Tag Archives: Erdogan

Turkey Exposes Central Bank Incompetence, by Tom Luongo

Mario Draghi is all-in on wacko monetary nostrums—like negative interest rates—that haven’t worked in either Europe or Japan. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

Last year I asked whether Turkey would be “City Zero in Global Contagion.” That question was based on the crisis unfolding in the Turkish lira which materially threatened a number of major European banks, especially those in Italy.

This week highlighted something really interesting for me that, I think, sets in motion a similar thesis about Turkey but for much different reasons. The sovereign debt crisis will come about purely because of a failure of confidence in institutions.

Competence is the key to staying at the top of human dominance hierarchies, not force. Those built on competence tend to last and those built on force are, at best, meta-stable for a specific period of time.

The difference between what’s happening in Turkey with President Erdogan taking control of the Turkish central bank and the end of Mario Draghi’s term heading the ECB cuts to the heart of this issue of competence versus force.

Continue reading

Advertisements

One Last Ceasefire Before Oblivion for Jihadists in Syria, by Tom Luongo

Syria, Russia, and Iran have basically wiped out the jihadists in Syria. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

The battle to reclaim Syria moved forward this week. Syrian Arab Army forces reclaimed the town of Khan Sheikoun last week prompting a flurry of moves by all involved, most notably Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan was in Moscow this week sharing an ice cream cone with Vladimir Putin and cutting deals. The first part of that deal went into effect today; a ceasefire in the de-escalation zone in Idlib province.

If the battle is won, in essence, and the jihadists on the run, why call a ceasefire now?

Simple. Turkey needs to be able to recall its troops from the area and disengage with the rebels it has been backing there for years. That was what Erdogan bargained for in Moscow, the lives of his troops.

That should tell you how serious Putin is about retaking Idlib and how little patience he has now for Erdogan’s nonsense.

As Bernard from Moon of Alabama points out the proof of this is Turkey blocking the rebels’ escape from Idlib back into Turkey.

Today about a thousand ‘rebels’ tried to cross through the Al-Bab border station into Turkey. Videos show a long line of cars of fleeing people. At the front several hundred men managed to enter Turkish ground. They were pushed back by Turkish army forces with water cannon trucks, tear gas and finally with gunfire. At least two ‘rebels’ were killed.

People shouted “Traitor traitor traitor, Turkish army is traitor”. They burned pictures of Erdogan while screaming takbir and allahu akbar.

Putin has been very clear about his policy from the beginning. Terrorists are to be wiped out. They are not to be allowed to escape and regroup to show up and cause trouble somewhere else.

The implicit message here is that Erdogan cannot do the U.S.’s bidding on this. He must withdraw support from them and leave them to hang.

If the U.S. and Israel want these guys kept alive then they should stop acting through Turkey’s proxy.

The howls from the U.S. corporate media will be ridiculous. There will be infuriating bloviations from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. John Bolton’s mustache will be heartsick that opportunities to kill more decent people will be lost.

Netanyahu will likely bomb some SAA ammunition dump and declare himself the greatest military mind of the 21st century.

What was that the gods making men mad?

The failure to reinforce Khan Sheikoun and the open hostility by Syrian forces against the Turkish resupply convoy was Erdogan’s end-game in Idlib.

Putin by working with the SAA finally forced Erdogan to choose what’s more important: his relationship with the U.S. or that with Russia and China, who are currently supporting his economically-challenged regime.

Erdogan got what he wanted from the U.S. on removing the Kurdish SDF forces from the northern part of Syria. He made that deal when it looked like he would be able to hold Khan Sheikoun and keep maximum pressure on Bashar al-Assad’s government.

The U.S. is desperately trying to starve Syria of oil to keep the SAA from having the resources needed to finish its job. It is failing.

All of these little battles they’ve lost, inch by inch. The collapse of the coalition to starve Yemen has fractured because of this. The border crossing between Iraq and Syria is now open. Iran is surviving Trump’s sanctions as China’s oil imports are rising again.

Oil tankers will make it to Syria.

The amount of time and money the Trump Administration sank into stopping one Iranian oil tanker is ludicrous and now highlights jut how pathetic and ineffective the whole program is.

With each little victory, each tanker of oil offloaded, town liberated and each day survived the position of U.S. forces in Syria weakens.

And soon Trump will be forced to make a real decision, not some fake one he doesn’t have the stones to follow through on. He’ll have to decide if Syria is worth it.

The ceasefire will be temporary. It is Erdogan’s last chance to truly gain Putin’s trust and exit Turkey from an untenable situation. He cannot use his troops as human shields anymore to protect the jihadist attacks on government-held territory.

He’s been trying to play Russia and the U.S. off each other to forge an independent path and hold onto his gains in Syria, while at the same time pressuring Cyprus.

Putin wasn’t having any of that. The price for Turkey’s energy stability which Putin has provided is the end of Turkish-backed opposition in Syria. The price of Turkey’s territorial stability is also bound up in Putin’s support. Because it is clear that the U.S.’s goal is an independent and oil-rick Kurdistan under its proxy control.

Putin understands that Turkey needs to be put back in its box. Because this is the only way forward that puts Israel’s expansionist ambitions back in the bottle where they belong.

Trump’s over the top support for Israel emboldened everyone to think they had this campaign in the bag.

In thinking this everyone in the U.S.’s orbit — Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the UAE, the U.K. — all overextended themselves. In doing so they became exposed to counter-attack and to key moments of failure.

Khan Sheikoun was one of those moments. And with Turkey no longer providing support the jihadists there will be wiped out, paving the way for the reintegration of Syria.

As I pointed out last week, the Houthi drone attack was another. The UAE cutting deals with Iran after the attack on oil tankers at Fujairah was another. These were all small victories which have big implications.

Millions can return to rebuild Syria once this is campaign is over which Russia, China and Iran will take the lead on in defiance of horrific and cruel U.S. sanctions.

The big question is what Israel will do here to stop this. Because they are the last wild card.

Bibi Netanyahu is putting on his best show before September’s election. He’s opened Israel up to a response by Hezbollah and Lebanon after going way too far there and in Iraq.

One can only hope that Trump will finally see the folly of this policy, understand that the conditions to enforce the Kushner/Netanyahu plan for subjugation of the Palestinians is dead and begin reversing course.

There are signs that he obliquely understands this but Trump’s inability to curb his ‘enthusiasms’ is his Achilles’ heel.

The fate of tens of millions of people hangs in the balance.

Khashoggi Drama – A Deal Has Been Made But Will It Hold? by Moon of Alabama

Whether or not the furor over Jamal Khashoggi’s murder recedes probably depends on if media coverage continues or if it moves on to the next sensation. From Moon of Alabama at moonofalabama.org:

A preliminary deal has been made between the Turkish president Erdogan and the al-Saud clan in Saudi Arabia. The case of Jamal Khashoggi, killed in Istanbul by bodyguards of the Saudi clown prince Mohammad bin Salman, will be closed for now.

Over the last 36 hours, since Erdogan’s speech proved Saudi culpability, there have been no more damaging leaks about the case from the usual Turkish sources.

During a podium discussion at yesterday’s investor conference in Riyadh Mohammad bin Salman denounced the “heinous crime” committed against Jamal Khashoggi. He praised the “unbreakable relations” with Turkey and lauded Qatar’s economic durability.

The comments came after a phone call between MbS and Erdogan.

Continue reading

The ‘Saudi Affair’ in Istanbul Unveils Sunni vs Sunni Rivalry, by Burak Bekdil

The Jamal Khashoggi murder is helping Turkey in its rivalry with Saudi Arabia. From Burak Bekdil at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • Turkey, pursuing its own Islamist agenda and trying to rival Saudi influence in the Sunni world, is just too happy to have discredited the Wahhabi royals.
  • Turkey’s message to the Western world was: See the difference between our peaceful Islamism and rogue-state Islamism? Stop discrediting us for our democratic deficit — also, presumably, for “only” imprisoning more than 100 journalists there.
Turkey, pursuing its own Islamist agenda and trying to rival Saudi influence in the Sunni world, is just too happy to have discredited the Wahhabi royals in the wake of the Jamal Khashoggi killing. Pictured: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (left) greets Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz on November 15, 2015 in Antalya, Turkey. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

It looked like a first-class spy thriller: A prominent writer enters the Saudi consulate in Istanbul but never leaves the building. Saudi officials said he left the building but could not offer footage from security cameras. When they did, the image was of a dark-haired body-double dressed in the writer’s clothes.

Continue reading

Repeating Churchill’s Bungles: Will US Drive Turkey into Joining the Shanghai Pact? by Martin Sieff

The West, led by Winston Churchill, has driven Turkey into the arms of its enemies before. Will it do it again? From Martin Sieff at strategic-culture.org:

Repeating Churchill’s Bungles: Will US Drive Turkey into Joining the Shanghai Pact?

In 1917, the professional head of the British Army, Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson in 1917 explained why the Allies were losing World War I because they kept pouring out lives, weapons and resources on capturing tiny unimportant locations on the Western Front while Imperial Germany conquered Eastern and Southern Europe, invading and occupying one major country after another:

“We take Bullecourt, they take Rumania; We take Messines, they take Russia; We don’t take Passchendaele, they take Italy,” Wilson told Winston Churchill.

Today, Washington is moving heaven and earth to integrate such major world powers as Macedonia, Montenegro and Georgia into NATO to join those vital pillars of world security Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. And at the same time, it is obsessed with imposing ruinous sanctions on Turkey.

Continue reading

The Sick Man of Europe Returns, by Joschka Fischer

Turkey is in intensive care and may soon be in extremis. From Joschka Fischer at project-syndicate.org:

When the Republic of Turkey emerged from the wreckage of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, its national ambition was to join Europe as a modern, secular state. But after much progress, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has now all but squandered his country’s chance of realizing its founders’ vision.

Continue reading

Sanctions, Sanctions, Sanctions – the Final Demise of the Dollar Hegemony? by Peter Koenig

The US looks like it’s doing everything possible to move the world away from the dollar standard. From Peter Koening at thesaker.is:

Sanctions left and sanctions right. Financial mostly, taxes, tariffs, visas, travel bans – confiscation of foreign assets, import and export prohibitions and limitations; and also punishing those who do not respect sanctions dished out by Trump, alias the US of A, against friends of their enemies. The absurdity seems endless and escalating – exponentially, as if there was a deadline to collapse the world. Looks like a last-ditch effort to bring down international trade in favor of — what? – Make America Great Again? – Prepare for US mid-term elections? – Rally the people behind an illusion? – Or what?

All looks arbitrary and destructive. All is of course totally illegal by any international law or, forget law, which is not respected anyway by the empire and its vassals, but not even by human moral standards. Sanctions are destructive. They are interfering in other countries sovereignty. They are made to punish countries, nations, that refuse to bend to a world dictatorship.

Looks like everybody accepts this new economic warfare as the new normal. Nobody objects. And the United Nations, the body created to maintain Peace, to protect our globe from other wars, to uphold human rights – this very body is silent – out of fear? Out of fear that it might be ‘sanctioned’ into oblivion by the dying empire? – Why cannot the vast majority of countries – often it is a ratio of 191 to 2 (Israel and the US) – reign-in the criminals?

Imagine Turkey – sudden massive tariffs on aluminum (20%) and steel (50%) imposed by Trump, plus central bank currency interference had the Turkish Lira drop by 40%, and that ‘only’ because Erdogan is not freeing US pastor Andrew Brunson, who faces in Turkey a jail sentence of 35 years for “terror and espionage”. An Izmir court has just turned down another US request for clemency, however, converting his jail sentence to house arrest for health reason. It is widely believed that Mr. Brunson’s alleged 23 years of ‘missionary work’ is but a smoke screen for spying.

President Erdogan has just declared he would look out for new friends, including new trading partners in the east – Russia, China, Iran, Ukraine, even the unviable EU, and that his country is planning issuing Yuan-denominated bonds to diversify Turkey’s economy, foremost the country’s reserves and gradually moving away from the dollar hegemony.

To continue reading: Sanctions, Sanctions, Sanctions – the Final Demise of the Dollar Hegemony?