Turkey shuts off YouTube after 'Syria invasion plan' leak

Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by Sea Eagle, Mar 29, 2014.

  1. Sea Eagle

    Sea Eagle Senior Member Senior Member

    Feb 16, 2014
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    INS Arihant
    Turkey shuts off YouTube after 'Syria invasion plan' leak

    Access to YouTube has been cut off in Turkey after an explosive leak of audiotapes that appeared to show ministers talking about provoking military intervention in Syria. Other social media have already been blocked ahead of tumultuous local elections.

    The latest leaked audio recording, which reportedly led to the ban, appears to show top government officials discussing a potential attack on the tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire.

    The tomb is in Syrian territory, but protected by Turkish soldiers.

    On the tape, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet DavutoÄŸlu is heard saying that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan sees any attack as an "opportunity" to increase Turkish presence in Syria, where it has staunchly supported the anti-Assad rebels. Security chief Hakan Fidan then goes one step further, and suggests staging a fake attack to give Turkey a casus belli to intervene in the conflict.

    "I'll send 4 men from Syria, if that's what it takes. I'll make up a cause of war by ordering a missile attack on Turkey; we can also prepare an attack on Suleiman Shah Tomb if necessary," the security chief said.

    Turkish officials have recently vowed to protect the tomb as its "national soil."

    The Foreign Ministry in Ankara reacted to the tape by issuing a statement, calling the leak a “wretched attack” on national security. It also claims the tape was “partially manipulated.”

    "These treacherous gangs are the enemies of our state and people. The perpetrators of this attack targeting the security of our state and people will be uncovered in the shortest time and will be handed over to justice to be given the heaviest penalty," the ministry said.

    "This is a clear declaration of war against the Turkish state and our nation," came a statement from DavutoÄŸlu himself.

    Although whom to blame in this is not clear, Erdogan, who is facing crucial local polls this Sunday, claims the supposedly doctored recordings are the work of a US-based Islamic cleric who is out to topple him and destabilize Turkey.

    A source inside the office of President Abdullah Gül, who has taken a softer line than Erdoğan over the series of government leaks, told Reuters that access to YouTube may be restored if the sensitive content is removed, even though the original video has been deleted.

    Invoking national security and privacy concerns has been the government’s tactic in fighting off a stream of leaks showing top officials engaging in unsavory or downright illegal practices.

    ErdoÄŸan has also repeatedly claimed that most of the audio recordings are fakes. He labeled the latest audio revelation "villainous" during a stump speech in Diyabakir.

    Twitter, another popular source for leaks, has already been shut down in Turkey since March 20, after a court order.

    Since then, the California-based social network and organizations have fought in several courts to have the decision reversed, calling it “disproportionate and illegal.”

    A court ruling in Ankara on Wednesday supported the appeal, but the country’s regulator has a month to unblock Twitter, leading to speculation that any such move would only take place after the election.

    The incumbent party also enjoys the benefit of robust privacy legislation passed last month, which makes it easy to cut off any website even before any violation has been legally proven.

    The US has led the chorus of international condemnation, calling the government’s moves "censorship" tantamount to “21st century book-burning.”

  3. Sea Eagle

    Sea Eagle Senior Member Senior Member

    Feb 16, 2014
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    INS Arihant
    YouTube ban: How Turkish officials conspired to stage Syria attack to provoke war

    “I'll make up a cause of war by ordering a missile attack on Turkey.” This leaked conversation is coming back to haunt the highest echelons of the Turkish government as it plans a provocation in Syria, while scrambling to contain social media internally.

    The leaked audiotapes that reveal Turkey’s highest ministers staging an anti-Assad military intervention in Syria, have already caused YouTube to be shut down in the country, as well as leading to fevered accusations of treachery and betrayal of Turkey’s political interests – “a declaration of war,” as Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu put it.

    This is of course after intelligence chief Hakan Fidan suggested seizing the opportunity to secure Turkish intervention in the Syrian conflict - a war that has already claimed 140,000 lives, and counting. In the conversation, DavutoÄŸlu is heard saying that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan sees any attack as an "opportunity" to increase troop presence in Syria, where it has staunchly supported the anti-Assad rebels.

    Ahmet DavutoÄŸlu:
    "Prime Minister said that in current conjuncture, this attack (on Suleiman Shah Tomb) must be seen as an opportunity for us."

    Hakan Fidan:
    "I'll send 4 men from Syria, if that's what it takes. I'll make up a cause of war by ordering a missile attack on Turkey; we can also prepare an attack on Suleiman Shah Tomb if necessary."

    Feridun SinirlioÄŸlu:
    "Our national security has become a common, cheap domestic policy outfit."

    Yaşar Güler:
    "It's a direct cause of war. I mean, what're going to do is a direct cause of war."

    Ahmet DavutoÄŸlu: I couldn't entirely understand the other thing; what exactly does our foreign ministry supposed to do? No, I'm not talking about the thing. There are other things we're supposed to do. If we decide on this, we are to notify the United Nations, the Istanbul Consulate of the Syrian regime, right?

    Feridun SinirlioÄŸlu: But if we decide on an operation in there, it should create a shocking effect. I mean, if we are going to do so. I don't know what we're going to do, but regardless of what we decide, I don't think it'd be appropriate to notify anyone beforehand.

    Ahmet Davutoğlu: OK, but we're gonna have to prepare somehow. To avoid any shorts on regarding international law. I just realised when I was talking to the president (Abdullah Gül), if the Turkish tanks go in there, it means we're in there in any case, right?

    Yaşar Güler: It means we're in, yes.

    Ahmet DavutoÄŸlu: Yeah, but there's a difference between going in with aircraft and going in with tanks...

    Yaşar Güler: Maybe we can tell the Syrian consulate general that, ISIL is currently working alongside the regime, and that place is Turkish land. We should definitely...

    Ahmet DavutoÄŸlu: But we have already said that, sent them several diplomatic notes.

    Yaşar Güler: To Syria...

    Feridun SinirlioÄŸlu: That's right.

    Ahmet DavutoÄŸlu: Yes, we've sent them countless times. Therefore, I'd like to know what our Chief of Staff's expects from our ministry.

    Yaşar Güler: Maybe his intent was to say that, I don't really know, he met with Mr. Fidan.

    Hakan Fidan: Well, he did mention that part but we didn't go into any further details.

    Yaşar Güler: Maybe that was what he meant... A diplomatic note to Syria?

    Hakan Fidan: Maybe the Foreign Ministry is assigned with coordination...
  4. Sea Eagle

    Sea Eagle Senior Member Senior Member

    Feb 16, 2014
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    Ahmet DavutoÄŸlu: I mean, I could coordinate the diplomacy but civil war, the military...

    Feridun SinirlioÄŸlu: That's what I told back there. For one thing, the situation is different. An operation on ISIL has solid ground on international law. We're going to portray this is Al-Qaeda, there's no distress there if it's a matter regarding Al-Qaeda. And if it comes to defending Suleiman Shah Tomb, that's a matter of protecting our land.

    Yaşar Güler: We don't have any problems with that.

    Hakan Fidan: Second after it happens, it'll cause a great internal commotion (several bombing events is bound to happen within). The border is not under control...

    Feridun SinirlioÄŸlu: I mean, yes, the bombings are of course going to happen. But I remember our talk from 3 years ago...

    Yaşar Güler: Mr. Fidan should urgently receive back-up and we need to help him supply guns and ammo to rebels. We need to speak with the minister. Our Interior Minister, our Defense Minister. We need to talk about this and reach a resolution sir.

    Ahmet DavutoÄŸlu: How did we get special forces into action when there was a threat in Northern Iraq? We should have done so in there, too. We should have trained those men. We should have sent men. Anyway, we can't do that, we can only do what diplomacy...

    Feridun SinirlioÄŸlu: I told you back then, for God's sake, General, you know how we managed to get those tanks in, you were there.

    Yaşar Güler: What, you mean our stuff?

    Feridun SinirlioÄŸlu: Yes, how do you think we've managed to rally our tanks into Iraq? How? How did we manage to get special forces, the battalions in? I was involved in that. Let me be clear, there was no government decision on that, we have managed that just with a single order.

    Yaşar Güler: Well, I agree with you. For one thing, we're not even discussing that. But there are different things that Syria can do right now.

    Ahmet DavutoÄŸlu: General, the reason we're saying no to this operation is because we know about the capacity of those men.

    Yaşar Güler: Look, sir, isn't MKE (Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation) at minister's bidding? Sir, I mean, Qatar is looking for ammo to buy in cash. Ready cash. So, why don't they just get it done? It's at Mr. Minister's command.

    Ahmet DavutoÄŸlu: But there's the spot we can't act integratedly, we can't coordinate.

    Yaşar Güler: Then, our Prime Minister can summon both Mr. Defence Minister and Mr. Minister at the same time. Then he can directly talk to them.

    Ahmet DavutoÄŸlu: We, Mr. SiniroÄŸlu and I, have literally begged Mr. Prime Minster for a private meeting, we said that things were not looking so

    Yaşar Güler: Also, it doesn't have to be a crowded meeting. Yourself, Mr. Defence Minister, Mr. Interior Minister and our Chief of Staff, the four of you are enough. There's no need for a crowd. Because, sir, the main need there is guns and ammo. Not even guns, mainly ammo. We've just talked about this, sir. Let's say we're building an army down there, 1000 strong. If we get them into that war without previously storing a minimum of 6-months' worth of ammo, these men will return to us after two months.

    Ahmet DavutoÄŸlu: They're back already.

    Yaşar Güler: They'll return to us, sir.

    Ahmet Davutoğlu: They've came back from... What was it? Çobanbey.

    Yaşar Güler: Yes, indeed, sir. This matter can't be just a burden on Mr. Fidan's shoulders as it is now. It's unacceptable. I mean, we can't understand this. Why?
  5. Sea Eagle

    Sea Eagle Senior Member Senior Member

    Feb 16, 2014
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    Ahmet DavutoÄŸlu: That evening we'd reached a resolution. And I thought that things were taking a turn for the good. Our...

    Feridun SinirlioÄŸlu: We issued the MGK (National Security Council) resolution the day after. Then we talked with the general...

    Ahmet DavutoÄŸlu: And the other forces really do a good follow up on this weakness of ours. You say that you're going to capture this place, and that men being there constitutes a risk factor. You pull them back. You capture the place. You reinforce it and send in your troops again.

    Yaşar Güler: Exactly, sir. You're absolutely right.

    Ahmet DavutoÄŸlu: Right? That's how I interpret it. But after the evacuation, this is not a military necessity. It's a whole other thing.

    Feridun SiniroÄŸlu: There are some serious shifts in global and regional geopolitics. It now can spread to other places. You said it yourself today, and others agreed... We're headed to a different game now. We should be able to see those. That ISIL and all that jazz, all those organisations are extremely open to manipulation. Having a region made up of organisations of similar nature will constitute a vital security risk for us. And when we first went into Northern Iraq, there was always the risk of PKK blowing up the place. If we thoroughly consider the risks and substantiate... As the general just said...

    Yaşar Güler: Sir, when you were inside a moment ago, we were discussing just that. Openly. I mean, armed forces are a "tool" necessary for you in every turn.

    Ahmet DavutoÄŸlu: Of course. I always tell the Prime Minister, in your absence, the same thing in academic jargon, you can't stay in those lands without hard power. Without hard power, there can be no soft power.

    Yaşar Güler: Sir.

    Feridun SinirlioÄŸlu: The national security has been politicised. I don't remember anything like this in Turkish political history. It has become a matter of domestic policy. All talks we've done on defending our lands, our border security, our sovereign lands in there, they've all become a common, cheap domestic policy outfit.

    Yaşar Güler: Exactly.

    Feridun SiniroÄŸlu: That has never happened before. Unfortunately but...

    Yaşar Güler: I mean, do even one of the opposition parties support you in such a high point of national security? Sir, is this a justifiable sense of national security?

    Feridun SinirlioÄŸlu: I don't even remember such a period.

    Yaşar Güler: In what matter can we be unified, if not a matter of national security of such importance? None.

    Ahmet DavutoÄŸlu: The year 2012, we didn't do it 2011. If only we'd took serious action back then, even in the summer of 2012.

    Feridun SinirlioÄŸlu: They were at their lowest back in 2012.

    Ahmet DavutoÄŸlu: Internally, they were just like Libya. Who comes in and goes from power is not of any importance to us. But some things...

    Yaşar Güler: Sir, to avoid any confusion, our need in 2011 was guns and ammo. In 2012, 2013 and today also. We're in the exact same point. We absolutely need to find this and secure that place.

    Ahmet DavutoÄŸlu: Guns and ammo are not a big need for that place. Because we couldn't get the human factor in order...

    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015

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