Prof. Dr. Hakkı Keskin, Retired Faculty Member, Political Scientist, Former Member of the German Parliament, and the European Parliamentary Assembly
25 February 2021
To the President of the USA Mr. Joe Biden and
To the USA Vice President Ms. Kamala Harris
An Open Letter to the Public
The President of the USA, Mr. Joe Biden,
The US Vice President Ms. Kamala Harris,
Congratulations on your role in ending the Trump period, the likes of which have never been seen in the history of the United States. His denial of the election results encouraged an attack on the U.S. Capitol by his brutal, racist, and extreme right supporters, which led to the death of five people. The elected senators and members of Congress had to flee. The USA witnessed a civil coup attempt, and the country that has tried to teach the world about democracy lost its image and prestige.
Like everyone else, I am very curious about what your administration will learn from Trump’s civilian coup attempt. I watched the speech you gave after the oath with great attention. You said, “We have learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.”
Democracy and its value are of paramount importance not only for the United States, but for all countries. Democracy and Universal Human Rights, Judicial Independence, Superiority of Law, Freedom of Press and Intellectual Property are universal values that should be defended and protected by all believers in democracy and by all countries of the world.
Does the USA, which is said to be the cradle and defender of democracy, defend these universal values for other countries?
Could it be an acceptable policy to destroy or suspend these values by civilian or military coups?
I see in myself the right to ask you for the answers of these two questions, which I believe to be true and right. We see that the USA took an active role in carrying out military or civilian coups in more than 50 countries after World War II, declaring war on some and making military interventions in some. We know that the USA caused that irreversible suffering and the death of millions of people by military interventions and disregarding international law and universal human rights. Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq are the most known countries in the world public opinion.
We also witness how the United States brought down the governments that came to power through democratic elections by giving direct or indirect support to military or civilian coups during this period. Let me share with you how the US Governments destroy democracy and universal values, by just four examples that have been proven to be true.
Ahmed Sukarno, leader of Indonesian national independence and the National Party, was overthrown in a military coup in 1965. Ahmed Sukarna was the leader and first President of Indonesia, which had been a Dutch colony for 300 years. The independence war starting in the 1920s was led by Sukarno and it ended up in victory in 1945.
Sukarno, with its anti-independence and anti-colonial views and above-bloc policy, had become the target of the United States. In addition, Indonesia is a country rich in mineral reserves. USA ended the Ahmed Sukarno’s rule with the coup by supporting the Indonesian army and jihadist groups against the leader of Indonesia’s independence symbol.
Under the dictatorial regime of the coup leader General Suharto, a “holy war against the atheists” was declared, and more than 500 thousand opponents of the coup and members of the Indonesian Communist Party were murdered. According to the New York Times, “These attacks were one of the most brutal mass murders in modern history.” Suharto ruled the country with dictatorship for 31 years, ignoring all democratic rights and freedoms.
The people of Iran appointed Mohammed Mosaddegh as prime minister in 1951 with their free will and democratic election. Prime Minister Mossadegh decided to expropriate the oil enterprises, which are the main source of income for his country. The oil business was previously given to the Anglo-Persian Oil Company by Shah Reza Pahlevi.
The USA and England carried out the coup by first organizing protests against Prime Minister Mossadegh and then putting the Army into action. On the 60th anniversary of the coup, documents in the US National Security Archive were opened, thus politically confirming that “the military coup was carried out under the CIA as part of US foreign policy”. Thus it is accepted that the USA played an important role in the 1953 military coup, which overthrew the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran.
Shah Reza Pahlavi, who fled from his country after the military coup in 1953, returned to Iran and by pursuing a close ally policy to the USA, revoked the decision to nationalize Iranian oil. Members of the banned Mossadegh government were imprisoned and hundreds were killed.
The removal of Mohammed Mossadegh, who came to power by the free will of the Iranian people and democratically, from power by a US-assisted military coup led to the current Islamist administration in Iran to come to power in 1979.That’s why, the USA is in the position of real responsible for all the events in Iran that are incompatible with democracy for 42 years.
Socialist-minded Salvador Allende became President in 1970 by winning elections held under the free will of the people and democratic conditions. In addition to the wide-ranging reforms he promised before the election, he nationalized the copper mine and industry held by US companies in 1971.
The US President Richard Nixon, who opposed the socialist Allende administration and especially the nationalization of the copper mines and industry, ordered the National Security Congress to “overthrow Allende”. The CIA report dated October 16, 1970 ordered to start working on a coup in Chile. On the one hand, US-supported economic boycotts were put into effect; on the other hand, a military coup was prepared with the Chilean army. In spite of economic difficulties, Allende increased his votes and won the 1973 elections.
On September 11, 1973, the CIA-backed armed forces led by General Pinochet, who was the Army commander, bombed the presidential palace and seized power. During the coup, President Allende committed suicide in order not to give in to the coup plotters. After the coup, Pinochet ruled Chile under a dictatorship until 1990.Tens of thousands of anti-coup and Allende supporters were murdered.
In Turkey, where I was born and completed my education, the first military coup by officers who identify themselves as Kemalist, was held in May 27, 1960 against the Democratic Party Prime Minister Adnan Menderes, who came to power democratically, and against elected President Celal Bayar. The Bayar-Menderes administration, which won the elections in 1950, applied increasingly oppressive practices against the opposition, the press, the secularism principle of the constitution and university youth, ignoring the laws after the second election period.
The military coup junta of 1960 executed the prime Minister Menderes, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Finance at the end of a court where the independent judicial rules were violated.
Young officers who played an active role in the coup and retired General Cemal Gursel, whom they perceived as their leaders gave the assurance of leaving the administration to the civilian administration by elections putting into effect a modern and democratic constitution in the full sense of their purpose. Indeed, an extremely democratic Constitution was accepted and put into effect on July 9, 1961 by popular vote. The administration was left to the civil administration with the parliamentary elections held on 15 October 1961.
We see that the US administration did not take a stand in favor of democracy in the 1960 coup and recognized the coup government on the first day. However, we do not have any proven information that the US supports the formation process of this coup.
The September 1980 military coup led to the overthrown of the coalition government led by Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel, who was democratically elected and who came to power with the free will of the people. The leader of the junta, General Kenan Evren became the Head of State later.
The declassified documents of the US State Foreign Affairs Department regarding the September 12, 1980 junta coup clearly prove that the United States took an active role in this military coup. Paul Henze, who was Turkey’s Chief of the CIA in the 1970s, informed US President Jimmy Carter by this statement “The boys in Ankara did it” about the September 12, 1980 coup. After the army took the control of Turkey administration, US Ambassador in Ankara, James Spain wrote about “US-Turkey relations” and stated that “We know all existing military leaders well and we do not need to concern about especially Nato membership and mainly about Turkey’s security and that there may be changes in its foreign policy. As a matter of fact, in their first declaration, the putschists immediately declared their commitment to external forces who supported them, saying “we are loyal to all our alliances and commitments, including NATO”.
US documents summarizing the coup, right and left ideology fights were initiated in known ways “through our provocateurs in the preparation process for the military coup. So chaos first, layout next. It was not difficult to provoke the public for our provocateurs who were sent to the country. The people of the country were divided into right and left and started to clash. Clashes got to such a degree that fifty-sixty people started to get killed in street fights every day. The whole country was cringed under the fear of terror. People were not able to go out in the evenings. The day after the military coup, all right-left clashes were completely ended. The unfortunate people of the country perceived this supposed success as a result of the coup. Because terrorism was finally over, peace had come to the country. In fact, the task of the provocateurs was over, so, they had quitted the scene.”
The main purpose of this military coup, whose organization was supported by the United States, was to prevent the democratic freedoms provided by the 1961 Constitution, the rapidly developing union organization, and the development of left and socialist opposition. The fascist military junta closed the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, abolished the 1961 constitutional practice. Leaders of all political parties were arrested; all political parties, trade unions and civil society organizations were banned. According to official figures, 650,000 people were detained, 230,000 people were tried by military courts, approximately 300 people died, 171 of whom were tortured in prisons, 50 people were executed, and 1,683,000 people were blacklisted.
An undemocratic Constitution, which is the source of many problems we face today, was established by the military junta. Accordance with the transitional clauses added in the Constitution, Junta leader Kenan Evren became Turkey’s president for a seven-year period. The Anavatan Party, headed by Turgut Özal, won the parliamentary election held on November 6, 1983 and formed the government as prime minister. By the way, this election was carried out only by the participation of political parties which were allowed to take part in the election by the junta.
Because of these crimes against humanity, surviving Junta leader Kenan Evren and General Tahsin Şahinkaya were tried by the court in 2014 and sentenced to life imprisonment.
A military coup attempt which was carried out by some officers on 15-16 July, 2016 in Turkey failed. The Grand National Assembly of Turkey was bombed by the commissioned officers attempting the coup. Turkish Armed Forces and Police officials prevented this coup attempt on July 16. As a result of the clashes, more than 300 people, 104 of whom were pro-coup soldiers, died and 1491 people were injured. 8036 soldiers of different ranks were detained on the grounds that they organized and helped the coup.
This military coup attempt was carried out by the supporters of the Fettullah Gülen Movement, which has been structured for decades on the principle of organizational secrecy in the army, in the police, in the judiciary and in all state institutions. 60 thousand people, who were said to be the supporters of this movement, were detained until April 2018, 50 thousand people were arrested, and 152 thousand public personnel were dismissed on the accusation of members of this organization. In the four years following the coup attempt, 289 cases were sued and a total of 4130 defendants were convicted in 275 cases resolved.
Adalet and Kalkınma Party (Justice and Development Party), which was founded under the chairmanship of Tayyip Erdogan on August 14, 2001, won the Parliamentary elections on November 3, 2002. Recep Tayyip Erdogan took over the duties of Prime Minister and then President. As a newly formed party, they did not have the necessary cadres. For this reason, the Erdogan government collaborated with Gülen Movement members in all areas until 2013.Thus, the Gülen Movement had the opportunity to be structured in all institutions of the state. Due to the separation with the government after 2013, the Gülen Movement tried to come to power through a military coup attempt.
It is known that Fethullah Gülen, who has been living in the USA since 1999, and his hundreds of inner circles who manage his private schools have very close relations with the USA and the CIA. The fact that former CIA director Graham Fuller and former US Ambassador of Ankara Morton Abramowitz became guarantors for Gülen’s stay in the United States shows this close relationship. In their confessions, some members of the Gülen military coup attempt, who are on trial, also stated the close ties of this movement with the USA and the CIA. In the Great Middle East Project of the United States, the calculation that the Gülen movement with Islamic religion elements will enable the neutralization of the resistance originating from religion in the region played an important role in this close relationship. Despite the Turkish government’s insistence, the failure to give Fethullah Gulen, the main responsible for the July 15 military terrorist attempt, back to Turkey to be tried also proves the US approach to this issue.
Mr. President Biden and Ms. Vice President Harris,
I have chosen only these four countries as an example from more than 50 US-backed military or civil coup attempts. Especially in these four countries, the administrations that won the elections democratically and with the free will of their people were overthrown by the USA-supported military coups, democracy and the rule of law were destroyed; hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed, arrested and subjected to inhumane torture and practice.
The accuracy of what I have written is adequately documented in details in the US and CIA archives.
We all know that after 1945, millions of people were killed by the wars made in more than 50 countries by the USA. Some of these countries are China, Korea, Guatemala, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Argentina and the ones that we still bear witness today are Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya.
As soon as you came to power, you made decisions that were highly appreciated by the world public opinion. You have decided that the USA will re-join the World Health Organization and the World Climate Protection Decision that the Mexican wall will not be built, and the visit from Muslim countries to the USA will not be blocked. I congratulate you on these urgent decisions. I think you have done what suits a modern and democratic USA that wants to protect its reputation in the world.
However, the main reason of my letter to you, which is open to the World Public, is whether the USA will stop supporting military and civilian coups in other countries and from time-to-time terrorist groups. Will you adhere to Democracy and Universal Human Rights as a requirement of democracy, the rule of law, freedom of opinion and press in all countries, which you have emphasized in your oath speech? I believe that the World Public has the right to know this.
In this regard, your open assurance to all Peoples and Countries of the World will greatly increase the trust in the USA and the prestige of your country.
I wish you success at your work with these wishes.
Prof. Dr. Hakkı Keskin