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‘Sedat Peker’s testimony to a US judge would be welcome.’: David L. Phillips

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‘Sedat Peker’s testimony to a US judge would be welcome.’: David L. Phillips

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The U.S.-Turkey relationship had always some complexities and problems. However, the relations between the two countries have never been exceptionally bad as we have seen during the last several years. One of the recent issues of contention between the two NATO allies – Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 air defence system – is one of the most important reasons of the deterioration of the relations between the two countries but it is not only limited to it.

In an interview with Politurco, David L. Phillips, who is currently Director of the Program on Peace-building and Rights at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights says ‘there’s been dramatic deterioration between the two countries. ‘Relations are at a low point for a number of reasons. Turkey is cracked down domestically on human rights, actions taken against the HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party), Turkey’s aggression against front line states, its active collaboration with jihadi mercenaries in Syria, in Libya, in Karabag and Turkey’s decision to purchase s-400 missiles from Russia is a long list of grievances the US has.  I am sure they were discussed during the meeting between President Biden and Tayyip Erdogan on June 14th in the NATO Summit.’

Millions of Turks have tuned in May to the YouTube channel of Turkish mobster Sedat Peker who has ties with Turkish Deep State.

In a series of videos, apparently made in UAE, Peker made a series of sensitive revelations about Turkish Ruling elite including Turkish president Erdogan, his son-in-low, Berat Albayrak, former prime minister Binali Yildirim and his son, current and former ministers, ranging from murder to rape, drug smuggling, corruption, and the role of organized crime in political machinations and violence.

Phillips has worked as a senior adviser to the United Nations Secretariat and as a foreign affairs expert and senior adviser to the U.S. Department of State. Phillips says Biden administration is deeply concerned about corruption and money laundering activities in all over the world that may also affect U.S policies towards Turkey which Mr. Sedat Peker is exposing during the last several weeks.

‘It seems that Turkey subcontracted Mr. Peker’s consultancy, the transfer of weapons and militants to the front lines. This is nothing new, we have seen this reporting before. But we haven’t heard it from somebody who is directly involved and colluded actively with Hakan Fidan and Tayyip Erdogan to make it happen. Yes, the Biden administration is deeply concerned about corruption about money laundering. We have seen that emerge as a cornerstone of Biden’s international relations and no country will be immune from action by the US if they are involved in criminality, personal enrichment, or other forms of corruption. There is a warning to everyone that they need to clean up their act, sub their dirty business and get back into the international system and become a reliable and transparent partner of the US and the West.’

Here is my full interview with David L. Phillips.

You have been following Turkey for a long time and you wrote books several books on Turkey. How do you see the relations between the United States and Turkey, especially during the last several years? Do you think that there has been some deterioration between these two countries?

There’s been dramatic deterioration. Relations are at a low point for a number of reasons. Turkey is cracked down domestically on human rights, actions taken against the HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party), Turkey’s aggression against front line states, its active collaboration with jihadi mercenaries in Syria, in Libya, in Karabag. And first and former Turkey’s decision to purchase s-400 missiles from Russia is a long list of grievances the US has. Those issues  defined by the relationship and I am sure they were discussed during the meeting between President Biden and Tayyip Erdogan on June 14th in the NATO Summit.

Are you hopeful after this summit? Do you have any insights?

I am not hopeful but I am pleased that Biden held a line. I am sure that Erdogan pleaded with him to lift sanctions that have been imposed onto the countering American adversaries through the sanctions act. I am sure that he implored Biden to terminate US support for forces in northern Syria or allies who the US fight against, fighting extremism. I am sure too that the US raised concerns about domestic human rights, and cultural and political rights with the Kurds. Despite his tough talk prior to the meeting and Turkish media suggesting that Erdogan was going to play hardball with Biden, there is nothing to suggest that Erdogan did anything but show up kiss the ring as we have seen in photos, and respond rather meekly to the deteriorating relations with the US. So now we need to take a breath, think about a way forward, see how we can repair relations but those relations can only be repaired if Turkey becomes a partner and preserving the international order rather than a disrupter of international relations.

So, as far as we saw, Turkey wants to take some duties in Afganistan. So, do you think that that move would affect the US decisions on Turkey, do you think that it would be a positive move?

As far as I understand Turkey is offered to control and secure the Kabul airport. As US and the NATO forces withdraw, there is going to be a vacuum. Turkey is offered to fill the vacuum. There hasn’t yet been a determination as Turkey’s role in the future and Afghans including the Taliban may declare that they don’t want Turkey to remain in country. So we have to see what happens with Afghanistan in the future. Turkey is made an offer trying to make itself indispensable. We don’t know the response that offer has been. I think it is probably still being considered by headquarters of Brussels.


David, are you following the news about a Turkish mobster who has really deep ties with the Turkey’s state establishment. So, he is revealing a lot of secrets about Erdogan, Erdogan’s family, and relating them to money laundering, and drug trafficking, and I just noticed that President Biden made a statement in NATO summit. He said that they are going to fight the money laundering related issues in all over world. Do you think that US is going to be also focusing on these kind of issues, and do you think that it would be related to Turkey as well?

Yes, I have been following the statements by Mr. Peker. And it is extraordinary what he has revealed. I think he has many more revelations and we’ll continue to hear from him. From my perspective, one of the most important statements he may have to do with Turkish support for jihadist mercenaries in Rojava.

Particularly beginning in 2015 and continuing to the present. It seems that Turkey subcontracted Mr. Peker’s consultancy, the transfer of weapons and militants to the front lines. This is nothing new, we have seen this reporting before. But we haven’t heard it from somebody who is directly involved and colluded actively with Hakan Fidan and Tayyip Erdogan to make it happen. Yes, the Biden administration is deeply concerned about corruption about money laundering. We have seen that emerge as a cornerstone of Biden’s international relations and no country will be immune from action by the US if they are involved in criminality, personal enrichment, or other forms of corruption. There is a warning to everyone that they need to clean up their act, sub their dirty business and get back into the international system and become a reliable and transparent partner of the US and the West.


Do you think that there is a similarity between Mr. Sedat Peker and Turkish-Iranian businessman Mr. Reza Zarrab. Zarrab was involved in evading sanctions against the US. Do you think that the US government will be interested in Sedat Peker and having him in the US as a witness?

There is a similarity. What we are learning is there is a network of henchmen that Erdogan has used to do his dirty business. Sedat Peker is one, there are many others. All that needs some daylight, it needs to be exposed. And yes, the US courts will be interested. We know that the southern district of New York had a special interest in Halk Bank and corrupt activities in which he was involved. Let’s see what Sedat Peker has to say and I am sure that his testimony to a US judge would be welcome.

What do you think happened about the S-400 missile system deal between Turkey and Russia? Do you think that Erdogan would want to step back?

Whether he wants to step back or not, he hasn’t given any indication. He is going to reverse the decision. There is a big price for Turkey to pay. It has been excluded from the F-35 stealth fighter system. Turkey says that they only turned to Russia for s-400 because the US made transfer of patriot missiles difficult during the Obama administration. I don’t buy that argument. It is an effort by Erdogan to leverage Russia against the US and to put Turkey in the middle to demonstrate Turkey’s indispensable role to both countries.

The fact of the matter is that Turkey has spent nearly 3 billion dollars on an S-400 system. Turkey’s economy is in ruins. It shouldn’t be spending that money on sophisticated weapons. It should be spending that money to stabilize the Turkish Lira and on social welfare. So, Congress has made it very clear through CAATSA that there are going to be sanctions and a penalty for Turkey to pay for nefarious activity. That’s not going to change, if anything, the pressure is going to be intensified as Turkey moves forward with this purchase of a second battery of S-400 missiles which is widely reported.

The meeting in Brussels of a NATO conference overall was really about Russia and China. The meeting with Erdogan on the margins of the NATO summit was a result of Biden’s statement on April 24th, recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

If the focus of the meeting in Brussels was to bring the alliance on board with a Russia and China policy, it was very successful. Erdogan may have tried to beat back the US on some of the commitments that he believes are not in Turkey’s interest but there is no reporting or suggestion that Erodgan was successful in that regard. If anything, he looked weak and not very confident and compliments to President Biden for holding the line and making clear to Tayyip Erdogan what’s expected of Turkey.

By: Aydogan Vatandas

Source: Poli Turco

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