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tv   Discussion on U.S.- Turkey Relations  CSPAN  November 12, 2019 2:04pm-2:38pm EST

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>> for 40 years c-span has been providing america unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court and public policy events from washington dc and around the country. you can make up your own minds. crated by cable in 1979, c-span is brought to you by your local cable or satellite provider. c-span your unfiltered view of government. >> next, look into u.s. turkey relations with a focus on the agenda, turkey's president. this is 30 minutes. >> we would like to continue and break down what is happening in syria in recent weeks and turkey's involvement in the country but as media has only
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recently we can say started focusing his attention on turkey's conduct in a syria can tell you the investigative journal have been asking all the important questions a long time ago and in a sense, still have predicted what we are seeing now unfolding in the north of the country so please join me in welcoming back, assistant professor of homeland security, former chief of the turkish national police counterterrorism and operation division and fellow program on extreme is him at washington university. you gave -- would you like to say something? >> okay. you gave an incredible presentation about how the turkish regime carried out influence operations on u.s. soil and we touched a bit in the last panel on the military
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operation in syria and i would like to pick up where we left at the last. what is the guiding principle in your view that is driving the president and what he's doing in syria now? >> after 2014 when the anticorruption operation in december 2000 carried out against the family members and his circles, erdogan realized he needed power so he's understanding he has to stay in power regardless of what. in the past people claim that erdogan was doing for the good of islam in the country however, in 2014 or after 2014 it became obvious that his main concern is himself. he basically uses his politics and religion to make sure that
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he is going to be in power for a long time. he amended the constitution and that's why he invests in [inaudible] >> we are about a month after they launch their military operation in the north of syria the world focuses on what is happening in the northeast right now were also where the oil is located but we want to zoom in and talk about the northwest the province and people around the world now recognize the name thanks to the operation who killed al-baghaddi and some recommend him because of media headlines on russian shelling on civilians but turkeys influence and control over the province is something that has been vastly underreported and overlooked, not by you. take us back five years in the
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time in which you were still in turkey and you are serving as the chief of counterterrorism which i cannot pronounce that city but close to the border with syria. and you were working there against isis but as you've discovered the government, turkish government had different plans so what did you see and what were you aware of what was happening? >> go back to 2010 in these groups were not that prominent at the beginning but particularly after erdogan saw a great opportunity. he aimed to kill three birds with one stone. at first he wanted to practice against [inaudible] because from his understanding he's a shiite leader and 70% of syria is sunni
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and could rule over a significant population but the second is he admitted and realized that we are fighting against the wide pg in syria and the white pg as their enemy and the turks at those times erdogan said he was convinced he was the only person that could beat the islamic [inaudible] and that's why you see him speaking to people in tunisia and other complex in europe to muslim and turkish. >> interesting how you talk about erdogan is the leader of the houma but he was the one who said no more caliphate, very same turkey. [laughter] >> yes, we see a huge shift.
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>> going back to that province you would have shipments of ar arms. >> it's not only and not only the terrorists that turkey left to syria but also other operations. [inaudible] they tried to preach to local population and by age organization led by erdogan allies had eight operations but at the same time helped al qaeda lose eight operations and in fact, erdogan got her upset and called on his police chiefs who carried out in operation against iha because iha was working for al qaeda to help al qaeda. >> to simple fight what you're
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saying in describing that one hands of the turkish government trying to operate against isis but the other hand of the turkish government be at the police, judiciary or -- then you have the erdogan regime who collaborates? >> it was 2014 then the operation and police was -- [inaudible] they wanted to make sure one would know and what in the intelligence made sure that those operations would go intact without being interrupted. however, there was another operation that today we call financial intelligence and they are extorting and identified themselves as the national
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intelligence that the medicine to syria but the prosecutors and the team what they found was the medicine were in those trucks and not only he fired all the people in these stops but the police chief, prosecutors and judges who bankrolled the search warrants but also he arrested journalists who wrote about in his newspaper. >> what happened to the prosecutor? >> they are still in prison. >> by these actions that you are describing is erdogan able to sway the public opinion in turkey in his favor? >> big time but he controls 90% of the turkish media and he
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completed different media companies or shut them down so he can control the minds of people. if you look at a% of the population supports isis but around 10% believe there should be a caliphate and now according to erdogan's media it is that and independent survey indicates 90% of the turks consider them an enemy. erdogan has been pumping hate against the united states. he believes that the cia was behind the stage crew even though he knows who was behind that coup. >> what is erdogan's approval rating? >> before the operation it was around 30, 35% and he lost the municipality in the election and
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it was a huge blow to his operation but after the operation in northern syria -- >> doing what he is doing in syria is wanting and acting against the kurdish militia and repatriating sunni refugees and setting them back to the country is one thing but at the end of the day i believe that turkey citizens care about the economy and the money they have in their pockets and how is president erdogan delivered on that front? >> from his early 2010 he made sure that there was a base and [inaudible] he resolves to use $15 million a year to help people and what they think is
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erdogan they will not get different types of -- one reason he lost the municipality elections in a sample was because the mayors disobeyed and from using the cities richest to distribute it. >> i want to circle back to syria. there have been that we played on ti j and the connotations of turkey's actions against supporting she hottie elements over the years and they are authenticated by the courts so i want to ask you what is the republic reaction once it really was released? people in turkey understand with happy and do people want to believe that fighting the
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kurdish militias and setting back new refugees to the country justified the understanding, i would say, of isis? >> the answer to your first question is most of the time people believe this is what erdogan touted in the media and [inaudible] in turkey in december they try to hide over $1 million in cash and came out and said it's a lie and stage and it's a fake. eventually all people involved in these issues realized it because it was disingenuous but particularly to the case here in new york there was a trial in the court. >> we will expand on these issues in the conversation.
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>> so, his supporters believe they are right and they do not believe what they hear so the opposition they are scared to talk about it about these issues and find themselves in erdogan's torture chambers. he goes up to a 15 -year-old kid who literally about these issues. it's a huge factor that plays among the turkey society. [inaudible] >> president erdogan will visit the white house this week and we wanted your thoughts the u.s. administration approach to turkey under president trump and that president trump considers turkey to be an ally that is hosting a major air base in its territory but he also used
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turkey as an ally that could be pressured whenever needed the economic sanctions and that pressure has been valuable in the past four president trump. do you think it's an effective approach to exert economic pressure when needed but treat turkey as an important ally in the region nevertheless? [crowd boos] yes, it will harm the turkish economy but -- i told you the knighted states is our enemy we should not trust them. they are killing our -- having an economic coup around the he will try to make his face understand that the economy will suffer but this is a consequence of us being a muslim and turkish nation and that is and i will take you to the shore as soon as i can hundred he will put himself again in the navigation
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of leadership and claim that he is trying to date the turkish people. of course, the more they think about the future so it will help the turks to separate themselves from erdogan and this will not happen before the mayoral election. that's why he lost those elections because the economy is not doing good. people are suffering. >> we're talking a lot about how the u.s. received turkey but how should turkey receive the united states on her president erdogan, what do his supporters think of this country? >> so, according to them behind every illness, every problem that turkey will experience is that united states and the cia. the cia carried out the coup so
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the united states is not a friend or ally but an enemy which is in the surveys. >> we remember how in the year 2017 before the turkish constitution referendum that eventually resulted in president erdogan consolidating power he went to countries like germany that was uncontroversial and even austria to get the support of turkish exits in these countries so what here in the united states -- does he consider the turks living here in this country to be a crowd he should appeal to? >> the american turks are not fond of him and the majority so that is the reason he has priority to reach out to the turks living here in the united states. >> how is he doing at?
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>> with the operations we see and through the imams but so far he is not but [inaudible] >> after president trump will welcome president erdogan to the white house the day after he will also welcome the secretary-general of nato and nato allies have criticized turkey's conduct in syria and also criticized some of them the u.s. conduct in syria and the so-called trail of the kurdish allies but as a matter of fact, countries like germany, france, britain some of them ban experts of arms in turkey but they don't lead to more than a slap on the hand of president everyone -- president erdogan but express criticism but not much is being
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done but they don't -- why is that? >> very simple. erdogan is the gatekeeper of al qaeda or she hottie terrorists. every time europeans try to do something he comes out and says i want to let the refugees meaning i want to let the terrorists go to europe so he can't consult the europeans that they are almost 4 million syrian refugees in turkey and he is against -- >> they are not all of them terrorists. >> but beyond that terrorism. >> it's not like they want to welcome the refugees. do you think turkey is still a partner to the values and prince balls that shape the nato alliance? >> i think we should separate between turkey and erdogan. erdogan is not -- but under him
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we see a very swift and fast change so if we are late we will lose turkey as well. >> this is something i'm going to bring up again in the other panel but it's very easy to point the finger at president erdogan and blame him for the shift we are staying in turkey but did it start with him and what other influences or attitudes that turkey received weather it is from the united states or the european union have drifted turkey in this way that we are seeing, drifting away from the west? >> i think when things go wrong the first thing we should do to look at ourselves as turks what we did we do wrong instead of blaming others. >> amazing and response full approach. [laughter] >> most of the time particularly in history the americans need to
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come from the times in the first world war however what are we doing to help us so instead of blaming others i think we should look at ourselves as turks and why are we behind the wall and why is there still corruption? why we cannot catch up with education with the rest of the world and these are issues we need to find solutions instead of fighting and trying to take the regime which is corrupt and claiming to be islamic but is not come -- is not completely islamic. >> as time allows i would like to open the session to questions from the audience could we have time or two questions if you have. you can ask him about his presentation from earlier in the day about influence operations.
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>> [inaudible] >> a moment for the transition we have. >> can everyone hear me now? your take on this notion that when erdogan travels his security detail freely uses violence against not only protesters but foreign security services that are there to protect them so based on your back on what think about that? >> i wrote an article about that. there are 15 -- his security detail the new turkish police that he established people who
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are loyal to him and they consider him just like the others that i mentioned in my presentation so therefore if you are against my colleague i will come after you and this is they are thinking because [inaudible] is a question of police force that these types of professional and businesses without partners and foreign consulates but that is now the new police under erdogan considers the law-enforcement agency in secret services as enemies but not data partners. the second issue here is erdogan also plans to carry out these attacks and we clearly see in that video where he was speaking to his security chief and when
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his security chief through the radio ordered his people to carry out that attack. it was through him that it was erdogan nothing happens without his approval. >> i'm an intelligence analyst and former diplomat. if we were to act against selectivity it would downgrade intelligence relations so what about sanctions and certainly you guys shining a light has been valuable but what things can you think of as policy choices? >> i think the united states is going to a fine line because obviously we do not want to lose turkey in the long run and we do not want turkey to side with russia in the eastern bloc were aired on -- erdogan will do
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that. the best thing we can do is to distinguish between turkey and erdogan. turkey is a nato ally in turkey as a friend of the united states but erdogan is not. instead of walking with erdogan we should find ways to pay for his kind. >> you mentioned to people who were frankly with kushner and i jotted down [inaudible] and those, who are those people and how did they get close to kushner? >> he is the son-in-law and finance and erdogan's son-in-law. [inaudible] is the son-in-law of one of the biggest companies
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called [inaudible] that in the past used to have a media company. the importance of this is they are the ones who own trump hotels in his temple. two of that connection i think farmed away to meet kushner. >> do you think he's influenced by them? >> i don't know. >> richard coleman, retired. can you envision any scenario or any scenario, peaceful or otherwise under which turkey would break the yoke of the erdogan rule? >> currently he controls the mit intelligence and before 2016 he was skeptical about the turkish
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military and his greatest [inaudible] but two of the night turkish nation intelligence will most likely move against erdogan and it will fail. again it looks bad because he scared of his future and the power and he -- regardless of the outcome or the turkish election. never under his rule can you [inaudible] if you remember the election he canceled elections because his candidate lost. ...
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what all these groups have in common is an ideological connection to the muslim brotherhood and i was wondering if you could speak briefly about erdogan's relationship with the brotherhood, how it formed, how close it is and how does utilize that ideological connection? >> so in turkey, the two divisions of islam existed. the first is coming from the other one, quote, sufi sufi islam. that represents the ideal for -- [inaudible] and the second is -- [inaudible] where the believe just like the muslim brotherhood or solidly islam. the islamic group must come from the top through election or confiscation of the state powers and must be important by force
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through state powers. erdogan's connection to the muslim brotherhood goes back to the '70s when his teacher and his first political party leader had connections with the muslim brotherhood. then he established the wikipedia continued to his connection with the muslim brotherhood elements and the hamas as well -- why kp. he welcomed all the muslim brotherhood establishments, people, hierarchies. the media to turkey, take him in istanbul. he used as an opportunity to claim the leadership because then he was only leader who would be able to -- according to their understanding. so through the logic of the american muslims who are close to the muslim brotherhood
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ideologies, they truly believe that he is the representative today, and the muslims around the world. but what we see here in united states, those are not representing american muslims. instead their own of reps in a small portion of the american muslims because they are organized well, their voices are heard. but american muslims of course are not supporting our to want and not happy with the rule. they are not organized. we can do in. they are people who are part of -- they don't like erdogan. they oppose erdogan rule, but they are not listen to so they cannot change. >> sensor to wrap up let's take two more questions if we can back to back and then you answer both. >> thank you very much for your
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presentation. i'm from harvard. my question is, could you speak a little bit about to what extent the turkish intelligence or other turkish military is actually coordinating with some of the rebel groups that are not in that region of northern syria? some people say all of us different militia groups are directly being essentially coordinated i turkish intelligence, and other say they are more, not directly involved in everything happening. if you could speak about the level of collaboration and coordination. >> i think we can blanket cover all these groups in the same part so there are different levels of ordination and cooperation. what we know among the faction, the turkish national intelligence is extremely powerful. turkey is considered the older
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brothers in the family, and because turkey is most of the time providing a, money, coordination, particularly in it lit now, they are powerful. when turkey entered idlib last month they see as -- [inaudible] so it's very, very wrong among the turkish intelligence and security community that turkish intel and turkish ministry intel have deep connection. >> quickly. >> thank you. i'm the founder of three advisor in washington, d.c. following up on the connection with the muslim brotherhood. there are a lot of talks about the turkish invasion of northern syria that it's really all about setting up muslim brotherhood states.
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similar to gaza strip. would that be viable idea or do you think it is being intimate as we speak right now? >> i don't think it is viable. they might think about it, but for erdogan and turkey to hold on to that plan for a long time, it might be very problematic. there are going to be a lot of terrorist activities. of course erdogan intends to hold that piece of land for a long time. he's establishing his different services. the future will show but i think it's too early to talk about it at a don't have any direct information site don't want to speculate. >> ahmet, pleasure talking to you as always. great question from the audience. everything we just talked about in his presentation from the morning is on investigative journalism website so you can follow up on that and it's time
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for lunch now. we will be back here at 1:40? greg, 1:40? 1:45. 1:45 and we will have a fascinating panel on this date with michael rubin and michael talk to us about some overlooked aspects of turkey's relationships with the u.s. so come back to us. [inaudible conversations] >> use senate will be back in session today at 3 p.m. eastern. lawmakers will work on the nomination of chad wolfe to be homeland security undersecretary for strategy, policy and plans. when the said returns at 3 p.m. eastern live coverage here on c-span2.


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