Turkey’s AKP regime is mak­ing full use of Euro­pean anti-ter­ror­ist “insti­tu­tions” and “coop­er­a­tions” in order to orga­nize the hunt against its opponents.

A Fran­co-Turk­ish jour­nal­ist was placed into cus­tody in Bel­gium at the end of 2016, fol­low­ing a request by the Turk­ish State via Inter­pol… Hamza Yalçın, a Turk­ish refugee writer and jour­nal­ist, mem­ber of the Swedish Writer’s Union, has just been arrest­ed in Spain dur­ing a trip, again via Inter­pol, at the request of the Turk­ish author­i­ties… Deniz Yücel, a Ger­man jour­nal­ist of Turk­ish ori­gin, has been in deten­tion for months… French jour­nal­ists and pho­tog­ra­phers have been denied res­i­den­cy, fol­low­ing their arrest and deten­tion in Turk­ish pris­ons, on the basis of exchange of intel­li­gence con­cern­ing their activ­i­ties… Loup Bureau, a young French jour­nal­ist who wished to do a 2017 fol­low-up on his 2013 reportage in Roja­va, has just been arrest­ed and, for the past fif­teen days, has been await­ing for­mal indict­ment on the charges of « ter­ror­ist pro­pa­gan­da » of which the regime wants to accuse him… Plus many oth­er cas­es that escape our atten­tion for want of cov­er­age by the medias.

At each inter­na­tion­al meet­ing, at each « sum­mit », the Turk­ish pres­i­dent in per­son or a min­is­ter reminds par­tic­i­pants of the oblig­a­tion to extra­dite to Turkey, either the preach­er Gülen, or his fol­low­ers, or jour­nal­ists who worked in Turk­ish press bureaus, news­pa­pers or TV sta­tions. Let’s not for­get the « mil­i­tary per­son­nel » accused of putschism who escaped the purges because they were NATO offi­cials in Euro­pean coun­tries or the few who fled to Greece in July 2016… But behind these « offi­cial demands », the remain­der of « orga­ni­za­tion­al mem­bers » is well cov­ered, since the PKK is still offi­cial­ly des­ig­nat­ed by all as a « ter­ror­ist organization ».

The ali­bi is always the same, the hunt for Gülenists, in order to widen the net and track down activist oppo­nents « harm­ing the regime » from abroad.

Through the per­son of Loup Bureau, the stakes of course are Roja­va, the diplo­mat­ic exis­tence of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Fed­er­a­tion of North­ern Syr­ia, and the fact of con­sid­er­ing the PYD as « terrorist ».

In order to do so, the AKP takes hostages… just as it holds hostage thou­sands of domes­tic oppo­nents, polit­i­cal lead­ers, jour­nal­ists, teach­ers, defendors of human rights…

For we must add to the list direct attacks against orga­ni­za­tions defend­ing human rights, such as the arrest and impris­on­ment of the Turk­ish rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al…

All of this sug­gests diplo­mat­ic black­mail with bar­gain­ing chips, the ran­som for which is nev­er paid, or so we are told… And let’s not for­get the « lot » of war refugees, a per­ma­nent threat bran­dished by the Reis…

Of course, no one can say with cer­tain­ty that this is part of a thought-out and pre­med­i­tat­ed pol­i­cy. But the all-out hunt for oppo­nents (that has replaced yesterday’s tar­get­ed assas­si­na­tions) holds bar­gain­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for the Turk­ish regime, mired in its inter­na­tion­al diplo­ma­cy since its rever­sals in Syr­ia and the pres­sures exert­ed on it by Russia.

The “migrants” file is still on the table also, as is the « freeze » on the nego­ti­a­tions for inte­gra­tion into the EU, that wax­es and wanes…along with its eco­nom­ic uncertainties.

We can eas­i­ly imag­ine the hag­gling tak­ing place, and every Euro­pean representative’s temp­ta­tion to play his eco­nom­ic, diplo­mat­ic, finan­cial and com­mu­ni­ca­tion « inter­ests » for his home audi­ence, before giv­ing any con­sid­er­a­tion to stand firm on « human prin­ci­ples and inter­na­tion­al agree­ments » before a self-pro­claimed dictator.

For Loup Bureau, it has tak­en fif­teen days of undoubt­ed­ly unsuc­cess­ful secret nego­ti­a­tions and the begin­nings of a strong mobi­liza­tion, to reach the phase of a pres­i­den­tial « com­mu­ni­ca­tion » in France. For Ger­many, the stakes involved a vis­it to a NATO base with Ger­man assets, to which the Turk­ish State was deny­ing access. The AKP moved its pawn, but jour­nal­ist Deniz Yücel can go on waiting…

Few peo­ple remem­ber the peri­od in the nineties when hostage diplo­ma­cy was played by Ser­bian war­lords against the UN, with such suc­cess that mas­sacres were « cov­ered up », and some­times tac­it­ly accept­ed, as was the case for Sre­breni­ca, in exchange for “lib­er­a­tions”. Hostages were also numer­ous in the Mid­dle-East, for geo-polit­i­cal negotiations…

The hostage isn’t reserved to gangs of ran­som seek­ers, but remains a secret pawn in diplomacy.

Accus­ing Erdoğan of con­sid­er­ing this type of diplo­ma­cy doesn’t seem to occur to Euro­pean lead­ers. They tell us the « part­ner » is a « demand­ing » one, that’s all.

From there, less than a step is need­ed to say that oppo­nents are frankly damn nui­sances get­ting in the way of business.

My turn to play… In the fam­i­ly of “ter­ror­ists”, I’d like…. the father, the son, and the euros…


Trans­la­tion by Renée Lucie Bourges.
French ver­sion > Passe moi le Gülen, je te refile le Bureau

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