Wednesday, July 2, 2008
FARC Follies and Ergenekon Eruptions
Forget Seymour Hersh's obsessions with a U.S. invasion of Iran, the real action is going in the peripheries, places like Colombia and Turkey. In Colombia, we can all give loud "huzzahs" that the FARC hostages are free, while realizing the political benefits John McCain will just happen to realize by just happening to be there when a Colombian military commando operation freed 15 hostages held for up to six years by the FARC. Let me say up front that I may not like Alvaro Uribe and I smell the hand of Bush everywhere, but I consider the FARC an illegitimate gang of thugs with no claim to a coherent political agenda. Hell, even Hugo Chavez says he doesn't like them any more. But before we say, "Job well done!" to the Colombian military, we have to ask how this all just happened to coincide with the McCain visit. Uh huh. Right. (Meanwhile, Obama visits Colorado Springs and waxes poetic about faith-based initiatives, even as his supporters chide him for caving in on the NSA-telephone-company-immunity issue. Politics as usual.)
The current Turkish comedy of terrors is harder to decipher. Over the past few days, 21 nationalist militants have been arrested for being members of Ergenekon, yet another secret Turkish fascist society dedicated to preserving secularism and eradicating Muslims. Now, in past coups -- 1960, 1980, 1997 quasi-coup, take your pick -- the CIA has clearly been involved in funding groups like Gray Wolves. Hell, in 1980, even mild-mannered Jimmy Carter was directly involved in supporting the Turkish military in crushing citizen democracy movements.
The AK Party of Recep Erdogan represents a different beast. Many players in the Bush administration, particularly in State and Treasury, see the Muslim party ruling Turkey as one that aids the economy and respects democracy. In fact, the European Union has warned Turkish judicial sources that any attempt to remove AKP will virtually end Turkey's chances of joining the EU. And yet, there seem to be members of the U.S. defense and intelligence community who have secret admiration for the attempts by the Turkish chief prosecutor to bring the AKP before the constitutional court as an illegitimate government. Certainly, US Vice President Dick Cheney does not tolerate the concept of Muslims running democratic governments, and probably admires the Ergenekon efforts to prod the constitutional court with a little organized violence. Where does the CIA stand? The Pentagon? The EU? US Congress? These seem far more interesting questions than ponderings on Iran.
[JULY 6 UPDATE: Two more key generals were arrested over the weekend for Ergenekon involvement. The leader of the Republican People's Party says that those in favor of Kemalist secularism are under attack. Try "those that are opposed to democracy by supporting secularism through fascist systems."]