Wikileaks's Cloudy Pages and Turkey

It is possible to read many claims about Turkey in Wikileaks. Firstly, let us look at these allegements and then the comments of some Turkish columnists.

Wikileaks's Cloudy Pages and Turkey

 

By İsmail Duman, World Bulletin

 

“WikiLeaks is in the process of transforming foreign affairs and international relations in a dramatic fashion. In revealing over 250,000 cables from US embassies worldwide to the State Department and other classified documents, the consequences of this “mega-scoop” will be very far reaching indeed.” says Muqtedar Khan, from Today’s Zaman Newspaper.

 

It is very difficult to come to the conclusion about the effects of Wikileaks cables. Up to the present, I read almost a hundred analyses from four corners of the world. But as you can guess, I couldn’t see any clear picture in these analyses and also, I do not claim that I will answer all the questions about these leaks. Maybe, we will see its dramatic effects in distant future. Or maybe there will be no any significant outcome of these cables over a diplomacy or  a political scene.   

 

Today, I want to point out some highlights as far as I can see.  Firstly, I should emphasize that while there are some people like Italian Foreign Minister Franko Frattini who describe the release of these cables as “the September 11th of world diplomacy”, the considerable number of people, on the other hand, evaluate this process through conspiracy theories.

 

Questions...

 

Before looking at the different perspectives, it can be more useful to glance some questions about the release of Wikileaks cables. Here, I want to give an ear to Hassan Beheshtipour, from Iranian PressTv:

 

“Analysts are particularly preoccupied with five of the several questions that are being tossed around:

1. What will the contents of the documents exactly reveal?

2. Where and how has Wikileaks obtained the papers?

3. What is the purpose of releasing the documents?

4. What currents are behind Wikileaks and what goals do they pursue?

5. Will the publication of the documents help shed light on the "concealment policy" in diplomacy?”

 

When we ask ourselves why these questions are important, firstly, I can say that although we know many things in these documents, the releasing these cables occupies the agenda for a long time. Actuallay, if you read Israeli newspapers, you can find many of these ‘secret’ documents in the news or articles of them. So, there is no very amazing and unknown information.

 

On the other hand, as Akif Emre, from Turkey’s Yeni Safak Newspaper, point out, we know that if the US wants to prevent from releasing these documents, it can do it very easily. In addition to this, we should investigate why these cables are released in this date and who select these cables in order to be published.

 

So, these questions are very important and they are waiting to be answered. But, I think we can take the answers of these questions in the future only. Then, why do I need to share these questions? Because I think we should evaluate this process and picture through these questions. Otherwise, we will look at the releasing these cables so:  “Equality in the distribution of information has reached a remarkable dimension, both in Turkey and in the world with WikiLeaks’ release of these cables.”(Oral Calıslar/Turkey’s Radical Nespaper)

 

Who is behind Wikileaks?     

 

According to Victor Kotsev, from Atimes, “it is very difficult to say who is behind the release of the cables. In a situation where the interests of several powerful international players and a rogue organization cross, there are many gray areas. This is also, in a way, the main significance of the leak. State actors will adapt to it, if they haven't already - thus, we shouldn't be surprised if we see Russia expanding its positions vis-a-vis the United States, say, in Central Asia and Afghanistan. But it is unlikely that any single one of them orchestrated the situation, as it is unlikely that any of them will be able to shape its outcome single-handedly.”

 

When I look at the process, I see that although there should be a tension between the U.S. and  some countries like Turkey because of these leaked cables, there is no any indicator like this. I am asking myself :‘why is this so?’. O.K., there is no many unknown knowledge in public; but these are very problematic documents in terms of diplomacy. So, I couldn’t see this picture as an improvement of equality in the distribution of information.

 

According to Akif Emre, from Turkey’s Yeni Safak Newspaper, we can mention ‘intra-state revenge’ in this issue. “Some analysts believe the revelation of such secrets are because of the differences within the ruling elite in the US.” When we look at the picture from this perspective, we can see ‘neo-con’ viewpoint. What can it mean? It can mean that Obama’s so-called liberal policies over Middle East discomforted some neo-cons and Israelis. In these cables, maybe they planned to kill two birds with one stone. As we know, there is no any document which discomforts Israel. This is very interesting knowledge. And, lastly, newspapers who published these cables are not, in my opinion, independent from global superpowers or lobbies.

 

‘Who is Assange’,  Wikileaks and The New York Times...

According to Michel Chossudovsky, from GlobalResearch, “The leaks are heralded as an immeasurable victory against corporate media censorship. But there is more than meets the eye.”  

As Chossudovsky says, Wikileaks formulated its mandate on its website as follows: ‘[Wikileaks will be] an uncensorable version of Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. Our primary interests are oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the west who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their own governments and corporations,’

So, Wikileaks’ aim is very controversial for us because there are parallel relations between the aim of the Wikileaks and that of the foreign policy of the U.S. If you think that it also published the injustices and oppressions of the U.S. army in Iraq, and Afghanistan; this is true, but it is not obstacle for what we say and our suspicions.

On the other hand, here, again giving an ear to Chossudovsky can be very productive in order to understand the function of media who is selected by Wikileaks:

“The recent Wikileaks releases of embassy cables have been carefully "redacted" by the mainstream media in liaison with the US government.

This collaboration between Wikileaks and selected mainstream media is not fortuitous; it was part of an agreement between several major US and European newspapers and Wikileaks' editor Julian Assange. 

The important question is who controls and oversees the selection, distribution and editing of released documents to the broader public?

What US foreign policy objectives are being served through this redacting process? 

………

Historically, The New York Times has served the interests of the Rockefeller family in the context of a longstanding relationship. The current New York Times chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, son of Arthur Ochs Sulzberger and grandson of Arthur Hays Sulzberger who served as a Trustee for the Rockefeller Foundation. Ethan Bronner, deputy foreign editor of The New York Times as well as Thomas Friedman among others are also members of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). (Membership Roster - Council on Foreign Relations)

In turn, the Rockefellers have an important stake as shareholders of several US corporate media.”

After we read the comment of Chossudovsky, I think, we should investigate once again about how we evaluate these cables.

Is it the victory of freedom?

As Andrew Gavin Marshall says, the Internet and various alternative news organizations are abuzz with speculation that Wikileaks itself may be a propaganda front, perhaps even a CIA front organization, a method of ‘controlling the opposition’. In my opinion, if we are mentioning the U.S, this argument should be taken into account. This does not mean that we see the U.S. as a inbeatable superpower. But, we have seen similar scenes in the history. For example, we should remember ‘Obama case’. When Obama came to the power, many people hoped that he will change American policies. But, we are mentioning from U.S. Although there can change actors(sometimes radicals, sometimes liberals), its policies have some constants. We, today, see this picture in the Iraq and Afghanistan.

Although these arguments, there are many commentators who evaluate this process in the context of equality. As an example, the comments of Andrew Finkel, from Today’s Zaman, in this issue are so:  

“Which is why one particular opinion that seems to have gained some currency in Turkey sounds so bizarre. It was published as an assertion in this newspaper that, The main target [of WikiLeaks] is Turkey and its ruling Justice and Development Party [AK Party].’ This is solipsism and paranoia tipping over the edge. It implies that those doing the leaking are controlled by a very narrow, Turkey-centric political agenda. Ask The New York Times or Julian Assange the key question, “Cui bono?”(Who benefits?) from the disclosure of so much confidential information, and the answer is citizens throughout the world who have a right to know what their public servants really think.

On the other hand, there are many conspiracy theories in Turkey about Wikileaks. As you know, there are many documents about Turkey in Wikileaks cables; so Turkish people enjoy this type of comments. Emre Uslu, from Today’s Zaman, summarizes them very well for us and he emphasizes the root of these conspiracies:

“Just like 9/11, the WikiLeaks incident has already created its own reality that only conspiracy theories can explain. In this “reality” as usual Israel plays a critical role as if it was orchestrating the WikiLeaks process. Conspiracy theorists, from left to right, Islamist to liberal circles, provide much ‘evidence’ to prove Israel’s orchestrating role. Not surprisingly, Justice and Development Party (AKP) leaders and opposition politicians have also pointed out Israeli and Jewish influence behind the WikiLeaks incident. In addition, the Ergenekon incident has already prepared the groundwork for such conspiracy theories such that a majority of people in Turkey think, ‘If Turkish intelligence agencies under the influence of Israel have built conspiracies against the AKP government, why can’t Israel and neocon groups in the US do the same thing’ In other words, documents leaked by WikiLeaks ‘prove’ global conspiracies against the AKP and Turkey.”

Actually, I perefer to evaluate these cables  in terms of these conspiracies. Because if we do not focus on these questions, we see this process as only a simple event. As you can remeber, I mentioned Assange and the formation of the Wikileaks. I think that in today’s world, there is no innocent element in politics. Of course, I hope to see transparent relations in politics; but if it is not so, I should take all the possibilities into account. Otherwise, we can not understand foreign policies of the U.S.

What do Wikileaks cables say for Turkey?

“In the last few days since the leaks began, many people in Turkey reacted with a combination of curiosity, bafflement, suspicion and anger. But their common sense is that they will not speak to US officials and read their conversations in the next batch of wikileaks.” says Ibrahim Kalın, from Today’s Zaman, about these cables. 

It is possible to read many claims about Turkey in Wikileaks. Firstly, let us look at these allegements and then the comments of some Turkish columnists.

As Iason Athanasiadis says, the cables from U.S. diplomats in Turkey are the second largest block of cables in the latest WikiLeaks exposures. The 8,000 documents from Turkey cover sensitive domestic developments as well as diplomacy with Iran, Iraq and Israel.

In these documents, “Erdogan's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is described as one of ‘an iron ring of sycophantic advisors’ and a ‘dangerous’ neo-Ottomanist”. In addition to this, ‘Israel's ambassador to Turkey, Gabby Levy, blames the decline in Turkey-Israeli relations exclusively on Erdogan and states that Erdogan is “a fundamentalist, he hates us religiously,” according to the documents.’

Moreover, the other report identifies an “extraordinary” speech given by Davutoglu in Sarajevo in 2009 in which he argued that “the Balkans, Caucasus, and Middle East were all better off when under Ottoman control or influence ... however, now Turkey is back, ready to lead — or even unite. ... We will re-establish this [Ottoman] Balkan.”

“Does all this mean that the country is becoming more focused on the Islamist world and its Muslim tradition in its foreign policy? Absolutely,” states one confidential report titled "What Lies Beneath Ankara’s New Policy.”

According to Israeli website ‘ynetnews.com’, the Mossad chief expressed concern over the disintegration of Turkey's secular nature and warned that in time the country could radicalize further. He claimed that had the Turkish army received additional direct aid from the US it would have been better able to prevent the rise of the Islamists.

On the other hand, “according to the London-based daily al-Hayat, the WikiLeaks release includes documents that show Turkey has helped al-Qaeda in Iraq - and that the United States has supported the PKK, a Kurdish rebel organization that has been waging a separatist war against Turkey since 1984, the Washington Post reported.”

Up to the present, I focused not on cables on domestical issues but cables on foreign policy of Turkey because there are very few people who believe the truth of the allegations like that “Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has eight bank accounts in Swiss banks, he has given lucrative bids to his close friends, and so on.”

And I also focused on just main allegations on foreign policy of Turkey because we were knowing many of these claims before the releasing these leaks. Here, the important question is: what does the release of the cables mean? I think, firstly we should give an ear some commentators and then we will try to look at issue broadly.

Comments...     

According to Ahmet Tasgetiren, from Turkey’s Bugun Newspaper,”WikiLeaks documents about Turkey come as no surprise to Turkey, but the United States is right in being concerned. A picture of a United States that treats its allies as friends but plots against them in secret is certainly embarrassing. That is why a dossier which reveals that the US supports the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) will be a dossier of shame.”

On the other hand,Most AKP supporters and opposition supporters are already convinced the WikiLeaks incident is a conspiracy against the AKP and Turkey; therefore, they do not buy the hype surrounding the leaked documents.” says Emre Uslu. “Further, the leaked documents also show that the AKP is not a puppet of the US, which neo-nationalists sincerely believed. In addition, by pointing to Israel AKP leaders put up an effective buffer prior to the release of information that may hurt the AKP.”

Alexander Christie-Miller quotes Semiz Idız’s comments as so: “We will see how these leaked documents will influence the government's Middle East policies,” commented Semih Idiz in the daily Milliyet newspaper. “But we do now plainly see that Turkey is isolated not only in the West when it comes to the subjects of Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah, but also amongst Middle Eastern regimes. It does not seem very realistic to go on as before and to pretend that nothing has happened.”

In addition to this, “If they show the AKP is not a puppet of America, they will help the AKP,” Hurriyet Daily News columnist Yusuf Kanli told Eurasianet.org. “In terms of anti-Americanism, they will try to play it down in their foreign policy approaches, but domestically they will play it up of course.”

Moroever, many Turkish columnist emphasizes that the realasing these documents aims at Recep Tayyib Erdogan and his AK Party because of their Islamic identities. Maybe it can be true; but we should think again and again why they are disturbed the pragmatic forign policies of the AKP? This question is very crucial. As Ihsan Yılmaz says, “first of all, that we need to get rid of the egocentric ‘Turkey-at-the-center-of-the-universe’ attitude.”

O.K., Turkey’s new foreign policies have disturbed some countries; but here saying that this is a project against only Turkey is very absurd. Actually the comments of Aaron Stein on Turkey’s foreign policies explain everything very well:  

“Thus far, the leaked cables reveal that the basis for Turkey’s new foreign policy is entirely pragmatic and based upon a nuanced and different understanding of Turkey’s geo-political position. What they don’t show is a lurking Islamist menace actively seeking to subvert ties with the West, in favor of a Turkish led Islamic alliance. Domestic political pressures and geo-political factors like energy security, the economy and security all have a role in shaping Turkey’s new foreign policy. In short, they reflect a pragmatic approach to world politics, rooted in Western political theories like neo-realism and neo-liberalism.”

As we know that Turkey which has good relations with Israel and the US, tries to enter EU and is a member of NATO. So, we should read Wikileaks cables from different perspective. Maybe it can be for the Middle East policies of America and of course Turkey has an important role in this region. But I think, if these documents are against someone, it is not against to Turkey, but to the Middle East.

 

The Comments of Sedat Laciner

 

In his writing in daily Star Newspaper, he focuses on ‘intra-state revenge’ and he reminds us the releasing different type of documents in the past. And he also ask us from where we provide information about the American oppressions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The answer is: The New York Times and the other American newspapers. So, he claims that today, it can be an evident for a polarization in the U.S.

 

According to him, this operation seems as the work of neo-cons.

 

Because there is no almost any document which is against to Israel and these cables seem to damage the other countries rather than the U.S., he questions that maybe the release of these document can be for the America’s Middle East policies.

 

So, he claims that this process plans to set Middle Eastern countries fighting. In other words, neo-con play makers try to re-provide their power in American politics and Israel’s position in the region.

 

If we read this picture from Laciner’s comments, it can be possible for us to clean cloudy weather more easily. In my opinion, although Turkey which has good relations with Israel and the US, tries to enter EU and is a member of NATO, it tries to play a chess with the U.S. So, actually, every person know that Turkey tries to become a regional power independent from the U.S. But, on the other hand, its policies are very pragmatic. And they also know that today, for Turkey,  the U.S. is more important than Iran.

 

So, we should understand exactly who play maker is and the player are in this chess. If we remember the American policies and plots on Middle East, this will not be  an amazing for us to read Wikileaks cables from this perspective.  

 

Moreover we know that, in American history, whenever oppressions of neo-cons occupy the agenda, in later elections, winners become more liberals. Today, Obama’s administration came after the Bush’s injustice administration. Thus, in my opinion, neo-cons try to re-come to power and prepare its ground. In other words, in this releasing, maybe they are planning to prepare both domestical and Middle Eastern policies for neo-cons and their everlasting ally Israel.

 

Then, we should focus on Middle East region in terms of Wikileaks cables. But, this is the subject of another analysis. So, I am planning to evaluate the Middle East, Turkey’s role in the region, Iran’s position, and other issues in terms of Wikileaks debate in the next analysis.

 


Last Mod: 27 Aralık 2010, 09:27
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