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August 23, 2019 No.
8239

Column In Turkish Pro-Government Daily: NATO Warplanes Were Used To Bomb Turkish Parliament In July 2016 Attempted Coup; Syria's Northern Region Is Not 'North Syria'

In an August 18, 2019 column[1] titled "Turkey's Concerns Increase As U.S. Continues Its Sweet Talk" and published in the English- and Turkish-language editions of Turkey's Yeni Şafak daily, which is a mouthpiece of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party, Turkish columnist Hasan Öztürk asked: "If Turkey is a reliable NATO ally of the U.S., then why was the Turkish Parliament bombed on the night of July 15 coup attempt by the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), using NATO warplanes?" Öztürk was referring to when, in the early hours of July 16, 2016, during an attempt to overthrow the Turkish government, Turkish pilot Hüseyin Türk reportedly used an F-16 fighter jet to bomb Turkish parliament twice, injuring 32 people.[2] Öztürk refers to this matter alongside diplomatic disputes between the U.S. and Turkey, including those related to the Patriot missile system and the F-35 fighter jet, and in doing so seeks to blame the actions of this one individual on NATO.


Turkish columnist Hasan Öztürk (source: Ulketv.com.tr).

Öztürk also referred in his column to the recent U.S.-Turkey talks about forming a security zone in northeast Syria, saying: "The day we start calling the north of Syria 'North Syria' is the day the U.S. will have reached another of its goals." The Turkish government has been announcing that it would invade northeast Syria since as early as October 2018, when Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that the area east of the Euphrates River in Syria would be "our working point, our working area after Manbij."[3] On July 26, 2019, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said: "No matter how the talks with America end, we are determined to smash to pieces the terror corridor east of the Euphrates [River]. We will do whatever we have to. We do not need to get permission."[4] On July 29, Akar said, following a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper: "It was expressed that if we do not reach a common point with the U.S., we will be forced to form the Security Zone by ourselves."[5] On August 4, it was reported that President Erdoğan said in a speech: "We entered Afrin, we entered Jarablus, we entered Al-Bab, and now we will enter the [area] east of the Euphrates."[6] On August 12, he said: "We expressed that we will begin our operation to save the [area] east of the Euphrates from the divisive terror organization within a few days."[7]

Following is Yeni Şafak's translation[8] of the column:

"Why Was The Turkish Parliament Bombed On The Night Of July 15 Coup Attempt By The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), Using NATO Warplanes?"

"If Turkey is a 'reliable ally' of the U.S., then why did you not sell it Patriot missiles when it needed air defense systems?

"What is more, if we are a reliable ally, why are we face-to-face with the threat of being removed from the F-35 war jet project, in which we are partners?

"And of course, if Turkey is a reliable NATO ally of the U.S., then why was the Turkish Parliament bombed on the night of July 15 coup attempt by the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), using NATO warplanes? And why is it that following this bombardment, NATO, the U.S. and our allies remained silent for a long time? Since you trusted us so much, why did you not accept when we said, 'Let us purge Manbij together? Why did you not support us when we said, 'We can eliminate Daesh alone as Turkey, as long as you do not support the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG)'?"

"Why Did You Provide Thousands Of Truckloads Of Weapons To The Terrorist YPG-PKK That We Have Been Fighting For Four Decades?"

"If we are such a reliable ally, why did you provide thousands of truckloads of weapons to the terrorist YPG-PKK that we have been fighting for four decades?

"The U.S. Suddenly Remembered Its 'Reliable Ally'

"You might ask where these questions come from. The reason behind them is: Yesterday, the United States European Command (EUCOM) deputy commander made a statement. The deputy commander is one of the six Americans that came to Turkey's southeastern Şanlıurfa province for the joint operations center of the safe zone to be established in the north of Syria. He says, 'Turkey is a longstanding partner and reliable NATO ally.'

"There is a very good saying in Turkish: 'It is no special occasion, why is he being so kind?' What happened to the American commander that he remembered 'Turkey is a reliable partner and NATO ally'?

"It is actually obvious what happened.

"What a significant portion of the public is uncomfortable, but waits in patience saying, 'Our statesmen must know what they are doing,' is the triangulation point of the matter.

"It is the agreement reached with the U.S. with respect to the safe zone planned to be established in the north of Syria that has softened the U.S.'s tone in favor of Turkey.

"Will the agreement reached, steps to be taken comfort us?

"Yes, we have reached an agreement with the U.S., but we are not relieved."

"The Day We Start Calling The North Of Syria 'North Syria' Is The Day The U.S. Will Have Reached Another Of Its Goals"

"Turkey maintains its doubts, concerns and demands in the agreement, yet the U.S. military wing in particular softening its tone so much further concerns us.

"Because, the U.S. intends to cupel both its interlocutors.

"It wants Turkey and the YPG-PKK to address one another. It plans to bring together the terrorist group it refers to as 'my land force,' and Turkey, which it identifies as 'reliable ally,' in the north of Syria.

"President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's first statement immediately after the 'agreement' was, 'We are taking a step for the east of the Euphrates with the U.S.' The U.S. is in a relationship east of the Euphrates with one terrorist group to eliminate another terrorist group. Now it is trying to somehow get us into a relationship with that terrorist group too.

"The day we start calling the north of Syria 'North Syria' is the day the U.S. will have reached another of its goals. Because it would hence be identifying an autonomous region and also get us to accept it. Now is the time to wait patiently.

"Let us see what the unknown aspects of the agreement to date are going to make Turkey gain and lose.

"Yet I would like to reiterate it once again: Those who said, 'If a Kurdish state is going to be founded in the north of Syria, let us do it,' in 2015 – their having a presence in Parliament had threatened Turkey's national integrity.

"It would be clever to closely follow the doings of those people who are of that opinion.

"Reading recent history books about how Iraq was divided is also beneficial. We are gravely concerned. Am I wrong?"

 

[1] Yenisafak.com/yazarlar/hasanozturk/amerikalilarin-agizindan-bal-damladikca-kaygi-esigimiz-yukseliyor-2052434, August 18, 2019.

[2] Hurriyet.com.tr/gundem/tbmmyi-bombalayan-pilot-terorle-mucadele-harekati-sandim-40414592, April 2, 2017.

[3] Aa.com.tr/tr/gunun-basliklari/milli-savunma-bakani-akar-munbicten-sonraki-calisma-noktamiz-firatin-dogusu/1297938, October 30, 2018.

[4] Bbc.com/turkce/haberler-turkiye-49134096, July 29, 2019.

[5] Karar.com/guncel-haberler/bakani-akar-abdli-esperle-gorustu-anlasma-olmazsa-guvenli-bolgeyi-tek-basimiza-olustururuz-1283169, July 29, 2019.

[6] Dw.com/tr/erdo%C4%9Fan-f%C4%B1rat%C4%B1n-do%C4%9Fusuna-girece%C4%9Fiz/a-49889485, August 4, 2019.

[7] Haberturk.com/son-dakika-erdogan-firat-in-dogusu-operasyonuna-birkac-gune-basliyoruz-2257585, August 12, 2019.

[8] Yenisafak.com/en/columns/hasanozturk/turkeys-concerns-increase-as-us-continues-its-sweet-talk-2047139, August 18, 2019.