US Neocons Found ‘Turkish Democracy Project’ as Ankara’s Favor in Washington Wanes
The group, whose website went active on June 23, describes itself as "a nonprofit, non-partisan, international policy organization” which "opposes its destabilizing behavior, supports genuine democratic reform, and holds the forces of corruption and oppression within Turkey to account.”
US-Turkish Relations Slowly Implode
In April, sanctions came into force against Ankara for its purchasing of S-400 air defense systems from Russia, which the US said was dangerous because it could expose weaknesses in the F-35 stealth aircraft that Turkey was also preparing to field. Turkey was also kicked out of the F-35 program in the affair.
Aside from the sanctions, another important mark of the unraveling US-Turkey relationship was the April recognition by the Biden administration of the 1916 genocide of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire, to which Turkey is the legal successor state.
That agenda was largely set by a group of neoconservatives, who, in 1997, founded the Project for a New American Century. This group laid out plans for accelerating Republican interventionist politics to destroy a host of former Soviet client states and ensure the US remained unchallenged around the globe.
Neocons And Interventionists
“It's time to sound the alarm on Turkey,” Bolton tweeted on June 23. “Under an authoritarian leader, a once-reliable NATO ally is turning its back on democracy and embracing Russia. I'm pleased to join the @turkish_project advisory council to shine a light on the darkening situation.”
It's time to sound the alarm on #Turkey. Under an authoritarian leader, a once-reliable NATO ally is turning its back on democracy and embracing #Russia. I'm pleased to join the @turkish_project advisory council to shine a light on the darkening situation. https://t.co/XgR38nqxCy— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) June 23, 2021
The Turkish Democracy Project’s CEO is Mark Wallace, who held several positions in the Bush administration and later became CEO of United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), a pro-regime-change group. UANI’s chairman is former US Senator and vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman (D-CT), who is also on TDP’s advisory board, as is UANI’s intelligence chief, Norman Roule.
Several people initially listed as part of the council when the site went up have since been removed for unknown reasons, archived versions of the website show. Aykan Erdemir, the senior director of the Turkey program at the neoconservative Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, is one such person. A former Turkish opposition lawmaker from 2011 to 2015, he was accused in 2017 of being connected to the Gülen movement and his assets were seized.
Ankara Dismisses TDP as Pro-Gülen
"The warmonger Bolton, the incompetent brother of Bush and the remnants of the FETÖ terrorist organization, are supposed to bring democracy to Turkey by holding with the YPG/PKK terrorists," Resul Kurt, a central executive board member of the AKP, said in reply to Bush. FETÖ refers to the Fethullah Terrorist Organisation, the Turkish government’s name for the Gülen movement, and YPG and PKK are Kurdish militias regarded by Ankara as terrorist groups.
The warmonger Bolton, the incompetent brother of Bush and the remnants of the FETÖ terrorist organization, are supposed to bring democracy to Turkey by holding with the YPG/PKK terrorists.— Doç. Dr. Resul Kurt (@resulkurt34) June 24, 2021
Come on, the blood of millions of innocents is dripping from your hands. @AmbJohnBolton
The Daily Sabah also labeled the Turkish Democracy Project a “platform for anti-Turkey propaganda.”