One of the geopolitical consequences of the First World War was the withdrawal from the international arena of the Ottoman Empire. However, representatives of the political elite of present-day Turkey, it seems, have not lost their sovereign ambitions, which is also evident at the turn of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. After the collapse of the USSR, the press of its southern neighbor increasingly began to appear claims that the Caucasus is the key to the formation of the Great Turan, that is, the revival of the Turkish empire within the borders "from the Adriatic to the former Great Wall of China." The main task was to prevent the integration of states in the post-Soviet space and - if possible - to weaken the influence of Moscow on the regions located to the south of the current Russian borders.
YEARS - BAD, PROJECTS - AMBITIOUS
Recall that most of the post-Soviet Central Asian republics where Islam is practiced (with the exception of Tajikistan), and a number of peoples of the Transcaucasus and the North Caucasus are Azeris, Kumyks, Nogai, and Karachais are ethnic Turks. In Ankara and Istanbul, certain forces keep this in mind, as once the sultans and viziers of the era of the former brilliance of the Ottoman Empire. Why, they say, not to try to unite the mentioned peoples and states on a religious-ethnic basis?
Such ideas have been repeatedly advanced during periods of weakening of the Russian state, and not only. At the end of the 60s, under the shadow of mosques on the shores of the Bosphorus, the idea of uniting Tatarstan and Bashkiria into one republic under the pretext of “the aspirations of the Turkic peoples for consolidation” was exaggerated. But this attempt then could not be crowned with success. There were other projects - the creation of the Turkic Karachay-Balkar Confederation, the Kumyk and Nogai Republics, and even the Tuva-Khakass Confederation.
These were so far only intermediate plans for the emergence of a new state independent of Russia. The formation of the Islamic confederation of the North Caucasus was conceived as a priority stage. According to the plan of Pan-Turkic leaders, it was supposed to include all the subjects of the North Caucasus, parts of the Rostov region, Stavropol and Krasnodar territories. With the dominant role of Chechnya.
Since even in the troubled 90s for the Russian Federation, it was still difficult to fulfill the above ambitious projects immediately and openly, at first glance measures were taken to be more harmless, but reflecting the same aspirations: the creation of the Caucasus common market, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Caucasus-Turkey , International Caucasian Investment Bank, Caucasian Arbitration Court, Caucasian Parliament. They, they say, will ensure stability in the region, raise the standard of living of the population and consolidate the republics, “tying” them on the single Caucasian currency. At the heart of all these projects lay the Turkish economic model.
Turkey’s desire to establish its position in the North Caucasus is also related to the fact that it depends on energy resources coming from abroad. In this, according to analysts, one of the explanations of the fact that Turkey at an unofficial level so actively provoked separatist tendencies in southern Russia and supported the desire of Chechnya to secede from the Russian Federation.
It must be admitted that not only the country of the crescent sent money, weapons and people to Chechnya. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran and a number of other states acted in a similar way. For example, the notorious Salman Raduev argued that in addition to Turkey he gets weapon from Pakistan, Sudan, Azerbaijan and Russia itself (referring to illegal criminal structures).
It is noteworthy that along with the above-mentioned Islamic countries, some European countries interested in “diversifying” energy supplies, which could be realized by gaining control over the Caspian, also secretly sought to tear off the North Caucasus from Russia. At the same time, the freedom of action of the European members of NATO, including Turkey, largely depends on the geopolitical interests of the United States. Therefore, if not with the support, then with the knowledge of Washington, Turkey is trying to pursue its hidden expansionist policy in the Caucasus.
OBJECTIVES ARE NOT ANNOUNCED, BUT DECLARED
If at the beginning of the 90s, immediately after the collapse of the USSR, you could hear speeches from high-ranking Turkish officials calling for help to the friendly peoples of the North Caucasus, then from the middle of the 90s, the Turkish leadership began to avoid any official statements on this matter. But ideas about the creation of the Great Turan remained in the programs of some Turkish political parties, for example, Byuk Birlik Partisi (BBP, Party of the Great Union) and Milliyetzi Hareket Partisi (MHP, Party of Nationalist Movement), which, by the way, is represented in the Turkish parliament. Meanwhile, the Turkish leadership continues to use its special services to achieve officially undeclared but stated goals.
Today, there are three main independent special services in Turkey: MILLO ISTIHBARAT TE╙KILВTI (MIT, National Intelligence Organization), National Police and MILLO GENDARMERIE (National Gendarmerie). In addition, military intelligence stands out by the General Staff. But still the dominant position is MIT. It is she who coordinates the work of all national intelligence agencies.
It is appropriate to recall here that back in the times of the Russian Empire, TE импKILВT-I MAHSUSA (Special Organization), which actively recruited young Russian Muslims, acted. With their help, before the First World War, the Turks managed to form a number of illegal nationalist organizations in large cities such as St. Petersburg, Kazan, Ufa, Irkutsk, Tomsk and Baku, as well as create a network of cells in other regions. The purpose of these centers was to sow hatred of Russians among Muslims and raise them to revolt, as a result of which the Great Turan was to emerge.
In the years before World War II, Nazi Germany and Turkey conducted subversive and sabotage work in the North Caucasus and Transcaucasia. In the 1942 year, with their complicity, the Committee of the Chechen-Mountain National Socialist Party was created. From the representatives of different peoples of the North Caucasus, who were captured by German captives, sabotage groups came together for terrorist acts. It is a well-known fact: a special German commando battalion "Bergman" operated in the North Caucasus, which included a significant number of Turkish agents. The Circassian Diaspora of Turkey also supplied human material for these sabotage forces.
According to some estimates, to date, the residency of Turkish intelligence in the post-Soviet space are working under the guise of diplomatic missions and business structures.
HOW THEY WORK
Pursuing the Caucasus as a whole, Turkish intelligence has focused its attention on the most problematic part of it - Chechnya. Turkish emissaries were in charge of logistics of the gangs, recruitment and training of agents for carrying out terrorist acts.
Fundraising for the “fighters for independence” in Turkey itself was conducted almost openly. The following facts were cited in the press: next to Istanbul University there was a kiosk with a Chechen flag, in which everyone could make a donation to the “war with the infidels.” In addition, about 80 organizations of the North Caucasian diaspora, also participating in fundraising for separatists, work in Turkey. This money did not go through state structures, but through various private foundations still operating on the other side of the Black Sea.
Another channel for the receipt of money and weapons is the territory of Azerbaijan and Georgia, states that have a common border with Russia. If Georgia appeared in this scenario as a staging post, in Azerbaijan the aid to the Chechen separatists was covered with a green banner - as “co-religionists”. There was even a semi-legal structure that dealt with technical support for illegal armed groups. Attempts to establish regular transit of cargoes were undertaken by the notorious Turkish extremist organization Gray Wolves. It is noteworthy that it was created in 1948 year by the former Nazi intelligence agent Turkes.
The media has repeatedly leaked information about the relationship of Turkish intelligence with extremists. Moreover, it is even claimed that MIT not only sympathizes with the Gray Wolves, but also uses them in various special operations. Various options have been developed for various routes for the delivery of goods to Chechnya: by land, by air and by sea. If weapons and ammunition were transported directly from Turkey, they chose either the sea route, which was also called “Abkhaz” (by sea from Turkey to Sukhumi, and then by helicopters to the destination), or by airplanes on the route Istanbul – Ankara – Nakhchivan – Sumgayit.
Some Turkish firms, primarily construction companies, who also served as a “roof” for Turkish agents, for example, for MIT employees Hakky Mutludogan and Nesrin Uslu, are actively involved in spreading Turkish nationalist ideas among the Turkic peoples of Russia.
The Turkish religious-nationalist sect “Nurdzhular” in 90-s spread out in Russia a network of various organizations: “Serkhat”, “Eflyak”, funds “Toros”, “Tolerance” and “Ufuk”. In 2003, the activity of Serkhat, which was in charge of a number of Bashkir-Turkish lyceums, was discontinued. A number of Turkish citizens who propagandized the extremist Nurdzhular doctrine were deported from Russia. Some representatives of this sect, including the leaders, were convicted (Omar Kavakly, the director of the lyceum in Neftekamsk, and the founder of the Yakty Yul boarding house in Oktyabrsky Sadyshkan).
According to media reports, militant training bases were functioning in Turkey. There are several such training centers: in Izmir, in the suburbs of Istanbul, near Ankara and near Trabzon. The first group of Chechens headed to Turkey in March 1991. It consisted of 50 people, many of whom later played a huge role during the Chechen campaign (for example, Basayev, Albakov, Gelayev, Madagov, Mumatakaev, Merzhuev and others).
The Confederation of the Caucuses of the Peoples of the Caucasus, closely connected with Turkey, whose main goal is the secession of the North Caucasus from the Russian Federation, took an active part in supporting the separatist movements in southern Russia. During the war in Chechnya, this organization actively supported the separatists. If the leadership of the confederation at the time of Russia's greatest instability in the first half of the 90-s could consolidate all the political forces representing the mountain peoples, and create an independent Mountain Republic, then the federal center would be faced with a very real threat of rejection of the North Caucasian border area. But personal ambition and deep contradictions among the leaders of the CPC, not only in the field of politics, but also on ethno-territorial problems prevented the implementation of such plans and led to a gradual decrease in the political significance of the organization.
KNK helped the first group of Chechens to go to Turkey, giving them fake passports, according to which they were able to fly to Istanbul. In Turkey, the Vainakh diaspora took the group under its patronage, bringing Chechens to a military camp near Ankara, where classes were held. After completing the course, the group was transferred to Grozny to meet with Dzhokhar Dudayev. There was a constant rotation of militants who trained under Ankara. According to data from the Italian intelligence services that became public, in Turkey, in general, up to 5 thousands of militants were trained.
In addition to Turkey, training centers for training militants (now it is difficult to imagine!) Were located in the territory of Azerbaijan. So, on the base in the village of Guzdek of the Apsheron district, where Shamil Basayev was a frequent guest, they trained up to 2 thousands of militants. The “teaching staff” at such bases was represented by the Turkish military. The organizers and ideological inspirers of the training centers were the emissaries of the “Gray Wolves” Azerbaijani cell, headed by their leader Hamidov.
NORTH CAUCASIAN DIASPORA AND TURKISH SPECIAL SERVICES
During the 19th and 20th centuries, a rather impressive Caucasian diaspora developed in Turkey. This process began in 1863, when, with the secret approval of the authorities of the Russian Empire, the process of emigration (mahajirism) to Turkey began among representatives of the peoples of the North Caucasus and Transcaucasia. The bulk of the refugees arrived on ships in Istanbul and Samsun in 1864 year. According to some reports, the number of mahajirs by 1884 reached almost 2 million. The following waves of emigration from the North Caucasus to Turkey refer to the 1878 year and the beginning of the 20's and 40's of the XX century.
In the Ottoman Empire, all emigrants from the North Caucasus were called Circassians. The government of the Ottoman Empire used them to cultivate the vacant lands of Anatolia, guard borders, punitive expeditions against the peoples who fought with the Porta government, for example, during the anti-Turkish speeches of the Bulgarians in 1876. Natives from the Caucasus settled in the Middle East, dependent on the Ottoman Empire.
A significant part of the Circassian (including Chechens) diaspora, apart from Turkey itself, also settled in Jordan, Syria, Libya, Israel and the United States. Turkish intelligence agencies have relied on them in the recruitment of militants, spies and saboteurs operating in Russia.
At the beginning of the 20th century, emigrants from among the North Caucasian peoples created a number of social and political organizations in Turkey. Particularly noteworthy is the participation in the political life of the country by a kind of lobby represented by the Committee of Caucasian-Chechen Solidarity, which was supported by various political parties. After the collapse of the USSR, its activities, directed by certain political forces, took a radical character.
This was particularly evident during the events in Chechnya. For example, the above committee provided material and moral assistance to Chechen separatists. A large number of volunteers, descendants of North Caucasian émigrés, went to Chechnya. According to the Turkish political weekly Nokta, about 2 thousands of Turkish Mujahideen fought on the side of the Dudayev units.
Since 1991, dozens of trained Turkish scouts have been caught in Russia. In only 1995, Ishaq Kasap, Camille Oz Turk and Hussein were caught. All three were detained when crossing the border. They provided communication between Chechen rebels and MIT, transferred information to the center and received the necessary funds and equipment. Ishaq Kasap, by the way, was an ethnic Chechen living in Turkey, a member of the Caucasian-Chechen Solidarity Committee, who recommended him to Turkish intelligence. So the path of the battalion "Bergman" is not overgrown
In 1996, Ozturk Ramaz and Ozerdem Husein Bengyuch were detained in the Russian Federation, introducing themselves as journalists from the Sabah newspaper. They were engaged in collecting classified information for the publication of provocative articles about the situation in Chechnya.
In 2000, a number of MIT agents were again seized in the Caucasus: Ilhan Duman, Ahmed Gumus Emer, Ilyas Kush, Molla Hasan Yldyrymer. The first of them was engaged in the collection of information and even tried to infiltrate the Russian special services, while the rest were militants who fought in the Khattab gang. Such attention to Russia from the side of the Turkish special services has not been noted since the Second World War.
The notorious Khattab at the end of 1999 of the year called on all Muslims to participate in jihad. Young Turks responded to the call. In 2004, the Turkish militants were mostly not captured, but eliminated during special operations. The last Turkish militant, Ali Soytekin Olla, was reportedly detained on the territory of our country 29 December 2005 of the year (that is, only a little more than two years ago). Judging by his testimony, a large group of foreign citizens engaged in terrorist activities continues to be in Russia. In addition, bases for training foreign mercenaries also operate successfully. For example, Olla himself underwent sabotage training as part of a group of Turkish citizens of 35 men, commanded by the Turks Abu Zar.
From the beginning of 1991 of the year to our time, the number of people undergoing the course of reconnaissance and sabotage training has decreased slightly. Over the years of the existence of militant training schools in Turkey for 16, interest in this matter has practically not faded. It must, however, be said that from a political point of view, in the interests of maintaining relations with our southern neighbor, the Russian competent authorities do not always betray the above facts to a wide publicity, hoping for the prudence of the Turkish side. Indeed, in general, our official relations with Ankara are normal. It is another matter that there are some who clearly abuse this approach of Moscow.
At the official level, the Turkish leadership never admits that subversive activities are being conducted from the territory of his country against the Russian Federation. Statements about Russia are rather cautious, and, as a rule, in the directly raised questions, Turkish politicians leave to answer, saying that the situation in the Caucasus is an internal matter of the Russian Federation, but they cannot forbid their citizens to fight there. However, the actions of the security services of Ankara directly indicate that certain forces in Turkey heat up separatist sentiments and inspire subversive activities in a number of Russian regions.
Sometimes for political reasons, the actions of the Turkish special services are complex and controversial. For example, in January 1996, Chechen terrorists in the Turkish port of Trabzon seized the Russian ferry Avrasia. As it was later reported, MIT Schykyru and Ertan Dzhushkun were on the ship. During this rally in Istanbul, rallies were held in support of Chechen separatists calling on the Russian government to start peace talks with them and to provide a corridor to the gang of Salman Raduyev, surrounded in the area of Pervomayskoye village.
But Turkey could not go into open conflict with Russia. In this situation, her special services worked in an oriental way, subtly and, most importantly, tough. When a ferry with terrorists and hostages arrived in Istanbul, the head of the operation to free him, MIT chief Koksal and the head of the National Gendarmerie Serhardi, as well as the head of MIT Trabzon Gench ordered to take the criminals hostage. The calculation was right - they surrendered.
Another big rally of Chechen militants, in which some observers see, if not a direct, then indirect connection with the Turkish special services, was the hijacking of 15 March 2001 of the Russian Tu-154 to Saudi Arabia. The main performers were Chechens: the Supyan and Iriskhan Arsaev brothers and Magomed Rizayev. As a result of the storming of an aircraft that sat down at the Medina airport, three people were killed, including flight attendant Julia Fomina and a Turkish citizen.
Then it was not possible to check all Turkish passengers, as several dozen of them immediately flew to Ankara. But on the videotape from the hijacked plane and according to the evidence of the flight attendants, the aforementioned participant of the action on the ferry Ertan Dzhushkun was identified. Soon, 22 on April 2001, in the center of Istanbul at the Swissotel, terrorists held 12 guests for 120 hours. The goal is still the same - to try to put pressure on Moscow, forced to take tough measures against the Chechen separatists.