by Jerry Gordon
President Erdogan of Turkey at Jamilia Islamia University, New Delhi , India, May 1, 2017
A madman from across the water is coming to visit President Trump in the Oval office: Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Islamist President for life of the Republic of Turkey. He is the leader of the second largest armed force in NATO who concocted his own putsch in Mid July 2016. On April 15, 2017 Erdogan ‘won’ a narrow victory in a national referendum with overtures of fraud that may keep him in power for nearly 12 years to 2029 and even beyond.
President Trump was the only elected Western leader who called to ‘congratulate’ him.
Erdogan has jailed tens of thousands, purged over 100,000 from the secular ranks of the country’s military, educators, prosecutors and holds the world record for jailing the highest number of working journalists in the world shuttering opposition newspapers.
He has jailed the elected leaders of the Kurdish led Peoples Democratic Party (HDP) and replaced HDP mayors in the predominately Kurdish southeastern Turkey. He broke a cease fire with the leader of the terrorist group, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) Abdullah Ocalan. Erdogan lost a super majority vote in a parliamentary election, because of HDP and other opposition parties. He fomented an internal war in mid-July 2015 against the PKK turning urban areas of the predominately Kurdish southeastern region into a literal moonscape.
He blames it all on his former ally who got him elected in 2002 as then Prime Minister, 78-year-old Sheik Fethuleh Gulen, living with a US Green card in a fortified compound in the Poconos Mountain of Eastern Pennsylvania. Gulen and his Hizmat followers have raided the treasuries of US states under the guise of charter school science academies to the tune of a half billion dollars annually. Erdogan is seeking extradition of Gulen and the mythical Gulen terrorist group the dreaded FETO that he contends was behind his staged coup in mid-July 2016.
Erdogan is also seeking the surrender of the US coalition backed Kurdish YPG led Syrian Democratic Force poised to conquer the administrative capital of the Islamic State, Raqqa. His air force just attacked YPG forces in northeastern Turkey killing 20 fighters. The US coalition sent a Marine Stryker battalion flying the US Flag to the Kurdish border city of Qumishli in Syria to block Erdogan sending Turkish troops across the border. The Russians apparently did the same in the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northwestern Syria last weekend, with armored vehicles flying the Russian flag.
Erdogan who allegedly reconciled with Israel in September 2016 for a payment of $20 million in blood money after breaking off relations over the 2010 Free Gaza Flotilla attack on the Turkish ferry the Mavi Marmara that breached the blockade. Now he is raising the jihad call for the brothers in the ummah to flood the Temple Mount in Jerusalem because among other caterwauling reasons Israel’s Knesset is poised to pass a bill to mute Muezzin calls to prayer from Minarets in Israel. Israel considers it ‘baseless slander.” Then he is outraged about the US possibly moving the Embassy to Jerusalem.
At the time of the deal between Netanyahu and Erdogan we cautioned about whether it would be problematic in a New English Review article, “Why are Turkey and Israel Reconciling?” We noted the warning by astute observer, Dr. Norman Bailey regarding the choice of Israel supporting Erdogan or the Kurds. We wrote.
As Dr. Bailey …defines the choices that Israel faces. Whether to stick with the Turkish deal, affirmed in August by the Ankara Parliament, or cultivate what he considers the more reliable Kurdish alternative given the turmoil in Turkey perpetrated by Erdogan. He concludes:
Would that be a bad thing? A formal or informal alliance with Syrian/Iraqi Kurdistan, providing cover in the north in case of hostile activity on the Israeli borders is arguably more important than a fragile normalization with Turkey, which is any case the unpredictable Erdogan regime could end anytime for reasons of its own.
Erdogan’s tyranny will not end any time soon. Moreover, Netanyahu is noticeably quiet on the matter of an independent Kurdistan these days. He is awaiting Trump’s visit to Israel on May 22nd.
My friend Ken Timmerman is concerned about the upcoming Erdogan Trump meeting in a FrontPage Magazine article, “The Turkey Trap.” He points out the staggering corruption of Erdogan’s family in profiteering from the case of the Azeri Iranian Turkish gold trader Zarrab jailed in the US, as has been a deputy CEO of the Turkish HalkBank for facilitating the gold for gas and food deals with Iran. In posts on these developments, we also noted the involvement of former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former President George W. Bush Attorney General Michael Mukasey, lawyers defending Zarrab. They flew to Ankara to palaver with Erdogan who is seeking a release of Zarrab and his HalkBank accomplice. Timmerman suggests that he might have some card to play with Trump by offering to expedite building of Trump properties in Turkey.
Let me illustrate the extent of staggering Erdogan corruption Timmerman cites:
He wants the President to order the U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York to drop charges against a Turkish-Iranian national, Reza Zarrab, who is accused of a vast money-laundering scheme to violate U.S. sanctions against Iran that allegedly involved huge bribes paid to top Turkish officials, including members of Erdogan’s own family.
Zarrab, also known as Riza Sarraf, was arrested while attempting to take his family to Disneyworld in March 2016. Despite offers to post a $10 million bond and to stay under house arrest in a luxury apartment in Manhattan, Zarrab remains in custody. His jury trial is scheduled to begin on August 16.
According to federal prosecutors, Zarrab offered his money-laundering services to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei in a 2011 letter, and worked in tandem with Babak Zanjani, who had deep ties to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps.
The United States Treasury identified Zanjani and his Sorinet Group in 2013 as the principle operator of a vast money-laundering scheme that helped Iran to sell upwards of $200 billion of oil in violation of international sanctions. Zarrab and his Turkish political partners, reportedly including Erdogan himself, were instrumental in laundering the proceeds back to Iran through U.S. and Turkish banks.
Note the estimated $1 billion-dollar emolument that Erdogan received for winking at the Zarrab Iran Gold trading deal:
Prosecutors in Turkey arrested Zarrab on December 17, 2013, on corruption charges involving bribes to four members of then Prime Minister Erdogan’s cabinet, including his son-in-law, Berat Albayrak.
Erdogan struck back by firing the prosecutors, police investigators and judges involved in the probe, accusing them of plotting against him on behalf of Fethullah Gulen.
Two months later, five audio tapes of alleged phone conversations between Erdogan and his son, Bilal, on the day of Zarrab’s arrest, show why Erdogan panicked. In the tapes, posted on line, Erdogan can be heard instructing his son to remove $1 billion in cash from his home and the homes of family members before the police arrived.
That money reportedly had been paid to Erdogan and his family by Zarrab in exchange for allowing Zarrab to launder Iranian oil money through Turkish banks and to buy gold he subsequently shipped to Iran via the United Arab Emirates. Erdogan has not denied that he and his son are speaking on the tapes, but claims they have been doctored.
For a few months, it was touch and go for Erdogan, with many commentators suggesting the corruption scandal would sweep him from office. But as his purges expanded and he closed all opposition media, he managed instead to consolidate power. By March 2014, he ordered Zarrab released from jail and even commended him as a prominent job-creator and philanthropist. (Among Zarrab’s charitable gifts was a $4.65 million contribution to a charity run by Erdogan’s wife, Ermine, according to U.S. court filings.)
Next Monday, President Trump is going to be confronted with the corrupt creator of the future Islamic Republic of Turkey, President for Life, Erdogan. He will be holding out baubles of profitable real estate deals for Trump properties in Turkey in exchange for extraditing Sheik Fethulleh Gulen and freeing Reza Zarrab, who faces 75 years in a US jail for filling up Iran’s coffer in violation of economic sanctions mooted by the lifting the sequestered offshore oil revenue funds to finance IRGC and Proxy Hezbollah battles in Assad Syria and Houthi controlled Yemen. We have a suggestion to President trump. Make it a short meeting and tell him the US supports the Kurds, the best boots on the ground in Syria and Iraq fighting the Islamic State. He might also take Timmerman’s suggestion of pulling out of the NATO airbase at Incirlik. Stay tuned for the outcome.