‘No coup in sight, but we may prepare conditions for one’
GRAPHIC: Sunday’s Zaman
One of the documents retrieved from the hard disks of computers at the Information and Support Unit of the General Staff strongly indicates that the Turkish military still includes individuals who seek to stage a coup d’état against the democratically elected government when conditions are favorable.
According to the document, the existing conditions were not favorable for a coup, but the pro-coup junta nested within the TSK could work to make them favorable. The document said the governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party) managed to win the hearts of people and increase its popularity among voters over time and that the military should “avoid any action that may be interpreted as interference in politics in the short run.” The atmosphere was not favorable to remove the AK Party from power, either, with or without the use of weapons, according to the document.
The document also said the ruling party was in harmony with “global powers” such as the US administration, the EU, Germany and France.
The document states that those powers support the AK Party, either willingly or unwillingly, in line with their own interests, but that the TSK was not in harmony with those powers. “Any action [coup] to be taken without harmony with those powers will heavily damage the TSK,” cautions the document.
Below you will find the full version of the document.
Some precautions that may be taken by the Information and Support Unit in the coming period
1: Below are some factors that may impact the methods of operation [psychological warfare] in the upcoming period:
a. Turkish people love and trust the TSK, and they do not want it to lose its power and prestige. But they do not approve of methods of operation [adopted by the TSK] that may be interpreted as interference in politics. Therefore, the TSK should avoid any action that may be considered interference in politics in the coming period.
b. Due to their low level of education and such reasons as poverty and unemployment, the Turkish people do not have a full perception of the TSK’s fight against religious fundamentalism, and they do not lend their support to this fight. [In other words, the TSK’s strategy of fighting against religious fundamentalism has failed to secure the full support of the people due to the people’s poor economic and social conditions.] People think the TSK acts radically and takes harsh actions in its strategy to fight religious fundamentalism. The strategy should be revised and transformed into a form that pays more attention to the sensitivities of the people. [There is no need to make a change in the essence of the strategy. We may make changes to the methods (of fighting as part of the strategy.) With this point in mind, we may make some structural changes in order to render all propaganda carried out against the TSK ineffective. We had better differentiate between acts of religious fundamentalism and religious activities.]
c. The AKP (as the AK Party is referred to by its critics) was swept to power once again [in 2007] by securing public support because it has brought economic stability to the country.
The economic stability in Turkey since 2003, however, does not stem from the AKP’s success in the field of economy but from the cooperation it has developed with global capital. [The power that has brought and administered economic stability in Turkey is global capital.]
The AKP will lose the support of the people only if its cooperation with [the powers that hold] global capital is damaged or if global capital loses its power in Turkey as it has done worldwide. It would not be appropriate to directly target the AKP unless the party loses the people’s support.
ç. Conditions are not favorable for removing the AKP from power either with or without the use of weapons (as on Feb. 28 ). The AKP was brought to power in accordance with the rules of democracy (legitimate methods) on July 22, 2007. The harmony of the AKP with powers that have influence over Turkey (such as global capital, the US administration, the EU and the EU’s engines Germany and France) is very strong. These powers support the AKP, either willingly or unwillingly, in line with their own interests.
The TSK, however, is not in harmony with these powers, and it does not act in cooperation with these powers, either.
Any action to be taken without harmony with these powers will bring heavy damage to the TSK. (The administration of the economy in Turkey is under the control of central powers, and the economic structure does not have a mechanism to defend itself. An action to be taken without harmony with those central powers may destroy all economic data within a day, and the value of one dollar may triple or quadruple and so may interest rates. In such an event, the public support that seems to be behind the TSK may drop to 5 percent.)
2: Under such conditions, the most proper strategy to be pursued as part of the psychological operation in the coming period is to wait for the destruction of the harmony between the AKP administration and the central powers and for global capital to lose its power. (When this happens, people’s support for the AKP will vanish.) The TSK should maintain its existing power and structure during this period of transition.
3: Measures that may be taken by the Information and Support Unit in this period of transition:
a. The perception [among the people] that the TSK is the owner and guardian of the state and that it considers itself above political parties should be weakened. (The TSK is thought to be intervening in politics, and effective measures cannot be developed to invalidate this thought.) The TSK should focus on such issues as “security and defense,” and its discourse and opinions should focus on these two topics.
b. Keep in mind that ministries, state bodies and institutions with which the TSK is supposed to cooperate are legal entities and act accordingly. Do not pay attention to the fact that those institutions may be politicized, engage in acts to discredit the TSK or the people at those institutions with which we are supposed to work with or cooperate may be engaged in activities of religious fundamentalism. (The relations with those institutions and people should be formal and not based on personal sentiments such as anger, sympathy or otherification. In other words, respect should be paid to “institutions” [not to individuals]. In this way, we will display a stance that the “TSK acts with the seriousness required in state matters.”
Do not display a different attitude toward certain people when cooperating with these ministries, state bodies and institutions, (do not act in a manner that could be perceived as the TSK’s opposition to some institutions) and do not develop any personal ties with men of the bureaucracy other than holding official meetings with them.
Display a similar attitude with the President’s Office, too; respect should be paid to the office itself, not to the man who sits in the chair of the president. (Cut the meetings with the president as short as possible and avoid criticizing or protesting the president.)
c. The TSK should continue to defend its own rights but should avoid any act that could be interpreted as a conflict with the political power or as interference in politics.
ç. Do not attend formal receptions or meetings where headscarf-wearing women are also invited; provide a legitimate excuse instead. If you happen to see any headscarf-wearing woman at any event you attend, give an excuse and leave the place. Civilian guests should be asked to attend events [sponsored by the military] without their spouses in order not to face provocative attempts such as the participation of headscarf-wearing women in those events. Guests may be allowed to bring their spouses to events that are only hosted by members of the TSK, and the media should be made to cover those events in their reports. For example, families of all TSK officers residing in Ankara may visit Anıtkabir (the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk). Citizens may also be urged to participate in this visit.
d. The AKP looks like a coalition party that is not homogenous but has members who defend different opinions. We should initially differentiate between groups and individuals within the AKP that have opinions against the TSK and act accordingly.
Different relationships may be developed with those groups and individuals, either directly or indirectly. Their opinions may be directed or shaped through the use of proper methods.
e. We should also differentiate between people who have religious identities but do not have anti-TSK attitudes or opinions and those who have pro-religious fundamentalist thoughts and anti-TSK opinions. We should prevent cooperation between these two groups against the interests of the TSK. The second group should be targeted and left alone, and the first group should initially be made to remain neutral. Then, we should urge the second group to act in favor of the TSK. (The most effective method to adopt is to make opinion leaders inside the opposing group change sides and then use them as a weapon against their original group.)
f. It would not be right to directly react to those who make provocative statements against the TSK.
Such a reaction would lead those people to be considered addressees or interlocutors for the TSK. Media outlets that publish such statements will focus on reactions coming from the TSK, and the intensity of the provocation will grow. Those who make statements to provoke the TSK are simple “hitmen.” The real instigators should be considered the real target, and the TSK should focus on them.
We may make statements, from time to time, as those statements are being followed by the TSK.
People who make those provocative statements should be noted down so that we can keep track of their activities. They may become targets of counter-attacks [by the TSK] in line with a loss of political power by the AKP.
g. It would be wiser to make use of “opinion leaders” instead of making direct attempts to invalidate campaigns to curb the power of the TSK.
Those opinion leaders should be supported indirectly, and they should be promoted in society. (For instance, writers, academics and artists loved and appreciated by students at military colleges may be invited for seminars or conferences.)
h. Indirect relations should be established with political parties other than the AKP -- to make them adopt and defend opinions also defended by the TSK. (We may use Nationalist Movement Party [MHP] Adana deputy retired Brig. Gen. Kürşat Atılgan in this sense.) Policies pursued by those political parties should not be criticized in the media.
ı. We should decide how to act on some issues that are used in campaigns to curb the power of the TSK (such as establishing gangs, participation in gangs, corruption and exorbitant spending). For example, staff who are accused of involvement in gangs or corruption should be condemned in the media and by people as is done by the Security General Directorate, and statements should be made that they have been suspended from office or sent to court [for legal action]. This would help the TSK to render the propaganda at the hands of its enemies ineffective.
i. Retired military staff should not be used in order to decrease the effectiveness of campaigns to discredit the TSK in the eyes of the people and shape public opinion in line with the opinion of the TSK. The experience of retired staff should be made use of at occasions organized and hosted by various civil society groups, but they should not be brought to the forefront in the media. (Retired military staff should be supported financially for them to be respected by civil society groups.)
Instead, the TSK should use civilian opinion leaders, and these leaders should be directly or indirectly supported.
j. The media in Turkey is under the control and monitoring of central powers. Therefore, the media is not an effective means to direct public opinion.
Despite these drawbacks, it would be a good idea to establish friendly relationships with the media. The TSK’s relationships with the media are not in compliance with the principles of communication. The relationships should be restructured. (Issues that are worth being reported cannot be effectively conveyed to the media. We should consult the opinion of civilian journalists on this matter.)
k. We should make use of the power of civil society organizations to impact public opinion. We should use “favorable” civil society organizations in appropriate projects instead of setting up such organizations to be run directly by the TSK. (Contact with those favorable organizations will be established through trustworthy people.)
l. Civilian websites should be set up and used as part of gray and black propaganda campaigns. The “appropriate staff” should set up the websites, and the reputation of the TSK should not be risked.
Covert and indirect support may be given to some websites and newspapers that have also adopted black and gray propaganda methods.
m. Opinion leaders that act in line with the interests of the TSK may be supported and promoted in society. The support may either be material or moral as well as direct and indirect.
n. Famous actors and directors may be asked to shoot films or soap operas to direct and impact public opinion about the TSK.
o. A news agency may be set up not to be fully controlled by the TSK but used as part of efforts to launch gray and black propaganda campaigns. (The cost to set up and run the agency will not be high. Required measures should be taken not to risk the reputation of the TSK.) The news agency may work over the Internet (with a website). Reports that contain gray and black propaganda elements and that fail to be published in the media may reach target groups in this way.
ö. People who broke away from target groups or were kicked out of those groups for various reasons and who have the ability to impact public opinion may be supported by various means. Public opinion may be shaped or directed in this way. For example, a man who broke his ties with religious fundamentalist groups may be urged to appear on [TV] programs in the media or write books. His books may be purchased to support him.
p. Some writers who have the ability to impact public opinion may be urged to write books to promote the image of the TSK in the eyes of the people.
r. Some scientists (researchers) may be urged to carry out public opinion surveys to impact the opinion of the people.
s. “Teams of enlightenment” may be established in order to render counter-propaganda attempts ineffective and protect (TSK) staff and their families from those attempts. Members of these teams may be picked from among colonels.
ş. Activities to inform the public can be more attractive.
t. Symposiums, meetings and commemoration events in which some opinion leaders also participate may be held to impact public opinion.