Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 21, 2018

Syria - Turks Attack Afrin, U.S. Strategy Fails, Kurds Again Chose The Losing Side

After negotiations between Russia/Syria and the Kurds of Afrin had failed, the Russian side made a deal with Turkey. Now Turkey attacks Afrin while everyone else looks aside. The main impetus for this development was the announcement of a U.S. occupation in north-east Syria with the help of the Kurdish YPG/PKK. The occupation strategy is already failing. The Kurds made the false choice. They will be the losers of this game.

We had wrongly predicted that Turkish threats against the Kurdish held north-west area of Afrin were empty:

The threat is not serious:
  • ...
  • Afrin is under formal protection of Russian and Syrian forces.
  • The real danger to Turkey is not Afrin but the much larger Kurdish protectorate the U.S. publicly announced in north-east Syria.

The Turkish threats and its artillery noise have led to counter noise from Syria and more silent advice from Russia. The Syrian government wants to show that it is the protector of all Syrian citizens be they ethnic Arabs or Kurds. Russia is proud of its role as the grown up who is calming down all sides.

Turkey is now attacking the Afrin canton in full force. With help from one George Orwell the operation was dubbed "Olive Branch"


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The Turkish operation to go after Afrin was triggered by two events. The more important one was the U.S. announcement of a permanent occupation of north-east Syria with the help of a 30,000 men strong SDF "border protection force" consisting of mainly Kurds and some Arabs who earlier fought under ISIS. We had noted at that time:

The Turks were not consulted before the U.S. move and are of course not amused that a "terrorist gang", trained and armed by the U.S., will control a long stretch of their southern border. Any Turkish government would have to take harsh measures to prevent such a strategic threat to the country.

The U.S. move was amateurish. It ignored the security needs of its NATO ally Turkey in exchange for an illegal and unsustainable occupation of north-east Syria. Secretary of State Tillerson tried to calm the Turks by claiming that the "border protection force" was not for border protection. Reports from the training ground expose that as a lie:

"This force will be a foundational force to protect the borders of north Syria," proclaimed the announcer at the graduation ceremony.

A second motive for the Turkish operation was the success of the Syrian army in the east-Idleb where "Free Syrian Army" and al-Qaeda Takfiris supported by Turkey were eliminated by Syrian Army attacks.

The now unfolding Turkish operation was preceded by several rounds of negotiations.

The Syrian government and its Russian allies offered the Afrin Kurds to protect them from any Turkish attacks:

Nearly a week ago, [a] meeting between Russian officials and Kurdish leaders took place. Moscow suggested Syrian State becomes only entity in charge of the northern border. The Kurds refused. It was immediately after that that the Turkish Generals were invited to Moscow. Having the Syrian State in control of its Northern Border wasn't the only Russian demand. The other was that the Kurds hand back the oil fields in Deir al Zor. The Kurds refused suggesting that the US won't allow that anyway. The meeting was not exactly a success.

This account was confirmed by Kurdish negotiators:

Aldar Xelil (@Xelilaldar), member of the Democratic Free Society Tev-Dem: “In a meeting Russia proposed to the Afrin Administration that if Afrin is ruled by the Syrian regime, Turkey won’t attack it. #Afrin Canton Administration refused this proposal.”

The Kurds made a counteroffer. They would raise some Syrian flags and give up on the (mostly destroyed) Menagh air force base they hold but they were unwilling to give up any border control:

A translation from the Diken newspaper:

Amberin Zaman talked to Rojava officials Nobahar Mustafa and Sinam Mohammed. They say:
  • Russia aims to weaken the YPG and to turn Afrin over to "the regime."
  • We're still in negotiations with Russia. They said if you turn over Afrin to the regime it will protect you. We refused. We offered to turn over Menagh airbase and some other checkpoints but they refused.
  • We may pull out of Sochi
  • New alliances will be formed with Saudi, UAE, and Egypt.
  • Rojava forces commander General Mazlum and Ilham Ahmed have met Brett McGurk to ask the US to stop the Turkish attacks. This is a test of how reliable an ally the US is.

After the negotiations with the Kurds had failed Syria and Russia, which was the negotiating entity, made a deal with Turkey. Turkey had agreed to a de-escalation zone in Idleb but never proceeded to set up the promised observation posts in the al-Qaeda ruled area. Turkey had supported al-Qaeda. Fighting it directly is against Turkish interests. It is itself too vulnerable as many al-Qaeda fighters have family and friends living within Turkey.

The new deal will give Syria control over most of Idleb in exchange for Turkish control over Afrin (if the Turks can indeed take the area). In parallel to the start of the Turkish operation the Syrian army took the air base Abu Duhur in east-Idleb. It will eliminate whatever is left of al-Qaeda and ISIS in the now closed cauldron. It will then proceed further into Idelb governorate.


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Having Turkey take over Afrin is bad for Syria. The Syrian government clearly dislikes the deal the Russians made in its name. Any agreement with the shifty Turkish President Erdogan will likely not hold for long. But having the Kurds ally with the U.S. in a permanent occupation of the north-east is even worse.

The Syrian government has rejected Turkish claims that it was informed about the attack and officially condemned the Turkish move. But it can do little against it. Its army is depleted and engaged elsewhere. Neither Russia nor Iran would support an open conflict with Turkey.

Turkish media are in full war mode:

Turkish papers this morning:
  • Hurriyet: Our jets hit #Afrin. Turkey’s heart beats as one
  • Sabah: We hit them in their den
  • Haberturk: Iron fist to terror, olive branch to civilians
  • Sozcu: We said we would strike despite the US and Russia. We struck the traitors

Turkey has launched a quite large operation against Afrin. Its air-force is bombarding the area. It is now sending its most modern tanks. The al-Qaeda-"Free Syrian Army" Turkey supports and controls will be its front line infantry that is sure to bleed the most. Afrin is mountainous and it will be a difficult fight. Two Turkish tanks have already been destroyed. The Kurds are well prepared and armed. Both sides will have lots of losses.

Meanwhile the Syrian army and its allies will have time to take over Idelb.

The U.S. is left with a mess. Its strategy for Syria, only announced last week, is already falling apart. Its Central Command rejected any responsibility for the Kurds in Afrin while allying with the Kurds in the east. These are the same people. The Kurdish military commander in Afrin earlier fought in Kobane. Now Turkish planes are taking off from the U.S. build Incerlik air base to bomb the Kurds in the Syrian west while U.S. tanker planes take off from Incirlik to support the U.S. alliance with the Kurds in the east.

The Arab group Jaysh al Thuwar was part of the Arab fig leaf that disguises the Kurdish command over the U.S. supported SDF in the east. It has now turned sides and is back under Turkish tutelage. (UPDATE: This has now been denied. /end-update)  More elements of the SDF will change sides. We can expect "insider attacks" against the U.S. forces who are training them.

The Kurdish command blames Russia for the Turkish attack on Afrin. That is laughable. Syria and the Russians had supported the Kurds throughout the war. They were the first to deliver weapons and ammunition to the Kurds for the fight against the Takfiris. It were the Kurds that changed sides and invited the U.S. occupation. It is the Kurds that announced they would ask for Saudi support.

Just a few month ago the Kurdish project in Iraq failed miserably. The Iraqi government took back all gains the Kurds had made over a decade and the U.S. did nothing to help their Kurdish "allies". Why do the Kurds in Syria believe that their immense overreach will have a different outcome?

Posted by b on January 21, 2018 at 07:44 AM | Permalink

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James Jeffrey a former middle East Diplomat testifying before the Armed Services Committee along with three other former Diplomats give a Rare Glimpse Into the Inner Workings of the American Empire in the Middle East. A very good read.
"The U.S. foreign policy elite still wants the Middle East for its oil and its strategic location
Indeed, Jeffrey insisted that it would be necessary to accept more death and violence if the United States was going to achieve its strategic objectives. This kind of trade off, he believed, was simply how things worked in the area. Citing recent retaliatory actions by the Israeli and Saudi government against missile attacks, Jeffrey said that the high civilians death tolls that resulted from such operations had simply become one of the costs of military engagement in the region.
“Ten thousand more dead civilians in the Middle East, in a region that’s seen 1 million in the last 30 years, by my count… are not going to deter the Saudis and the Israelis from acting against this threat,” he said. https://original.antiwar.com/Edward_Hunt/2018/01/21/rare-glimpse-inner-workings-american-empire-middle-east/

Posted by: harrylaw | Jan 22, 2018 9:57:30 AM | 101

@harrylaw 101

Yes, Ambassador Jeffries, also Ambassador Edelman testified about US perfidy in the Middle East.
Remember Cindy Sheehan? She used to camp outside Bush's ranch trying to ask the president why her son died in Iraq. Sheehan never got an answer. Nowadays veterans are asked to stand and then thanked for their service, keeping us free.

Now we know the real answer to Sheehan's question, straight from a US ambassador at the time. from an article "Rare Glimpse into Inner Workings of American Empire in Middle East" by Edward Hunt at Lobelog. The former diplomat Eric Edelman: “U.S. policymakers have considered access to the region’s energy resources vital for U.S. allies in Europe, and ultimately for the United States itself. Moreover, the region’s strategic location—linking Europe and Asia—made it particularly important from a geopolitical point of view.”

So (as we know) military service, and the death and injury that comes from it, has nothing to do with keeping us free, it's the oil that th US doesn't need any more and the political advantage that comes from the US dominating the Middle East as spelled out in the Carter Doctrine years ago. Currently that means taking on Iran, the US nemesis in the area, and its allies Iraq and Syria. It's in the National Defense[sic] Strategy: “We will foster a stable and secure Middle East that denies safe havens for terrorists, is not dominated by any power hostile to the United States, and that contributes to stable global energy markets and secure trade routes.Iran is competing with its neighbors, asserting an arc of influence and instability while vying for regional hegemony, using state-sponsored terrorist activities, a growing network of proxies, and its missile program to achieve its objectives.”

Military service is keeping us free? No. The US needs to safeguard China's oil supply! China says 'hsei-hsei ni.' Thank you.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 22, 2018 10:14:23 AM | 102

>>>> Jackrabbit | Jan 22, 2018 9:12:07 AM | 99

If there is an agreement as Magnier says then why has Assad been complaining loudly that the Turkish attack only helps the terrorists?

Maybe Assad as a junior partner does not support the agreement and he can't afford to oppose it but he's allowed to speak against it.

Maybe it's a plot to stick it to Erdogan so he gets bogged down in a quagmire in Afrin - just like the US, Turkey, etc. thought they could do to the Russians and Assad is just playing his part in the deception. With the conflict in Idlib coming to a close maybe Putin has decided to finally get revenge for the shooting down of that SU-24 jet. The Turkish Army ground down because of one jet - if that's the case then Putin is a far harder bastard than I'd ever realized - he makes the Russian gangsters in Eastern Promises seem like fluffy cuddly Easter bunnies.

BTW, what are Hezbollah doing in Afrin? Have they been organizing the defences?

It could also be a reminder to the Kurds that the Americans are not the most reliable allies unless you're Israel, Saudi Arabia or NATO.

Or it could be a combination of any of these or anything else

And he goes on to say that Turkey has been a destabilizing force since the beginning.

Too true. There is evidence to suggest that the major gains by the terrorists in 2015-2016 were the result of a Turkish and GCC intervention using their special forces to assist the terrorists which is probably what made Putin irate enough to intervene.

I think it will be some time before we have a full understanding of what occurred behind the scenes.

That's very optimistic of you - on past experience I doubt we'll ever know what really happened. If it achieves what the Russians want, they'll keep their mouths shut because one day a similar situation might arise and others knowing what the Russians have done previously might then make life difficult for the Russians. So give it fifty years minimum and I wouldn't like to guess at the maximum.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 22, 2018 10:40:33 AM | 103

@Jackrabbit

b @79

If there is an agreement as Magnier says then why was has Assad been complaining loudlly that the Turkish attack only helps the terrorists? And he goes on to say that Turkey has been a destabilizing force since the beginning.

1. Syria does not agree with the Turkish invasion but can do little about it as it currently lacks the capacities to withstand a NATO country. It has to follow Russia and Iran on this issue.

2. There is precedence in international law (some 1963 court case I believe) that says that when a country agrees to have a part occupied by a foreign force that it is voluntarily ceding sovereignty on that part. That part might then be attached to some other country. So even if Syria would agree to the Turkish occupation it never should and would say so. Otherwise it could lose its claim on Afrin.


Posted by: b | Jan 22, 2018 11:19:32 AM | 104

Back when SAA/Russia surrounded and cleared Aleppo, Erdogan pulled Turkmen from Idlib and west Aleppo to attack the Jarabulus area. Now when SAA are clearing Idlib, Erdogan has again pulled in the Turkmen to attack Afrin.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 22, 2018 11:26:37 AM | 105

One neocon, Kori Schake at Hoover, doesn't like the way things are going.


Rex Tillerson’s Syria Policy Is Sensible—But It’s Fanciful
. . .The resources the administration is willing to commit to this problem are at yawning variance with achieving those ambitious goals. It is unlikely the Trump administration will actually implement the Syria policy outlined by Tillerson Wednesday. Nothing he called for was freshly invented—all of these elements have been floated before. They have never been achieved for the simple reason that greater means have been brought to bear against their success. Rebels did not beat back government control of territory because Russia and Iran cared more about the outcome than America did. Turkey remains unreconciled to U.S. policy and willing to prevent its success. Rebels have not unified under a political leadership suffering Syrians will support, because the rebels are fighting for different Syrian futures. None of those things become more malleable as a result of Tillerson’s speech; none of them will unless the United States is willing to push an awful lot more effort into the mix. And that seems unlikely, given the president’s opposition to all of the means necessary to change that equation. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 22, 2018 11:39:12 AM | 106

@Jackrabbit

Found the issue (though its only a stub):

Prescription, in international law, is sovereignty transfer of a territory by the open encroachment by the new sovereign upon the territory for a prolonged period of time, acting as the sovereign, without protest or other contest by the original sovereign. It is analogous to the common law doctrine of easement by prescription for private real estate.

The doctrine legalizes de jure the de facto transfer of sovereignty caused in part by the original sovereign's extended negligence and/or neglect of the area in question. It was applied in the Island of Palmas and the Miniquiets and Ecrehos cases.

That is why Syria HAS to protests and demonstrate its opposition.

Posted by: b | Jan 22, 2018 11:52:53 AM | 107

For prescription, the possession must be peaceful, public, and for a long period of time. While aggression used to be considered a legal means for one country to acquire another country's territory, it has become illegal under the UN Charter, so Israel doesn't legally get the Golan Heights and Turkey doesn't legally get Afrin or any other part of Syria.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 22, 2018 12:50:18 PM | 108

Strangeness abounds. Like water receding before the Tsunami.

Turkey attacks allies of a fellow NATO member.

Russia allows, if not encourages, attacks on Syria: an ally it was invited to defend. And despite Putin’s insistance on resisting US hegemony via respect for sovereignty.

USA issues NDAA that officially (previously unofficial) prioritizes struggles with “revisionist” countries (Russia, China, and Iran) over fighting terrorists. Effectively, this means that working with ISIS, alQueda, MEK, PKK, etc can now be done openly - or at least with no shame. Makes USA insistence that Saudis Arabia stop supporting terror into a farce.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 22, 2018 1:22:15 PM | 109

Indeed, if US measure of forming “border” force
was to suck Turkey in — the theoty supported by
The fact thst Afrin Kurds played games with Syria
While keeping YPG.

But we must assume that oeople like Russia, Turkey
and Iran have their own strategic understanding
as well as tactics designed for each — then Ibwoukd nit
think US mive was a surprise. In fact, Russia
hastened it by “mission accomplished” surprise mive
forcing US not to be outdone, declaring win as
well. But with win dhould come withdrawal,
and if not — a new mission. The one EVERYBODY
who knows how to read neoconese knew exactly
was coming. So, this US move was predicted
hence, Russia and others prepared a plan
for this.

Suddenly, we have rejuvenated ISIS, and Kurds
are fighting for their lives in presumably ISIS free
territory. How cute — US has a mission, again!

But for Kurds — now without any Arab fig leaf
in their ranks — it is a tall iorder. Kutds are only 10%
of the total area population, and the area is large
with a great deal of uninhabited regions. What now?

Where was ISIS hiding all these months? Fed? Armed?
Got telecom? Computers, phones, cars, gas?

There is at present so much contradiction in
US policy, Syrian battlefield management, diwn to
field command.

I have no idea what Russian, Iranisn, Turkish
strategy is — but it is clear that Syrian Army
cannot eatablish control of Turkush border
without having to fight Kurds. And that us a NO NO.
Any such move would be mive into motion
the tsunami of Asad the Butcher killing his
people, poor Kurds everywhere — no end iof it.

But with US declating PKK terrorist organization,
Turkey can get involved without raising the
specter of Russian and Syrian butchery. And
it is still in US knterest to keep Turkey pacified
by whatever lies, just to avoid Turkey getting
out of NATO — which is clearly Turkey’s goal
— eventually.
As for strategy, Turkey need not finish Afrin
YPG off, before moving on Manbij, Raqqa via Al-Bab,
and up the Turkish border and down Euphrates.

In the light of Kurdish fight with new ISIS,
defection of Arabs, and. Syrian Army in a reasonable
good shape on the east side of Euphrates, Turkey
Need not wait in Afrin. Turkey can field a very
large army if it chooses — something Kurds, ISIS
and US do not posses. Arab population is ion
their side, and concerns from Assad and others —
is a politically correct theater. US cannot now
blame Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, Iraq or anybody
for the fight Turkey is taking to Kurds.
Politically, not avgambit for Erdogan — as Turks are
tired of Kurdish separatism driven home by
endless militant operations. Also, post coup
Turkey is a different place.


Posted by: Bianca | Jan 22, 2018 1:31:07 PM | 110

@79 b.. - thanks for elijah j. m. article... good overview...

@ peter au 1.. thanks for your posts...

@110 jackrabbit... yes - strangeness abounds which makes it hard to read what is going on... it is literally like playing a game of chess and anything can happen that is not expected to happen, but you have to play one move at a time which is the only way to get to the next place.. sometimes little events take a life of their own that hadn't been foreseen... it is hard to know how all this will play out, but i think b is being very helpful is explaining to you why some of your supposition is wrong... cheers -

@111 bianca... erdogan has said this is a short term adventure... now this might change, but this is what he is on record saying...

Posted by: james | Jan 22, 2018 2:02:37 PM | 111

appropriate headline in rt just now..

How long will you be in Iraq & Afghanistan? Erdogan rebuffs US call to limit Afrin operation

https://www.rt.com/news/416655-erdogan-afrin-us-iraq-afghanistan/

Posted by: james | Jan 22, 2018 2:10:04 PM | 112

@113 james

Regardless how much one trusts Erdogan, I think it must be admitted that he is the perfect person to spit directly in the face of the US. It makes excellent paradigm shifting.

All that's missing is Duterte offering to send troops to help ;)

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 22, 2018 2:53:12 PM | 113

@113 grieved.. yes indeed!

my concern is the unpredictability of both erdogan and the usa here, especially with this latest operation olive branch... hopefully it works out.. not a lot syria can do at this point, and russia is again playing as best it can in a slower well thought out methodical way..

Posted by: james | Jan 22, 2018 3:08:14 PM | 114

James @112

You beat me to it. This is from that RT article:

The US asked Ankara on Sunday to “ensure that its military operations remain limited in scope and duration.”

“The Afrin operation will end when it reaches its goal like the Euphrates Shield did,” Erdogan said while addressing an awards ceremony in Ankara on Monday.

“The US says it ‘should not last for too long.’ And I’m asking the US, how long have you been in Afghanistan, when will it end? You came in Iraq before we came to power. Has the time duration ended in Iraq? You are still there,”.

Oh my, this guy is acting downright insolent towards the "world's only superpower".

Posted by: Toivos | Jan 22, 2018 3:30:56 PM | 115

I have a few things to say.

Is there any media control in Turkey?

Well, yes and no.
No if you mean the degree of control matches that of in say North Korea or Myanmar.
Yes if you mean it is equivalent to, more or less, the degree of control in the USA or EU.

Atta's passport did not survive the WTC attack.
Tonkin was not attacked by 'vietkong' army (vietkong being a psyop term used in the US and EU media)
Saddam did not have any WMDs
There are no UFOs, they never existed. The Russians are planning to build a space hotel and most aliens I believe do not have any money to book a room with double bed in that hotel either.
And Erdogan didn't flee the country during the coup attempt as it was claimed in the US news networks or as falsely depicted live in Stratfor's social media account.


Mr. Edelman was practically sacked from Turkey and he had to leave before he completed his tenure because he was caught red handed in a restaurant in Istanbul.
Mr. Jeffrey was talking about Policy on Turkey a few days ago, he was with Mr. Barkey, an ex-CIA guy, who has arrest warrant issued after him in Turkey along with another ex-CIA man Mr. Fuller. Why? The Turks know what they did 2 summers ago in Turkey, in July 15, 2016. Their response is? We did not inhale!
Turkey does not have Erdogan media only. The Gulenist media don't exist anymore. It wasn't actually media, it was hundreds of Saddam era Iraqi information ministers trying to bring the country into a civil war. Most of the media workes are now fugitives in the USA, Germany etc. and the citizens of those countries mostly think the 'dictator' Erdogan organised the coup himself. LOL. Media control!
There is also CNN in Turkey. Fake News guys. Fake News = a form of control, perception control. Owned by whom? Partially by German Springer group (read their 'principles' on their website) and partially by the richest man in Turkey who is rather pally (or a distant relative?) with the recently deceased richest man of the US. There is the opposition media.

If "The combined support of (Erdogan-)AKP and MHP is below 50%, for sure." how come Erdogan has media control at the same time? Why can't he control us properly so that he gets 90%?? What kind of a dictator is he? The kind of dictator US-EU depict by means of Media Control in their respective countries and regions.

Trump lost in big cities. The UK people voted against Brexit in major cities. Erdogan too lost votes in major cities of Turkey. That means, cities are under the Globalists' control, not under some party run media control!

Turks view America as a beautiful continent with great people on it.
But US has two main factions from Turkish point of view:
Globalists (pagan or followers of a certain religion) and Capitalists, racists, followers of another religion trying to serve the needs of the other religon. Is this definition OK? Correct?

So if you look at the case from that perspective:

The Globalists preferred proxy wars: They created PKK, Daesh, Gulenists etc. all at the same time 40-50 years ago.
The other group, Trump respresents them, prefers to be more open and send American troops overseas.

But we are now in a transitional period. Turks expect up to 100-150 thousand US troops in the region and more around Turkey. The US troops are getting close, Bulgaria, Romania, Black Sea, Iraq, Syria and they set up a base even in Israel.

So for Turks, it's a case of life or death. It's not about Kurds, Syrians, Iraqis, energy, human rights, democracy, dictatorship or Islam. Well, Islam maybe his preference, the wars here are religious. Well, ok, you need your own pipe line. You need to stop China (a globalist toy) and their one road one belt project (globalist project, logistic cities, megacities etc), Trump is not globalist so he has to severe the ties between China and her oil supplier Iran and hence chance in diversion from the Obama politics.

Turks began the Operation Olive Branch with 72 fighter jets on a very tight airspace. Only a few countres in the world can do that. They hit 108 targets out of 113 (97.7%) success rate. 75% of the bombs, rockets, missiles, AVs, UAVs are Made in Turkey. Because previously everything was bought from America which allocated only certain amount of bombs to you and if you used them all you had to stop the operation. A NATO ally on some condition! Whereas the PKK got 5000 trucks of weapons for free, things even Turks couldn't get from NATO allies even if they paid for them!

Turks now think that it is more sensible for them to be at loggerheads with the US or EU than be in allience with them or serve them as a suzerian state.

Thanks. I can keep talking but, no, enough, chatterbox.

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 22, 2018 4:00:48 PM | 116

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 22, 2018 4:00:48 PM | 116

It could be of course, that the US felt cheated by the type of proxies, Turkey supported.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 22, 2018 4:23:28 PM | 117

@115 toivos.. got to love that!!!

@116 confusedpundit - good comments.. thanks! i do think erdogan has been playing a double game however.. turkey and erdogan were very keen on regime change in turkey.. erdogan seems to move whichever way the political wind is blowing.. and of course @117 somebody has a point which none of us can really answer.. either way, as i said earlier in the thread - you can count on not trusting anything turkey under erdogan, or the usa have to say, when it comes to what is happening in the greater syria dynamic...

Posted by: james | Jan 22, 2018 6:16:46 PM | 118

Duh! Mistakenly referred to talks in Astana.

Talks were held in Astana last month (December 2017) by R+6 after failure to convene political settlement talks in November and December - which were to be held in Sochi.

Talks on political settlement are scheduled for Jan 29 & 30 in Sochi.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 22, 2018 10:29:18 PM | 119

@ ConfusedPundit | Jan 22, 2018 4:00:48 PM | 116

Nice you took the challenge. I have fewer words to day.

„But US has two main factions from Turkish point of view:
Globalists (pagan or followers of a certain religion) and Capitalists, racists, followers of another religion trying to serve the needs of the other religon. Is this definition OK? Correct?“
Not exactly. Outside your mental cosmos the word „pagan“ is not used in political debates.

„If "The combined support of (Erdogan-)AKP and MHP is below 50%, for sure." how come Erdogan has media control at the same time? Why can't he control us properly so that he gets 90%?“
For media control you do not need votes. Corruption and the absence of independent law is enough. Of course one cannot claim Western countries are the heaven of free press. But no one goes to jail just for refusing to use the prescribed formulas. - Corruption in Turkey is at an all time high.

Whatever, nice that you pictured the way the (Erdogan-) AKP people see the world. One mistake you should correct: Erdogan was from the beginning of his political career an American product. The juxtaposition of Gülen and Erdogan is artificial. They are in the same camp and obtained their power in Turkey together. - The coup: if you know at 3 p.m. that in the evening something will happen and you let it go it makes sense to speak of a „controlled coup“. Especially if one looks at the style this has been exploited later until today. That does not mean that foreign powers did not have had their fingers in it.

One thing you „forgot“: few governments pay that huge amount of money for Internet trolls to let them defend their agenda in social media, not only in Turkey, as the (Erdogan-) AKP does. In Germany they are second only to alt right trolls in social media.
People who comment on the Internet and are from Europe should use strictly VPN they comment about Turkey. Nice that you have shown to all of us how you see the world.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 22, 2018 11:13:21 PM | 120

James 118

I am coming to understand double games are the norm in much of the region and have been since whenever. Russia understands this and can work with it. When in Rome, do as the Romans do type thing - though Russia seems to be able to deal with it without double dealing themselves.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 23, 2018 12:18:17 AM | 121

@somebody The U.S. is a proxy on a larger scale inside, as Hausmeister beautifully pointed, 'my mental cosmos'. It's a cocoon. It's a means to an end. It's a tool. If it felt cheated on it was because SW engineers coded it as such, Sofia the humanoid bot has 60 pre-build expressions.

To @Hausmeister yes, Erdogan was an American product. Saddam, Hafez Assad and Gaddafi were all in the same room at the same time with American officials. Then they were appointed to their posts. 2 of them have already been dealt with but the son of Hafez is still around carrying the traces of a former American policy to date. Bashar is C64, Win3.1, MsDos, just like Saddam and Gaddafi were. Planned obscelence did't work out for him. He has to go. The consumers in the region are confused. Baas? Moderate Islam? Radical Islam? Which one are we supposed to follow? Radical Islam? Ooops, Baas times! Baas times? Sorry, gone with the wind. Bashar? Nope, but he is as stubborn as a mule. So America is infuriated. I think Erdogan should ally with Assad and watch a lot of Americans have heart attacks.

Well, you are still in my mental cosmos.

Erdogan is an American product? Yes, made in America, designed by somebody else though.
If by 'controlled coup' you mean he knew about the coup? Yes, I agree with you. Did foreign powers have their fingers in it? No, they designed the coup, they were the creators, operators, composers, songwriters. We know how Gulen was brought to life, who did it and why did they do it and where and how they failed.

I don't want to talk about the corruption in the country (it is a developing country) and there is corruption. The AKP supporters justify it by saying that they are stealing from the thieves.

Journalists in jail? Gulen's organization is a foreign intelligence organization. Their journalists are agents. They are not journalists in the usual sense. They can be jailed for their 'extra-journo activities' and it's only fair. They are behind the bars not because of what they wrote or said. 'Agents' are sent to jail in every country but if it is a developing country targeted by colonials then the handlers scream their heads off that 'Journalists' are in jail. I suppose this is not inside my mental cosmos but rather a universal fact.

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 23, 2018 4:27:18 AM | 122

@ ConfusedPundit | Jan 23, 2018 4:27:18 AM | 122
Thanks a lot for the detailed answer. We make progress.
Journos in jail? - What I meant is not the case that they worked on a second job for a foreign intelligent organization. They would deserve jail then,in case this is proven at an independent court. What I meant is to jail them because they reported, e.g., about the PKK, interviewed people there or just mentioned about it.
Until now such court cases proving that have not been done, such proof did not appear. - There was this Ergenekon „complex“. I feel (!) sure to say that many of those were guilty, had bloody hands. But there was no proof collected with legal methods. What the Gülen-type guys, with full agreement of (Erdogan-)AKP, presented was illegal and partly it was a construct. The guys got their qualifications in dirty tricks in the US, Erdogan knew this, no problem for him.
Before the rift with Gülen the (Erdogan-)AKP had no problem with supporting the islamistic terrorists in Syria with the precursors and even the ready Sarin, let them live in Turkey etc. Then to claim that the PKK is a terroristic group, it is one, is nonsense. As, since long, all parties in these conflicts are terrorists. Including the backers of the bombings that triggered the PKK again.
In my mental cosmos there is no opinion that the Western countries played an idle, or even clean, role in the last decades. I am sorry for the younger generation in the Middle East whose future is polluted with all those stupid -isms: nationalism, islamism, baathism etc. When pressure would be lifted in Iran we would see the most agnostic or even atheistic youth in the world. In Turkey it is similar. But they show up in the mosque if necessary to keep their jobs.
Thanks for exchangig views!

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 23, 2018 5:09:37 AM | 123

I always wondered why when I read history, we had a hundred year war in Europe. I wondered why the Celti never took control of all Europe at the turn of the century.
All this and the plague fed the fever of controlling something somewhere else; it came down to fairness. No fairness equals war. It only took 50 years for the population to recover after the plague.
I think maybe what is going on in the Middle East is another Hundred Years War. Nobody won remember?
And this time there is no rest of the world to colonize.
Talk about Moon and Mars and Titan colonization is just talk. We will never have fusion. So why are we so determined to destroy what we can't control? Fairness.
President Carter called it a Balance if Power.
How would you end the war fairly?

Posted by: Kate Sisco | Jan 23, 2018 10:25:55 AM | 124

@121 peter - it is a tricky environment no matter how you slice it!

@122 confusedpundit / hausmeister... the move towards open hostility of the media by erdogan happened in a significant way when those trucks shipping arms to the moderate headchoppers in syria were discovered.. that was back in 2012 or 13.. they shut the paper down and wanted to silence the fact turkey was supporting the overthrow of assad, not just in words but in deeds as well.. many in turkey were against this... from the moment erdogan decided he wanted to see syria divided, he has witnessed a turkey divided.. that is like instant karma.. one can claim any boogie man they want - gulen, etc. etc., but the fact remains erdogan demands a media that is compliant with his agenda - whatever it might be... all others, including the major political party opposition heads and etc etc - are demonized regularly by erdogan with all sorts of false claims on them... it is more like swearing allegiance to erdogan then it is to turkey... apparently the apk membership go along with this, but i note the rocky road that turkey has been on since about the same time - 2013 forward... it is a divided country at present.. turkey can thank erdogan for that..

Posted by: james | Jan 23, 2018 12:01:43 PM | 125

Syrian Kurds are deceived, they tasted the freedom coming from the betrayal of the homeland (Syria) and now must face their choice, they can not cry like babies, must fight as any Syrian fought for 7 years for their lives. Time to make tougher choices, go down fighting Turkey, re embrace the motherland or die fighting the SAA and its allies in the future.

Kurds, time to make tough choices.

b, awesome article, congrats.

Posted by: Canthama | Jan 23, 2018 12:11:41 PM | 126

@125 "....they shut the paper down and wanted to silence the fact turkey was supporting the overthrow of assad, not just in words but in deeds as well.. many in turkey were against this."

Many in Turkey still are. Looking back it seems Erdogan got caught up in the Arab Spring excitement. He thought Syria would collapse quickly. Time for him to apologize to Assad IMO.

Posted by: dh | Jan 23, 2018 12:16:39 PM | 127

@127 dh.. erodogan doesn't strike me like the kind of guy that questions himself, and definitely not publicly!.. he's never given that impression off - to me anyway! now, maybe right now he is sweating bullets over something he greatly fears, but he never gives this impression - which is a helpful trait in political and military leaders, lol... does he come across as fanatical? indeed!! tyrannical - that too!

Posted by: james | Jan 23, 2018 12:46:10 PM | 128

@128 True but I'm assuming even Erdo has second thoughts. Most likely it will all depend on how his Afrin incursion works out. I don't seriously expect him to apologize for helping to destroy Syria and I'm not sure Assad is in a very forgiving mood.

Posted by: dh | Jan 23, 2018 12:58:41 PM | 129

Bbcnews website full of bombed ghuta children and ppl fleeing afrin
Gloomy economy in Europe, arab cash welcome

Posted by: Mina | Jan 23, 2018 1:13:44 PM | 130

@Hausmeister Your views are to do point. You are almost 100% correct. Almost.

@james I know what you mean.

Let me add a few views of my own for further clarification about Erdogan, Turks, their policies so that we can understand them better.

What Erdogan frequently practices is Taqiyya, Islamic version of "By way of deception thou shalt do war"

We should keep that in mind. If we don't do so then we don't understand Erdogan and his acts.

1) For Erdogan and Turks

Kurds = Cocoon
Kurdistan = Caterpillar
Greater Israel = Butterfly

Aye or a groundless fear or a conspiracy theory? Well, at least that's what they think.

2)Erdogan wanted Assad out. All of a sudden he was the guy who hated Assad most on the planet. But wait a minute, when was that? 7-8 years ago, when Syrian war was about to begin. Could he say no to those who wanted to get rid of Assad? LOL. Erdogan would've been toppled right away, there and then. Erdogan had not much power back in those days.

3) Did he like Assad much? No. Assad represents a minority in Syria. Just like Saddam and Gadaffi did in Iraq and Libya respectively. That was the condition that the globalists brought them to power. You obey us or else the majority will lynch you. But Erdogan is also a Neo-Ottoman guy. So how do you annex Syria to Turkey, a country with sunni majority to a country with sunni majority? Well, I'd bet things crossed his mind but the reason he was an anti-Assad man was chiefly because he wanted to keep his seat.

4) Erdogan is the most shrewd politician on earth? No. His moves are too obvious. He is also said to be suffering from colon cancer, diabeties and epilepsia long time. Poor guy. He is always aggressive, thanks to the drugs?

5) He played along with the biggies. He bowed to them for a while but what did he do meanwhile? He got rid of the Gulenists. He kept the economy afloat. He took the control of the central bank. He manufactured his own weapons. He won a lot of elections. His political roots went deeper and wider both in the country and around the world. There are now Turkish bases in Somaila, Qatar and soon on Suakin Island, Sudan. Just like in the olden days of the Ottoman Empire. He bought passenger planes from the USA but he also arrested an American priest after the coup attempt. There are countless examples of 'give and take' = Erdogan Policy. Before the Erdogan era the Turkish-Western relationship was similar to the Russian invader vs. Happy Polish joke: We give the Russians our gold and in return they take our oil from us. So if you see a German, American, Dutch (German), French, Belgian politician or journalists, credit rating agencies etc unhappy about Erdogan you must first find out what Erdogan did to them that upset them so much! Turks are happy? Of course, they can see all this game clearly and they are benefiting from Erdogan's policies. German H&K is upset but Erdogan makes his own guns so he Turks are happy. Merkel is unhappy? Turks are happy that they are building the world's largest airport in Istanbul which will render the German hubs obsolete (and maek the globalist controlled one road one belt Chinese happy?). German car makers are unhappy? Erdogan will be manufacturing his own soon. German are unhappy with Turkish intel activities in Germany? Erdogan has put pressure on German NGOs in Turkey.

6) It's like chapter 6. Too much talk on my part. But, I read the articles here, which are very good but the comments are sometimes a little beside the point. So I get this urge to talk more.

7) Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Well, I wish we were all friends in this world but there are terrible wars instead. Erdogan (and the Turks) are getting ready for the 2019 elections after which they plan to declare independence from the US-EU hegemony. Perhaps the recent Afrin operation is to force the big game makers to act before that date just like Erdogan forced the Gulenist to commence the failed coup attempt at 21:00 which would've been successful had it started at 04:00 when the country was asleep. Remember, the U.S. have brought in 5000 trucks of weapons and gave them to the PKK (the coalition gives them different names PYD-YPG-SDF for psyop purposes) and only a week or so ago the US publicy announced that they wanted to form a 30.000 strong border force. That gave the Turks heebie jeebies and the Afrin operation ensued. Nobody in Turkey aims their guns at the "Kurds". Their target is the Kurdish mercenaries of the globalists. Kurds have their own problems. A culturally, linguistically, ethnically diverse people. No museum on the planet has any Kurdish artifact. The Kurds have so far failed to find the traces of their ancestors. There were no Kurds in Anatolia before the 16th century. They destroyed the deeds office in Northern Iraq, they took the control of the water sources and oil fields in Syria and also they grabbed a huge chunk of land in a country where the Kurds are only a minority. You can't have a country of your own under such conditions.

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 23, 2018 3:41:37 PM | 131

Erdoğan is aware that Turkey runs primarily on Russian (57%) and Iranian (20%) natural gas, which could be cutoff in Winter if Turkish forces do not eventually leave Syria.

Currently, Turkey imports over 53 billion cubic meters (BCM) of natural gas/year. Turkey receives 27% of its Russian sourced natural gas from via the TransBalkan pipeline. The remaining natural gas supply comes from Russia-Bluestream (30%), Iran (20%), Azerbajan (10%), Algeria and Nigeria (10%, as LNG), Qatar (2% as LNG), and internal production (1%). Of this total Russia supplies about 30 BCM/year.

Given the poor state of the Naftogaz pipelines in Ukraine and the geostrategic Russian goals on shutting down Russian gas transit via Ukraine, the TurkStream pipeline will replace 14 BCM of natural gas supplied to Turkey via the TransBalkan pipeline. The Russian TurkStream pipeline will ultimately provide 31.5 BCM of natural gas to Turkey adding an additional 17.5 BCM to the Turkish supply of which a portion will be sold to South Eastern Europe in the short run.
http://turkstream.info/project/benefits/

Iran has recently rejected Turkey’s request for an increase in natural gas supplies to make up for this potential Russian gas loss. Furthermore, occasional disruptions of Iranian natural gas flow occur in winter due to harsh winter conditions in Iran and high gas consumption rates in the northern parts of the country. Meanwhile, Iran is building natural gas pipelines to Iraq, Pakistan and Oman to supply their natural gas needs.
The planned Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project (TANAP) from Azerbajan through Turkey will not be completed before 2018 and would only initially supply 6 BCM of natural gas to Turkey. The current Azerbaijan pipeline cannot supply additional gas, especially in winter.

Turkey, in panic mode, has just signed a contract with Qatar to supply natural gas, however due to a lack of terminal offloading/storage (total maximum annual capacity of 14 BCM) in Turkey it would be impossible to put most of the gas into Turkey's gas network. Add to this Turkey has almost no underground natural gas storage (1.9 BCM). Turkey’s military support for Qatar in opposition to the other Gulf states is critical in the future as Turkey’s energy needs increase.

While Iraqi Kurdistan, now Iraq, is building a natural gas pipeline to Turkey, it will not be ready this year, even if the Kurdish PKK no longer attacks these gas and oil pipelines in Turkey.

On top of this, Turkey has declared that it will reduce imports of Russian liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for motor vehicles by 25% in 2016 (LPG is used in most vehicles in Turkey). Turkey somehow expects to make this up with LPG imported from the US, although the US is still a net energy importer. US energy exports will be a pipe dream as Fracking declines and the sector continues to lose money.

I suspect that Turkey and Syria will reach an agreement that ensures Turkish energy security (Russian and Iranian energy) and Syrian and Iraqi water security (Turkey controls the Euphrates sources).

Syria reclaims its territory (eventually) the Turks, Americans, French, British, Israeli (etc) leave, Erdoğan get reelected and gains energy security, Russia gets a warm water port and airbase, Iran and Iraq gain enhanced trade with Syria and Lebanon and Iran and China get the reconstruction contracts.

Posted by: Krollchem | Jan 23, 2018 6:23:04 PM | 132

Kurds cannot count on EU support for a Kurdish state as the EU has many succession movements of their own. The latest is the "Szeklerland" region's ethnic Hungarians want autonomy in the central Romanian region of Transylvania.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/pro-autonomy-hungarians-in-romanias-szeklerland-might-spark-a-slovak-crisis-that-destabilizes-new-europes-three-seas/5626881

Posted by: Krollchem | Jan 23, 2018 8:26:12 PM | 133

The US is getting desperate about Syria, with the recent "gas attack."
new report:

“Russia’s failure to resolve the chemical weapons issue in Syria calls into question its relevance to the resolution of the overall crisis,” [US SecState] Tillerson said, adding there was mounting evidence since April 2014 that Syria still had chemical weapons. “There is simply no denying that Russia, by shielding its Syrian ally, has breached its commitments to the United States as a framework guarantor,” he added.

RT: The US has firmly rejected a Russian-drafted Security Council resolution seeking to establish an objective investigative mechanism to probe all allegations of chemical attacks in Syria “based on impeccable and irrefutable data.” US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. . . fervently rejected the Russian proposal.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 23, 2018 8:34:21 PM | 134

@131 confusedpundit...

thanks.. i agree with some of what you say, but as i read your comments, i get the impression you are an akp member! i don't buy the gulen network, or not to the same way that erdogan has been selling it 24/7... sure, the usa and russia have interests in seeing turkey move a particular way and they do have assets on the ground to help push things a certain way, but not to the extent erdogan makes out by a long shot... the july 16th 2016 seemed like an orchestrated failed coup to me which is strengthened by erdogans continued state of emergency measures since that time..

i do admit turkey is in a geographically challenging location given the middle east dynamics and with syria on it's doorstep.. it would have been far better to not try to align with those seeking to destroy syria, but it would seem erdogan thought he had the best of both worlds with this and that he could take advantage of it.. instead, it has created a lot more turmoil for him and his country. i also wish it wasn't this way, but i do believe erdogan was hoping to benefit from it.. that is not the action of a good leader, i am afraid to point out.. cheers - james

@133 krollchem.. thanks for your many fine and informative posts...

@134 don bacon.. they keep on running that false flag chem attack up the pole in the western msm.. it gets very tiring.. they also get the american stooges - i think it was tillerson saying that russia would be held responsible for them - making complete ignoramus's of themselves on a regular basis too... here is the quote on tillerson- "US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pointed the finger at Syrian President Bashar Assad for the reported chemical incident in East Ghouta, while ultimately blaming Russia for it, regardless of who actually committed the attack." well, we could just as easily blame the moderate headchopper cult the usa/ksa/israel have been supporting 24/7 too couldn't we? this is really stupid shit on a high level..

and here is heather nauert bullshitting the same way in todays usa daily press briefing..

" The recent attacks in East Ghouta in Syria raise serious concerns that Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime may be continuing its use of chemical weapons against its own people. Whoever conducted those attacks, Russia ultimately bears responsibility for the victims in East Ghouta and countless other Syrians targeted with chemical weapons since Russia became involved in Syria. There is simply no denying that Russia, by shielding its Syrian ally, has breached its commitment to the United States as framework guarantor. It has betrayed the Chemical Weapons Convention and UN Security Council Resolution 2118, and three times it has vetoed UN Security Council resolutions to enforce the Joint Investigative Mechanism and continue the JIM’s mandate.

Russia’s failure to resolve chemical weapons issue in Syria calls into crisis its relevance to the resolution to stop the overall crisis. At a bare minimum, Russia must stop vetoing and at least abstain from future Security Council votes on this issue. We call on the community of responsible and civilized nations to put the use of chemical weapons to an end."

https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2018/01/277613.htm

the daily briefing today is quite interesting and worth the read.. lots is covered from the usa propaganda angle...

Posted by: james | Jan 24, 2018 12:38:10 AM | 135

@james No, I am definitely not an AKP member! I'm not with the nationalists either. I'm not a right-wing gray wolf, not a left-wing Kemalist. I don't even vote. I'm merely living here and am sharing my views with you. At best you can insist I'm under the influence of government propaganda. Well, I'll have to insist that I'm open minded. Please correct me when I'm wrong. But I'm warning you, you'll have hard times getting anywhere with me if you are under the influence of counter propaganda yourself! BTW, I like raki, beer, wine, whisky, gin, sake, tequila, vodka... Cheers.

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 24, 2018 5:18:47 AM | 136

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 24, 2018 5:18:47 AM | 136

Yep, that is what the world looks like when there is a terrorist threat and people catch nationalist fervour. Personal freedom, journalists and politicians in prison, murdered opponents be damned.

Lesson from Germany is that after a while they will be coming for you.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 24, 2018 5:37:30 AM | 137

@136 confusedpundit.. thanks.. i have enjoyed our conversation! i think it is easy to be swayed any number of ways, but as an outsider i think turkey is going down the wrong road with erdogan... and i do believe erdogan is playing a double game here, wanting to side up with al qaeda and all the other moderate headchoppers - while calling them the free syrian army... turkey has been an open door for all the isis folks too... i am sorry, but i don't trust erdogan and don't believe he is telling the truth to the people of turkey... and i am not a gulenist either, LOLOL! of course if i was living in turkey - this is how erdogan and apk would paint me.. i have to agree with @137 somebody... the people of turkey need to figure out a way to get rid of erdogan.. he is long term bad news for them..

Posted by: james | Jan 24, 2018 1:06:12 PM | 138

@ somebody 137

You are right - but your statement is not complete. You forget that all the actions of the Turkish deep state, not only against the Kurds, in the last ca. 100 years were of a terroristic nature as well. And that all governments since Atatürk did anything to carry on sabotage against any peaceful talks, negotations etc.

To check the present state of mind in Turkey read this,no 1. of April thing:

Al-Monitor article
And one of the best Turkish authors of the last decades, fired somehow now:
Burak Bekdik in Hürriyet

„In fact, “whatever my nation wishes…” is a populist politician’s nicely-wrapped wording for the great Islamic democracy which a prominent Islamic intellectual described in his column recently. Hayrettin Karaman, a professor of theology and a columnist for the pro-government Yeni Şafak, wrote that, “The governments cannot protect, through law and order, any behavior the majority would dislike or view as harmful, illegitimate and ugly. The minority will have to give up some freedoms (disapproved of by the majority). The remedy… is democracy with a reference to Islam. Otherwise, the majority, whose values could be violated by the minority, will have a right to apply the neighborhood pressure [on the minority] (“Ignoring the majority,” Hayrettin Karaman, Yeni Şafak, Nov. 8, 2013).”

This seriously problematic understanding of democracy is perfectly legitimate for Mr. Erdoğan, as evidenced by his governance regarding issues that most Muslim Turks would probably view as “ugly, harmful and illegitimate,” like alcohol, dissent, opposite-sex dating, co-ed housing and even rock music.

But who, how and with what authority will decide what does and what does not look “ugly, harmful or illegitimate” for the majority? Ten referenda every week? And where is the pluralism and diversity that makes a democracy a democracy? But that’s precisely what separates a democracy from an Islamic democracy or, as in Mr. Karaman’s wording, “a democracy with a reference to Islam.”

Turkey is a great Islamic democracy; not a great democracy or even a democracy. And it is a “great” Islamic democracy, not just because Mr. Obama opted for his usual euphemism when dealing with the Middle East, but because that adjective denotes Turkey’s better democratic credentials than all of the Muslim countries in its region.

There is one problem, though, about the present state of Turkey’s great Islamic democracy, a major fault that may have prompted Mr. Karaman to complain about the minority’s “ugly, harmful and illegitimate” behavior. It is still too little Islamic, or too secular with millions of drinkers, protestors and crumbs of law.

For instance, in Mssrs. Erdoğan and Karaman’s Islamic democracy, journalist/lawmaker Mustafa Balbay could have been hanged by popular vote because of his “ugly, harmful and illegitimate behavior.”
Luckily, in the ¾ pious and ¼ secular Turkey, Mr. Balbay is –temporarily- free and will be paid compensation of $1.40 for each day he spent in prison because the Constitutional Court ruled that his lengthy imprisonment amounted to a violation of the law and of his right to be elected.
December/11/2013“

The present genius in the country you see here:
Noah with cell phone
„Speaking on state-run channel TRT 1 on Jan. 6, Yavuz Örnek, a lecturer at the Marine Sciences Faculty of Istanbul University, said Noah communicated with his son via cell phone shortly before the famous flood, the story of which appears in both the Quran and the Old Testament.“

Questions left?


Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 25, 2018 12:13:23 AM | 139

@ Hausmeister 139

Sorry, wrong link:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/i-can-prove-that-noah-used-cell-phone-to-call-son-turkish-academic-126162

This guy lectures at a university. As Hayrettin Karaman he runs free but so many journalists are in jail. What is this?

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 25, 2018 12:18:31 AM | 140

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 25, 2018 12:13:23 AM | 139

Being German I would try to get not too sanctimonious about the last 100/120 years.

The German empire was heavily involved with Osman empire colonialism and a number of German emigrants survived fascism in Turkey in WW2,

I did not notice any opposition of the German government to Turkey's military dictatorship in the 1980's when people just died in suspicious circumstances or were executed. It could be argued that the German government supported the 1980 putsch.

Erdogan is a huge improvement, and the Turkish opposition knows it.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 25, 2018 2:12:31 AM | 141

What the hell is the US doing in North Syria ?
Seriously what is pragmatic reason for it to be in Syria at the cost of pushing a major NATO ally (2nd largest NATO force after the US) force towards the arms of Russia ?

- The SDF/PYD is an offshoot of the PKK. PKK and PYD are on US and EU terror org list. Which also are Marxists (just look at their symbols/flags ideology docs). Look at the CIA fact book.

- Given how the Kurds change sides like underwear they were initially seen by the US as a cheaper method of fighting the ISIS on the ground instead of US troops.

- Kurds hope was to have the US own them a favor and look the other way as create a land reaching all the way to the Med sea. For this purpose they made land grabs pushing Arabs and Turkomans (ethnic Turks) from the region turning them into refugees while at it. They got rolled back in North Iraq and will so in Syria as well.

By summer US will have moved to 'advisory' roles and departed from the quicksand that Syria has become. It will give carte-blanche to Turkey, its NATO ally, to be the bulwark against Iranian and Russian influence and done what it should have long time ago and Pivot to the East.

With PYD/SDF back broken Turkey will go into overdrive rebuilding the Afrin region infrastructure and housing and slowly settle the 3.5million Syrian refugees currently hosted in Turkey to the area ending Kurdish plans of a Med sea port for good.

Posted by: Armchair Strategist | Feb 10, 2018 3:58:50 PM | 142

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