Leaked audiotapes of Turkish National Security meetings, released anonymously on 27 March 2014 through YouTube, reveal the existence of a plot by the Erdoğan government to enter into open war against Syria. Seized with panic, the administration immediately moved to block access to YouTube, while denouncing a violation of National Defense secrets.
- Ahmet Davutoğlu, Yaşar Güler, Hakan Fidan and Feridun Sinirlioglu
March 27, 2014, excerpts from the recordings of a Turkish National Security meeting were posted on the Internet. Forthwith, the government shut down YouTube in the country.
According to these tapes, the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was planning a false flag attack to be executed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) against the tomb of Suleiman Shah in Syria to justify the intervention of the Turkish army in Syria.
Suleiman Shah, grandfather of Osman I, the founder of the Ottoman Empire, was buried in Aleppo. His grave was relocated in 1973, but it remains a Turkish extraterritorial enclave in Syria.
March 20, 2014, the ISIL called for the withdrawal of the Turkish special forces secretly deployed in Syria and threatened to destroy Shah Suleiman’s tomb should no change be forthcoming.
The problem facing the conspirators is that the ISIL has been occupying the tomb for months without any reaction from Ankara. The pretext, in itself sufficient, would therefore seem to be moulded to the need.
Here are the transcripts of the tapes :
Ahmet Davutoğlu : “Prime Minister said that in current conjuncture, this attack (on Suleiman Shah Tomb) must be seen as an opportunity for us.”
Hakan Fidan : “I’ll send 4 men from Syria, if that’s what it takes. I’ll make up a cause of war by ordering a missile attack on Turkey ; we can also prepare an attack on Suleiman Shah Tomb if necessary.”
Feridun Sinirlioğlu : “Our national security has become a common, cheap domestic policy outfit.”
Yaşar Güler : “It’s a direct cause of war. I mean, what’re going to do is a direct cause of war.”
Ahmet Davutoğlu : I couldn’t entirely understand the other thing ; what exactly does our foreign ministry supposed to do ? No, I’m not talking about the thing. There are other things we’re supposed to do. If we decide on this, we are to notify the United Nations, the Istanbul Consulate of the Syrian regime, right ?
Feridun Sinirlioğlu : But if we decide on an operation in there, it should create a shocking effect. I mean, if we are going to do so. I don’t know what we’re going to do, but regardless of what we decide, I don’t think it’d be appropriate to notify anyone beforehand.
Ahmet Davutoğlu : OK, but we’re gonna have to prepare somehow. To avoid any shorts on regarding international law. I just realized when I was talking to the president [Abdullah Gül], if the Turkish tanks go in there, it means we’re in there in any case, right ?
Yaşar Güler : It means we’re in, yes.
Ahmet Davutoğlu : Yeah, but there’s a difference between going in with aircraft and going in with tanks...
Yaşar Güler : Maybe we can tell the Syrian consulate general that, ISIL is currently working alongside the regime, and that place is Turkish land. We should definitely...
Ahmet Davutoğlu : But we have already said that, sent them several diplomatic notes.
Yaşar Güler : To Syria...
Feridun Sinirlioğlu : That’s right.
Ahmet Davutoğlu : Yes, we’ve sent them countless times. Therefore, I’ d like to know what our Chief of Staff’s expectations from our ministry.
Yaşar Güler : Maybe his intent was to say that, I don’t really know, he met with Mr. Fidan.
Hakan Fidan : Well, he did mention that part but we didn’t go into any further details.
Yaşar Güler : Maybe that was what he meant... A diplomatic note to Syria ?
Hakan Fidan : Maybe the Foreign Ministry is assigned with coordination...
Ahmet Davutoğlu : I mean, I could coordinate the diplomacy but civil war, the military...
Feridun Sinirlioğlu : That’s what I told back there. For one thing, the situation is different. An operation on ISIL has solid ground on international law. We’re going to portray this is Al-Qaeda, there’s no distress there if it’s a matter regarding Al-Qaeda. And if it comes to defending Suleiman Shah Tomb, that’s a matter of protecting our land.
Yaşar Güler : We don’t have any problems with that.
Hakan Fidan : Second after it happens, it’ll cause a great intern al commotion (several bombing events is bound to happen within). The border is not under control...
Feridun Sinirlioğlu : I mean, yes, the bombings are of course going to happen. But I remember our talk from 3 years ago...
Yaşar Güler : Mr. Fidan should urgently receive back-up and we need to help him supply guns and ammo to rebels. We need to speak with the minister. Our Interior Minister, our Defense Minister. We need to talk about this and reach a resolution sir.
Ahmet Davutoğlu : How did we get specials forces into action when there was a threat in Northern Iraq ? We should have done so in there, too. We should have trained those men. We should have sent men. Anyway, we can’t do that, we can only do what diplomacy...
Feridun Sinirlioğlu : I told you back then, for God’s sake, general, you know how we managed to get those tanks in, you were there.
Yaşar Güler : What, you mean our stuff ?
Feridun Sinirlioğlu : Yes, how do you think we’ve managed to rally our tanks into Iraq ? How ? How did manage to get special forces, the battalions in ? I was involved in that. Let me be clear, there was no government decision on that, we have managed that just with a single order.
Yaşar Güler : Well, I agree with you. For one thing, we’re not even discussing that. But there are different things that Syria can do right now.
Ahmet Davutoğlu : General, the reason we’re saying no this operation is because we know about the capacity of those men.
Yaşar Güler : Look, sir, isn’t MKE [Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation] at minister’s bidding ? Sir, I mean, Qatar is looking for ammo to buy in cash. Ready cash. So, why don’t they just get it done ? It’s at Mr. Minister’s command.
Ahmet Davutoğlu : But there’s the spot we can’t act integratedly, we can’t coordinate.
Yaşar Güler : Then, our Prime Minister can summon both Mr. Defence Minister and Mr. Minister at the same time. Then he can directly talk to them.
Ahmet Davutoğlu : We, Mr. Siniroğlu and I, have literally begged Mr. Prime Minster for a private meeting, we said that things were not looking so bright.
Yaşar Güler : Also, it doesn’t have to be crowded meeting. Yourself, Mr. Defence Minister, Mr. Interior Minister and our Chief of Staff, the four of you are enough. There’s no need for a crowd. Because, sir, the main need there is guns and ammo. Not even guns, mainly ammo. We’ve just talked about this, sir. Let’s say we’re building an army down there, 1000 strong. If we get them into that war without previously storing a minimum of 6-months’ worth of ammo, these men will return to us after two months.
Ahmet Davutoğlu : They’re back already.
Yaşar Güler : They’ll return to us, sir.
Ahmet Davutoğlu : They’ve came back from... What was it ? Çobanbey.
Yaşar Güler : Yes, indeed, sir. This matter can’t be just a burde non Mr. Fidan’s shoulders as it is now. It’s unacceptable. I mean, we can’t understand this . Why ?
Ahmet Davutoğlu : That evening we’d reached a resolution. And I thought that things were taking a turn for the good. Our...
Feridun Sinirlioğlu : We issued the MGK [National Security Council] resolution the day after. Then we talked with the general...
Ahmet Davutoğlu : And the other forces really do a good follow up on this weakness of ours. You say that you’re going to capture this place, and that men being there constitutes a risk factor. You pull them back. You capture the place. You reinforce it and send in your troops again.
Yaşar Güler : Exactly, sir. You’re absolutely right.
Ahmet Davutoğlu : Right ? That’s how I interpret it. But after the evacuation, this is not a military necessity. It’s a whole other thing.
Feridun Siniroğlu : There are some serious shifts in global and regional geopolitics. It now can spread to other places. You said it yourself today, and ot hers agreed... We’re headed to a different game now. We should be able to see those. That ISIL and all that jazz, all those organizations are extremely open to manipulation. Having a region made up of or ganizations of similar nature will constitute a vital security risk for us. And when we first went into Northern Iraq, there was always the risk of PKK blowing up the place. If we thoroughly consider the risks and substantiate... As the general just said...
Yaşar Güler : Sir, when you were inside a moment ago, we were discussing just that. Openly. I mean, armed forces are a “tool” necessary for you in ever y turn.
Ahmet Davutoğlu : Of course. I always tell the Prime Minister, in yo ur absence, the same thing in academic jargon, you can’t stay in those lands with out hard power. Without hard power, there can be no soft power.
Yaşar Güler : Sir.
Feridun Sinirlioğlu : The national security has been politicized. I don’ t remember anything like this in Turkish political history. It has become a matter o f domestic policy. All talks we’ve done on defendin g our lands, our border security, our sovereign lands in there, they’ve all become a common, cheap domestic policy outfit.
Yaşar Güler : Exactly.
Feridun Siniroğlu : That has never happened before. Unfortunately but...
Yaşar Güler : I mean, do even one of the opposition parties supp ort you in such a high point of national security ? Sir, is this a justifiable sense of national security ?
Feridun Sinirlioğlu : I don’t even remember such a period.
Yaşar Güler : In what matter can we be unified, if not a matter o f national security of such importance ? None.
Ahmet Davutoğlu : The year 2012, we didn’t do it 2011. If only we’d t ook serious action back then, even in the summer of 2012.
Feridun Sinirlioğlu : They were at their lowest back in 2012.
Ahmet Davutoğlu : Internally, they were just like Libya. Who comes in and goes from power is not of any importance to us. But some things...
Yaşar Güler : Sir, to avoid any confusion, our need in 2011 was guns and ammo. In 2012, 2013 and today also. We’re in the exact same point. We absol utely need to find this and secure that place.
Yaşar Güler: ..I mean, are we never going to be united on any matter? As long as we don’t have any national security we will never be united against anything. Nothing.
Ahmet Davutoğlu: We didn’t do it in 2012 or 2011. Had we made brave decisions in the summer of 2012..
Feridun Sinirlioğlu: They were their weakest back then (talking about the Syrian Government)
Ahmet Davutoğlu: ..there would be a comeback inside. It was like Libya there, this guy gone, that guy left (probably implying the Syrian officials who left their posts)...
Yaşar Güler: Mister Minister, unquestionably, what we needed back in 2011 as we do now were weapons and ammunition. 2012, 2013 and today. We are here at the same point. We absolutely need to find these and remedy it.
Ahmet Davutoğlu: You don’t need that much weapons and ammunition for there. We couldn’t get the human factor in order there.
Hakan Fidan: We’ve sent 2000 trucks (Original word: "TIR", meaning Transport Internationaux Routies, basically huge trucks that carry ship-carried containers) full of provisions.
Yaşar Güler: I don’t think weapons are needed there. That’s my personal opinion. What’s needed over there is ammunition. Yes indeed. Mister Minister, Mr Fidan here knows, we offered to give them a General. Mr. Fidan here requested it himself, personally. We approved it. We chose the General and the General went over there.
Feridun Sinirlioğlu: To be practical, our Minister of Defense needs to sign whatever that is necessary for the sake of this nation. Our Prime Minister needs to order it quite clearly.
Ahmet Davutoğlu: Actually, tonight..
Yaşar Güler: Tonight, sir, we have no problems.
Feridun Sinirlioğlu: An order for an operation tonight was given.
Yaşar Güler: We’ve issued a "blitzkrieg" message. Mr. Fidan may know it himself.
Ahmet Davutoğlu: Hakan, what are the complications that might happen if we send tanks?
Hakan Fidan: Now, without proper coordination, when we envisage the balance of forces..
Yaşar Güler: That’s why we need the MİT’s (the Turkish Intelligence) coordination, Mr. Minister.
Hakan Fidan: ..it’s not possible with the number of the armed people and their capacities.
Yaşar Güler: That’s why we’ve set the coordination of the MİT an absolute prequisite. Mr Minister, you have nothing to worry about tonight. Not tonight, not later. But we have something to deal with on the long term.
Ahmet Davutoğlu: I’m considering this as an option but we couldn’t convince people. We’ll send tanks and make fortifications. From thereon we need to consider a state of war and by doing that, entering a war. We are doing a military operation.
Yaşar Güler: It’s a direct act of war. What we are going to do is a direct act of war.
Hakan Fidan: Not with Syria.
Feridun Sinirlioğlu: It’s not an act of war against Syria.
Yaşar Güler: No, the guys..
Hakan Fidan: But hear me out, we know how to put two and to together (translator’s note: it’s quite ironic to hear this from a bunch of false flagging warmongers). Now, we know that what happens there has no real strategic value for us, besides the political outward appearance and whatever. Now, if we are going to enter a war, let us plan this beforehand and do it. Now, I..
Yaşar Güler: That’s what we’ve been saying since the beginning.
Hakan Fidan: Now, what I can’t accept is this: we are accepting the risk of using weapons for the sake of the Tomb of Suleiman Shah. It’s 10 acres of our country’s land and we are accepting to risk a war for it, for the *thing* of our 22-28 soldiers over there, for God’s sake, how many kilometers of this country’s land lie on the Syrian border? And we don’t risk a war for for thousands of kilometers of land and the lives of millions of people? That’s not logical! If we are going to use weapons, let’s do it from the beginning. If these guys pose a threat..
Feridun Sinirlioğlu: Now there’s an excuse for that..
Hakan Fidan: It’s different, having an excuse and justification.
Yaşar Güler: Now, our Foreign Ministry could never find an excuse for that..but they can for this.
Hakan Fidan: Let me tell you something..
Ahmet Davutoğlu: Keep this between us, but the Prime Minister told me on the phone that in this conjuncture, we count this (the proposed false flag attack on the Tomb of Suleiman Shah) amongst our options.
Hakan Fidan: Commander, if we really need a reason, I’ll send 4 guys to the other side, I’ll get them to launch 8 rockets at empty places. That’s no problem! If we need a reason, we can produce it. The thing is to show a mutual will for that. We are exerting a will for war here, and nevertheless we are making the same mistake as we always do, the mistake of not being able to think properly.
Feridun Sinirlioğlu: I’ll tell you this, it’s 10 acres of land. 10 acres of land is a very strong casus belli in the international jurisprudence, also for justification if we do this operation against the ISIL, we’ll have the entire world behind us. Have no worries about that.
Yaşar Güler: We have none.
Feridun Sinirlioğlu: I’m telling you all about this..
Yaşar Güler: Mr Minister, our forces there have been waiting at the ready for a year now. It’s not something we’ve done yesterday, they’ve been waiting for a year.
Hakan Fidan: I don’t get why we are waiting for (the proposed false flag attack on the Tomb of) Suleiman Shah at all.
Ahmet Davutoğlu: We did everything we could in diplomatic terms.
Feridun Sinirlioğlu: We need justification, justification.
Hakan Fidan: I told you, I can produce justification if need be. Justification is no problem.
Feridun Sinirlioğlu: Producing it is an another matter. We already have a pretty strong one.
Hakan Fidan: If need be, we’ll make an attack take place over there (the Tomb of Suleiman Shah), we’ll get them to attack it. We’ll do it, what I’m trying to understand is..
Feridun Sinirlioğlu: All this can be done, we’ll get everything done if need be..
Hakan Fidan: I mean if we are prepared to use all these, we should do this with a time and a place.
Ahmet Davutoğlu: Hakan, like you said, like you were implying, you’re right if it’s about making justification for the lack of a strategy. I mean, to these guys..
Attendant: Sir, before it.. (no, it doesn’t make any sense in Turkish either)
Ahmet Davutoğlu: Okay, we’ll go over there, I’ll be there in a bit. What I’m trying to say is that we couldn’t tell the American Foreign Minister to take strong precautions ever again.
Hakan Fidan: What I’m trying to say is..
Ahmet Davutoğlu: They’d say, "well, you didn’t even defend your own land". Many a times I’ve had amicable conversations with Kerry, he asked me precisely about whether we’ve agreed on a final decision on this strike..
Yaşar Güler: Sir, we have, a hundred times. With the United States..
Feridun Sinirlioğlu: Now listen to me, 3 days ago something happened in the General Staff (of the Military), they had a crisis coordination meeting. I saw it for the first time. The Americans..
Yaşar Güler: No, we do that sort of thing all the time!
Feridun Sinirlioğlu: No no, the Americans distributed the plans of the No Fly Zone in that meeting. For the first time. Did you know about that?
Hakan Fidan: What I am trying to underline is that if we are prepared to make such a serious decision stemming from such a reason as the Tomb of Suleiman Shah, if we are prepared for this..
Feridun Sinirlioğlu: Not only the Tomb..
Hakan Fidan: What I’m saying is this: if we are prepared to make such a decision, we should’ve already done it. Because of the threats and our best interests, that’s what I’m trying to say. The impotence of the Government, the strategic decision...
Ahmet Davutoğlu: Yes, if we made the call earlier on a smaller scale we wouldn’t have to face this choice now.
Yaşar Güler: But we already made the call!
Hakan Fidan: It wasn’t executed.
Yaşar Güler: We can’t execute the plan, for a number of reasons we are paralysed. The instruments of the State do not work at the moment.
Ahmet Davutoğlu: I can’t wrap my head around that, because of the legacy of this State which I have been taught. Would you accept something like this, what if, because of political arguments, things didn’t work properly at the Foreign Ministry?
Ahmet Davutoğlu: That sort of thing wouldn’t be legitimate! Everyone should do what they are tasked to do. What if the consulate says, mister minister, they can take me out, they are taking everyone out, what would you do? Wouldn’t we say, "well, it’s about time for you to get retired, we’ll replace you"? That’s how you do it. That’s how it works in a democracy..
Yaşar Güler: Mister Minister, you are right.
Ahmet Davutoğlu: From what I can understand, this State survives on the shoulders of a couple of people and institutions who can still make proper decisions.
Yaşar Güler: Absolutely, sir, absolutely..
Ahmet Davutoğlu: And are we going to back down from this?
Yaşar Güler: No, Mister Minister, we are not.
Ahmet Davutoğlu: Okay, let’s switch to the other place.