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This article appears in the June 27, 2003 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

LaRouche Speaks For America
To Turkey's Leaders

by Muriel Mirak-Weissbach

On the list of victims of the Iraq War, Turkey occupies a position at the very top. Not only has the economy of the nation been smashed by the effects of the war, but its 50-year alliance with the United States has been severely undermined, if not shattered. Two of the leading chicken-hawks behind the war, Deputy Secretary of State Paul Wolfowitz and Defense Policy Board member Richard Perle, exerted massive pressure on this key Mediterranean NATO partner before the war, to force through acceptance of Washington's demand that 62,000 U.S. troops be allowed to transit Turkey into northern Iraq. Although the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan buckled under the pressure, the Parliament, dominated by a hefty majority of the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), rejected the demand outright. In response, the chicken-hawks cried foul play, and, in addition to withdrawing financial incentives, condemned the democratic decision of the Parliament. Wolfowitz chastised Turkey's military for not having forced the Parliament to play along; he told the Turks after the war, that the country should "apologize" for having refused Washington's bidding, and went on to threaten that Turkey would "disintegrate" if it were to fail to support the United States in an upcoming assault on Iran.

This imperial attitude struck a raw nerve in a country which, although tied by a firm alliance to the United States for a half-century, has a proud history of national sovereignty, safeguarded above all by its military establishment. Leaders of Turkey's political parties, military, and press responded to the arrogance of Wolfowitz and company, with a mixture of indignation and fear, but sought the means to fight back.

The most significant response came in the form of an invitation issued to Lyndon LaRouche, candidate for the Presidential nomination in the Democratic Party, to visit Turkey and address precisely these issues, in a series of encounters with the country's elites. LaRouche's visit, June 13-18, shifted the mood in the country from pessimism to hope, that U.S.-Turkish relations can be repaired, not through Ankara's capitulation to imperial dictate, but through a fundamental shift inside the United States being spearheaded by LaRouche's campaign.

LaRouche Sets the Agenda

The leading Democrat and his wife, Helga Zepp-LaRouche, were invited to Turkey by Yarin (Tomorrow), an independent monthly publication read by policymakers and intellectuals; it has a strong orientation to Eurasian development, and has hosted writings by LaRouche over the past year and a half. Burhan Metin and A. Altay Unaltay of Yarin's editorial board organized a major conference in Istanbul on June 14, co-sponsored by the Cultural Affairs Department of the Istanbul Municipality, on the theme "Eurasia: New Key for Global Development and Peace"; and another, on the same theme, hosted by the Ankara Chamber of Commerce, in the capital on June 16. LaRouche was the keynote speaker at both events. [See LaRouche's June 14 Istanbul speech.] Among the 700 people attending the two were government ministers, members of Parliament, intellectuals, professors and students, and representatives of the media. In addition, LaRouche addressed the national press in a number of press conferences, and personal interviews, organized by Yarin, which generated widespread press coverage, for the duration of his stay, and afterward.

LaRouche set the agenda of his discussions, from his very first encounter with journalists, who welcomed him at the Istanbul airport for a short press conference. There, and in a short interview with Guerkan Zengin on CNN-Turk that evening, LaRouche stated that the current policy of the U.S. Administration was one drafted by Dick Cheney back in the early 1990s, and implemented only thanks to the impact of the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Naming Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff Lewis Libby, and others, LaRouche stressed that this is a small group of fascists, pushing an imperial policy, based on the threat and readiness to use nuclear weapons. He defined his task as to lead an impeachment drive, to remove Cheney, the leader of the "junta," and the rest from power. While acknowledging international opposition to the Iraq War and the imperial policy, LaRouche emphasized that, since the United States is a nuclear power, the rest of the world cannot stop it. "It is necessary for us inside the United States," he said in an interview to TV Channel 7, "to pull the string. This is now happening"—he pointed to moves by other political figures, from Brent Scowcroft to John W. Dean, to Lawrence Eagleburger, and leaders in the Senate and House of Representatives, in the same direction.

In discussion with the press at the Workers Party (PPI) office on June 16, LaRouche educated his interlocutors about the nature of the U.S. political system, explaining that although the Framers of the Constitution had established a Presidential system, with power in the hands of an elected President, still, in order to prevent that power from being abused, for example, to wage war, the Framers gave the Legislative branch the power of "advice and consent," regarding war. The Iraq War, he said, "was prepared by lies by Cheney and others to the Congress; under U.S. law, any official of government who commits a lie to induce the nation to go to war, is guilty of the highest degree of crime." Thus the impeachment drive, conducted according to the Constitution. "We have to create a political challenge in Congress," which goes for impeachment, while preserving the institutions of government.

Once this junta is removed, LaRouche explained, the President, though "an idiot," can be controlled by wiser advisors, and his policy shifted into a different direction. Regarding the Middle East, this means reversing the effect of what was done in Iraq, by pushing through implementation of the Road Map, "even if it means pulling down the Sharon government, which the U.S. can do, if necessary." Once Constitutional government is re-established in Washington, LaRouche said, the key will be facing the economic crisis, with alternatives to impending chaos. Besides global monetary reform, what is required is Eurasian cooperation.

Turkey a Eurasian Keystone Nation

To a question by TV Channel 7, regarding the perspectives for re-establishing the strategic partnership between Turkey and the United States, LaRouche answered that if he were President, there would be no problem. More broadly, he said, it is a question of "bringing together a community of nations, around agreement on common principles, not an imperial power." Turkey, in the context of groups of nations geographically defined, "is a keystone nation," which becomes clear when one glances at a map: It is the bridge between the Balkans, which have to be reconstructed, and Europe, on the one hand; on the other, it is a bridge to India and China. "Rail lines should connect Turkey to Iran and on to Malaysia through the 'southern route' of the Eurasian Land-Bridge." In addition, Turkey will be key to solving the water crisis plaguing the entire region, a problem whose solution is a prerequisite to Middle East peace.

The long-term perspective for Eurasian development was the main focus of LaRouche's keynote to the Ankara Chamber of Commerce conference on June 16. Here, he elaborated on the natural benefits to be derived by expanding Western European exports into the growing markets of Asia, the biggest in the world. LaRouche reported on progress towards several great projects in China, as well as rail connections on the Korean Peninsula, and growing cooperation between China and India, which he recently visited. Referencing Central and Northern Asia, LaRouche stressed the importance of finally developing the massive mineral resources there, as well as organizing water management and transport projects over a 25-50 year period.

Emphasizing the importance of thinking in such a long term, as over two generations, LaRouche said what is involved is a fundamental change in economic relations. No longer will nations trade finished goods or raw materials, but, through the development of technologies, nations should reach a parity level, at which they can export technologies to each other, driving the productive powers of labor.

LaRouche elaborated on the role of Turkey throughout the various presentations and discussions during his visit, also from the historical point of view. Its identity as a nation, he said, was forged through the combination of its Ottoman heritage—characterized by the co-existence of different nationalities, religions, and ethnic groups—and the role of Mustafa Kemal Pasha (Ataturk), the founder of modern Turkey. Historically, Turkey has felt the influence of various cultures, from the Hittites, to the Persians, the Seljuks, the Arabs, and so forth. When the Ottoman Empire collapsed and the British moved in to carve up and divide it, Ataturk launched the struggle for independence, defeating the French and British forces of Sykes-Picot and establishing a modern, independent nation.

LaRouche espressed his admiration for Ataturk, as a military, political, and diplomatic leader, whose qualities can be understood only if one puts oneself inside his mind, when faced with the unprecedented crisis of all the countries around him—including Tsarist Russia, which was going through the Soviet Revolution. An important aspect of the work of Ataturk which is a valuable reference point for today, he explained, was the Turkish leader's close cooperation with King Amanullah of Afghanistan, and the Shah of Iran, in the 1920s, around the idea of regional economic cooperation.

A Profound Impact

The impact of LaRouche's visit was immediate and profound. He was the guest of Hulki Cevizoglu, the very popular host of the weekly "Ceviz Kabugu" television program on A-TV, on June 14. This, the number-one talk show in the country, is broadcast internationally via satellite, and is a favorite among Turks in Europe and the United States. In his three-hour, live nighttime discussion, LaRouche had an opportunity to develop the various themes of his visit at some length, explaining in detail how his plan to impeach Cheney will function, within American Constitutional institutions. LaRouche answered questions about the internal U.S. situation; the role of Leo Strauss in grooming the neo-conservative faction of war-mongers; and he explored problems of the immediate area: the destabilization of Iran, being promoted, LaRouche said, by U.S. intelligence agents; the deteriorating situations in Afghanistan and Iraq; and the danger of the formation of a Kurdish entity in Iraq.

Viewers called in to ask about the background of Osama bin Laden; the relations of U.S. circles to Saddam Hussein; the history of Iran-Contra; the orchestration of the World Wars of the last century; the French-German alliance against the unilateral U.S. war drive; the role of the Council on Foreign Relations, which had recently met, secretly, in Turkey; and so on. As the wide-ranging discussion ended, TV host Cevizoglu expressed his hope that LaRouche would attain the public office he seeks, and added that Turkey should draw lessons from LaRouche.

The Presidential candidate's appearance on the show was picked up with enthusiasm in Europe and the United States, as indicated by a flurry of telephone calls and e-mails into offices of his campaign. At the same time, the Turkish press began to report on LaRouche's trip, nationally and abroad. Thus, by the time the candidate had arrived at the Ankara Chamber of Commerce on June 16, for his second major conference, he opened his speech with remarks about the international response to his visit. In answer to a question, later, about his reaction to Wolfowitz's demand that Turkey apologize for not joining the United States in the Iraq War, LaRouche said, "Since I've arrived in Turkey, I can assure you that all levels of the American government know what I've said here." In Washington, he said, "there are fits, or there is laughter. The military are laughing." On the specific question, he stated outright: "I don't think Turkey has to say anything," and added that he was saying what the U.S. position should be. "What Wolfowitz did," he said, "was shameful, an embarrassment to the United States." This was greeted by enthusiastic applause.

Candidate for President

One reason for the extraordinary amount of media attention dedicated to LaRouche lies, certainly, in the fact that he is a leading candidate for the Presidential nomination in the Democratic Party. As indicated both in public events and private discussions, LaRouche's status as a candidate is being taken deadly seriously. Again and again, he was asked what his chances were, if his age would be a factor, and how he could hope to succeed without the support of the "Zionist lobby." LaRouche explained that, despite his 80 years, he is in "vigorous health" and enjoys a genetic advantage, coming from a family characterized by its longevity. So, if elected, he would be an effective President. Furthermore, he stated, "despite my shortcomings, there is no credible alternative." As for the Zionist lobby, LaRouche dismissed it as "a myth," explaining its history as "not a power which controls the U.S., but a tool of forces in the U.S. and Britain."

Just prior to his departure from the airport on June 18, LaRouche told "Istanbul TV" that he was "almost certain" he would win. "Everything is for it, and against my rivals." The situation has been degenerating since 1964, from "worse to worst," and "now is the time for change."

Most important, LaRouche stressed repeatedly, is that it is not what he hopes to achieve in 2005 that counts, but what he is doing now, to alter world politics. It is this aspect of LaRouche's self-presentation, which most impressed his listeners, and which shifted their attitude from pessimism, to optimism. To understand this, one must appreciate the extent to which the recent war against Iraq, and the policy it expresses, have generated fear among the nations of the world. LaRouche addressed this question, repeatedly, head-on.

In his keynote speech to the Istanbul conference, he said that most governments are terrified of the American nuclear power, and no one will defy it; rather, governments seek to make sovereign decisions "that will be allowed." Thus, there is no sovereignty, but only imperial proclivity. Fear of the United States, he said, is the greatest single threat to humanity today. In this context, LaRouche defined his role as creating a new situation among states, which will meet and agree to do things in concert—specifically, agree to concrete economic cooperation. My responsibility, he said, is to take the United States as a political leading power, to tell the rest of the world to stop being slaves. If they join me, as sovereign republics around the common principle of the common good, we can succeed.

Two other speakers, who had been invited to offer comments on LaRouche's keynote, expressed two contrary approaches to the issue. Dr. Numan Kurtulmas, of the Faculty of Economics at Istanbul University, and member of the central committee of the Saadet Party, welcomed LaRouche's "important message," and expressed agreement with the candidate's view that President Bush had been manipulated by a small group of neo-cons after Sept. 11, 2001. The Turkish economist also shared LaRouche's analysis of the economic breakdown crisis, and stated that, in the wake of the disastrous Iraq War, "we have to push economic integration, with common projects, for example, water management." He said he believed that, given the deteriorating world economy, either the situation would further degenerate into regional wars and nuclear wars, "or the U.S. must set up a meaningful relationship with Asia and Africa, which is also in the interest of the West." Here, he suggested that the United States should start with Turkey, which could become an "advisor" because of its relations with the Islamic and Arab world. In conclusion, he urged the conference to "make LaRouche's voice heard."

A contrary viewpoint came from the second speaker, Prof. Dr. Mahir Kaynak, from the Faculty of Economics at Gazi University in Ankara. Though sharing LaRouche's view of the economy, he proposed that Turkey become a partner of the United States in establishing military dominance, as a means of "preventing war." This sparked a hefty debate in the audience, especially among students.

The Regional Cauldron

What the United States is or becomes, will indeed determine what future Turkey will face, as literally every person who came into contact with LaRouche would confirm. The regional context is nothing short of explosive. Iraq, LaRouche told the Chamber of Commerce, will continue to get more intense, and will become "a Vietnam in the desert." The war, from the beginning, was a case of incompetence in the extreme, under the "pathological" will of Rumsfeld, LaRouche said. The intention was to draw Turkey into the conflict, through the Kurdish problem in northern Iraq, which would be perceived as a threat to Turkey. LaRouche said it was Turkey's "wisdom" not to get drawn in, as it is in the country's vital interest not to have war with Iraq.

Asked what his policy as President would be vis-à-vis Iraq, LaRouche replied that he would go to the United Nations. Now that the United States is the occupying power, it has the responsibility to the population, to create a situation whereby it can choose its own government. This has to be done by the UN, not the United States, largely because Washington does not have the forces required to do the job of re-establishing all functions of civilian life. LaRouche again stressed the importance of implementing the Mideast Road Map, so as to "end the nightmare" and create the preconditions for a group of nations to help solve the Iraq problem. One prerequisite for this, is the removal of Paul Bremer, the current proconsul in the country. "Get the U.S. out, and get Bremer out," said LaRouche. "He is a menace."

As the Iraq situation deteriorates, the same forces responsible for the war are pressuring Turkey to support an attack of some nature against Iran. In private discussions, Turkish political figures reported on a pro-American media campaign, pushing for Turkish involvement against Iran. It is mooted that the chicken-hawks could exploit the Azerbaijan problem: By organizing a provocation, they could unleash conflict in the Azeri part of Iran, then call on Turkey to intervene, to protect its "Turkish brothers." There are even those who are offering Turkey a piece of the Azeri pie, in the event of a disintegration of Iran.

LaRouche's response was that, although some countries would object, none, except perhaps nuclear power Russia, would move against the United States in an extreme case. Therefore, again, the solution lies in changing the political equation in Washington. There is no doubt, the candidate said, that the unrest inside Iran is being fomented by U.S. agents, in collusion with the young Shah, to create a pretext for American intervention. The actual motive, he said, is to force Russia into a confrontation with Iran, over the issue of Iran's nuclear program. The ultimate aim is a showdown with Russia, then China and India. Therefore, the Iran destabilization must be stopped, now.

The Next U.S. President?

Throughout the course of his visit, LaRouche received a warm reception, and multiple gestures of gratitude from his hosts, which all expressed the same idea—that he should become the next man to occupy the White House. In introductory remarks to the Ankara conference, Chamber of Commerce President Sinan Ayguen said he was "more than honored" to introduce the candidate, whose views on the economy and the need for new alternatives, he shared. Ayguen reported to the audience, that in a private discussion with LaRouche before the conference, he had discovered the deep convergence of ideas. In conclusion, he said, "I hope that in 2004 you get to become President," and, with a touch of humor, added, "I want you to vow now, that, if you do, you will not forget Turkey, but will come back again."

Significantly, among the honors bestowed on LaRouche, was a gold Ataturk medal, presented at the opening of the conference. Similar gestures of respect were made in a number of private discussions LaRouche conducted with senior military and political figures. Among them were former Prime Minister Ecmettin Erbakan, who was in office in 1996-97; former President Suleyman Demirel (1993-2000); Members of Parliament from the governing AKP party; leaders of the PPI; and others.

It was not only on the official level, that Turks expressed their wish for LaRouche to succeed. One student intervened at the Ankara conference, to say he had planned to go to the United States to take his master's degree, but then decided against it, in protest against the current administration. "But if you are elected," he said, "I think I'll reconsider." Coming out of a private political meeting, LaRouche was greeted by a young secretary, who said, "Good luck in your campaign, Mr. LaRouche; I hope you win. We need you!" And, at a farewell dinner, the candidate was greeted by a waiter, who, having seen him on TV, also cast his vote.