The Progressive


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For Immediate Release

Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Leaked YouTube Tape: Turkey Plotting Pretext for War With Syria?


While there was extensive media coverage of the Turkish government cutting off YouTube late last week, just prior to that, there was a posting on YouTube of an apparently leaked tape of Turkish government officials plotting a pretext for war with Syria that has received relatively little attention.

Some exceptions include: Reuters "Turkey Calls Syria Security Leak 'Villainous,' Blocks YouTube" and USA Today: "Turkey Blocks YouTube After Audio Recording Leaked," which reported: "An audio recording leaked on YouTube appears to reveal that top Turkey officials were plotting to fake an attack against their own country as an excuse to wage war on [Syria].

"Turkey on Thursday blocked access to YouTube in the same week it banned Twitter after someone posted the audio recording.

"The audio claims to be a recording of Turkey's foreign minister, its intelligence chief and an undersecretary of foreign affairs discussing plans to stage attacks on Turkey from Syrian soil to justify waging a counterattack on Syria, says Ilhan Tanir of the Turkish daily Vatanin Istanbul.

"The Turkish foreign ministry said the recording had been manipulated. At a rally in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir on Thursday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared to confirm the leak was genuine, according to the BBC."

ALI ORNEK,, @ornekali

Ornek is a journalist with the daily newspaper Sol in Turkey. He wrote "What You Have Missed if You Read Syria Leaks from Mainstream Media."

MUSA AL-GHARBI, (520) 234-0841,, @Musa_alGharbi

Gharbi is a research fellow with the Southwest Initiative for the Study of Middle East Conflicts based at the University of Arizona. He recently wrote the piece "Red Hands Waving False Flags," which notes that last week "an 8-minute video began circulating on YouTube wherein senior Turkish defense officials, including Defense Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Intelligence Chief Hakan Fidan, discuss at length their intentions to have extremist groups in Syria carry out an attack on the Tomb of Suleiman Shah, the grandfather of the Ottoman Empire's founder. This attack would then serve as a pretext for a land invasion into Syria. Just days prior to the leak, the Turkish government declared a violation of this site as a 'red line' which could prompt such an intervention.

"ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] was to be implicated in the attack, and the Erdogan administration was going to attempt to tie ISIS to the al-Asad regime, claiming the Syrian government was funding these jihadists in order to undermine the rebellion. And so, the response from Turkey would be to assist the 'good rebels,' thereby striking a simultaneous blow to ISIS and their 'patron' ...

"The irony here is that it is the Turkish government which has long supported extremist groups in Syria, especially in the border region. While they have recently scaled back this support under international pressure, the administration clearly maintains links to some of these groups, which they planned to utilize in orchestrating the attack.

"This is perhaps the most shocking aspect of the video: it seems to be authentic.

"Shortly after it began to go viral, the Turkish government shut down access to YouTube in order to minimize circulation. PM Erdogan condemned the leakers as enemies of Turkey, and launched an espionage inquiry to find out who released the tape -- verifying explicitly and implicitly that the contents of the video are accurate: the Erdogan administration has been caught red-handed in planning a false-flag attack to justify war with Syria."

See: "Turkey YouTube Ban: Full Transcript of Leaked Syria 'War' Conversation Between Erdogan Officials." DailyKos highlighted a second part of the allegedly leaked tape: "John Kerry Encouraged Turkish Invasion of Syria."

While there is periodic speculation about false-flag operations, there are documented instances of such plots. For example, see this 2013 piece in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: "The Lavon Affair: How a False-Flag Operation Led to War and the Israeli Bomb" about an operation in 1954 by elements of the Israeli government to strike Western targets in Egypt to undermine relations between Egypt and the West.

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Sam Husseini,(202) 347-0020,or (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

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