Both the Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office of Terror and Organized Crime Investigations and Istanbul 7th Court of Peace, issued a warrant dated November 28, 2017, for Associate Professor Aykan Erdemir’s arrest
who has served as a Republican People’s Party (CHP) member of the Turkish parliament representing Bursa province between 2011 – 2015.
Grounds for his arrest were listed as his name being on the witness list given to the New York District Court by New York District Attorney John H. Kim and the Prosecutors Office, in the Mehmet Hakan Atilla case, and that he delivered an “alleged fake report dated January 28, 2014” to the New York District Court and managed for it to be used as evidence during the hearings. The Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office requested the arrest of Erdemir based on claims that he is a fugitive and on the run; therefore they have not been able to summon him.
In his biography on the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (http://www.defenddemocracy.org/about-fdd/team-overview/dr-aykan-erdemir/), Aykan Erdemir is introduced as someone, “who served in the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, EU Harmonization Committee, and the Ad Hoc Parliamentary Committee on the IT Sector and the Internet. As an outspoken defender of pluralism, minority rights, and religious freedoms in the Middle East, Erdemir has been at the forefront of the struggle against religious persecution, hate crimes, and hate speech in Turkey. He is a founding member of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief, and a drafter of and signatory to the Oslo Charter for Freedom of Religion or Belief (2014) as well as a signatory legislator to the London Declaration on Combating Anti-Semitism.”
“Dr. Erdemir doesn’t strike one as a terrorist or criminal at first glance. But, obviously this is for the courts of law to decide.”
“On April 27, 2016,” his biography goes on ”Dr. Erdemir was awarded the Stefanus Prize for Religious Freedom in recognition of his advocacy for minority rights and religious freedoms.”
With “an MA in Middle Eastern Studies and PhD in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University, where his doctoral dissertation was entitled, “Incorporating Alevis: The Transformation of Governance and Faith-based Collective Action in Turkey.”“ Dr. Erdemir doesn’t strike one as a terrorist or criminal at first glance. But, obviously this is for the courts of law to decide.
The warrant was issued hours before the hearings of the Reza Zarrab, more correctly Mehmet Hakan Atilla vs the USA case, started in a New York Federal Court which happens to coincide with Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Chairman of opposition CHP, showed what he claims to be SWIFT – fund transfer notes of President Erdogan’s family and friends to an off-shore account on the Isle of Man. A CHP delegation will turn in the SWIFT notes and other evidence to the Ankara Chief Prosecutors’ Office on Tuesday, December 5.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul issued an arrest warrant on 1st of December, 2017, for Graham Fuller, over his alleged involvement in the failed 15 July 2016 coup attempt and accusing Fuller of “attempting to overthrow the government of the Republic of Turkey and obstructing the duties of the Republic of Turkey,” ”obtaining state information that must be kept secret for political and military espionage purposes,” and “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order.”
Who is Graham Fuller?
Is he one of those dark characters we see in Hollywood spy movies, working on how to overthrow governments, scheming behind the scenes to topple leaders, doing terrible things like assassinations and working with terrorist cells?
Well, not quite so! Of course, since he is a member of an intelligence agency by its very nature we cannot be privy to all his activities; however, we can try to find out who the man is who did all of the things that the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor puts forward in his arrest warrant.
In his own words, Graham E. Fuller in his blog http://grahamefuller.com/about/ says he “…first became smitten with the Middle East at age 16 while reading National Geographic magazines and being enticed by the exotic landscapes, the culture, and the crazy shapes of the Arabic language that I decided I had to learn. I studied a lot about the Middle East, and Russia, when I was in university. I always expected to become an academic, but my draft board deemed otherwise; I was drafted and sent into intelligence work. I had an extraordinary chance to learn about the Middle East first hand while serving as a CIA operations officer all over Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Hong Kong for two decades. It was an education in itself, and a chance to travel and learn a lot of languages, which I loved.” He adds “…then “came in from the cold” and was appointed a top analyst at CIA for global forecasting. After 25 years with the US government I felt it was time to leave;…”.
“The night of the coup attempt in Turkey I happen to have been addressing a group of 100 people or so right here in the town in western Canada”
After the arrest warrant was issued he made a statement himself wherein he denies any allegations of his involvement and states that he has retired from CIA exactly 30 years ago and has not set foot in or even near Turkey in five years. “The night of the coup attempt in Turkey I happen to have been addressing a group of 100 people or so right here in the town in western Canada where I have been living for the last 15 years.” he goes on and contrary to what we may think of him he says “Far from being an opponent of Erdogan, my last book: “Turkey and the Arab Spring: Leadership in the Middle East” speaks in very positive terms about the dramatic changes that Erdogan and his colleagues introduced into Turkey starting in 2002 in nearly every sphere of life, including a bold and innovative new foreign policy vision.”
The arrest warrant came after the Russian strategist Alexander Dugin had claimed during a TV broadcast in Turkey that both Henry Barkey an academic and US citizen and Graham Fuller attended a meeting on Buyukada, an island just of the shores of Istanbul, where the prosecutors claim, they organized and coordinated the 15 July coup attempt. Dugin also stated that Russian intelligence agencies had “concrete evidence that CIA agents commanded the failed coup attempt.”
Who needs Hollywood when you live in Turkey?
We Turks love conspiracy theories and there is never a shortage of them. Having said that, conspiracies seem to be prone to becoming realities in these lands of political turmoil and whirlwinds of international interests led by proxy wars.
In Graham Fuller’s case, public perception appears to be directed against him by government oriented newspaper headlines and heated TV discussions where he seems to be vilified and victimized for actions he doesn’t appear to be able to do unless he coordinated them from a small Canadian town near the West Coast, where he lives half way around the world.
We try not to take sides nor do we take on a role of a defender for anything but democracy, liberty, equality and freedom of speech, yet, we believe their side of the story like thousands of others, including hundreds of journalists who are in jail based on “guilty until proven innocent” who were not so fortunate to defend themselves within civilized standards of judicial proceedings in a variety of probes, needed to be told.
Within the context of universal law, “innocent until proven guilty”, and with the intent to bring evidence to the attention of Turkey’s Public Prosecutors here is Dr. Aykan Erdemir and Graham E. Fuller’s statements in reply to their arrest warrants:
“Dr. Aykan Erdemir’s statement, 24th Term Member of Parliament representing Bursa, regarding his arrest warrant issued by both the Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office of Terror and Organized Crime Investigations and Istanbul 7th Court of Peace, dated November 28, 2017.
There are three claims about me in the Chief Prosecutor’s warrant for my arrest:
- That my name is on the witness list given to the New York District Court by New York District Attorney John H. Kim and the Prosecutors Office, in the Mehmet Hakan Atilla case.
- That I have delivered a “alleged fake report dated January 28, 2014” to the New York District Court and managed for it to be used as evidence during the hearings.
- That I am a fugitive and on the run, therefore have not been able to be summoned or called to court.
All three claims are totally untrue and unreal. My reply is below:
My name is not in the 17-page document numbered 359 of with the list of names subject to or likely witnesses in the case sent by the New York Prosecutors Office on November 27, 2017 to the New York District Court in conjunction with the Mehmet Hakan Atilla case. This claim is unfounded and does not reflect the truth.
- I have no knowledge of an “alleged fake report dated January 28, 2014” nor its contents
- I have not been aware of the existence of such or other report until the claim in the arrest warrant nor have I delivered this or any other report to either New York District Curt or any other court. These claims are completely untrue
- I have absolutely nothing to do nor do I know the person called Osman Zeki Canitez who is mentioned together with me in the arrest warrant. I have never had any contact with him and never have been in the same environment with him. It is impossible and totally illogical for me to have had any joint activities with a person whom I do not know, never have been together and never have been in contact.
Currently there are no court cases about me nor are there any verdicts with a conviction against me. Allegations that I have not been able to be summoned to court because I am a “fugitive” or that I am “on the run“ are totally untrue. My current address of residence in the USA is in the records of The General Directorate of Civil Registration and Nationality. There are no obstacles for an official summons to be sent to me. Apart from that, our Washington Embassy officials regularly attend various events in which I make speeches and when necessary reach out to me by regular mail, e-mail or telephone.
Within this context, it is clear that all claims in the request for my arrest are all fiction, are not based on any concrete information or documentation, contains grave factual errors and will be fully impugned by information and documents that have come out and will do so during the hearings of the Mehmet Hakan Atilla court proceedings.
When the request for my arrest and the arrest warrant are carefully inspected it can be clearly seen that my name has been added to a file which has nothing to do with me, in a last minute haste
I leave it up to the public to judge for which reasons and purpose a slander and smear campaign against me and Republican People’s Party to which I am honoured to belong has been initiated right after these baseless and untrue accusations have come to the public’s attention hours before the Mehmet Hakan Atilla first jury court hearings and the statement of Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Chairman of Republican People’s Party, about the off-shore accounts in the Isle of Man.“
“Statement by Graham E. Fuller, 1 December 2017
The government of Turkey has issued an arrest warrant against me—according to the charge—for having been personally involved on the scene directing the coup attempt against the Erdogan government on 16 July 2016. According to earlier Turkish press accounts a few months ago, I was “spotted in Istanbul” and later that night, following the failure of the coup, was “exfiltrated by chopper across the border into Greece.” I have often been accused in the Turkish press of being “Fethullah Gülen’s CIA handler.”
A few inconvenient facts for the Turkish “case” against me:
- I retired from CIA exactly 30 years ago.
- I have not set foot in or even near Turkey in five years.
- I never heard the name Fethullah Gülen while working in Turkey in the 1960s. I met him exactly once in my life, long after retiring from CIA, in an interview conducted 15 years ago in Istanbul. I have never seen him since, although I have followed his movement with interest.
- The night of the coup attempt in Turkey I happen to have been addressing a group of 100 people or so right here in the town in western Canada where I have been living for the last 15 years.
I have written a good bit about Gülen’s movement Hizmet (Service) in the context of a broader study on movements in political Islam from Indonesia to Morocco in my book “The Future of Political Islam.” I was impressed then, and am still impressed now, that HIzmet represents one of the most progressive and tolerant visions of Islam and its contemporary social role anywhere in the Muslim world.
Far from being an opponent of Erdogan, my last book: “Turkey and the Arab Spring: Leadership in the Middle East” speaks in very positive terms about the dramatic changes that Erdogan and his colleagues introduced into Turkey starting in 2002 in nearly every sphere of life, including a bold and innovative new foreign policy vision. Only in the final chapter did I begin to express misgivings about the apparent onset of Erdogan’s sudden more erratic behavior, his paranoia, his loss of political touch and his megalomania.
I am apparently a choice target for Erdogan because of my 25 year career with CIA. My very first tour of duty abroad was as a very junior officer in Istanbul in the late 1960s—although the Turkish press likes to promote me to having been “CIA Station Chief in Ankara.” Some have even called me a “former chief of CIA.” I never returned to Turkey as a CIA officer after that tour.
Many Turks and other foreigners are willing to believe almost any story about CIA; political leaders routinely use it as a bogeyman to bolster their own positions. Unfortunately, these suspicions are not always without foundation. US government policies have much to answer for over the years in their many directives to the CIA to engage in damaging and foolish political intervention and even coup-making in a number of countries. Many of those “regime change” policies still obtain today. That said, I doubt very much the CIA had anything to do with this pathetic, ill-conceived and amateurish, coup attempt —that unfortunately cost over 350 lives—against Erdogan in July 2016. I doubt even more that Gülen was involved in “ordering” a coup, a view shared by many European intelligence organizations and within the US government.
For what it’s worth, Gülen condemned the coup attempt in the strongest terms. HIs movement has had zero involvement in any political violence prior to the coup attempt accusation.
I am only marginally swept up among many Turks in the ongoing wave of arrests, persecutions and cashiering of tens of thousands of Turks—journalists, judges, academics, military officers, police officers—all perceived as enemies of Erdogan’s state. Most of them have suffered grievously. I, at least, am lucky not to be living there, a country I have long admired.
Sadly, all this only provides further evidence of the extent to which Erdogan has become a nasty (but elected) authoritarian engaged in a national witch hunt that has intimidated his country, alienated virtually all foreign leaders, produced hundreds of thousands of domestic victims of arrests, and cashiering from jobs in all walks of life among any whom Erdogan perceives as enemies. His growing imperious behavior, his isolation among a handful of yes-men courtiers, and the polarization of the country is likely to cost him dearly in the next elections in 2019—assuming they will be honest.”