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Empowering Turkish Youth – A Journey on Leadership & Political Transformation: Part II

Arrogance and incompetence coexist in Washington DC, but no one cares what decisions are made or who is held accountable. We have seen politics collapse, and people who should be nowhere near the government are managing it. Members of the U.S. Congress are weak, with elected members pulling this institution down and the system is suffering. Five extremely left-wing women in the Democratic majority control every decision made in the administration. They are known as "The Squad," and having the power of this magnitude is genuinely terrifying. Even they do not understand their power right now Biden is giving them anything they want, and whenever they ask for something, Democrat leaders jump to their demands. One of them commented that they could not believe Biden signed everything they requested, so they are lining up for everything possible. Once these types of clueless people are inside the system that Trump correctly deemed The Swamp, they find ways to use their relations to sit around for decades in Washington DC, doing nothing positive for the country. Biden and Harris like I said in on their 100th day will go down in history as the worst ever – the sad thing is they may still remain in office . Biden said one term only in 2020 to defeat Trump was his only objective and now he decided too good to be in power so why leave This time I am assuming to beat Trump they will try to steal the other states that were not in play. Republicans will of course concentrate on the states Trump lost by tiny margins – Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and Nevada. Dumping of ballots will occur in states like Florida and they will try to steal Florida with illegal voters who came in under the Biden Border Walk Through. 10 million walked through as requested by Biden and they will make the difference in 2024. They were taken by government means to everywhere in the U.S. that Democrats needed assistance. The entire system is a total joke and everyone around the world is taking advantage.

It is unfortunate that America can fall to such a low bar, severely damaging their international credibility. Turkey had its fair share of arrogant, corrupt, and incompetent people whose sole objective was to discredit me and get funding cut off from my movement because, in their eyes, we were becoming politically dangerous in Turkey. They obviously found similar thinking in Washington DC and easily spread these lies for years, finding people who would listen and act immediately on their requests. These were people disguised as civil society and liberal media frauds who were empowered by the government accordingly. They could all speak English so for some reason, the Washington decision makers who knew me personally were all wowed by these individuals because they could simply speak English. Speaking English was enough to sway people in Washington DC, which was truly unfortunate. Beyond speaking English, they had zero qualifications - no experience, and produced fake news daily. Like today’s Democratic Party media frauds, they would repeatedly say the same things. There was no substance, pure disinformation, and nothing to back up what they were saying about me.Washington DC consumed it well and made decisions based on what these few people who were sponsored to come to Washington would say.  

Just for the record, I was directly undermined by US ambassadors in Ankara from 1993 until Jim Jeffrey took this position. For 15 years they worked to destroy me and ARI Movement, leaving Turkey with no alternative. My last political meeting was actually after Jim Jeffrey became ambassador and he told me he was never part of that thought and move to destroy me. He also added he would tell everyone in meetings that I was the best political mind in Turkey that he personally relied on for years. I still remember Ross Wilson informing U.S. based education Laureate who I represented at Bilgi University introducing CEO Doug Becker to WIlson– that I was someone who would not bring positive reference in Ankara. They were advised to not work with me which is exactly what happened. Bilgi University turned into a nightmare for me personally this was only one part of my experience. Bilgi needs another book entirely - I will write exactly what happened. As these men who were successful they should be happy with this result. Turkey is forever transformed into an Islamic model CIA analysts badly wanted. If anyone thinks I am being emotional/unreasonable on this conclusion I reach, please look up Wikileaks 10 years ago that had Turkish US officials/Ankara leaks. Wikileaks wrote everything in plain English from US officals mouths – how they were fighting me and my world view trying to dissipate me entirely.

It is directly due to US officials that I left in 2004 - resigning knowing we had no chance whatsoever. It was not because of Turkey I resigned - this is something I want everyone to understand. We were doing spectacular things. By year 20, we would have been REGIONAL transformers for the Arab Spring that again USA screwed up badly. Ivy League brains at work to destroy anything possible in the wider middle east. Of course Obama empowered Muslim brotherhood to take regional power. Amazingly simple. Ivy League grads in my opinion should do the world a favor never be involved in US politics/decision making until  education system is fixed. They should all go to Africa to volunteer on something , anything. They can teach English to the African nations, Nobody is accountable for these kids spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. They will take advantage of minimal skills teaching English.

The Brookings Institution established a new program, funded by TUSIAD Turkey's largest industrial group during that decade by the younger generation taking control to bring high-level Turkish experts to Washington, DC to discuss Turkish-American relations critical issues of the day. Although I knew people at Brookings responsible for Turkey, I wasn't invited to speak at one of these roundtables. On top of that, I arranged for one of our international conferences in June 2004 to be co-arranged with Brookings. Kemal Dervis was close friends with Brookings CEO and this is how we approached Brookings.They would not do anything except attend the conference. We did all the legwork this time around since it was our 6th or 7th annual conference, and we always managed to invite the most qualified people to our roundtables to discuss the most critical issues in the region and Turkey. All the participants planned to be in Istanbul for the conference during the second week of June. Sponsors were slipping away, and I had to squeeze every penny out of the budget. Fundraising was my responsibility, and instead of using nice hotels, which international participants were used to, we moved to Bogazici University. We were given the Rector's building free of charge for our event.

As we started planning the event with Brookings, they informed me that this was not a good year for them to come over and they would remove their name from the title of conference co-organizer. Because of their fear of being associated with me, Brookings broke a severe promise, causing me to question their integrity and actions. My assessments proved to be accurate. Also, within the same time frame, NED, NDI, IRI, ACUS, and Brookings all turned their backs on us and this was part of the Washington DC process of undermining me personally. If I lost my funding and hope, they knew the movement would never be able to thrive and grow without me, which is precisely what happened. All involved should be delighted with the outcome. Regarding Turkey, Washington DC think tanks didn't do their jobs well. As a new president with no team for the White House, President Trump said he would not look for people from think tanks to fill critical positions as is usually done, and I understood what he meant. President Obama's incompetent, marginalized people who worked in these Democratic think tanks for four years are now back in Biden's administration. They're all back because of the lack of accountability and the fact that nobody cares about their decisions. They knew they would be back in any case. This is how Washington DC works – or precisely why it does not work at all.

I need to note here something that is important for me. In 1994, another critical NGO was formed at the same time as ARI was by Suna Kirac’s vision for Turkey was very profound and passionate. I was fortunate to get to know Suna very well beyond her business acumen that was very well known. Suna Kirac formed the most crucial education foundation that Turkey has and thousands of young people in parts all over Turkey have been a part of this. Suna Kirac was the one person from the older generation who understood me really well and she could see my vision for Turkey. Thus, I could easily communicate my ideas and goals to her. She became a stakeholder and more critical than her financial support was our brainstorming sessions on Turkish politics, and she knew there was nobody better than me on these topics. After she got ill, we continued these sessions, and she even tried to explain to people how critical my movement was for the future of Turkey, but nobody became a stakeholder, and she tried to fill the void that she left, which was tremendous. I still think to myself had she not gotten ill, she would never have allowed me to leave the movement at its highest point in 2004. We started to lose very simple donations during that period ranging from $2000-10,000 and of course everyone had their own personal excuses for pulling their grants. It started to take more of my time which was not fun for me or was it sustainable. So, I picked a very peculiar time where nobody usually leaves positions of power like this in Turkey, especially at its highest point. Suna Kirac passed away in 2020, and Turkey needs many Suna Kirac type women to take the lead in Turkey.        

By 2002, there were 25 people who were part of my full-time staff, and we were present in Istanbul, Ankara, Brussels, and Washington. Everyone worked extremely hard while being paid modest amounts for their work with project funds, and we were like a powerful machine. We were able to do our grassroots leadership work, international politics work, events and forming public opinion on our core issues and the average age of this entire group was 22 - 25 years old. And I personally empowered all of them as soon as they were ready. By this time, our young members handled most of the movement's public P.R. and T.V., media, etc. I stopped going on public T.V. unless it was explicitly something that I had to represent or international relations issues like Turkish-American relations. Everything else I gave the floors to these young people, and they performed well. After experiencing everything I learned during our first 10 years, we would have made our indent in Turkish politics, in some way or form by 2014 and I could clearly see that in 2004. We were able to maximize our funding tenfold, in other words for every dollar that we were bringing in we had 10 dollars of output and effectiveness because of our grassroots power. Our power was growing everywhere in Anatolia and the young people were accepting into our vision without using religion and without money. And this worried the political people as religion and money are always exploited in politics. I could clearly see everyone was following us closely and trying to understand how we attracted young people so easily. 

* This is the second part of an ongoing article series.

Kemal Köprülü
Kemal Köprülü

Kemal Köprülü is the Publisher of Transatlantic Policy Quarterly (TPQ).

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