By Tuncer Kılınç *
For a long time, the US, today’s representative of imperialism, has been continuing its destructive and corrosive attitude against our laic, i.e. secular state structure and the Kemalist commanders of our army by trying to disrupt our unity and integrity and by using the opponents of laicism within us.
A blow to laicism
In this respect, with its first attempt in 1980 and the second in 2016, the US caused a great damage to the laic structure of our Republic and to our internal social and political structure. In 1980, the US used the command of the Turkish Armed Forces, and in 2016, used the Nurist sect preacher Fethullah Gülen and his military and civilian supporters at home, to strengthen the Muslim Brotherhood fundamentalism in our country, thereby to divide our social and political structure into parts turning our people into an irreconcilable society.
Prior to the US coup attempt on July 15, 2016, patriotic members of the Turkish Armed Forces were put on trial, unjustly and unlawfully imprisoned, while an attempt was pursued to destroy their reputation in the public through fabricated trials such as Ergenekon and Balyoz. As a consequence of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, the military high schools, military academies, military hospitals and military judiciary structures, which were the education centers of the Kemalist national army, were dismantled. The state drifted away from its laic and democratic structure.
In addition to excluding Türkiye from the F-35 fighter jet program under the pretext of the S-400 purchase, providing weapons, training, material and moral support to the separatist YPG-PYD elements in the northern Syria, not handing over the head of the FETO organization; the open attitudes and initiatives taken by the US against our national interests, especially since 2021, are extremely worrying. These include:
- Within the framework of the defense cooperation between the US and Greece, a strong military base has been established right across our western border, in the Alexandroupoli region (Dedeağaç).
- While the US referred to the 1915 deportations as a “mutual massacre” until 2021, for the last two years it has named it as “genocide”.
- The US is gradually strengthening its political and military ties with Greece, which has strengthened its military power against Türkiye, declared that it will increase its airspace to 10 miles and even 12 miles in violation of international agreements, trying to arm islands/islets in the Aegean and acting hostile to our fighter jets. Also, the US emphasizing that Greece’s sovereignty over these islands is unquestionable. France is also taking sides with Greece.
- The US is preventing us from selling ATAK helicopters to Pakistan.
- In addition to its efforts to deploy a navy in the Black Sea within the framework of NATO, the US is trying to sabotage our good relations with Russia and disrupt the peace of the region on the pretext of the US’s recent tensions with Russia over Ukraine.
- The US, most likely backing the Istanbul Canal project, continues its efforts to bypass the Montreux Straits Convention and deploy a permanent force in the Black Sea.
These developments bring to mind the question of whether “Türkiye is the next target” within the scope of the Greater Middle East Initiative.
* Retired army general, former Secretary General of the Turkish National Security Council
This article was previoysly published in Turkish by daily newspaper Cumhuriyet. The original version can be read here. Translation by UWI.