Turkey has detained 6,000 people over Friday’s failed coup and the number is expected to rise further, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag has said.
The sweep has included high-ranking soldiers and 2,700 judges. More than 50 senior soldiers were detained in the western province of Denizli on Sunday.
Mr Bozdag described the arrests as a “clean-up operation”. At least 265 people were killed in clashes as the coup failed.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says parliament might consider a proposal to introduce the death penalty.
Mr Erdogan has accused a US-based Turkish cleric, Fethullah Gulen of being behind the plot, which Mr Gulen denies.
My knowledge of Turkey sort of begins and ends with the two days I spent there getting ready to go to Afghanistan some years ago. I’m not going to pretend to be any sort of authority on the ins and outs of their system of government. However, like much of the American media, I’m trying to get caught up as quickly as possible by reading up on the extraordinary events that took place the other night.
I was watching this live on television as it kicked off Friday evening. The images and video were stunning. It seemed to me that we were watching history unfold in real time, perhaps a changing of the guard in Turkey. But, as quickly as it began, the coup attempt collapsed. Poorly executed and planned, it wasn’t long before Erdogan returned in triumph to Istanbul. I’m no master tactician, but I would think step one of a coup is to actually get the guy in charge right off the bat. And if you come at the king, you best not miss, as the old saying goes. That didn’t happen. Recep Tayyip Erdogan was soon able to rally his suspiciously ready followers, the military forces behind the coup were unwilling to fire on civilians, and it was soon all over. But the questions are just beginning.
For those of us who aren’t steeped in the Turkish political world, some background is necessary. The modern Republic of Turkey had been the seat of the Ottoman Empire since the year 1299. Following World War 1, the empire was occupied by British, French, and Italian forces until 1922, when the Republic’s spiritual father, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, led a nationalist movement to expel the allied forces and create the new republic, thus ending 623 years of the Ottoman monarchy. Atatürk, whose surname means, “Father of the Turks,” was credited with shaping the new republic, stressing modernity and secularism. This secularism is important, because this is a central theme of the Turkish identity.
Turkey has withstood a history of other coup attempts by the military. The military has traditionally seen itself as the guardian of the nation’s secular ideal, which, depending on who you choose to believe, was perhaps the impetus behind the uprising. Erdogan, since taking power in 2003, has steadily influenced policy changes that were favored by the Islamists, including restricting alcohol sales and attempting to ban gender-mixed dormitories at Turkish universities. Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, has been viewed with suspicion by the military for some time, leading to an inevitable confrontation…or so it appears. Was this merely a way for Erdogan to purge the military of unwanted secular leaders and solidify his power? Here’s author and scholar Edward Luttwak, writing for Foreign Policy:
Televised scenes of the crowds that came out to oppose the coup were extremely revealing: There were only men with mustaches (secular Turks rigorously avoid them) with not one woman in sight. Moreover, their slogans were not patriotic, but Islamic — they kept shouting “Allahu ekber” (the local pronunciation of “akbar”) and breaking out into the Shahada, the declaration of faith.
It is not just Erdogan’s increasingly Islamic bent that has people raising eyebrows. Remember, this is the guy who is famous for saying, “There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.” He has also been accused by his opponents of gross incompetence and corruption. Perhaps his most ostentatious display was building himself a $615 MILLION, 1,150-room (!!!) presidential palace. Now, there is a Syrian state-run newspaper accusing Erdogan of staging the coup himself in order to make the military appear treasonous, cementing his hold on power. Of course, Erdogan has long supported the rebels who are trying to overthrow the Syrian government, so it’s impossible to know what to believe. Then there’s this:
Mr. Erdogan said that those behind the plot would pay a heavy price, calling the coup a “gift from God… because this will be a reason to cleanse our army”.
He called on the US to extradite Mr Gulen, who heads the popular Hizmet movement and is said to count military chiefs and mid-level bureaucrats among his followers.
Once allies, Mr. Erdogan has long accused Mr. Gulen and his supporters of plotting against him.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said of any extradition, that Turkey should “present us with any legitimate evidence that withstands scrutiny”.
This is where it gets interesting. Turkish forces have already cut the power and grounded all flights out of the United States’ Incirlik Air Base, and blocked all traffic in or out. (Update: Airspace has been reopened.) The commies at RT are reporting that we have nukes there, making it even more of a headache for the United States. Whether or not that’s true, I have no idea. But what I do know is that Incirlik is a hugely important strategic base for the United States and its fight against both the Taliban in Afghanistan and ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
Now, this little piece of America deep in the heart of Turkey is under threat because Erdogan is convinced that this Gulen character, a former ally, is the sinister mastermind behind this coup. On the face of it, it seems crazy. Gulen hasn’t been back to Turkey in years. He’s been hiding out in Pennsylvania, of all places, he’s old, and he’s in failing health. He has all the ferocity and demeanor of a house cat. But who knows what to believe with all this?
What we do know is that Erdogan wants America to hand him over to Turkish authorities to stand trial for treason. Is the United States willing to go to bat for one old Turkish man over an American air base, not to mention a hugely important strategic partner in the Global War on Terror? Maybe, maybe not. If I had to guess, I think it will probably be quietly resolved with some foreign aid money/bribes/military gear. Gulen will get to stay in the United States, and Erdogan gets to look like the magnanimous, benevolent leader.
Then there are the consequences for Europe, and the continuing migrant tsunami. A desperate European Union some months back bribed Turkey with six billion euros to try to stem the migrant tide. When the coup first kicked off in Turkey, both MSNBC and the Washington Post had reports saying that Erdogan was seeking temporary asylum in Germany and was DENIED. I’m still trying to find out if that’s true or not, but if so, that’s amazing. First, it would be like the first foreigner Germany didn’t let into the country in like two years. Second, will Erdogan be pissed off at that slap in the face and tell the EU he’s altering the deal?
Meanwhile, Obama is urging the U.N. to support Erdogan, because, like Erdogan, Obama
is a secret radical Muslim who would like nothing more to transform his country from a secular, free society into a tyrannical, sharia law-driven caliphate would like to see continued stability in the region. What? Calm down, I’m joking. We need a little humor after all the craziness this week.
However it turns out, this is history in the making. “May you live in interesting times,” indeed.
For the first time in Air Force history, a woman has begun training to become a tactical air control party airman.
The female active-duty enlisted airman, who was not identified by the Air Force, started the TACP Preparatory Course at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland earlier this month, Air Education Training Command spokeswoman Marilyn Holliday said Wednesday.
The process of becoming an elite TACP airman is long and grueling. If the airman makes it through the prep course, she will then attend the TACP Apprentice Course at Lackland and Survival, Evasion Resistance and Escape training at Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington.
The Air Force first told Air Force Times in May that the aspiring TACP was one of two female airmen who had passed the physical test required to begin battlefield airman training, since the Defense Department opened up all combat jobs to women.
The other woman who passed the PT test is an active-duty officer who wants to become a combat rescue officer. Holliday said that airman is still preparing for her training and her start date has not yet been set.
I get the feeling that this is sort of following the template of how the three young ladies were able to graduate Ranger School. The Air Force will hand-pick an extraordinary female, give her preparatory training that would be available to no other person, offer her multiple chances to pass that no one else would get, get her to pass the course, and then hold her up as a triumphant example of grrrrrl power.
This female candidate is an active-duty officer? Is she still on an assignment, or has she been allowed to just train full time? I’d love to know the answer to that one.
2 huge mistakes by west the last 2 decades: 1): wide open borders and 2): meddling in Islamic countries. Reverse both now #NiceAttack
— BK (@BKactual) July 15, 2016
One may have suspected I would have written about the latest terrorist attack in Nice, France last week, but I just can’t do it. I can’t keep writing the same column, over and over, again and again, following each Islamic terror attack, and watch the victimized country do jack shit to enact harsh, necessary measures to put these animals down and save their citizens from being murdered in the streets. If you’re interested, I did get off a rant about it in my weekly podcast. Go check it out on iTunes.
SAN DIEGO — A 27-year-old former Army sniper who served in Iraq and Afghanistan was arrested Thursday on suspicion of committing a yearlong series of bank robberies in San Diego, Orange and Riverside counties, authorities reported.
William Conn Robertson II of San Diego was taken into custody this morning at his apartment in the 3300 block of Ruffin Road in Serra Mesa, according to the FBI.
Army officials said Robertson served from April 2009 to October 2013.
The FBI announced a $20,000 reward last Friday for information leading to an arrest in connection with the string of eight completed and two attempted heists carried out by a young man nicknamed the “Hipster Bandit” by investigators, due to his trendy clothing and youthful bearing.
A 21-year-old airman from Livermore, California, died July 7 while attending the Air Force’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape training, Air Education and Training Command said Tuesday.
Airman 1st Class Kenneth Sturgill of Livermore, California, was found unresponsive by SERE instructors during what AETC called a routine safety check. Military and civilian medical personnel were unable to revive him. AETC said in a release that Sturgill died on his 18th of 19 days at the SERE Selection School at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis in Texas.
Sturgill was assigned to the 66th Training Squadron, Detachment 3.
AETC is investigating the cause of his death.
EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) -A local man is making history in a big way.
94-year-old Doctor Harlan Van Over has held many titles in his life. And now, he can add being a sixth degree black belt to that list.
He’s the oldest person to test for this level and he says he isn’t stopping anytime soon.
Doctor Harlan Van Over is also breaking records. Van Over is now one of about 200 people to achieve the honor of a sixth degree black belt, and he’s definitely the oldest to reach this milestone.
“My mind says one thing, but my body says who do you think your talking to,” Van Over said.
He says this sport, keeps him going. But it’s not just his black belt that will have you saying, ‘I don’t want to fight this guy.’
“I’ve looked death in the face many times so I don’t worry about it,” Van Over said.
He is also a World War II veteran.
As a bombardier for the Airforce he was shot down three times over Germany, and lives to tell the tale. He tells 14 News what he learned in the military, carries over to his training.
Baton Rouge Police on Friday (July 15) said they have arrested a fourth person, a 12-year-old boy, who they say was involved in a plot to kill police with handguns stolen from a city pawn shop.
Police said they worked with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to to identify the boy. They had already arrested three other people — an unnamed 13-year old, Antonio Thomas, 17 and Malik Bridgewater, 20.
Officials said on Tuesday that they had not yet identified who the fourth person was, but that they believed the person still had two handguns that were unaccounted for after the Saturday morning burglary. Police have pointed to the incident as a reason for their heavy military-style response to protesters, which included police responding to largely peaceful protests with automatic weapons, riot gear and gas masks.
MCMINNVILLE, Ore. (KOIN) — A local veteran is accused of taking advantage of other veterans he was supposed to be helping.
John Vernon Peterson is accused of taking money from the American Veterans Department of Oregon. It’s a non-profit group with posts across the state.
Records show Peterson served in the Air Force and was the treasurer of the group in McMinnville.
The attorney general has indicted him on 13 charges. They say he used the organization’s credit card for his own gain, and he forged checks.
Investigators also accused Peterson of stealing money from the commander of the state organization and taking money from the regional office of American Veterans.
OCEAN BEACH — A man was arrested after reportedly scaring customers outside an Ocean Beach store Tuesday and then attempting to break into an apartment while naked.
The incident began when a man was reported acting strangely inside a Rite Aid store on Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. They later found his clothes in a pile outside.
According to witnesses, the man then approached strangers in the Rite Aid parking lot, yelling and chanting at them.
“When I came up to the corner here, he was standing there, jumping up and down, chanting something,” Legg said. “I couldn’t hear it at first until he came closer to me and then he ran out into the street and what he was saying was ‘Gridlock is good, gridlock is good.’”
Legg said the man was almost struck while in the street before running back into the Rite Aid parking lot and harassing some customers. One of them was forced to physically fight him off.
Legg called 911 and San Diego police responded. However, not before the suspect attempted to break into an apartment through the front door. He was unable to get inside.
Police arrested him near Dog Beach, still naked.
If you know Ocean Beach in San Diego, where I live, you would never be shocked to find a whacked-out naked man running around the streets. The only surprise is that he made it from the Rite-Aid all the way to Dog Beach. That means he basically ran through almost the entire town naked. Strong work.
Short Roundup this week due to ops tempo. Back full strength next week.