Tag Archives: Turkey

Turkey’s Syria invasion rapidly backfiring for Ankara amid unexpected international condemnation

Turkey’s Syrian venture is rapidly turning sour from President Erdogan’s point of view. The Turkish advance into the northeast is moving slowly, but Turkey’s military options are becoming increasingly limited as the Syrian army, backed by Russia, moves into Kurdish-held cities and towns that might have been targeted by Turkish forces.

It is unlikely that Mr Erdogan will risk taking on Syrian government troops, even if they are thin on the ground, if this involves quarrelling with Russia. In the seven days since he launched Operation Peace Spring, Turkey has become more diplomatically isolated than Ankara might have envisaged when President Trump appeared to greenlight its attack.

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Posted by on October 16, 2019 in Middle East


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Trump and Erdogan have much in common – and the Kurds will be the tragic victims of their idiocy

What perfidy. Is there any more solemn a word that can be developed in the English language for such treachery? The west’s Kurdish allies are being betrayed all over again. Like Kissinger, like Trump. And here come the Turks again, once more playing their border games, pretending they are fighting against “terrorism” when they were perfectly prepared to assist al-Nusra in Afrin while oil from Isis flowed into the country. And Trump now suddenly realises that the Turks are not good allies when he was perfectly happy to let them invade northern Syria four days ago.

If anything could be more illustrative of the madhouse in Washington it has been the divisive, insane “policy” which the Americans still claim to uphold in northern Syria. A hundred thousand displaced, dozens of civilians dead. In Damascus, the Assad regime must be appreciating this farce, although the chances of taking back territory from Turkey probably looks a good deal more dangerous. But the prospect of Syria’s invaders fighting each other will evoke only bitter reflection in a state where the government had almost won its war.

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Posted by on October 14, 2019 in Middle East, North America


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As Turkey prepares to slice through Syria, the US has cleared a new breeding ground for Isis

“Never get into a well with an American rope” goes the saying spreading across the Middle East, as the US abandons its Kurdish allies in Syria to a Turkish invasion force. People in the region are traditionally cynical about the loyalty of great powers to their local friends, but even they are shocked by the speed and ruthlessness with which Donald Trump greenlit the Turkish attack.

According to the UN and human rights groups, tens of thousands of Kurdish refugees are in flight from their border towns and are being targeted by Turkish airstrikes and artillery fire. Most leaders contemplating ethnic cleansing keep quiet about it, but Turkey’s President Erdogan is openly declaring that he will settle two million Syrian Arab refugees from other parts of Syria on Kurdish lands (he says he’s discovered that the land is not really Kurdish).

Every news dispatch from the new war zone is full of ironies. Trump says that Turkey will be responsible for securing the thousands of Isis prisoners held by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), But Brett McGurk, as the former presidential adviser to the anti-Isis coalition – and the source for the saying about the unreliability of US rope – notes that in the past it was Turkey which had rejected “any serious cooperation on Isis even as 40k foreign fighters flowed through its territory into Syria”.

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Posted by on October 11, 2019 in Middle East


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Defying the World, Turkey Launches a War Against a U.S. Ally in Syria

Two of America’s closest allies in the Middle East went to war on Wednesday—and Donald Trump didn’t seem to care. In what may have been the first declaration of hostilities on Twitter, the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, announced that Turkey, a NATO ally, had launched an invasion of Syria, to clear out a Kurdish-led militia that controls about a third of the country. The militia, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, has been allied with the United States for the past five years in the war against ISIS. Both sides have been equipped by the United States, albeit in vastly different ways.

Erdoğan dubbed the invasion “Operation Peace Spring.” It is anything but. Panic swept across northern Syria as Turkey’s warplanes pounded Kurdish towns and artillery fired across the border, in order to—in ironic military jargon—“soften up” the terrain for a ground offensive. The S.D.F. posted videos on social media of the aftermath, showing fires, destruction, and bodies on the ground.

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Posted by on October 10, 2019 in Middle East


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Boris Johnson’s coup is eerily reminiscent of Erdogan’s behaviour in Turkey

Britain is experiencing a slow-moving coup d’etat in which a right-wing government progressively closes down or marginalises effective opposition to its rule. It concentrates power in its own hands by stifling parliament, denouncing its opponents as traitors to the nation, displacing critics in its own ranks, and purging non-partisan civil servants.

Some describe this as “a very British coup”, which gives the operation a warmer and fuzzier feeling than it deserves. It is, in fact, distinctly “un-British” in the sense that the coup makers ignore or manipulate the traditional unwritten rules of British politics over the past 400 years whereby no single faction or institution monopolises authority.

What we are seeing has nothing to do with the British past but a very modern coup in which a demagogic nationalist populist authoritarian leader vaults into power through quasi-democratic means and makes sure that he cannot be removed.

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Posted by on September 12, 2019 in Europe, Middle East


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Saudi Arabia’s ‘strategic plan’ to take Turkey down

Saudi Arabia has begun implementing a “strategic plan” to confront the Turkish government, after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman decided he was being “too patient” with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the wake of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder.

The plan is detailed in a confidential report based on open- and closed-source intelligence prepared by the kingdom’s ally, the United Arab Emirates.

The intelligence report is one of a monthly series written by the Emirates Policy Centre, a think tank with close links to the Emirati government and security services.

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Posted by on August 7, 2019 in Middle East


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In Istanbul’s New Mayor, Erdogan Faces a New Threat

No matter where Ekrem Imamoglu goes these days, his fans await him: Women with headscarves who want to touch him, teenagers asking for a selfie. That’s the case in Istanbul, where Imamoglu was elected mayor last Sunday by an overwhelming margin, but it’s also true of conservative strongholds like the city of Trabzon on the Black Sea.

Videos recorded in Trabzon shortly before Imamoglu’s election as mayor of Istanbul, show people celebrating him like a savior. They swing flags with this portrait, yelling: “President Ekrem!” His election song blasts from the speakers: “Her sey cok güzel olacak!” All will be good. The Imamoglu hype has swept across all of Turkey.

Up until a few months ago, Imamoglu, 49 years old, was the largely unknown mayor of Beylikdüzü, a drab district on the edge of Istanbul. But now that he has beaten President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate twice at the ballot box, he has emerged as the great hope of proponents of democracy in Turkey.

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Posted by on July 17, 2019 in Middle East



الفاشية في تركيا لا تنتهي بالانتخابات

في السادس من مايو 2019، ألغى النظام التركي نتائج الانتخابات المحلية التي أجريت في الحادي والثلاثين من مارس والتي فاز فيها أحد أحزاب المعارضة بالسيطرة على حكومة بلدية إسطنبول.
يحكم تركيا نظام يعيش في خوف وجودي منذ عام 2013، عندما هددت انتفاضات حديقة غيزي في الصيف وفضيحة فساد في شتاء ذلك العام سلطة رجب طيب أردوغان وحزب العدالة والتنمية الذي يتزعمه.
ومنذ ذلك الحين، خضعت تركيا لانقلاب مستمر يهدف إلى تعزيز السيطرة الكاملة، وكان السادس من مايو أحدث تكرار لهذه العملية. الهدف هو إنهاء الحكم المحلي وتدمير حتى أصغر بذرة من الحكم الذاتي التي يمكن أن تتشكل خارج محور صاحب السلطة المطلقة.
وتماماً مثلما تم استخدام محاولة الانقلاب في يوليو 2016 كذريعة لترسيخ النظام وتدمير المعارضة وإنشاء نظام رئاسي شديد المركزية، أصبحت انتخابات الحادي والثلاثين من مارس أداة لإخضاع الحكومات المحلية للسلطة المركزية.
من الواضح أن تركيا دخلت حقبة جديدة من الفاشية، وثمة دروس عاجلة يجب استخلاصها من الحادي والثلاثين من مارس والسادس من مايو.
في الرابع والعشرين من مارس، كتبت: “لقد تم تحسين توازن النظام بشكل لا رجعة فيه من خلال احتجاجات حديقة غيزي في عام 2013 وفضيحة الفساد الحكومي في نهاية العام نفسه، لقد كان 2013 عام الحكام الذين أعماهم الغضب.

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Posted by on May 14, 2019 in Middle East



Erdogan did not reveal Turkey’s entire hand about Khashoggi killing to keep his leverage over Saudi Arabia

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a skilful politician who knows how to maximise his advantages and this was very much on display in his speech to the Turkish parliament.

He contemptuously dismissed the official Saudi story that the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was the accidental outcome of a botched interrogation by a “rogue” Saudi intelligence team.

It was always naive to imagine that Mr Erdogan would tell all that Turkey knows about the murder and the Saudi role in it because such information – particularly the alleged audio recording of the killing – is invaluable in giving Turkey leverage over Saudi Arabia and, to a lesser degree, the US.

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Posted by on October 24, 2018 in Middle East


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As Isis is defeated, the Trump administration is opening the door to a new round of Middle East wars by targeting Iran as the source of all evil

The shadowy figures of Kurdish fighters can be just made out on film as they ambush and kill three pro-Turkish fighters in a night time attack in Afrin in northern Syria. The Kurdish enclave was invaded and occupied by the Turkish army and their Syrian armed opposition allies earlier in the year. Sporadic guerrilla warfare has been going on ever since.

This skirmish took place a few days after an attack on a military parade by gunmen a thousand miles away from Afrin in Ahvaz in southwest Iran that killed 25 people. Film shows soldiers and civilians running in panic as they are sprayed with bullets, leaving 25 dead, including 11 conscripts and a four-year-old child. The killings were claimed by both Isis and Arab separatists from the province of Khuzestan whom the Iranians accused of acting as catspaws for the US, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

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Posted by on October 2, 2018 in Middle East


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