tv Discussion on Turkish Intelligence Influence and Military Operations in... CSPAN November 12, 2019 9:43am-10:47am EST
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c-span.org/impeachment. >> here is part of a recent conference on u.s.-turkey relations. in this hour-long portion the conversation focused on turkey's intelligence operations and its recent military operations in syria. >> hello, everyone and welcome to the tid conference. thank you so much for attending, we would just want to remind you to turn off your cell phones. we have livestreaming today and we will also have time for your own questions. so, welcome again for coming here. we will discuss the u.s.-turkey relations this morning and much more. i am tal heinrich. >> turkish pred erdogan promised to end corrupt politics in turkey when he first established the party in 2001 erdogan was popular
because he claimed to be an honest politician, claimed more freedoms for the people of turkey and railed against dishonesty, corruption and fraud. over two decades as erdogan secured his political dynasty, he steered turkey from an open democratic society towards an authoritarian regime, all the while crushing his political opponents with an iron fist. turkey's invasion of northeast syria signals a return of turkish dominance in the region. for years erdogan has nutured, financed and supported extremist groups like al qaeda, isis, inside syria and all over the region. turkey invaded syria while ethnic ethnical ethnically cleansing the kurds and the u.s. retreated to iraq. turkey's exercising its influence over migrants in europe and gaining a closer
relationship to iran. turkey agreed to purchase an air defense system from russia knowing it cannot be integrated into the nato air defense network so these issues and many other complicate the united states relation with turkey. with all of this in mind we're going to ask this question today of what is a smart, efficient policy towards turkey these days, should the united states push away and punish turkey and by doing it, likely driving them towards russia, iran, china? to discuss all of this today we're joined by analysts, by journalists, by activists who help us answer these questions. we will start with a presentation from mr. ahmed yalea, former chief of the counterterrorism of the turkish
national police, but first we want to take to you an exclusive report that was filed yesterday from northern syria by lindsey, our reporter and tij board member. let's watch it. >> i'm in syria right now reporting on recent attacks by turkey and the turkish-backed army. and hundreds killed and thousands displaced. turkey and syrian proxies have cut crucial supply lines running bare lel to the turkish-syria border. loafing hundreds of thousands without access to clean water. aside from the civilians suffering that turkey attacks have caused they've caused a massive security issue here. we visited where 5,000 isis members from 28 different countries are held. in charge of the prison, they've told us there have been many escape attempts and isis
attacks from the outside. and we asked an isis member there does he want to return it turkey. many have been released. he went to the camp around 70,000 isis family members. the security forces there told us that since the turkish attacks began, many of the isis families escaped and more than half of the security forces that were guarding the camp had to go to other cities to defend against the attacks. and many isis family members, those without isis, want to return to turkey f they make it to turkey, they can make it to europe. i could spend an hour to listening to problems that turkey's attacks created in the area and important to ask why so many -- in this country, turkey calling an ally. >> thanks to this report from northern syria, her eye-opening account really shed light on
turkey's operations, conduct in syrian territory, but what about turkey's operation here on u.s. soil? this question sets us up for an exclusive report written, by the ex-chief of turkey's police, how turkey is conducting influence operations to american muslims, the lobbying that we're witnessing. welcome. >> good morning. >> good morning. >> welcome and thank you for attending our panel. i'd like to be very brief. a report released to us last night so i'm going to defer mostly to the report, but i'm going to highlight some important parts of the report and our findings. this has been an ongoing
research maybe for the last year, and i tried to base everything in this report on evidence that i was able to collect. the data includes over 950 references to the report you can see. first i'd like to go background, go over the background. in the united states in regards to president erdogan, we need to understand his mindset. when he established the atp in 2001 and after beginning the election in 2002, when he was banned to become a parliament member, he immediately realized he had an establish better and closer relationship with the united states. so since then, he has been given a importan important prio which is relationships with the
united states. even though his ideology and approach he adopted is not close to the united states. when he became the prime minister after meeting with president bush, he forced almost seven years, did not ultimately oppose the united states. his with the united states and the was first when he assigned the intelligence in 2010. at the time we see the start. and immediately after the assignment of the confidante, what he also see is assignment of officials loyal to erdogan here in the united states, but also other parts of the world. and then he increased his lobbying activities, paying
millions of dollars to different american lobbying companies. and in 2010 what we see is increasing effort to connect with the american muslim organizations, often times that meant funding them extensively. that wasn't enough for president erdogan. he was not happy with the results so he realized he had to establish his own institutions, 100% loyal to him, like front organizations working for himself only not for the state of turkey. and then after the election of president trump, he played on the people who were close to president trump to influence his decision making process. what we see for the last few years he has increased his intelligence activities here in the united states. all the while, while we talk about these issues, we need to
understand why erdogan is doing all this. what is the reason behind his scheme. the people around him, his friends and some political groups around the world, whom erdogan spots, assured that he is the only remaining leader that could represent the muslims all around the world, particularly the sunni islam world. what we see after 2010, erdogan rallying around the world in northern after africa, talking to them in large demonstrations, often times raising the issue of islam as his priority and representing himself as the representative of those muslims. and when he won elections in
2011, he was to the congress, hess party had in 2012. during that meeting, the leader of hamas referred to him. my brother erdogan, thank goodness god gave you so much and you deserve it. you are also a leader of the muslim world. at the time we also see like from the new york times -- starting to write about erdogan's intentions, particularly in northern africa, in egypt, in syria and in other places and it just wasn't enough. at home. he was also trying to rally behind his understanding, representing himself the leader of islam. for example, a journalist wrote with him erdogan will establish
the real islamic caliphate. and around the history office. he says anyone who does not work for erdogan is an infidel. meaning an unbeliever. beyond these domestic voices, we also see people who are affected by other terrorist organizations, supporting erdogan. a good example, who was listed as an affiliate by the u.s. treasury. openly said that and wrote an article about erdogan. >> we are overjoyed by
erdogan's election -- so this is a guy who represented. but all the while these are happening, erdogan was not happy the support he was getting from the american-muslim communities and the turkish in the united states. he went to his former lobbying channels, the millions he was paying in the united states was not enough. and so he decided to expand his influence by working with the muslim american communities as most of the times compared to the turkish supporting erdogan, these muslim-american communities were established way before erdogan's reign. so he reached out to organizations and in 2014 he supported the establishment of u uscmo as an organization, a
federation about these organizations led by jamal, erdogan's supporter year in the united states. in addition to that, he started to establish his own institutions. in 2014, for example, he established turkish heritage organization and i'm going to talk about it. and then like a foundation led by erdogan's son where he leads educational activities, they have almost, i think, around now 16 around the world where they host students. and he increased his intelligence operations in the united states. a few examples. last month, erdogan was here for the meetings. and who leads the uscmo organization about these organizations spoke at this at erdogan's last presence.
he says, you give us a sense of pride, and an honor to meet a president and a leader and a wonderful human being with patience -- for muslim inmates. the imam in brooklyn, new york said we need leadership pointing to the leadership of erdogan. i have a feeling that the leadership is coming from turkey. we love you here in new york. speaking to erdogan erdogan when he was addressing the crowd said i think that the u.s. muslim community is becoming more organized every passing day and try to act in cooperation. of course-- to better understand his support amongst these groups, we can go directly to 2017 from
eight different groups through the relationship of jamal, the cousin of president erdogan, leading task, direct yiives -- demonstrations and guess what, they chanted to erdogan during those demonstrations. so then you look at the turkish institutions established or taken over by president erdogan and his supporters here in the united states. maybe the most important one is the new turkish mosque as it's called, dca. and then the organization the tu
tushish-- turkish foundation and a usa newspaper. we do not have time, but i will try to give examples as we go. ... when you look at erdogan's intention to reach out to president trump and tried influence his policies towards himself, not turkey. what we see is his cooperation with general flynn when he was
-- hiring rudy giuliani, adam will talk about him. also giuliani met with erdogan in turkey several times. in addition to that his law firm was used as the agent of the turkish government. in another attempt to connect ties to the trump administration and president trump himself. erdogan took his son-in-law and -- the son-in-law of the ceo group in turkey who forced trump hotel in -- they had meetings and tried to use that connection to influence president trump.
when you look at the intelligence operations here in the united states, i put a lot of examples in the report. since i will have ten minutes left what i'm going to do is read a few excerpts from michael rubin will be speaking on her second panel. turkish national intelligence, erdogan risks a long-term relationship with the cia by running cooperations here in the united states, when erdogan push the opportunities here in the united states. rather than heed their advice, erdogan's response has just been to transfer. we organize to put political loyalists in place. in addition to these intelligence operations, two important establishments, the turkish organization and bca are among the front organizations
where erdogan's intelligence operations are basically used. on september 27, 2018, wrote or quoted erdogan, despite being a nato ally turkey -- [inaudible] on foreign soil, including united states. he is in united states. so what is this? this is a huge mosque built on which the funds provided by turkey, the turkish state, over $110 million, ten miles from washington, d.c. in maryland. what we increasingly see, these kind of mosques in the united states and around the world as being front organizations to reach out to not only turkish diaspora in those countries, and
also the muslim communities to establish connections. under normal circumstances, it was a nonpolitical organization trying to serve all muslims and turks but increasingly we see it becoming front of the political islam and the political tool for president erdogan. around the world what we see is a lot of different mosques and the office is working in those mosques paid by the state of turkey, essentially from the turkish state, carrying out spying operations against the opposition of president erdogan. in fact, because they are
turkish officials the intelligence has a powerful leverage against them to force them despite even if they do not want. for these people it is impossible to say no, not only because if they say no, they are going to lose their jobs. they're going to get purged, but also their families are going to suffer as there are a lot of examples of these instance. and orders coming from the diyanet in ankara in different amounts working in mosques around the world and there are thousands of them. the basically, to collect information and spy on the turkish diaspora in the countries, and particularly in europe we have seen out of
investigations against those turkish imams, some of them had to leave those countries because of those investigations. turkish organizations established in the united states in 2014 is a great example of how erdogan is using front organizations. based on the leaked e-mails of erdogan's son-in-law and the minister of finance in turkey, we realized that he worked with -- to establish this organization as a nonprofit and basically while presenting his ideas -- excuse me. to president erdogan and his son-in-law, he collected we can use this ngo to pay to the
people i containments, politicians come for research activity otherwise would not be able to pay. which he wrote openly in his presentation. seeing that and realizing what using and the united states, again based on the leaked e-mails, we learned that the fbi interrogated four people. of trying to intervene in american politics on behalf of president erdogan and working as a secret agent in the name of republic of turkey. and he was denied to return back to the united states. and later on he was replaced by
another gentleman to lead the turkish organization. a turkish businessman represents the -- who also owns a newspaper in the united states. to stand behind erdogan and do whatever we can do against the evil powers is not just an act of -- but rather an islamic obligation upon all of us. so this is this scheme of erdogan's support. funded through the direct involvement of president erdogan to do the front business organizations that directly work with hup projects, receiving billions of work from turkey's
state contractor in fact, the companies are among the ten highest government receiving companies in the world as it is listed and presented in the report. based on e-mails of berat albayrak canada carried is fino turkey collective intelligence on the opposition, including personal files the people who were deemed as opposing erdogan, getting copies of personal files from different companies and 70 them to berat albayrak, to his personal e-mail. what we also see a clear high risk organization between the turkish organizations and turkish embassy here in washington, d.c. as danismaz was emailing e-mailing back and forth with the ambassadors, he clearly was telling him what to do or how to
proceed. so i don't want to take too much of your time. i'm just going to go over my executive summary of the findings out of this report. so most people today, erdogan has been politically a mutual state resources to mobilize support in united states for himself and his party. among these, benevolent institution, diyanet is a large organization with almost 200,000 offices working for this state organization. erdogan has engaged in manipulation of islam for his personal objectives. when he talks about islam and his activities to support the muslims, basically the religion became a political tool for him,
as oftentimes the people who are interacting with him are not aware of his corruption, , his deep corruption, his atrocities not only in turkey against his opposition, but also the people in syria, including how he armed terrorist organizations and led to the death of thousands by the arms, explosives provided by turkey. based on the report, in the uk, almost all materials that isis used to produce its explosives were provided by turkey. a portion of the turkish diaspora loyal to erdogan has worked with the turkish government. sometimes based on the loyalty erdogan, sometimes through the precious coming to the
intelligence agency. erdogan's american sports that sometimes gone as far as committing illegal acts. the best example, how they beat the demonstrators in front of turkish ambassadors residence when erdogan was visiting the united states. next, please. turkish officials joined erdogan and some american folks who back erdogan may be engaging and open activity of half of the turkish national intelligence agency. sometimes this is based on the belief in resident erdogan, sometimes because they are family members they have home in turkey and they are scared that those people, the family members to get arrested and tortured by
president erdogan. american muslim organizations may failed to document their financial support. support they receive from the turkey, some of which apparently have been in cash as presented in the report. turkish government in just listed in the report may be disguising different activities and the sources of their fronts as required on this fara foreign agents. thank you for your time. [applause] >> thank you. our first panel of the day will discuss a new phase of the syrian civil war which started with the invasion of turkey to
the north, and the decision of use to first completely pull out followed by a partial reversal from the white house to leave some troops to protect the oil fields in the east to analyze turkey's power-play in the new balance of power shaping in syria. would like to welcome someone who has a first-hand knowledge and an unfortunate experience with competent dynamics on the ground in syria. i would like to welcome award-winning american journalist and author ceo. seo theo was kidnapped in syrian 2012 by al-nusra front, the former al-qaeda affiliates in the country. theo was being held in captivity for almost two years and he was later freed after the state of qatar payday multimillion dollars ransom. we also have the distinct pleasure to welcome mr. david
[inaudible] >> thank you all for being here today. thanks for your invitation to the important conference. whenever ahmet invites me i try to attend. can't wait to read the report in its full-length. president erdogan has justified turkey's invasion and occupation of syria on national security grounds. nothing could be further from the truth, since truth is an important part of our conversation today. in fact, the syrian kurds have never launched a cross-border attack against turkey. the people's protection forces, the syrian democratic forces have never been involved in any aggressive activities towards turkey. what erdogan is doing, in fact, is trying to distract and obscure problems that he has at
home at richard holbrooke with i worked you to say to slobodan milosevic that would we try toe the problem by creating a bigger one. this is what erdogan is doing in syria. the problem for erdogan is domestic. after the coup in 2016, erdogan turn turkey into a giant blog, systematic denial of rights -- who log -- using article threes are one of the penal code which makes it a crime to denigrate turkish is, to arrest political opponents. 100,000 civil servants were suspended. more than 50,000 people were arrested. turkey has more journalists in jail today than any of the country in the world. turkey has serious economic problems under the leadership of
erdogan. i looked this morning, the turkish leader is trading at 5.7 to the u.s. dollar. a couple of years get it was just a little bit above two. foreign direct investment in turkey has all but evaporated. there's widespread corruption, and erdogan has found the best way to distract turks from this reality is demonizing and killing kurds. the setback that it the akp experienced in local elections in march and june is a measure of the fact that turks are growing disaffected with erdogan, with his obfuscation and his policies, creating a conflict in syria plays well with the domestic audience. if there's anything that turks can agree on, it's the idea that kurds represent a threat, and as
erdogan stormed believes, the only good kurds is a dead occurred. erdogan has tried to conflate the pkk and the pyd, at the democratic union party. when the u.s. expanded its military support to syrian kurds he asked, are you with the turkey, your nato ally, or are you with the terrorists? and to be honest, the pkk and the pyd share an ideological affinity, one of the things i was struck by in my last trip was the presence of abdullah posters on every street corner. but, in fact, they share a historical and ideological base, but they are technically and functionally distinct. the u.s. government never listed
the ypg as a foreign terrorist organization. if it had and would not have been able to provide weapons and material support in the fight against isis. in fact, the syrian democratic forces are ennoble and reliable ally who proved themselves to be indispensable in fighting the islamic state and destroying its caliphate. 11,000 syrian kurds died at the behest of the united states, and 23,000 were wounded. and for this president trump has thrown them under the bus, abandoned them, and surrendered the battlefield to erdogan. now the state department has said we are aware that many pkk militants have joined the ypg, that there's always been a clear separation between the two. major general james gerard special operations commander for iraq in syria indicated there's
a lot of people who equate them but i've not seen any practical indication of that. erdogan sees syrian kurds as an existential threat. run java which is a living example of grassroots democracy, ecological justice, women's empowerment and decentralization is a threat to turkey and its centralized and authoritarian form of government. erdogan has also -- i'm going to take more time the net. sorry if that's the case. >> i would like to bring the you into the conversation. >> so i will finish when i finish. so the other thing that erdogan is proposed to do is to move one to 2 million syrian arab refugees back into northern syria. in order to do that he's proposed to ethnically cleanse northern syria of its kurdish
inhabitants. add to my and disgust, president trump has endorsed that policy by saying turkey needs to cleanse northern syria for its security reasons. there is well-documented ties between turkey and isis. after the regime used chemical weapons on the 21st of august in 2013, killing 1429 people -- greg, hi. [inaudible] >> no. you're going to hear from the for bit longer than that. sorry. erdogan took it upon himself to go after the regime, and he established the jihadi highway to raqqa, provided weapons, money and logistics to islamist groups.
this is known as the highest levels of the u.s. government and vice president biden at the time spoke at the kennedy school on october 6 sixth picky set or biggest problem was our allies, the turks, the saudis, they were so determined to take down assad and essentially have proxy sunni-shia war that they poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of weapons in two anyone who would fight assad. this is all done in plain sight. this was confirmed by eyewitness accounts. the editor in chief of -- reported on weapons transfers from turkey isis. he was convicted and had to flee to germany for his own safety. and columbia university also documented these facts. we created an international team of researchers and produced a report that not only document the flow of weapons and
logistical assistance but also ties between turkey and isis oil. the isis oil transfer was managed by -- and when and before onto ships own by the dnc crew. the profits was reinvested in addition to the data in the report atlantic council here in washington took $1 million on energy ministry. that might as well have been a check written by isis itself. so in the interest of time i think i will move ahead to the incident in 2018. turkey launched an unprovoked attack. the kurdish defenders were no match for turkey's warplanes. as result 300 kurds, christians and use these were killed and there were 300,000 internally displaced persons. the ssa committed war crimes.
the middle i did the bodies of female fighters. they cut off their breasts and posed for salafis, which they then posted. a 12-year-old boy was filled topic of that of a syrian soldier at the behest of isis. when i was in there i interviewed a woman who fled. she was leaving the town holding her daughters hand with a missile came and killed her daughter. all that was left was the mother holding the hand of her child that had been severed at the elbow. this woman was in clearly strong and resilient, just broke that in cheers sharing that personal tragedy with me. we all know about the trump erdogan phone call and october six. the matter how much they try to walk back the truth, trump is a green light to turkey to invade and occupy syria.
since then how did the people been killed, including many civilians, at least 250,000 internally displaced people. now turkey is planning to the creation of its buffer zone to remove kurds from their historic villages and homeland. we have seen mobile phone recordings of islamists kicking a pile of kurdish corpses, jihadists screaming at a female fighter calling her a horror. and a paid, warning we have come to behead you infidels. the fsa has committed summary executions. you will know about the story of -- a kurdish politician whose murder was videotaped and broadcast. in addition to that the fsa and turkey have committed other war
crimes. it prevents civilians to being evacuated from conflict areas. it bombs schools and hospitals. turkey has used white phosphorus and napalm in heavily populated civilian areas. war crimes have been confirmed by the u.n. independent international commission of inquiry, and amnesty international has said that the fsa demonstrates a shameful disregard for civilian life, including through summary tellings and unlawful attacks on civilians. erdogan gloats over these incidents. he views even old women and children as terrorist. anyone who is an opponent to erdogan is considered to be a terrorist. now, , i published some findings about the apprehension of baghdadi. you may a policy my article. he was five kilometers from the
turkish border took every discomfort was network of tunnels. there was one tunnel that was unsealed. did that, leave to a turkey military base or to turkey itself? and here we have now on the eve of a state visit by erdogan to washington, and on veterans day, some serious second thoughts about what's going on. u.s. forces who fought side-by-side with the, who detained isis fighters are appalled and disgusted i the fact that turkey has come in and these isis fighters have had a reunion with their fsa brethren. turkey often says it's indispensable as a nato member. well, because turkey is antidemocratic, anti-american
and anti-western, if it applied for nato membership today, its application wouldn't even be considered. erdogan shouldn't be in the white house on wednesday. he should be in jail. trump's camaraderie with erdogan is disgraceful, to quote our president. it's time for a regime change in both turkey and the united states. war criminals are not welcomed in democratic and freedom loving societies. so i apologize running over but i had some very interesting speech we have very strict time here and everyone wants to have their lovely coffee breaks or your choice join us to after the intro and bring theo in this conversation. theo, you were in syria in the early years of the civil war. tell us at what point did you encounter turkish presence there? was it during your captivity? >> yeah. yes, some of the most brutal,
horrible torturers were turks. i don't blame this on the turkish government however. listen, at the very beginning of isis, before the wasn't isis, the important terrorist in syria were one big happy family. some iraqis, some turks and some come miniseries. the headquarters was hospital in aleppo, a compound of hospitals. the children's hospital and i hospital all these happy tears were gathered in the basement and torturing people, killing people and among the people yes were turks but there also kurds there. there were europeans, canadians. it was like an international sort of confederation of mujahedin. the reboot. i'd ask the syrian, like -- to protect me from the turkish guys because the turkish guys were still out of control guide to say to the series, like --
protect me from the turks because because these the strue out of control. look, i don't line erdogan for this. he's not responsible for everything. >> these are individual, young turks across the border or maybe were expelled in turkey for being extremist? >> i have no idea. they just want me to speak turkish. i i said i can't speak any turkish. but a no, listen, when i was in -- before and, before i was kidnapped by al-nusra, those like a highway should mention. >> the jihadi highway. >> all going into turkey. i mean, into syria. they were using turkey as like a rest and relaxation sort of so before and after. >> explain how easy was it, according to what you witness, to cross -- the sums it up, into come from suit and 20.
>> like back and forth. i would often ask my captors, how's it going? well, we had to go to turkey denied, get some knives. they knew they could bring supplies. but listen, you are angry at the turkish government. maybe just five or so but what about own involvement, the u.s. government, in our own crazy ambassador ford was in turkey supplying these lunatics from the fsa and from al-nusra and from isis. allegedly these people were moderates, our government like samantha power and ben rhodes and all these, if the obama administration said shirley we have to oppose assad come he's wicked. the conclusion i trump from your presentation you just made is the logical, the greatest, the simplest route to peace for the most people in syria is to support the assad government. it has to be. it has to be, because the
destabilizing force in this area is as you point out, the isis guys, the free syrian army guys and al-nusra were basically the same thing. who oppose these people the most effective opposition force on the ground in syria is of the syrian government. >> so in other words, let's circle back to david's remarks earlier. do you think, david, what president trump is now doing is sort of restoring the balance of power in syria between extreme sunni elements, extreme she elevates? and this is why we see what's unfolding now in the north in the agreement between the u.s., turkey, russia? >> u.s. policy is to incoherent to be referred to as restoring a balance of power. u.s. policy, plain and simple, is a betrayal of people with whom we fought against isis. i take a look at of exception to your comment. it's hard for me to suddenly embrace bashar al-assad is
committed terrible war crimes, whose use chemical weapons against his own people -- >> according to a speedy according to people i've interviewed on the grid and are you know as well. >> of course. i realize this is widely believed but i do not think it is widely -- i don't think his scientific established. in any case where no idea what that also provoke a cable using chemical weapons. and a a stolen from the regimed have little chemical weapons labs. i mean, listen, they committing war crimes against one another in that country. the solution for the most peace as quick as possible as a monopoly of the source code is to get the chemical weapons out of everybody's hands obviously. but also a monopoly of force extinguish the problem of your kurdish friends who are being murdered by the fsa. >> so clearly syria has won the war. >> right. >> now there's an effort underway to viewing constitutional committee to open a door to a political dialogue
to talk about a new constitution. the time to intervene on behalf of of syrian rebels was years ago, and we missed that opportunity. so we contribute it to a circumstance today declared a red light and not enforcing it by president obama was a strategic mistake. >> really, because if they had enforced the red line i would've been killed. if we had gone and bob syria at the time this was in 2013, was it not? you said obama should've gone in and drawn a red light. what we did then? he would've started bombing syria. if they bombed syria at the time these people had a gun to my head. if one of your bombs touches one of the heads of one of our guys, you will die. by the way, this is why -- when we started bombing isis the isis people had begun at foisted and isil people's that if your government bonds one of our guys we will kill them.
as soon as we bombed, they killed him. >> symmetry action occurs in the back in. how how we reacted to use of chemical weapons which was abhorrent? that might've precipitated a negotiation and the work might've ended for the end of calendar year 2013 but assad said the keys to making them. >> he might've been required to do so -- >> by? >> by a lonely forced. >> but would've happen to the 4 million alawites that depend on him for protection and all the other minorities in syria? >> this was previous to russia's involvement. we can look in the rearview mirror and second-guess what might have happened. what we have now is a situation where the civil war has been going on for many years, many hundreds of thousands dead, 13 million displaced. i'm not going to be an apologist for the assad regime -- >> i don't want to talk alternative history now about what happened. let's talk about what is now unfolding in syria. where do you think this could
lead turkey? how long can turkey state in this country? is a going to be something which is reminiscent of israel's presence in southern lebanon 18 years and eventually the very enemy that there to fight with would be emboldened because turkish -- kurdish autonomous aspirations? at the end of the day we all racing demonstrations of support in the west to kurdish aspirations. their plight is on the international agenda. is it going to backfire in%? >> so turkey's invasion and occupation in northern syria will prove to be erdogan's waterloo. it cannot occupy over a prolonged period of time in northern syria. the kurds have a long history of struggle. they will continue to resist. the fsa and turkish forces will bear the brunt of its retaliation. >> why are the kurds failing time and time again to gain their autonomous territory, the
and iraq or be in java? >> we supported a flawed iraq policy in iraq. we ignored 93% of iraqi kurds who voted for independence. >> well, they are not united. kirkuk fell because it is an open the door for soleimani. >> we opened the door to around comfortably on the kurds is a mistake. it speedy lack of kurdish unity. >> we know there's a problem with lack of curtis unity. it's always been the case. the 30 years i worked on the issue it's been a problem. if a you a supportive for the kurds had supported self-determination for iraqi kurds and it stood by its allies in northern syria, the whole course of events would have been different. and i daresay you might still have survived and be with us today. >> all right. i also want to ask about ice is because earlier we played this
video from syria and she says she's definitely a documentary and she goes into places where isis president of being helped she talks to them and they tell her we want to go to turkey. why do they want to go to turkey, theo? turkey means impunity? >> i suppose it probably does. it's the most peaceful alternative for them at the moment. they are hoping for for a frees ride back to germany and holland. >> they want to go to turkey because that's where they came from. they got their money and the weapons in the logistics of turkey from the national intelligence agency. it's all part of a systematic plan by the turkish government to project turkish interests. in the case of syria, turkish interests aligned with key heidi groups. >> tell me what is driving erdogan. is it really about domestic politics, or is it something bigger and what some refer to as ottoman aspirations and the dream of sunni predominate in
the region? or is it really all about politics beckham? >> it's about his legacy. the 100 you are consenting of the founding of the turkish republic erdogan once to be remembered as some of who is greater or equal to -- so projecting turkish power and creating these regional disturbances is all part of erdogan's plan to show that turkey is a big boy on the block and has to be reckoned with. also want to adult i heard a report today that the armenian patriarch was assassinated by the fsa ostensibly. turkish officials that said the kurds have been targeting christians in northern syria. in fact, the exact opposite is true. kurds have been protecting them. what we will see is that christians in northern syria are going to suffer more and more targeted assassinations just like the one we saw today.
>> talk to me a moment about the free syrian army. because this military sort of body has been gaining international attention only lady but it was conceived about a month ago. his offensive turkey has built its mosher? >> to dignify by calling them a military body. they are gangsters, criminals and mercenaries. they are the dredge and rejects of all the other islamic groups that we try to equip and train. when we discontinue our equipment train program after we spent $500 million and had succeeded in preparing four to five fighters on the battlefield, turkey picked up the reins at it sponsored the fsa. these guys are the worst of the worst. in my remarks i talked about mutilating women, , taking salas with her body parts, committing assassinations like -- these people should be either shot on
the ground, one way or the other. >> theo. >> i know these people individually. they are not -- [talking over each other] >> the group i was part of, these to call themselves -- like the eastern part of -- and now they call themselves -- because they get kicked out by isis and when they went, they basically went on vacation to turkey for a little while. i'm not sure, they were not like the worst of the worst that they are just average mujahedin, but they were very speedy average mujahedin? >> yes, syrian dudes but they were very angry and violent and they continued to be this way. i fall them on twitter. they follow me. if you have any questions about like a state of mind at the moment you can just tweet to them and -- you can ask them him what's going on with them. >> you can check their what's up
account when they call kurdish women and takes and threatened to behead them. there's not people who want to be associate with. there's a people we want to target and put pressure on militarily. >> before we wrap up and had to a coffee break i want to read to you quotes the president erdogan just a few days ago said to reporters picky said we will not let up until every last terrorist leaves the region. we will not leave here and tell the other countries get out, get out a syria. so based on that, what do you think is try to reel in game? can he reach his goals in syria despite the interest of other players like russia, like iran, like assad? >> so erdogan should look in the mirror and he will see a terrorist there. the head of government which is a state sponsor of terrorism come which supports groups that are committed terrible atrocities. >> but represents a certain majority within turkey.
you have the mandate of the people, innocence to do what he can't. >> i'm not sure if that's true. those elections were rigged. there were not effectively monitor. they were not free and fair. let's not give credit to erdogan as an icon of democratic self-rule when, in fact, the exact opposite is true. >> your response, theo? >> i'm not sure i've any thoughts on that. >> i do have thought about it. the idea that erdogan will come to the white house come his past visits were a disaster. turkish security forces beating up u.s. citizens, not just -- the last trip a priest to that outside the brookings. what's going to happen this time? how will the american people react when they see a staying in the white house, our president meeting with the war criminal? >> what would you say to
president trump if you could advise the president before meeting erdogan? >> elle invite him. sent email. send him packing. give him a one-way ticket the hague. >> okay. on that note -- [applause] >> i would like to say thank theo and david for providing your very meaningful analysis so we will all take a short coffee break now and gather here in about 15 minutes, let's say. and we will have more bombshell evidence and information from ahmet later. we will have a one-on-one conversation so coffee and we are back. [inaudible conversations]