Tag Archives: Erdogan

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

 

The Real Reason Why US-Turkey Relations Have Hit an All-Time Low, by Jim Carey

This is an excellent survey and analysis of the US-Turkey relationship. From Jim Carey at theantimedia.com:

Over the past week, US-Turkey relations have hit an all-time low, but how did these two allies end up at odds with each other?

If you’ve been watching the news over the past week you may think the current hostility between Washington and Ankara is about the US pastor, Andrew Brunson. Brunson, who has been in police custody or under house arrest in Turkey since October 2016, has now apparently become a high priority for the Trump Regime.

But why did this take so long? Vice President Mike Pence has known about Brunson since day one of the administration thanks to his ties to the US evangelical community but neither he or the President have previously expressed this level of outrage. There have already been low key talks between Washington and Ankara in the past concerning the return of Brunson to the US, but what the Western media isn’t reporting now is how these talks to return a US national fit into the bigger geopolitical picture of US-Turkey relations.

Andrew Brunson and Fethullah Gulen: “A Pastor for a Pastor”

Behind the general request by the US to return Andrew Brunson is a several-year-long process involving several closed-door meetings about the pastor between US and Turkish officials. During all of these meetings, the US demand was the same as it is now, but they weren’t the only one who wanted something out of the negotiations.

You aren’t hearing much about Ankara’s demands right now but Turkish President Recep Erdogan has previously said he would be willing to return the US pastor in exchange for Turkey’s own expat “pastor,” Fethullah Gulen. Erdogan made this perfectly clear at a rally for Turkish police officers in March, saying that the trade should be a no-brainer since “the one that we have [in our hands – Brunson] is being tried, the one you have [in your hands – Gulen] is not being tried.”

Gulen is the exiled cleric and former-Erdogan ally alleged to be behind a failed coup in July 2016 with supposed US assistance. Turkey has been asking for the return of Gulen since before the dust even settled after the coup attempt but the US has so far refused to extradite the charter-school magnate and religious leader.

To continue reading: The Real Reason Why US-Turkey Relations Have Hit an All-Time Low

Trump’s Turkey Tariffs Are Retaliation For A Major Military Escalation, by Duane Norman

Trump’s tariffs on Turkey may be about a lot more than the American pastor being held by Turkey. From Duane Norman at fmshooter.com:

The Trump administration recently levied additional tariffs against Turkey, with Trump himself tweeting about how “Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!”:

The Wall Street Journal was just one among many mainstream media voices that suggested the tariffs are retaliation for Turkey’s refusal to release US Pastor Andrew Brunson…

During high-level talks in Washington, U.S. and Turkish officials were unable to produce a breakthrough in an impasse that has pushed Turkey’s economy into turmoil, the officials said. Turkey’s currency has plunged amid the crisis amid fears that the U.S. could take tougher steps before the standoff is resolved.

The Trump administration is now positioned to impose new penalties on Turkey for refusing to free Andrew Brunson, an evangelical North Carolina pastor who was detained in Turkey as part of a sweeping crackdown after a failed July 2016 coup.

…but a much more plausible reason for the tariffs is due to Turkish threats to raid Incirlik Air Base, the major US air base in Turkey:

The 60-page criminal complaint also calls for Turkish officials to shut down U.S. military flights from Incirlik, a portion of which the U.S. Air Force has sole control over, and execute a search warrant at the facility to look for additional evidence. So far, the Turkish government does not appear to have acted on any of the charges.

The complaint specifically calls for the arrest of 11 individuals, but it’s not clear if any of them are still assigned to Incirlik. The first two are U.S. Air Force Colonels John Walker and Michael Manion, who were, respectively, the commander and vice commander of the 39th Air Base Wing at Incirlik in 2016.

Incirlik is of pivotal importance to US military interests, and not just for its role in basing/launching aircraft involved in Syria and all across the middle east – the base also houses “as many as” 50 B-61 nuclear bombs:

According to open-source estimates, the United States may store as many as 50 B61 gravity bombs at Incirlik. Those make up one-third of the approximately 150 nuclear weapons thought to be housed in five nations in Europe as part of NATO’s nuclear sharing arrangements.

A USAF F-16 testing the latest B61-12 variable-yield thermonuclear bomb

To continue reading: Trump’s Turkey Tariffs Are Retaliation For A Major Military Escalation