Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 25, 2018

"Who Lost Turkey?" - The U.S.-Kurdish Project In Syria Endangers NATO

Back in the 1950s the U.S. political sphere was poisoned by a groundless smear campaign against country-experts in the State Department  who were identified as those who lost China. If the Trump administration proceeds on its current course we may soon see similar accusations. The accused, those "who lost Turkey", will again be the ones who warned of the possibility and not the real culprits.

The Turkish attack on the Kurd held Syrian canton of Afrin (Efrin) is not progressing as fast the Turks had hoped. The infantry component of the operation are Turkish proxy forces in Syria. These Chechen, Uighur, Turkestanis and other Takfiris are cannon fodder in the operations, not a well integrated component of an army.


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The Kurds know their local mountainous territory, are well armed and willing to fight. They can holdout for a while. Politically they will still be the ones who will lose the most in the conflict. The above linked piece noted that the Kurdish YPG/PKK leaders had rejected the Syrian and Russian government offer that would have prevented the Turkish attack. The offer still exists but the conditions will become less favorable as longer the Kurds hold out.

Elijah Magnier just published more details on that offer and analyses the strategic situation:

[T]he US is observing the performance of the Turkish army with interest and wishes to see Erdogan humiliated, broken on the rocks of the Kurds in Afrin. Indeed, the US has delivered anti-tank weapons, already effectively used by the Kurds against the Turkish army (many tanks damaged during the attack on Afrin).
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The US can’t understand that Ankara is not ready to see a rich and well-armed Kurdish “state” on its borders, disregarding the US’s tempting and generous offer [of a "safe zone" (see below)]. Actually, the US is offering a territory that not only does not belong to the Americans but is actually occupied by the US forces in north east Syria.

The US is one of the losers in this battle, regardless of the results, because Turkey will continue its operations until the defeat of the Kurds, either by military means or if Afrin returns to [Syrian] central government’s control.

I am not convinced that the above prediction will hold. There is still a possibility that Turkey might again change sides and (again) join the U.S. "regime change" efforts in Syria.

This depends on the winner of a conflict within the U.S. military where opposing forces are pulling for the Turkish and respectively the Kurdish side. Should the pro-Turkish side win, Erdogan can be offered a new deal and might be induced to again change sides from his current pro-Russian (pro-Damascus?) position back towards a pro-NATO/U.S. stand. (There is also a tiny chance that Turkey already has a secret back deal with the U.S. administration but I see no indication for it.)

From the very beginning of the conflict in Syria Turkey worked with the U.S., NATO, the Saudis and Qataris, against the Syrian government. It supported the Saudi and U.S. position of "regime change", let ten-thousands of terrorists pass through its borders and delivered ten-thousands of tons of weapons and supplies to the forces fighting the Syrian government. Finally Russia entered the picture, defeated the Takfiris, put harsh pressure on Turkey and offered new economic deals. At the same time the U.S. attempted "regime change" in Ankara and allied with the Kurdish YPG/PKK in Syria and Iraq.

Erdogan, though unwillingly, changed sides and now works with Russia (and Syria) to bring the war to a conclusion. "Regime change" in Damascus has become an unlikely scenario he no longer supports. At the same time he is still willing to invest money and forces to gain something for his failed investment in the war. Taking Afrin to later incorporate it into an enlarged Turkey is one of those plays. He is clearly still aiming for additional territory. The U.S. now offered him some in form of a safe zone in Syria:


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Ilhan tanir @WashingtonPoint - 7:50 PM - 24 Jan 2018
This map being discussed all day on Turkish TVs as Turkey’s planned security zone/safe zone on Syria border.
Reportedly OK’ed by Sec.Tillerson though nobody on the American side confirms it

If the U.S. indeed made the "safe zone" offer - Tillerson did not deny today to have made such - it found a rather cold response:

Washington’s proposal for the creation of a “security zone” along Turkey’s 911-kilometer border with Syria has received a cool reply from Ankara, with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu urging the U.S. to first take steps to “re-build trust” between the two allies before discussing such military matters.
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“The U.S. needs to stop delivering weapons to the YPG. It needs to push the YPG to withdrawing from Manbij if it wants to re-build confidence with Turkey … We have to see all these commitments fulfilled,” Çavuşoğlu said.

It is the U.S. supported founding of a Kurdish state-let in north-east Syria which is Ankara's most serious security concern. No "safe zone" will help if the U.S. military continues to build and supplies a Kurdish "border force" that can penetrate Turkey's south-eastern underbelly - now, tomorrow or in ten years. Unless the U.S. stops that project and retreats from the area Turkey will continue to push against it - if necessary by force.

The Turkish people support the fight against U.S. supported Kurds and are willing to pay the price for it. The Kurdish YPK leaders are delusional in their demands and overestimate their own political position. The U.S. can not have both, Turkey as an ally and a Kurdish proxy state-let. It has to decide.

Yesterday President Trump and Erdogan had a phonecall to discuss the situation. It did not help. The White House readout for the call includes some noticeably harsh language:

President Donald J. Trump spoke today with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. President Trump relayed concerns that escalating violence in Afrin, Syria, risks undercutting our shared goals in Syria. He urged Turkey to deescalate, limit its military actions, and avoid civilian casualties and increases to displaced persons and refugees.
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President Trump also expressed concern about destructive and false rhetoric coming from Turkey, and about United States citizens and local employees detained under the prolonged State of Emergency in Turkey.

The Turkish side denied that such language and these issues were part of the talk:

The White House's written statement differs from the truth discussed between the Turkish and U.S. Presidents' phone conversation on Wednesday, according to Anadolu Agency sources.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, the sources said President Donald Trump did not discuss any concerns 'of escalating violence in Afrin' during the phone call with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
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The sources also stressed that President Trump did not use the words "destructive and false rhetoric coming from Turkey."
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They also said that there was no discussion of the ongoing state of emergency in Turkey.

It is very unusual to dispute the content of such readouts. Is Turkey obfuscating here or did someone in the White House put harsher language into the readout than was actually used in the call?

Trump had in general good relations with Erdogan and the readout language does not sound like him. The Turkish side also added this:

"In an answer to President Erdogan's highlighting request from Washington to stop providing arms to the PYD/YPG terrorists in Syria within the scope of fighting against terrorism, President Trump said the United States are no longer providing PYD/YPG with weapons," the sources added.

Already in November the Turks had said that Trump promised to stop the delivery of weapons to the YPG forces in east-Syria. But the White House was evasive on the issue and the U.S. military Central Command has acted contrary to that promise. If the Magnier report is correct CentCom also delivered anti-tank missiles to the Kurds in Afrin.

I have for some time presumed that are different opinions in the White House and especially in the Pentagon with regards to Turkey and the Kurds. The realist-hawks and NATO proponents are on Turkey's side while the neoconservative "liberal" forces are on the Kurdish side. Yesterday the NYT noted the split:

The White House sent out a message aimed at mollifying Turkey’s president on Tuesday, suggesting that the United States was easing off its support for the Syrian Kurds.

That message was quickly contradicted by the Pentagon, which said it would continue to stand by the Kurds, even as Turkey invaded their stronghold in northwestern Syria.

The former director of the Council of Foreign Relations, Richard Haass, takes the pro-Kurdish position. Linking to the NYT piece above he says:

Richard N. Haass‏ @RichardHaass - 12:00 PM - 24 Jan 2018
Pentagon right; US should be working w Kurds in Syria for moral and strategic reasons alike. A break with Erdogan’s Turkey is inevitable, if not over this than over other differences. Time for DoD to come up with plan to substitute for Incirlik access.

It is not only the Incirlik air-base which is irreplaceable for NATO's southern command. Turkey also controls the access to the Black Sea and has thereby a say over potential NATO operations against southern Russia and Crimea.

In a Bloomberg oped former U.S. Supreme Commander of NATO Stavridis takes a pro-Turkish position:

At the moment, Washington is trying to sail a narrow passage between supporting its erstwhile Kurdish combat partners and not blowing up the relationship with Turkey. But the room for maneuver is closing and a choice is looming. What should the U.S. do?
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[W]e simply cannot afford to "lose" Turkey.
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The Turks have a strong and diversified economy, a young and growing population, and have stood alongside the U.S. for much of the post-World War II era. Their importance both regionally and globally will continue to grow in the 21st century. Yes, U.S. officials can and should criticize Turkish actions where they violate international law or human rights -- but in private, at least at this stage of the situation.
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[T]he overall U.S. strategic interest lies in keeping Turkey aligned with NATO and the trans-Atlantic community. It would be a geopolitical mistake of near-epic proportions to see Turkey drift out of that orbit and end up aligned with Russia and Iran in the Levant.

It is unclear where in the Trump administration the split between pro-Kurdish and pro-Turkish positions actually is. (Or is it all around chaos?) On which side, for example, is Secretary of Defense Mattis and on which side is the National Security Advisor McMaster? This clip from the NYT piece above lets one assume that they pull in opposite directions:

For its part, the White House disavowed a plan by the American military to create a Kurdish-led force in northeastern Syria, which Turkey has vehemently opposed.
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That plan, a senior administration official said Tuesday, originated with midlevel military planners in the field, and was never seriously debated, or even formally introduced, at senior levels in the White House or the National Security Council.
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But the Pentagon issued its own statement on Tuesday standing by its decision to create the Kurdish-led force.

Discussing NATO relations with Turkey, several western "experts" agree that the current situation damages NATO but not one of them expects that Turkey will leave the alliance:

NATO needs Turkey and cannot afford to push it further into Russia’s arms. Erdoğan also needs NATO. He has overplayed his hand in Syria and in his struggle with the Kurds, and is isolated in the EU. His relationship with Moscow is problematic and he does not want to face Putin without NATO membership. This is an alliance that remains based on real strategic interests and that will continue long after Erdoğan is gone.

Maybe. I am not so sure.

The last thing the EU now wants or needs is Turkish membership. The U.S. instigated a coup against Erdogan and its Kurdish project is threatening Turkey's strategic interest. Trump's continued push to take Jerusalem "off the table" in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is an insult to all Muslims. An increasingly Islamic Turkey will not accept that. Turkey's natural gas supplies depend on Russia and Iran. Russia builds nuclear power stations in Turkey and will deliver air defense systems that can defend against U.S. attacks. Russia, Iran, Central Asia and beyond that China are markets for Turkish products.

Putting myself into Erdogan's shoes I would be very tempted to leave NATO and join an alliance with Russia, China and Iran. Unless the U.S. changes course and stops fooling around with the Kurds Turkey will continue to disentangle itself from the old alliance. The Turkish army has so far prevented a break with NATO but even staunch anti-Erdogan officers are now on his side.

If the U.S. makes a real offer to Turkey and adopts a new position it might be able to turn Turkey around and to put it back into its NATO fold. Is the Trump White House capable of defying the pro-Israel/pro-Kurdish voices and move back to that realist view?

If it can not do that the real answer to the question "Who lost Turkey?" will be obvious.

Posted by b on January 25, 2018 at 01:11 PM | Permalink

Comments
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ConfusedPundit | Jan 26, 2018 10:22:40 AM | 96

Another Kurdish warrior from that time was Shirkuh, Saladin's uncle.

He was originally from a Kurdish village in Armenia near the town of Dvin. He was the son of Shadhi ibn Marwan, a Kurdish ruler, and the brother of Najm ad-Din Ayyub, the ancestor of the Ayyubid dynasty. The family was closely connected to the Shaddadid dynasty, and when the last Shaddadid was deposed in Dvin in 1130, Shahdi moved the family first to Baghdad and then to Tikrit, where he was appointed governor by the regional administrator Bihruz.

Posted by: Partisan | Jan 26, 2018 11:21:37 AM | 101

One thing that comes to mind regarding turkey's association with nato or russia. Assume Turkey's goal, in the long run, were to "leave" nato and become a somewhat independent regional power like, say, iran.
They've witnessed first hand how the whole regime change plots work, i.e. insurgents from nearby states, trained and armed outside the country that's being invaded, and the whole thing sold as a "civil war". Of course a (by grace of nato) sovereign kurdistan would be the state that hosts a potential turkish regime change terrorist army. that, i guess, might be a sensible reason for erdogan/turkey to fight a kurdish established state by all means. With a "free Kurdistan" state as your neighbor, regime change is on your shoulder. And a seriously nato-supported kurdish regime change, i guess, would cause serious damage to turkey.

Posted by: radiator | Jan 26, 2018 11:44:25 AM | 102

Afrin is becoming a focal point for foreign mercenaries. It is not at all clear either, exactly who are "the Kurds". PKK or PKK/YPG, or YPG?
The latter is probably the least likely as some of them are from the "triangle" east of the Euphrates, and have made "soothing noises" in the direction of the Syrians. (Foreign fighters with the YPG are reported to be joining the Afrin battle (AL Masdar news)A mixture of YPG and PKK? Possible, they have been fighting together.
PKK plus mercenaries? Most likely, and would explain why Erdogan chose Afrin to start with.
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One development which adds to the confusion is the arrival of a large convoy of Turkish troops etc. between Idlib and a potential SAA advance towards Fua (Gov. enclave under the longest siege in the war). Ostensibly to place troops on an "observation point" (Tellet El-Is, + nearby hill) decided during the discussions on deescalation zones and their observation. Or it might take part in Afrin attack.

Posted by: stonebird | Jan 26, 2018 12:10:58 PM | 103

@All
Do we have any news that are confirmed from any independent source that Turkey was hit by any YPG groups? I question this claim, made by Turkey, as I cannot see why this YPG in this tense situation would do such a thing. Very risky, no visible gain there.
@ Partisan 102
Thumbs up! But hopefulyl all of us, you, ConfusedPundit and I agree that in the frame of politics all these historical things are unimportant! I started to mention the topic only to reject the NeoOttoman-islamistic rhetoric of the (Erdogan-) AKP as nonsense.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 26, 2018 12:32:27 PM | 104

b, another superb article, very well written and posting the right variables, a pleasure to read it. Congrats.

Posted by: Canthama | Jan 26, 2018 12:55:26 PM | 105

@ confusedpundit... thanks for your commentary.. you bring something to moa and i appreciate it!

i want to go back to peter au 1's question to your earlier though... do the people of turkey acknowledge that erdogan has been in bed with isis / al qaeda and had hoped to use them in the regime change agenda he was onside with back in 2012 and after? you see - it is fine for erdogan to change his mind and decide he is not going let turkey be an open turnstile for all the moderate headchopping cult that have used turkey as an open turnstile to go back and forth into syria... but, i think what many ordinary people want to know is - how is he going to put an end to his support for these wahabbi nut bars? thanks in advance for any comment on this you would like to provide..

Posted by: james | Jan 26, 2018 12:57:05 PM | 106

105
No group there seems perfect from all perspectives. In the current situation, the Kurds are working/fighting in the interests of empire - US/Israel/KSA ect and Turkey's position is more in the interests of the multi-polar world.
I like to keep things simple, so any group that sides with the US in their hegemon ambitions is the bad guys.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 26, 2018 1:02:54 PM | 107

I thought this interesting from the latest Fisk piece:

But the most unexpected moment comes when “Caesar” says that 20 per cent of his own fighting units are former members of the “Free Syrian Army”, one of the first armed opposition groups in which the West invested money and guns.

The ex-FSA men are paid the same wage as other regular Syrian military personnel, there are officers among them – none in “Caesar’s” force, he assures me – and some were actually Syrian regular troops before they defected to the opposition in 2011 and 2012. If they are “martyred” in battle, their parents will be paid compensation; a grim conclusion, no doubt, to their hectic side-changing lives.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-isis-frontline-robert-fisk-food-supplies-free-syrian-army-a8179216.html

I am not really surprised. A lot of people wouldn't want to stay with the jihadis. But I'm glad to see there's positivity towards ex-rebels.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 26, 2018 1:24:15 PM | 108

What is glaringly left out of this article is the plain FACT that anything that has to do with the Kurds has to consider Israel's long time promise to see that the Kurds have their own country (for Israel's own reasons, of course). The U.S. is secondary here as far as the Kurds are concerned. They know very well that the U.S. is just Israel's proxy in the area.

Posted by: Tony B. | Jan 26, 2018 1:27:37 PM | 109

Dear Hausmeister,

Yes, my personal opinion is different. Every corner, every brain in this country seems to be taken by some belief, ideology or agenda. There is chao ab chao here and no sign of any order as yet.

I don't like to talk about myself but as I'm the new kid on the block I'll place an intro for the interested parties and be done with it.

Live and let live. Don't harm each other. Life is beautiful enjoy it. Help each other. Be considerate. I can live in the U.S. or Germany or Russia or Syria. Anywhere. I'll observe the rules of the society and try to fit in. I can even live in Israel, I'll find something to like about it, I can walk in the streets of Tel Aviv without intending any harm on Jewish locals although we have been suffering a lot because of Israeli politics. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I'm walking through the ideological rubbles around me very much like The Pianist with bewildered state of mind. I can see there are countless people like me and obviously I prefer to be on the same wavelenght as theirs.

The AKP members think I'm with the CHP. The latter think I'm supporting the former. Kurds criticise me because I don't support a separate state, the nationalists criticise me for other reasons. LOL. I'm not very keen on Erdogan's style. However, I live here. I'm loyal. So if anybody attacks Erdogan they'd better be spotless themselves otherwise I'll defend Erdogan. I think I follow a very balanced and not so unusual behavioral pattern. I'm also very argumentative, I get very confrontational if I see anybody having a wrong idea about things that concerns me and my neighborhood. Does that make me a nationalist? Not at all. I also like to contribute to debates. I know of things which are not mentioned here or elsewhere. Perhaps my mental cosmos will help others who fancy expanding theirs. Just as there are certain clans of views in my neighborhood I notice there are various schools of fish on MOA too. Turks are killing Kurds!!!!! No they are not! Erdogan is killing Kurds!!!!! No he is not! Do you know that the number of Kurds in Erdogan's cabinet outnumbers Turks 3-4 times! You see that in the Knesset? In the House of Commons? Do you know that the opposition party CHP is severely criticised for defending the PKK? For working with the ethnic separatist HDP? And yet the CHP declared full support for the Operation Olive Branch. Sunnis are killing the Kurds!!! Really? Well, CHP is led by Alevis. There are Kurds fighting against the PKK in Syria too. This is the ME. It's a mess.

I like MOA. I felt like I could occasionally submit my views here and learn about things I didn't know before. That's it. No trolling, no hidden intentions. Cheers.

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 26, 2018 1:32:02 PM | 110

@ Peter AU 1 | Jan 26, 2018 1:02:54 PM | 108

„I like to keep things simple, so any group that sides with the US in their hegemon ambitions is the bad guys.“
Aha. May you consider the possibility that this is possible only for armchair strategists, while unsuitable for real life effects? Erdogan in this very moment nurtures jihadists and is keen not to loose them, as all regime change options are gone then. Are you aware that the people in the NE are fed up with their constant role to be all-time prey for foreign geopolitical games? Why not be bothered by their fate? May I remember those yezidis who survived only via the help of the YPG?

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 26, 2018 1:37:49 PM | 111

@ ConfusedPundit | Jan 26, 2018 1:32:02 PM | 111
Well done!!! It is important to have here at least one person that lives there and judges the situation from that perspective. To be flexible is part of the survival kit there. One has to defend against leftist anti-imperialists and against alt right people who sacrifice living humans to their strategic mind games as well.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 26, 2018 1:44:26 PM | 112

ConfusedPundit - any chance you could reply to me @107?

Posted by: james | Jan 26, 2018 1:49:58 PM | 113

89 I don't think that counts as ethnic cleansing

People in those regions obviously stayed and were not replaced as documented by today's dialects.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 26, 2018 2:04:05 PM | 114

Hausmeister

Erdogans Turkey was the main highway for the jihadists and their logistics into Syria. He supported AQ and ISIS. But then he pulled a lot from Aleppo for the Jarabulus offensive, alowing SAA/Russia to retake Aleppo. Same again now, he has pulled many of the jihadists from Idlib, giving the SAA as bit easier job retaking Aleppo.
Syrian, and Iraqi Kurds fought well against ISIS and AQ back before the US publicly moved in. Until that time, Syrian Kurds, apart from the odd skimish were not fighting the Syrian government. What I thought of as the moderate opposition.
With US backing, they are now looking at breaking up Syria, and have sided with US/KSA/Israel who's interest is to break up Syria and who's interests are different to Erdogans. I often get the feeling that Erdogan originally moved on Syria because it was the only game in town, and if Syria was to be broken up, he may as well grab a piece.
The Syrian Kurds siding with US are far more dangerous than ISIS or AQ (UN designated terrorist organisations) as US can openly side with the Kurds, whereas they had to make out they were fighting their former proxies.
Syrian Kurds may well move away from the US again in the future. Whatever arrangement they sort out is between them and the Syrian government, not the US. Until that time comes, they are the bad guys of the moment.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 26, 2018 2:46:45 PM | 115

Dear James,

Maybe a bit too long. But important.

Let me tell you the story from my mental cosmos with real life experiences. After AKP came to power they said, of course not publicly, I had close ties to some of their think-tanks, that they were walking blindfolded, in their own words. They were ecstatic. Can you picture it, some islamists, who had this long time dreams about going back to mighty Ottoman Empire days which they considered had been unjustly taken from them by some outsiders (with help from traitors or idiots in the country according to them) suddenly came to power! Goodness gracious, WOW! I cannot believe it's not butter!

But with no skill to run the country how do you stay in power? How do you run the country? How do you rebuild the empire? How do you glorify islam in an artificially created secular Turkish Republic? When do we declare our victory? Who is who in the country and elsewhere in the world? Thus they began their journey as they put it, blindfolded. It's their expression.

Well, I think they are still walking blindfolded. They still don't know what to do, not sure 100%. They have made superb progress though but they are now at 80%? What AKP think-tanks frequently give me as an example is the 6-day War. Why did the Arabs call it quits? Because they lost the battle? No. Because the World Government appeared before them. They saw it. It was tangible. White flag ensued. That's what the AKP guys kept giving me as an example. So, I guess the timing is important for them?

But my advice is that you shouldn't expect a regime change or a religious revolution from Erdogan. Nor should you expect an Ottoman Empire (Fuller's book, New Turkish Republic has different ideas) Erdogan's 'cause' is about something else.

He has nothing to do with wahabbis. That's UK-US-Israel's field of expertise.

He poses for you to have a look at. Erdogan, chief of staff general Akar, intelligence director Fidan. Where is this place? Imam Maturidi's tomb. Maturidism = Religion + Reason.

Here is the link for the photo. They are sending a message to those who can understand it.

http://icdn.ensonhaber.com/resimler/diger/erdogan_6067.jpg

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 26, 2018 3:23:58 PM | 116

An FYI--Adam Garrie has left The Duran and opened his own newszine, EurasiaFuture. Garrie posits in this article that Erdogan's invasion is doing the "dirty work" for both Syria and Russia. There are several other relevant items to this thread topic on its main page, too. While not as meticulous as Mercouris, Garrie exhibits the same passion for exposing the lies in search of the Truth. I hope my fellow barflies will find this new source useful!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 26, 2018 3:39:12 PM | 117

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 26, 2018 3:23:58 PM | 117

I like your post, but I do think it is a little difficult to understand for Westerners who don't know much. Could you explain more? For example, they don't know who Maturidi was.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 26, 2018 3:46:45 PM | 118

ConfusedPundit
What do you think of the attempted coup? Do you think Gulen was involved? Was USA involved?

Posted by: mauisurfer | Jan 26, 2018 4:04:57 PM | 119

b is on fire, thankfully his author’s block is released.

And there’s that other side of the coin. As always with Erdy, watch the money flow. How soon will NATO open the exit door?

ATimes’ David Goldman’s take on the under-reported new alliances.

America’s Syrian humiliation is worse than it looks

Turkey’s attack on US-backed Kurds this week comes as a new set of economic relationships emerges to bankroll Ankara's regional ambitions
http://www.atimes.com/article/americas-syrian-humiliation-worse-looks/


Turkey’s “Olive Branch” incursion against Kurdish positions in Northern Syria this week looked bad for Washington. It’s worse than it looks: Turkey cemented a new set of strategic and economic relationships after defying the United States, its erstwhile main ally. Ankara now has financial backing from China and Qatar and the strategic acquiescence of Russia and Iran. Most of all, it has the financial backing to pursue its regional ambitions.
[.]
Money is the decisive variable for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose domestic position depends on his ability to hand out economic benefits in the traditional style of third-world dictators. During 2016, Erdogan spurred Turkish banks to increase their lending to business and consumers, and set in motion a credit boom that inevitably led to a bigger trade deficit.[.]

Import booms driven by credit-fueled demand have been the undoing of Turkish markets in the past. This time is different. Turkish stocks have risen during the past month, right through the week of the “Olive Branch” offensive, and the cost of hedging the Turkish currency’s exchange rate has remained relatively low. The US-traded Turkish equity ETF, TUR, has climbed back to just below its high point of last August, while the cost of options on the Turkish lira (or implied volatility) remains at the low end of the range.[.]

The correlation of forces, as the defunct Soviet Union liked to call it, has shifted since last August, when the US and Turkey entered a diplomatic standoff over two relatively minor issues. Turkey arrested a Turkish national employed by America’s embassy in Ankara, and the US suspended the issuance of entry visas to Turkish citizens in retaliation. Meanwhile federal prosecutors in New York tried and convicted a vice-chairman of Turkey’s Halkbank with close ties to the Erdogan government. Turkish stocks plunged and the cost of currency hedging jumped in response.

With the attack on the American-allied Kurdish YPG militia in the northern town of Afrin last week, Turkey undertook a major military action in open defiance of Washington, and the markets didn’t notice. On the contrary, Turkish stocks rallied right through the offensive. Money is Erdogan’s scarcest strategic resource, and the continued flow of capital into Turkish markets is an important gauge of Turkey’s power.[.]

In the background to the Syrian incursion, Turkey flaunted its ties to its most important sources of money, namely Qatar and China. Qatar is the largest foreign investor in Turkey with more than $20 billion in commitments, with another $19 billion in the pipeline for 2018. Meanwhile Turkey has become the guarantor of the Qatari royal family’s security, with a new military base in the tiny country. Turkey backed Qatar during last year’s Gulf States boycott, airlifting food after Saudi Arabia closed its border.

Qatar meanwhile has started to buy large quantities of Chinese arms, especially missiles that could be directed against Saudi Arabia, and has brought People’s Liberation Army personnel to train its armed forces, a relationship put on display at a December military parade in the Qatari capital of Doha. That is noteworthy given the presence of America’s largest air force installation in the region, the Al Udeid Air Base, the principal US hub for US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Turkey meanwhile has reached a strategic accommodation with Russia over the future division of Syria: Turkey will abandon Sunni rebels whom it supported in the past in return for Russia’s forbearance while Turkey reduces Kurdish forces friendly to the United States. According to a Jan. 22 TASS press summary, Kirill Semenov, the head of the Islamic Research Center of the Institute of Innovative Development, explained: “Turkey’s operation in Afrin could have only happened as a result of agreements with the Russian side, particularly taking into account the fact that the Turkish air force used the Syrian air space.

Moscow’s permission should have been obtained to avoid incidents. Moscow had no commitments to the Kurds. The fact that the Russian military deployed observers in the area of Afrin earlier was a move for a further bargain with Ankara. Back then Turkey’s operation was not beneficial for Moscow, while now it can fault the United States for funneling weapons to the Kurds, turning them into an instrument of the American influence.”

China’s One Belt, One Road project acts like a magnetic field on the region: All of the players are lining up towards China, where Turkey and Iran see their economic future. China’s direct investment in Turkey remains relatively small, but Turkey will be a key node in China’s One Belt, One Road initiative. China is building new railway links to Turkey via Iran, and the Bank of China is financing infrastructure projects inside Turkey. China’s second-largest telecom equipment provider ZTE plans to make Turkey its regional technology hub.


Posted by: likklemore | Jan 26, 2018 4:16:45 PM | 120

Trump seems to sit back a bit and let the lackeys run with ideas to see what will float and what wont. That way he can dis-own a project if it wont float. From what I can make of it, the border force was a centcom idea.
Has been a bit in AMN about the arabs of Hasakah being a bit pissed off with it as well as Turkey.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 26, 2018 4:20:04 PM | 121

Dear Laguerre,

Maturid is a village in Samarkant, Turkistan.
Imam Maturid is a person who was born and burried in that village.
Turks belong to hanefi sect in Islamic practice and Maturidism in belief.

Maturidism = Religion and Reason together.
For example, you can decide what is good or bad,
what is right or wrong without needing any religious guidance.

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 26, 2018 4:43:52 PM | 122

Dear Mauisurfer,

I sometimes call it an 'attempted coup' too but actually it was a coup that failed.

The Gulen involvement? 200%
I don't care what the Turkish govt says about it or whether the U.S. govt. accept or deny it (but I didn't inhale!)

I'm speaking from personal experience!: Gulen + NATO coup 1 million%

My theory is that Gulen+PKK+ISIS (all of them were born at the same time decades ago) were created and nurtered to this day. It must have been for a master plan. I wonder for what?

I think something went wrong with the plan though.

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 26, 2018 5:07:29 PM | 123

ConfusedPundit | Jan 26, 2018 3:23:58 PM | 117

you are seem to be Politically Illiterate. Same for, Peter AU 1 | Jan 26, 2018 4:20:04 PM | 122

luckily there are some people who use the right and precise words.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48660.htm

Posted by: Partisan | Jan 26, 2018 5:10:11 PM | 124

@ 117 ConfusedPundit.. thanks! i am still in the dark about erdogan, but i appreciate your trying to enlighten me.. i realize he is not openly an advocate for wahhabism, but as i see it he was in bed with them - isis/alqaeda/alnusra- in his regime change for assad game plan... the idea that they walked into syria blindfolded - sounds good for selling to the locals politically, but frankly it is hard to buy that!! whenever a country - turkey - sends military gear, and allows for foreigners to cross its border into another country - syria - one has to question just how much of this was thru wearing a blindfold!!!

the picture is quite nice - that is in samarkand - quite beautiful!

as for graham fuller - he was an ex cia guy - he was teaching here in the vancouver area at simon fraser university... i do believe turkey still has a warrant out for his arrest..

thanks for sharing your viewpoint on the attempted coup... it reminds me of 9-11 in that it seemed tailor made to facilitate a number of actions that have led the west and turkey down a particular pathway that hasn't been to it's best interests.. well - that is how i see it, which makes both of these events look like inside jobs to me... we might have to agree to see it all differently here...
cheers and thanks for your posts and commentary!

Posted by: james | Jan 26, 2018 5:24:15 PM | 125

likklemore @121--

Thanks for posting that; it provides another piece of the puzzle.

Geneva's moved to Vienna and has become even more irrelevant with the leaking of a political settlement plan endorsed by Syria's main aggressor states. The comment about it by Bashar Jaafari pulls no punches:

"This in itself is like a black comedy which we are living in a new chapter of the conspiracy against Syria. How does a country like America – who created and sponsored Daesh (ISIS) terrorist organization, and is still fighting for it over the Syrian territory, a state that violates Syrian sovereignty by its military presence on its territory in flagrant defiance of all international covenants and laws – how can a state like this whose hands are covered in Syrian blood and has directly attacked Syria talk about the political solution and the future in Syria?

"How can countries such as Britain and France, who follow American policy like the blind leading the blind, envision of any solution or political horizon in Syria? And a state like Jordan, which hosts the secret military operations room and has opened its territory to terrorists from all directions and turned its territory into a safe haven for seven terrorist training camps to train and send them to Syria and other countries, how can it talk about sovereignty, politics, and participation in making a political solution in Syria?

"And last but not least, Saudi Arabia, the crown jewel, the epitome of democracy, the beacon of freedom in the East, the model of the rule of law, the example of constitutions and social justice, the oasis of good living and gender equality, the icon of elections and alternation of holding power, how can such a medieval country contribute to devising an advanced vision for a Syrian constitution? This rally[sic] is a black comedy."

What an excellent example of unmitigated gall by those who wrote that paper. Too bad so few will learn of its existence or of the outstanding response it was given.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 26, 2018 5:36:06 PM | 126

partisan
ˈpɑːtɪzan,ˌpɑːtɪˈzan/Submit
noun
1.
a strong supporter of a party, cause, or person.
"partisans of the exiled Stuarts"
synonyms: supporter, follower, adherent, devotee, champion, backer, upholder, promoter, fanatic, fan, enthusiast, stalwart, zealot, disciple, votary;
........... end of copy paste.

So what group are you partisan to?

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 26, 2018 5:45:48 PM | 127

@128 peter au - they make stupid statement which is hard to follow for me as well!

for anyone interested.. here is heather nauerts comments on the turkey afrin and etc question from yesterday... see the link for more.

https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2018/01/277697.htm

QUESTION: Can I have a quick one on Turkey about yesterday’s phone call between President Trump and Erdogan?

MS NAUERT: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, sure.

QUESTION: It seems that the Turks are telling – claiming there is a mischaracterization of the content of the call in the White House readout. What do you make of this claim from Turkey?

MS NAUERT: I think our – the call readout that was provided by the White House was very specific, it was very detailed, and it was firm. And I think it expressed both the President and the Secretary’s extreme concern about the situation in northwestern Syria, in the Afrin area. So I think they were clear about that. I think the President and the Secretary – as the Secretary has in recent calls with the foreign minister of Turkey – been very clear that we want a de-escalation of tensions. This is a part of Syria that had been relatively stable. Again, it’s Syria, but it had been relatively stable. And now we’re seeing something altogether different happen. We recognize and respect Turkey’s legitimate security concerns, their concerns about the PKK. Turkey is a NATO partner and ally, so we understand and respect that, but I want to make something clear, that we don’t have a U.S. presence in Afrin. Our U.S. presence is elsewhere. It’s more in the eastern part of the country, where we’ve been fighting – where we have been fighting ISIS. So we’re not a part of that. We work with the Syrian Democratic Forces in the eastern part of that country to fight ISIS. We continue to do that, so – and we encourage the Turks and everybody else to put the focus on ISIS and not other groups.

QUESTION: Heather, the Turkish foreign minister and other Turkish officials said publicly that Tillerson proposed this idea for a 30-kilometer buffer zone. Tillerson said, “I didn’t propose anything.” The Turks have come back and said no, really, you did. Do you have any clarity on – I mean, did they discuss it but it wasn’t a formal proposal, or – can you, like, parse that for us?

MS NAUERT: Yeah, and we put out some comments on this yesterday, and I want to talk a little bit about some of what the Secretary said. And he talked to I believe one of the pool reporters today when he landed in Davos. He said, “We discussed a number of possible options, but we didn’t propose anything.” So back to the readout for a second that was provided, we stand by the readout. We stand by the President’s assertion of cautioning Turkey about the escalation of tensions in the Afrin area, and then the Secretary I think has also been clear by saying, look, we discussed a range of options with the Turks.

QUESTION: Was the 30-mile or kilometer buffer zone one of them?

MS NAUERT: I don’t have that level of specificity that I can provide to you, but I think there was no formal proposal of anything. I think the Secretary was talking with Turkey – NATO ally – about hey, what do you all need, just as though he would talk to the Kurds, because he was speaking with Barzani today. So he’s talking with both sides about what they would all need.

QUESTION: The Turks are talking – you were saying that you’re not involved in Afrin, but they’re talking about moving on to Manbij, which – where there is a U.S. military base. Has the Secretary kind of drawn any red lines about where they can go?

Posted by: james | Jan 26, 2018 5:58:55 PM | 128

Maybe the Kurds are playing it quite smart. Their strategy is built on bargaining chips, especially with Russia. They aim to get a maximum federalist deal from the Syrian government with autonomy stretching to collecting their own taxes, much as the Basques in Spain achieved by bombing and the Catalans didn’t by being snowflakes. They are not falling for the US arm round their shoulders. They are merely using the US to get the deal they want. And who can blame them?

Posted by: Lochearn | Jan 26, 2018 6:33:55 PM | 129

@130 No doubt the Kurds have considered all the possibilities. The Syrian government will be agreeable to some kind of autonomy. It's already been discussed. But it's Turkey they have to come to terms with. As long as they have militant factions dreaming of Rojava they are going to have problems with the Turks.

Posted by: dh | Jan 26, 2018 7:22:08 PM | 130

ConfusedPundit

It’s interesting to hear a different point of view - and we at MoA are opened minded. But your support for Erdogan colors everything you say. There is no question of Erdogan’s complicity in the Syrian debacle. And no question of his abuse of power.

Your certainty of who is responsible for the “attempted coup” is amusing. “1 million%” . . . Really?! I hope you’ll understand that some of us are rather skeptical about how real the coup attempt really was.

Lastly, your comments wrt to Turkey’s reason and religion are notable. You strive to show this melding in practice with your examples of Kurds in Turkey’s government, Erdogen’s non-Wahabbism, and your own ability to “live anywhere” - even in Tel Aviv. Forgive me for thinking that this resembles Muslim Brotherhood BS. Did you know that Saudis initially supported MB?

<> <> <> <> <> <>

IMO Turkey isn’t leaving NATO anytime soon. Turkey needs NATO as a counterweight to Russia. Erdogan is adept at playing both sides and at playing on the fears of Turks.

Turkey’s antagonism toward the Kurds are one factor that cause them to embrace the ’Assad must go!’ Coalition. Isn’t it interesting that the attempted coup occurred just as the writting was on the wall for the demise of ISIS?

Also interesting that the ’Assad must go’ Coalition persists despite the defeat of ISIS and Putin/Assad having ‘won’. Why are they still putting resources into this failed effort? Many at MoA don’t give this fact the consideration that it deserves, choosing instead to ridicule the effort. AFAICT, the unholy alliance of neocons, Zionists, and Wahabbis view Syrian regime change as a fundamental, non-negotiable goal. They will not stop until it is achieved.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 26, 2018 8:28:13 PM | 131

@132 jr... i agree with you - "Why are they still putting resources into this failed effort? Many at MoA don’t give this fact the consideration that it deserves..." is it the same quantitatively? i am not sure they are pouring the same amount of money into it,but they might be.. it is hard to know... perhaps there is an endless supply of isis mercenary people willing to go to syria.. i am curious where the entrance point is, other then turkey? and of course this is where i question erdogans ongoing position here on all levels..

Posted by: james | Jan 26, 2018 8:46:20 PM | 132

Karlof1 @ 127

Many thanks for the link. Al-Jaafari pulled no punches. No need for a “/sarc “

I am keenly following the money flow and especially watching KSA. The Saudis will follow Qatar – into China’s arms. MbS’ shakedown of the Princes did not yield more than $100 billion, as per Bloomberg. Up next is the Aramco's IPO. The 9/11 families’ legal actions preclude Aramco’s listing on NYSE.

FT article is by subscription -
https://www.ft.com/content/42b521c0-b028-11e7-beba-5521c713abf4


October 13, 2017
Saudi Aramco is considering shelving plans for an international listing in favour of a private share sale to the world’s biggest sovereign wealth funds and institutional investors.
Talks about a private sale to foreign governments including China and other investors have gathered pace in recent weeks, according to five people familiar with the initial public offering preparations, amid growing concerns about the feasibility of an international listing.
The Saudi state oil company has struggled to select a suitable international venue for its shares, as New York and London have vied for what has been billed as the largest ever flotation.
The company would still aim to list shares on the kingdom’s Tadawul exchange next year if they pursue the private sale, the people said. No final decision has yet been made and an international listing could still occur next year. [.]

The latest proposal by the company’s financial advisers was described by one of the people as a “face-saving” option for Saudi Aramco, which has worked on plans to list its shares internationally for more than a year.

One person working for Saudi Aramco said that the Chinese government was close to playing a key role in any new plan.[.]


Aramco's IPO aside, following on China’s launch of the RMB-Gold Oil contract that is supported by Russia and Iran, KSA will soon put the final nail in the USD’s reserve status. KSA needs money flow and cannot afford to loose their share of China’s oil market. The by-passing of oil sales priced in USD ushers in a dangerous sequence of events; funding of Israel/U.S.A’s deficits, their overseas meddling and military occupations.

2018 = very interesting times.

Posted by: likklemore | Jan 26, 2018 9:02:05 PM | 133

@JR 132
Why are they still putting resources into this failed effort?
Because that's what they do, in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan -- they "put resources" which are taxpayer dollars going to the Lockheeds with Congress-critters, lobbyists and other insiders getting their cuts of the "put resources."

So don't think of it as an expense, that's not the way they look at it, all the way to the bank. And by the way Lockheed profits and share prices have never been higher, thank you very much.

Smedley Butler -- "War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives." -- General Smedley Butler, USMC, double recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

They will not stop until it is achieved.
--They won't achieve, and they won't stop.

Regarding Erdogan, I don't care if he's this way or that way. Regarding the Kurds, I couldn't care less. The bottom line is that Erdogan is forcing the US out of Syria, and perhaps he can do the same in Iraq. Let's hope so. ...Perhaps he can do Afghanistan too? /s

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 26, 2018 11:35:43 PM | 134

jackrabbit, you say to ConfusedPundit
"we at MoA "
please speak for yourself
you criticize the views about turkey of a man who lives in Turkey
have you lived there?
do you speak Turkish or any other language of Turkey?
do you read Turkish? read the turkish newspapers?
i don't know where you live, but suppose some foreigner who did not speak your language or the language of your government - and he had never lived there -suppose he criticized your view of your country, what would you think?
you seem so sure of yourself, wondering why/how

Posted by: mauisurfer | Jan 26, 2018 11:57:15 PM | 135

Through the nineties up until Russia moved into Syria, there was no international law, or at least nobody to uphold it. Similar to Russia in the nineties. Russia partially blocked a few US moves on its borders in the last decade, but that was about it.
Erdogan has now moved into the multi polar world, and is playing by the rules of the multi polar world, starting when he pulled jihadists from Aleppo. Erdogan may not be everyone's idea of the perfect specimen, but that's the multi polar world.
What Turkey does domestically is its own business.

Reading about Putin and the second Chechen war. Putin inherited a near totally corrupt military. To many to try and prosecute. He started by transferring officers off their dunghills - disrupting the scams. From what I have read, military, civilian admin, whatever, were all given a chance to mend their ways in the years after Putin came to power. If they mended their ways they were not prosecuted.
Will most likely be a similar system as the multi polar world starts to take shape.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 27, 2018 12:41:24 AM | 136

mauisurfer

I think you didn’t read carefully. I said: “we at MoA are open minded.” Otherwise I stated facts or spoke for myself, as proven by phrases like: “I hope you’ll understand ...”, and “forgive me for thinking ...”.

People come to MoA from all over the world to share views on governance and international affairs. Your criticism implies that only citizens of a country that live in that country should comment on that country. I don’t think that makes any sense.

And it is often the case that people of other countries can see more clearly or speak more freely about problems in a certain country.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 27, 2018 12:52:16 AM | 137

jackrabbit
i imply nothing
i just asked you simple questions
and you failed to answer any of them

Posted by: mauisurfer | Jan 27, 2018 1:09:06 AM | 138

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 27, 2018 12:41:24 AM | 137

"What Turkey does domestically is its own business."

Not if they want to join Europe. And not when Turkish people living in Europe are affected. And not when there is cooperation of Turkish secret service with European secret services (and people in Europe get killed). And not when they put Germans with Turkish roots into prison (and use refugees) to blackmail the German state.

It is not just a multipolar world it is also a global world. Human rights abuses in one part are felt in the other.

The interventionist and sanctioning crowd has given international solidarity a bad warmongering reputation.

It should be very simple. You do not sell weapons to crisis zones and suppressive states. You take in refugees. No country passes this test.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 27, 2018 1:17:39 AM | 139

There are a few things I definitely see different. Turkey did not flip sides because of
Erdogan’s whims. Review politics in Turkey, 2010-2016, and jt becomes clear that Erdogan
knew how to bend with the wind, but managed to get back straight to continue his long-term
held views on Turkey’s future. He was one of the earliest adopters of Eurasean idea,
and as the business community outside the Eurofanatical circles grew, so did the
economy improve. But NATO reared generals plotted more then once to have him
removed, but were caught, tried and jailed. Gulen and Soros funds were spent lavishly to
defear Erdogan, but failed. May of 2016 his wing of party won over Davutoglu, and the
government collapsed. That day, new Erdogan government changed position towards
Russia and Syria. A desparate effort to assasinate Erdogan in July 2016, did not suceed,
so the props that made it all look like a coup — fell without much fuss. The internal purges of
Gulen funded networks, Soros networks, their media, Universities, police and
prosecutors, and armies of NGO “activists” from left to right — after the coup no chances
are taken. Turkey is now on its way to move up the notch in Shanghai Cooperation
Organization, from partner to observer. In a year or two, both Iran and Turkey will
become full members. As the crisis with US is intensifying — Turkish stock market is
rising, currency unperturbed. And why not. Trade and political understanding with Russia
and China at all time high. Qatar is investing massive amounts in its economy. And
why not. Eurasian infrastructure and development plans, from Qatar and Iran, through
Iraq, Syria and Turkey will not be blocked by any pseudo-states on their borders. Central
Asia is looking forward to link up via Iran to Lersian Gulf, and via Iraq, Syria and Turkey, to
Mediterranean and Europe. Turkey is securing its position of energy hub, as Turkish
stream — from Russia to Turkey is being built. Turkry has been kept from partaking in
Eurasian development, a will no more. NATO made Turkish Army weak, poorly
trained and poorly equipped. This war is a project of modernizing Turkish army as well.
Chinese trading platform IT project in all languages of Silk Road is awarded to
Turkey. Chinese infrastructure projects are growing. Russian exports of wheat and imports
of Turkish vegeables and fruit is significant contribution to both food secutity and
export of vulnerable commodities to growing market.

Turkey for a long time accepted the fact that jt civilizationally did not belong to Europe.
The arrogance of the old world implies that Thrkey’s position would always remain
of the inferior partner.

Turkey has become integrated within its region, and has many more opportunities to
grow and build relationships. For example, it will rellace Saudi Arabia and US in Balkans,
where it will be accepted and welcomed by many partjes, wjth the exception of those
that relied in US funds. Funds Trump is incidentally cutting.

Thrkey needs stable Syria, not its territory. And since Kurds spurned Russian-Syrian
offer, a grinding conflict will exaust Kurds in Afrin, while Turkey will move on to Manbij,
and probably Raqqa, and all places occupied by Kurds where Arabs, Turkmen and
others are majority population. Kurds are already buying out Arabs that are in refugee
camps, while their relatives cannot come into Kurdish controlled areas without YPG
approval.

US got itself into nation building — again.
Turkey has no

Posted by: Bianca | Jan 27, 2018 1:52:21 AM | 140

somebody 140

I watch what Russia is doing in Syria. There at the request of the Syrian government, they have brought about a large number of ceasefires between Syrian government and various Syrian militant groups, acting as a mediator in negotiations. Destroying UN designated terrorist groups and any other group that refuses a truce and negotiations in preference to fighting alongside the UN terrorist groups.
Be good to think the example Russia is setting would take hold and spread to a few more countries.
Mediation to bring peace rather than destroying a country or indulging in regime change.
Turkey joining the EU in its current form cannot be considered a domestic situation.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 27, 2018 2:28:04 AM | 141

" As the crisis with US is intensifying — Turkish stock market is
rising, currency unperturbed. "

This is news to me.

Turkish stocks slump lira plunges after visa stand of with United States.

But you are right - this is not going to destroy Turkey. Turkey has always traded with all neighbours never mind the politics. Syrian and Iraq wars have cost Turkey's economy billions.

Erdogan (with Qatar) was part of Obama's Muslim Brotherhood strategy. The winds have shifted on that.

He is now in a position where he is trusted by no one. Obviously Turkey's strategic position is too important for anyone to stop relations.

Judging from this studiously objective RT report on the Afrin conflict Russia intends to be mediator.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 27, 2018 2:33:25 AM | 142

add to 143

China - Xinhua - thinks that Erdogan intends to win the next elections by shaking up AKP and being secular.

Would be nice if Erdogan got beaten by a "mythical she-wolf" though I am not sure her politics would be any better.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 27, 2018 2:45:46 AM | 143

"He is now in a position where he is trusted by no one.'

More a matter of understanding were Erdogan is headed than trust. There is no trust in geo-politics. Why Russia resumed dealing with Erdo after Turkey shot down their plane.

Bianca's post covered a lot

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 27, 2018 2:55:57 AM | 144

likkelmore 134

2018 - interesting times indeed. 75 % of U S navy will be in Chinese waters - in essence - by mid-year !

Posted by: ashley albanese | Jan 27, 2018 3:06:29 AM | 145

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 27, 2018 2:55:57 AM | 145

In successful geopolitics there is. Between war parties there is not.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 27, 2018 3:48:06 AM | 146

@Bianca

Your description appears to be accurate. It's pretty much describes the reality
and how people see things here.

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 27, 2018 4:05:57 AM | 147

@ Bianca | Jan 27, 2018 1:52:21 AM | 141
Nice to show this narrative. It is of course wishful thinking but good to see how they want to picture it. @ConfusedPundit: it is not the reality, but „how people see things“, - some (!) people. Yes, without Quatars investments Erdogan would be finished. But they did not, cannot, give enough.

@ somebody | Jan 27, 2018 2:45:46 AM | 144
This Aksener thing: Erdogan could do it until now because the MHP in person of Devlet Bahceli supported him when it got narrow. As a return service Erdogan used his non-independent law system to kill the opposition that Bahceli had in his own party. The MHP went South, does not function with this supporting role any longer. Bahcelis opponent Aksener founded a new rightist party. In spite of her Anti-Erdogan-rhetoric this party gets full support of the Erdogan media. What does that mean? In case of trouble, in the very last second, she will turn to support Erdogan and make the result irreversible. Its just a long-term trial of deception of the electorate. Without knowing all the necessary details all those figures except the HDP are under the remote stage direction of the republics deep state, yes, incuding the CHP. Change will not happen with this setting.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 27, 2018 4:37:59 AM | 148

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 27, 2018 4:37:59 AM | 149

You just ruled out 80 to 90 percent of the Turkish electorate :-))

I realize you like HDP but that does not mean you describe reality.

Your post above is also devoid of logic. If Aksener wins the presidential election uniting all the opposition to Erdogan - which seems to be within reach in the second round - why should she turn and support Erdogan?
Rather - will HDP and CHP support Aksener against Erdogan?

This here is Germany's Green party Heinrich Boell foundation on HDP's clash with reality - from 2015

The challenge for the HDP was and still is how to cater to such vastly different constituencies at the same time. How can it manage to appeal to conservative religious Kurds while at the same time fielding the first openly gay candidate? How can a party satisfy the demands of largely Kurdish peasants and an urban middle class simultaneously?

Posted by: somebody | Jan 27, 2018 5:04:16 AM | 149

add to 150
Aksener made clear that she would support any CHP candidate in the second round of the presidential election.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 27, 2018 5:09:47 AM | 150

likklemore @134:

I can't see KSA leaving the US/Israeli camp. I fully expect MbS to be replaced by MbN, if any moves are made to dethrone the USD.

Posted by: Ian | Jan 27, 2018 5:56:27 AM | 151

ashley albanese @146:

If the USD is dethroned, it wouldn't matter how much of the US Navy is relocated to East Asia.

Posted by: Ian | Jan 27, 2018 6:15:29 AM | 152

@ somebody | Jan 27, 2018 5:04:16 AM | 150

"You just ruled out 80 to 90 percent of the Turkish electorate :-))
I realize you like HDP but that does not mean you describe reality.“
Difficult to picture the political landscape there as the things that are today underground, not visible in the media, are at least as important as the visible ones. Remember Iran 1978 when Khomeiny came! There is one big party with 3 different right wings. It stands for the Kemalist republic, with the extension "nationalism plus islamism“ (AKP), "nationalism only" (Aksener) and "nationalism plus a tiny bit state-orientated leftist speech" (CHP). The alternative HDP stands for a different vision. The state as a vessel for different ethnic groups, minorities, religious believes etc., possible if the state is not based on 1 single "identity". Only the brutal repression of anything Kurdish made it possible that conservative religious Kurds could vote for a party that had openly gay candidates and even Roma candidates. They got a bit more than 10%, not much more than they are just there and may get a voice.
But enough to shake up things. Therefore Erdogan pushed for a second election. Controlling the media he realized that the only way the HDP could get a voice were huge gatherings. So in a way that cannot be detailed enough today these had to be stopped. The tools were suicide bombings. Organized by the deep state, somehow.
The potential of this "vision" is about 30%, raw guess. But it won't help the HDP too much. The big majority of its supporters have lost all hope in politics and is focussed on daily survival and having some fun in spite of incredible stupid daily challenges. In Iran and even in Syria it is similar as far as I know.
The trouble is that no serious political dialogue to solve problems can be established. The state does not bargain with terrorists.Ok. But this state has nourished the most brutal and barbaric terrorists that the planet has ever seen for some years, gave Sarin to them and supports them right now, whereas all claims against the YPG are not founded in a non-partial public enquiry until now. How ridiculous is this? Adn this state carefully maintains a situation where people are jailed just for discussing this problem.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 27, 2018 6:16:24 AM | 153

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 27, 2018 6:16:24 AM | 154

Talking to Turkish/Kurdish people in Germany they try to concentrate on human relations and not to label anyone.

My guess is PKK is just as deep state as ISIS. Just as the Turkish military in 1980 used extreme left and right wing groups to justify their rule. Just as the US (and others) use any movement willing to fight to destabilize a country, no matter what this movement stands for. It is a secret service toolbox.

What happened in Algeria in 1992 was not really discussed in Western media. It was the precursor of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria.

Or maybe you start from the view of the US.

The freest and fairest elections the Arab world has experienced in decades were Algeria’s 1990 local elections and first-round 1991 parliamentary elections. When the Algerian military staged a coup to halt the democratization process in 1992, the United States stood by helplessly. Algeria has made a mockery of American policies to promote security, economic change and freedom in the Arab world.

It does not seem a bug but a feature. This is Hamas election victory in January 2006.

We know how that ended. Accidentally in the summer of the same year, Israel attacked Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Turkish people know this context and they don't want to risk their state.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 27, 2018 6:45:52 AM | 154

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 27, 2018 6:16:24 AM | 154

Talking to Turkish/Kurdish people in Germany they try to concentrate on human relations and not to label anyone.

My guess is PKK is just as deep state as ISIS. Just as the Turkish military in 1980 used extreme left and right wing groups to justify their rule. Just as the US (and others) use any movement willing to fight to destabilize a country, no matter what this movement stands for. It is a secret service toolbox.

What happened in Algeria in 1992 was not really discussed in Western media. It was the precursor of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria.

Or maybe you start from the view of the US.

The freest and fairest elections the Arab world has experienced in decades were Algeria’s 1990 local elections and first-round 1991 parliamentary elections. When the Algerian military staged a coup to halt the democratization process in 1992, the United States stood by helplessly. Algeria has made a mockery of American policies to promote security, economic change and freedom in the Arab world.

It does not seem a bug but a feature. This is Hamas election victory in January 2006.

We know how that ended. Accidentally in the summer of the same year, Israel attacked Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Turkish people know this context and they don't want to risk their state.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 27, 2018 6:45:52 AM | 155

@ somebody | Jan 27, 2018 6:45:52 AM | 155
May well be like that. And that is the reason why so many young people in the NE have given up any hope on politics. Unless they are forced to fight for their life. Their opinion one cannot get via polling.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 27, 2018 6:54:41 AM | 156

@James

I take everything out of my pocket and put on the table. You count the marbles. I'm reporting. I'm not pretending that I'm a know-all.

I knew a Turkish lawyer in person, aka 'the AQ Lawyer' in the country, who defended AQ members in now defunct Turkish State Security Courts. He went to Syria right at the beginning of the war and he was killed quite soon after he entered into the Syrian soil.

I have a close friend (we were also partners in a business) who used to be a research assistant at a university in Istanbul. This lawyer, O.K., my other friend and I used to have long chats. When all 3 of us were together in a crowded area we always received double takes from people around us because:

O.K. had dark skin and a big black beard down to his chest, my other friend with pale skin, blue eyes and a sparse ginger beard and me clean shaved, white race, with European looks and dressed accordingly. It's just that you don't encounter such a mix here. Usually everybody hangs out with his own kind.

Back then the AQ guys taught Erdogan served the interests of USrael. Today the AQ guys are accused of serving Usrael.

BTW, I also spent a lot of time with the Ergenekon people who were jailed by the Gulenists with Erdogan's help. I attended their meetings because I was invited by my friends. Virtually every person in the last meeting got arrested. Army intel guys, Kemalists, ex officers they all went to jail.

I also spent a lot of time with the Gulenists. I have lots of memories with them too.

I mean, can you imagine it, everybody was on the look out for reqruits. I didn't get involve in their adventures. I did, however, warn my friends in each group that what they were doing was no good for the country. I cut my contact with them. I met them many years later. They all admitted I had foresight and that I was right but despite their admittance I think they are indoctrinated, they are ready for recycling, to be used in a new project.

Erdogan did the same. He worked with everybody but never got involved with their affairs wholeheartedly. Thus he survived. Well, I think so.

I walk in the streets and I take a look at the media in front of me. I put 2&2 together and it's 4. But it's 5 in the media and it's 3 in the streets. Do you see what I mean?

I live in Turkey, it's a hot place, it's a construction yard, everything is unfinished, I can't quiet tell what's going to come out of this construction, a mosque, a mall, a military complex, hotel? An EU country? An ME country? An independent state? A vassal?

Therefore you always bump into somebody who prefers one building to the other. Erdogan is the construction manager, he needs workers, engineers, architects. He'll employ the AQ guys too. He'll work with the Russians too. He won't be pally with the US & EU anymore though. Not for the time being. The US&EU plate has danger sign on it. It's not just Erdogan the Little Red Riding Hood, the Kemalists, the ordinary people, nobody trusts the US&EU anymore. Turkey has been lost. Forever? Well, would the US&EU change their policy? I don't think so. It is more likely that they'll try to break the country apart. The only option. That's how you win Turkey back, in pieces.

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 27, 2018 7:06:46 AM | 157

Dear Jackrabbit

You are confusing the pundit. LOL.

"But your support for Erdogan colors everything you say."

No I don't support Erdogan.

1) I support his policies provided that they suit me. I don't think you can find anything wrong with that.

2) I was in the streets, from day 1, protesting against his policies, during Gezi, Taksim, Istanbul riots. I stopped protesting after I saw a German pianist in the middle of Taksim Sq. For piano isn't an Anatolian instrument. Also, Germans need help themselves first. Germany doesn't belong to Germans. I also am very curious as to why the richest guy in Turkey, an anti-Erdogan Globalist, he has a friendly photo with Mr. D. Rockefeller, helped the protestors by letting his son set up an HQ in his beloved luxury hotel? Good samaritan? LOL. Erdogan almost got toppled. The business family lost 3 govt. bids as a punishment? 1) MILGEM national naval ship project 2) Altay national tank project 3) Highway toll collection project. The son is now trying to chair the biggest football club in Turkey which Gulenists failed to take over. See if he will succeed. The grandfather (now deceased) and the then head of the Turkish intel received GULEN when he began his journey at the age of 20. Gulen gave his first sermon in a 3-minaret mosque (indicating a sabbatean mosque) the business family is also accused of being a sabbatean family.

My view over all these? I'm not an expert. I'm just a sceptical person myself. I'm merely reporting things to you.

"Your certainty of who is responsible for the “attempted coup” is amusing. “1 million%” . . . Really?! I hope you’ll understand that some of us are rather skeptical about how real the coup attempt really was."

No probs. We'll have to agree to differ. I'm 3 million% sure that there is a 1million% Gulen+NATO (an some more specific parties too) involvement in the coup. Be warned, I'll raise the bet further until you give up. LOL.

"Lastly, your comments wrt to Turkey’s reason and religion are notable. You strive to show this melding in practice with your examples of Kurds in Turkey’s government, Erdogen’s non-Wahabbism, and your own ability to “live anywhere” - even in Tel Aviv. Forgive me for thinking that this resembles Muslim Brotherhood BS. Did you know that Saudis initially supported MB?"

I'm aware of the MB issue. I'm not a member nor am I a sympathiser. I'm not religious either. But which brotherhood would you want Erdogan to be part of? He is rather friendly with the British these days.


"IMO Turkey isn’t leaving NATO anytime soon. Turkey needs NATO as a counterweight to Russia."

Turks had enough with the NATO. It's not up to Erdogan to decide whether Turks get out or not. But I agree with you, it's not an easy goal to reach anytime soon. Let's say eventually they will. The Turks gained nothing from the NATO. The EU should have their own army or get US protection and pay for it. It's their problem.

"Erdogan is adept at playing both sides and at playing on the fears of Turks."

LOL. He is a politician. He is the current ruler. He is good at it too. What about his counterparts in the West? The guys in the West will have to come a step forward too.
You can't tell the German public that the Turkish intel is at work if your NGOs are having a field day in Turkey. You can't scream your heads off if there are terrorist attacks in the EU if you support terrorist attacks in Turkey. The whole country here thinks after Turkey got hit by a series of bombs Erdogan retaliated by bombing the EU back. Is there any truth in that? I'm just reporting the sentiments of the ordinary people in the streets.

People here piss themselves with laughter when they see Netanhayu is kept waiting outside #10 and the same people go WOW! the Israelis showed them who the real boss is when they hear about car attacks in London. Nonsense? But these are ordinary people with antennas fully extended as if they are journos or intel personnel. Even the simple people are talking about conspiracy theories. It goes to show that at least there is some kind of 'awareness' amongst people whether or not they hit the nail on the head. To me it is a sign that there is communication between the govt and the people in Turkey despite the heavy propaganda coming from the 'enemy' side to distrupt it.

Do you get what I mean?

"Turkey’s antagonism toward the Kurds are one factor that cause them to embrace the ’Assad must go!’ Coalition. Isn’t it interesting that the attempted coup occurred just as the writting was on the wall for the demise of ISIS?"

So what does that mean? How do we interpret that?

"Also interesting that the ’Assad must go’ Coalition persists despite the defeat of ISIS and Putin/Assad having ‘won’. Why are they still putting resources into this failed effort? Many at MoA don’t give this fact the consideration that it deserves, choosing instead to ridicule the effort. AFAICT, the unholy alliance of neocons, Zionists, and Wahabbis view Syrian regime change as a fundamental, non-negotiable goal. They will not stop until it is achieved."

I wrote here earlier. My opinion is this: Had Erdogan said no to the anti-Assad coalition before the war started, the Gulenists were in power then, he would've been toppled, he would've been lynched like Gadaffi right there and then. Thus he was the most outspoken Anti-Assad leader on the planet. He had to be. Taqiyyah. He waited, and took his position, got prepared, and then challenged the Gulenists. That's what people started to think here too.

Thanks for reading. Regards.

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 27, 2018 9:53:02 AM | 158

No Kurds in Anatolia before the 16th century? I have always assumed that the Kardouchoi mentioned in Xenophon's Anabasis are the Kurds.

Posted by: lysias | Jan 27, 2018 10:45:21 AM | 159

@159 I'm not sure how Alexander handled the Kurds but the German police are busy with demonstrations. Even some Ocalan flags. No backlash from Turks yet.

https://sputniknews.com/europe/201801271061121080-afrin-protests-europe/

Posted by: dh | Jan 27, 2018 11:05:24 AM | 160

ConfusedPundit

Thanks for your reply.

Your view of Erdogan as just another politician seems wrong-headed. He is now virtually a dictator via his emergency powers. It seems to me that he strives toward such power for his entire career.

The apparent coup attempt could be entirely fake - just like the example that you give of keeping Netanyahu waiting. After the ’Assad must go!’ Coalition’s support for ISIS was revealed by the Russians, they needed a group that they could support overtly. The Kurds were the obvious choice. But how to win them over? Why would the Kurds join with the group of countries that had covertly support ISIS?

Erdogan was a full-on supporter of the ’Assad must go!’ Coalition. So much so that he attacked, or allowed an attack upon, a Russian warplane. This trusted alley was endangered by the Russian sanctions which cost the Turkish economy billions of dollars every year. A Turkish military coup (which Turkey has a history of) was possible - with unknown consequences.

A fake coup would allow trusted ally Erdogan to remain in power - and even extend his power. And his continuing antagonism toward the Kurds allowed the ’Assad must go!’ Coalition to position themselves as protectors of the Kurds.

Some might say that this scenario is preposterous but we have seen such false flag fakery and pysops several times in the last few years.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 27, 2018 11:45:22 AM | 161

@140 somebody

Respectfully, I have to disagree with the "we are all one people" stuff.

This is the typical well-meaning globalist/apologist garbage. Bleeding hearts are exactly the medium in which globalist purveyors manufacture your consent. Turkey can do anything it wants just as Europe can do anything it wants to counter Turkey's threats of opening up the floodgates; namely, increase their border security. It is PRECISELY the globalist experiment of the EU that has given the upper hand to Turkey to exploit their open borders. No one would be talking about refugees and swelling violence in multicultural states if the nation state had not been usurped by touchy-feely, do-gooders who wanted to save the world.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jan 27, 2018 12:15:26 PM | 162

@157 confusedpundit... thanks for your comments once again! - okay, i think i hear what you are saying.. erdogan would use anyone and he is a political player changing his stripes as need be.. okay... that comes across as someone who is not be be trusted!!!! he is a survivor.. i get it.. thanks cp - i really appreciate your perspective here and your taking the time to articulate it!

Posted by: james | Jan 27, 2018 12:32:48 PM | 163

@ NemesisCalling | Jan 27, 2018 12:15:26 PM | 162

Respectfully, anything else availabe than this well known narrative? And let us know please where this „swelling violence in multicultural states“ is. In Germany the boulevard print media seem unchanged. Same stories 40 years before. So what?

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 27, 2018 12:45:36 PM | 164

Dear Jackrabbit,

You can, if you must, cling to the 'Fake Coup' claim.

I'll have to make an urgent call to Houston and say 'we have a problem!'

Because you are lagging behind.

The international (and their local advocates) Anti-Erdogan clique have downgraded their claim to some 'controlled coup' idea.

They claim Erdogan knew in advance that the coup was about to take place and didn't prevent it on purpose and hence hundreds of people died and thousands got wounded. In short, Mr. Erdogan you are GUILTY! (again! poor guy! LOL)

What about me Jackrabbit? What should I make of this? I'm trying to play fair. What would anybody, any educated person, any open minded person would think if they were in my shoes? From this angle?

Well actually I can accept the new version partially, yes, we knew there would be a coup, because the Gulenists were making threats every minute.

Chronology of the US+NATO coup (failed) in Turkey.

BEFORE THE COUP

'You'll be busted in bed at dusk and be hanged at dawn' A Gulenist journo. Fugitive. Had he been caught he would've resumed his title internationally as an innocent journo jailed by the dictator.
'I wish I was a colonel' A Gulenist TV reporter. Where is he now?
'Wait for the hot summer' He is in the USA swearing at Erdogan daily.

DURING THE COUP
USA: Erdogan fled the country
Stratfor: tweets false info live or every minute (normally they tweet 1 or 2 times a day)

Julian Assange
@JulianAssange
"The most serious case of recent fake news is not on Trump's #FakeNewsAwards list. NBC substantially assisted the military coup in Turkey which killed hundreds. NBC falsely reported, citing a "senior U.S. military source", that Erdoğan had fled the country."

AFTER THE COUP
Fake Coup! Dictator Erdogan! - chorus.

1 YEAR AFTER THE COUP
Controlled Coup

Jack

This is another US+NATO 'But I didn't inhale' case.

I know who did what 2 SUMMERS AGO.

I'm OK with false 'fake coup' claims, we are used to it by now.
Just don't say Erdogan also killed the President Kennedy and Julius Caesar.
I'd fall off my chair. LOL.

I think you should review the case with an open mind.

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 27, 2018 12:48:11 PM | 165

the coup against Erdogan had been real, then Erdogan - who gained nearly total power after the coup - would be incentivized to act in a way that advances the interests of his new Russian/R+6 friends and against the interests of the ’Assad must go!’ Coalition

Easing tensions with the Kurds would have helped promote Syrian reconciliation (as Assad urges) and thereby given the Kurds no reason to turn to the ’Assad must go!’ Coalition.

I have no direct evidence of collusion. We will see how the current conflict plays out. If fake coup then Erdogan will back-down. His excuse will be something like the following: he accomplished his goals by giving the Kurds a bloody nose in Afrin and getting US to commit to disarming them; U.N. says that Turkey must cease its attack; or both. However, in reality Erdogan will have gained little except proving his (pretended) loyalty to Russia (thus the term “olive branch”) and reinforcing Kurdish reliance on the ’Assad must go!’ Coalition - which probably means no Kurdish participation at Sochi: THAT is a strategic ‘win’ for the ’Assad must go! Coalition!

Erdogan will not leave NATO anytime soon. He is perfectly positioned now with a foot on both sides of the Western-Eastern divide. But where does his heart and loyalties lie? With Russia or the Sunni Islamists? I would argue the latter.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 27, 2018 12:57:40 PM | 166

ConfusedPundit

There was talk of a ‘controlled coup’ within weeks of the apparent coup attempt (not 12 months later) because there were several things that didn’t add up, causing speculation of a fake coup within days of the event.

Only much later did it become clear how Erdogan’s association with R+6 and his animosity toward the Kurds would help ’Assad must go!’ to reorient from covet support of ISIS to overt support of Kurds.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 27, 2018 1:20:23 PM | 167

@165 meister

Ok...how bout this? Do you think Erdogan would have supported the jihadists in Syria if the borders to Europe would have been secure? I don't think the Turks would have been too keen on fanning the flame of a conflict if that meant they would have been the primary relocating source of those displaced. He has continually used the threat of opening the floodgates to Europe as extortion to the EU. I guess you need a little more time to see the destructive force of rehousing refugees in welcoming countries. Right-wing swelling = more ammunition for the globalists to double-down on their one-world narrative. But please...enjoy the fireworks.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jan 27, 2018 1:25:28 PM | 168

@165 meister

I suppose the myriad rape-cases and no-go zones I have been reading about might have been from other countries other than Germany. I also concede that those stories might be right-wing propaganda. But as my bias leads me to infer the destructive aspect of globalist/no-border policy, I err on a more conservative approach of taking care of your own people first. And so that is where my heart lies.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jan 27, 2018 1:29:19 PM | 169

NemesisCalling
if you are seriously interested in the claims of refugee crimes in Germany, please read recent article in Spiegel, they did an extensive investigation here:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/is-there-truth-to-refugee-sex-offense-reports-a-1186734.html

Posted by: mauisurfer | Jan 27, 2018 1:39:39 PM | 170

@ NemesisCalling | Jan 27, 2018 1:29:19 PM | 170
For sure the presence of young refugees, especially when they are in encampments and not spread in villages and townships, has made the risks bigger. To which amount it worked out in reality is difficult to access. - But the main thing in Germany is the rise of alt right hate speech in social media, mostly done with an incredible language. They simply hope to gain from hateful propaganda against refugees while refusing any responsibility for the presence of those refugees. Germany is heavily engaged in the attack on Syria, indirectly. Whatever: Mrs. Merkel acts on behalf of all Germans, like it or not. - Of course Turkey hosts much bigger numbers of them and has a much higher burden from it. People are more and more upset about it. But they cannot express it in their local media.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 27, 2018 1:42:23 PM | 171

NemesisCalling

you say

> No one would be talking about refugees and swelling violence in multicultural states if the nation state had not been usurped by touchy-feely, do-gooders who wanted to save the world.

Do you consider Cheney to be a " touchy-feely, do-gooder"?

Seriously, it was the neocons headed by Cheney that perverted the USA govt analysis and actions in Iraq.

And it was Iraq that opened the floodgate of refugees to EU and Syria and anywhere else they might survive.

Yes, Hillary did her damnedest destroying Libya, and Syria, but she is clearly in a distant second place
in the contest for who is most dangerous american warmonger.

Posted by: mauisurfer | Jan 27, 2018 1:47:44 PM | 172

Pepe Escobar reports on Erdogan's 'Olive Branch' operation

quote
From Ankara’s perspective, this implies there will be no US-backed Syrian Kurd statelet. In turn, this is bad news for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which trusted Washington’s balkanization gambit and were trained by US special forces.

If that was not bad enough, the SDF is also accusing the Russians of treason. NATO’s southern command is in disarray, with question marks hanging over the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. The US needs Ankara’s cooperation to use it.

NATO also needs Turkey for access to the Black Sea for any future operations against Russia and Crimea. What is absolutely certain is that the Sochi Three – Russia, Iran and Turkey – have all agreed that Washington should have no influence in Syria.

http://www.atimes.com/article/turkey-plays-latest-card-new-great-game/

Posted by: mauisurfer | Jan 27, 2018 1:53:32 PM | 173

@ mauisurfer

All of those you mentioned are globalist-schemers who are as far away from patriots as anyone could fathom.

I would never be caught defending any of those assholes. I hope Cheney sees a blinding light on his deathbed and weeps for the truth of what his hand has wrought.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jan 27, 2018 1:57:03 PM | 174

ashley albanese 146

2018 - interesting times indeed. 75 % of U S navy will be in Chinese waters - in essence - by mid-year !

At least they won't be in the Persian Gulf or thereabouts . . . . maybe.

Posted by: sleepy | Jan 27, 2018 2:02:50 PM | 175

ConfusedPundit
I just want to say that I appreciate your perspective on Turkey, where you live and actually read and write Turkish (and perhaps other languages also spoken there?).
Your nuanced views are a valuable escape from the groupthink which controls USA msm, and is also presented by some commenters here at MOA as "real truth".
For some years I have read about a "deep state" in Turkey, about Ocalan, about Gulan, and found most journalism/analysis was "thin porridge" topped with ignorance and/or a hidden agenda.
Mahalo

Posted by: mauisurfer | Jan 27, 2018 2:03:31 PM | 176

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 27, 2018 12:57:40 PM | 167

If fake coup then Erdogan will back-down
---------------------------------------------

The coup was not fake, and, thanks to Ramzan Kadyrov and Putin Erdogan was able swiftly shut down the Incirlik base and Turkish Airspace and save many many lives.

This statement from Turkey, I believe, may help answer your above question.

US troops must leave Syria’s Manbij – Turkey’s Foreign Minister

https://www.rt.com/news/417159-turkey-us-warning-manbij/

Posted by: 07564111 | Jan 27, 2018 2:06:02 PM | 177

@ 172 meister

I agree. When one sees a Catholic or a Muslim have 14 kids, our first instinct is to say: For the love of God, "STOP BREEDING!" I belive we say this because we know of a parenting limit whereby if you surpass that limit, it gets a lot harder to keep them all occupied and out of trouble.

The same could be said of Europe's brain dead policy of limitless acceptance of refugees and adopting welfare for them. I don't want to accept that all browns are rapists. That is a horrendously stupid stance. But you can see how inviting this problem might also give rise to reactionaries and violence. I think this is a strategy of globalists. And it proves just how stupid they really are.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jan 27, 2018 2:06:47 PM | 178

Bloomberg op-ed wants the US dump the Kurds and back Turkey's invasion

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-01-24/the-u-s-has-to-back-turkey-in-syria

It may be that they're happy with chaos since much of their global strategy seems to be based on denying or disrupting territorial access (A2AD) for China and Iran.

Posted by: Les | Jan 27, 2018 2:08:08 PM | 179

97564111

LOL!

The Turks are far from taking Afrin but they are threatening a clash with US over Manbij.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 27, 2018 2:34:24 PM | 180

@Confused Pundit #158 - "I walk in the streets and I take a look at the media in front of me. I put 2&2 together and it's 4. But it's 5 in the media and it's 3 in the streets."

Brilliant description of today's times that I shall always remember, thank you.

#159 - "Taquiyah"

I didn't know the word - again, thank you. I don't put much stock into what people used to think or say in the past, because these things change for both practical and even authentic reasons. I care more about where someone is right now, and how one is acting right now.

I love the Turks, as it happens, as brothers and sisters from a visit I once made there, and I'm rooting for their future in a stable country. But I get what you're saying about how things are, and I understand that the game being played inside of Turkey is life or death, with little room to make mistakes. I always heard that Erdogan is a consummate politician, and because of his unskillful foreign actions in recent years we tend to overlook his domestic mastery.

And yet, as to his unskillfulness, look how masterfully he played the alignment with Qatar. Now its investment, and China's to come, begins to cement the Turkish gaze to the east.

What I have seen of Erdogan in recent years has shown me a man who is changing. He has been keeping excellent company in the last year or two. This must change him, for the better. Not everyone thinks a man like that can change, but I see that realpolitik can change a nation's leaders as it shifts, and also that people themselves can change, from the influence of their new times.

I have great hopes that the Afrin campaign, with all the ups and downs that are yet to play out in this move, will strengthen Turkey and Erdogan in its re-centering into a Turkish world, equidistant from Asia and Europe. I think it must, and that even the making of the first move was a step towards Turkey the Rock, a regional superpower, bridging Asia and Europe, filled with its own culture and sense of world, desiring no new territory, accommodating no infringement.

This is what I hope for Turkey, and the things that I see encourage me in this hope.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 27, 2018 2:36:54 PM | 181

@ rabbit

He has no need to take any place..he shows the Kurds the bus they are about to be thrown under...perception, leading to clarity of thought is everything, the Kurds will soon understand.

Posted by: 07564111 | Jan 27, 2018 2:53:16 PM | 182

Those who cheer Turkey’s apparent move away from the West promote the view that USA support for Kurds is total and unconditional and includes support for a Kurdish state. I don’t see that.

If USA wanted to support a Kurdish state they could’ve supported the Iraqi Kurds toward that end. But USA did not do so.

SDF is Kurds and/ Sunni tribes and the territory that SDF controls is much larger than Kurdish areas.

What the Kurds bring is much greater legitimacy for the ’Assad must go!’ Coalition.

US support for SDF necessarily entails support for Kurds but not in a way that is necessarily counter to Turkey’s interests. Thier goal is Syrian regime change NOT a Kurdish state.

With this in mind, Erdogan’s tough talk can be seen as bluster. He will NOT change US strategy by attacking Afrin.

How far will Erdogan go? Will he back-down after apparent ‘concessions’ from USA or will he risk a clash and expulsion from NATO? What happens over the next weeks may reveal how ‘real’ the coup attempt really was.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 27, 2018 3:03:57 PM | 183

The ’Assad must go!’ Coalition may have promised the Kurds that they will support a Kurdish State but ONLY after Syrian regime change.

Reiterating: Kurds pulling out of Sochi talks is a strategic win for the ’Assad must go!’ Coalition. Who else will pull out at the last minute?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 27, 2018 3:13:24 PM | 184

In the afternoon of the coup day a very high ranking guy from the military showed up at MIT and talked about strange things that are in the make, may be a coup trial. From this moment on MIT (and Erdogan) knew about this. As fas as I remember this guy was witness at a court. there was an article about it even in a Turkish newspaper, as far as I remember in the English version of Hürriyet. Conclusions everybody may draw for himself. - The practical second use of this coup trial eveybody may view as well.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 27, 2018 3:15:20 PM | 185

@ rabbit

Expulsion from NATO would suite Russia and China just fine, it would not, however, suite the West to loose the NATO bases in Turkey. Additionally such a move would only hasten the expulsion of US forces in Pakistan...watch the big board, Turkey is but 1 piece on that board.

You did read of course of the new Chinese buildings in Afghanistan ;)

Posted by: 07564111 | Jan 27, 2018 3:17:00 PM | 186

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jan 27, 2018 12:15:26 PM | 163

I don't buy "anti-globalist" rethoric from people who don't wear a single piece of cloth that was produced regionally, who eat food with ingredients from all over the world, use a computer and mobile with parts from Asia and spend their holidays where the sun is.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 27, 2018 4:57:20 PM | 187

add to 188

ah, I forgot - and who post on a blog by a German in English.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 27, 2018 5:08:19 PM | 188

@188 somebody

That is silly. Like saying you can't be catholic if you oppose some policies from the Vatican.

The fact is, trade with other countries does not have to be self-defeating or benefit the elites wxclusively. That being said, an uptick in nationalism might mean more local goods, or at least the ability of local goods to compete with Chinese stuff.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jan 27, 2018 5:09:40 PM | 189

07564111: Turkey’s] Expulsion from NATO would suit Russia and China just fine . . .

But there would be economic consequences for Turkey that would be greater than Russia’s smack-down of Turkey after their warplane was shot down. EU is by far Turkey’s largest trading partner.

And, as a supporter of Turkey, Qatar might be targeted also.

So how far will Erdogan go? IMO far enough to please Russia but not so much that he puts Turkey in jeopardy with US/NATO/EU.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 27, 2018 5:31:21 PM | 190

@ 191

But there would be economic consequences for Turkey that would be greater than Russia’s smack-down

From whom would these consequences come ?

The US is the only place who could do it, and, which would again show, just how little the US can be trusted..see, it that word 'Perception' again ;)

If the EU went that road he could, if he wished to send back some consequences by opening the gates and send those refugees he has right back at them. So yeah, those 'consequences' you speak of are a 2 edged blade, and I think the EU would blink first. What they will not do is take any action against Turkey that involves force because that would set the EU on fire.,..and they well know that for a fact.

Posted by: 07564111 | Jan 27, 2018 5:45:42 PM | 191

Let me make some provocative statements and questions in order to reach some logical and rational conclusions :

1. Only as a vassal has Turkey any worth for the US.

As a vassal, Turkey is the cannon fodder of the US on Russia's southeastern front. As a non-vassal, Turkey naturally will have no interest whatsoever in becomming the cannon fodder. Consequentely the US wont be able to enforce it's will to Russia as easy as before.

2. What will a major power (US) do if it has decided that it is losing it's grip on its vassal (Turkey) ?

Posted by: redrooster | Jan 27, 2018 6:37:15 PM | 192

Dear mauisurfer 177,

Thank you. I like MOA. I'm a veteran surfer. I've come across countless websites but I've never left comments on any of them. I'm annoyingly picky so obviously there is something here that really attracts me.

Dear Grieved WOW!

I trust your judgement. I'm not on Erdogan's political side but I have to admit he did far more than anybody else for his country. He is also very influencial abroad. But he is in trouble. As for Afrin, the Turks will win the battle. The Coalition for Occupation (on behalf of some guys who lay low) will leave Northern Syria unless they are determined to build a pipeline from Kirkuk and Deir Zor through Jordan (now began to have problems) to Israel (they are the guys who pretend to lay low, LOL!) That's what people think in Turkey.

Dear Hausmeister,

Correct. But the reason is that the Gulen organisation is a secretive one. Nobody knew who was a Gulenist. 1 Gulenist knew only 3 other Gulenists. Even if you catch one, you can catch 3 more at max. Even if one of the 3 talked he could give you 3 more names. The 'controlled coup' idea sounds viable from this perspective. The govt didn't know what to do and since they knew it was coming they waited until the last moment. Honey trap. All Gulenist vampires came out and the govt. let the sunlight in.

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 27, 2018 7:21:25 PM | 193

Dear Jackrabbit,

The ’Assad must go!’ Coalition you are talking about is called the Occupation Forces here. Nobody wants them in the region. SDF? It's called the PKK here. SDF is a psyop term nobody takes seriously anymore. Did the PKK (SDF-YPG-PYD) or whatever you call them, kill the leaders of the Kurdish parties in the region? Yes they did. Did the PKK/SDF/YPG/PYD commit ethnic cleansing in the region? Yes they did. Nobody believes the CFR/US/Globalist/EU/NATO propaganda anymore. US Strategy? What strategy? Our TVs are full of hilarious Baghdad, oops, U.S. Bobs. No govt. staff knows what they are saying. Special Envoy Brett Mcgurk says something, State Dept. Nauret says something else. Potus says something, Pentagon spokesperson says something else, Centcom says something, Tillerson says something else. There is no U.S. Strategy. There is no STATE, Gaddafi's tent was more formal than the U.S.A. as a state!! People are laughing at the mighty old U.S.A.

The U.S. has lost it's ally for good? I don't know. It looks like it did. What are you going to do, give the TERROISTS (the state dept called them 'the PKK' on TV) more AT4s? so that they kill more Turks? It is illegal to work with terrorists according to the U.S. laws! Make up your mind! It is OK to start a war, you can say you felt like declaring a war against bad guys or something like Ragnar did but not like this! Even the 'look I found Mohammed Atta's passport so lets nuke Iraq and Afghanistan' story was more credible. This time it's even more ridiculous! No, the Turks and the Americans will not clash. Watch the Turkish TVs, the Turks are giving different, read between the lines messages. The messages are directed to the puppetmasters, they are not for the Americans.

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 27, 2018 7:37:24 PM | 194

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jan 27, 2018 5:09:40 PM | 190

This is the case if by "policies" you mean policy statements by the pope.

"The fact is, trade with other countries does not have to be self-defeating or benefit the elites wxclusively. That being said, an uptick in nationalism might mean more local goods, or at least the ability of local goods to compete with Chinese stuff."

Paying for local goods means paying local wages. You can't have national production with high wages and at the same time low prices when wage earners consume the stuff that is produced locally.

It is economy 1x1. Or if you prefer, simple logic.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 27, 2018 7:45:44 PM | 195

@188 "I don't buy "anti-globalist" rethoric from people who don't wear a single piece of cloth that was produced regionally, who eat food with ingredients from all over the world, use a computer and mobile with parts from Asia and spend their holidays where the sun is."

Economic globalization doesn't equal political globalization. Enjoying varying degrees of cross-border trade doesn't necessarily mean one must approve of the EU superstate, neoliberal global corporate governance, the neocon dream of benevolent global hegemony, or US full-spectrum dominance.

Posted by: Ben Zanato | Jan 27, 2018 7:49:28 PM | 196

JackRabbit
you say
" EU is by far Turkey’s largest trading partner."
Wondering what your source is for that?

Wiki says:

"Turkey's exports were $143.5 billion in 2011 and reached $163 billion in 2012 (main export partners in 2012: Germany 8.6%, Iraq 7.1%, Iran 6.5%, UK 5.7%, UAE 5.4%). However, larger imports which amounted to $229 billion in 2012 threatened the balance of trade (main import partners in 2012: Russia 11.3%, Germany 9%, China 9%, US 6%, Italy 5.6%)"

Posted by: mauisurfer | Jan 27, 2018 8:52:21 PM | 197

mauisurfer

Wikipedia is the best that you could do?

Turkey has a long-standing customs union with EU (since 1996).

2016 Turkey Trade Statistcs

Scroll down to chart of “Major Export Markets”. 47% of exports are to EU. The next closest is “Near and Middle Eastern countries” at 22%. Then comes “Other European countries” [Ukraine, Russia, Belarus] and “Other Asian countries”, each at 6.8%.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 27, 2018 9:37:58 PM | 198

I said quite simply:
"Wondering what your source is for that?"
you replied:
"Wikipedia is the best that you could do?"
I like to discuss facts, I do not engage in ad personam pissing contests.

quote:
Below is a list showcasing 15 of Turkey’s top trading partners in terms of export sales. These are countries that imported the most Turkish shipments by dollar value during 2016. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Turkish exports.

Germany: US$14 billion (9.8% of total Turkish exports)
United Kingdom: $11.7 billion (8.2%)
Iraq: $7.6 billion (5.4%)
Italy: $7.6 billion (5.3%)
United States: $6.6 billion (4.6%)
France: $6 billion (4.2%)
United Arab Emirates: $5.4 billion (3.8%)
Spain: $5 billion (3.5%)
Iran: $5 billion (3.5%)
Netherlands: $3.6 billion (2.5%)
Saudi Arabia: $3.2 billion (2.2%)
Israel: $3 billion (2.1%)
Egypt: $2.7 billion (1.9%)
Switzerland: $2.7 billion (1.9%)
Romania: $2.7 billion (1.9%)

Close to two-thirds (60.8%) of Turkish exports in 2016 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.

Among the above countries, Iran led in increasing its import purchases from Turkey up in value by 145.4% from 2009 to 2016. In second place was the United States with a 104.9% improvement, followed by the United Kingdom (up 97.5%) and Israel (up 93.4%).

Two top trade partners decreased their imports from Turkey, namely Switzerland (down -31.9%) trailed by France (down -2.9%).

http://www.worldstopexports.com/turkeys-top-import-partners/

In the same period (1st 9 mos of 2017), Turkey imported most from China ($17 billion), Germany ($15 billion) and Russia ($13.9 billion).

The top country for Turkey's imports was China with $2.1 billion, followed by Germany with $1.9 billion, Russia with $1.8 billion and the U.S. with $999 million.

https://www.dailysabah.com/economy/2017/10/31/turkeys-exports-imports-up-in-first-nine-months-of-2017-trade-deficit-hits-538-billion

Posted by: mauisurfer | Jan 27, 2018 10:15:10 PM | 199

sdf - syrian '' democratic '' forces... if that name sounds like a name that came straight out of the halls of washington dc - you would be right!! pkk, is probably more like it, but alas - have to package isis, al qaeda and al nusra as '' moderate '' headchoppers and have to package the pkk as the sdf... seems fairly self explanatory for anyone who knows where madison avenue is...

Posted by: james | Jan 27, 2018 10:52:05 PM | 200

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