15-11-2019 09:22 Auteur: Sjoerd Fennema
“Throughout my life I have served my country. Then suddenly I was forced to flee like a traitor.” Former Colonel Halis Tunc says, NATO should be concerned about the growing distance between Turkey and the West. “Anyone who still works with NATO is regarded as suspicious.”
He was a Turkish Naval Attaché in Greece, and there Halis Tunc heard on television that the Turkish government considered him “a traitor and a terrorist.” He saw dozens of former classmates and fellow officers arrested and he decided not to return to his country. He applied for asylum in the Netherlands: It was the most difficult decision of his life.
Lost after the coup attempt
Former Colonel Halis Tunc was once a rising star in the Turkish Navy. He would have been admiral in the meantime if his career had not abruptly ended after the failed military coup in Turkey. After the coup, on the night of July 15, 2016, everything has changed.
“It is a gift from heaven” said Turkish President Erdogan referring to the military coup. But, why? Because it was the ideal excuse to carry out a previously and carefully planned cleansing, Tunc believes. “Two days after the coup attempt, the government has already come up with figures: ‘80 percent of the officers in Turkish Armed Forces are terrorist.’ How could they know, only two days after the coup attempt?”
The backbone of the Turkish Armed Forces is gone
After 3 years, the Turkish Armed Forces have changed beyond recognition according to Tunc. “Almost everyone who was pro-Western, highly educated or worked at NATO has disappeared,” says Tunc. “In fact, those who still work with NATO or speak English well were suspicious.” Tunc thinks that, NATO should be concerned about the growing gap between the Turkish army and the West.
95 percent of the staff officers (graduated from War College), who formed the backbone and brains of the Armed Forces, are gone. They were apolitical professional soldiers who stood for a secular Turkish State and Western European model, as the founder of Turkey, Ataturk, had in mind. They have been replaced at breakneck speed by a new group of officers who are not selected for their qualifications and experience, but for political loyalty.
(Dogu Perincek – leader of Turkish ultranationalist VATAN Party – : NATO is cancerous tissue in the Turkish army)
(This video is very significant. It is also included in the Dutch version of the news.)
Pro-Russia and pro-Iran
Tunc and another former officer – who wants to remain anonymous – are very concerned about the quality and reliability of the Turkish armed forces. According to them, the “cleansing” after the coup attempt is not only a loss in quality, but also a radical reversal within the armed forces.
Soldiers who were openly connected with religious groups were formerly excluded from the army. Now it’s the other way around: promotion is only reserved for soldiers who are affiliated with the Islamist AK Party of Erdogan or with ultra-nationalist parties. They are obviously pro-Russian and pro-Iranian. Many new officers are ultra-nationalists, and they want Turkey to leave the NATO.
Halis Tunc with his colonel uniform
“Throughout my life I have served my country. Then suddenly I was forced to flee like a traitor.”
They are all terrorists and traitors?
Like many other soldiers who have been ‘purged’, Tunc believes that the scenario for the cleansing of the Armed Forces was a carefully prepared operation. “Of the cadets of the Military Academies for the Air Force, the Navy and the Army, about 15,000 students in total, all cadets aged 17/18, 100 percent have been ‘cleared away’. 257 cadets from the Air Force Academy have been arrested while “They were at a training camp. They had handed in their phones so they didn’t know anything about the coup, but still they are sentenced lifelong. They were the future of our army. Do we really have to believe that they were all terrorists and traitors?”
Tunc says he can prove that he is completely innocent. “I wanted to go back and start a lawsuit to prove my innocence. I always executed the orders, never committed any betrayal. Throughout my life I served my country. Then suddenly I was forced to flee like a traitor.” There is no charge against him yet. But a majority of the Turkish public seems to believe the version of Erdogan.
No criticism, no truth
“The Turks are currently living in a parallel universe,” Tunc explains. “90 percent of the media are under Erdogan’s control. All critical journalists, teachers and judges have been arrested, fired or intimidated. They don’t dare tell the truth or they don’t know the truth.”
“People do not know what to believe, even if they live in the Netherlands. That is also the reason why I speak from here, even though I know that this poses a risk for me and my family.”
Tunc still wears the ring he received when he graduated from the prestigious Naval Academy.
Turkey should not leave NATO
According to Tunc, the last thing NATO should do is to expel Turkey out of NATO. “NATO is the lifeline with everyone who supports the rule of law, democracy and human rights in Turkey. That is the country that I have served for 25 years of my life and for which I will do the same during the rest of my life.”
“Because I want my children, the next generations to live in freedom and dignity.” Tunc says, those values are also the core values of the NATO. “NATO should press Erdogan to live up to it and not accept everything for the reason that they cannot lose Turkey as a strategic partner.”
(You may also publish the video of the interview where I speak in English. It includes graphics about the Purged NATO officers and staff officers and percentage of total purged officers which you cannot find anywhere else. The link is below:
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