15.04.2014 Author: Seth Ferris

Turkey Caught Red Handed Planning “False Flag in Syria”. But Whose Hands?

34621Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has attracted much criticism for his Twitter and Youtube ban, but it is only the tip of the iceberg. These apparent stunts to keep himself in power are unlikely to kill anyone, but plenty of people who have nothing to do with Turkish politics are now being put at risk by another Erdogan scheme.

According to audio recording released on Youtube a few days ago, members of Erdogan’s government – including the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davitoglu, the Intelligence Chief Hakan Fidan and Deputy Chief of Staff Yasar Guler – have been planning a false flag attack on ISIL (the radical jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) rebels in Syria. Given the US involvement in similar false flag attacks, reported in previous articles, this is nothing less than such a devoted ally would be expected to do.

But generally such direct evidence does not get out unless someone has decided that Erdogan has to go. So was he set up?

The attack was to have been carried out at the tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire. This lies in what is technically a Turkish enclave in Syria, established under a 1921 treaty with France while Syria was still under colonial rule. The attack would have been treated as an act of war, a violation of Turkey’s sovereignty and a direct insult to all Turkish people, and thus be used as a pretext to invade Syria. This would divert attention from the multiple sex and corruption scandals at home.

Turkey has not provided any explanation of what was actually being said on these audiotapes, if there is in fact any other explanation of what can be clearly heard. All it has done is rail at Ukraine and the US for revealing these incriminating phone discussions and allowing them to be distributed publicly. So in the absence of contrary evidence we must assume the tapes are genuine and the Erdogan government is or was planning to kill Syrians to win an election at home. But if the Ukraine and US were so outraged by this behaviour, why were they talking to Turkey about these matters in the first place?

What isn’t being said

Significantly, the mainstream media, the BBC, CNN, Washington Post, LA Times and others reported this only indirectly – they “buried“ the key aspect of the story, pretending it is all about Prime Minister Erdogan blocking Youtube and talking about military strategies. In the United States only USA Today somewhat accurately covered the story, reporting that the tape revealed “that top Turkey officials were plotting to fake an attack against their own country as an excuse to wage war on Syria.”

Maybe the legal departments of the other outlets advised them not to report the real story because they had received threatening letters, as they often do, but there is no such thing as an unbiased lawyer. Anyone who has followed the progress of stories where the media know the truth but don’t dare say it out loud until someone else does first (look up, for example, the comments accompanying photos of George Michael with girls before he was arrested) can see that the same sort of language is being used in these reports. But we are not supposed to see this, or at least not supposed to say we can.

It has been left to other media outlets not connected with the Western governments allied with Turkey, such as Russia Today, to break the real story here. They have not been so forgiving of the apparent plot, which has the potential to drag NATO into Syria.

They have good reason to be so concerned: all else having so far failed in Syria, the war weary US has got itself so far involved that it cannot turn away now. It must either face total defeat on the battlefields or bring in NATO troops, representing the entire Western world, to share responsibility for whatever happens from now on. This is not an exclusively Western tactic of course. But it does give Russia and its people genuine grounds for being concerned about NATO bases and members being on its borders, when we can see how these are being used in real life, not political theory.

Why Turkey?

Turkey is a country which always arouses concern. It is very Western oriented but at the same time overwhelmingly Moslem, with a value system believed to be at odds with that of Christian Western Europe and a source of frequent conflict with Christian Eastern Europe, though largely of Turkey’s historic making. It was on the wrong side in both world wars but is a developing power, gaining increasing influence in the region through trade and diplomacy. It has also had long periods of military rule, largely because the armed forces were less confrontational and corrupt than the civilian politicians.

Therefore Turkey is a very convenient ally to have, for two reasons. One, if you are there it stops the other side gaining control of what is perceived to be a subliminal danger. Two, if you are plotting something you wouldn’t get away with at home, you can involve Turkey to cleanse your own involvement because it will automatically be assumed that these dastardly Turks are behind anything inappropriate.

Erdogan is an unpopular leader within Turkey. This provides a third reason his government is the obvious one to turn to when you want to create a scandal which will drag NATO into doing your dirty work for you. If something can be pinned on him it will not be seen as an attack on Turkey itself or its people, and will give the West a get out. Remove the villain, a new era of democracy will be ushered in, and under the new benevolent Turkish leadership NATO will go in anyway, using Turkish bases for the purpose.

It is very probable that Erdogan is indeed was trying to cling onto power at any cost, even if it means starting World War III, and was grateful for the opportunity offered him. There is no excuse for such behaviour. But his ministers are talking to whoever leaked these tapes, not each other, so someone had an interest in giving him this opportunity and revealing it later.

A precedent

 251231Erdogan is not the first leader to be used in this way. In the 1950’s British Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden, a foreign affairs specialist, was both physically ill and going slightly mad as a result of a botched operation. With the UK still expected to take a lead on the world stage, as it was still considered a superpower at that time, he was encouraged to conspire with France and Israel to take over the Suez Canal in Egypt, the only direct route from the Mediterranean to the Gulf, under the pretence of keeping the peace between Egypt and Israel.

If things went wrong, Eden’s incapacity could be used as a cover for removing him and treating his actions as an aberration, thus preserving the US-UK special relationship. If the move worked, Eden would take the credit but still retire honourably.

In the event US President Dwight D. Eisenhower pressured the foreign troops into withdrawing when the Egyptians took up arms against them and Eden retired soon afterwards, either kicked out or disgusted with his government depending on your point of view. But as in the Erdogan case, the move could have led to World War III, and that was unimportant in the calculations of those involved.

Slapping wrists

Superpowers can get away with sacrificing lives in other countries for higher “geostrategic reasons” which are their sole preserve, but not emerging powers who are supposed to remain dependent like Turkey. We may be cynical about what goes on in places like the Oval Office but we assume the big nations will plot big things. Turkey likes to think it is big enough to be regarded the same way but isn’t. Therefore if it behaves like its big allies, it is a scandal.

Damascus has requested a UN probe into Turkey’s ‘incursion plan’ leak. This action is an appeal for international justice which can be used to counteract the international condemnation which the Assad regime is currently faced with. It is likely to be considered, despite the UN’s failure to, for example, identify who asked the Warsaw Pact troops to enter Czechoslovakia in 1968 (which is now known to have been two Czech government ministers) because Turkey is involved. But what then?

Such a probe will take much time to conduct and accomplish nothing at all. All the UN could do after the final report had been issued is pass a resolution which addresses an issue which will probably be moot by that time. Conducting the probe is just another way of keeping Turkey in its place and giving everyone else a way out. It would not stop any action, or dissuade those behind it from trying again by another route when another fall guy can be found.


Erdogan has brought all kinds of troubles on himself by pursuing policies which he knew would have that effect. He is trying to reinvent the Ottoman Empire and reintroduce its values into modern Turkey, which was founded to replace them. He does have some support for this, as the electors have demonstrated, but also knew when he started that he would be on a collision course with powerful elements and allies.

He has made himself the fall guy for every accusation and every scheme. None of this does Turkey any good, much less himself. But is anyone asking why his ministers would be so stupid as to allow themselves to be recorded when other sensitive communications of the same nature never see the light of day?

Maybe Erdogan would like to become a tragic figure to regain public sympathy. But it serves much greater interests than his to involve NATO in Syria. Failure to realise that, far from countering these interests, he has played into their hands all along will ultimately prove his downfall, as the basis for his remaining public support will be gone. It will be supremely ironic to see him removed from power for trying so hard to put blood on his own hands and only succeeding in smearing it on somebody else’s.

Seth Ferris, investigative journalist and political scientist, expert on Middle Eastern affairs, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.