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Turkish Intelligence

WARNING AGAINST SENIOR TURKISH AIDE’S ABDUCTION THREATS IN US

On September 25, 2018 Erdogan’s Long Arms Aiming to Reach US Territory

Turkey Seeks to Target Erdogan Opponents on US Soil

Turkey’s long-running campaign to target and capture political opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan living abroad has taken a new turn after his spokesman threatened to conduct operations in the U.S., similar to the ones which took place in Moldova, Ukraine, Kosovo, Malaysia, Gabon and a number of other countries.

Ankara’s indulgence in risky and bold operations, in clear disregard and violation of international norms, have already aroused controversy and a state of tension with its allies and the countries where such kidnappings or captures occurred. As recently as in September, the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) snatched a group of Turkish teachers critical of the Erdogan government from Moldova after collaboration with the local security agency.

Almost all incidents, without an exception, have stirred political controversy and intense partisan bickering among political parties within countries where Ankara’s long arms involved in controversial security operations to target opponents, mostly affiliated with Gulen Movement, a banned civil society group in Turkey.

Turkey’s assertive and robust push to get Gulen-linked people shows no signs of receding. And after Ibrahim Kalin, President Erdogan’s spokesman, stepped in to declare that Turkey may conduct similar operations on the U.S. soil as well, things would stumble into an uncharted territory and would inject a new layer of uncertainty into an already perilous and tense relationship between the two NATO allies.

Speaking to reporters in Ankara in late September, Kalin vowed that the Turkish government would never relent its campaign against Gulen people. “They will feel Turkey breathing down their neck,” he said.

He went on to say: “Relevant units and institutions will continue their operations in countries where Gulen Movement operates, whether in the U.S. or another country. The Turkish Republic will not let them rest.”

Turkey’s authorities describe the Gulen Movement as a terrorist organization and ascribe the blame for the abortive 2016 coup to the movement, without offering a convincing evidence.

The presence of Fethullah Gulen, the inspired leader of the movement, in the U.S. territory remains a lasting source of friction between Ankara and Washington. Turkey’s numerous attempts and endless demands for the extradition of Gulen from the U.S. have yielded no result so far today. Although Ankara sent countless boxes of documents and dossiers supposedly containing evidence to Washington, the U.S. authorities did not budge their position.

The U.S. officials say Turkey has yet to offer tangible evidence linking Gulen to the coup.

While Turkey’s relentless pursuit of Gulen people in countries with weak rule of law and corrupt governments is a well-known phenomenon, the hint from a senior aide to Erdogan about a potential attempt to snatch people linked with the movement from the U.S. soil is a first of its kind.

This evidently illustrates the zeal and ambition of the Turkish government to get their opponents from anywhere else with little regard for diplomatic ramifications. It also clearly reveals that Ankara, otherwise unanimously and collectively condemned and pressured by its Western allies, would never abate its operations to target Gulen people, even in the U.S.

Kalin’s threat comes on the heels of an ongoing dispute regarding the continuing imprisonment of a U.S. pastor in Turkey. Erdogan already unveiled his plan for a potential prisoner swap to get Gulen back to Turkey in exchange of Pastor Andrew Brunson. But his proposal was bluntly rebuffed by the U.S. officials in 2017.

Kalin’s remarks appear as no mere speculation or wishful thinking. Rather, his statement points to the existence of determination and a certain course of policy on behalf of the Turkish government to haunt Gulen sympathizers in the U.S.

In 2017, the U.S. prosecutors revealed a scheme involving Michael Flynn, former National Security Advisor of President Donald J. Trump, to spirit Gulen away from the U.S. territory. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, former Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, Turkish envoy to the U.S. and a former CIA chief were also present during the discussion of a plan to smuggle Gulen. Flynn also lobbied on behalf of Ankara for the extradition of Gulen.

Against this backdrop, Kalin’s threatening remarks have taken a special meaning and context. The Turkish government has already expertly versed in the business of overseas operations to capture Erdogan’s opponents. The U.S. authorities should keep an eye on this possibility and would remain alarmed in the face of threats for conducting similar operations on the U.S. soil.

We write you to emphasize our great concern about such threats and urge the U.S. authorities to seek clarification from the Turkish administration over Kalin’s threatening remarks. In this respect, the State Department may summon the Turkish Ambassador to the U.S. to demand further elaboration and elucidation of Kalin’s remarks.

Separately, we request from the U.S. law enforcement agencies to pay extra attention to the situation and keep a closer eye on any suspicious moves or acts of pro-Erdogan Turks living in the U.S. with regard to the security and wellbeing of Gulen Movement sympathizers across the U.S.

Download this statement as a word document:
https://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Warning-Against-Senior-Turkish-Aide’s-Abduction-Threats-in-US.docx

We request from the U.S. authorities to pay extra attention to this situation in the U.S. with regard to the security and wellbeing of Gulen Movement sympathizers across the U.S.

Download the sample letter for your local authorities as a word document:
https://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Senator-Letter.docx

You can find your U.S Senator from the link below.

https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

You can find your U.S Representatives from the link below.

https://www.house.gov/representatives

We also request from the U.S. law enforcement agencies to pay extra attention to the situation and keep a closer eye on any suspicious moves or acts of pro-Erdogan Turks living in the U.S. with regard to the security and wellbeing of Gulen Movement sympathizers across the U.S.

Download the sample letter for your local Law Enforcement authorities as a word document:

https://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/To-Law-Enforcement-Officials.docx

We urge everyone to take action. Express your views or send attached statement to following addresses:

1)Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1 (202) 612-6700
Email: embassy.washingtondc@mfa.gov.tr
Twitter: @TurkishEmbassy
Website: http://washington.emb.mfa.gov.tr/Mission

2) United Nations Human Rights Council (UN HRC)
Phone: (+41) 22 917 9656
Email: civilsociety@ohchr.org
Twitter: @UN_HRC
Website: www.ohchr.org/hrc

3) U.S. Department of State
Phone: (202) 647-6575
Email: https://register.state.gov/contactus/contactusform
Twitter: @StateDept
Website: https://www.state.gov/

4) Mike Pence, Vice President of the United States
Phone: 202-456-6213
Email: vice.president@whitehouse.gov
Twitter: @VP

5) Senator Cory Booker
Phone: (202) 224-3224
Fax: (202) 224-8378
Email: https://www.booker.senate.gov/?p=contact
Twitter:@SenBooker

6)Human Rights Watch U.S.
Phone: +1-212-290-4700
Email: hrwpress@hrw.org
Website: https://www.hrw.org/united-states

7) Dana Tyrone Rohrabacher, House of Representatives
Phone: (202) 225-2415
Twitter: @RepRohrabacher, @DanaRohrabacher
Email: https://rohrabacher.house.gov/contact

News articles on the raid:

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/turkey-will-conduct-operations-against-erdogan-s-enemies-u-s-n912996

https://dailycaller.com/2018/09/24/erdogan-operations-america/

https://ahvalnews.com/turkey-us/turkish-presidents-spokesman-threatens-operations-against-opponents-us-soil

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1022726/turkey-news-Recep-Tayyip-Erdogan-Fethullah-Gulen-FETO-Ibrahim-Kalin-pensylvania-USA

https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/09/23/turkey-says-operations-targeting-gulen-movement-could-extend-to-us/

https://theregion.org/article/13128-turkey-threatens-to-target-dissidents-abroad-039-anytime-anywhere-039

Ibrahim Kalin’s threatening video

Ibrahim Kalin’s threatening video

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PROTECTING ERDOGAN DISSIDENTS IN THE U.S

Advocates of Silenced Turkey urges The U.S. authorities to take necessary precautions to protect Erdogan dissidents in the U.S

Since the attempted coup of July 15, 2016, staunch supporters of President Erdogan of Turkey, in Turkish politics, media and also public sphere have engaged in threatening and hate speech to silence dissidents in other countries including the U.S. Journalists, academics and businessmen who have been labeled with the Movement have been the main target of this threats.

On December 4 2017, former speechwriter of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and current ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Aydın Ünal threatened Turkish journalists in exile with extrajudicial killings, in his column published in the pro-Erdoğan Yeni Şafak daily.

The AKP deputy listed the names of journalists to be targeted: Ekrem Dumanlı, Adem Yavuz Arslan, Celil Sağır, Bülent Keneş, Abdülhamit Bilici, Erhan Başyurt, Emre Uslu, Akın İpek and Can Dündar.

“You carry out an operation against Turkey with judges and prosecutors, you give logistical support to this judicial theatre with information and documents that you have stolen through espionage, and your men here [in Turkey] and in the world will live in peace?” Ünal threatened.

In another article published on Nov. 27 in Yeni Şafak, Ünal threatened sympathizers of the Gülen movement in Turkey, saying tougher days lie ahead as a result of the case against Reza Zarrab.

Some of the names listed by Aydin Unal are known to be located in the U.S. Ekrem Dumanli, Adem Yavuz Aslan, Abdulhamit Bilici, Emre Uslu have been living in the U.S and openly carry out their works with their articles and YouTube videos and live Periscope broadcastings especially focusing on Turkish politics and ongoing persecutions.

Ekrem Dumanli who was targeted by Aydin Ünal was previously an editor-in-chief of Zaman Daily and fled Turkey after the controversial coup attempt in 2016. On October 30, 2016, Ragip Soylu, the Washington correspondent of Daily Sabah, which is used for propaganda and spying activities by the Turkish Intelligence in the U.S posted secretly taken photos of Mr. Dumanli. It should be considered as an important indication that Mr. Dumanli was under the surveillance of Turkish Intelligence in the U.S. (https://twitter.com/ragipsoylu/status/792736573217439745)

Dr. Emrullah Uslu, the former columnist for Today’s Zaman is one of the leading figures that continuously has been threatened by the the Turkish Government affiliated figures. He is a full-time professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at VIU.

Following President Erdoğan’s statement on September 19, 2016 that ‘no country is safe for Gülen movement sympathizers, the pro-Justice and Development Party (AKP) media has targeted Emre Uslu, along with some other journalists such as Adem Yavuz Aslan, Tuncay Opçin, Aydogan Vatandas and Dr. Atilla Yayla by publishing their secretly taken photos in different parts of the U.S. (https://www.turkishminute.com/2016/09/19/no-country-safe-gulen-sympathizers-erdogan-says/)

Adem Yavuz Aslan, a well-known Turkish investigative journalist, who was threatened in Aydin Ünal’s article has become the main focus of these threats when he followed the ongoing federal trial in New York where Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is accused of personally approving a scheme to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran. Adem Yavuz Aslan states that he was informed by some colleagues that he might be a target of an assassination attempt because of his coverage of the trial.

During his coverage of the trial, he was continuously harassed by the Anatolian Agency which secretly took his footage and published it Turkish media as if he is a criminal.

Cem Küçük, another staunch supporter of Erdogan and mouthpiece of Turkish Intelligence has also threatened the Turkish journalists and academics in the U.S.

‘People who are well known by the public such as, Ekrem Dumanli, Emre Uslu, Tuncay Opcin, and Seref Ali Tekalan will be grabbed by the nape of their neck and taken to Turkey. When they wake up whey will find themselves in the hands of the Turkish police and the court. Those days are not too far away.’

‘We will see the end of those who say, ‘I am safe in the US,’ ‘They cannot do anything to me.’ Wherever you flee, the Turkish state will bring you back. Many of your residences have been located. Your homes and workplaces are known. Even the countries where you demanded asylum will not protect you but will extradite you. It is soon. Wait…’ added Küçük. (https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/10/20/pro-govt-journalist-turkey-to-abduct-gulen-followers-in-us-europe/)

Serif Ali Tekalan, who is threatened by Cem Küçük is a medical professor who took charge of North American University, based in Houston, Texas, early in 2017. He has been target of baseless allegations and smear campaigns by the pro-government media in Turkey since then.

Tuncay Opcin, an investigative journalist who now resides in Houston is another well-known Turkish journalist who continuously has received death threats from figures like Cem Kucuk. Opcin says that the threats and the surveillance against him started after the coup attempt. He states that the first surveillance against occurred on Sept. 11 in 2016 at a shopping mall. The lengthy surveillance job against him made him think it was “a professional intelligence and surveillance job.”

Opcin chalks his targeting to his intense criticism of Erdogan’s government and his work as an investigative journalist. Opcin also says that he is disappointed about CPJ and Amnesty International since they did not pay attention to these threats and violations as expected. (http://dailycaller.com/2017/04/03/who-is-spying-on-turkish-journalists-in-the-us/)

Abdulhamit Bilici, the last editor-in-chief of Daliy Zaman before Government takeover in 2016 is another well-known journalist threatened in Aydin Unal’s article who now resides in the U.S.

While the exiled journalists and academics mentioned above were openly threatened by the Turkish Government linked figures, some other leading figures affiliated with Gulen movement in the U.S were harassed and covertly threatened by the Turkish Anatolian Agency and some other pro-government Turkish media organizations.

Pro-government Turkish Star Daily published the house photographs and addresses of Cemil Teber, Faruk Taban, Yuksel Alp Dogan, Hasan Ali Yurtsever, Burak Yeneroglu, Talha Sarac and Hakan Sukur who reside in different parts of the U.S. (http://www.star.com.tr/pazar/himmet-malikaneleri-haber-1279150/)

Besides, the threats from the Turkish media and Government affiliated figures towards the journalists and some leading participants of Hizmet Movement in the U.S, some business owners, grocery stores and even bookstores have been attacked by pro-Government groups in the U.S.

Nizam Market, a Turkish grocery store based in NJ has been attacked and verbally threatened by a Turkish government supporter on July, 2016.

Ant Bookstore, based in NJ has also been targeted and attacked several times in 2016 and 2017. Dr. Huseyin Senturk states that they detected several spying and surveillance activities in the store which were conducted by some Turkish nationals. He also says that the store was attacked and costumers were verbally threatened by a Turkish government supporter adding that the windowpanes of the store were also broken by some unknown figures.

On November 7 2017, Vakkas Doğantekin, a pro-government columnist and the president of the California-based Turkish community organization, TURCA, has attacked a Turkish speaking ice-cream seller affiliated with Hizmet Movement by calling him “terrorist” and “Jewish dog,”.

Dogantekin’s bio on TURCA’s website says he is a California resident for over 10 years and a freelance journalist contributing to Al Jazeera. He wrote at least three Op-Eds in 2017 for the pro-Erdogan daily newspaper, Daily Sabah.

Conclusion:

Considering all these particular incidents, some journalists, academics and NGO directors, businessmen affiliated with Hizmet Movement in the U.S has been continuously targeted by Turkish Government linked figures. The U.S federal and local security authorities should be aware of the fact that Turkish Government doesn’t function and operate as a regular democratic state respecting the international laws and principles. Therefore, it is safe to analyze that Turkish Government can try some undercover operations by using mob groups or militia forces trained by the Turkish Intelligence overseas here in the U.S as well. Advocates of Silenced Turkey strongly urges U.S security forces to take all necessary precautions to protect the lives of the people who might be in danger.

For more detailed information about these risks, please look at the report prepared by the Advocates of Silenced Turkey on the current and possible threats supporters of the Gulen Movement face abroad titled “I Cannot Say We Are Absolutely Safe Even Abroad.” Read more here: https://silencedturkey.org/protection-of-hizmet-participants

Download the report on threats supporters of Gulen Movement face abroad as pdf: AST_Report_Threats_Gulen-Movement

We urge everyone to take action. Please express your views or send attached letter to your two senators and representative to protect dissidents of Erdogan in the U.S.

Find your representative: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative
Find your senators: https://www.senate.gov/senators/

Download the sample statement as pdf: AST_Letter_Threats_Gulen-Movement

Read more