Not many people can take credit for almost starting a war, but Colonel Ali Turksen is one of those few.

In 1996, he led a commando team to the disputed Aegean island of Kardak where they hoisted a Turkish flag. The result was days of military build-up between Greece and Turkey, with war only averted after the intervention of foreign mediators. Nevertheless, Turksen and the other 11 commandos were welcomed back to Turkey as heroes.

For someone to try to take power from the AKP today, they must be very crazy people

– Ali Turksen

These days, however, the retired Turksen sees the main threat to his country coming not from Greece, but from his own government. After having spent most of his life in the military and eschewing politics, Turksen decided to throw his lot in with the Iyi Party, founded last month by dissident nationalist politician Meral Aksener.

“I never imagined that I would join the parliament or the Turkish system, but after the last election I thought I have to do something for my country,” he told Middle East Eye, speaking from his home in Istanbul.


Read the whole story from Middle East Eye.