Things hotting up with Turkey

#21
Turkey needs to go, tbh. They are not an ally by any means.
Would you rather have them as the enemy? Who stopped the exodus of Syrians into Europe three years ago? Who provides homes to 3.5 million Syrian DPs? This may be of minor strategic interest to the US but it is of grave and existential concern to Europe and the UK. Who routinely arrests IS foreign fighters and deports them?
 
#22
Would you rather have them as the enemy? Who stopped the exodus of Syrians into Europe three years ago? Who provides homes to 3.5 million Syrian DPs? This may be of minor strategic interest to the US but it is of grave and existential concern to Europe and the UK. Who routinely arrests IS foreign fighters and deports them?
They already are by default. Why drag the hate- hate relationship on.

What is going to happen to all those DP’s when the Turks are upset? Don’t confuse leverage with the term ally...They have Europe by the balls because you folks won’t take a hardline. Unchecked immigration is considered a national security threat over here.
 
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#24
If accurate (health warning: Turkish media source), this just keeps looking uglier and uglier.

'It has been revealed that security teams linked to Egypt’s leader Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who is in serious competition with Turkey in the East Mediterranean, made contacts in Manbij. Security sources have also said that some Emirati figures also partook in the visit. It was reported that the delegation is coordinating steps to be taken against Turkey.'

Traces of Egypt, UAE in Syria’s Manbij revealed
 
#25
They already are by default. Why drag the hate, hate relationship on.

What is going to happen to all those DP’s when the Turks are upset? Don’t confuse leverage with the term ally...They have Europe by the balls because you folks won’t take a hardline. Unchecked immigration is considered a national security threat over here.
The US approach to Turkey has been transactional, at best. 16 months have passed since Ambassador Jon Bass left Ankara (a good bloke - now in Kabul) but he has yet to be replaced. Turkey also sits on a fold of the COCOM map: Turkey sits within EUCOM whereas Syria is part of CENTCOM’s pro-Consulship and the approaches could not be more different. EUCOM views Turkey as a NATO member and basically a European country (apart from a very soft version of Islam, the country shares few attributes of MENA states - most of whom only emerged as nation states less than 100 years ago). However, CENTCOM in their very conflict-centred view of the world, have regarded Turkey as another Iraq, or worse, Afghanistan. This has seen some absolutely howling decisions made by CENTCOM that rode roughshod over Turkish sovereignty and interests. Turkey has also never forgiven the hostage taking of TURSOF in northern Iraq by some US SOF, Blackwater and CIA operatives in 2003. (As an aside, this has given rise to a popular TV and film series ‘Valley of the Wolves’ where a Turkish Jason Bourne exacts revenge for this incident).

Incirlik AFB was briefly closed in Jul 2016 when the TURAF Base Cdr Brig Gen Van had gone rogue and supported the putchists. He was dragged from the USAF Col’s office, (coincidentally, Col ‘Red’ xxxxxx served on 1 Sqn RAF) having tried to seek asylum there. Turkey has never restricted airspace to Coalition aircraft on C-ISIL missions although they can give perilously short notification when they launch counter PKK and PYD/YPG missions of their own.

Turkey is in the unenviable position of being the guardians of the Turkish Straits (Bosporus and Dardanelles). They are obliged to let Russian Black Sea ships transit the straits but NATO navies (with the exception of Romania and Bulgaria) have to give 14 days’ notification and there are type, time and aggregate tonnages limits - imposed by Weatern Powers on Turkey in 1936. But they are very cooperative when the UK wants to deploy ships there - affording all sorts of access and privileges.

Finally there’s the matter of Erdogan (please, it’s pronounced Erdo-whan; it’s a pity POTUS hasn’t mastered this yet). He is a populist leader from humble beginnings and not part of the urban metropolitan elite that have ruled Turkey since the days of Atatürk. He has made many Anatolian peasants wealthy through regional development and çok büyük infrastructure projects. The road and high speed rail network is amazing; domestic civil aviation is incredibly well developed and cheap; there is a construction boom (in spite of a tanking economy). He’s also very pragmatic and knows how far he can push ‘foreign powers’ (qv the MBS debacle). He is also trying to create a more pious and Islamic country; arguably the 80-odd years of ruthless secularism is parenthetical to Islam. But he is undeniably dictatorial, jailing journalists and critics alike. There is no obvious successor- he has at least another 4 1/2 years as the executive president. He has been grooming his bonkers Harvard-trained son in law Berat Albayrak as the heir apparent; yet as Finance Minister, the economy is collapsing. Perhaps the most powerful man after Erdogan is (Gen) Hulusi Akar, the Defence Monister - and until July, the ChoD. He is widely admired and would command loyalty across the forces and the Gendarmerie. He is also very pro NATO and counts Sir Stu Peach (NATO CMC) as a close friend.

The West has to maintain good relations with Turkey; as my old FCO boss said “Geography doesn’t change”; as a corollary, the UK and the US keep on friendly with the odious Saudi regime for geopolitical reasons.
 
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#26
The US approach to Turkey has been transactional, at best. 16 months have passed since Ambassador Jon Bass left Ankara (a good bloke - now in Kabul) but he has yet to be replaced. Turkey also sits on a fold of the COCOM map: Turkey sits within EUCOM whereas Syria is part of CENTCOM’s pro-Consulship and the approaches could not be more different. EUCOM views Turkey as a NATO member and basically a European country (apart from a very soft version of Islam, the country shares few attributes of MENA states - most of whom only emerged as nation states less than 100 years ago). However, CENTCOM in their very conflict-centred view of the world, have regarded Turkey as another Iraq, or worse, Afghanistan. This has seen some absolutely howling decisions made by CENTCOM that rode roughshod over Turkish sovereignty and interests. Turkey has also never forgiven the hostage taking of TURSOF in northern Iraq by some US SOF, Blackwater and CIA operatives in 2003. (As an aside, this has given rise to a popular TV and film series ‘Valley of the Wolves’ where a Turkish Jason Bourne exacts revenge for this incident).

Incirlik AFB was briefly closed in Jul 2016 when the TURSF Base Cdr Brig Gen Van had gone rogue and supported the putchists. He was dragged from the USAF Col’s office, (coincidentally, Col ‘Red’ xxxxxx served on 1 Sqn RAF) having tried to seek asylum there. Turkey has never restricted airspace to Coalition aircraft on C-ISIL missions although they can give perilously short notification when they launch counter PKK and PYD/YPG missions of their own.

Turkey is in the unenviable position of being the guardians of the Turkish Straits (Bosporus and Dardanelles). They are obliged to let Russian Black Sea ships transit the straits but NATO navies (with the exception of Romania and Bulgaria) have to give 14 days’ notification and there are type, time and aggregate tonnages limits - imposed by Weatern Powers on Turkey in 1936. But they are very cooperative when the UK wants to deploy ships there - affording all sorts of access and privileges.

Finally there’s the matter of Erdogan (please, it’s pronounced Erdo-whan; it’s a pity POTUS hasn’t mastered this yet). He is a populist leader from humble beginnings and not part of the urban metropolitan elite that have ruled Turkey since the days of Atatürk. He has made many Anatolian peasants wealthy through regional development and çok büyük infrastructure projects. The road and high speed rail network is amazing; domestic civil aviation is incredibly well developed and cheap; there is a construction boom (in spite of a tanking economy). He’s also very pragmatic and knows how far he can push ‘foreign powers’ (qv the MBS debacle). He is also trying to create a more pious and Islamic country; arguably the 80-odd years of ruthless secularism is parenthetical to Islam. But he is undeniably dictatorial, jailing journalists and critics alike. There is no obvious successor- he has at least another 4 1/2 years as the executive president. He has been grooming his bonkers Harvard-trained sone in law Berat Albayrak as the heir apparent; yet as Finance Minister, the economy is collapsing. Perhaps the most powerful man after Erdogan is (Gen) Hukusi Akar, the Defence Monister - and until July, the ChoD. He is widely admired and would command loyalty across the forces and the Gendarmerie. He is also very pro NATO and counts Sir Stu Peach (NATO CMC) as a close friend.

The West has to maintain good relations with Turkey; as my old FCO boss said “Geography doesn’t change”; as a corollary, the UK and the US keep on friendly with the odious Saudi regime for geopolitical reasons.
Hmm..... So Erdogan's just a bit naughty then? We shall see, when (those newly pious formerly ruthlessly secular) they kick off their next genocidal operation will you still be so pro?
BTW, Turkey is not the economic miracle you claim... your man has virtually bankrupt Turkey.
 
#27
a point that many fail to see is that Erdogan was democratically elected through elections and referenda to be an executive president. As I stated, the economy is tanking yet in Q3 FDI has been at its highest for 10 years. Erdogan’s decision to direct the base rate should have been a fatal move however Turkey as a nation is incredibly resilient. During the Republican period, there have been few, if any, Golden Years; typically the country has been suffering hyperinflation, plummeting exchange rates, high unemployment etc. The difference is that in the 15 years under Erdogan, the poorer sectors (along with big business) have done rather well. But the economy remains his greatest weakness and the March 2019 municipal elections will be a test of voter loyalty.

As I said, he doesn’t tolerate dissent and opposition and has ruthlessly cracked down on opposing political parties. Yet these parties have failed to exploit this for electoral gain.

Erdogan has persuaded Trump to abandon the Syrian Kurds; no Turkish leader could tolerate a de facto Kurdish state along its southern border. But in doing so, US hegemony has been lost and creating a vacuum that Russia and Iran will fill. We - NATO - now have a vassal Russian state on our southern border. Is this the time to retrench? What on Earth was going on in Trump’s tiny little brain, when he made that decision?

What genocidal action are you referring to ? Op Euphrates Spring, perhaps?
 
#28
The economic programs were largely based on borrowing, and low earnings plus the crash are going to have an increasing effect on ease of repayment aren't they? That will be an 'interesting' five years, unless the place becomes increasingly (geo-)politically indispensable and is aided from outside perhaps. I don't think the (relatively) good times will continue economically. I just have a few Turkish friends professionally, but they are all from the western end of the country hence not representative of Erdogans support I suppose.
 
#29
The economic programs were largely based on borrowing, and low earnings plus the crash are going to have an increasing effect on ease of repayment aren't they? That will be an 'interesting' five years, unless the place becomes increasingly (geo-)politically indispensable and is aided from outside perhaps. I don't think the (relatively) good times will continue economically. I just have a few Turkish friends professionally, but they are all from the western end of the country hence not representative of Erdogans support I suppose.
The so-called white Turks didn’t vote for him; the major cities didn’t vote for him; the Aegean and Mediterranean coastal regions didn’t vote for him, but the Anatolian peasantry did so, and that was often through gerrymandering.

I agree, I don’t see how they can get throug a loans-based economy apart from the massive cash injections they’ve been receiving for Qatar (who are quite enjoying Turkey presiding over their Nemesis - KSA - being taken down a peg or two).
 
#32
As I said, he doesn’t tolerate dissent and opposition and has ruthlessly cracked down on opposing political parties. Yet these parties have failed to exploit this for electoral gain.
As you seem to be someone close to the issue, did you mean 'failed', or been unable to get their message to the electorate because of State control of the media and intimidation of the opposition?
 
#33
We - NATO - now have a vassal Russian state on our southern border. Is this the time to retrench? What on Earth was going on in Trump’s tiny little brain, when he made that decision?
Apparently Erdogan convinced him he could defeat IS, so Trump said words to the effect ‘crack on’ despite Bolton being in on the same phone call: Syrian surprise: How Trump's phone call changed the war | Reuters

Erdogan fed the ego and probably ended up with more than he bargained for.
What genocidal action are you referring to ? Op Euphrates Spring, perhaps?
I haven’t heard of ‘Op Euphrates Spring’. Do you have a source? I know about ‘Op Euphrates Shield’ and ‘Op Olive Branch’, but I haven’t heard of Op Euphrates Spring.
 
#35
Euphrates Spring is the name given in Turkish media to the impending operation. On other news LT Gen Metin Temel - 2nd Army Commander - has been moved sideways. He’s the commander of Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch.

Turkish commander in charge of Syria operations assigned to new post - Turkey News
Thanks. I’d not seen that and google was silent on ‘Operation Euphrates Spring’. The ‘race for Manbij’.

Methinks Erdogan fed Trump’s ego too much, hence the ‘Syria pullout’ statement which Sen Graham appears to be countering. They’re talking about a 120 day withdrawal: Graham more upbeat on Syria troop withdrawal after Trump meeting | Reuters
 
#36
As you seem to be someone close to the issue, did you mean 'failed', or been unable to get their message to the electorate because of State control of the media and intimidation of the opposition?
A bit of both. The opposition parties squabble amongst themselves and the main opposition party - CHP - re-elected the affable but utterly ineffectual Kiliçdaroglu as their leader; running in opposition alongside and against Meral Aksener - a former ultra nationalist Interior Minister. She is telegenic and a powerful orator, but a worrying leader of the newly-form Îyi Parti (Good Party) who has helped to split the he opposition vote.

In spite of the strong state influence and control of the media, civil society groups continue to voice their opinions through the media. Just today there is a leader in one paper criticising the selection of the former prime minister as the AKP mayoral candidate for Îstanbul - whilst he’s Speaker of the House.
 
#37
Thanks. I’d not seen that and google was silent on ‘Operation Euphrates Spring’. The ‘race for Manbij’.

Methinks Erdogan fed Trump’s ego too much, hence the ‘Syria pullout’ statement which Sen Graham appears to be countering. They’re talking about a 120 day withdrawal: Graham more upbeat on Syria troop withdrawal after Trump meeting | Reuters
I do wonder where they are getting all their troops from. The Turkish army (excluding the poorly-trained conscripts who do not serve outside of Turkey) is about the size of the British Army and they are currently garrisoning two chunks of northern Syria with anticipation of taking a chunk east of the Euphrates. There’s is no concept of an ops cycle (ops, recovery, training) so they must be increasingly relying on the FSA (Turkish backed opposition) to stag on. The Gendarmerie have a presence in Afrin and are pretty good at what they do, but are now structurally and philosophically separates from the Army (to the point of adopting Carabineiri-style uniforms (but without the lethal style).
 
#38
I do wonder where they are getting all their troops from. The Turkish army (excluding the poorly-trained conscripts who do not serve outside of Turkey) is about the size of the British Army and they are currently garrisoning two chunks of northern Syria with anticipation of taking a chunk east of the Euphrates. There’s is no concept of an ops cycle (ops, recovery, training) so they must be increasingly relying on the FSA (Turkish backed opposition) to stag on. The Gendarmerie have a presence in Afrin and are pretty good at what they do, but are now structurally and philosophically separates from the Army (to the point of adopting Carabineiri-style uniforms (but without the lethal style).
Roger. The US were talking about 30,000 troops as a ‘Border Security Force’ (only 20% trained so far) just to keep ‘East of the Euphrates’ free from an IS resurgence: U.S.-led coalition helps to build new Syrian force, angering Turkey | Reuters

As you know, it’s not just about defeating IS in Syria and Iraq, but preventing IS-2 or AQ-I two. I doubt Erdogan was thinking about those down near the Iraqi border around Deir al-Zor, just those in the north so he could have his ‘buffer zone’.

Same on the Tr sponsored FSA. I’m not sure they have those resources and manpower and frankly seem more concerned with keeping their Turkoman areas of Syria.
 
#39
IS has only really been an irritant for Turkey compared with the PKK and now the PYD/YPG. But they have been very active internally arresting IS suspects; there’s been no IS attacked launched in Turkey for two years now.

Turkey is suspicious of the Border Force and simply see it as a Formalised Kurdish proto q
 
#40
IS has only really been an irritant for Turkey compared with the PKK and now the PYD/YPG. But they have been very active internally arresting IS suspects; there’s been no IS attacked launched in Turkey for two years now.
I want them onside tbh. Not least because they have info and access to info on our ‘returning Jihadi’s’ which is another reason why the US pullout surprises me. How do you gather this Int in a none permissive environment?
Turkey is suspicious of the Border Force and simply see it as a Formalised Kurdish proto q
I realise that. The US (in fact nobody from memory) supported the referendum in N Iraq and their unilateral declaration.

It all seems funny after the propaganda Russia pushed against Turkey after the shoot down. You see none of that now whilst they’re ‘friendly’ in Idlib etc. If Assad does decide to go against Idlib, it’ll be interesting to see both Turkey’s and Russia’s responses.
 

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