imprisoned pro-Gülen political figures and arrested journalists.

He forced members of his cabinet out of their positions by imprisoning their sons during the scandal. In 2014, after winning Turkey’s presidential elections, Erdogan aggressively expanded his power, transforming the traditionally enfeebled position of president into the country’s major office. Erdogan selected current Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to succeed him, preventing parliamentary challenges to his actions.

When Davutoglu finally challenged Erdogan, he was immediately replaced.

Erdogan broke the presidential “pledge of neutrality,” which constitutionally compels Turkey’s head of state to stay out of partisan politics. Erdogan openly supported the Justice and Development Party (AKP) — his party — during national elections, and has attempted to amend the constitution to allow him to openly affiliate with the AKP.

Erdogan continued his attacks on the press as president, arresting 31 journalists in 2015, and seizing major newspaper Zaman in March 2016 due to its alleged Gülenist ties. Turkey ranks behind Iran and China in the number of journalists behind bars, but it is easily in the top ten nations that imprison journalists.

Even before the July coup attempt, previous U.S. Ambassadors to Turkey Morton Abramowitz and Eric Edelman wrote in the Washington Post: “Clearly, democracy cannot flourish under Erdogan now.”

Within hours of the July coup, Erdogan combined state violence against dissidents with his unambiguous Islamism. Before the coup, the AKP, an explicitly Islamic party, progressively increased its anti-secular rhetoric. Parliamentary Speaker Ismail Kahraman, charged with drafting Turkey’s new constitution, stated that “secularism would not have a place in a new constitution,” and “[Turkey is a] Muslim country and so we should have a religious constitution.”

Although he later apologized for these comments, they accurately describe the AKP’s Islamism. For example, the party has encouraged women to wear the previously banned hijab in school and in the civil service, increased laws against alcohol sales, and attempted to eliminate co-ed housing at public universities.

Erdogan’s support of neo-Ottoman tradition puts him at odds with Turkey’s secular governmental structure, and more importantly, with the Turkish people who want their country to continue along the path towards a modern democratic, tolerant state.

When greeting PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas in 2015, Erdogan lined the stairway to the newly constructed presidential palace with guards dressed in uniforms from the “16 Great Turkish Empires,” a contemporary notion prevalent in Ottoman revivalist tradition. Erdogan called supporters of the AKP “grandsons of Ottomans,” and openly pursued a “Great Restoration” of Ottoman tradition.

Of course, among other horrors, this tradition includes the 1480 beheading of 800 Italian men in Otranto who, upon the order of the Ottoman commanders to convert to Islam, refused.

After the coup, Erdogan’s Islamism, along with his experienced persecution of political opponents, blossomed. In his first speech after the coup attempt, Erdogan called the uprising “a gift from God,” and vowed to “clean the state” of the Gülen “virus” while building a “new Turkey.”

The military has been decimated: over 100 flag officers were detained, including Major General Cahit Bakir, commander of Turkish forces working under NATO in Afghanistan, and General Bekir Ercan Van, the commander of Incirlik Air Base. Turkey’s military academies have been raided, and multiple cadets are currently detained. Their role in the coup has not been proved. Nor will it be, except by courts where Erdogan-appointed jurists preside.

Erdogan has complemented the military purge with purges of the civil service and educational system. All leave was suspended for civil servants on July 18, and all public sector employees were banned from leaving the country. Nearly 50,000 public employees were suspended.

What kind of conspiracy depends on the silence of 50,000 people?

Under emergency legislation, Erdogan shut down over 1,000 private schools and 15 private universities, due to their alleged affiliation with the Gülen movement. Even 35 hospitals were closed. The government additionally shut down 23 radio stations, 16 television channels, 60 newspapers and magazines, and 29 publishing houses shortly after the coup.

During the coup, Erdogan relied on the religious affairs directorate — Diyanet, a body with the power to issue religious legal verdicts — to mobilize supporters for the government. The Diyanet contacted the country’s 150,000 state-employed imams, instructing them to perform the sala prayer, a ritual used during Ottoman times to indicate difficult military battles. Erdogan has progressively expanded the Diyanet during his time as prime minister and president, transforming the organization from an oversight body to a fully fledged religious outfit, run by and beholden to the Turkish state.

All of this makes the coup plotters’ claim that they acted to defend constitutional secularism and democracy implausible. The Turkish government has become an Islamist autocracy, with its chief, the would-be sultan Erdogan, an aspirant for leadership of the Sunni world. Turkey today would not even qualify for Partnership for Peace membership, let alone acceptance into NATO and the EU.

As Turkish political ideology drifts further from Western values, so do Turkish strategic goals.

Can NATO include among its members an Islamist state whose strategic objectives are antithetical to those of the Western alliance? NATO seeks stability through a favorable balance of power, whereas Islamism seeks to use chaos and violence to cripple the West. Even if the U.S. and NATO must subordinate long-term goals to short-term interests by working with an Islamist member, keeping it within the fold of core allies invites trouble.

Turkey’s drift away from the U.S. began over a decade ago. In 2003, Turkey refused to allow American troops to mass along the Iraqi border, complicating Operation Iraqi Freedom. Despite Turkey’s military contribution to ISAF in Afghanistan, Turkey under Erdogan continuously hampered U.S. efforts in Iraq by deploying ground forces in 2007 to attack the Kurds. The Syrian civil war and campaign against ISIS has exacerbated this situation.

Turkey continues to attack the Kurdish troops that the U.S. supports. While allowing the U.S. to station nuclear weapons and to strike ISIS from Incirlik Air Base, Turkey has allowed ISIS fighters to move unopposed across the Turkish border and has turned a blind eye to ISIS oil smuggling in southern Turkey. Opposition leaders have repeatedly accused Erdogan of offering covert support to ISIS affiliates, or at a minimum to Islamist groups like Jabhat al-Nusra.

Turkey still occupies northern Cyprus, which it illegally annexed in 1974. Turkish armed forces frequently harass fellow NATO member Greece with military airspace violations.  For example, the Greek state news agency reported 22 airspace violations in a single day on February 15.

Turkey has also done little to stop the flow of migrants into Europe, stating that its own citizens must receive visa-free travel into the EU before taking any action on the migrant issue.

Further north, Turkey seems to be headed for a rapprochement with Russia. Putin used the coup to thaw relations with Turkey. He and Erdogan met the week of August 8. The meeting ended in expressions of fraternal solidarity that put behind them Turkish forces’ downing of a Russian fighter eight months earlier.

Western strategists should not devalue what Turkey provides the NATO alliance.  Historically opposed to Russian and Iranian power, Turkey has a clear interest in challenging both countries’ regional ambitions. The Turkish coast dominates the Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean, making Turkey the most effective foil to expanding Russian naval power. A friendly Turkey that controls the Dardanelles has obvious strategic importance. A cooperative relationship with Turkey has been a U.S. objective since World War II, and previously a British objective since the 17th century. The Turkish navy, army, and air force are the only regional forces that can hope to challenge their Russian counterparts. American nuclear weapons in Turkey are a valuable strategic instrument that has an impact on Russia’s calculus.

However, Erdogan’s Islamism has transformed Turkey into a threat to American and European interests.

The NATO alliance should, at a minimum, show that Turkey is not indispensable. Turkey offers NATO a host of strategic benefits, but it can be replaced.

In the Middle East, despite its interest in curbing Iran, Turkey has supported Islamists rather than moderate groups. As a 2014 incident in Istanbul demonstrated, American sailors are no longer safe, even for leave, in Turkey. Ending NATO’s relationship with Turkey would do little to hinder American operations in Iraq and Syria. It would give America more freedom of action.

In the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea, the U.S. can work more closely with regional partners like Greece, Israel, Egypt, Cyprus, and Romania. Forward deploying assets in Haifa, Cyprus, or Crete would make up for decreased friendly naval presence after Turkey leaves NATO. Basing large U.S. combatants in the eastern Mediterranean, much like the U.S. carrier home-ported in Yokosuka, Japan, would further help fill the gap left by Turkey’s exit from NATO. Bolstering the U.S. European Command’s Task Force East with increased Romanian and Bulgarian participation, along with permanently forward-deploying ground and air forces like a Marine Expeditionary Unit or Marine Expeditionary Brigade to the region, would fill the gap left by Ankara’s departure.

Turkey is useful, but it is not indispensable to American and NATO interests in the Eastern Mediterranean, Black Sea, and Middle East.

At a minimum, the U.S. should withdraw all its nuclear weapons from Incirlik Air Base, and cancel the planned sale of F-35A fighters to the Turkish Air Force. At the same time, the U.S. should engage in closer talks with Israeli, Greek, Cypriot, and Egyptian military staffs, with the eventual goal of establishing permanent presence in the Eastern Mediterranean. In the long-term, the Arabian Sea and Eastern Mediterranean have both become “critical hubs” for the U.S. military.

Turkey has been an important American ally since the Cold War. Nevertheless, its return to the Islamism that was a characteristic of Ottoman rule makes it unsuitable for membership in NATO, and for the Western alliance’s strategic partnership.

Alliances can be cracked from the outside, as Putin seeks to do in the Baltic states. They can also implode from within, as the Anglo-Dutch alliance nearly did when the Duke of Marlborough’s efforts to confront Louis XIV’s forces directly was opposed by Dutch hesitation in the early 18th century War of Spanish Succession.

How can an alliance that was established to protect democracy include a state whose leader rules as a tyrant?

After winning the election for the Turkish presidency, a Turkish newspaper asked Erdogan about receiving only 52% of the national vote, lower than his expected vote share. Erdogan responded: “There were even those who did not like the Prophet. I, however, won 52%.”

If Erdogan fancies himself a sultan, let the West treat him like one, and respond decisively and appropriately. Then, maybe, he will feel the weight of the crown.

ISIS Commanders Claimed to Have Full Cooperation with Turkey in Kurdish Genocide

U.S. President Obama shakes hands with Turkey's PM Erdogan after a bilateral meeting in Seoul

Turkey may be a member of NATO, but as much as 60 percent of the country, which has repeatedly voted in Islamist governments, hates NATO and is allied with ISIS. The evidence of that continues to pile up.

A so-called US ally is not only allied with terrorists, but is involved in genocide.

A reluctant former communications technician working for Islamic State, now going by the pseudonym ‘Sherko Omer’, who managed to escape the group, told Newsweek that he travelled in a convoy of trucks as part of an ISIS unit from their stronghold in Raqqa, across Turkish border, through Turkey and then back across the border to attack Syrian Kurds in the city of Serekaniye in northern Syria in February.

“ISIS commanders told us to fear nothing at all because there was full cooperation with the Turks,” said Omer of crossing the border into Turkey, “and they reassured us that nothing will happen, especially when that is how they regularly travel from Raqqa and Aleppo to the Kurdish areas further northeast of Syria because it was impossible to travel through Syria as YPG [National Army of Syrian Kurdistan] controlled most parts of the Kurdish region.”

“While we tried to cross the Ceylanpinar border post, the Turkish soldiers’ watchtower light spotted us. The commander quickly told us to stay calm, stay in position and not to look at the light. He talked on the radio in Turkish again and we stayed in our positions. Watchtower light then moved about 10 minutes later and the commander ordered us to move because the watchtower light moving away from us was the signal that we could safely cross the border into Serekaniye.”

Until last month, NATO member Turkey had blocked Kurdish fighters from crossing the border into Syria to aid their Syrian counterparts in defending the border town of Kobane. Speaking to Newsweek, Kurds in Kobane said that people attempting to carry supplies across the border were often shot at.

Omer explained that during his time with ISIS, Turkey had been seen as an ally against the Kurds. “ISIS saw the Turkish army as its ally especially when it came to attacking the Kurds in Syria. The Kurds were the common enemy for both ISIS and Turkey. Also, ISIS had to be a Turkish ally because only through Turkey they were able to deploy ISIS fighters to northern parts of the Kurdish cities and towns in Syria.”

“ISIS and Turkey cooperate together on the ground on the basis that they have a common enemy to destroy, the Kurds,” he added.

It’s time to kick Turkey out of NATO. As long as Turkey remains in NATO, then NATO remains complicit in genocide.

New NATO Sec.General is a Promoter of Hamas

Stollenberg is a poor choice as NATO sec.general for many reasons, the leading one being his support for Hamas.

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

As time passes, it becomes increasingly clear how absurd the choice of former Norwegian Labor Party Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg as NATO’s next Secretary General is. The new Hamas-Fatah agreement brings to mind the many ways Stoltenberg, his government and Labor have directly and indirectly promoted Hamas’ interests.


Hamas calls for the murder of Jews in its party platform.[1] In January 2006, it won a majority in the only Palestinian general elections. The European Union and the U.S. classify Hamas as a terrorist group.[2] Both ended contacts with Palestinian officials after Hamas formed a new Palestinian government led by Ismael Haniyeh in March 2006. The United States and the E.U. then also cut off aid to the Palestinians.[3]


In April 2006, two Hamas representatives, parliamentarian and spokesperson for the Hamas bloc in the Parliament, Salah Mohammed El-Bardawil and Mohammed El-Rantisi, were invited to visit by the Norwegian Palestine Committee. They claimed that it was “important” to invite representatives from the new Palestinian government.[4] El-Rantisi was given a Schengen visa by Norway, allowing him entry into any of the 15 member countries, while El-Bardawil received a national visa as his previous Schengen application was denied by France.[5] [6]


The entry permits were given only a few weeks after a major suicide bombing took place outside a fast food restaurant ‘The Mayor’s Falafel’ in Tel Aviv, which claimed nine lives and left more than 70 wounded.[7] The Islamic Jihad movement claimed responsibility. Hamas called the attack a legitimate response to “Israeli aggression.” Even though El-Bardawil said that he did not condemn the suicide bombing, Foreign Minister Støre – also from Labor – welcomed the Hamas representatives to Norway.[8] [9]


In the following months, Hamas representatives parliamentarian Yahya al-Abadsa and Refugee Minister Atef Adwan were invited by the same organization. Al-Abadsa met with Amnesty International Norway and the Labor party head of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Olav Akselsen, during his week-long visit.[10] Adwan attended a meeting with head of the Middle East section of the Foreign Ministry, Kåre Eltervåg.[11] He also met with parliamentarians from both the Labor and Socialist Left parties.

Stoltenberg was not only Prime Minister but also head of the Labor Party, which he is until now.


Norway was the first Western government to recognize the short-lived 2007 Hamas-Fatah unity government, again led by Haniyeh.[12] Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister Raymond Johansen became the first senior European official to hold talks with him in March 2007. Several media displayed a picture of the two shaking hands.[13] After meeting Haniye, Johansen said “We hope that all the European countries and even other countries will support this unity government.”[14] [15] Israel thereupon cancelled all planned meetings between Johansen and Israeli officials.


During Israel’s Cast Lead Operation in 2008, two Norwegian physicians and extreme left activists Mads Gilbert and Erik Fosse, went to Gaza and assisted in the treatment of wounded Gazans. They traveled to Gaza as part of the humanitarian organization NORWAC, which is supported financially to a great extent by Norway’s Foreign Ministry.[16] Gilbert and Fosse were frequently interviewed by the international media and claimed that Israel was attacking civilians and compared it to the God of the Dead and the Underworld, Hades from Greek mythology.[17]


The Gazan hospital where they worked was used as Hamas headquarters. However, the Norwegian physicians did not mention this once in their multiple international press interviews. In their book Eyes in Gaza, these two Hamas propagandists tell how Stoltenberg called the physicians when they were in Gaza and expressed support on behalf of the government and the Norwegian people. “We are very proud of you,” said Stoltenberg.[18]


In 2011, the Norwegian government claimed on its official website that it had assisted in bringing Fatah and Hamas together in their short-lived unity government in 2007. Støre had then approached Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal at the request of Mohammed Abbas to convey expectations of the international community that the two parties join in a unity government. The Norwegian government also asserted that it never recognized Hamas and did not establish political contact with it.


Benson K. Whitney, then-American Ambassador in Norway, saw it differently. In a note from 2009 which he had written to the State Department, he said that, “Even though they would deny it, there are clear signs that the contact with Hamas is not just a tactical need for dialogue, but that they also support Hamas’s position on some level.”[19]


I have already documented elsewhere many other reasons why Stoltenberg is such a poor choice as Nato Secretary General.[20] As time passes, additional arguments supporting this will most likely come to the surface.


[1] “The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement,” Yale Law School. [retrieved 29 June 2013]

[2] “Hamas Wants off US, EU Terror lists,” CBNNews 12 March 2013

[3] “EU, US set to end boycott of Palestinians,” BBC, 20 March 2007.

[4] Ole Berthelsen and Ole Peder Giæver, ”Støre ønsker Hamas velkommen,” Nettavisen, 18 April 2006.

[5] Abigail Klein Leichman,“Oslo Grants Visa to Hamas Lawmaker,” Jerusalem Post, 16 May 2006.

[6] Sissel Henriksen, ”Slakter Sveriges,” Klassekampen, 19 May 2006.

[7] “Suicide bomber kills nine in Tel Aviv,” NBC News, 17 April, 2006.

[8] Ashraf al-Khadra and Ole Peder Giæver, ”Fordømmer ikke selvmords-angrepet,” Nettavisen, 18 April 2006.

[9] Ole Berthelsen and Ole Peder Giæver, ”Støre ønsker Hamas velkommen.”

[10] Ole Peder Giæver,”Hamas-parlamentarikeren Yahya Al-Abadsa, som denne uken er på besøk i Norge, tror ikke det brygger til borgerkrig i de palestinske områdene,” Nettavisen, 13 June 2006.

[11] ”UD-representanter møtte Hamas-minister,” Aftenposten, 13 May 2006.

[12] Harald S. Klungtveit and Morten Øverbye, ”Israel avlyser alle avtaler med norsk statssekretær,” Dagbladet, 20 March 2007.

[13] “Norwegian minister meets Hamas PM,” BBC News, 19 March 2007.

[14] Ibid.

[15]  Norway-Hamas Link Angers Israel,” BBC News, 20 March 2007.

[16] Erik Abild, “NORWAC i Palestina,” Norwegian Aid Committee, 19 December 2010.

[17] Gjermund Glesnes, “Sammenligner Gaza med dødsriket Hades,” Verdens Gang, 4 January 2009.

[18] Erlend Skevik, ”Regjeringen støttet Gaza-legene,” Verdens Gang, 18 September.2009.

[19]  Pål T. Jørgensen and Espen Eide, ”Støre har hatt hemmelige samtaler med Hamas.” 27 January 2011.

[20] Manfred Gerstenfeld, ”NATO’s new secretary-general: Problematic not only for Israel,” Jerusalem Post, 6 April 2014.