Turkish False Flags and the Invasion that Almost Was
by David Boyajian — human rights activist, Massachusetts USA. Veterans Today, June 04, 2014.
Posted: Friday, June 06, 2014 at 06:38 AM UT
Turkey seems fond of so-called ‘false flag’ operations. In 1955, for example, the Turkish government covertly bombed its own consulate in Thessaloniki, Greece and blamed it on Greeks. The following day, Turkey stage-managed massive anti-Greek riots in Istanbul that killed over a dozen Christians and caused hundreds of millions in damage.
The Greek government asserts that Turkish Greeks left Turkey because of a campaign of "systematic and brutal oppression of the Greek minority," including persecution, violent anti-Greek riots, and outright expulsion. 6
The major events that caused the Greek exodus in recent years, according to the Greek government, took place in 1955 and 1964. In 1955, on September 6 and 7, extensive, well-organized, violent anti-Greek riots took place in Istanbul. The American Consul-General telegraphed the Department of State that
the destruction was completely out of hand with no evidence of police or military attempts to control it. I personally witnessed the looting of many shops while the police stood idly by or cheered on the mob.7
A British journalist reported that the Greek neighborhoods of Istanbul looked "like the bombed parts of London during the Second World War." 8
More than 4,000 Greek shops were sacked and plundered; 38 churches were burned down and 35 more churches vandalized; two monasteries and the main Greek Orthodox cemeteries were vandalized and, in some cases, destroyed; more than 2,000 Greek homes were vandalized and robbed; and 52 Greek schools were stripped of their furniture, books and equipment. The Turkish government reported that three people had been killed and 30 injured. Subsequent reports indicated that fifteen people had been killed. 9 The World Council of Churches estimated the damage at $150 million. Other estimates placed the damage at $300 million. 10
The riots were purportedly in response to a September 5, 1955, Greek bombing attack on the Turkish consulate in Thessaloniki (Salonica) in Greece; the attack also damaged the nearby birthplace of Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. Six years later, after a military coup, a Turkish court tried Adnan Menderes, prime minister of Turkey at the time of the riots, on various charges. The court found, among other things, that the Thessaloniki bombing had been ordered by Prime Minister Menderes and others in his government to incite and justify anti-Greek violence in Turkey. Menderes subsequently apologized to the Greek government and offered compensation to those whose property had been destroyed or damaged.
Although the exact numbers have never been established, some thousands of Greeks left Istanbul following the riots.
The next major event cited by the Greek government occurred in 1964, at a time of increased tensions over Cyprus.
Statement to the United nations by Mr. Leonidas Chryssanthopoulos, op cit., May 23, 1991.
A subsequent foreign service dispatch sent from the American Consulate in Istanbul to the Department of State on September 27, 1955, stated:
A survey to the damage inflicted on public establishments of the Greek Community of Istanbul during the rioting on the night of September 6-7 shows that the destruction caused has been extremely widespread. In fact, only a very small percentage of community property appears to have escaped molestation. Although there are as yet no figures available assessing the damage sustained, the number of establishments attacked and the nature of the destruction caused in the course of the night under reference convey a clear picture of the scope of the devastation. In most cases the assault on these establishments involved a thorough wrecking of installations, furniture, equipment, descration of holy shrines and relics, and looting. In certain instances serious damage was inflicted on the buildings themselves by fire.
The Daily Mail, London, September 14, 1965. Quoted in Christos P. Ioannides, In Turkey's Image, published by Aristide D. Caratzas, New Rochelle, New York, 1991, page 118.
See Appendix C for a memo to Helsinki Watch from American publisher Aristide D. Caratzas, January 21, 1992, listing the names or descriptions of those who died, as well as the source of the information.
Alexandris, op. cit., pp. 256-260. See also, Bahcheli, op. cit., pp. 172-173.
Fast forward to March 2014. A leaked audiotape caught Turkish officials plotting to stage ‘false flag’ military attacks on their own territory and blame them on Syrians. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, General Yaşar Gürel, and Intelligence chief Hakan Fidan planned to use the attacks as an excuse to invade Syria. The title of this article could easily apply to that plot.
To close observers of the Caucasus, however, it could also describe a failed covert Turkish plan to attack Armenia two decades ago and turn the geopolitics of the region upside down.
In October 1993, two years after the USSR had splintered, an ethnic Chechen Muslim named Ruslan Khasbulatov – the Speaker, believe it or not, of the Russian Parliament – led a coup against beleaguered Russian President Boris Yeltsin. According to American, French, and Greek officials, Khasbulatov and Muslim Turkey had a secret agreement.
If his coup succeeded, Khasbulatov would order Russian troops to withdraw from Armenia, where they helped guard the latter’s border with Turkey. That would pave the way for Turkey to invade the landlocked Christian nation of just three million inhabitants.
History tells us that Turkey has always wanted to overrun Armenia. Doing so would create a path to Turkic-speaking Muslim Azerbaijan, the Caspian Sea, and, eventually, Central Asia. It’s called pan-Turkism.
In 1993, of course, Azerbaijan was losing its war with Armenians over the ancient, majority-Armenian province of Karabagh. Azerbaijan was, therefore, eager for Turkey to attack Armenia, and Turkey was ready to help Azerbaijan turn the tide.
The Plot Fails
Harkening back to the Armenian genocide, Turkish President Turgut Özal had threatened to teach Armenia “the lessons of 1915.” Tansu Çiller, Turkey’s prime minister, warned Armenia that she wouldn’t “sit back and do nothing.” Turkey was massing forces on Armenia’s western border and supplying Azerbaijan with weapons, military advisors, and paramilitary forces. Chechen militants and Afghan Mujahideen were already fighting alongside Azeris.
A successful Turkish attack on Armenia – Russia’s only military partner in the Caucasus – would have all but destroyed Russian influence in the region. That, in turn, would have increased the likelihood that Chechnya, and much of the Muslim North Caucasus, would eventually escape the Russian Bear’s grip. For a native-born Chechen like Khasbulatov, it would all be a dream-come-true.
But bombarded by Russian tanks, Speaker Khasbulatov, V.P. Alexander Rutskoi, and hundreds of rebel parliamentarians and supporters surrendered the Parliament building on October 4, 1993. The coup and the plot to invade Armenia had failed.
The Secret Pact
The Khasbulatov-Turkish pact was first revealed by Leonidas T. Chrysanthopoulos in his book Caucasus Chronicles (London: Gomidas, 2002). He was Greece’s ambassador to Armenia from July 1993 to February 1994. Chrysanthopoulos, now 68, has served as ambassador to Canada and Poland, and was recently Secretary General of the 12-country, Istanbul-based Black Sea Economic Cooperation organization.
France’s ambassador to Armenia, Mme. France de Harthing, told him that “French intelligence sources” confirmed that “the Turkish incursion into Armenia would take place immediately after Khasbulatov would have withdrawn the Russian troops from Armenia.” “This information,” wrote Chrysanthopoulos, “was later confirmed to me by my United States colleague,” Ambassador Harry J. Gilmore.
As a “pretext,” Turkey would claim to be targeting Kurdish PKK militant bases, which in fact have never existed, in Armenia. Such a “pretext” is similar, though not identical, to a ‘false flag.’
The Turkish strike would be “incursions of a limited nature,” though it’s unclear what “limited” meant. More likely, as Turkey wouldn’t find any PKK, the aim was to forge a permanent corridor across Armenia, link up with Azeri forces, and cleanse Karabagh of Armenians.
The U.S. and France have never, as far as is known, publicly denied the existence of the Khasbulatov-Turkish plot. Moreover, Chrysanthopoulos gives no indication that any country tried to talk Turkey out of its deal with Khasbulatov.
Is any of this relevant today?
Yes, because current Turkish, American, and NATO policies in the Caucasus strongly echo the 1993 Khasbulatov-Turkish plot. For two decades, the West has been trying to penetrate and dominate the Caucasus – Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia –and eventually cross the Caspian Sea into energy-rich Central Asia.
One piece of the plan has already been partially implemented: constructing oil and gas pipelines from Azerbaijan through Georgia and Turkey.
NATO’s remaining goal: absorb the entire Caucasus. NATO would thereby threaten Russia from the south, just as it now pressures Russia from the west with its absorption of much of Eastern Europe (and, NATO hopes, Ukraine).
Georgia and Azerbaijan are inclined to eventually join NATO. Armenia, however, is not, though it has excellent relations with NATO and the West. Armenia has little choice but to ally itself with Russia because the former faces an ongoing existential threat from NATO member Turkey, the 1993 plot being one example.
Armenia is the Caucasus’s linchpin. Had the Khasbulatov – Turkish quasi-‘false flag’ operation against Armenia succeeded, Russia would probably have lost, and NATO would have gained, the entire Caucasus. New provocations, including ‘false flags,’ by Turkey and NATO cannot, therefore, be ruled out.
Turkish, American, and NATO leaders must also be interrogated as to whether their policies in the Caucasus are leading to peace or war.