From the Tuesday Morning Jolt…
All the Troubles in the World
Hell of a Monday.
Let’s begin in the Turkish capital of Ankara, where all ambassadors and visiting dignitaries are now going to look at their local police security assistance with a new wariness:
Turkey identified the killer as 22-year-old Mevlut Mert Altintas, who had worked for the Ankara riot police for 2-1/2 years. Altintas, who also shouted slogans associated with Islamist militancy after shooting ambassador Andrey Karlov, was killed minutes later by members of Turkey’s special forces.
His mother, father, sister and two other relatives were held in the western province of Aydin, while his flatmate in Ankara was also detained, the state-run Anadolu agency said.
One senior Turkish security official said investigators were focusing on whether Altintas had links to the U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara blames for a failed July coup. Gulen has denied responsibility for the coup and Monday’s attack and has condemned both events.
The slogans that Altintas shouted, which were captured on video and circulated widely on social media, suggested he was aligned to a radical Islamist ideology, rather than that of Gulen, who preaches a message of interfaith dialogue.
“Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria. You will not be able to feel safe for as long as our districts are not safe. Only death can take me from here,” he shouted in Turkish.
In the eyes of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, everything that goes wrong in Turkey from here on out is the fault of Fethullah Gulen, surely making him the world’s first global conspiratorial mastermind to operate out of the Poconos.
Sean McMeekin, a professor of history at Bard College writing over at The American Interest, argues it’s time for the United States government to turn over Gulen, even if he had nothing to do with this attack or any others:
It may or may not be true that Fethullah Gülen is behind the thwarted coup, or the downing of the Russian warplane last November, or the murder of the Russian Ambassador in Ankara this week. So long as the U.S. continues protecting him, however, the cancer of anti-Americanism in Turkey will continue to metastasize, enabling Putin to turn NATO’s most strategically placed member country into a Russian satellite, albeit a reluctant and resentful one. Whatever strategic logic may once have explained the bizarre American romance with the controversial Imam of the Poconos has surely past its sell-by date by now. It is time for Gülen to face the music, whether in Washington, Ankara, or Moscow.
But the Gulen movement was allied with Turkey’s ruling AKP Party until 2012 or so, and there was no shortage of anti-Americanism in Turkey before then. Trust me. Back in 2006, when I was living in Ankara, I wrote:
The biggest would be the release of the widely-hyped new movie, “Kurtlar Vadisi Irak,” or “Valley of the Wolves Iraq.” The movie is a spin-off of “Valley of the Wolves,” a cheesy television show about gangsters in which Sharon Stone taped a cameo a little while back, playing an American gangster. The movie itself is a bouillabaisse of conspiracy theories about the American military doing nefarious deeds to Turks and Iraqis; imagine “Rambo” as written by Jane Fonda, Michael Moore, al-Jazeera, and former Iraqi minister of propaganda “Comical Ali.”
In the film, American soldiers in Iraq attack a wedding and pump a little boy full of lead in front of his mother, slaughter dozens of innocent people, shoot the groom in the head, and assist a Jewish doctor in an organ-harvesting scheme in which he strip-mines the organs of Iraqis and sells them to wealthy clients in New York, London, and Tel Aviv.
The film format for this propaganda is new, but the sentiment isn’t; last year’s hit novel “Metal Storm” depicted an American invasion of Turkey. The “Metal Storm” authors have begun creating spinoffs and copycats multiplying more rapidly than the “Left Behind” series.
If it’s not Gulen, it’s the Iraq War; if it’s not the Iraq War, it’s global Jewish banker conspiracies (Mein Kampf was a big seller in Turkey last decade). Paranoia is embedded deeply in the Turkish DNA. Deporting Gulen might buy the U.S. some short-lived goodwill, but there’s not much reason to expect it to last. (The Iranian revolutionaries didn’t warm up to America once the Shah left the United States.) You can’t stop Turkish paranoia, you can only redirect it to more useful courses.
Meanwhile over in Berlin…
A temporary accommodation center for migrants was stormed by police in Berlin early Tuesday after a suspected terrorist deliberately rammed a truck into a crowded Christmas market, killing 12 people and wounding nearly 50.
Special operations police raided a hangar at the decommissioned Tempelhof airport, where thousands of new arrivals from abroad have been sheltering.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said she feared the suspect may have been a migrant.
It would be “hard for us all to bear” if the perpetrator “was someone who sought protection and asylum,” she told reporters Tuesday morning.
Sorry, Germany, you’re just not capable of sorting through 2.1 million new immigrants in a year. Some bad guys are going to slip through – which is why sane countries don’t take in 2 million in a year.