Presbyterian Church priest Andrew Brunson doesn’t hold his services in a big and impressing old church building. He works out of a small apartment in the city of Izmir, on the country’s Aegean coast, with usually up to 25 faithful attending services. But his troubles involve president and administration of the USA – and the Turkish government. Daughter Jacqueline Brunson Furnari testified on her father's behalf before the UN, European officials and US Senators. This big-size echo raises Turkish suspicion against Brunson. Sanctions have been exchanged between both countries: against potential bank accounts of acting ministers, two on each side, though both NATO partners know, that the effect will be zero: there aren’t any bank accounts to freeze. Ankara has requested an exchange: Brunson against Fethullah Gülen, worldwide well-known ex-friend of Turkey's popular and powerful president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, head of a global movement, complete with hundreds of schools and universities in more than 180 countries, with tens of thousands of alumni well-placed in their countries' administrations and companies. What is behind this bizarre-looking case?
Turkeys actual troubles are based a long and not so happy history, going back to the once huge and glorious Ottoman Empire and to old colonial times: too much for this article. But the death cases of Turkish chancellor Adnan Menderes (hanged, 1961, after a military coup, 1960) and President Turgut Özal (poisoned, 1993) should be taken into consideration: because both cases reveal a pattern, which casts a strong light on what is happening right now between Washington's masters and the Turkish nation. As any Turkish national can reconfirm, a saying circulated all over Turkey in the days of the failed coup against old and new president Erdogan, from mid-July 2016: "We have given you Adnan (Menderes) and Turgut (Özal) - but we will not give you Recep Tayyip (Erdogan)!"
Who is "you"? What crime made the two highly popular leaders meet their violent fate? And does the much-discussed Gülen movement fit the picture? Looking at Adnan Menderes, researching journalists face two pictures with a common background: Menderes opened post-Atatürk policies towards moderate Islam - while favoring poor conservative peasants and winning their votes. Reports of corruption and ladies, plus a strong hand in dealing with the opposition - that didn't shake the military apparatus, which was already a tool in Washington's hands, as is the case in all NATO countries. But his unbreakable popularity with the mainstream of underprivileged conservative muslims raised concerns of Turkey's alliance adhesion and reliability, correctly translated into a single word: OBEDIENCE. Obedience not just superficially to Washington's orders, but to the cartel system behind, traditionally represented among others by the US Council on Foreign relations, CFR. Menderes had won his last election with astonishing strength, right in the face of the real rulers of his country, reopening mosques closed under Atatürk, constructing new mosques and cultivating Turkish self-esteem. Analyzing this, a shockingly close connection to Erdogan's strategy jumps to the eye.
Likewise, the Özal case appears as a direct forerunner of AKP policies. The smallish and round figure pushed for urgently overdue modernization, at high cost and economic backlashes reminding very much of those at present, while at the same time strengthening Islam and dreams of an Ottoman renaissance. The latter should not be suspected as an effort to overrun numerous countries, but a peaceful return of united Islam and culturally respectful and wise administration of its nations. Özal worked parallel and successfully on several issues playing a prominent role in today's media. He undertook to solve the Armenian legacy, tried to come to terms with the Kurdish movements - to the acclaim of one of its leaders, Abdullah Öcalan, islamized the country by opening more Qur'an schools and organizing mullahs on state or public payroll. French president François Mitterrand called him a "visionary politician" and German president Richard von Weizsäcker lauded, that Özal "led Turkey back to democracy". Özal tried in vain to accomplish this by curtailing the military's interior power. Özal survived several attempts on his life, not only the one widely noted in 1988 - and died right before the first round of negotiations with Kurdish delegates.
"That said", Erdogan's efforts to crack down on the hitherto unimpeachable interior might of the military apparatus by way of the "Ergenekon" mechanism make absolute sense. To set out and try again the tradition of Menderes and Özal without addressing this overarching problem fist, would have cost Erdogan the support of many followers, since the mainstream of Turkish people, very much unlike e. g. the Germans, are politically well informed and conscious of history, events and their meanings. E. g. Hitler's tightly knit finance cartel links, with direct demands to attack France before the first instalment of 100 million Reichsmark was paid out to the Nazi movement: that is nothing the German mainstream is considering. Survival of many Nazis in post-war western Germany comes as a case of political or administrational negligence, instead of simple continuation of cartel influence. The Gülen movement with its truly global reach would in no way have been possible without at least strong tacit US support. And the recent history of the estranged friends, Gülen and Erdogan, does not draw a superficial picture of competitors struggling for power in Turkey, but street-wise self-made leader Erdogan using the movement on his way to power: with the clear-cut need to dismantle it, once the desired powerful position is within reach, same as the goal of true independence from Washington's whims and fancies. As we know, Erdogan succeeded twice, meaning: in both cases, the hitherto nearly almighty military sector and the Gülen movement. Asking for Gülen's extradition appears as a highly plausible issue in this given context.
Gülen's movement is often referred to by participants as "Hizmet" (Turkish: "Service") or the "Hizmet Hareketi" ("service movement") or as a Sufisminspired cemaat ("congregation", "community", or "assembly"); and it does have a Berlin-based German branch. Germany serves to this day as a save haven for all kinds of exiled Turkish officials, military officers, police, or with judicial background: you name it, Germany shelters them, much to the distaste and suspicion of Ankara. That comes to no surprise, as Germany has obviously made up a political business of fostering shadow governments and think tanks in exile, like in the cases of Syria and the PKK - and certainly at the discretion of Washington's masters. Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief-of-staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, plausibly suspects in tandem with the "Corbett Report", that the CIA linked up with the Gülen movement in the 2016 coup attempt.
Since then, what we see is, that in the case of the "journalist" Deniz Yücel, part of the CIA-founded powerful empire of "Axel Springer SE" media group, German ministers, officials, and even former chancellor Gerhard Schröder, are wasting precious time to travel to Turkey and talk to high-ups there, including acting cabinet ministers as well as president Erdogan himself, when it comes to the duration of prison stay (more than a year). The accusations by Turkish prosecutors told of favors to and co-operation with the PKK, an acknowledged terrorist group openly sponsored by Washington. Research into Springer's reach includes best BND (German Intelligence for international matters) connections of all media companies in Germany, under a CEO, Dr. Mathias Döpfner, declaring himself a "non-jewish Zionist".
This author remembers well his own 2015 case, when his not-so-legal irregular landing in Djibouti's main port at night and by the generous support of a courageous leading coast guard officer landed him in a port police prison, smart phone still at hand and working - and a German foreign affairs official in Berlin declaring to his wife: "Oh, this is this Mr. Hörstel - well, he may stay in prison for three more days." (Early release was then forced by the Facebook readership, who stormed and blocked the German foreign ministry's situation room by force of mass phone calls - and alerted the kind and co-operative Djibouti ambassador much the same way...)
As for pastor Brunson a Turkish source says: "He did everything except for his pastor job." Brunson was accused of being a spy and support for members of the Gülen movement and the PKK. The pastor lives in Turkey with his US-born wife Norine, opened the local Evangelical Church there in 2010 and was arrested (three months) after the failed 2016 coup, together with another 20 Americans – and his wife Norine, who was released only 13 days later. To Brunson's relief it is only fair and correct to state, that habitually and by force of the situation, opposition members all over the world turn to churches for safety and support, which generally leads to similar problems - which is no specifically Turkish issue. Thus church personnel's official relations habitually come under strain with local and national authorities. The comparably small size of Brunson's religious impact in Turkey may also have made him a preferred target of Ankara's anger with Washington's illegal policies of interference. Yet another path of analysis may be, that religious discrimination plays an unhappy role in the US and other NATO countries' home policies - and has angered muslims all over the world, so that the Brunson and other cases come as an opportunity for retaliation - quite popular in the global muslim community and a handy part of what president Erdogan publicly called an "Osman slap" over the US strategy of openly funding a PKK-ruled state right on the Turkish border and on Syrian territory. Brunson's case comes up again for hearing on October 12.
Is he guilty? This author truly cannot say. Should Turkey be condemned for its actions in the case? Hardly. US policy is risking the lives of thousands of Turks and other innocent people, and, if things add up, a huge war; for Washington, this is "business as usual".
It seems quite improbable, that Andrew Brunson's personal fate might in any way play a role in the decisions of US personnel who sacrifice millions of people in other countries and at home with a shrug; all of Turkey is just a black or white square in their murderous chess games - and Syria yet another.