President Erdogan says US must choose: ‘FETO or Turkey’

President Erdogan says US must choose: ‘FETO or Turkey’

anadolu agency turk state

Turkish president addresses crowds at last night of daily pro-democracy rallies since July 15 coup attempt

President Erdogan says US must choose: 'FETO or Turkey'

 

By Diyar Guldogan and Ilgin Karlidag

ANKARA

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday gave the U.S. an ultimatum following Ankara’s repeated requests for the extradition of US-based preacher Fetullah Gulen, accused of orchestrating the July 15 defeated coup.

“Sooner or later the U.S will make a choice. Either Turkey or FETO,” Erdogan said.

“Either the coup-plotting terrorist FETO or the democratic country Turkey. It has to make this choice,” he said, referring to the Gulen-led Fetullah Terrorist Organization that Ankara says mounted the bloody coup attempt through rogue elements within the military.

The president’s remarks came as he addressed a mass crowd in front of the Presidential Palace in the capital – one location attacked on the night of the coup attempt.

The gathering in Ankara was the last night of daily pro-democracy rallies which has been held since July 15, Erdogan announced.

The daily gatherings, which have attracted hundreds of thousands wishing to show their opposition to the foiled July 15 coup, culminated Sunday in a rally in Istanbul that 5 million people are thought to have attended, according to local officials.

Erdogan warned citizens, however, to stay constantly vigilant as “betrayal can come from anywhere and anyone.

“We want to finalize it here [Ankara]. But, I see that our people do not want to leave the squares,” he said.

“Democracy watch cannot be only kept in certain hours, in certain places,” he added, and called on Turks to protect “democracy, freedom, the state, and the future” 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The Turkish president once more suggested he sees no difference between terrorist groups such as the PKK, Daesh and U.S.-based preacher Fetullah Gulen’s FETO.

“Those who follow the Pennsylvania-based charlatan who sold his soul to the devil, or Daesh, which shed Muslim blood, or the PKK that also has shed blood for 30 years to divide the country and the nation, will all lose in the end.”

He stressed his “one nation, one flag, one homeland, and one state” slogan.

Erdogan to approve death penalty if parliament approves

About a possible reinstatement of the death penalty in Turkey for those involved in the defeated coup, Erdogan reiterated his stance that the decision would be left up to Turkish lawmakers in the parliament.

He said he would approve reinstating the death penalty if the parliament approves.

Such a penalty could be imposed on Gulen as well, who is accused of leading a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary, forming what is commonly known as the “parallel state”.

Turkey’s government said the foiled putsch, which left 240 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured, was organized by followers of Gulen, who has lived in a self-imposed exile Pennsylvania since 1999.

“We will certainly call the murderers to account [for their crimes]. We will impose the heaviest penalty,” said Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, who took the stage late Wednesday to address the crowd before Erdogan.

Praising Turks as “the hero of democracy,” Yildirim added: “Coup plotters believed that they would defeat the nation, but they were mistaken.”

On the night of the attempt, Erdogan urged Turks to swarm the streets in opposition to the coup, a call that was met with an overwhelming response from thousands who went to defy tanks and bullets in major cities and millions who took part in anti-coup demonstrations across the country.

 *Humeyra Atilgan Buyukovali contributed to this report from Istanbul.

Lying Pentagon Claim of 45,000 ISIS Terrorists Killed

[Pentagon bragging about killing 45,000 ISIS in Iraq and Syria, without taking into account Russia’s more conservative estimate of 28,000 of the buggers killed in their own, more intensive, Syrian bombing.  Are we really being asked to believe that Daesh had more than 73,000 terrorist-soldiers at any point?  Pentagon spokesman Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland must have been on some powerful drugs, when he claimed that “Syrian democratic forces” will defeat IS in Manbij, Syria within one or two weeks. 

So why hasn’t the Pentagon started bombing Daesh HQ in Mosul, yet?  They have been allowed to keep the city since 2014!  If Pentagon death estimates are correct, how many IS fighters could be in the city?  A few thousand, or a few hundred? 

Rule of thumb that always holds true…Pentagon spokesmen are always there to lie to the people.]

US: 45,000 Islamic State Fighters Taken off Battlefields

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By lolita c. baldor, associated press

The military campaigns in Iraq and Syria have taken 45,000 enemy combatants off the battlefield and reduced the total number of Islamic State fighters to as few as 15,000, the top U.S. commander for the fight against IS said Wednesday.

Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland said that both the quality and number of IS fighters is declining, and he warned that it is difficult to determine accurate numbers. Earlier estimates put the number of Islamic State fighters between 19,000 and 25,000, but U.S. officials say the range is now roughly 15,000 to 20,000.

Saying that “the enemy is in retreat on all fronts,” MacFarland said U.S.-backed local forces in both Iraq and Syria have been gaining ground. And he said the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq and Syria has decreased and that many people pressed into fighting for the Islamic State group are unwilling or untrained.

“All I know is when we go someplace, it’s easier to go there now than it was a year ago. And the enemy doesn’t put up as much of a fight,” he told Pentagon reporters in a video conference.

MacFarland said Syrian democratic forces are on the brink of defeating IS in Manbij, Syria, in a matter of weeks. The city, he said, is largely in the hands of the Syrian democratic forces and the pockets of enemy resistance are shrinking daily.

“I don’t give it very long before that operation is concluded, and that will deal a decisive blow to the enemy,” he said. Asked how long it will take, he said possibly a week or two, but noted that there are still a lot of enemy foreign fighters there battling hard to keep control of the city.

MacFarland said that Iraqi forces are in a position to begin to retake the northern city of Mosul. But he added that the U.S. still has quite a bit of work to do at the Qayyarah Air Base in northern Iraq before it can be used as a hub for the battle to retake Mosul.

President Barack Obama authorized the deployment of 560 more U.S. troops to Iraq to help transform the air base into a staging area for the eventual battle to oust IS from Mosul. The group has held Mosul since June 2014 and has used it as a headquarters.

The U.S. troops will include engineers, logistics personnel, security and communications forces. Some teams of U.S. forces have been in and out of the base to evaluate it and the work that must be done, but officials say large numbers of troops have not yet arrived.

MacFarland cautioned that while there have been successes in both countries, IS will continue to be a threat.

“Military success in Iraq and Syria will not necessarily mean the end of Daesh,” he said, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group. “We can expect the enemy to adapt, to morph into a true insurgent force and terrorist organization capable of horrific attacks like the one here on July 3 in Baghdad and those others we’ve seen around the world.”