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Offline Palloy2

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Turkey thread
« on: May 07, 2018, 08:07:47 PM »
Turkey is playing awkward.

https://www.rt.com/news/425966-turkey-retaliation-us-weapons/
Turkey will 'retaliate' if US halts weapon sales over purchase of Russian arms – Ankara
6 May, 2018

In a deepening rift between two major NATO allies, Turkey says it will retaliate if Washington stops the sale of US weapons over Ankara's decision to buy Russian military hardware. Such a move would be "wrong" and "illogical."

"If the United States imposes sanctions on us or takes such a step, Turkey will absolutely retaliate," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told CNN Turk. "What needs to be done is the US needs to let go of this."

"Turkey is not a country under your orders, it is an independent country… speaking to such a country from above, dictating what it can and cannot buy, is not a correct approach and does not fit our alliance," he said, referring to the fact that both countries are part of NATO.

The notion of halting weapons sales has been put forward by lawmakers in the US House of Representatives through the proposed US National Defense Authorization Act. The latter would ask the defense department to provide Congress with a report on the relationship between the US and Turkey and would block the sale of major defense equipment until the report is complete.

This move could throw a spanner in the works for Turkey as it plans to buy more than 100 Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Jets. It is also in talks with Washington over the purchase of Patriot missiles.

Cavusoglu said he plans to travel to Washington next week to meet with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who previously said he was concerned over Ankara's decision to buy the Russian S-400 missile batteries.

The foreign minister's comments come after US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said on Thursday that Washington has "serious concerns about Turkey's potential acquisition" of S-400 anti-aircraft systems.

Nauert added that NATO countries are only supposed to buy weapons and other materiel that are "interoperable with other NATO partners."

In April, Assistant Secretary of State Wess Mitchell warned that the decision to buy Russian military hardware exposed Turkey to the possibility of sanctions. He added that it may bar Ankara from receiving any F-35 jets under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which is mainly aimed at hindering Russian arms exports.

Mitchell strayed from the usual "interoperable with NATO equipment" justification, instead stating that it was "in the American national interest to see Turkey remain strategically and politically aligned with the West." He specifically noted his disapproval that Ankara had "increased its engagement with Russia and Iran."

Responding to Mitchell's comments, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov described the US threats as "a typical example of attempted blackmail" with the intention of giving US companies an "unfair advantage in market competition."

The deal between Turkey and Russia was signed in December. Deliveries of the S-400 systems to Turkey are scheduled to start in 2020. However, following talks with Cavusoglu in March, Lavrov stated that Moscow is ready to speed up the process.

Cavusoglu's Sunday remarks come amid increased tensions between the US and Turkey, particularly over Ankara's Operation Olive Branch, which was launched against Kurdish fighters in Afrin on January 20. A war of words broke out after the top US commander in the US-led coalition against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) said that Turkey would face a sharp response if it struck Manbij, Syria as part of its operation.

"It is obvious that those who say they will 'give a sharp response' if they were hit have not been hit by the Ottoman slap," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in response. His words referenced a Turkish martial arts move that involves an open-palm hit, resulting in a one-hit knockout or even skull fractures and death.

The relationship between Washington and Ankara also hit a speed bump in October, when Turkey arrested a US consulate worker for alleged ties to exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for a failed coup attempt in 2016. Ankara has criticized the US for failing to extradite Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania, while Western governments have slammed Turkey for its post-coup crackdown.
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Online Eddie

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Re: Turkey thread
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2018, 06:54:06 AM »
Erdogan would love to have a nuke. Just a matter of time, I'd imagine.
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Offline Palloy2

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Re: Turkey thread
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2018, 07:02:30 AM »
Any evidence behind that imagination?, or was it just a throw-away line?
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Online Eddie

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Re: Turkey thread
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2018, 08:03:29 AM »
It's my opinion, based on his behavior.

(A)He's busy playing both sides to the middle.

(B) He's turned Turkey into a dictatorship and consolidated his power. It appears to me he's trying to get ahead of the rising Muslim religious extremism. Not that different than Trump playing to the Christian Right here.

(C) He appears tired of eating NATO's shit.

(D) He is flexing his military muscles in a variety of ways.

(E) The nuke genie is out of the bottle. If Pakistan can get one, and NK can get one, I'm sure Erdogan could conceivably get one.

If that constitutes a "throw-away line" (whatever that is), so be it. It's an observation. I'm not trying to convince you or anybody else, so I don't give a rat's ass.

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Offline Palloy2

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Re: Turkey thread
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2018, 06:08:29 PM »
That's better.  You could also include the apparent US attempt at another military coup, and the refusal to extradite puppet-in-waiting Gulen to Turkey.  Or the possibility that Turkey WANTS to get out of buying the squadron of F-35 because they're crap and very expensive.

Quote
I'm not trying to convince you or anybody else, so I don't give a rat's ass.

Why respond at all then? Because this is supposed to be an intelligent discussion of doom events.
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Offline Palloy2

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Re: Turkey thread
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2018, 12:20:36 AM »
Seeking to pressure Turkey to buy their air defense systems by not selling them F-35s, will not work - Russia will sell him their planes instead, and Turkey will end up leaving NATO.

https://www.rt.com/usa/427062-lawmakers-bill-f35-ban-turkey/
US lawmakers seek to ban sales of F-35s to 'hostile & thuggish' Turkey
18 May, 2018

American lawmakers have introduced a new bipartisan bill seeking to ban F-35 deliveries to an "increasingly hostile and authoritarian" Turkey, partly because of Ankara's decision to purchase Russia's missile defense systems.

Seeking to pressure Turkey into behaving in a manner worthy of NATO "standards," and to limit sharing of the alliance's assets with "hostile actors," Democratic Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline introduced a bipartisan 'Ban F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Sales to Turkey Act' on Thursday.

Fearing that Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government is growing "increasingly hostile and authoritarian by the day," US lawmakers are calling for a complete ban on the sale or transfer of F-35 aircraft, as well as intellectual property and technical data, to Turkey. Any potential transfers of the multirole stealth fighters would only be possible if the US president certifies that Ankara is not "taking steps to degrade NATO interoperability, exposing NATO assets to hostile actors, or degrading the general security of NATO member countries."

Another three proposed conditions for the transfer of the fifth-generation warplanes include US presidential assurances that Ankara is not seeking to "purchase defense articles from a foreign country with respect to which sanctions are imposed by the United States," jail US citizens, or participate in "military action" which violates international law.

Turkey has been seeking to purchase 116 F-35 units under the Joint Strike Fighter program deals signed in 2014 and 2016. However, the first deliveries of Lockheed Martin planes, slated for 2018-2019, were jeopardized by the growing rift between Washington and Ankara on a number of issues – including Turkey's military operation in Syria and its decision to purchase Russian S-400 air-defense systems.

NATO countries fear that simultaneously operating both S-400s and F-35s could compromise the multi-billion-dollar program and expose its vulnerabilities, since Turkey seeks to combine all information systems on the F-35 Lightning II fifth-generation fighters with the Turkish Air Forces' system network.

"We cannot turn a blind eye to Turkey's thuggish, reprehensible behavior," said Cicilline, who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "There has to be consequences for any regime that commits such horrific human rights abuses and constantly steps out of line with our own interests. Banning the sale of these state-of-the-art weapons to Turkey is just common sense. It's important that we hold NATO members to the same standard we would hold any other country."

One of the co-sponsors of Thursday's bill, Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) is also seeking bi-partisan support for 'Relocating US Nuclear Weapons from Turkey Review Act of 2018,' which has yet to be introduced in Congress. Under NATO nuclear sharing, the US keeps around 180 B61 nuclear gravity bombs in Europe, including around 50 at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. The other five sites are in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Italy. In a letter addressed to US lawmakers, the congressman argues that storing some 50 nukes in Turkey is dangerous and illogical.

"Storing US nuclear weapons in Turkey no longer makes sense," Bilirakis wrote. "Turkey doesn't even have aircraft for delivering them. They would if the United States foolishly sells F-35 aircraft to Turkey, as I have opposed. Turkey is deepening political, economic, and military ties to Russia and China, the two countries the F-35 is most needed to deter and, if necessary, counter."

The hotly discussed Turkey-Russia deal may signal closer relations between both nations, as well as a growing rift between Ankara and its NATO allies, mainly the US. Washington has repeatedly relayed its “concerns” to Turkish officials regarding the S-400 potential purchase. On one occasion, US Defense Secretary James Mattis noted that S-400s are “not going to be interoperable with NATO systems.”

Earlier in April, Assistant Secretary of State Wess Mitchell warned that Ankara’s decision to buy Russia’s advanced complexes exposes Turkey to possible US sanctions and may bar it from getting F-35 jets. “Ankara claims to have agreed to purchase the Russian S-400 missile system, which could potentially lead to sanctions” under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), he said. The document was signed back in August 2017 and is mostly aimed at hindering Russian arms exports.

Earlier this week, the House Armed Services Committee advanced a defense authorization bill, which seeks to ban "major defense equipment" transfers to Turkey. The document notes that S-400 sales "could negatively impact common weapon system development between the United States and Turkey" and "exacerbate current interoperability challenges with respect to common military architecture and information sharing."
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Offline Palloy2

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Re: Turkey thread
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2018, 12:39:21 AM »
This article is a month old, but something I missed.

https://www.rt.com/business/424670-gold-turkey-repatriation-dollar/
Turkey repatriates gold from US in bid to ditch dollar
20 Apr, 2018

Ankara has decided to bring back all its gold stored in the US Federal Reserve, according to Turkish media. In recent years, Turkey repatriated 220 tons of gold from abroad, and 28.7 tons was brought back from the US last year.

Turkey’s gold reserves are estimated at 564 tons and are worth about $20 billion, Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak reported. This makes Ankara the 11th largest gold holder, behind the Netherlands and ahead of India. The reports come at a time when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken a tough stance against the US currency.

This week he criticized dollar loans and said that international loans should be given in gold instead. "Why do we make all loans in dollars? Let’s use another currency. I suggest that the loans should be made based on gold,” Erdoğan said during a speech at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Istanbul on April 16, according to Hurriyet.

“With the dollar the world is always under exchange rate pressure. We should save states and nations from this exchange rate pressure. Gold has never been a tool of oppression throughout history,” he added.

On April 11, the Turkish lira hit a record low against the dollar.

Turkey is among several countries which have been moving gold from the US. The wave began in 2012, when Venezuela announced it was repatriating 160 tons of gold, valued at around $9 billion. Germany’s Bundesbank then demanded 300 tons be returned, with the Fed saying it would take seven years to do so. The Netherlands has also repatriated 122.5 tons of gold.

“The central banks started the repatriation already a few years ago, meaning before we had Brexit, Catalonia, Trump, AFD or the rising tensions between the Politburo in Brussels and the nations of Eastern Europe,” Claudio Grass of Precious Metal Advisory Switzerland told RT.

According to him, the world is becoming less centralized. “If we follow this trend, it should be obvious that the next step should be an even bigger break up into smaller units than the nation state. With such geopolitical fragmentation comes also the decentralization of power.”
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Offline Palloy2

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Re: Turkey thread
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2018, 07:45:10 PM »
Turkey warns it will go elsewhere for it's planes if the US makes the F-35s impossible.  This is a real challenge, because it is obvious that Russian and Chinese planes are better and cheaper than F-35s.  Turkey must WANT to be thrown out of NATO.

https://www.rt.com/news/428224-turkey-f-35-sale-us/
Turkey warns US it will look elsewhere if Washington fails to deliver F-35 fighter jets
30 May, 2018

Turkey will go elsewhere if Washington fails to deliver on its sale of F-35 jets, the country's foreign minister warned. It comes as US lawmakers aim to ban deliveries of the jets to Ankara over its purchase of Russian S-400s.

“If I need such weapons, I will certainly procure my immediate needs from somewhere. But I do not think there will be a problem. In many resolutions that stipulate sanctions, Congress leaves the last word to the administration," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters late Tuesday.

He went on to explain that the deal between Ankara and Washington for the sale of the fighter jets is a "substantial legal agreement," noting that Turkey has made all of its regular payments. "This deal has nothing to do with our procurement of the S-400s," Cavusoglu said.

The US has not been hiding its disapproval of Turkey's purchase of Russian S-400 anti-aircraft systems. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert stated earlier this month that Washington has "serious concerns" about Turkey's potential acquisition of the systems. She said that as a fellow NATO member, Turkey should only be using NATO compatible systems, which could likely mean a purchase of the US-made weapons. Raising the stakes, US lawmakers introduced a bill which seeks to ban F-35 deliveries to Turkey, referring to the country as "increasingly hostile and authoritarian."

Washington has not backed off from directly threatening its “strategic partner” and major NATO ally in a bid to pressure Ankara to back out of the S-400 deal. Assistant US Secretary of State Wess Mitchell stated in April that Turkey "should be mindful of the risks in making strategic concessions with Moscow," noting that the purchase "could potentially lead to sanctions."

Despite Mitchell's words, both Turkey and Russia remain committed to their agreement, with deliveries of the S-400 systems set to begin in 2020. It could happen sooner, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated in March that Moscow is ready to speed up its deliveries.

Cavusoglu's Tuesday remarks come as the US and Turkey continue to suffer from a tense relationship, particularly over Ankara's 'Operation Olive Branch' which was launched against Kurdish fighters in Afrin, Syria, in January. The operation prompted the top US commander in the US-led coalition against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) to warn that Turkey would face a sharp response if it struck Manbij - a remark which prompted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to respond.

"It is obvious that those, who say they will 'give a sharp response' if they were hit, have not been hit by the Ottoman slap," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in response. His remark referenced a Turkish martial arts move that involves an open-palm hit, resulting in a one-hit knockout or even skull fractures and death.

However, the relationship between the two NATO members was already rocky before the operation began. Things worsened in October, when Turkey arrested a US consulate worker for alleged ties to exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for a failed coup attempt in 2016. Ankara has criticized the US for failing to extradite Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania.
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Offline Palloy2

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Re: Turkey thread
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2018, 08:34:11 PM »
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-06-19/us-senate-blocks-sale-f-35-jets-turkey-due-russian-missile-deal
US Senate Blocks Sale Of F-35 Jets To Turkey Due To Russian Missile Deal
Tyler Durden
06/19/2018

One month ago, in the latest sign that Turkey is seriously considering leaving NATO as its relationship with the security bloc (and the US in particular) continues to deteriorate, Turkish Prime Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned in early May  that the country would retaliate if a bill being pushed by House Republicans to block the sale of 116 F-35 fighter jets to Turkey becomes law.

Emerging in response to Turkey's potential purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems, the measure was criticized by Cavusoglu  who said it was wrong to impose such a restriction on a military ally, alluding to the fact that Turkey has graciously allowed the US to use its Encirlik air base to launch its air strikes against ISIS (as well as against Turkey's enemy the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad).

"If the United States imposes sanctions on us or takes such a step, Turkey will absolutely retaliate," Cavusoglu said. "What needs to be done is the U.S. needs to let go of this."

In retrospect, Turkey's veiled threats fell on deaf ears and late on Monday the US Senate voted to block the transfer of the F-35 fighter jet to Turkey, reflecting not only US unwillingness to cooperate with any counterparty that does concurrent deals with Russia, but also increasing tension with a NATO ally, in a move that could ultimately hold up the sale of 100 warplanes worth close to $10bn.

As the FT reports, a bipartisan clause added to the National Defense Authorization Act, and passed by the Senate late on Monday by a vote of 85 to 10, will prohibit the transfer of F-35s to Turkey until a plan is submitted to cut Turkey from participation in the program.

As we previewed last month, senators predictably made the intervention given concerns over Turkey’s intent to install the Russian-built S400 air defense system, which Pentagon officials fear would put the secrets of the F-35 and the data it collects at risk.

“Turkey is buying a missile system that will collect data on Nato’s frontline jet and, for various reasons, the US is trying to prevent that,” said Aaron Stein, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Atlantic Council. “Kicking Turkey out of the consortium won’t make anyone in Ankara happy and underscores how the two sides may not yet be at rock bottom in terms of the relationship.”

It's not quite an international diplomatic scandal quite yet: last night's vote is just the first step of the process: the bill, which must still be passed by the House, could undergo further changes in the reconciliation process and is not expected to become law until later in the summer.

Understandably, Turkey was angry: Binali Yildirim, Turkey’s prime minister, described the Senate decision as “lamentable” and against the spirit of the Nato partnership. In comments published by the Turkish broadcaster Haberturk, he also said Ankara was “not without alternatives” and would not be weakened by the move. An additional reason for Turkey's ire at the Senate decision is that the nation has been one of 14 NATO members that helped construct the stealth jet, along with the UK, Norway and Israel.

Ironically, the US decision meant perhaps to weaken Erdogan's regime, could backfire: the Senate vote came just a few days before critical Turkish elections in which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is seeking to drum up the support of nationalist voters. Analysts quoted by the FT said that the move could serve to bolster the Turkish president, playing into his narrative that foreign powers are conspiring to damage the country.

The Senate decision will also not help boost relations between the two NATO allies which have reached their lowest level since Turkey’s invasion of northern Cyprus in 1974. An effort to rescue the relationship was launched earlier this year by Rex Tillerson, then the US secretary of state, and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, who set up several committees aimed at resolving the sticking points.

    The process has continued with Mr Tillerson’s successor, Mike Pompeo, and last week the two sides reached a preliminary agreement for a US-Kurdish militia, which Turkey views as a terrorist group, to leave the strategic Syrian town of Manbij at Turkey’s request.

Efforts to restore relations will now be hurt by the decision in Congress, which analysts say could lead to tensions rising again.

F-35 maker, Lockheed Martin, said it still expected to hand over the jets to Turkey in a ceremonial exchange in Texas on June 21, however that now appears questionable: Turkish pilots are due to be trained on the F-35 in-country, but the warplanes themselves are not scheduled to leave the US for at least a year, giving the Pentagon time to find a solution in order to honor the new law if it passes.
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Offline Palloy2

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Re: Turkey thread
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2018, 01:14:16 AM »
https://thesaker.is/turkeys-european-dream-may-be-over-is-the-sultan-ready-for-eurasia/
Turkey’s European dream may be over, is the Sultan ready for Eurasia?
Pepe Escobar
June 26, 2018

Erdogan has lost his parliamentary majority and must now establish a coalition with the far-right Nationalist Action Party; given the latter is anti-Western, the road ahead points in only one direction: Eurasian integration

To the utter despair of stoic defenders of “Western values,” Europe is now condemned to suffer two populist autocracies on its eastern borders: Putin’s Russia and Erdogan’s Turkey.

For the EU’s political leaders, the only accepted narrative is blanket, hysterical condemnation of “illiberal democracies” distorted by personal rule, xenophobia and suppression of free speech. And that also applies to the strongmen in Hungary, Austria, Serbia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

These EU leaders and the institutions that support them – political parties, academia, mainstream media – simply can’t understand how and why their bubble does not reflect what voters really think and feel.

Instead, we have irrelevant intellectuals mourning the erosion of the lofty Western mission civilisatrice (civilizing mission), investing in a philosophical maelstrom of historical and even biblical references to catalog their angst.

They are terrified by so many Darth Vaders – from Putin and Erdogan to Xi and Khamenei. Instead of understanding the new remix to Arnold Toynbee’s original intuition – History is again on the move – they wallow in the mire of The West against The Rest.

They cannot possibly understand the mighty process of Eurasia reconfiguration. And that includes not being able to understand why Recep Tayipp Erdogan is so popular in Turkey.
Sultan and CEO

Profiting from a large turnout of up to 85% and fresh from obtaining 52.5% of the popular vote – thus preventing a run-off – Erdogan is now ready to rule Turkey as a fascinating mix of Sultan and CEO.

Under Turkey’s new presidential arrangement – an Erdogan brainchild – a prime minister is no more, a job Erdogan himself held for three terms before he was elected as president for the first time in 2014.

Erdogan may be able to rule the executive and the judiciary, but that’s far from a given in the legislature.

With 42.5% of the votes and holding 295 seats, Erdogan’s AKP, for the first time in 16 years, lost its parliamentary majority and must now establish a coalition with the far-right Nationalist Action Party (MHP).

The doomsday interpretation spells out a toxic alliance between intolerant political Islam and fascistic extreme-right – both, of course, hardcore nationalist. Reality though is slightly more nuanced.

Considering that the MHP is even more anti-Western than the AKP, the roadmap ahead, geopolitically, may point to only one direction: Eurasian integration. After all, Turkey’s perennially plagued EU accession process is bound to go nowhere; for Brussels, Erdogan is little else than an unwelcomed, illiberal, faux democrat.

In parallel, Erdogan’s neo-Ottomanism has been given a reality check with the failure of his – and former Prime Minister Davutoglu’s – Syria strategy.

The Kurdish obsession though won’t go away, especially after the success of operations ‘Euphrates Shield’ and ‘Olive Branch’ against the US-backed YPG – which Erdogan brands as an extension of the dreaded PKK. Ankara now holds the previously Kurdish-dominated Afrin, and now, under a US-Turkey deal, the YPG must also leave Manbij. Even after giving up on “Assad must go”, Ankara for all practical purposes will keep a foothold in Syria, and is invested in the Astana peace process alongside Russia and Iran.
Take it to the bridge

Turkish politics used to be a yo-yo between the center-right and the center-left, but always with the secular military as puppet masters. The religious right was always contained – as the military were terrified of its popular appeal across Anatolia.

When the AKP started its political winning streak in 2002, they were frankly pro-Europe (there was no subsequent reciprocity). The AKP also courted the Kurds, who in their absolute, rural, majority were religiously conservative. The AKP and Erdogan even allied themselves with the Gulenists. But once they solidified their electoral hold, the going got much tougher.

The turning point may have been the repression of the Gezi Park movement in 2013. And then, in 2015, the pro-Kurdish – and left-wing – Democratic Peoples’ Party (HDP) started to emerge and capture votes from the AKP. Erdogan’s response was to fashion a strategy of mingling the Democratic Peoples’ Party with the PKK – as in “terrorists,” which is absurd.

Party leaders were routinely thrown in jail. For these latest elections, HDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş actually campaigned from jail, warning: “What we are going through nowadays is only the trailer of the one-man regime. The actual scary part is yet to begin.” Even facing myriad constraints, the HDP managed to get a significant 11.7% of the vote, or 67 seats.

“One-man regime” was actually solidified a good two years ago, after Gulenists in the military ended up launching the (failed) military coup. Erdogan and the AKP leadership are convinced the Gulenists received crucial help from NATO. The subsequent purge was devastating – hitting tens of thousands of people. Anybody, anywhere, from academia to journalism, criticizing Erdogan or the ongoing dirty war in eastern Anatolia, was silenced.

Turkish historian Cam Erimtan stresses how Erdogan defended the necessity of anticipated elections by invoking “historic developments in Iraq and Syria” that have made it “paramount for Turkey to overcome uncertainty.”

Erimtan characterizes the so-called “People’s Alliance” of the AKP with the MHP as the “Turkish-Islamic Synthesis” of the 21st century, pointing how “the AKP base is large and fully convinced of the fact that the current systemic change is on the right track and that the return of Islam to Turkish public life was long overdue.”

So, “illiberal” or otherwise, the fact is a majority of Turkish voters prefer Erdogan. The European dream may be over – for good. Relations with NATO are fractious. Neo-Ottomanism is a minefield. So Eurasian integration seems the sensible way to go.

Relations with Iran are stable. Energy and military relations with Russia are paramount. Turkey can invest in economic projection across Central Asia. Russia and China are luring it into joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Erdogan may finally be able to position Turkey as the essential bridge between the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the West.

That’s a much better deal than trying to join a club that doesn’t want you as a member. “Illiberal democracy”? Who cares?
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Offline Palloy2

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Re: Turkey thread
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2018, 01:02:32 AM »
It doesn't look like there can be any future bluffing, when your Foreign Minister says "the case is closed", and the Defense Minister says we won't bow to blackmail.  Turkey would rather have S-400 and Su-xx planes than F-35s.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-06-27/who-will-call-first-bluff-us-threatens-turkey-sanctions-over-russian-s-400-purchase
Who Will Call The First Bluff? US Threatens Turkey With Sanctions Over Russian S-400 Purchase
Tyler Durden
06/27/2018

Despite an ostentatious "roll out" ceremony by Lockheed Martin last week in Fort Worth to mark the handover of the first F-35-A Lightning II jet bound for Turkey, the advanced stealth multi-role fighter isn't going anywhere anytime soon as we previously explained after the Senate passed a draft defense bill for FY 2019 that would halt the transfer until the secretary of state certifies that Turkey will not accept deliveries of Russian S-400 'Triumf' air-defense systems.

Following upon previous warnings, the US State Department has again threatened that Turkey will be targeted by sanctions if it receives the S-400 from Russia under a contract finalized between Ankara and Moscow at the end of 2017, said to be worth $2.5 billion.

The State Department recalled that this decision is a result of the bill President Donald Trump signed into law last summer, which seeks to punish companies that do business with the Russian defense industry.

On Tuesday a top State Department official — Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell — stated the following at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

    “We made it clear that if Turkey buys S-400s… there will be consequences. We will introduce sanctions within Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).”

    “We believe that we have existing legal authorities that would allow us to withhold transfer under certain circumstances, including national security concerns,” he said. “We believe that we continue to have the time and ability to ensure Turkey does not move forward on S-400 before having to take a decision on – on F-35. We’re being very clear in our messaging to the Turks that there will be consequences.”

And notably Mitchell also highlighted Turkey's deteriorating human rights record, estimating that about two dozen Americans remain illegally detained in the country, many of them dual nationals (though we should note that Washington only plays the 'human rights' card on allies selectively and when convenient).

In spite of Lockheed Martin's formal "handover" the US has plenty of time (perhaps years even) to block the F-35 contract while Congress firms up the legal basis for such a maneuver after the Senate Appropriations Committee recently added an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for 2019 that would put a stop to future deliveries should Ankara refuse to cancel the S-400 deal.

The main argument for blocking the F-35 transfer is the fear that Russia would get access to the extremely advanced Joint Strike Fighter stealth aircraft, enabling Moscow to detect and exploit its vulnerabilities. Russia would ultimately learn how the S-400 could take out an F-35.

We noted previously that the US government will retain custody of the aircraft while the Turkish pilots and service technicians are undergoing training at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. This is a long process that will likely take several years, but the bill is expected to become law this summer, at which point the Trump administration will have no choice but to exclude Turkey from the F-35 program, to remove any parts of the plane produced in that country, and to ban the Turkish F-35s from leaving the territory of the United States.

According to Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, no F-35 jets will arrive Turkey until 2020, but by then the transfer's stoppage could be a foregone conclusion.

Meanwhile, other US officials haven't shied away from public statements about their intentions to exert pressure and prevent other countries from buying Russian weapons.

But these latest statements have evoked fierce reactions from both Russian and Turkish officials, with Russian state-run TASS highlighting the following:

    Last week, Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli slammed the US demand to give up the deal to purchase S-400 air defense missile systems from Russia as ‘blackmail.’ Canikli also said that Turkey "is fulfilling all its commitments" and expected "timely deliveries of F-35 fighter jets" from the United States.

And TASS further emphasizes that Turkey will not bend:

    Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told NTV channel last week that Turkey will purchase Russia’s S-400 missile systems and this issue is closed. He stressed that Turkey is not planning to give up this deal despite the decision of the US Senate.

    Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hami Aksoy said on May 25 his country could take measures against the United States if Washington refused to supply F-35 to Ankara.

It could become a game of who will call the first bluff, and if Congress has anything to do with the US side will not lose this diplomatic standoff, even as Turkish President Recep Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin announced in April that they agreed to expedite the delivery of S-400 systems.

The delivery would theoretically start in late 2019 and early 2020, but this timetable is increasingly looking less likely.
"The State is a body of armed men."

Offline Palloy2

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Re: Turkey thread
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2018, 08:22:24 PM »
An analysis of Turkey's S-400 purchase from Russia.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-07-03/turkey-playing-double-game-nato
Is Turkey Playing A Double Game With NATO?
Debalina Ghoshal via The Gatestone Institute
07/03/2018

In January, 2018 Turkey reportedly awarded an 18-month contract for a study on the development and production of a long-range air- and missile-defense system to France and Italy, showing -- ostensibly -- Turkey's ongoing commitment to NATO. The study, contracted between the EUROSAM consortium and Turkey's Aselsan and Roketsan companies, was agreed upon in Paris, on the sidelines of a meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The contract for the study came on the heels of a deal between Ankara and Moscow, according to which Turkey would purchase the S-400 missile defense system -- one of the most sophisticated on the global market -- from Russia.

The question is: Why would Turkey first order a Russian defense system and then turn around and make a cooperation agreement with Europe for the same purpose?

The answer is likely that Ankara is trying to pretend that it is still loyal to NATO, at a time when its strategic inclinations seem to indicate otherwise.

As Turkey is a member of NATO, its decision to opt for the S-400, a non-NATO missile-defense system, has been the subject of speculation and controversy. NATO has adopted the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA), according to which the United States plans to deploy its missile-defense systems in various parts of Europe, to protect its forces and those of other NATO members from Iranian missile attacks. Turkey's move appears to run counter to the EPAA.

It is also not the first time that Turkey has turned to a non-NATO country for its missile-defense needs. In 2013 -- even as the U.S., Germany and The Netherlands sent Patriot missiles to Turkey to protect it from Syrian Scud missiles -- Ankara, seeking to procure its own missile-defense system, chose China's FD-2000. This was of great concern to NATO, which feared that such a deal would make it easier for China to study NATO's system and develop ballistic missiles that could evade it. Turkey canceled the deal with China in 2015, partly due to U.S. pressure and partly over pricing issues. But then Ankara turned to Russia. To justify its preference of Russia's S-400s over U.S. Patriot missiles, Turkey said that the U.S. did not allow room for a joint production of the missile-defense system, while the deal with Russia enables co-production of the system.


A Russian S-400 missile battery. (Image source: Vitaly Kuzmin/Wikimedia Commons)
 
After the failed coup against Erdogan in July 2016 -- when two Turkish military jets reportedly attempted to down the plane transporting him home from vacation -- the government became suspicious of its air force and fired several F-16 pilots. This move severely limited Turkey's air-defense capability; hence, the S-400 deal with Russia. However, according to Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hami Aksoy, "The system we are buying from Russia cannot be integrated into NATO systems." In other words, as Turkey needs a missile-defense system that can be integrated with the NATO's -- and as NATO will not allow integration of the Russian S-400, for the same reason that it opposed Ankara's deal over China's FD-2000 -- Ankara turned to Europe.

Beyond that, a deal with EUROSAM would allow Turkey to make the sovereign decision of whether it wishes to integrate the missile-defense system with that of NATO, and would also allow for a joint production of the system -- something that Ankara considers imperative.

Furthermore, and perhaps of equal, if not greater, importance, by signing the EUROSAM deal, Turkey is probably trying to persuade NATO that the decision to purchase Russian S-400s was merely a technological and budgetary one, not an indication that Turkey is opposed to NATO weapon systems. This may be its way of preventing its deal with Russia from becoming an obstacle in its path to procuring American F-35 Joint Strike Fighters (JSF), which the U.S. is refusing to provide it, due to its purchase of the S-400s. This goes back to America's apprehension that if Turkey uses the S-400s along with the F-35s, Russia could gain access to information about the aircraft's sensitive technology.

If Turkey is playing a double game with NATO, let us hope that the United States does not fall prey to it.
"The State is a body of armed men."

 

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