Instead of using proxies, West attacks Turkey head-on

Hostility toward Turkey, which has been fueled by Germany and the Netherlands in recent months, is likely to get worse in the near future. Since 2010, European leaders – and, more broadly, the West – have been systematically fueling anti-Turkish sentiment by stigmatizing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. And the driving force behind the project to discredit the Turkish leadership has been the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) – a secretive organization led by U.S.-based criminal Fetullah Gülen. It is no secret that FETÖ operatives have been given free reign across the European Union. In particular, they have been extremely active in Belgium and Germany, where even the most racist, anti-Turkish and anti-Islam political parties have curiously refrained from targeting this self-proclaimed religious movement.

A closer look would reveal that the curious situation in Europe dates back to 2010, when the Western media started accusing then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of taking an authoritarian turn. In February 2010, FETÖ operatives within the Turkish government made public their dissatisfaction with the Erdoğan government's policies by arresting alleged members of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) – an umbrella organization of entities committed to Abdullah Öcalan's ideology. Months later, voice recordings purporting to document talks between PKK representatives and Turkish intelligence in Oslo, Norway were leaked to the press by the same group. What came to be known as the Oslo tapes were reportedly found on the person of Adem Uzun, a PKK member, by the Belgian police and handed over to Gülenist police officers in an attempt to derail Turkish efforts to disarm the PKK. Although both the Europeans and FETÖ operatives paid lip service to peace and reconciliation, their actions sent a different message. Over the years, FETÖ operatives played a crucial role in Western efforts to undermine the Turkish government. To nobody's surprise, their fingerprints were all over the Gezi Park protests, the judicial coup of Dec. 17-25, 2013 and media reports suggesting that Turkey was sending weapons to Daesh terrorists. At the time, European officials not only failed to take action against Gülenists but instead threw their weight behind their associates in Turkey. In other words, Turkey's problems with the EU did not start last week.

Meanwhile, the self-proclaimed leftists and Kemalists in Turkey carefully avoid the question of why spokespeople for their movement embraced FETÖ, which they themselves identified as a major national security threat. Nor are they willing to explain why the EU, which Kemalists consider an imperialist force, would harbor coup plotters or fail to condemn the July 15 coup attempt.

U.S.-based Fetullah Gülen

In the wake of the June 2015 parliamentary election, the Western media celebrated the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) failure to form a single-party government by drawing parallels between Erdoğan and the legendary Muslim ruler Saladin, proclaiming that "Saladin has been stopped." Today, the same papers urge Turkish citizens to vote against the proposed constitutional changes in the April 16 referendum. But the Turkish people have not forgotten about Western governments spreading fake news about Turkey's alleged support of Daesh militants.

Nowadays, some leftist intellectuals and politicians make the case that the EU criticizes Turkey due to the state of emergency declared by Ankara in the wake of the July 15 coup attempt. Needless to say, this claim is completely inaccurate. It is no secret that both Islamophobia and anti-Turkey sentiments have been quite widespread in Europe for some time. The dangerous trends across the EU were aggravated by the Turkish president's vocal critique of the West's double standards. But the eagerness of some Western figures to identify Turkey as the enemy reflects an underlying desire to redesign the world as they see fit. Why the West, where democracy and human rights originated, got to this point is an important question – the answer to which is their own strategy rather than Turkey's attitude toward them. Why Islam and Turkey have been stigmatized, refugees have been mistreated, the Syrian regime's atrocities were ignored, a red carpet was rolled out for the Egyptian junta leader Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and FETÖ operatives have been harbored would be a great place to start. The diplomatic spat between Turkey and the Netherlands represents a continuation of recent attacks by the West against the Turks. Having failed to weaken and take down the Turkish leadership through the proxy of FETÖ operatives, Westerners have now taken matters into their own hands. To be clear, their actions send a clear message to the Turkish people: April 16 will be a turning point in their country's history.

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