Thursday, August 18, 2016

German ministry calls Turkey key Islamist 'platform' - blames 'office glitch', causes fingerpointing

As reported by AP and all major German news media tow days ago: The German government said in a confidential document obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday that Turkey has become "the central platform of action for Islamist groups" in the Middle East.

Contained in a reply to a formal question by the left party DIE LINKE in parliament, the statement quickly developed into a storm in the houka: a smokescreen soon went up when the interior ministry called the failure to coordinate with the foreign ministry on the reply a "clerical error".

The part of the document that contained the assertion was classified for reasons of "well being of the state" (Staatswohl, a term that includes 'national security' but can be used in a wider sense).

Since the media called the information 'confidential' and in light of the official statement, the blogster assumed a minimum classification level of 'Confidential'. This was incorrect. The actual classification was "For official use only" (VS-NfD), the lowest level in the German classification system, also known as "Nur für Dumme" (for dummies only).

Thus, the door was wide open for speculation:
1) Why was a supposedly very sensitive statement classified at the dummy level?
2) Who wrote it in the first place?
3) Was inclusion in the reply "human error"?
4) What "really" was the purpose of putting it in there, knowing full well that it would become public?

The answers so far:
1) Nobody knows - or rather says. As a matter of fact, it is old news for anybody who wants to know or who has a computer, that some version of the statement "as a result of Ankara's domestic and foreign policy that has been Islamized step-by-step above all since 2011, Turkey has developed into the central platform of action for Islamist groups in the Middle East region." is true.
However, no arm of the German government has previously gone public with the open secret.
2) After some speculation, it is now certain that the statements were written up by Germany's foreign intelligence agency BND.
3) The official line has changes from, sorry, human error. A spokesperson of the interior ministry has since then come out in explicit support, saying that "important information has to be provided to parliament when the question is asked. Such Information cannot be simply suppressed."
The interior minister himself added he was "not sorry" for the statement.
This leaves only one conclusion: premeditated, on purpose, fully aware of the fallout.
4) Which takes us to the real why?
Der Spiegel speculates that the possibility exists that "some individuals in the Chancellery wanted to torpedo the tenuous diplomatic rapprochement between Turkey and Germany" in the wake of the row caused by the failed coup.

The interior minister definitely has managed to pull another stunt of "have your cake and eat it too". While not being "sorry", he has made sure that the media knows it was not his signature that appeared under the reply to DIE LINKE but that of one of his assistant secretaries.

We may or may not find out whether he was aware of the "explosive" content of the reply.

The foreign ministry, meanwhile, has distanced itself from the statement, and Turkey has officially protested after the initial standard "no comment" a couple of days ago.

The blogster ends the post with more houka references:
Where there is smoke...
Several people can suck at the same time.
Some may blow, and you won't notice.

And the fingerpointing reference, well, that one alludes to a "simple sign language" gesture made by the German vice-chancellor. Going public with the open secret regarding Turkey and Islamists might just be a paper version of the same (though not by the same person or persons.)

No comments:

Post a Comment