Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 11, 2012

Erdogan Lost His Marbles

Is the Turkish premier Erdogan going insane?

Speaking to reporters travelling with him during his official visit to China, Erdoğan said Turkey may consider invoking NATO's fifth article to protect Turkish national security in the face of increasing tension along the Syrian border. His comments came after four Syrians who fled to Turkey from the violence in Syria were killed by Syrian forces targeting refugees on the Turkish side of the border on Monday.

“NATO has a responsibility to protect Turkish borders,” said Erdoğan, signaling that Turkey may officially ask NATO members to apply Article 5 of the NATO Charter, which says that an attack on any member shall be considered to be an attack on all, if the situation in Syria becomes a serious enough threat to Turkish national security.

Does he really believe NATO would sign up to article 5 action because a few shots were fired towards Turkish land after Syrian rebels, coming from Turkey, attacked Syrian government positions?

The AP reported on that shooting:

The soldiers were believed to be firing at rebels who tried to escape to the refugee camp after ambushing a Syrian military checkpoint, killing six soldiers, according to the Britain-based activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

That ominous Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is on the side of the rebels. So even they admit that the shooting by the Syrian soldiers was defensive and in response to an attack by the foreign paid rebels.

The local Turkish governor confirmed this:

Kilis Gov. Yusuf Odabaş said the injuries were caused by bullets from clashes on the other side of the border, which erupted when opposition groups attempted to seize control of the border crossing from regime forces. Turkish security forces in no way intervened or used arms, he said. Twenty-one Syrians wounded in the clashes managed to cross into Turkey through a mine-ridden stretch of land. Three died in hospital and another two in critical condition have been transferred to a hospital in the adjacent province of Gaziantep, Odabaş said.

Pepe Escobar points out that there is even a video that confirms that the rebels attacked from Turkey:

The voice over says, "This is the Syria-Turkey border, and this is an operation of the Free Syrian Army [FSA] ... The Gate [that would be the Syrian side of the border, housing the Gate checkpoint] is going to be seized."

If Erdogan really believes that 28 NATO countries will agree against all evidence to his version of the story and involve article 5 he has really lost his marbles.

Some in his own country seem to believe that is the case. To me Erdogan's earlier policies seemed to be more rational. Did he change his behavior after he was diagnosed with cancer?

Sightly related: These two videos seem pretty clear cut in debunking some rebel claims video 1 video 2

Posted by b on April 11, 2012 at 18:06 UTC | Permalink

Comments

it would circumvent the Security Council. so if US/Britain/France want to bomb Syria they have got a fig leave to do it.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 11 2012 18:17 utc | 1

i wonder is somebody is willing to admit that israel needs a puppet governement in syria

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Apr 11 2012 18:23 utc | 2

the reason i'm picking on "somebody" is because it seems to be the slickest hasbara that's come down the pike, yet.

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Apr 11 2012 18:30 utc | 3

the telegraph is a neocon "news" outlet.

is that the best you can do?

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Apr 11 2012 18:44 utc | 5

you got to keep sluggin'... that's all you can do.

it's got to be a dismal sort of effort, though, seeing as how you realize that all your efforts dont make any diffenence, because the only thing that counts is might.

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Apr 11 2012 18:52 utc | 6

you got to wonder...

when does slick start to be a bad idea?

when does truth overcome slick?

is there a point of dimishing returns, when slick is so of the wall that it becomes suspect?

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Apr 11 2012 19:00 utc | 7

"If Erdogan really believes that 28 NATO countries will agree against all evidence to his version of the story..."

That's not the real question. The real question is, "Will certain major members of the NATO alliance find Erdogan's story convenient enough that they won't question it?"

Posted by: Bill | Apr 11 2012 19:13 utc | 8

so it all boils down to termial boredom...

it's all plain, everybody understands, there's nothing to argue about, it just a matter off standomg by, waiting to see how big a fools we'll make of ourselves.

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Apr 11 2012 19:33 utc | 9

meanwhile, the earth is patient.

it can wait.

it can wait until we kill ourselves, it can wait for anyting.

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Apr 11 2012 19:37 utc | 10

Erdogan doesn't have much choice.
While his troops are under orders not to fire on Syrian soldiers bumping off 'rebels' limping into Turkey, he's got to sound NATO-ish.
It'll take NATO's fantasists another year to wake up that they've been Gulled.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 11 2012 19:46 utc | 11

No,Erdogan did not lost his mind. It's a fight about the access to the syrian market.
http://www.jungewelt.de/2012/04-12/001.php

Posted by: Peter Hofmann | Apr 11 2012 20:01 utc | 12

The syrian revolution is in a great part a reaction of the freetrade with turkey. The turkey reaction is in a great part a reaction to this. The syrian rebels are economic and poltical illitarates. That is the major sin of the baath party.

Posted by: Peter Hofmann | Apr 11 2012 20:18 utc | 13

doubt it Peter Hofmann as this is not the first time stuff happens in Syria.

notice that Turkey has had a huge role in Syrian history
http://www.syrianhistory.com/timeline

I think its retro colonialism. They are all back. Britain, France, Turkey ...
There is a power vacuum. It used to be filled by the US.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 11 2012 20:47 utc | 14

somebody 14, I agree with that

Posted by: scottindallas | Apr 11 2012 20:57 utc | 15

"If Erdogan really believes that 28 NATO countries will agree against all evidence to his version of the story and involve article 5 he has really lost his marbles."

Which NATO countries are likely to go against a regime change policy concocted in Washington? Look at the Libyan precedent, which was a great deal more clear cut than the mess that has been arranged in Syria: it was obvious that there was no justification for interpreting the UN Resolution 1973 as a licence to bomb, and several NATO powers, including Turkey and Germany, initially said so. Before long however everyone went along with the regime change Washington wanted.

What is happening now is that Syria is being provoked into defending itself against raids from Turkey. Happily Syria has had decades of practice in turning the other cheek for Israel to slap, it is well placed to resist the temptation to answer Turkey's provocations.

Posted by: bevin | Apr 11 2012 21:22 utc | 16

Erdogans not insane....he is using the syrian rats and article 5 in a strategic way....
NOW what to make of this: 'His comments came after four Syrians who fled to Turkey from the violence in Syria were killed by Syrian forces targeting refugees on the Turkish side of the border on Monday'

This newsitem makes it seem the syrian army is killing syrians...or are we dealing with insurgents? who flee to a haven in turkey from which they can launch more raids? the media seems to be part of the tactics, to demonise Syria and make turkey a victim.

Posted by: brian | Apr 11 2012 21:33 utc | 17

@14 - that is excellent point. The assumption is that peace will reign when U.S. power wanes but if what you say is true it could be quite the opposite. It could very well be worse. We'll see.

Posted by: Sultanist | Apr 11 2012 21:36 utc | 18

where we see the word 'rebels' we must learn to read 'insurgents'... At least AP uses the word 'rebels' .Todayszaman doesnt even do that!

Posted by: brian | Apr 11 2012 21:38 utc | 19

Any head of state should be removed from power upon a lethal illness diagnosis. Power+threat of imminent death is a dangerous combination

Syria armed gangs film everything they do, it's becoming a routine and part of their operating procedures, even of the filming won't serve their interests. Someone should archive and analyse in real time these videos.

Posted by: Sophia | Apr 11 2012 21:44 utc | 20

my letter to Todayszaman

Hello todayszman

I read your article on syrians fleeing syria,

'Speaking to reporters travelling with him during his official visit to China, Erdoğan said Turkey may consider invoking NATO's fifth article to protect Turkish national security in the face of increasing tension along the Syrian border. His comments came after four Syrians who fled to Turkey from the violence in Syria were killed by Syrian forces targeting refugees on the Turkish side of the border on Monday.
“NATO has a responsibility to protect Turkish borders,” said Erdoğan, signaling that Turkey may officially ask NATO members to apply Article 5 of the NATO Charter, which says that an attack on any member shall be considered to be an attack on all, if the situation in Syria becomes a serious enough threat to Turkish national security'
http://www.todayszaman.com/news-277185-.html

But as you know that’s not what happened:

The AP reported on that shooting:
The soldiers were believed to be firing at rebels who tried to escape to the refugee camp after ambushing a Syrian military checkpoint, killing six soldiers, according to the Britain-based activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

'Rebels' is a code for 'insurgents'.
So why does your article not mention these 'refugees' were violent insurgents using Turkey as a base to launch raids ON syria and kill syrians?
Is this an eg of the press ethics your media pretends to uphold?
Its clear Turkeys Erdogan hopes to bring NATO forces to attack its neighbor Syria...Does Todayszaman want to be party to an aggressive invasion and murder on a massive scale?

Regards
brian

Posted by: brian | Apr 11 2012 21:54 utc | 21

good comment from RT:

MRS April 11, 2012, 01:22 quote 5 Turkey is harbouring Syrian and other terrorists on its soil and arming them in order to attack Syria. When Israel intercepted its Aid Ship and killed Turks like animals, the Turkish government was powerless. As a member of NATO, no NATO country came to its help. Now that some shots were allegedly fired against the terrorists on Turkish soil from which attacks against Syria are planned and launched, it is argued that as a member of NATO, NATO can intervene to attack Syria, well in line with their regime change policies. Turkey is playing a very dangerous game. The Turkish people have the right to demand regime in their own country too.
http://rt.com/news/rebels-refugee-camp-attack-665/comments/page-2/?d=1933115?

Posted by: brian | Apr 11 2012 22:16 utc | 23

Turkey is a long standing member of NATO that has always met their commitments. Is he just testing the relationship for what comes next? If NATO's fifth article is moot in the Middle East(you know why), better to demonstrate it sooner rather than later? Perhaps Putin and/or Iran has a better offer?
Hej!

Posted by: tumta | Apr 11 2012 23:48 utc | 24

Article 5 clearly says that there must be an ARMED ATTACK before the Charter can be invoked.

Nowhere in that Charter does it define what constitutes an ARMED ATTACK, though Article 6 does define where that ARMED ATTACK must be taking place and/or against what.

So it comes down to international customary law as it relates to Article 51 of the UN Charter (which is referenced in Article 5 of the NATO Charter) to decide whether the odd angry shot across a border amounts to an ARMED ATTACK on Turkey.

I would suggest that the idea that some cross-border sniper fire at fleeing Syrian rebels does not rise to the level of an ARMED ATTACK upon Turkey and, therefore, Erdogan's statement is a load of very stinky cow manure.

Posted by: Johnboy | Apr 12 2012 0:59 utc | 25

Pretty obvious NATO/U.S./West, has decided on more regime change ala Libya, to help solidify Israel's dominance in the region. It's only a matter of time until they create a issue to justify big time intervention.

brian 22: Thanks for the link to penny. Think I'll bookmark that blog.

Posted by: ben | Apr 12 2012 2:39 utc | 26

Here's another take on the Syrian problem:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/101721563

Posted by: ben | Apr 12 2012 2:56 utc | 27

@24 You give Turkey too much credit. They have been a primary player in the West's efforts to topple Assad.

For some reason they seem to have swapped their policy of keeping regional harmony for playing with the West once more. In my opinion the West has had to have dangled some goods in front of Turkey to get hem to change this. Iran cannot be thrilled watching Turkey aid the efforts to try and gut their closest ally. What will this do to the relationship between Turkey and Iran?

Either way this sure looks like an attempt to manufacture legitimacy for an stack against Syria, in Libya they got the UN to green light this attack. China and Russia will not let that happen again, so on to the next BS. pretty flimsy except flimsy is all the West needs, it is not like the operation in Libya was at all legal. They just need plausible deniability.

Posted by: Base | Apr 12 2012 3:13 utc | 28

Nah! I realise it must be boring for some when there appears to be no new conflicts getting cranked up. Well not in places that 'matter' anyhow eg Africa generally doesn't matter unless in the words of the inimitable French foreign correspondent Edward Bare "anyone here is white and been raped?".
All the ME generally 'matters' nowadays but not long back in the day the Yemen didn't matter; so whitefellas used to go on regular 'hunts' for any brownfella who had the unmitigated cheek to want to be free of whitefella oppression. Natch without an inkling of any of this in western media outlets. The 'hunts' in the Yemen continue to this day but now they get reported albeit rather sketchily. ("Jolly good shooting what. I bagged two oily bazaar types and a filly with the old under and over C8")

So a great many sofa strategists eagerly await the day's news from Syria, they're waiting for the moment when they can leap up in either encouragement or outrage once foreigners invade Syria.

They are wasting their time. No one will invade Syria even if Russsia & China 'let the team down' by signing up to a security council resolution. I spose if one could forgo the horror which accompanies any armed conflict, it would be amusing to see FukUS embarassedly explaining why a security council resolution giving the green light is in fact a hindrance.

No one will invade because a foreign invasion would likely to unite most Syrians against the rebels. It is just as difficult to imagine a 'no-fly zone scenario' a la Libya would get up. Firstly because Syria AA technology unlike Libya's is pretty up to date. But most importantly who is gonna pay for the fucker? China won't underwrite any war costing tens of billions that doesn't stand a chance of those tens of billions getting paid back with an extra large chunk of vig on the side. Why would they? There is no oil in Syria - just people and the Chinese prolly figger they got enuff of those already.

So for the next few years we are going to see many dodgy 'black ops' against Syria, all aimed at destabilizing Syria and making its political, social and physical infrastructure increasingly unreliable.
The object? To cause Allawites to lose faith in their leadership, thereby moving Syria into failed statehood so as to further isolate Iran.

These raids and the accompanying news story which I watched yesterday morning on a Murdoch controlled TV channel, one that omitted to mention the attack by rebels. It claimed those shot were 'innocent' refugees fleeing ba'ath/muslim/commie/arab dictatorship oppression. This crap is churned out solely for the purpose of gulling those remaining citizens who have an interest in anything beyond their ability to secure the latest offering from apple/google/M$/facebook et al, into accepting the continued slaughter of Syrian citizens by western funded gangs of thugs aka 'rebels' or insurgents.

Posted by: Did | Apr 12 2012 4:08 utc | 29

Syria does have Oil and exports about 300,000 barrels a day. The value of last years oil exports was around the 5 Billion dollar mark. Small fry in the Mid East, but still producing in excess of their needs.

Posted by: johd | Apr 12 2012 5:58 utc | 30

Still western media insist on paying lipservice to the US, deeming the ceasefire a failure even before it started. Now it has been effective for some hours without incidents, and it looks as the media will have to backpaddle once again. But the reality doesn't matter as much as what they want to report.

Posted by: Alexander | Apr 12 2012 8:08 utc | 31

Entry into the European Union for Turkey,as a reward for their assistance in overthrowing Assad?One must keep all options open,as our Machiavellian monsters will stop at nothing in ensuring Israeli hegemony in the region.Bottom line,but I'm confused as to why Erdogan would trust US after Mavi Marmara,but hey,who knows what pressures we bring to bear,or what bribes.Where's Wikileaks?

Posted by: dahoit | Apr 12 2012 13:19 utc | 32

dahoit @ 32 -- As of the Great Recession, I would think Turkey thinks itself well rid of being in the EU. Greece is an object lesson in the perils of losing control of one's currency and, then, its sovereignty.

Greece will be lucky to keep its actual borders by the time the bankster vultrures are done with it.

Posted by: jawbone | Apr 12 2012 13:51 utc | 33

@retreatingbladestall

Last warning!

Several one-liners following on each other with ad-hominems at other commentators do not help the discussion here. Stop it or I'll ban you.

Posted by: b | Apr 12 2012 17:51 utc | 34

"If Erdogan really believes that 28 NATO countries will agree against all evidence to his version of the story and involve article 5 he has really lost his marbles."

Hmm . . . I don't think this is a question of marbles. Of course an unbiased arbiter of this "dispute" would probably side with the Syrian position . . . based on the facts we know now. But this is not a question about intelligence and applying known facts to well-established international law re borders.

There is almost ZERO chance Erdogan is doing this without Western support. No way Erdogan acts without the approval of Hillary Clinton, for instance.

If anyone has lost their marbles it's Assad if he thinks he can convince the international community to fairly arbitrate this "dispute."

Furthermore, as #32 speculates, Turkey most likely has a deal with NATO/Israel and incidents like the Mavi Marmara demonstrate that there most likely is funny business going on. It's clear to me the West is funding and organizing an overthrow of the Syrian government. Of course the West and NATO will not fairly apply international law to these facts! It's naive to think they will. Assad has lost his marbles if he expects to win this thing using diplomacy or via the press.

Posted by: Walter Wit Man | Apr 12 2012 19:04 utc | 35

Any head of state should be removed from power upon a lethal illness diagnosis. Power+threat of imminent death is a dangerous combination

Syria armed gangs film everything they do, it's becoming a routine and part of their operating procedures, even of the filming won't serve their interests. Someone should archive and analyse in real time these videos.

Posted by: leena | May 10 2012 7:16 utc | 36

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