RAND’s controversial report says more about the think tank than Turkey
A new report published in the US has made alarming claims, but they seem divorced from reality.
The RAND Corporation, established in 1948 in California with the purpose of military planning, research, and decision development, has 1,950 employees from 50 different countries.
RAND has a total revenue of $345 million with more than half coming from US government institutions. Looking at the overall ranking, they had received $61 million from the US Department of Defense and security agencies, $46 million from the Department of Homeland Security, $40 million from the US Army and $49 million from the US Air Force.
RAND’s recently released a report titled “Turkey’s Nationalist Course” which consists of 276 pages, and on page 14 reads “Mid-level officers are frustrated, there might be another coup attempt,” referring to the Turkish Army.
Recalling where RAND’s funding comes from one has to ask the question of whether RAND’s report, which has the support of the government, ultimately reflects the official stance of the US.
The report has caused controversy in Turkey over the past two weeks, but who wrote this report?
Ten American experts were behind the report, while only Stephen J. Flanagan and F. Stephen Larrabee are employed full-time by RAND. Anika Binnendijk, Katherine Costello, Shira Efron, James Hoobler, Magdalena Kirchner, Jeffrey Martini, Alireza Nader and Peter A. Wilson were directly or indirectly involved in the project ab extra.
Among the authors of the report, many respected names have worked in the White House before. When I look at the quotes and citations in the report rather than the writings, I think that in Turkey, the study is considered more important than it is in reality.
These arguments are essential to evaluate for Turkey, especially in order not to be exposed to coup attempts again and for taking precautions; however, it is necessary to analyse who published the report and for what purpose.
It is explicitly seen in the report that Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) members, the group behind the coup attempt in 2016, have been used as references. For instance, you can see a FETO member who used to be a police officer arguing against Turkey having spoken at the US Congress.
Furthermore, there are four articles within RAND publications written by the same person in cooperation with a RAND employee since 2018.
The bottom line is, you can see it already has a relationship with RAND. How credible are reports that quote the people and groups that are mentioned in the coup attempt, people who have already made clear their animosity towards Turkey? You can judge for yourself.
Although some think tanks claim that they act independently, many institutions in Washington DC write reports under the influence of either “countries”, “groups” or “personally rich families.”
In particular, the fact that many Middle Eastern countries donate millions of dollars to influence think tanks leads many of those think tanks to lose objectivity and credibility.
One would hope that the report authors conduct proper research by visiting Turkey and preparing their reports objectively.
As someone who has lived in the US for a long time, I can assert with confidence that now more than ever, the same people who cooperate with Turkish enemies, and who critique Turkey the most, are also highly reputed in Washington DC.
In a capital where there are so-called Turkish experts who have never visited Turkey, and where traitors to Turkey prosper, there is a long line of reports like this.
It should be questioned, first, who will benefit from entirely terminating the relationship between the US and Turkey.
On the one hand, we have experts who bring more than 70 years of experience to think tanks, who visit Turkey frequently, talk to people from all backgrounds, and gather genuine information. Of course, not everything is perfect in Turkey. Of course, Turkey has serious issues to deal with.
Taking steps to increase the tension and to elevate people who want to end Turkish-US relations is never the right approach, much less for think-tanks that believe in the transatlantic alliance and NATO.
The most important thing to do is to offer sincere recommendations and goodwill with the intention to solve problems, not create more.