Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 01, 2015

Erdogan's AKP "Wins" Snap Election - Successful Challenge Unlikely

The snap election results in Turkey are somewhat surprising and strongly diverge from recent opinion polls. And the result will, as predicted, not check Erdogan. This snap election than "corrected" the June vote in which the AKP had lost its former majority.

With 98% of the vote counted the announced preliminary result is about

  • AKP 50%
  • CHP 25%
  • MHP 12%
  • HDP 10%

With this count Erdogan's AKP would have some 317 seats, 13 less than the 330 needed for constitution changing supermajority. But should the lefty/Kurdish HDP fall, by whatever means, under 10% its seats would practically go to the AKP and a supermajority would be likely.

But the election commission has now, for unexplained reasons, shut down its website and we do not get updated results. Pre-election polling, which was quite to the point in the June election, is now off by 6 to 8%. No pollster predicted the AKP above 44%.

We can therefor expect that many people will call this a fraudulent election. It may well have been one. Erdogan certainly does not refrain from playing dirty. But do not expect much success for any challenge. The police, prosecutors, and courts are all under tight AKP control. Internationally Erdogan is getting a lot of support from "western" states.

Just two day before the vote the U.S. announced that it approved long held back ‘smart bomb’ sale to Turkey. The EU held back a report critical on political and human rights in Turkey. Just twelve days ago Merkel visited for a photo op on the Sultan's throne and offered billions for Turkey to stop sending migrants to northern Europe. There was little criticism of Erdogan for seizing the Koza-İpek Group and the various media channels it owns. These "western" measure were, all together, very supportive for Erdogan and likely brought him some additional voters. So do not expect any criticism from these sides even if some evidence of vote manipulation emerges. The fix is now in.

The larger question though is what does this mean for Turkey? What does it mean for the civil war in Turkey against the Kurds? And what does this mean for the Jihadi war on Syria that Erdogan and others are waging?

Posted by b on November 1, 2015 at 18:36 UTC | Permalink


Your last paragraph questions are the essential ones b.

And all those peoplethat voted for war against the Kurds, war against Syria using head chopping terrorists, and war against human rights in Turkey - fuck you x 1000.

Posted by: tom | Nov 1 2015 18:44 utc | 1

thanks b.. i happened to hear this on cbc earlier today.. they said that the results diverged from recent opinion wonders about the process and as tom and you both mention - what is the position change, if any towards the crazy policies of the last 4 years under erdogan..

Posted by: james | Nov 1 2015 18:58 utc | 2

"And what does this mean for the Jihadi war on Syria that Erdogan and others are waging?" Professor Juan Cole 'Informed comment' does not think IS is all its cracked up to be. here is what he thinks..
Daesh (ISIS, ISIL), is a weird cult with almost no popular support. It probably rules over about 3 million people in the far east of the Arab world, having kidnapped them at gunpoint or having convinced them that the alternative is worse. Western journalism has been snookered by this small mafia of some 25,000 fighters into thinking they are important and will remain so. Nope. Flash in the pan. Muslim version of People’s Temple.
An army can only survive if its troops are fed and weapons and ammunition are resupplied. Once the Russians and the Syrian army close off the resupply routes, IS will be surrounded and landlocked. Russian sorties increasing by the day, wiping out IS infrastructure and supply dumps means the defeat of the terrorists is inevitable, probably sooner than anyone imagines. That is why the US are panicking. The Russians have a very strong hand, hope they don't make too many concessions at Vienna.

Posted by: harry law | Nov 1 2015 19:08 utc | 3

What it means is that the lunatic Erdogan will lead Turkey and the region into a disaster greater than what we have already seen.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Nov 1 2015 19:21 utc | 4

harry law @3
Stunning, really, that for all this time pundits and military experts alike have been marveling at the power and mystique of ISIS and now it's all unraveling and boiling down to shutting down their supply lines.

Has everyone lost their minds?

As for the impact of Erdogan's redemption on Turkey and Syria, one of the first things I thought of was that his army told him they wouldn't act on his orders until he had a govt. So if he now has a govt, I wonder if the Turkish army will now throw in their lot in this bizarre war in Syria. And if they do, who will be happy about it? The French news wire AFP seems happy and is already offering some apologist words for us to adopt.

Oh look, they've changed their headline already. An hour ago Yahoo had the AFP story headline as
"Erdogan: Turkey's abrasive 'Sultan'"

Now it says "Erdogan: Turkey's 'Sultan' wins again"

You can see the original headline in the URL:

They also removed the first sentence completely. It said "Saviour or dictator".

I have a screen cap of the headline and first paragraph.

Posted by: gemini33 | Nov 1 2015 19:23 utc | 5

Those are crucial questions, b, thanks for the update.

Erdogan's snap elections were planned to recover the mandate he lost in the last vote, and with a little help from his friends, La Merkel et al, he did, even when this election took place after silencing media critical to the governing party, and under consistent rumors of fraud.

AK Party mayor shares stamped ballot paper on Facebook a day before election

The main concern is whether there will be a redirection of policy toward Syria/PKK, or would they continue digging the hole to serve their US masters. If hypocritical Davutoglu continues as PM, there is little hope policy is going to change, since he and Erdogan are the main architects of Turkey's foreign policy. Now we just have to wait and see the final results.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 1 2015 19:25 utc | 6

Best results ever.. The disintegration of Turkey is now closer than ever..Sultan Erdogan will make sure of that...

Posted by: Zico | Nov 1 2015 19:28 utc | 7

gemini33 @ 5:

I read the article; at least this wording hasn't changed (so far):

"There is no doubt Erdogan has his eye on his legacy and wants to go down in history alongside modern Turkey's founding father, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, as one of its great leaders."

Given Erdogan's end-stage narcissism, I expect that he believes he has been appointed/anointed by his God, or Destiny, as the second coming of Ataturk.

No one pursuing such a lofty ambition is about to let trifles like "democracy" and "elections" stand in his way.

Posted by: Ort | Nov 1 2015 19:36 utc | 8

/I expect that he believes he has been appointed/anointed by his God/
Saudi Arabia’s rulers also see themselves as predating the Prophet having drawn their consecrated authority from a covenant with god.
This is the real disease behind the Wahhabist insanity fueling world terrorism, an extremism that has drawn Saudi Arabia and Israel together, partnering them with heretical evangelical Christians.

Posted by: ALAN | Nov 1 2015 19:54 utc | 9

After the prior election, there was a story on Hurriyet which I'm sorry I didn't copy.
It said that the Army had informed Erdogan that they would require written orders to invade
Syria, and that the order would have to be signed by the coalition govt. (which of course
had not been formed) The story did not specifically say that the Army had received such an
order. Subsequently, Erdogan sent Turkmen and I think spec'l ops into Syria during the
few days of the buffer zone which he & Allen had created. (Obama subsequently publicly
denied there was a buffer zone although Allen had announced it on weekend TV).

Posted by: Penelope | Nov 1 2015 19:56 utc | 10

@harry law@3

Thanks for that Juan Cole article. I stopped reading Juan Cole years ago, after he did an about face on long-held positions in the ME, and every time someone quotes him or links him, I read him with a grain of salt. His article on Daesh seems balanced, even if he tends to underestimate them, imho. Sure, they have no capacity to down a plane at 30,000 ft., and his sizing-up of the Egyptian "Daesh" seems right. Same way gang attire become fashionable for naive youth trying to scare others, Daesh membership, even if a few rats in the middle of the Egyptian dessert, calls for recognition and 15 minutes of fame.

Daesh in Syria/Iraq is another ball game. Those people cannot be underestimated, their military capacity has been proven, and their sponsors continue to make sure they have the best weapons to counter the Iraqi/Syrian armies, and large quantities of ammunition. They are and will remain dangerous for time to come. If cornered, either in Syria or Iraq, they will escape to fight another day. The war of attrition is over for Syria, Daesh/Ja'n et al will be moving to guerrilla war, after the last positions held and fought for now have caused a high casualty rate to the Syrian/Iraqi armies, and before the takfiris are caught in a cauldron and annihilated piecemeal.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 1 2015 20:17 utc | 11

Ort @ 8,

The article that said this SHOULD be changed:
"There is no doubt Erdogan has his eye on his legacy and wants to go down in history alongside modern Turkey's founding father, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, as one of its great leaders."

Ataturk modernized, Westernized & secularized Turkey, making great strides in its political, legal & educational systems.

Erdogan is wiping out every trace of Ataturk that he can reach. Erdogan used the Islamic Gulen system to climb to
power, until he fell out with Fethullah Gulen. He has great
admiration for the Muslim Brotherhood and wept when Morsi was
overthrown. He feels that other members of the Gulen system in the courts, police & army are undermining him under directions from Gulen.

US govt brought Fethullah Gulen to the US, where he heads a bunch of schools, doubtless to create great mischief here.

Posted by: Penelope | Nov 1 2015 20:18 utc | 12


I want to add to your last sentence,
This is the real disease behind the Wahhabist insanity fueling world terrorism, an extremism that has drawn Saudi Arabia and Israel together, partnering them with heretical evangelical Christians.

The ring that binds them all is private finance and inheritance.

@11 Lone Wolf

I agree that Juan Cole has changed his reporting to make one question most of what he says. I was supportive of his early online contributions and felt some kinship, having myself been listened to by the CIA in 2004.
Thank you for your continued insightful comments

Great Reporting Penelope!
I continue to appreciate the salient efforts of your ongoing research.

Are elections in Turkey rigged? If they are anything like the computer based ones in the US, the answer is yes (46 yrs. as techie)

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 1 2015 20:45 utc | 13

I guess everybody has read this article, since nobody has posted it. Regardless, I will post it not for the main news, Russian elite units presence in Syria, which is important, but for the Russian senior commander statement on Hezbollah. That I think, is extremely important.

The original article appeared in Al-Rai, a newspaper in Arabic that gets frequently translated by Elijah J.M., a blogger sometimes quoted and linked to by b, reason I consider it a reliable source. I hope.

Russian elite units in Zabadani, Homs, Hama and Aleppo

[...] “Russia is beginning with what we define as a” quiet support ” supplying advanced technology and preparing a spearhead force before reaching a further level we call the” stormy Support “. We expect a large presence of troops that will be supported by Russian Air Force. There are around 2500 Russian fighters, military expert and consultant in Syria. The number is expected to go much higher in the near future “, confirm the source that is in contact with the Russian units on the Syrian ground.

“There are two aspects for the Russian intervention in Syria: In the first, the front line should be reinforced, maintained and is expected later to recover more lands and lost cities. The second is to hunt and bomb the Islamic State (ISIS) group leaders as well as other extremist groups in Syria, without exception. There are no red lines for the Russian operational tactics against terrorism that may extend to Iraq if necessary. The Kremlin has decided to face and fight terrorism by all means and is determine to eliminate, not to contain, ISIS. The Russians are aware of the necessity of cooperation with the U.S. led coalition over the sky of Syria to prevent unnecessarily accidents “, the source said.

The senior commander explained, “Israel and the United States are also concerned about the possibility that Hezbollah could benefit from the advanced Russian military equipment pouring into Syria. As far as it concerns us, Damascus and Hezbollah are strategically linked and share the same destiny. Any sophisticated weapon owned by Syria and Iran that an organized but irregular force, like Hezbollah, can use in case of war against Israel is already in our possession. Israel is raising the alarm by saying that its “national security” could be in jeopardy if Hezbollah has this or that technology or could benefit from Russia’s presence to transport more weapons into Lebanon. Russia’s answer is that its own national security is already in jeopardy due to terrorism expansion. Russia is not fighting a battle but a war on terror on Syrian soil and elsewhere and is present in a hostile environment. Russia will pursue and won’t give up upon in this war, in Syria, regardless any possible international pressure to persuade it otherwise”. *

* Bolds are mine.

If the statement is legit, that is a tremendous boost for Hezbollah as an irregular force, to be considered on a par with Syria and Iran as a Russian ally. It also means that Russia will arm Hezbollah despite ISraIL protestations, because, as the Russian senior commander states, Russia's national security is in danger, and Russia is fighting a war, not a battle, in a hostile environment, where proven allies like Hezbollah come in handy.

Good for you, Russia. More power to Hezbollah.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 1 2015 22:09 utc | 14


This article from June 27th?

Turkish army reluctant over government will to intervene in Syria

Posted by: PavewayIV | Nov 1 2015 22:10 utc | 15

@ 14 Lone Wolf

Yes it's a War on Russia.
Latest developments: ISIS militants are transported through Odessa to Donbass

And a Run on Putin.
The Empire goes for persons and they succeeded with Hussein and Kadhaffi.

I wonder if you act within the rules (as Russia does) you can make it...

Posted by: From The Hague | Nov 1 2015 22:27 utc | 16

ISIS may only be 25,000 more or less, but they are the pit of the rotten fruit from diseased trees cultivated by evil men that is force-fed to our body politic.

We don't need to be in the Middle East. We have mature technology that makes us independent of ME oil: fracking and non-carbon alternatives. And as for Israel: they have had peaceful relations with their neighbors for many years now; they have all the weapons they need to defend themselves; and they are not the democracy that they (used to) claim to be.

It is only entrenched 'special interests' and their manipulation of our money-based political system that forces us to continue to be involved in the ME. Our politicians and a few businessmen get a small part of the TRLLIONS that we have spent helping to remake the ME for the extremist/fundamentalist regimes that we call "allies" when the sensible course is to put those resources into revamping our sources and uses of energy.

And lets not forget that the ISIS cancer has spread well beyond Syriaqistan. How can we not recognize and deplore ISIS as a 'tool' for world domination by the evil men that have nurtured and sustained them? ISIS - as both ideology and military force - is intent on destroying every government/society that their sponsors/allies/facilitators direct them to.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 1 2015 22:29 utc | 17

I suspect Erdogan's a closet Takfiri, so we will see all his conflicts escalate. The ensuing question is: How far will he go? Will he cage Kurds to use as human shields like his buddies?

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 1 2015 22:43 utc | 18

ISIS Oil Exports Worth $500 Million a Year ‘Conducted through Turkey’

The lion’s share of Islamic State illegal oil exports is conducted through Turkey and Kurdish areas. Although Washington could curb the illegal traffic, it has chosen to focus on other issues, a former CIA officer told the Sputnik news agency.

“It’s a question of priorities. They have never allocated enough resources to do so. Other goals and missions have been rated as having more urgent calls on intelligence and tactical resources,” John Kiriakou, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) counterterrorism officer and US Senate Foreign Relations Committee senior investigator, told Sputnik.

Posted by: shadyl | Nov 1 2015 23:47 utc | 19

This comment from Benito Mussolini from an article by Nick Turse in 'the Intercept. very funny. "Which of you’all is the Free Syrian Army? Good. All 6 of you are here then. I know you were expecting the US to have a bigger army than 50 soldiers, but there’s been some cutbacks. Do we start with Assad, Isis, Al-Nusra, the Kurds or them Russians?"

Posted by: harry law | Nov 1 2015 23:50 utc | 20

@From The Hague@16

[...] I wonder if you act within the rules (as Russia does) you can make it...

Rules without power are nothing, and the Russians are giving the empire a show of power, challenging its policies of expansion, and marking the limits of their strategic security. All power, however, has limits, and the US/NATOstan/ISraIL/Turkey/KSA & Co. are moving towards containing Russia's move in the Levant. The conflict is reaching stratospheric proportions, expanding beyond the purely military to the economic, political, and diplomatic spheres.

They will try to squeeze Russia economically, as they did in Afghanistan, though Russia is now in a completely different position. Isolating Russia diplomatically didn't work, all they achieved was the consolidation of the Eurasian giant, with Russia and China at the core. Politically, for all purposes Putin could run for president of the world, and he would be elected, his popularity running as high as 90% in Russia only.

As you pointed out with the trafficking of Daesh rats to Donbass, the conflict is not just Russia vs Daesh in Syria, the goal continues to be the strategic encirclement of Russia, a war of attrition in all fronts. NATO continues to find pretexts to increase troops in the former Soviet countries in Eastern Europe, now lapdogs to the empire, with historically backward Poland as the aggressive bulldog in the Russophobic front-line.

Yes, Russia is playing by the rules, but they are not naive, and so far Putin has not lost a war. We certainly hope he will win this one too.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 2 2015 0:24 utc | 21

Lone @ 21

Russia has been faced with Political, Economic and Military War against Russia in the Ukraine.

The MSM, unsure at first, has been directed to go "all in" for Erdogan and the AKP. Any foe of Assad (including ISIS, IS, ISIL, DAESH) is a friend of NATO.

Posted by: fast freddy | Nov 2 2015 0:35 utc | 22

@14 Lone Wolf

Thank you for citing that quote again. I had not paid enough attention to it. From the beginning of Russian operations in Syria I have been confused by their arrangement with Israel. I assumed that anything that was reported wasn't the real story or at least that any crackdown by Russia on Israel would be accompanied by some kind of concession. I thought maybe the Golan would eventually be that concession but really have no idea.

This statement by the Russian commander -- do people here think that will be taken by Israel as a declaration of war to some extent? My understanding is that Hezbollah is Israel's obsession and the group they consider to be their most dangerous threat. If anyone cares to offer it, I'm interested in hearing analysis of the situation between Israel and Russia. I'm even more interested now with some possibly related developments in Egypt and Iraq.

Posted by: gemini33 | Nov 2 2015 0:39 utc | 23

Angela did her part. Here she is with Erdogan, sitting on golden thrones, two weeks before the election.

Posted by: kafkananda | Nov 2 2015 0:50 utc | 24

This is not a total success for Erdogan as his party did not get enough seats to change the Constitution.
Turkish newspaper reports that the AKP got 49.41% 316 seats
Erdogan is nevertheless satisfied that his strategy of demonizing the HDP paid off. The HDP fell to 10.7%.
Yet he is still frustrated by his incomplete success and will continue his revenge on the HDP. As Davutoglu will not resist his master, Erdogan will sneakly make Turkey an informal presidential system.
Obviously his fear mongering tactic also worked. Now he has to show that with the AKP , Turkey is 100% secure. Any failure , any attack will affect his credibility. As Erdogan cannot reinstate a non-aggression deal with ISIS since he has committed to fight them, ISIS ( with the support of enemies of Erdogan) may start violent acts to discredit Erdogan's claim of the safety of a one party system. PKK may also contribute to the instability. Erdogan will have to call on the military to control demonstrations that could turn violent.
The next few weeks will show if the repression and intelligence apparatus is strong enough to prevent terrorists acts, or of the country will fall into a spiral of violence.

Posted by: Virgile | Nov 2 2015 0:56 utc | 25


How far will he go?

How far will his EGO go?

Sorry, just popped up when I read your comment. :-)

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 2 2015 1:02 utc | 26

@24 - You know, its one thing for a government to keep that kind of furniture around because it was nothing better to do with it after beheading Louis the Fourteenth, but to buy that kind of hideous, gaudy crap new?

Erdogan may want to be a Sultan, but he has the decorating taste of a color-blind Liberace. Jesus Christ that shit is ridiculous.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 2 2015 1:06 utc | 27

It's interesting that the CHP has landed almost exactly were it was polled, while the curious AKP gains have come from both the far-right MHP and the left HDP. This seems fishy indeed. If there was fraud involved, it's interesting that they didn't go the whole way and press the HDP under 10%, which would indeed have given Erdogan the power to change the constitution and make his powertrip dreams come true. As it is, this result may have more constructive potential as a repeat result as polled would have had, with an again stuck situation with no government being formed. So trying to be optimistic here, maybe there was some deal between AKP/CHP to bring the country back on track with this "compromise" fraud - they sure have the means to cover it up.

Posted by: CE | Nov 2 2015 2:57 utc | 28

It is now official: Al-CIAda and IS are joining forces to fight Russia. al-Zawahiri got a phone call from his Langley handlers ordering him to make yet another tape to announce AQ is joining forces with IS to fight Russia. That solves a lot of problems for Russia in terms of discriminating "moderate" from "extremist" head-choppers, they will be separated in hell.

I wonder if the CIA has decided to join the two franchises to cut operational and logistical costs. al-Zawahiri is going to have to swallow his ego and kow-tow to al-Baghdadi, or else...his allowance will be cut. Bye-bye to all the wives and a life of luxury in Af/Pak.

Al-Qaeda Leader Calls for Joint Islamist Struggle Against Russia

Chief of al-Qaeda Ayman al-Zawahiri urges all Muslim supporters to join in their fight against Russia, Iran, and their local allies alongside Western countries in an audio appeal published Sunday.

The recording suggests a greater unanimity between al-Qaeda, headed by al-Zawahiri since the death of Osama bin Laden, and Daesh or ISIL, the self-proclaimed ‘Islamic State’ in Syria and Iraq. Up to now, the two terrorist organizations have been repeatedly competing in the recruitment of supporters [...]

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 2 2015 2:58 utc | 29

It is pointless if there will be Presidential system in Turkey or not. There are two basic varieties of capitalism: power comes from money or money from power. For example, if you have money you can have newspapers and TV stations which can give some influence, but you must deal with other folks with money. In a more sultanic system, the ruler decides who may have the press, TV stations, state contracts, any type of business permit, if your properties can be taken over out of the blue etc. Humiliations inflicted upon selected rich can endear the ruler to hoi polloi. And while this was creeping and waxing in AKP Turkey, after the June election the process accelerated.

After 2013, AKP replaced judges, prosecutors, police officers with people who have loyalty only to Erdogan personally. Secret service was replaced already. The intimidation of the opposition was truly energetic, down to explosions at they rallies.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 2 2015 3:13 utc | 30

Sorry, didn't gt time to really put this comment together, but want you to know that there is presence of Turkey's intelligence agency in Sinai. Egypt's arrested them there. (at least 18 of em in a single group headed by a colonel) Groups are Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, ISIS and are declaring allegiance to MB, whose parliament in exile is in Turkey. ISIS took out an Egypt ship in the Mediterranean w a guided missile.

Regardless what weapons they are lacking, it seems likely Turkish intell would be supplied (anti-aircraft?)

Posted by: Penelope | Nov 2 2015 3:14 utc | 31

re: Virgile | Nov 1, 2015 7:56:50 PM | 25

We have these two pieces of info regarding very recent events in Turkey:

(*) "Turkish jets on Saturday launched bombing raids against Islamic State targets in Syria, the day before Turks are due to vote in a parliamentary election, a senior government official said." --

(*) "The pro-Kurdish HDP crossed the 10% threshold needed to claim seats [~10.7%]." --

To put it simply, Erdogan's party did not obtain what it wanted, but will generally retain power. It's fairly clear that it's bid to change the constitution has failed.

Last month they were helping ISIL; now they are bombing them.

This tells me that Turkey is in deep turmoil. Also that it appears to need to attempt to satisfy both the U.S. and Russia. They are probably fresh out of options, and will soon have to pick up their marbles and go home.

Posted by: blues | Nov 2 2015 3:57 utc | 32

guest77 @ 27: "Erdogan may want to be a Sultan, but he has the decorating taste of a color-blind Liberace."


Posted by: ben | Nov 2 2015 3:59 utc | 33

@29 lone wolf.. i find it very informative that nothing the usa or nato was throwing at alqaeda version 1+2(ISIS) motivated this type of response from them.. it's very interesting seeing the difference russias actions have had verses the usa/natos here.. it is almost like one is taken seriously, the other not.. this would make sense if alqaeda 1/2 were on the usa or it's friends payroll. that is the conclusion i come away with here.

Posted by: james | Nov 2 2015 4:19 utc | 35

PaveWayIV @ 15, No, the one I saw was brief & diffuse, did mention "invasion", though. It may have been at Fars cuz it was so brief. Thanks for yours. I'll keep the link.

The army used to engage in what the West calls a coup, but it was part of Ataturk's system that the army was the people's protector & they were only fulfilling an actual constitutional mandate, which occurred more often at the local level when it was deemed necessary for security and order. That is, in some respects the military were regarded as superior to the civilian authorities. Erdogan made an end to this-- it was called the Emasya protocol-- in January of 2009. In January of 2010 there was a scandal about the possibility of the army preparing a coup against the AKP party. It's been purged, but one wonders.

Posted by: Penelope | Nov 2 2015 5:48 utc | 36

Lone Wolf @14, Thanks, that's interesting about the covert presence of add'l Russians. Someone posted a few days ago that there are 6 shiploads of military equipment and supplies on the way.

Last I read, Iran was still denying it has troops in Syria. I've still the persistent question whether they have supplied enough troops to supplement Syria's? Fars never mentions there are Iranian troops in Syria. For whom is it "officially" a secret? Do you know?

Posted by: Penelope | Nov 2 2015 5:52 utc | 37

Blue @ 32, 'Fraid there's no possibility that Turkey has really turned against ISIS. Even the Reuters story qualified it right in the headline, by saying "according to a senior govt official." Doubtless, this lie was just told to help them in the election.

Posted by: Penelope | Nov 2 2015 6:11 utc | 38


Last I read, Iran was still denying it has troops in Syria. I've still the persistent question whether they have supplied enough troops to supplement Syria's? Fars never mentions there are Iranian troops in Syria. For whom is it "officially" a secret? Do you know?

Your guess is as good as mine. I have been puzzled by the same mystery. AFAIR, every report I have read in Fars News about IRGC officers killed in Syria, states the same. See below.

URGENT: Another Iranian General, 7 Other IRGC Members Killed in Syria

[...] Asked why the IRGC casualties in Syria are mostly ranking officers, he said Iran does not have combat troops in Syria and has only sent advisors to help the Muslim nation, who provide counseling services and strategies to the Syrian army commanders in the battlefield and from a very close range to the forefront. He reminded that low-ranking officers are not fit for such a vital job [...]

Iranians consistently deny having combat troops in Syria, only advisers. Most of those officers killed were veterans from the Iran-Iraq war, like Hamadani, with legendary careers next to Qassem Soleimani. I've been concerned and thoughtful about the number of Iranian officers eliminated in less than a month, beginning with Brig. Gen. Hossein Hamadani, to me they seem like targeted killings, somewhat similar to the serial killing of Iranian nuclear scientists, if you get my drift. ISraIL's listening stations cover Syria, they are in touch with the takfiris, and can pinpoint targets for them. But I digress.

Back to the subject, the consistent denial of Iranian combat troops in Syria could be that it's the truth, they don't have combat troops in Syria. However, with Russian Spetnatz already in the battlefield, I seriously doubt the Iranians will remain aloof to the needs of the Syrian army, and if they don't enter the fight for altruistic reasons, they won't miss the opportunity to train their Special Forces, with the added pleasure of killing takfiris, which they hate with passion.

My best guess is they have strategists like Soleimani at the 4+1 coordination center in Baghdad, they have advisers at C&C centers at strategic points in Syria, more advisers on the battlefield (those getting killed), and Special Forces working side by side with the SAA, Hezbollah, and why not, Spetnatz. We don't really know how those veteran officers were killed. They mention they died defending holy sites, but that can be anywhere in Syria, which is full of them.

Let me know what's your take on this "mystery."

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 2 2015 7:55 utc | 39

@21 Lone Wolf Putin could run for president of the world, and he would be elected


Didn't you observe the demonization?
Media (all the MSM) and politicians (from left to right) in the West have labelled him as a dictator, a monster, a Hitler.
And of course the public consumed that.

The West won't allow that election.
To the contrary, they want him dead, like Hussein and Kadhafi.
Look how he is portrayed:

Posted by: From The Hague | Nov 2 2015 9:15 utc | 40

"they have advisers at C&C centers at strategic points in Syria, more advisers on the battlefield (those getting killed)"

It's highly unlikely to have a general or such anywhere near the actual battle lines. Those guys are way behind in some command center or such.

Meaning, these deaths are most probably assassinations. Which would be quite understandable, being that noone wants Syria to become an iranian-controlled puppet state. Not Russians, not Syrians and of course neither does Israel or the Saudis/Turks. Choose your assassin... all of them could be behind that.

Posted by: zed | Nov 2 2015 9:36 utc | 41

@Haugue #40:

oddly enough, there are lots of American right-wingers who idolize Putin for being manly and riding bareback with a gun strapped across his bare chest, killing bears with his bare hands. And for letting his thugs and followers suppress and persecute gays and minorities.

He is not a dictator or a Hitler, but he is an authoritarian who values his hold on power over anybody else's rights.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Nov 2 2015 9:40 utc | 42

As to why there are not more Iranian troops in Syria, my guess is they are not needed at the moment, other reasons could be an overt Shia presence in a majority Sunni country could cause unnecessary problems which would be certain to generate sectarian outrage from the true sectarians in the region Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Also sanctions are not due to be lifted for some time, so Iran could be excused for taking things step by step. The problem for the supporters of the terrorists is their guys are proxies and without going in themselves can never match the millions of troops and military hardware Iran and Russia has at its disposal, make no mistake when those troops are needed in Syria and requested by Assad, they would be supplied [it is existential for Iran] in my opinion they would make mincemeat of the rag tag bunch of head choppers.

Posted by: harry law | Nov 2 2015 9:46 utc | 43

If this report is true it would constitute a disgusting escalation by Erdogon,and justifying war crimes.
According to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has raised eyebrows around the world capitals by justifying ISIS terrorists who brought down a Russian passenger plane in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula early saturday, killing all 224 people aboard.

"The Russian airplanes are targeting Mujahidin in Syria and partisans fighting to topple Syrian dictator Assad. In Syria, Moscow seeks to tip the balance on the ground against our brethren. Consequently, there should be no surprise if Islamic State take revenge," Dubai TV cited the Turkish official as saying.

Posted by: harry law | Nov 2 2015 11:07 utc | 44

These guys predicted AKP at 47%

Posted by: Bill Smith | Nov 2 2015 12:55 utc | 45

Elections in Turkey offered voters variety of choices, but process was hindered by challenging security environment, incidents of violence and restrictions against media, international election observers say.
[Source: OSCE]

Posted by: Oui | Nov 2 2015 13:38 utc | 46

Post Turkey Elections: Violations, Clashes, Arrests in Kurdish Cities

Multiple polling stations in Kurdish areas had power cuts, and many had unmarked vehicles parked outside, which the Governor's Office in Istanbul claimed were civilian cars.

Armored vehicles and police barricades blocked off roads, and masked special operation teams stood in front of polling stations, turning away and threatening journalists. Clashes between AK Party supporters and HDP supporters were common, many ending with the detention of HDP provincial leaders, voters, poll officials and observers. Election observers from Syria, Greece, Britain and the European Union were denied access to polling stations and beaten or detained, agencies reported.

"The incidents taking place here do not comply with any democracy criteria," one observer deployed by the European Parliament told Dicle Haber. "Nowhere else in the world have I witnessed such a militarist atmosphere. The scene is really unbelievable."

Is it civil war now in Turkey?

Posted by: jfl | Nov 2 2015 14:10 utc | 47

Oui 46, Hey Oui, glad you are here.

I just heard two anti-ISIS activists were hunt down in Turkey, and the terrorist bombing of the Kurds recently sound like Turkey's ISIS branch has been very active.

Posted by: shadyl | Nov 2 2015 14:41 utc | 48

This is really beyond terrible...It is the end of democracy in Turkey.
The first act of the new government is to rip up the constitution

From Today's Zaman: Turkish PM calls for new constitution after election victory

The preliminary results suggest that the ruling party's gamble to hold new elections has paid off. Supporters at the party's Ankara and Istanbul headquarters were already waving flags in rapturous celebrations. Crowds outside President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's home in İstanbul were shouting "Turkey is proud of you."

The vote is a rerun of a June election in which AK Party surprisingly lost its one-party rule due to a strong showing by a Kurdish party. Most analysts had expected AKP to fall short again, but the preliminary results suggest it picked up millions of votes at the expense of the nationalist MHP and pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP). AK Party's vote tally jumped nearly nine percentage points. The secularist CHP was hovering around the same result as in June.

Posted by: plantman | Nov 2 2015 15:21 utc | 49

@harry law@44

If this report is true it would constitute a disgusting escalation by Erdogon,and justifying war crimes.

Thanks for that link. I googled for other news sources about Erdogan statements justifying IS downing the Russian civilian plane, and couldn't find any. AWD News is the only one that carries it AFAIK. I had to use Google search engine, though I don't use it at all on a daily basis, but Duck-Duck-Go and Disconnect (Tor Browser) didn't produce anything, not even the AWD News link, where, BTW, Erdogan statement made front-page (slides).

Turkish president Erdoğan: I can't condemn the Islamic State for shooting down the Russian airplane as it is the natural outcome of Putin's support for Assad

I have no idea what AWD News is, whether they can be trusted or not, but if Erdogan statement is true, this is a declaration of war against Russia, and a loud and clear indication of the policies Erdogan will follow. AWD News picked up the info from the Emirates News Agency (WAM), I checked their english version, and there is nothing related to Erdogan statement. After a search, the most recent news about Turkey are Merkel's pre-election visit, but there is an Arabic version of WAM, and usually bilingual editions differ. No MSM has reproduced Erdogan's statement, AFAIK.

I will be interested to know more about this, and the diplomatic/political fallout, the Russian response. If there are any MoA posters that read Arabic, they might check the Arabic version of WAM and help us find the truth of the matter.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 2 2015 16:26 utc | 50

@42 - that sounds like a dumbasses cartoon version of a person based on reading too much The Daily Beast. It even somehow ties the President of Russia into the USAs own "Conservative"/"Liberal" paradigm so as to make it easier for simpletons to say "Conservatives like Putin? Putin Bad!" People whose level of political analysis doesn't get must deeper than "I watch the Daily Show!".

Watching Putin take on Russia's social problems - including homophobia and most certainly making sure there is no ethnic tensions (for good reasons, considering the West is backing racists like Navalny) he does a sight better job than the US with our daily mass shootings and increasing racial violence.

You're dumb list of stereotypical tropes and outright falsehoods (the "persecute minorities" most especially is hogwash) has no basis in reality - it is more like some dimwitted comedy writers version of "safe political humor".

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 2 2015 16:37 utc | 51

Ralphieboy;I aint no right winger,I fly with both wings,and Putin is my choice for POTUS.
Authoritarian?With A 90% approval rating?Our actual US authoritarians with 10% approval ratings fit your description much better.They author act after acvt opposed by the american populace,despite the Zionist polls to the contrary.One Putin is worth the whole Western political universe,or do Cameron or Obomba float your boat?Or is it Yahoo?

Posted by: dahoit | Nov 2 2015 16:40 utc | 52

I haven’t been surprised by an election result to this degree since a very long time.

It looks very much like one day somehow Erdogan will find by hook or by crook the super majority and will write a New Constitution, which will make him Sultan to some degree. (In fact Erdogan has always overused his role as Prez, more than legitimate or legal.) Will the Turks put up with this? > See Piotr Berman at 30 for past Erdogan doings.

Erdogan will have more power and take more rights from today. How long it will take for a new Constitution is anybody’s guess. It might be very quick, or be stalled somehow. I think for now it affects the International scene little, the scenario and pressures there will be unchanged. The ruptures or bouleversements will be due to internal events. But that is just common sense, not any kind of interesting answer to b’s questions. Thing is, Erdogan is *really* way out in lalaland. Poroshenko, a minor figure, is a miracle of predictable idiotic stability in comparison. Even the US Gvmt. with CEO Obama is easier (for me) to understand.

Posted by: Noirette | Nov 2 2015 16:59 utc | 53

@From The Hague@40


Didn't you observe the demonization?

As I told you before, your sense of nuance is blunted. I was figuratively, not literally, posting about Putin as candidate for president of the world. Someone else proposed him as candidate for president of Europe, and it doesn't mean he will run either. We are only paying lip service (got that?) to Putin's popularity, in Russia and beyond. Hope that helps.

F1’s Ecclestone: Putin Has to Rule Entire Europe

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 2 2015 17:04 utc | 54

Amazing how the countries the US supports, constitutions get changed to make power even more lopsided and dangerous - changes that cause riots in the streets. Yet countries that make their constitutions more democratic - like Venezuela - get put on the hit list.

How little does someone have to be paying attention at this point to think to themselves "the USA is a beacon of freedom!"?

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 2 2015 17:05 utc | 55

Posted by: CE | Nov 1, 2015 9:57:41 PM | 28

Don't think it was fraud. The politics of fear work every time. That the Turkish conservative right wing voted for Erdogan makes sense.

HDP was targeted by terror during the election, their electorate might have been too frightened to go voting in certain places. They also might have been associated with PKK in the run up, so lost some of the liberals who had voted for them previously as the only "modern" Turkish party. To be back in for HDP under the circumstances is a huge success.

Turkey has a very authoritarian tradition. The conclusion of this pre election CSIS analysis is interesting

Turkish political history shows that authoritarianism has been most pronounced during military rule or periods when the Turkish General Staff (TGS) exercised decisive influence over civilian governments. Consequently, if Turkey continues to go down the same path it has been on after the elections, there will inevitably be increased scrutiny of the future role of the TGS. It is worth noting that the military establishment has recovered from its decline into virtual irrelevance in the first decade of AKP rule, thanks to a great extent to the understandable desire of Erdogan since December 2013 to rely on it as he struggled first against the Gulen Movement and then against the PKK. Significantly, the TGS has also benefited during the interregnum between the elections from the surge of patriotism because of the fighting in the southeast as well as the resumption, after a 12 year interruption following the break in March 2003 at the beginning of the Second Gulf War, of close military cooperation with the United States in the fight against ISIS.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 2 2015 17:11 utc | 56

@Noirette #53:

Erdogan is *really* way out in lalaland. Poroshenko, a minor figure, is a miracle of predictable idiotic stability in comparison. Even the US Gvmt. with CEO Obama is easier (for me) to understand.

I can sympathize. Maybe you'll find the following helpful (at Saker's blog, but not written by him), although I've not made an effort to understand Erdogan as you have. The basic idea is that he should be read as an Islamist, not as a Turkish nationalist.

The Predictable Erdogan

Posted by: Demian | Nov 2 2015 17:33 utc | 57

I think the law (because there is one, and it takes it's own course) of unintended consequences will "play out" here, in near future. And this law has it's own way, of defying not just what people say, but more obviously: what they want.

It's at play in Germany (Merkel) now: avoiding principled stand on Syria when there was one to make, now "fallout" is from not influencing *that* when they (and many other leaders) could... overwhelmed with refugees and her "constituents" are... weary. And UK now making nuke deals with China.

Maybe better example: GWB's 2nd election. In hindsight, almost everyone here (including conservatives: notice none of them talk about lies that got us into Iraq this election season) now knows... Iraq one of worst blunders in history. For Iraq, for ME and for US domestically: impoverishment everywhere. Bush's PR for 2nd election was built on same "nationalistic" appeal as "protecting America" was after 9/11: plenty of people here in US said this plaintly then, but it was "swamped" by mindless belief in GWB and off we went. Unfolding disaster in Iraq was becoming more and more evident to even most die hard conservative "believers" and US conservatives, but enough of them were still hanging on to lies and "suspicious" of "liberals"... they ran with GWB and things just got worse. Point: internal (domestic US) moved by LIES based solely on silly "internal fears" were "played", while ignoring external (Iraq, then Afghanistan etc.) consequences of our nation's actions...

Now, look at US. Leg's cut out, distrusted internationally... it's all come back to bite us in huge way.

Circumstances in Turkey different (and smaller scale), but Ergodan's functional means (appealing to domestic fears, blinded by "ideology" to consequences of his directed actions) to win this election is a similar house of cards. They'll bask in sun over this "victory", but tomorrow is another day and reality hasn't changed much.

Turkey's going to have a whole lot of unintended consequences coming their way, because Ergodan has put them right in the middle (look at their borders) of volatile and dangerous (uncontrollable) circumstances directly causing great hardship for many. Just the latest leader, mis-identifying his/Turkey's "interests" as us against them. "We want it our way".

It's the one common thread through this whole, unfolding nightmare.

Posted by: jdmckay | Nov 2 2015 17:37 utc | 58

Posted by: jfl | Nov 2, 2015 9:10:33 AM | 47

There has been a civil war in Turkey since Atatürk and before with assassinations, ethnic cleansing, "terror", military dictatorship, you name it.

Erdogan has been democratic progress.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 2 2015 17:39 utc | 59

BBC preelection coverages certainly made it sound as if this "consolidation of government power" could be what breaks the horse's back because of extreme polarization ... that further marginalization of the opposition (as made possible by "majority") could result in a powerless opposition resorting to other means ... BBC depicted Turkey as being pretty evenly divided between pro- and anti-government factions (with other percentages for other minority/extreme factions) -- My memory is they were not predicting this "victory"

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Nov 2 2015 18:00 utc | 60

@somebody #59:

Islamism and democracy are not compatible. That's what we're seeing in Turkey now.

Posted by: Demian | Nov 2 2015 18:01 utc | 61

P.S. I don't consider Iran to be Islamist. Maybe I'm using the word in a peculiar way.

Posted by: Demian | Nov 2 2015 18:05 utc | 62

Erdogan's another useful bastard for Empire. his vagaries are consistent with many other US backed authoritarians. Turkey's been a member of NATO since 1952 and there are 24 NATO bases there. Incirlik is one of the most important and is home to the 39th Air Base Wing of the USAF and a repository for tactical nuclear weapons. quite conveniently it's also just a stone's throw from the major insurgent supply corridor into Syria. which, apparently, is one of the few still in business.

Empire's a bad asteroid.

Posted by: john | Nov 2 2015 18:13 utc | 63

@shadyl - #48 :: thx!
Have been around for awhile, more often as reader.

Posted by: Oui | Nov 2 2015 18:13 utc | 64

@john #63:

Erdogan's another useful bastard for Empire

By the time this is over, the US won't have a single democracy in its camp. Either a country will creep into authoritarianism like Turkey or slip into it quickly like Ukraine, or it will break free of the Empire.

Apologists for "liberal democracy" (we've got one here, who also seems to call himself a Marxist) will have some explaining to do.

An eccentric right-wing Dutch blogger is comparing what is happening in Europe now to 1989.

Posted by: Demian | Nov 2 2015 18:43 utc | 65

" By the time this is over, the US won't have a single democracy in its camp. "
Yes, the American / Neocon goal of making the world safe for democracy has a -- cough -- paraxodical effect ... I was reminded of Obama's Arab Spring resolution to be "on the right side of history" ... particularly as the depth and width of American involvement in perverting Arab Spring is gradually revealed ... Sure looks like we were partners in the deployment of the mobile Jihadi army far and wide -- at very least doing NOTHING impede their opportunism ... the still being revealed parallels between Libya and Syria are appalling ... we proceeded with the Syrian "mission" even as Libya was sliding quickly into chaos ... we might have learned something besides "keep our name out of it" ...
I have noticed that no one is still scoffing at the notion that we're at war with Islam ...

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Nov 2 2015 19:15 utc | 66

the significance being that Muslims throughout the world have believed we are at war with Islam for a decade now ... while "we" have scoffed at this being ridiculous, even paranoia ... as the brutal disregard for Muslim lives rages on ...

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Nov 2 2015 19:18 utc | 67

Demian @ 65 says:

An eccentric right-wing Dutch blogger is comparing what is happening in Europe now to 1989

yeah, the Muslims are the new communists.

Posted by: john | Nov 2 2015 21:22 utc | 68

You lot are joking. Erdogan did a simple fear-mongering election, much like Netahyahu, or Cameron in Britain. Only he actually attacked the PKK.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 2 2015 22:26 utc | 69

I saw a couple of accounts of large numbers of MHP and CHP candidates changing their political affiliation - to AKP - just before the election. That might account for the pre-election polls failing so badly. I would imagine a force greater than political party to account for that, the fabled Turkish "deep state" ... of which the TGS is an integral part? Perhaps they figure the Syrian battleground gives them cover to do whatever they want? Not unlike the neocons in the US and the war on terror. Fascism is on the march worldwide.

As goes Turkey so goes NATO?

Posted by: jfl | Nov 2 2015 22:56 utc | 70

re 70

I saw a couple of accounts of large numbers of MHP and CHP candidates changing their political affiliation - to AKP - just before the election.

Sounds like typical fear-mongering, much like Netanyahu did, or Cameron in UK. Results to see.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 2 2015 23:30 utc | 71


'Erdogan did a simple fear-mongering election, much like Netahyahu, or Cameron in Britain. Only he actually attacked the PKK.'

Yeah, that bombing where he killed the hundred+ people and wounded hundreds more did do the 'simple fear-mongering' trick. I don't remember Cameron or Netnayahu doing that, but I often miss the finer points.

Posted by: jfl | Nov 2 2015 23:44 utc | 72

@59 somebody

'There has been a civil war in Turkey since Atatürk and before with assassinations, ethnic cleansing, "terror", military dictatorship, you name it.'

Yeah, so I've read. The holocaust deniers have your link covered, though, hard to tell if its a forgery or not. But the reality and the violence of the Turkish "deep state" seem to be well-established.

I guess the bombings of those setting off to Kabane and those protesting his wars in general are testimony to Erdogan's 'democratizing' influence?

Sorry situation indeed if Erdogan is the best of breed.

Turkey as a member of NATO seems further testimony to the utter corruption of that outfit.

I read recently - @63 john - that the Turkish/Da'esh/ISIS rat-line runs right by the US/NATO nukes at Incirlik.

And the US/NATO claimed to be worried about Iran's non-existent nukes?

Posted by: jfl | Nov 3 2015 0:37 utc | 73

Sounds to me like Erdogan's setting himself up for an enhanced state of emergency, maybe an unsuccessful attempted coup? This really will not end well ... for anyone ... want to bet the Kurds get screwed again? the migrants get put in Turkish cages (with the EU's blessing, which they are very relieved to be able to justify by same emergency)

Is anyone still "investigating" what led to what we so neatly call "the migrant crisis"?

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Nov 3 2015 0:56 utc | 74

note: I don't mean "where did all those migrants come from" ... the question is more about some smoking gun as to who staged that wag-the-dog crisis ... Erdogan is the obvious #1 beneficiary, but I'm guessing he may well have had American approval and possibly a Merkel/German sign-off

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Nov 3 2015 1:05 utc | 75

jfl at 70 --

I believe that Laguerre is referring to the Turkish war against the Kurds in their putative "no fly zone" (or what used to be called in snail-mail days a "protectorate") in northern Syria. Despite the war not going especially well militarily (whatever happened to the mighty Turkmen army they deployed back in the summer?) it succeeded in its main aim -- rallying the electoral troops back home to get Erdogan official permission to move from parliamentary to presidential rule.

I would disagree with b -- it's a clear win for Erdogan, though not on the scale he hoped. I got the impression that many here thought he would be taken down a peg, that voters would reject his intervention in Syria and curb his dictatorial side. I wanted that to happen, but I didn't think so, since smacking around the Kurds always plays well with a substantial set of Turkish voters.

Counterpunch has a good analysis, which notes how the various parties fared.

Turks are coming to terms with a political earthquake which leaves President Erdogan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of his lieutenant, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, vastly strengthened and the opposition in pieces.

He lacks the seats to get his constitutional changes through, so he would need to craft a coalition to do so. Erdogan will no doubt read the results as confirmation of his path and renew his efforts. Voter may or may not care for his decorating style (g77 at 27 - I agree w/ben, very droll), but they like his statesmanship well enough, it seems.

"Sorry Charlie, voters don't want policies in good taste, they want policies that taste good."

S. Sunflower at 74 --

I would guess he would not push it that far, as he will not need to do so. If he can keep the tension up (I don't see him having a problem with that), I would think he could generate enough political pressure to probably the CHP to go along with the constitutional changes. As long as the incursion into Syria doesn't cost too much, or get too out of control, Erdogan is probably going to get what he wants, unfortunately.

Posted by: rufus magister | Nov 3 2015 1:25 utc | 76

I guess I'm concerned because I suspect that the EU is going to slam its borders closed, leaving currently estimated 2 million migrants in Turkey and that the Eurozone open borders -- a major perk for Turks -- may be placed in limbo or delayed ...
from today: wapo.

""UNHCR says 210,265 people crossed the sea from Turkey to Greece alone last month and another 8,129 went from north Africa to Italy through Oct. 29. The agency estimates that about 216,000 people crossed the Mediterranean last year, while another 3,000 crossed Turkey’s land border.
European Union pledges to relocate about 160,000 refugees — less than three-fourths of the October influx — shows the response is still far short of needs.
UNHCR estimates that more than 600,000 people crossed the Mediterranean this year.""

from Saturday: Chrisitan Today.
Greece's prime minister said on Friday he was ashamed to be a member of a European Union that he said was sidestepping responsibilities over the migrant crisis and crying hypocritical tears for children who have drowned trying to reach its shores.
At least 35 people drowned trying to cross the sea between Turkey and Greece this week. Authorities fear the death toll will rise as more people attempt the short but dangerous passage to Greece before the onset of winter.

Erdogan has already rejected a proposed 3 billion Euro aid package for migrant care ... He's in a pivotal position to help the EU ... but the question remains how wisely he will use this power and can he deliver (particularly if Turkey becomes less stable). Migrants are already fleeing Turkey, seeing no future, and not wanting to risk waiting ... I suspect the clock is ticking on his deal-making ... Looks to me like he's got to seal a deal and deliver ... there are still plenty in the EU who oppose Turkey's membership, mostly on the basis of human rights.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Nov 3 2015 2:30 utc | 77


[...] Thing is, Erdogan is *really* way out in lalaland. Poroshenko, a minor figure, is a miracle of predictable idiotic stability in comparison. Even the US Gvmt. with CEO Obama is easier (for me) to understand.

The "Golden Chairs" where he sat with La Merkel (see kafkananda@24) support your "way out in lalaland" assessment of Erdogan.

Different threads converged at the snap elections, and the results cannot be seen outside the US/NATOstan vs Russia context, or the "coalition of the unwilling" confrontation with Russia in Syria. La Merkel visit and photo-op, followed by statements from the "Golden Chairs," was a welcomed PR boost for Erdogan. As kafkananda@24 says, "Angela did her part." After the usual blah, blah, blah, facilitating Turkey's accession to Eurostan, blackmail money to shut the refugee pipeline, La Merkel PR trip had another goal, that of keeping Erdogan as NATO's bulldog in Russia's underbelly.

La Merkel was performing an errand for the US/NATO, and Erdogan played his part in the show very well. No statements about human rights violations, freedom of the press, national security, nothing that could cloud the PR boost. US/NATOstan intentions are clear: despite contradictions (Kurds, etc.), they will keep on using Erdogan as the frontline dog in Syria, and a little help from his friends in a difficult election was necessary. Even if Erdogan didn't get a parliamentary majority to change the constitution, he now has the appearance of the mandate he lost in June, all he needed to do the rest by hook or by crook.

Retrospectively, now we can see who was behind, or allowed the bombing of the peaceful Kurds to happen, it was all part of the election strategy. At the core of US/NATOstan support for Erdogan is Syria, and we can expect a hot winter at the Levant, with erratic, vitriolic Erdogan foaming at the mouth against the Russians. Internally, his situation is very fragile, and he will have to make massive use of his repressive apparatus to contain the different forces that oppose him. In summary, the US/NATOstan, who do not particularly consider Erdogan a reliable ally, will do the best to get all the mileage they can from him, and for Turkey to stay the course in Syria, but for Erdogan, whose political capital is dwindling down fast, that will be an uphill battle, literally, on and off the streets.

Erdogan is on a collision course with his own destiny.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 3 2015 2:46 utc | 78


You lot are joking. Erdogan did a simple fear-mongering election, much like Netahyahu, or Cameron in Britain. Only he actually attacked the PKK.

Whatever. You're not making any sense at all. Most candidates nowadays do fear-mongering elections, no question about it, but there is a particular socio-political context for each one of them. Can't put them all in a cat-bag. So, please elaborate.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 3 2015 3:08 utc | 79

Laguerre @69, Lone Wolf @79

It was not run-of-the-mill fear mongering, but the genuine article. People who changed their mind where mostly (a) supporters of rather fascist nationalist party, if you want heavy handed rule bashing minorities, go for the winner in the category and (b) the Kurds, the result of intimidation on community level: Erdogan have proved that he can deliver some goodies, but also his wrath.

Lastly, the opposition was hopelessly divided. There are some analogies to Syria: Syrianshave a choice of the current government that delivered in good days and has united forces, and the opposition that can only guarantee continuation of the civil was if they somehow defeat Assad. So opinion polls are for Assad and he would win unless there would be massive intimidation of his supporters, as it happened in Ukraine with the Party of Regions.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 3 2015 15:01 utc | 80

demian at 57 thanks for the “predictable Erdogan” link, nice echo. (from ‘unpredictable’..) Megalomaniac, that’s what. The French shorten this to Mégalo which somehow sounds better.

Posted by: Noirette | Nov 3 2015 16:50 utc | 81

@Piotr Berman@80

It was not run-of-the-mill fear mongering, but the genuine article.

I agree. My point with Laguerre@69 was that a simple comparison does not replace analysis. He didn't even do an analogy, as you just did with Syria, just threw together "fear-mongering" elections in Turkey, Israel and England, the reader has to figure out the rest. Thank you for elaborating further, you just did the clarifying work for him.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 3 2015 17:30 utc | 82

From Sputniknews today (11/3), part of statement from Russian Defense Ministry:

"In the framework of a broader international coalition on the fight against terrorism in the Middle East, we have established contacts with leaders and field commanders of several opposition units. These patriotic groups which, despite fighting government forces for four years, hold the idea of preserving Syria as a united sovereign state, free from ISIL and other terrorists of all sorts, higher than their political ambitions. We hope that this step will become a turning point in the resolution of the Syrian conflict."

Article also says...

The Russian Defense Ministry has established contacts with leaders and field commanders of a number of patriotic Syrian opposition groups, which prioritize the country's integrity despite being opposed to Syrian President Bashar Assad, Kartapolov said, adding that Moscow hopes that this would help to resolve the Syrian conflict.

Sure makes sense to me. Hope somebody updates McCain's committee!

Posted by: jdmckay | Nov 3 2015 19:53 utc | 83


Forgot to post the link.

Posted by: jdmckay | Nov 3 2015 20:05 utc | 84

@83, 84 jdmc

I cannot find it now, but right after Assad visited Moscow there was a dialogue in translation posted somewhere ... and the last line in it was a statement by Putin to the effect that he'd asked Assad what his reaction would be to just such overtures as you describe ... and Putin then said that Assad had said ... 'That would be positive'. Pretty nebulous on my part, but Putin was broadcasting his intentions.

Posted by: jfl | Nov 3 2015 20:30 utc | 85

The comments to this entry are closed.