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Turkey Watch Thread

Turkey EU Recep Tayyip Erdoğan totalitarianism authoritarianism genocide genocide watch Erdogan coup fascism

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#181
Sciencerocks

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Mattis resignation triggered by phone call between Trump and Erdoğan
https://www.theguard...ogan-phone-call

Fri 21 Dec 2018 18.49 GMT Last modified on Fri 21 Dec 2018 20.52 GMT

The resignation of US defence secretary James Mattis was triggered by a phone conversation between Donald Trump and the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in which Trump abruptly decided to upend previous US policy and withdraw troops from Syria, according to new accounts of the call.

Mattis went to see the president on Thursday afternoon in a last-ditch attempt to change the president’s mind, and argue for standing by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which have take the lead role in ejecting the Islamic State from its Syrian strongholds.

Mattis had already composed a resignation letter that did not mention the SDF or Syria but repeatedly referred to the importance to US national security of respecting allies, and confronting strategic adversaries.

Trump rebuffed Mattis’s arguments over the course of a 45-minute meeting. Trump had already recorded a video in the White House garden, announcing he was bringing the troops home, and it had been shown to Mattis.

At the end of the meeting Mattis took Trump by surprise by presenting his resignation letter. According to the New York Times, Mattis ordered 50 copies to be made and circulated around the Pentagon on his return to his office.
(snip)

 



#182
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You know what? It's yours': Trump reportedly threw his hands up on Syria during phone call with the
Source: Business Insider
 

'You know what? It's yours': Trump reportedly threw his hands up on Syria during phone call with the Turkish president

Capping off what has been a tumultuous week for the Trump administration are reports from multiple outlets that offer some clues as to why President Donald Trump made his decision to pull US troops out of Syria that prompted Defense Secretary James Mattis to resign.

That development materialized last Friday during a call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after Erdogan asked Trump why there were still 2,000 US troops in Syria if the Islamic State had been defeated.

"You know what? It's yours," Trump said, according to The Washington Post. "I'm leaving."

The Associated Press reported that members of Trump's national-security team, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Mattis, wrote out talking points to dissuade Turkey from bringing troops into northern Syria and attacking Turkish Kurds, which would put US forces at risk. The US is allied with the Turkish Kurds in Syria, providing them with supplies and training in the fight against the Islamic State.

But both The Post and the AP explain that Trump went rogue.

 

Read more: https://amp.business...erdogan-2018-12



#183
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Turkey says the US just agreed to more of its demands as Ankara sees expanded power in Syria
Source: CNBC

President Donald Trump's administration may have just handed Turkey's President Recep Erdogan another win.

Less than a week after Trump's abrupt decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, Turkey's foreign minister said Tuesday the U.S. has agreed to complete its previously established "roadmap" to remove all Kurdish militia fighters from the Northern Syrian town of Manbij before U.S. forces clear out.

Ankara has been waiting for this guarantee for a while, complaining since its agreement in June that Washington was dragging its feet on the deal. The U.S. has been supporting the Syria-based Kurdish People's Protection Unit (YPG) as part of the Syrian Democratic Forces fighting the Islamic State (IS), but the Turks view those fighting Kurds as linked to a Kurdish terrorist group that's carried out a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state.

... snip...

With the impending departure of U.S. troops from Syria, Turkey will have vast sway to push out Kurdish forces, who now say the feel they are being abandoned by their American partners. Turkish troops have amassed along the Syrian-Turkish border and Turkish-backed Syrian rebels are grouping around Manbij. The Kurds have reportedly begun digging ditches and trenches in anticipation of the offensive, prompting Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar to say Thursday, "they will be buried in their ditches when the time comes.

 

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Read more: https://www.cnbc.com...ding-syria.html


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#184
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Japan Today News
‏Verified account @JapanToday
39s40 seconds ago

Bolton says Turkey must not attack Kurdish fighters once U.S. leaves Syria https://japantoday.c..._medium=twitter



#185
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BREAKING Turkey: U.S. missile deal impossible if tied to dropping Russian S-400s http://dlvr.it/QwMNy7



#186
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Al Jazeera News
‏Verified account @AJENews
7m7 minutes ago

Turkey says will launch Syria attack if US delays troop pullout https://aje.io/e5b24



#187
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Turkish Foreign Minister: Our Offensive Against Kurdish Fighters is Unrelated to US Troop Pullout
By Patrick Goodenough | January 10, 2019 | 11:19 PM EST
 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Washington on June 4, 2018. (Photo: U.S. Embassy Ankara)

(CNSNews.com) – Turkey’s planned military offensive against Kurdish fighters in Syria is unrelated to President Trump’s plans to withdraw U.S. forces who have been supporting those fighters and will happen according to Turkey’s own timeline, the country’s foreign minister said on Thursday.

Mevlut Cavusoglu told Turkish news channel NTV that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had announced the planned operation well before Trump announced last month his decision to pull out the military personnel, and the offensive would go ahead whether the withdrawal takes place or not.

 

https://www.cnsnews....kurdish-fighter



#188
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Trump says he will 'devastate Turkey economically' if it attacks Kurds
Source: The Guardian

 

Donald Trump has warned Turkey of economic devastation if it attacks Kurdish forces in the wake of the US troop pullout from Syria, while also urging the Kurds not to “provoke” Ankara.

“Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds,” Trump tweeted, while pushing for the creation of a 20-mile ‘safe zone’. He then added: “Likewise, do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey.”

Trump did not detail who would create, enforce or pay for the safe zone, or where it would be located.

 

Read more: https://www.theguard...t-attacks-kurds


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#189
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80,000 Soldiers Ready to Take Part in Biggest Cross-Border Operation in Turkey's Modern History

 

 

Close to 80,000 soldiers of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) are ready to take part in the biggest cross-border operation in the country’s modern history in Syria’s Manbij and east of the Euphrates regions since the successful Turkish deployment in Cyprus back in 1974.

 
The operation east of the Euphrates River is set to be run from headquarters in the southern Turkish provinces of Şanlıurfa and Kilis on the border with Syria.

 

https://www.yenisafa...history-3471692



#190
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Erdogan, Trump Discuss Idea of Terror-Free Safe Zone in Northern Syria

 

 

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by phone on Monday evening with his US counterpart Donald Trump.

 
President Erdogan said he backs the US president's decision on the withdrawal of US forces from Syria, and says Turkey is ready to provide support.
 
Erdogan told Trump that Turkey has no problem with Kurds, but aims to fight terror groups threatening Turkey's national security.
 
The two presidents also agreed to advance bilateral economic relations.
 
This is a developing story and will be updated.

 

https://www.trtworld...ern-syria-23329



#191
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Turkey to Begin Drilling for Resources Around Cyprus, Likely Angering Greece

 

 

Turkey will begin drilling for resources around Cyprus, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday, a move that could create tensions with neighboring Cyprus and Greece over ownership of natural resources.

 
Attempts to tap gas and oil in the eastern Mediterranean have caused friction between Athens and Ankara.
 
Turkey and the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government in Cyprus have overlapping claims of jurisdiction for offshore oil and gas research in the eastern Mediterranean, a region thought to be rich in natural gas.

 

https://www.haaretz....reece-1.6873907



#192
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Turkey creates its first space agency

 

https://www.nature.c...586-019-00452-y

 

Introduction:

(Nature) Turkey has set its eyes on the stars. Its President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has signed an executive order to form the country’s first official space agency. Scientists have welcomed the move and hope it will provide jobs and reduce brain drain even as they wonder about the feasibility of its ambitious goals.

 

The agency is expected to develop technologies for rocket launches and space exploration, as well as to coordinate the space-related activities of the country’s other space-research centres, according to the order, signed on 13 December.

 

It's not yet clear how much of the national budget the new organisation will receive, or when it will be up and running.

 

“The judicial details of the agency are still being sorted out,” said Mustafa Varank, the Minister of Industry and Technology, during a speech at the National Space Workshop held in Gebze, Turkey, on 19 January. He added that this is a historic moment for a country whose flag pictures the Moon and a star.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#193
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IBAHRI condemns persecution of human rights lawyer Ramazan Demir in Turkey

 

Wednesday 13 February 2019

 

The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) condemns the repeated arrests and longstanding criminal proceedings, as well as the recent disciplinary procedures initiated by the Istanbul Bar Association, against human rights lawyer Ramazan Demir (pictured). Further, the IBAHRI calls on the authorities of the Republic of Turkey to adhere to the international legal instruments that safeguard the independence of legal professionals and the rule of law.
 
IBAHRI Co-Chair, The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG, commented: ‘The rights, and importance, of lawyers to represent their clients without fear of harassment, intimidation or persecution is recognised by international human rights standards. The IBAHRI calls on the government of Turkey and the Istanbul Bar Association to adhere to these principles, because where there is no independent legal profession there can be no independent judiciary, no rule of law, no justice, no democracy and no freedom.’
 
Since April 2016, Mr Demir and 11 other lawyers have been charged with ‘propaganda for a terrorist organization’. The charges stem from their work representing 46 other lawyers who were arrested in 2011 for allegedly working for, or belonging to, a terrorist organisation.
 
[...]
 
Ramazan Demir was the winner of the 2017 IBA Human Rights Award.
 
Since 2016 to date, it is estimated that in Turkey more than 594 lawyers have been arrested, 1,546 prosecuted and 216 lawyers convicted (direct source: The Arrested Lawyers Initiative).
 
 
 
 

 



#194
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Turkey Conducts Largest Naval Drill in its History

 

 

Alwaght-Turkish armed forces began the largest naval exercise in the country's history on Wednesday, with 103 military vessels and thousands of troops conducting operations in three seas surrounding the country.

 
The four-day Mavi Vatan ("Blue Homeland”) 2019 drill, involving 103 navy ships, began on Wednesday in the Black Sea, Aegean Sea, and the eastern Mediterranean simultaneously, giving Turkey a chance to show off its recently-upgraded fleet, which includes over a dozen assault boats and frigates in addition to corvettes, mine hunting boats, patrol boats, and submarines. Turkish-made Bayraktar and ANKA drones and jet fighters are also participating.
 
"Nothing at all can be done in the Mediterranean without Turkey," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced last week. "We will not allow that," he emphasized, reporting that Turkey would begin drilling for oil and gas near Cyprus with two new exploration ships.
 
Over recent months, tensions have been building in the waters to Turkey's west with its neighbours Greece and Cyprus, as the countries vie over subterranean energy resources, particularly natural gas.

 

http://alwaght.com/e...-in-its-History



#195
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Mapping the Turkish Military's Expanding Footprint

 

 

Not since the days of the Ottoman Empire has the Turkish military had such an extensive global footprint. Under its ambitious president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey is expanding its intervention in Syria while keeping up a military presence in Iraq, Qatar, Somalia and Afghanistan and maintaining peacekeeping troops in the Balkans. At the same time, the Turkish navy patrols the Mediterranean and Aegean seas to protect energy and territorial interests. The effort comes at a cost. The military budget as a percentage of gross domestic product has risen, from 1.8 percent in 2015 to 2.2 percent in 2017, at a time when Turkey’s economy has weakened. Here’s a look at where Turkey is flexing its muscle, and why.

 

https://www.bloomber...print-quicktake



#196
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Turkey's economy slides into recession

 

 

Turkey went into recession at the end of last year, according to the country's official statistics office.

 
The Turkish Statistical Institute said the economy shrank by 2.4% in the fourth quarter of 2018, from the previous quarter.
 
It followed a 1.6% drop the previous quarter, making two quarters of falling growth - the definition of recession.
 
A trade war with the US sparked a steep fall in Turkey's currency, making imports far more expensive.
 
The two countries are opposed on a range of issues including how to fight the Islamic State group in Turkey's neighbour Syria, Turkey's plans to buy Russian missile defence systems and how to punish the alleged plotters of a failed coup in Turkey in 2016 which attempted to topple President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
 
Turkey also wants the extradition of a Turkish cleric now living in the US who it has charged with terrorism and espionage.
 
Turkey's lira fell by 30% against the dollar last year, making imports on average a third more expensive.
 
That prompted the central bank to raise interest rates, making borrowing more expensive.
 
Car and housing sales suffered as a result and industrial production was also hit.
 
The final quarter's data leaves economic growth of 2.6% overall for 2018, the slowest since 2009, and a marked reverse from 2017's growth rate of 7.4%.

 

https://www.bbc.com/...siness-47522338



#197
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Turkey has sold military defense supplies to Ukraine. This should not be surprising. Turkey has been increasing its military cooperation with Ukraine for years. Looking at a map one can see why.
 
This speaks to the true state of Turkish-Russian relations. There has been speculation that Turkey is growing closer to Moscow.  Many point to such things as Turkey seeking to purchase the Russian S-400 missile system as evidence for this. However, the idea that these things are merely an act of convenience is rarely considered. Regarding missiles, Turkey is merely looking for an alternative to the US patriot system. Russia happens to provide one of these alternatives.
 
Turkey is growing stronger, and with that comes an increasingly independent line of action. Part of this involves Turkey reducing its dependence on one of its long time allies --- the United States. While Turkey is not yet ready to abandon its military relationship with the US, it does want to gain leverage over it. That irritates the US.  By making friendly gestures to Russia, Turkey can play the two countries off each other. 
 
We must not forget that, traditionally, Turkey and Russia are enemies. Just over three years ago, Turkey shot down a Russian jet from Syria. Russo-Turkish competition has resulted in more than a few wars through the centuries. They include the Sea of Azov campaign of 1695-96, the Pruth River campaign of 1710-11, the Russo-Turkish War of 1735-39, the Russo-Turkish War of 1768-74, the Russo-Turkish War of 1787-92, the Russo-Turkish War of 1806-12, the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-29, the Crimean War of 1853-56, the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, World War I, and the Cold War.
 
The regional interests of both countries largely oppose each other. There are three main areas where Turkey and Russia clash: the Caucasus, the Middle East and the Black Sea Basin. In the Caucasus, both Turkey and Russia seek to create buffer zones to protect their core territories. For Russia, that means securing the North Caucasus. If an invading force were to cross over from the Caucasus Mountains, they would have an easy, open march towards Moscow. For Turkey, that means protecting the eastern flank of the Anatolian Peninsula from not only Russia, but also Persia.
 
In the Middle East, Turkey and Russia  support opposing sides of the Syrian Civil War. Turkey supports the Syrian rebels, Russia the Syrian government. Their attempts to cooperate in demilitarized zones such as in Idlib is more to reduce the risk of direct conflict than to build a military alliance.
 
In the Black Sea Basin, Russia wants to secure its access to the Mediterranean, and by extension, the open ocean. Most of Russia’s coastline is frozen for parts of the year, so the Black Sea is its only viable warm-water access. The problem is that the exit from this sea, the Bosporus Strait, is a potential chokepoint that is controlled by Turkey. For its part, Turkey is concerned about Russian activity in the Black Sea and in the lands that surround it, which infringes close to its territory. There’s a reason why Turkey didn’t accept Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
 
When looking at the future of Turkish-Russian relations, two important things must be taken into account: the history of the relationship, and the interests each country possesses. Add the consideration that Turkey is a rising power and Russia a declining one, and one can map out the general direction of where the relationship is headed. 


#198
Outlook

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I wouldn't point to historical conflict as evidence because circumstances can change drastically, especially in modern politics. Europe is the greatest example, I think.

I do agree Turkey and Russia are in conflict though, but I don't agree that Russia is a declining power. Their global influence has risen sharply under Putin. Their economy may be stagnant, but as a power, it's still steadily rising. Their population growth is also back on track. All things considered, I'd still wait a few years to decide whether Russia is actually declining.

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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Turkey, EU, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, totalitarianism, authoritarianism, genocide, genocide watch, Erdogan, coup, fascism

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