tv 2016 Coup Attempt in Turkey Panel 2 CSPAN July 14, 2017 6:46pm-8:02pm EDT
fire upon the king's troops creating an act of treason. >> then see the largest collection of materials used during the earliest days of the revolution displayed at the concord museum. watch c-span cities tour of concord massachusetts, saturday at noon eastern on cspan's book tv and american history tv on c-span 3 working with cable affiliates and visiting cities across the country. >> now a conversation on the causes and geopolitical consequences of the 2015 coup attempt in turkey. hosted by the turkey focus think tank called the seta foundation for political and economic and social research. this is about an hour and 15 minutes.
>> the july the 5th attempt. one of the difficulties we faced in turkey is explain this event to our international counterparts, it's really well complicated and difficult to stress and one of the difficulties and mysteries of this event is also how turkey -- fighting against the terrorist organization in the aftermath of the coup attempt and how turkey is dealing with both challenges
in this new era. of course, both are very difficult and we have to go off the background to understand this. we will have four distinguished guests today. we will try to understand what happened in terms of foreign policy in the aftermath of july the 15th coup attempt. and also, some background about this development. so we will have four speaks, jeffrey, who is the distinguished fellow at washington institute for u.s. policy, our second speaker will
be profess or do nae from the university, foreign policy. our third speaker is colonel richard houston, senior u.s. army advise are and member of planning at u.s. department of state. and our fourth speaker is chair of security studies at seta foundation and professor of international relations. a.m. boss tore, please. >> let me tackle this for two standpoints, the situation related to the coup and how that impacted bilateral relations, secondly, the much broader context of american turkish bilateral relations in the context of the meefiddle east a
you' eurasia. >> turkey was extremely fortunate to survive a coup of embrace the democratically-elected government facing a military coup. i was involved for the first few hours and i can assure you this was not a deliberate action by the administration. rather, any of you who have followed president obama in the press or as i have and worked with him know that he doesn't make decisions quickly. it was an effort to gather facts outside of government and in gokt to find out what was going on that led to the delay and that was very unfortunate, because in circumstances like that, you have to act
immediately. and we didn't. so that's the first blow. the second blow was in some of the military commanders, whose focus is entirely on isis. when there's no more isis, the american military is finally going to no longer going to have the war it's wanted for 20 years. one it can win. it was focused on, doing wells, suddenly, interlicht was closed down, these generals just blurted out the first thing that's come to their mind. and of course as you know, the general who is run the war in syria and iraq are not the gener generals who report to our european command and work with and cooperate with turkey. but the far bigger problem is the embarrassing fact that
fatala gulen is sitting here in the united states. and the administration has yet to give a response, that understandably turkey would find acceptable. that's going to continue for sometime. because of the nature of the court system in america. which not only turks, but donald trump has discovered a very, very independent in this slow-to-take decisions. nonethele nonetheless, and here ankara has a point, the administration could do more to rein in this orange, the allegedly charitable, educational actions of an organization, which at best is opaque and at worst, as many correctly believe i think, was behind this coup. now the only good news out of this thing a year later is there is as far as i can see, no
reputable media think tank, ak detic or other actor who has appeared to challenge the idea that this coup was as you heard this morning, from two of your speakers, mainly or largely done by the vallenists. people have questioned what came after. that will continue. but there hasn't been any major challenge to that to the contrary, many independent journalists, american as well as turkish and others have come to the conclusion that the gulenists were behind it. what remains in play on the bilateral level is that the turkish suspicions that began on the evening of july 15th and have continued. the very difficult problem dieting fatullah gulen and the
turkish government has gone too far from dismissing people from jobs or prosecuting them because of one or another alleged ties to the gulenist movement. with where turkey is going politically, not economically, not in terms of security and diplomacy, but politically, that's not at the center of american concerns, of administration concerns, it plays a bill role in the media and a big role in congress, something that both sides will have to watch. the basic issue is that the global system that both america and turkey have participated in, in very much benefitted from, is under threat. in the middle east it's under threat by iran so some degree, the uni radical extremist groups. now russia joining iran and in
europe, it's under threat by russia this is something that both the united states and turkey are aware of. president erdogan has spoken repeatedly of a persian expansionism that needs to be dealt with. a dirn approach than for example the saudis take, where it is seen much more in apocalyptic terms. but it appears to be more of a geostrategic challenge and turkey has taken certain steps to buttress itself against this. this is an area of considerable cooperation and coordination between the two countries, i'm pretty optimistic about that. the key issue will be syria, after isis is defeated, which could be when i say isis is defeated, i mean as a state and an army, not as an idea or as a terrorist group.
so the question is, what do we do with syria and iraq, there's a general problem of chaos, particularly in syria, there's a problem of iran and its surrogates from hezbollah militias, operating in this region and for turkey, there's the problem of the ypg and the pyd, the political and the military and political wings of the syrian basically wing of the pkk. people in america know this, because this is our primary ail rye against isis and isis remains the priority right now, the united states is going to continue to work with the ypg, the pyd and the guise of the syrian democratic forces, but we know who provides most of the fighting power, which is the ypg. the kurdish military.
after isis is finished, united states and turkey are going to be sitting with this new agreement on jordan and vail as silent partners are going to be sitting on a considerable amount of syria territory that have been well defended against anybody who is trying to push into it. working with local forces. that will be the big question. i would reich to say this is where the united states is going to be, i don't know where turkey
is. but there will have to be some kind of coordination. all i can say is nobody knows yet where the united states quite is on this. because this is a hard, difficult problem. we've tackled iran before. we were successful. in the iraq/iran war of pushing it back when swept into iraq in 1983. we were successful, in the tank war, we weren't successful in beirut in a political military campaign in 2011 to stay on in iraq so our own success with iran is mixed. this will be the key geopolitical issue we will have with with turkey. it will affected by turkey, to the extent it will get worse, it will be affected by the gulen situation and it will be affected by the ypg question. the big issue once isis is done is what do we do in iraq and syria with the iranian threat in the total disorganization of the
region? thank you. i'll leave you to fix that mess, okay? >> i will ask the question after the panel. simple question. so turkey somehow believes that the u.s. have some involvement behind or some actors within the u.s. involvement in july the 15th. failed coup. so what should the u.s. have done differently in order to but in particularly sees that great
powers don't like competition. turkey is competition so therefore, ever since woodrow wilson advocated an independent kurdistan, i've never heard of americans other than us who have served in turkey who know that fact. there's this general feeling of suspicion that the united states is always trying to clip turkey's wings, to deny turkey its rightful place in the sun. turkey isn't the only country that thinks this way. putin famously believes the greatest disaster of the 20th century was the collapse of the soviet union and even the germans who many respects have learned from 1933 to 1945 often feel that their historic and natural role is being inhibited by the united states. just a normal feeling. and thus, you have to try doubly hard to react to it.
again, through no deliberate fault, the obama administration was a few hours slow and a few adjectives shy of an immediate response. immediate responses are important in diplomacy. putin got it more right than we did. and that's embarrassing. and so -- i think that we're just going to have to live with that. it just deepens the suspicion that was there long before this administration and long before president erdogan. >> our second speaker will try to get into the background of the situation in turkey. before the july the 16th coup and tell us about the discussions with regard to turkey's vulnerabilities in that area. >> okay. thank you very much. first of all i would like to express my thanks to the organizers to make me part of
this important event. of course, especially after the july 16th coup attempt, so many articles were written both in media, as well as in academics. wondering about what would be the main culture of turkish foreign policy. in the aftermath of july 16th. of course this was scene as zastic disastrous, had enormous effects in determination of main culture of turkish policy. it was not the only one main factor that determined the outcome. we need to look at the geopolitical conditions and the shifts that have realized both in regions, the area around turkey as well as the global polarization that we were
witting. in the last few years at least. and in this regard, we know that so many judgments were made. especially regarding to a party's conduct of foreign policy, starting with 2002 on. and it was the widest in the two series general. they like the first period was 2002. up to roughly 2013. and it was the period that was mostly labeled or described as this by criticizing from of course, as adventurous, it was islamic rallies. risen once. and also, an expansionist one. and according to the recent assertive facts this mode of
action in foreign policy has brought problems both in the region, as well as beyond. and second period or the second phase of conduct of foreign policy, was also marked with the change of things that has happened both in turkey. domesticwise, as well as in a region and beyond. in the region it was right after the lack of arab spring and so, the counterrevolution that led this revolution to return from spring to the winter. this was the main turmoil that brought to the region where we have seen all of these civil wars and frustrations that came out of this event. in especially in the manner region. but at the same time we have seen that the new policy was waiting in ankara.
due to the changing comment in the domestic governor and this time it was concept in this period, was judged by the critics again as this time that turkey had to turn back to the previous route. meaning this was policy more cautious one. and less ideological one. we have seen a third one one coming up. after a period of living a little bit out of relation, normal life, with russia and together with israel, and one issue was also coincided with turkey's operation. the previous judgments had something again we have seen that turkey has been somehow
accused of having another towards the split in russia so all of these kind of judgments was mostly focused on two points. one factor was bringing down the conduct of foreign policy to one person. meaning previously it was this time, this was our president erdogan. and also it was associated with the explanation of the mainstream of muslim identity and so as to my answer for a personal one, these were not explainable right answers, because what we have witnessed. this also holds true for july 15th. failed attempt, period. tlilds for that, period, too. and what has happened and how
the conduct of turkish forces came up was the result two of main factors. one was the shift in changing geopolitic around turkey, as well as globaled with and it was the end of the cold war years. that the latest in throughout the decades after the cold war and it was the end of super power overlay that gave brief to the regional powers to be active in their regions. until the end of the arab spring and this is how turkey has conducted the as well as the constructivist approach in its conduct of foreign policy. but all these two have become ineffective. what i've especially witnessed in in the middle east. the third attack, turkey was
bordering 900 kilometers with iraq and syria. where she wants all of a sudden has become somehow threat emanating from this region, the term expects the dire meanings and she had to do with all attempts by pkk and we have been hearing the cities in the south being somehow hit by the rockets by diet or use isis. and this was the situation. and the middle of this all, conflict situation that turkey was dealing, managed the crisis, with negative effects to it we had experience that night, july 15th of course. sips then we have very naturally
seen that it has already started actually before july 15th. that turkey due to the change that i have explained to you both domesticwise and regional and local wise, try to adopt and reset the main cultures of the foreign policy. and since then, they've decided to apply the turkey was there, to somehow secure its borders, stuart first of all. this was the maintain. and inside coming threats, she was trying to do a lot as our president, erdogan has set is. that was a tlifl i security pre-dick bltment, where turkey was not there until the wait until the threat, the origin of the threat comes to our borders.
to react before elsewhere, it is right. just hold domestic, as well as for the outside of our borders. so it is very simplistic. to maintain the region. and expansionist at all. somehow gretchen. after you phrase the operations, its big systems bart ofs ors that is supposed to wait against most people in iraq. she was interest to decide reality little way if i was going to be a moderate way of acting and reverse actions, that mean, she was there to be i interest spay, from now on.
and of course -- the power tools' attempt pause we have a list of examples that we can give up, nor the fuming deal, it neverly counts for $3 million. the civil war in syria. and the other donations that have been made to the developing countries who are in need of. >> also turkey has had some spans in the sub power consult tur. in what will is, in educationalwise they were trying to do. and is how this education of the union bring in other examples. what i'm saying that something
also, flosh, try to be effective as long as we can. in educationwise. that i can. >> how many minutes do i have? just about to finish, maybe i will stop here and let my colleague follow up. thank you very much. >> do you think july 15th coup attempt had a strong or influential role in turkey's change of government, as it affects relations between russia and the u.s. or the normal course of events. and just accelerated the process? >> well actually it depends on our allies. as well.
you know, turkey living in the situation. neighboring with the strong country. not a super power maybe of yesterday, but russia, who has a power at the u.n. security council as well as the nuclear power and regarding the situation of turkey having the importing energy, mostly from russia. it's a factor. of relations between the two. turkey as being there's no change in the map of western 0or orientation at all. >> the july 16th coup has brought up a little uneasily. they were expecting ambassador has mentioned to act very quickly to make their positions,
that they're siding with turkish demands for democracy that they prove is how they stop the coup by losing their life or wondering themself. as i said, there's not much change in terms of the main culture of foreign policy. but you need to reset yourself as turkey being in the struggles region. you know we need to balance your eelgss, all the time it depends on how the neighboring countries, the big and small ones are acting. so it's very noble to diverse for your relations and the security. just as the way i will explain it. >> thank you very much. so richard is an policies, so we usually don't see what's going
on in turkey when we're in the war environment. how does this look from washington, d.c. and in compares ton maybe other cases, i mean what is the situation of turkey? >> first off, i would say there are no other cases to which this can be compared. it's sui genesis for sure. very, very important event on the one-year anniversary of what was a really monumentally important event. not just for turkey, but for the friends of turkey and i think we all fall in that kaug here. >> i was new into my job at the department of state. i have the department of state's permission to be here. but i'm not speaking for the department, i'm speaking for myself as the one who has
studied turkish policies and security and the bilateral relationship for about 28 years now. i'm both a military member, i'm a colonel in the u.s. arm-and-i'm a military adviser at the department of state in the policy planning office, which means i have some ability to see the state and the defense perspective on what happened. it was the case that i just started this job when this happened on actually came on the 5th and the 15th. the coup attempt took place. one thing sometimes-day feel in this relationship between turkey and the u.s., there's a lot of what amounts to be a marriage counselor. to vale empathy we also have to describe the american actions towards turkey. in this case more so than the
ambassador. i totally understand why we were slow to relate to that few of us pay atks to international relations and even those of us that do, don't typically follow one country. we follow a region. i do much of the middle east and some other countries outside of it. i do spend a lot of time thinking about turkey. even those of us who know about turkey. had a hard time following all the dynamics. that led up to this. it requires that you understand the strugingle between the akp and its former allies in the glen movement. it requires that you understand the factional strug that will evolved within the turkish military and other security forces over a 40-year period it requires that you understand a little bit about the dynamics of the syrian war. and how bad and how tense the
relations got between the two. by the time of last summer and it requires an understanding of the opaque linkages in what's been described earlier as a mafia-like cult the gulen movement. some american who is have had experience with the gulen movement, they had very active outreach. for all i know, still do. they had trips that they sponsored for people to travel. they did supportive work for what the turkish dipsy writ large was trying to do. by introducing people to turkish culture and folk lore. very benign face of that organization. if you believe it's a multilevel organization which has a social component, business component. and it gets you to components that maybe even people in the organization don't know about. people in the organization that did not know what was going on
in the security portions of it for military intelligence and judiciary and so forth. people who have followed this struggle between the gulen movement or the turkish government and before the turkish government in the military. how much harder is it for american who is don't follow this but understand it. especially when the face that they have seen of that organization is a fairly benign one. you have to have understood all of those things. to have reacted in time and first of all, i'll be the first to admit this. in the months before the coup attempt. there were some newspaper articles starting to come out where people in the u.s. were saying the turkish military is unhappy there's going to be a coup there might be a coup. i was of the ones who said it was impossible. i'll stick with that. i like, the explanation that this was not necessarily a military coup this was a civilian coup that was played out within the military. because frankly,dy not think it
was possible that the military in a top-down utility way that military coups had happened before. civilian control of the military had been strengthened so much in the preceding decade. someone who follows turkey a lot like me was unable to predict something like this. you have to give us the benefit of the doubt that the shock factor of the united states government and the public and the bewilderment factor were very high. i'm going to generalize here and say that -- in the ensuing years since the coup there's still a lack of detailed understanding, most of the sources we talked about the documents from the parliamentary commission that looked at this. a lot of research in journalism that's been done. most of it is in turkish, there's not been a lot of good -- there has not been a lot of good in-depth pieces that explain the mechanics of the
coup attempt. frankly most americans are left with a choice of three positions. the three positions they take is first one is well we don't like erdogan so probably he's behind it. the second is -- this is way too complicated so let's just stay distant from the problem and probably that was the most doll nant and the third is maybe we don't understand all of it but clearly we understand a little bit of what happened and we need to reengage. that's the most important and most promising line of thought and inquiry and i hope that mow people take that. for me the two conclusions that stand out at the distance of a year is first of all understanding that to an unprecedented level there was a factional war within the turkish military for control of it. for those in the united states who are not willing to say that fethullah gulen knew and designed the entire thing, pulled the trigger, they have to see the relationships between the faction that was at the center of this coup and that
movement. i think that should help to take some of the energy out of the suspicion that somehow this was really done and manufactured to be instrumentalized. i'm not saying it hasn't been instrumentalized. i'm on the side of those who say that the quicker that the investigations and the punish mgts can be done and gotten past then the quicker something like normal politics can return for turkey, the better it will be for the bilateral relation. it will help our views and our support of the process. to come to that understanding. that it was a real factional war within the turkish military. so one of the things i want to talk about as someone who has over the course of nearly 30 years served on several occasions with the turkish military is to address the military aspects of what came after the coup. there were many voices in the u.s. who said the turkish military is finished, it's done.
it's crippled. it cannot be relied upon. it lost too many pilots, too many generals, you heard that early on in the special forces it can't be a successful partner in the war on terror. some of those allegations were made and i think that the good news in the course of the last year has been that despite very real damage that was done to the turkish military and they have made great strides in restoring the combat capabilities and the institutional capabilities of the turkish military. it's pretty amazing that just you know, a little bit after a month after the coup had been done that there was a major operation of defensive neorealism and the euphrates shield that require as significant ability to project power and work with allies. it's not a controversial operation, most americans don't understand turkey's unique
geopolitics. the fact that such a successful period in the counterterrorism campaign in the southeast against the pkk was carried out is also very impressive. people know less about some of the other things that are going on such as the fact that the last two or three years, the turkey's defense industry has taken great strides, turkey is producing its own military satellites. unmanned aerial vehicles. the turkish military has turned into truly a first-world force with cutting-edge technologies in a sort of ironic sense some of the outcomes of the coup and reforms that follow the coup may continue to professionalize and make stronger. some of the things that are happening in the military educational field i think will ultimately have a very beneficial effect for the turkish military. it's painful for the three classes of the military cadet who is were let go extremely painful process and i'm sure not all of them would have been supporters of the coup. so there are some painful and
regrettable decisions and aspects of this that i think nobody would have wanted. and yet when we look at it from the rationalization of the services and snowboard nation under s under civilian control, turkies services are beginning to look more like what the west wants them to look like. and i just want to end with this. i served with the turkish military in three very distinct periods of time from '90-'91 at the end of the cold war period. i was serving there. in 2001, through 2003 i was in ankara at the office of the defense cooperation and in 200 -2010 i served in afghanistan as a liaison officer with the turkish brigade in eastern kabul. for a month i was actually made the chief of staff of that brigade when its colonel became
ill. i had seen over the course of those three decades, changes, not always good changes. by the last assignment it was clear that there was something wrong with the culture within the turkish military and there were groups within that headquarters, that clearly did not talk to other groups within that headquarters, i'm not going to tell you that i could pick out who was crypto fetu. but there was a sense that the formal chain of command, that was an illness within the body of the turkish military. it was an illness that developed because of this factional struggle within the government. that matches what i saw. so many of my friends. i think of good special forces officers i knew in the turkish military who were denied promotion above a certain rank because they were very staunch secularists. they refused in english we would
say to kiss the ring of the people who were the informal powers there. so the politics of this are complicated. i'm not luckily here to make political commentary, but as a military commentator i'm encouraged by how the turkish military has adapted since the coup and even more so, how the turkish in the public and the government of turkey have not tried to collapse this military or reform it. as for instance the iranians did after their represent lugs in 78-79 and replace it with a revolutionary guard. the people still love and trust their military and security services. they want them to be closer to what the modern model should be and i think the rest is just growing pains. i'm confident and optimistic about where the bilateral ties are going. and the military aspect of it. i think what's happened over the last five years in syria and what's happened in the last five years in turkey's experience
with the coup attempt and how it was incubated have been incredibly distorting and destructive to the bilateral relationship so with a little bit of tolerance and patience with one another i think it all gets better. >> thank you very much. so we have been experiencing changes in turkey in mind so we switch to government systems from parliament system. fight against the pkk and also there's an immense restructuring within the turkish military so what's happening? i mean can you give a brief picture of the defense? >> thank you very much. >> first of all i'm honored to be here. and in the turkish policy. in 15, july.
>> your questions very difficult to explain. in such a short time of course, but i would being very brief as much as possible. of course you know the july coup attempt is on the radical transformation, in terms of the changing dimensions and policies of turkey. but we are also gg to witness a kind of systemic change that i think will radically enclose the decision-making process and security policy. and of course turkey has been under you know huge transformation, in which turkey, into the wider, wider region in the middle east. and the different fighter in foreign policy issues. think we're going to see you
know huge difference when we compare to the era especially before the 15 july and before the systemic transformation in turkey. what i would like to taurk about in my speech is that how we can or how we should understand, how we should explain turkish foreign security policy, especially in the 15 july. particularly focusing on the development on the security crisis, speaking in the middle east. you know, i have been working on turkish foreign policy for ten years, i worked at municipal foreign afairs and i work at the university now and i'm an adviser to turkish military especially policy planning department. and what i've been learning is my experience that you know, the
ideology and the personality of the leaders are not too much important in shaping turkish foreign policy. what i have been learning during my experience, that conjectural, they're construct url, very important. in you know, turkish foreign policy. especially turkey's foreign policy towards the middle east and turkish united states relations, think we are experiencing the same things that conjectural dimension and the structural dimensions of the political and security development in the region within the domestic politics, you know shaping turkish foreign policy. we need to focus on what's happening in the middle east as well as you know, happening in the domestic politics from the perspective of the challenges that turkish has been facing since the i think those are
three important dimensions that we can take into consideration in order to understand turkish foreign policies and what's the turkey is directly look like in the near future in terms of involvement into the middle east. so the first one i think is the regional geopolitical situation that you know, is domestically affecting turkey's foreign policy perspective toward the different issue notice wider middle east regions and the second one is security challenges, secular domestic security challenges. we can separate the security issues of turkey from the middle eastern crisis there are relationship between regional security crisis and turkey's domestic challenges. for i think you're mutually
constructive relationships in terms of undermining turkey's national security. since 2015. so therefore we need to carefully look at the security dynamics in the middle east and domestic challenges of turkey. so therefore the relationship between regional geopolitics and the security challenges are important to explain turkish foreign policy. the third one i think is also important to understand how turkish political actors are reacting emanating from syrian civil war. turkey's struggles against daesh, is important to see how turkey's foreign policy, will reply in the near future. you look at the regional
geopolitics. since the emergency of the need for you know, social movement in the middle east, i think we have been experiencing a challenge. you know there are of course many dimensions of these radical challenges. i can summarize by looking at four different dimensions of radical security challenge. the first one is the diminution of the state sovereignty. and talking about the failed state. you look at the wider middle east geography or the greater middle east geography from libya, to yemen, there are many different types of you know, nation state that have been you know affecting it diminution of the state sovereignty. you look at the turkey security perspective, from turkey's security perspective, tirky and iraq are at the center of the
declining of the state's sovereignty. after the -- the second one is the proliferation of the nonstate military actors, when we look at the greater middle east geography from yemen to libya there are plenty of nonstate military actors that cannot compare against each other there are many religiously, from fundamental, nonstate military actor, stwels secular, such as ypg. but all of these nonstate actors are challenging the system. they are challenging sovereignty. they are challenging the borders, they are challenging the social cohesiveness of the nation state in the region. the think the third one is the tragic rise of radicalism. violent extremism.
all the states in the region are experiencing the violence extremism. turkey is no exception in experiencing the religious basedle rat cal-based he can nickization. most people from outside turkey, focus on religious radicalism. by taking in the rise of the isis network. but when you look at the other cases, especially the kkk and turkey. wean should also talk about the right of radicalization in the context of kkk. we are experiencing in turkey in the context of the kkk. we are also taking a traditional rise, rise of ethnic
radicalization in turkey. expect also social you know context of turkish politics. the last one with regards to, with regards to the regional politics that you know affect turkey's security and foreign policy. especially on the border. is when you look at iraq and feel more became a very complex, see if we decide dwooid it into five different sections of geographical zones. or nonstate actors are operating in this geography. there's also aboarder i think in this context, what whatle what are turkeys priorities in the context with regards to turkey. regional foreign and secular policy. the first one is securing turkey
on the borders. i think this is one of the important dimensions that turkey is going to act in accordance of the requirements the security security. we had been experiencing those with turkey's border security as well. we had a very secure ties, we are constructing a wall alongside the syria border. i think this will make a huge impact on turkey's foreign policy, especially with syria and iraq. i think the second aim of turkey is the increasing number of countries that turkey can work together especially after the new government came to power. finally of course you know, you
know in order to develop a comprehensive strategy for turkish foreign policy, turkish needs to work with its allies. in order to develop understanding in this context, we do not only comprehensive in dealing with the terrorism. especially against::but we have a common strategy that we can work together in defeating international terrorism in the context of the middle east. thank you. >> thank you. >> so ithy we have more than 15 minutes for the discussion. so i'll have a set of questions from the audience. so i'll be happy if you introduce yourself. >> thank you very much for a
very good speech, as good as the one in the morning. i wanted to ask professor goony a question about professional red s researchism. it makes sense to characterize turkish, sense. following the next outcores of that. i mean before, the when you're strong, turkey presented itsself. as a model for a secular systemic model. that was far from being also real. i mean it was the very idea that
in terms of what for the region as a whole and of course, the internal italian make that not possible. in fact i would say maybe the last speak woer disagree with me, the fact that turkish democracy itself, reflects very much the influence the region has on turkey. i know no one wants to sort of make a connection between turkey a and. but at the same time it seems to me that there's enough evidence to show that the influence between turkey around the both ways and not necessarily in one direction. >> we'll take a couple more questions. here. >> thank you very much. i want to ask a very specific
question and probably this would be in the first instance in the category in the area of ambassador jeffrey, but others may have a comment, too, why hasn't the u.s. extradited fethullah gulen? this seems to be a very peculiar issue because president erdogan has insisted repeatedly that the evidence that has been sent to the fbi and the justice department is absolutely solid. showing the grounds for extradition. and yet the american authorities have said repeatedly that the evidence is not convincing at all. so in the center there's quite a mystery here. >> i'll also get the question in the second round.
>> my name is armand, i'm a student. i had a question directed to the ambassador and colonel. it seems that we have a situation where we have to work with some actors on the ground in syria which is complicated our situation. ultimately the situation in syria doesn't seem like an existential threat. is it worth it to pursue these relationships if we risk our relationship with a major nato ally. that might be useful with the relationship with iran and syria coming up. putting the relationship back on the right foot. >> so i have a question about the importance of iraq and turkish security. specifically on the upcoming kurdish referendum in september for independence.
some experts have argued that a kurdish state in northern iraq might be accepted by turkey. it would serve as a buffer, between shades of iran and radical unis to turkey. with any of you agree with that argument? >> so unless you want me to -- >> maybe i request comment on this. i can't remember your name. turkey why it has realism. if i'm not this is because faith system for the region. which is true. in a certain extent. but also needs to explanation.
as it's been beginning of the arab spring in most of the recent articles and book. turkey has been model. because it was successfully combine islam with democracy. it was functioning exceptionally. so her the way it was position quite different. but the outbreak of the arab spring, the hope things were changing, you know. some of the called it was all of a sudden finally people demands for better living, we're going to be fulfilled.
counterrevolutions. supported by previous space, we have seen military system assistance survey. whereas we have witnessed the civil wars on other part of the region like in libya, in iraq in syria. in yemen. this has brought up the system of the region which terrorism and turkey at the beginning of the outbreak of arab spring actually stood at the right place at the historical moment. it was so fast it could be somehow the order of the middle east what kind of you know, breaking up meaning the arab
spring. for democracy. and better living conditions. she thought a new regional order would come up. this was the dilemma that we have faced. since the region somehow is due to external interventions, most of historical times, as well as regional actor is most powerful than others, as well as security architecture or system that this is where we ended up. so nobody is today talking about people's demands about democracy, we're talking about where we are here. isis, daesh and tomorrow if we are dealing with the here, and
international community. we would be just rising of the flames of isis in iraq or syria elsewhere. might be facing thank you so much. >> one shot with the most difficult gulen extradition. i'm getting into legal territory as well as government policy. from what i've seen of this first of all. gulen has taken the u.s. government to court several times, on cases including his claim to be a permanent resident that i would have thought would have been easy. his lawyers are very effective. beating the u.s. government. the department of justice does not like to lose cases, period. and they have a history of losing them with him. they're going to be very, very
careful. in terms of specifics, an extradition treaty does not require the same beyond a shadow of a dart. by an independent judge that you have in a normal court says kais, there are some special complications to this first of all if the defendant in this case, gulen can raise questions about the independence of the judicial system in turkey. as much as i love the country there are a lot of questions that can be raised, that is not a hard argument to make in 2017. the way to trump that to spo teso to speak is to show that that fairly specific questions of did fethullah gulen know about the attempt, was there an actual decision to kill the chief of state that gets into very complicated stuff that i'm not, i haven't seen the proof. but i would be surprised if there's a whole lot of proof if
you're going to do something like that, you don't leave a paper trail. second since 1945, other than the cuban missile crisis. -- si the cuban missile crisis the united states has not engaged in an existential conflict, and that includes 9/11. why? because we learned from world war i and world war ii that if you wait until you have an existential threat it may be too late. therefore we defend forward in non-existential situations. this requires balancing them. i too would weigh maintaining our alliances beginning with turkey, which is so important to us, and focusing on the bigger danger, on iran enabled by russia in the middle east rather than daesh. the problem is all politics is local. the american people is ever
since 9/11 mesmerized by the threat of terror. as barack obama at one point said more people die in their bathtubs than die from terrorist attacks in america. he was the guy in 2015 decided he had to put pressure on daesh for political reason. the reality is daesh is going to be gone. it is not going to be a threat to anybody within weeks, if not months. then we will be faced with this awful situation in irysyria and iraq with the threat from russia and iran, and don't think with the agreement in hamburg went far to resolving it. we have tree lie on turkey, rely on vooes, rely on our gulf state allies, rely on the people on the ground, some of whom fight with each other. but we are going to have to sort this all out. i'm omt mystic in terms of the kurdistan regional government, turkey went with the united states as opposed to independence. we we don't want to break up
iraq. look at the oil reserves, two-thirds of saudi arabia and syria is. so the turkish position not just from domestic situation but even its regional standpoint and even as a trading partner, as a unite country is really important for turkey. the turkish position is understandable and create. one caveat. if much of iraq falls under the control of iran the way lebanon has, on the margins this might be revisited not just by turkey but by washington. i don't think there will ever be an acknowledgement of an independent, sovereign state of kerd stan kurdistan, but i think there might be different arrangements if that negative siff situation arose, but turkey and american have a joint interest in seeing it doesn't arise.
let's wait it out. >> on the issue of the existential threats, we were so not threatened in an existential way by everything we saw happening in the syrian conflict we hesitated a great deal, even when we thought we knew what should happen there, that assad should go. we did very, very good job of avoiding a substantial and categorical commitment to make that happen. that's because, frankly, it is really complicated. it is a policy composition what should happen in syria and all of the different players in syria is difficult and complicated. the only thing that got us to the point with forces on the ground is the emergence of an almost ridiculously evil group. when they started cutting off heads, daesh sort of tied our hands-on this one because the american people are hard to unify behind foreign policy situations. but if you give us a black and white situation, we can typically unify behind that. this was a unifying thing. so-called islamic state, daesh was so in need of punishment and
destruction it was enough to make many, many people who didn't really want us to get involved get involved. now, as the ambassador pointed out, that period, the period in which they had a physical caliphate on the ground is coming to a close. what we do now is incredibly important. i think syria is the biggest single obstacle on what we have done on both sides for a good, healthy turkish relationship, especially in that region, and that's where we need to look to improve it. i think a solution in syria or an approach to it in which we do not allow outright victory of assad and his forces, which would lead to more civilian deaths in places where there are oppositionists, that would lead to another round of refugees, that would lead to an acceleration of iranian control. so something that builds on the current zones, reinforces it and arranges for a long-term transition of power is both good for turkey and the u.s. i think that's where the locus of conversation should be on that. the point i would make about
where it is becoming independent as a buffer against iranian, i think the strongest buffer against iranian hegemony is a buffer state. there are those that don't want to be a satellite of teheran. i think ramadi is a great example of that. i think that a strong unitary iraqi state with proper respect and support for the region such as the kurdistan region is a far better break against iranian influence than would be separate statelets. >> i agree with, you know, richard's -- about turkey's position and the role of iraq's forces [ inaudible ] and geopolitical expansion using -- in middle east, from the perspective of turkey i think [ inaudible ] did a great job in terms of basically [ inaudible ] northern iraq.
you know, northern iraq is framed as a part of a productive zone, and in turkish foreign policy discourse, but there was no problem in training iraqi troops and in region. so therefore that good relationship with -- and turkey supporting [ inaudible ] of iraqi state. but i think there are two, three options that will affect turkey -- turkey's perspective, turkey's perspective towards the independence or referendum. the first one, you know, the only things are -- depends on what kind of iraqi state in near future that they are going to see. for example, if the grg, the human rights declare in the time this is going to be problem for turkey as well as other regional countries especially iran and
others, iraq and, of course, the united states. so therefore i do not think that they will the kind of test, unilateral independence, independent electual independence. so second one, the possibility of iraq turn, you know, return a state in near future and victim, you know, make big impact of the iraqi future in terms of the crg independence. the third option i think is much more important than they try and negotiate is transfer by government and i think this will take also time for [ inaudible ] and iraq as well. >> a couple of more questions. >> hello. my name is made i son from the
voice of america. my question would be about human rights situation in the -- everyone from [ inaudible ] to freedom house and with single watch has raised these concerns regarding human rights in turkey especially when it comes to media freedoms, and turkey's top jailer of journalists in the world. speaking of informational, was directed four years ago. with all the issues that's been raised regarding human rights and media freedoms in turkey the question is, is the united states turning a blind eye on human rights issues because turkey's a big [ inaudible ] in the region? thank you. >> okay. one quick response. that go in for all of our senior state department officials before meetings with turkish
counterpart as well as some of what we say in turkey through our ambassador and the public messaging of the united states government, we have been very unequivocal in our belief, in our encouragement to our turkish allies that the quicker they can get to a full resolve of what we would consider sort of the normal human rights and freedom of the press environment, the better it is for both parties. so without going into too much detail about what was said in any one conversation, i can tell you it is a part of every single level conversation we have. the united states has not in any sense pushed that to the side and said let's talk about that later. it is a part of the very important conversations we have. we have important conversations about common threats, about security, about cooperation, the economy. this is always near the top of the list because it is something that's of great concern to us. >> all right. i would like to thank the panelists and the audience for this discussion. i think it was fruitful, but it seems that many of the questions still stand.
so thank you very much. [ applause ] the house passed the defense authorization bill, and as the hill reports it includes $$696.5 billion in programs, far more than president trump's budget request. the final vote was 344-81. eight republicans voted against the legislation, including representatives amash, duncan, garett, gomert, griffith, harris, massey and mclynn okay. on the other side of the capitol the senate is expected the take up the bill after working on health care next week. the congressional budget office is expected to release the projected cost and the number of people covered under the senate health care law replacement.
leaders have planned to vote next week. you can find live gavel-to-gavel coverage of the senate on c-span 2. the national governor's association summit meeting live saturday on c-span starting at 9:30 a.m. eastern. governors talk about computer coding and the importance of computer science in schools, with girls who code ceo, former microsoft ceo steve palmer, and tesla ceo elon musk who will speak at the governor's closing session. watch the national governor's association summer meeting live on the c-span networks, c-span.org and listen live on the free c-span radio app. two house veterans affair subcommittees held a joint hearing examining how the veteran's affair office abused gulf war illness claims. the va denies more than 80% of claims for benefits in gulf war associatedne