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Turkey’s information troops: U.S. pays, Balts and Ukrainians train, Russia is the target

Hulusi Akar, Chief of the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces

Kurdish factor has spoiled the relations of the Turkish Ministry for National Defense and Pentagon dramatically. The Russian warplane that was shot down over Syria either unintentionally or provocatively spoiled the relations of Ankara and Moscow even earlier and ever more dramatically. Eventually, the number of Turkey’s rivals increased, amid falling number of allies.

Apparently, Washington and Ankara have no intention to change their attitude towards Moscow, but it is very hard for them to come closer due to the Kurdish factor. Actually, Washington does not want to lose its nearly most reliable ally in the ground operation against ISIS, while Ankara fears that the combat efficiency of Kurdistan’s supporters will grow. That is exactly why both make “rapprochement” efforts, but their friendship seems possible only as a friendship against Russia.

In this light, Pentagon has developed a program to train “Turkish information troops for the hybrid war against Russia.” Furthermore, Pentagon has even undertaken part of the financing, as the new “soldiers” will be paid mostly in US dollars “as part of the military cooperation project” of Ankara and Washington. As for their training, it will be organized in the Baltics and Ukraine where Americans have managed to create “successful information projects to repel Russia’s aggression.”

“Russia’s aggression” is another story. The assertion that “Moscow is waging an information war against an X country as part of the general hybrid war” is used constantly and the role of the X country plays the one whom Washington choses. “The hybrid” nature of such “aggression” makes it possible to explain why Russia is attacked, but does not attack. This is because “Russia’s attacks are invisible, while the attacks of its rivals are a reluctant active protection.”

What kind of troops are these?

Back to the new U.S.-Turkish “project of cooperation” through establishment of “information troops” for Turkey, unlike cyber troops, these are neither hackers nor technical equipment. This is a control over information space both inside Turkey “concerning Russia’s information aggression” and inside Russia to “suppress the Kremlin’s actions stirring up hatred towards Turkey.” Actually, they at Fikri Isik’s office believe that shooting down a Russian plane is not about stirring up hatred.

For the new minister for national defense of Turkey that project of cooperation with Pentagon is the first one on his current position. Hulusi Akar, Chief of the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces presents the project to its future participants. This means that Ankara assigns a high priority to the project that is not made public.

The future “soldiers” were given a solid doze of propaganda about how aggressive and dangerous Russia is and how difficult it is for Turkey to resist the attacks (what attacks are in question is not clear) by the “international aggressor” Russia. The “soldiers” were told that the Turkish security services need support. If Russia wants to wage a hybrid war, including an information one, “in the others’ territory and through others” (what they mean is not clear), the “information troops” will have to neutralize the “threats and expansion” in Turkey and…shift the conflict to the territory of Russia via its information space.

The future “information troops” are to report to the Turkish General Staff and are formally considered as “civic personnel” at the armed forces of Turkey’s Ministry of National Defense. Yet, instructors will not be Turkish for lack of relevant experience. The troops will be paid a $640 salary as part of the “project of intergovernmental cooperation” by U.S. Ankara will provide state security, accumulative system of salary in the Turkish liras (the amount will depend on professional skills) and possible bonuses. Anyway, it will be much more than the salary of an ordinary Turkish contract officer fighting arms in hand in Turkey.

It has turned out that the “information troops” in Turkey will be distributed to the countries for training on July 6. The future information troops against Russia will spend at least three months in Latvia and Estonia (to undergo training in the Russian and English languages) or in Ukraine (in Russian) depending on the knowledge of English. The knowledge of Russian is a compulsory condition, as the information raiders will be operating among Russian-speaking users and will be introducing themselves as Russians.

How did they choose the “soldiers”?

Who will be drafted to the “information troops” against Russia? Everyone who speaks and writes in Russian (knowledge of English is a plus), has anti-Russian orientation and is loyal to Recep Tayyip Erdogan is viewed as a potential candidate. Since June 13, Hulusi Akar has delivered his “message” to the shortlisted candidates from various regions online. Afterwards, they will undergo testing, pass Russian language exams and submit their documents.

The National Intelligence Organization (MİT) controls the personal dossiers (it had selected the candidates), MİT employees “instruct the recruits over the state secrecy” and give the future information raiders the necessary documents to fill in. These are the only blanks that are in Turkish only and with the Turkish state symbols.

Gayas Validi, EADaily’s special correspondent

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