Kilgour’s incorrect points on Turkey cannot go unanswered

| December 16, 2016 | 0 Comments

Re: “Turkey’s Current Crisis” Oct.-Dec. 2016

David Kilgour portrayed Turkey's coup attempt incorrectly in his article in the Oct.-Dec. issue, according to Turkish Ambassador Selçuk Ünal. (Photo: Maurice Flesier)

David Kilgour portrayed Turkey’s coup attempt incorrectly in his article in the Oct.-Dec. issue, according to Turkish Ambassador Selçuk Ünal. (Photo: Maurice Flesier)

Turkey is hosting almost three million victims from Syria and Iraq, not 750,000 as your writer, David Kilgour, wrote. Turkey has been fighting DAESH since its inception. DAESH [ISIS] started to attack Turkey in March 2014, not recently, as Kilgour alleged. Turkey declared it a terror organization in 2005, way before our allies. We banned 52,000 foreigners from entering Syria and Iraq through Turkey, deported 3,700 foreigners and jailed 1,000 foreign terrorist fighters. Turkey has been in the international coalition since the beginning and pounding DAESH targets in Syria for a long time. As a result of Turkey’s active support to the moderate Free Syrian Army, 1,605 square kilometres and 205 towns were freed from DAESH. In addition, approximately 10,000 Syrians returned home. Turkey has captured millions of litres of illicit oil and reported to the UN that 300 kilometres of illegal pipelines were destroyed. Kilgour does not mention the oil trade between DAESH and the Syrian regime.
Another omission is the PKK, a terrorist organization enlisted by Canada. Kilgour claimed Turkey “deliberately increased tension” by omitting PKK statements to end this process since 2014 (senior PKK figure Cemil Bayık said on Dec. 20, 2014: “PKK could organize a new uprising soon.”)
Kilgour displays a typical bon vivant mixture of Kurds in all countries in the form of “Turks vs. Kurds.” But he makes no mention of Turkey’s good relations with the Iraqi Kurds, complaints of other Syrian Kurdish groups about PYD/YPG, Amnesty International reports on PYD’s ethnic cleansing in Syria or PKK terrorists trained in PYD camps who took part in two bombings in Turkey. Saying that only PYD is fighting DAESH, but omitting why they attack Turkish tanks dealing with DAESH where PYD was not even present, is noteworthy. This myth of PYD’s fight against DAESH is now confirmed to be a mirage — reaffirming their hidden agenda against Syria’s territorial integrity.
He also portrays the coup attempt incorrectly. Members of Fethullah Gülen secretly infiltrated Turkey’s army, judiciary, law enforcement, education, academia and health institutions. They not only infiltrated departments and established their own hierarchy within, but also organized their criminal networks through business and the media. Several investigations have started on compromised entry examinations for jobs in the bureauracy and authorities had been trying to identify and suspend those who serve in the now-declared terror organization FETÖ (Fethullahist Terrror Organization) even before their coup attempt in July. After the attempt, it became urgent to take action against elements of FETÖ. However, competent authorities are carefully considering any claims of wrongdoing. Boards have been established at the offices of prime minister, ministries and governors who believe they have been wrongfully suspected. Reinstatements and releases also took place in certain cases.
On the ill-treatment allegations, let me remind readers that Turkey has adopted a “zero-tolerance policy against torture” since 2003. Turkey is party to all international conventions for the prevention of ill treatment and is one of the rare countries that has fully abolished the statute of limitations regarding this offence. All detention premises are open to periodic and ad hoc visits by national and international mechanisms. The minister of justice has called for specific allegations to investigate.
Kilgour’s allegation that “Gülen is a handy scapegoat” does not present an accurate picture. The Gülen cult was well armed with 74 tanks, 37 helicopters, 35 planes, 24 fighter jets, 3 frigates and 246 armoured vehicles. Kilgour also failed to mention the 251 killed and 2,200 injured in the first bombing of our Parliaments since its establishment in 1878. (Let us remember the reaction to the terror attack in Parliament Hill.) The Gülen cult’s involvement in this coup attempt then became undeniable by evidence emanating from the judicial process. Obviously, we will await the outcome of the legal processes, as Turkey is committed to the rule of law. But nobody is discussing whether or not this group was involved anymore.
Kilgour mentions that “Gülen has always resisted the coups.” However, public quotes prove the contrary. He could have checked his statements on 1980 and 1997 military interventions, where Gülen supported them to protect his cult’s interests. And his reaction to this coup attempt appeared on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blGA11LYSDk) where he referred to Turkish people demonstrating against coup plotters, simply saying that “those millions of fools protesting, they think they will succeed.”
These are times when one must avoid building false images and distorting facts. Kilgour, if writing a serious article, should have been aware of the above facts. One thing he is right about, however: The Turkish people demonstrated an unprecedented reaction in resisting the coup. Three weeks after the coup attempt, approximately three million people from all parties, carrying only Turkish flags, rallied in İstanbul in defence of democracy and to protest FETÖ and its coup attempt. Instead of asking Turkey “to learn a lesson,” this is the lesson Kilgour could learn.

Selçuk Ünal
Ambassador of Turkey

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