Monday, June 23, 2008


"PRC [Population & Resources Control] measures can also include curfews or blackouts, travel restrictions, and restricted residential areas such as protected villages or resettlement areas. Registration and pass systems and control of sensitive items (resources control) and critical supplies such as weapons, food, and fuel are other PRC measures. Checkpoints, searches, roadblocks; surveillance, censorship, and press control; and restriction of activity that applies to selected groups (labor unions, political groups and the like) are further PRC measures."
~ Foreign Internal Defense Tactics Techniques and Procedures for Special Forces.

Last Friday, a story broke in Turkish daily Taraf on a plan by the general saff plan to reshape Turkey. It strikes me, however, as an effort to maintain the status quo.

Zaman explains the background to the plan:

According to the document, the military's "Information Support Activity Action Plan" went into force in September 2007 and is composed of a series of "measures" against the government, which the military deems the source of a "religious reactionary movement." Taraf's story comes at a time when the Constitutional Court is at loggerheads with the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government; last month the court annulled a bill sponsored by the AK Party that would have allowed the Muslim headscarf to be worn on university campuses. The Turkish General Staff released a statement on Friday afternoon denying Taraf's report. "There is no such official document approved by the commanding ranks in General Staff records," the statement said. The military document Taraf published defines the plan's goals as "bringing public opinion into line with the TSK on issues the TSK is sensitive about, preventing the development of incorrect opinions about the TSK, ensuring the unity and solidarity of opinions and actions within the TSK." The same introductory chapter issues a caveat, stressing the need to avoid "conflict with other state agencies" and also avoid "the image of intervening in daily politics."

Well, of course, there is no such official document "approved by the commanding ranks" of the general staff: Even in Turkey, such a document would not be legal, so who would sign it? Illegal documents like this one are always unofficial.

What the Islamist Zaman purposely omitted in its version of the story was a more detailed explanation of the entire plan, including the general staff's plans for the Kurdish people and the Kurdish party, DTP. In this they are not much different than other Turkish dailies, who have reported on Taraf's publication of the general staff's plan, but have not reported any of the details. Taraf itself comments that the general staff's plan bears similarity to psychological warfare. Taraf is being cautious; the plan is, in fact, psychological warfare.

Here are some excerpts from the Information Support Activity Action Plan, from Taraf:

1. JUDGES WILL BE BROUGHT INTO LINE WITH TSK: The General Staff headquarters Information Support Activity Action Plan aims to bring higher judiciary chiefs into line with the TSK.

According to the plan, primarily the judiciary and media, which have influence on society, will be gathered under so-called "working meals".

People to be contacted: The plan calls for "bringing institutions which have the ability to form public opinion, such as universities, the judiciary, journalists, artists, to bring into the military's line by keeping close contact with them. Available times and locations will be created; for this purpose meetings under the label "working meals" will be held. These "working meals" will be held at the levels of the general staff, its vice-chiefs, forces commanders, and the general secretary of the general staff. The selection of people who will be contacted [for these working meals] requires extreme care. Those people must be the ones who defend the TC's and the TSK's values and "red lines"."

2. JOURNALISTS WILL BE USED: According to the documents that Taraf revealed, TSK intends to direct media and press members regularly and bring them on TSK's side.

The media must be used intensely: The plan calls for "using suitable media channels to demonize TSK's opposition in the eyes of the public. To inform people, suitable media will be used with suitable and effective methods . . . For this purpose, a team of civilian personnel who share TSK's main values and has the same qualifications must be hired under contract."

3. TSK OPPOSITION WILL BE DEMONIZED: TSK's plan says:"Some artists and authors will be supported and will be brought to the front; anti-TSK activities and people will be targeted to be demonized."

The document that Taraf has revealed, and it has been officially approved as coming from the general staff headquarters, has suggestions that will be criticized largely in the public, has the following suggestions, that seem like psychological warfare methods:

* Using people in important [influential] positions to counterattack the campaigns and people who endeavor to show TSK as anti-religion and aim to demonize it.

* Those influential people will emphasis that TSK is not anti-religion, it respects the people's national values and religion, TSK is a guide for modernity, and for scientific and social enhancement; It is an institution that makes democratic values live on a modern level, it is on the level of civilized societies' armies, it is the people's army and it is the institution that receives the most support from the people and that "Mehmetciks" and higher ranking personnel come from the people.

* To support the fragmentation of the targeted political and ethnic groups and in order to divide them, TSK should support and contact some people, thus to diminish the targets' power and disable their attempts to demonize TSK.

* Artists and authors that are known to be in line with TSK will be prioritized to create works on pre-selected themes to inform the targeted people. For this purpose, some artists and authors will be supported and will be brought to the fore while the anti-TSK ideas, activities, and authors will be targeted for demonization.

4. REDIRECTING THE INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE: According to the framework in the plan, article 12 calls for the influential people to be used to keep anti-TSK campaigns ineffective. For this purpose, the costs for these activities will be reimbursed directly or indirectly.

5. IT WILL BE EMPHASIZED THAT DTP IS A "TERRORIST" PARTY: Because of DTP's attitudes and statements, it will be emphasized that DTP has been recognized as "terrorist" and will not be accepted, except as a nonentity.

The region will be disturbed. In the plan, there are some suggestions and implementations about the Kurdish question and DTP. There are some remarkable strategies about the relationship with DTP, in addition to the strategies to cut down support for the PKK:

* In order to cut down support in Northern Iraq, the people in the region will be disturbed under the label of "war against terrorism" and people will be convinced that this disturbance will continue unless they end their support.

* People in the region will be convinced that support for "terrorism" will not be without cost, with frequent checkpoints, intensified operations, and similar activities.

* A similar message will be delivered to the Kurdish people living in Northern Iraq close to the Turkish border, by heavy weapons shelling. In this way, it will be hinted that if they continue to support PKK the disturbance will continue with increasing intensity.

Precautions against DTP's activities: In a high-level press conference, it will be explicitly declared that DTP is seen as a "terrorist" party by TSK because of its statements and activities that it had in various places and locations. For this purpose, following the general staff headquarters' statements, which elaborate in detail why DTP is a "terrorist" party, this approach will be declared again in a seminar or conference related to PKK.


Taraf reports the following as additional parts of the TSK's plan of psychological warfare:

* National security classes in the high schools will be taught by TSK members and textbooks will be reviewed by TSK. The curriculum will be decided by TSK.

* For those classes, CDs and DVDs will be delivered by the TSK class instructor.

* Using suitable NGOs covertly and indirectly, through trustworthy people in order not to risk the NGO as a target for the opposition.

* "Conversation meetings": To avoid the creation of an unsatisfied group within TSK, "conversation meetings" will be held at the level of general, admiral, and similar high-ranking officers. Thus, the feelings and ideas of military personnel can be monitored.

* Enlightenment (Propaganda) Teams: to use experts and experienced staff to make propaganda and impose TSK's views within the military.

* Cyberworld: In order to state TSK's views related to ongoing news in public media, and to inform and direct people, the internet will be used more effectively.

* Accroding to social enhancement support activities in big cities, TSK will go into pilot regions in ghettos to change the people's view about TSK (i.e. the Kurdish people).

* In order to impress the public, scientific seminars, conferences, and similar activities will be supported, and TSK will attend such activities. Activities that promote suitable strategies for TSK will be covertly supported and the activities' costs must be reimbursed.

* Visits from high-ranking officers to martyr or veteran families will be monitored in order to grab media attention. Military spouses will organize the collection and delivery of donations.

After Taraf published its news about the Information Support Activity Action Plan, Büyükanıt made a statement in which he said that this kind of news was "cheap propaganda" and was not to be believed, and he hinted that there was something sinister about the financial backer of the paper.

In Turkey, the media is broadly divided into two camps: the pro-AKP, Islamist camp and the pro-military camp. When Taraf publishes news critical of AKP, the pro-Islamist press accuses Taraf of having George Soros as a financial backer. If Taraf publishes news critical of the military, the pro-military press accuses it of being funded by AKP supporters. Büyükanıt has his panties in knots because Taraf had previously published embarrassing reports on the Dağlica commander--you remember Onur Dirik, don't you--and his New Year's Eve bellydancing show for his officers. This occurred just a few short months after TSK lost a number of troops as targets-of-opportunity to PKK. In addition, Taraf's very recent reporting on the rather inconvenient secret meetings between between a senior judge in the Constitutional Court (Osman Paksüt) and the next chief of general staff (İlker Başbuğ). Check Zaman for an English-language reference to Taraf's report on the Paksüt-Başbuğ meetings. The significance here being that AKP is facing a closure case by the very same Constitutional Court on which sits Sayın Paksüt. This is another embarrassing strike against Büyükanıt's gang.

To suggest that Taraf is funded by either the Fethullacı or George Soros--considered a very suspicious character in Turkey--is utterly laughable. I don't believe for a moment that Taraf has ties to either because the paper was founded by Ahmet Altan, who comes from a family of highly educated journalists who've repeatedly been in trouble with the Ankara regime and happen to favor politics of the Left.

As promised in Taraf's publishing of Büyükanıt's statement, today Ahmet Altan published an open letter to Büyükanıt in which he throws down the guantlet and challenges the Turkish chief of general staff to come forth with his evidence against Taraf's financial backers, saying that it is the responsibility of the chief of staff to provide the evidence for his claims. Altan says Taraf is ready for an open inspection of its finances and if it is proved that Taraf is financed by questionable sources, he will close down the daily.

What does all this mean? It means that when some of us say there is psychological warfare being conducted against the Kurdish people, their freedom movement, and DTP, we are absolutely correct. When people like Bülent Ersoy are prosecuted for saying they would not send their sons to fight PKK, that's part of TSK's Plan. When TSK forbids Turkish media to report on the warfare in North Kurdistan, as Hevallo notes today, that's part of TSK's Plan. When Erdoğan insists that DTP must call PKK "terrorist", that's part of TSK's Plan. When Turkey claims to ban Youtube because of some bullshit videos about Atatürk (when it's really all about banning embarrassing videos like the Newroz violence, or the Dağlica commander's stupidity, or reporting of PKK operations by Roj TV), that's part of TSK's plan.

Remember FM 31-20-3.


Kristiina Koivunen said...

Thanks for translating the important information from Taraf to English. When reading about these things I always think that the 1980 military coup should be studied more, the present day situation is just one step in that process. Is there any good book about the 1980 coup in English?

Mizgîn said...

You're welcome, Dr. Kristiina.

I can't think of any book about the 1980 coup in English. Ismet Imset had an article, in which the coup was discussed. I don't know if you've seen it, but you can click here to read it.

If I think of something else, I'll let you know.

Kristiina Koivunen said...

Thanks for the information. Coup 1980 was one of the most important things which happened last century in Turkey (maybe the second most important thing after the Lausanne catastrophe), so what does it tell that Turks are not studying their own history? That there is an intellectual crisis in the country.

Info Turk has made a black book of Turkish "democracy" and put it to internet (400 pages). There are very many details but absolutely no analysis.

Nice that you have put pictures from bazar and delicious Kurdish food in your blog. We should remember that there exists also many good things in Kurdistan and not let the war dominate our thinking all the time.

Mizgîn said...

Dr. Kristiina, of course Turks do not know their own history. They know what the official propaganda is, but they don't know the reality. And if you run into Turks in the US, anyway, and say you're from Sirnak, well, you get the strangest looks. It's a weird kind of thing.

As for Info Turk, I was going to say that there are bits and pieces in English about the 1980 coup, as well as about the Dirty War, but these are the raw materials for a book on the subject. You really do have to go through a lot of stuff in order to synthesize a big picture of the period. Even works by Paul White or David McDowall . . . or Jonathan Randall only touch briefly on the 1980 coup.

There definitely exist many good things in Kurdistan. Unfortunately, I feel the political situation is dire and it is urgent to get the truth out. So that is mainly what I focus on here.

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