Tag Archives: Turkey

Erdogan Isn’t as Strong as He Looks – That’s What Makes Him Dangerous, by Conn Hallinan

Turkey’s position in the middle of things—at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, in between Islam and Europe—makes it an important nation to watch. From Conn Hallinan at antiwar.com:

At first glance, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s drive to create an executive presidency with almost unlimited power through a nationwide referendum looks like a slam-dunk.

The man hasn’t lost an election since 1994, and he’s loaded the dice and stacked the deck for the April 15 vote. Using last summer’s failed coup as a shield, he’s declared a state of emergency, fired 130,000 government employees, jailed 45,000 people – including opposition members of parliament – and closed down 176 media outlets. The opposition Republican People’s Party says it’s been harassed by death threats from referendum supporters and arrests by the police.

Meanwhile he’s deliberately picked fights with Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands to help whip up a storm of nationalism, and he charges that his opponents are “acting in concert with terrorists.” Selahattin Demirtas, a member of parliament and co-chair of the Kurdish-dominated People’s Democratic Party, the third largest political formation in Turkey, is under arrest and faces 143 years in prison. Over 70 Kurdish mayors are behind bars.

So why is Erdogan so nervous? Because he has reason to be.

A Wobbly Juggernaut

The juggernaut that Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) put together to dismantle Turkey’s current political system and replace it with a highly centralized executive with the power to dismiss parliament, control the judiciary, and rule by decree has developed a bit of a wobble.

First, Turkey’s nationalists – in particular the right-wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) – are deeply split. The leadership of the MHP supports a “yes” vote on the referendum, but as much as 65 percent of the rank and file are preparing to vote “no.”

Second, there is increasing concern over the economy, formerly the AKP’s strong suit. Erdogan won the 2002 election on a pledge to raise living standards – especially for small businesses and among Turks who live in the country’s interior – and he largely delivered on those promises. Under the AKP’s stewardship, the Turkish economy grew, but with a built-in flaw.

To continue reading: Erdogan Isn’t as Strong as He Looks – That’s What Makes Him Dangerous

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Caesar, Turkey and the Ides of March, by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

Not that many people in the US are interested in either Turkey or Holland, but this is a good explanation of their spat, and why it haslarger implications and repercussions. From Raúl Ilargi Meijer  at theautomaticearth.com:

I don’t think Holland realized they planned their election on the Ides of March, don’t remember the date or event ever being mentioned when I lived there as a child. That Washington knew what it was doing when back in 2013 it set the end of the latest debt ceiling compromise to March 15 is not likely either. Nor is Janet Yellen deliberately setting the Fed’s ‘next’ rate hike on the date. They may all, in hindsight, wish they had possessed a little more historical knowledge.

When Shakespeare (and Plutarch before him) wrote ‘Beware the Ides of March’, he was talking about the murder of Julius Ceasar in 44 BC, by a group of senators, which included Brutus. But the incident can also be more broadly seen as the separation line between the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. And now we’re getting somewhere interesting when looking at present day events. Democracy under threat of absolutism.

Leafing through the Dutch press, opinions differ on which politicians will profit most from the sudden row with Turkey that flared up over the weekend. Is it far right Wilders, who can now claim that he always foresaw things like this? Or is it “just a little less right” PM Rutte, who gets to look like a statesman and a decision maker? None of the other parties, there are 31 in total, look positioned to reap any gains from the bewildering developments.

The Netherlands is the ‘capital of fascism’, said Turkish foreign minister Cavusoglu on Sunday in France, where he ended up after being refused landing rights on Saturday. I know I’m biased, but no matter how you twist and turn it, that’s quite a statement about the country of Anne Frank, which lost most of its extensive Jewish population, and it was only a follow-up to Turkish president Erdogan earlier calling the Dutch ‘nazi’s and ‘remnants of fascists’.

To continue reading: Caesar, Turkey and the Ides of March

Into the Syrian Quagmire, by Justin Raimondo

Just because you recognize a quagmire doesn’t mean you can get out of it, as Trump may well discover in Syria. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

Donald Trump thinks he’s going to get rid of ISIS in Syria “quickly,” and then we’ll be on our way to making America great again – but already he’s finding that the terrain there is a bit crowded, and that he has a bit more than the fast-dissipating “Caliphate” to contend with.

According to reports, the Pentagon has come up with a plan to carry out Trump’s pledge, as ordered, but reality is racing ahead of the generals – and auguring a clash of civilizations in the midst of Syria’s blasted out cities.

The plan involves an unspecified increase in the number of US Special Forces and a qualitative uptick in heavy armaments: this is to be accompanied by a loosening of the rules of engagement previously imposed by the Obama administration. The cap on US ground forces will be lifted, and arms previously withheld will be put in the hands of Kurdish forces, the “People’s Protection Units” (YPG), in the midst of which US advisors are now embedded. The plan is to use the Arab-Kurdish coalition, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), as ground troops, backed up by “U.S. fixed-wing aircraft and attack helicopters.” In tandem with this effort, US forces will move into Syria deploying heavy artillery, “while more Special Operations troops would move closer to the front lines – requiring more US military assets to protect them.”

The goal is Raqqa, the Syrian equivalent of Mordor, where ISIS is ensconced. But the focus of the military situation is currently on the other side of the country, close to the Turkish border, where Turkish troops are moving toward the town of Manbij, with their Islamist allies in tow, and a looming confrontation with Kurdish fighters is eclipsing the now delayed siege of Raqqa.

To continue reading: Into the Syrian Quagmire

Death in Ankara, by Justin Raimondo

Turkey, Russia, and Germany are hit by Middle Eastern blowback, which is what countries that intervene in the Middle East almost invariably get. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

If you think the assassination of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, the same day terrorist attack in Berlin, and the announcement the next day of an agreement by Russia, Turkey, and Iran to end the Syrian civil war are all a monumental coincidence, then you haven’t been paying attention.

Aside from the requisite “Allahu Akbar!”, Mevlut Mert Altintas, the Russian Ambassador’s killer – a police officer – shouted “Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria!” That’s what’s being reported widely, but he also said, according to the Daily Mail, in Arabic:

“’We are the descendants of those who supported the Prophet Muhammad for jihad.’ According to local media, his words are similar to the unofficial anthem of Al Nusra. Some reports claimed he said words to the effect of: ‘We made an oath to die in martyrdom … it is revenge for Syria and Aleppo … until they are safe, you will not taste safety.’”

Turkish strongman Recep Erdogan has had to walk a tightrope between the party’s rural fundamentalist supporters and the realities of the Syrian civil war, as the combined might of the Russian-Syrian-Iranian forces has steadily made inroads on the Saudi- and US-supported Syrian rebels, which also include the al-Qaeda affiliated Nusra Front. With the fall of Aleppo, Erdogan’s turn away from support to the rebels and his focus on defeating ISIS and the Kurds, proved problematic on the home front.

To continue reading: Death in Ankara

 

Declaration Of War? Erdogan Says Turkish Forces Are In Syria To End Assad’s Rule, by Tyler Durden

Is Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan trying to reconstitute the Ottoman Empire? From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Having stated in the past that the only reason Turkish forces are on Syrian soil is to combat Islamic State terrorists, today Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a dramatic diplomatic reversal and said that the Turkish Army has entered Syria to end the rule of President Bashar Assad, whom he accused of terrorism and causing the deaths of thousands.

“We entered [Syria] to end the rule of the tyrant al-Assad who terrorizes with state terror. [We didn’t enter] for any other reason,” the Turkish president was quoted by Huyrriyet as saying at the first Inter-Parliamentary Jerusalem Platform Symposium in Istanbul. Erdogan said that Turkey has no territorial claims in Syria, but instead wants to hand over power to the Syrian population, adding that Ankara is seeking to restore “justice.”

“Why did we enter? We do not have an eye on Syrian soil. The issue is to provide lands to their real owners. That is to say we are there for the establishment of justice,” he said, taking a page out of the US playbook, which however in recent weeks has been muted following substantial advances by Syrian and Russian forces which as reported last night, have made material gains in the fight against Syrian rebels in east Aleppo.

Erdogan went on to say that “in his estimation” almost 1 million people have died in the conflict in Syria, although no monitoring group has provided any similar figures according to RT.

To continue reading: Declaration Of War? Erdogan Says Turkish Forces Are In Syria To End Assad’s Rule

Things Are Going From Bad to Worse – Iraqi PM Warns of ‘Regional War’, by Michael Krieger

Syria still threatens to become “The Quagmire to End All Quagmires.” From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

One of the most discomforting aspects of Neil Howe and William Strauss’ seminal work on generational cycles, The Fourth Turning (1997), is the fact that as far as American history is concerned, they all climax and end with massive wars.

To be more specific, the first “fourth turning” in American history culminated with the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), the second culminated with the Civil War (1861-1865), while the third ended with the bloodiest war in world history, World War II (1939-1945). The number of years between the end of the Revolutionary War and the start of the Civil War was 78 years, and the number of years between the end of the Civil War and the start of World War II was 74 years (76 years if you use America’s entry into the war as your starting date). Therefore, if Howe & Strauss’ theory holds any water, and I think it does, we’re due for a major conflict somewhere around 75 years from the end of World War II. That brings us to 2020.

– From August’s post: Japanese Government Shifts Further Toward Authoritarianism and Militarism

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past six months or so warning about World War 3, an event which is more likely over the next few years than at any other point in my lifetime. Such a conflict is the last thing I’d ever want to see or have to raise red flags about, but I can’t simply ignore all the obvious and troubling signs around me.

Just last week, I published a post titled, The Situation in Syria is Very, Very Dangerous. Here are a few excerpts:

Obama administration officials have begun considering tougher responses to the Russian-backed Syrian government assault on Aleppo, including military options, as rising tensions with Moscow diminish hopes for diplomatic solutions from the Middle East to Ukraine and cyberspace, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

The U.S. officials said the failure of diplomacy in Syria has left the Obama administration no choice but to consider alternatives, most of which involve some use of force and have been examined before but held in abeyance.

It’s not just Syria, of course. The entire region looks like it’s about to go up in flames in a way that could make recent conflicts look tame by comparison. We all know about the humanitarian disaster in Yemen that the Saudis seem determined to make as chaotic as possible, but there’s also Iraq.

For example, Reuters reported the following earlier today:

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has warned Turkey that it risks triggering a regional war by keeping troops in Iraq, as each summoned the other’s ambassador in a growing row.

Relations between the two regional powers are already broadly strained by the Syrian civil war and the rise of the Islamic State militant group.

Turkey’s parliament voted last week to extend its military presence in Iraq for a further year to take on what it called “terrorist organizations” – a likely reference to Kurdish rebels as well as Islamic State.

In case you’re not paying attention, Turkey is now involved in military operations inside both Iraq and Syria.

To continue reading: Things Are Going From Bad to Worse – Iraqi PM Warns of ‘Regional War’

US-Turkey Lurch to World War in Syria, by Finian Cunningham

SLL said in “The Quagmire to End All Quagmires” that World War III would begin in Syria. Now, it may have officially begun. From Finian Cunningham at strategic-culture.org:

Following US President Barack Obama’s dubious stellar performance this week at the UN General Assembly recounting a litany of lies for almost one hour before the eyes of the world, it was the turn of Turkey’s leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan to insult humanity’s intelligence.

Like his American ally, who inverted reality by claiming that US war crimes against numerous nations were a virtuous legacy, Erdogan performed a similar spellbinding conjuring trick. In his address to the UN, the Turkish president said his military has rendered peace to the Middle East region by invading Syria last month.

Can you imagine Adolf Hitler declaring to the then League of Nations that Germany had just invaded Poland to restore peace to Europe? It is astounding, when you think about it, how the august international forum in New York City indulged Erdogan and Obama with such polite attention, when they are both responsible for the supreme war crime of aggression against the sovereign state of Syria?

Turkish and American troops are occupying a 100-km wide swathe of northern Syria after they both launched Operation Euphrates Shield on August 24, with tanks and warplanes in support of ground forces.

Syria and Russia have both expressed concern over the incursion, with Damascus denouncing it as a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. American warplanes have been violating Syrian sovereignty for nearly two years. Just because Turkey and the US claim that the latest operation is aimed at fighting the ISIS terror network, that still does not confer legitimacy.

Four weeks on from the US and Turkey launching the incursion into Syrian territory, Ankara says that it is expanding its occupation.

Earlier this week, Erdogan said his troops would push further south into Syria to take a total area of 5,000 square kms – about five times the area already under its present control. In Orwellian jargon, the Turkish-US forces are labelling the annexed territory as «safe zones». Exactly to whom this is being made «safe» for is not yet clear.

While in New York City, the Turkish leader urged the US to step up its military cooperation with Ankara to, as he put it, «finish off Daesh [ISIS]» in Syria. Erdogan is pushing Washington even harder to get onboard with the long-held Turkish objective of setting up «no fly zones» in the occupied northern Syrian territory.

Erdogan also hinted that he expected a Clinton presidency to be more gung-ho about escalating military involvement, and in particular implementing no fly zones. Hillary Clinton has already said that she would take a more hostile line towards Syria and Russia, going as far as declaring she would deploy military force to oust President Bashar al-Assad.

It is notable that Erdogan is making his appeals solely to Washington for greater military intervention «to finish off Daesh» in Syria. Surely, if Turkey was serious about this stated objective then it would be entreating Russia to join forces, given that Russia has shown itself to be the most effective military power against the terror groups, after it was requested to intervene by the Syrian government last year.

That Erdogan wants to go it alone with the US on his supposed «anti-terror» mission in Syria points to an ulterior agenda. That agenda is nothing less than war on Syria.

To continue reading: http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2016/09/24/us-turkey-lurch-world-war-syria.html