A retired colonel and frequent commentator on pro-government TV networks in Turkey advocated a view of killing non-Turks and non-Muslims in Turkey in a private phone conversation that was intercepted by investigators as part a probe into organized crime.
According to a transcript of the court-authorized wiretap obtained by Nordic Monitor, Col. Coşkun Başbuğ complained about the state of affairs in Turkey and criticized the rights given to minority communities, including Jews, in Turkey.
On December 17, 2011 Başbuğ was talking on the phone to his close friend Ersin Kaymakçı, saying, “We will wage a war, brother,” similar to the resistance movement launched in 1919 under the leadership of founder of the republic Mustafa Kemal Ataturk against occupying powers in the aftermath of World War I.
Kaymakçı begged to differ, arguing that non-Muslims and non-Turks would have to leave the country without even resorting to war. “This time we do not need to fight a war,” he remarked. Col. Başbuğ was insistent, however, and responded, “Not without taking the lives of these fagots.” Kaymakçı elaborated further, saying: “Brother, these fagots will have to get the fuck out of here, without putting up a fight. You know what, they will feel Turks breathing down their necks.”
The scandalous conversation later turns to the subject of how they will screen and identify non-Turks and non-Muslims. The two were bragging about how they would load non-Muslims/non-Turks into high-capacity articulated buses for a mass purge. Kaymakçı praised Başbuğ for developing what he claimed to be a technique for recognizing non-Muslims/non-Turks by checking their carotid artery with fingers placed on the neck. He proudly recalled mentioning Başbuğ’s method when chatting with friends at other times.
Partial transcript of conversation in which Coşkun Başbuğ expresses his desire to kill non-Turks and non-Muslims in Turkey:Coskun_Basbug_non_Muslims
For a while, the two also complained about the opening of synagogues and non-Muslim foundations in Turkey. “We are freeing 12 synagogues and 12 foundations [from state-imposed restrictions],” Kaymakçı lamented, cursing the move. In response, Başbuğ said the government had accepted the application of an insignificant minority association to be recognized as a foundation, a significant change in the Turkish context. They agreed that then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had been deceived by then-Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç.
In 2011 the government issued a decree returning all confiscated immovable property belonging to minority foundations in Turkey. According to the decree, minority foundations would be able to reclaim real property they had declared back in 1936. All real property, cemeteries and fountains would be returned to their rightful owners. Immovable property currently belonging to third parties would also be compensated for. However, the initiative was not fully implemented as representatives from non-Muslim foundations announced that they had received a positive response for only 16 percent of the applications they made for the return of their property seized by the state.
The 1936 Law on Foundations aimed to control non-Muslim foundations by placing them under the guardianship of the Directorate General for Foundations (VGM), a government agency.
Başbuğ’s anti-Semitic views, intercepted in the wiretap, conforms with what he has been saying publicly. Appearing on the A-Haber TV network, owned by Turkish President Erdoğan’s family, Başbuğ accused Jews of being behind the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is the plot of the Zionist terror organization. Zionism is a structure accustomed to ruling the world through economy. It benefits from drops in stock markets. You are going to see in a matter of weeks that they will find a vaccine for this virus,” Başbuğ said, adding: “Nobody should doubt that those who created this virus will find a vaccine for it. Israel has already announced that it has found one” and “Jews, Zionists, have engineered the coronavirus as a biological weapon just like the bird flu and the Crimean–Congo hemorrhagic fever [CCHF]. They have inflicted a scourge called the coronavirus on humanity. They keep generating those kinds of viruses to design the world, to force people to buy their medications, to subjugate countries and to neuter the world’s population.”
On the phone, Başbuğ and Kaymakçı also talked about how Turks would save the world, increase the Turkish population by breeding more, manufacture their own fighter jets, helicopters and bombs and make other countries servants of Turkey.
At one point, Başbuğ explains how he teaches his son the importance of being a proud Turk by having him watch an old Turkish movie titled “Tarkan: Viking Kanı” (Tarkan and the Blood of the Vikings). The movie was produced in 1971 and featured the leader of a Viking clan that worships an octopus god-monster. In the story the Vikings want to kidnap a girl to sacrifice her to their demigod, but a heroic Turk named Tarkan, aided by his dog, Kurt (Wolf, a symbol for Turkish racists), save the day. Başbuğ says he tells his son how the Vikings were killing babies and thanks those who promoted Turkishness through such films back in the day.
Turkish investigators wiretapped Başbuğ’s phone because of his involvement in a gang that used women, including foreign nationals, in a sex trafficking and prostitution ring. Overwhelming evidence was collected against him in the course of an investigation that was launched after police in Izmir received a tip on August 10, 2010 that informed the authorities about a sex trafficking and human smuggling network that was involved in blackmail, prostitution, privacy violations and other criminal activities. He was indicted on multiple criminal charges and was working with agents of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) in the organized crime network, the investigation revealed.
Nine-page transcript of phone wiretap that includes racist and ultranationalist talk between retired Col. Coşkun Başbuğ and Ersin Kaymakçı:Coskun_Basnug_Ersin_Kalayci_wiretap
The investigators had worked on the case for two years, obtained wiretaps from the courts and ran surveillance on suspects to decode the network. It turned out the gang was much more than a sex trafficking network and resembled more of an espionage group collecting top secret information from various government and military officials through honey traps, sexual favors or blackmail. Among the thousands of pages of secret documents were classified NATO and FBI documents that were shared with the Turkish government as a member of the alliance.
The first wave of arrests was launched on May 9-10, 2012 at the order of prosecutors, and additional criminal evidence was gathered from the homes and offices of suspects during the execution of search and seizure warrants. More arrests were made after further evidence was obtained from the suspects and their homes and workplaces. In the end 357 suspects including 55 active duty officers and numerous retired officers were indicted when the prosecutor filed criminal charges against the gang in 2013.
The indictment also revealed how NATO and US security was compromised. For example, NATO documents such as the assets and capabilities of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EAD) units operating in every NATO member state, secret US and NATO directives in bomb-making and bomb-diffusion techniques, FBI bomb-making analyses, electronic warfare data used in the NATO alliance, technical, tactical and procedural data for F-16s and sensitive information on US-made Hawk medium-range surface-to-air missile systems.
However, the criminal case against the gang members was quashed by the Erdoğan government, and all the suspects were let go. Başbuğ served two-and-a-half years in detention before he was released. Many returned to their duties in the Turkish military, advancing up the ladder despite their controversial records. Başbuğ was hired by the Erdoğan-family-owned news network A-Haber and now regularly appears on shows to comment on Turkey’s foreign policy, military operations and security interests.
In the meantime, prosecutors, judges and police investigators who uncovered this massive criminal enterprise were punished either by dismissal or arrest on trumped-up charges.