“US claims that Washington had no advance warning of the coup are simply not credible. Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base, which hosts more than 5,000 American soldiers and is the main base for the US-led bombing campaign against Syria and Iraq, was the organizing center of the putsch. Pro-coup fighter jets flew in and out of Incirlik as the coup unfolded. Shortly after the coup failed, the base commander, General Bekir Ercan Van, was arrested along with other pro-coup soldiers at the base.
Given that Incirlik is the site of dozens of US nuclear weapons, no credibility can be given to claims that US intelligence was unaware that a coup against Erdogan was being organized from there. Were that truly the case, it would represent a CIA intelligence breakdown of stunning proportions….
A pro-coup officer captured by the Turkish government, Lieutenant Colonel Murat Bolat, told the conservative Yeni Savak newspaper that his unit was designated to detain and possibly murder Erdogan after receiving precise information on Erdogan’s location from US sources.
“A person in the meeting, whom I guess was an officer from the Special Forces, said, ‘Nobody will be allowed to rescue the president from our hands,’” he said, indicating that this meant Erdogan was to be shot after he was captured if the forces who had arrested him faced any counterattack.” (“Erdogan accuses US of supporting failed coup in Turkey“, World Socialist Web Site)
While the information is not conclusive, it is suspicious. At the very least, Washington knew a coup was being planned and looked the other way. This except from a post by Harvard professor, Dani Rodrik seems like a very plausible explanation of US involvement to me. Here’s a brief clip:
“The U.S. government may not have had a direct hand in Gulen’s activities, but it is more difficult to dismiss the argument that it provided tacit support – or that some parts of the U.S. administration prevailed on other parts who were less keen on Gulen.
…As the Wikileaks cables I referred to above make clear, the State Department, at least, has been well aware of Gulenist infiltration of the Turkish military for quite some time. The Gulenists’s role in Sledgehammer, which led to the discharge of many of the most Kemalist/secularist officers in the military is equally clear. Beyond Sledgehammer, the Gulenists’ wide range of clandestine operations against opponents in Turkey must be well known to American intelligence…..
…the head of the Turkish military, who was held hostage by the putschists during the coup attempt, has said that one of his captors offered to put him in touch with Gulen directly. This, on its own, is prima facie evidence of Gulen’s involvement, and likely passes the “probable cause” test that is required for extradition. Incredibly, administration officials are still quoted as saying “there is no credible evidence of Mr. Gulen’s personal involvement.” In other words, these officials must think that the army chief of their NATO ally is lying.” (“Is the U.S. behind Fethullah Gulen?“, Dani Rodrik’s Blog)
The Obama administration’s support for the Kurds in Syria as well as its behavior following the coup of July 15, has led to a dramatic deterioration in US-Turkey relations. This will undoubtedly effect Erdogan’s willingness to allow the US to use its airbases for conducting bombing raids in Syria in the future. It’s also bound to accelerate the pace at which Turkey strengthens relations with Russia, Iran and others as it will need the protection of new allies to better defend itself against threats from the west.
The Obama administration is still uncertain of how to proceed mainly because no one had expected that Erdogan would break with Washington, purge his enemies, pursue rapprochement with Moscow, Tehran and Damascus, and throw a wrench in Uncle Sam’s plan for redrawing the map of the Middle East. At present, the administration is trying to ease tensions by dispatching one high-ranking official after the other to persuade Erdogan that the US was not involved in the coup. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford visited Ankara just this week while Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden are scheduled for later in the month. Eventually, even Obama will be asked to make the trek. No effort will be spared to bring Erdogan back into the fold.
If, however, the charm offensive fails, as I expect it will, Erdogan will be crucified in the western media (Hitler Erdogan) while covert operatives and NGOs try to foment political instability. At least, that’s the way things normally play out.
Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See also – Erdogan says talks with Putin to open new page in relations: TASS: “This will be a historic visit, a new beginning. At the talks with my friend Vladimir (Putin), I believe, a new page in bilateral relations will be opened. Our countries have a lot to do together,” TASS quoted Erdogan as saying.