Turkey: storm over Erdogan, YouTube also blocked

After the revelation of a plan to attack Syria

28 March, 12:01

    (By Francesco Cerri) (ANSAmed) - ANKARA, MARCH 28 - Tensions are high two days ahead of crucial administrative elections on Sunday in Turkey, where Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday ordered a block on YouTube after doing the same to Twitter last Friday. The move came after burning new revelations on plans for "provoked" military intervention in Syria.

    For days the opposition has accused Erdogan, who is mired in corruption scandals, of seeking a military "adventure" in Syria to distract voters' attention from Turkish bribes.

    In recorded conversations among various Turkish leaders released on YouTube this morning - among them Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, the Head of Secret Services Hakan Fidan and Deputy Chief of Staff Yasar Guler - Fidan proposes sending "four men" in Syria "to launch missiles" against Turkish territory, and to organize an attack against the tomb of Suleyman Shah, a Turkish enclave 30 km inside Syrian territory. The voice attributed to Fidan adds that "it is not a problem, a justification can be fabricated". Davutoglu adds in the meeting that "the prime minister said that at this current juncture, the attack could be an opportunity for us".

    The authenticity of the recording could not be verified by independent sources, but the "leak" on YouTube has triggered a furious reaction by Erdogan, who decried it as "an ignoble act" and promised to hunt down whoever is responsible "in their lair". Davutoglu spoke of "declarations of war" without specifying of whom, toward Turkey. Making the affair more embarrassing is the fact that the conversations that emerged on YouTube were allegedly recorded in the offices of Davutoglu, theoretically one of the most secure places in the Turkish state.

    Erdogan pointed the finger again against ex-allies - now arch enemies - in the Islamic brotherhood of Fethullah Gulen, which is influential throughout the organs of the state. Shortly after the "bomb" of the leaks on Syria, access to YouTube was blocked in all of Turkey in the name of "national security". The premier had already threatened a number of times to block Youtube and Facebook in addition to Twitter. Revelations compromising the premier and government men have been posted daily on the social networks for weeks. Yesterday another revelation came out that is devastating for Erdogan. He is implicated in an audio recording of having organized the release of a sexually graphic video in 2010 of the then leader of the opposition Deniz Baykal, who was then forced to resign. Erdogan denounced the recording as "a frame-up".

    But the leader of the opposition, Kemal Kilicdaroglu - Baykal's successor - spoke of a Turkish Watergate. The newspaper Zaman spoke of a "political earthquake".

    Hurriyet warns of "seething politics".

    It is not yet clear what the repercussions of the continuing landslide of scandals hitting the premier will have on Sunday's elections, as polls are unable to tell whether Turkey is headed toward what promises to be an increasingly Islamic and authoritarian regime if the "sultan" keeps his post, or a more democratic alternative that is closer to Europe. (ANSAmed).

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