American Mideast Coalition for Trump
August 19, 2016
Dear Mr. Donald Trump:
On the behalf of the Turkish Community in the United States, we greatly appreciate your public statements and your commitment to protect humanity against radical Islamism and jihadism.
Oftentimes, Turks have accused the United States of being responsible when the Turkish military engaged in coups against the Turkish government, which has happened several times since the 1960s. This old reflex appeared again after the botched coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
Suleyman Soylu, Turkey’s Labor Minister, declared that America was behind the attempt to overthrow the country’s Islamist President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Most of the pro-government media outlets teemed with conspiracy theories declaring that the United States was behind the coup. For example, in a column in Yeni Safak, a daily newspaper, Aydin Unal, an MP from President’s Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), suggested that United States army officers actually took part in the fighting.
However, secular Turks reject President Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton’s policy of cozying up to oppressive Islamic governments, coddling dictators and also cutting deals with the jihadists. We support backing reform-minded Muslims in their quest to spread secular democracy. The United States needs to side with moderate and reformist Muslims around the world. The killing of Turkomen/Turks, Alevis, Kurds, Yazidis, Christians and Jews in Iraq and Syria must be stopped. Humanity needs victories in Iraq and Syria against the jihadists of ISIS, al Nusra and al Qaeda, as well as the PKK terrorists and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists.
President Obama and Chancellor Merkel have been supporting President Erdogan. They spoke up for him during the coup in the name of democracy, in spite of his increasing violations of democratic freedoms and human rights. President Erdogan has proceeded to dismiss the policemen and prosecutors investigating his corrupt children who, though born poor, now have unexplained billions, In addition, Erdogan has arrested intellectuals, journalists and editors who have criticized him and has seized and closed newspapers, schools, hospitals and universities.
U.S. and European governments who have supported Erdogan so far should react to the mass arrests of military officers and public officials who had no role in the coup, but who are accused of being “Gulenist terrorists.”
Secular Turks believe that Fethullah Gulen is, in fact, a jihadist. He is a Pennsylvania-based Turkish and Muslim leader who has many followers in Turkey and around the world, leads an Islamic religious movement and owns the biggest charter school system in United States. He also has a long-time relationship with the Clinton family. Let’s remember that Fetullah Gulen has been accused of plots to overthrow Turkish President Erdogan previously. He has been put on trial in absentia at least three times in Turkey, and the Turkish government has repeatedly asked the United States to deport Gulen back to face justice. However, the U.S. government has denied all of these requests under the Obama Administration.
The purge arrests after the failed coup will induce many of the more talented Turks to try to emigrate instead of remaining in a country that is becoming increasingly Islamic and repressive. Thus, the economy will most likely suffer because capital will leave with them. Further, President Erdogan will continue his war against PKK terrorists, a conflict he deliberately restarted last year after being very tolerant in order to win nationalist support in the second election of 2015.
We are gravely concerned that separatism and the fracturing of Turkey’s territory is the likely outcome because Kurds dominate Turkey’s eastern provinces. President Erdogan will continue to Arabize Turkey. It is unfortunate that Turkey is becoming more like Iraq and Syria every day, and President Erdogan is becoming ever more staunchly conservative and authoritarian.
President Erdogan will most likely be tempted to encourage an Islamist counterrevolution after being empowered by surviving a coup. He has been working to transform the Turkish government from a secular democratic parliamentary system to an Islamic presidential system.
President Erdogan has pushed step-by-step to create an Islamic state during his entire political career. However, secular, educated Turks, mostly in the major cities, have resisted this push. They follow the principles of M. K. Ataturk, the founding father of secular and democratic Turkey. As he once stated, “My people are going to learn the principles of democracy, the dictates of truth and teachings of science. Superstition must go. Let them worship as they will, every man can follow his conscience provided it does not interfere with sane reason or bid him [to act] against the liberty of his fellow men.”
The United States, Europe and Russia have repeatedly stated that Turkey has never been fully committed to the war against Islamist groups in Syria. The United States has pressed Turkey to do more to stop jihadist fighters slipping in and out of Syria to join up with ISIS and other Islamist groups over the years. Turkey should be fully committed to fighting ISIS, which has carried out several big terror attacks inside Turkey, including the suicide bombing in June 2016 of Istanbul’s Ataturk airport.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter makes no secret of his distaste for Turkey’s president. There are many discussions in the Congress to replace the Incirlik U.S. Air Base with a base elsewhere in the region. Meanwhile, the terrorist Gulen movement may threaten Turkey’s stability, but nothing as seriously as the other jihadists both inside and outside the country. While Turkey needs its friendship with the United States more than ever, President Erdogan is putting the entire alliance at risk in a paroxysm of post-coup paranoia.
We believe that the following are key foreign policy principles which are critically important to establishing peace in the Mideast:
(1) Opposition to the destructive Iran deal signed by the Obama administration with the Ayatollah regime in Tehran, which has emboldened Iran to spread Shi’ite extremism and has led to a deterioration of human rights in Iran;
(2) Resistance to the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist influence in the United States and other countries;
(3) Commitment to destroy ISIS and push back against all terror groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah and other jihadi terrorists;
(4) Commitment to take action in defense of persecuted Christians, Jews, Alevis, Yazidis and all other religious minority victims in the Mideast;
(5) Determination to help in the creation of free zones inside Syria and Iraq to resettle refugees;
(6) Support for the formation of a reformist Muslim coalition against jihadists;
(7) Initiatives to help the Mideast become stable and prosper by eliminating the destructive influence of the Iranian regime in the region;
(8) Support for secular democratic governments in Muslim-majority nations.
Sal S. Simsek
Representative, American Mideast Coalition for Trump (AMCT) http://amctrump.org
Representative, Secular Turks for Trump https://www.facebook.com/SecularTurksForTrump/
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and reflect the view of the Secular Turks Organization.