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Turkey - a real turkey?

With Turkey-Greece, Turkey-France, Cyprus-Belarus and other things on the boil in the E MEd, it could be an interesting end to the week.

'Later this week, EU leaders will meet to discuss their recovery plan. They will spend a few minutes on Brexit. EU heads of government look with disbelief at Boris Johnson’s announcement that he will break international law to appease the Brexit obsessives in his party.

'But there is nothing Europe can do to cure Britain’s Brexit virus.

'Russia is back on the agenda with the confirmation of the attempted murder via poison of Putin’s chief opponent, Alexei Navalny. And across the frontier, the democratic uprising in Belarus will get an airing.

'But today, by far the biggest threat to Europe – in terms of a foreign power that is threatening EU territory and almost everything Europe says it seeks to project as its values – comes from Turkey.

'Speaking in Athens last week, the former French president, Francois Hollande, laid out his concerns about Turkey.

'For Hollande, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, now known in diplomatic circles as “The Sultan”, was a threat to Europe. He has led Turkey to economic ruin and now has to beat the nationalist drum, urging the restoration of Ottoman empire glory, in order to divert people’s attention from rising economic problems.'


 
Good to hear that the Sultan doesn't want much!

'During a video-conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Council President Charles Michel on Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan put on the table a list of demands that would “facilitate” him to diffuse tension with Greece.

'He said that Turkey is ready to launch exploratory talks with Greece and appreciated Germany’s efforts for mediation.

'He reportedly underlined that from now on, further negotiations will depend on the steps taken by Greece.

'Erdogan said if solid steps in goodwill toward the customs union agreement, visa exemption and migration deal are taken, EU-Turkey relations would once again gain a positive outlook.

'According to Greek newspaper ethnos, Erdogan asked from Merkel and Michel:
- EU Visa for Turkish citizens
- Customs Union with EU
- More money for the refugees hosted in Turkey

'Open TV said that Erdogan he also asked for “co-exploitation of the Aegean Sea with Greece, setting a median line for gas research and Search and Rescue missions.”


 
Good to hear that the Sultan doesn't want much!

'During a video-conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Council President Charles Michel on Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan put on the table a list of demands that would “facilitate” him to diffuse tension with Greece.

'He said that Turkey is ready to launch exploratory talks with Greece and appreciated Germany’s efforts for mediation.

'He reportedly underlined that from now on, further negotiations will depend on the steps taken by Greece.

'Erdogan said if solid steps in goodwill toward the customs union agreement, visa exemption and migration deal are taken, EU-Turkey relations would once again gain a positive outlook.

'According to Greek newspaper ethnos, Erdogan asked from Merkel and Michel:
- EU Visa for Turkish citizens
- Customs Union with EU
- More money for the refugees hosted in Turkey

'Open TV said that Erdogan he also asked for “co-exploitation of the Aegean Sea with Greece, setting a median line for gas research and Search and Rescue missions.”



Cnut.
 
Sultan Erdogan apparently spreading his imperial tentacles further.

'In recent years, Turkey has expanded its regional role, first in Syria on its border, then in Libyaat the beginning of the year, an intervention affecting the security of the whole Mediterranean region from Israel to Europe, and increasingly in northern Iraq. In fact, Turkey has military positions in nine countries, from Bosnia in Europe to Qatar on the Gulf to Afghanistan. The end result of this activity is the establishment of what some scholars call a “mini empire”.

'In accomplishing this goal, the Turkish government has relied significantly on Islamist proxies and mercenaries, and there are indications of the pattern repeating in war-torn Yemen. If Turkey gains a foothold in Yemen, it will have bases either side of the Gulf of Aden, since it already has a presence in Somalia, and will be positioned to threaten the crucial Bab al-Mandeb waterway with a pincer using its port holdings in Djibouti.

'Back in April, it became clear that Ankara was establishing tighter relations with the Reform (Al-Islah) Party in Yemen, the local manifestation of the Muslim Brotherhood. Islah “is instrumental in giving Turkish institutions and the Turkish government — all masquerading as charity organisations — access to Yemeni cities,” said political analyst Mahmud al-Tahir at that time.'


 
Nothing like histrionics for a bit of nationalistic tub-thumping.

'President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Saturday Turkey would continue to strongly protect its interests and rights in its “Blue Homeland” amid rifts with Athens and its backers in the Eastern Mediterranean.

'Erdoğan released a statement on the anniversary of the Battle of Preveza, a naval battle that saw an Ottoman victory over a Christian alliance, which took place in 1538 off the coast of Greece.

'Noting that the victory of the Ottoman navy under the command of legendary admiral, Hayreddin Barbarossa, was a watershed moment in Turkish maritime history, Erdoğan said the victory showed the power of the Turkish navy to the whole world.

"History proves that peace, tranquility and justice prevail in waters ruled by our sailors. We are proud that our naval forces, who have a history of glorious victories, such as the Preveza, are strengthening this great heritage going forward," Erdoğan said.'


 
What a pity the Ottoman navy got malleted 33 years later at the Battle of Lepanto by a fleet of the Holy League (a Catholic coalition - mainly Spain and Venice).

Wonder why Erdogan studiously ignored this one; or was it the wrong sort of watershed moment in Turkish maritime history.
 
What a pity the Ottoman navy got malleted 33 years later at the Battle of Lepanto by a fleet of the Holy League (a Catholic coalition - mainly Spain and Venice).

Wonder why Erdogan studiously ignored this one; or was it the wrong sort of watershed moment in Turkish maritime history.

'Don't mention the war' (unless we won). Still, the anniversary of Lepanto (1571) isn't until 7 October, or Navarino (1827) on 20 October, so there's time to organise a suitable commemoration. I'm sure the Greeks won't let the latter one pass without some fanfare.
 
Latest moves on the E Med chessboard.

'In a move that could be construed as a symbolic show of support for Greece in its tense standoff with Turkey, America’s top diplomat said on Tuesday that the United States will base a mammoth Navy ship at a military base it shares with Greece, just 600 miles from the Turkish coast.

'The Hershel “Woody” Williams, a Expeditionary Sea Base ship, is assigned to the U.S. Africa Command and is not the kind of vessel that might intervene in a high-intensity conflict, should rising strains between Turkey and Greece — two NATO allies — boil over.

'But its deployment at Souda Bay, a joint U.S.-Greek base near where Turkey earlier this year sent survey and drilling ships to search for gas, could serve as a symbolic warning of America’s growing irritation with Ankara.

'The dispute with Turkey — along with how to resolve it — was chief among the priorities of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of Greece following a series of meetings and tours at Souda Bay on Tuesday with the American secretary of state, Mike Pompeo.'



'The U.S. Department of Defense on Monday rejected claims that Washington has been planning to relocate its Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey.

'While the military cooperation between the United States and Greece has been gaining speed amid the ongoing tension between Ankara and Athens due to disputes over the Eastern Mediterranean, it has been claimed that the U.S. is building up its capacity on the Greek island of Crete as a looming replacement for its presence at the Turkish air base.

'U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent visits to Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration fueled these allegations. Most recently, Pompeo on Monday began his five-day regional tour in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, where he met with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and discussed issues including a recent severe escalation in tension between Greece and Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean. Then, Pompeo flew to Crete Monday evening and spent the night at the home of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The two were scheduled to meet for talks Tuesday morning after the visit to a U.S. naval base at Souda Bay and a Greek frigate.'


 
An enlightening take on Erdogan's opportunism. While many on Arrse are keen to expose the dangers of pan-Islamic action, they also forget that the Arab world wasn't particularly enamoured with the Ottoman Empire, hence T.E. Lwrence's success in WWI.

'Given Turkey’s sharp contraction in GDP (down 11 percent from April to June), how can Ankara wage wars on at least four fronts? The deployment of cheap, disposable Syrian and Libyan mercenaries, and generous credit lines from the Qataris, allow Erdogan to ride a wave of expansionist neo-Ottoman nationalist sentiment, without thousands of citizens returning in body bags. There is an inexhaustible supply of desperate Syrians who, for the prospect of $1,500 a month to feed their families, are willing to sell themselves as Turkish cannon fodder. Syrians in Azerbaijan told journalists they were recruited as “security guards,” only to find themselves facing death in somebody else’s warzone. Turkey’s most zealous Syrian mercenaries frequently hail from extremist groups.

'America and Europe are so distracted by domestic dysfunction that they are scarcely aware how quickly the international rules have changed in their absence: From sub-Saharan Africa into Central Asia, a contiguous belt of failed and chronically weak states is ripe for domination by neo-colonialist powers and jihadist statelets. According to Erdogan, Khamenei and Putin’s imperialist logic, if they don’t exploit these weaknesses, someone else will. It’s as if the laws-based system of sovereign nation states had been consigned to the dustbin of history. Welcome back to the 18th century!'


 
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An interesting opinion piece out of Israel regarding the threat posed by Erdogan. Who's that knocking at the door: Mossad?

'The raging conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh has given Turkey another opportunity to expand its violent, imperialist tendencies under the iron fist of President Recep Erdogan.
In fact, the sudden outbreak of violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan is more than likely orchestrated in part by Turkey, given the current Turkish regime’s increasingly aggressive international policies. From Libya to Syria to Greece to Iraq to Azerbaijan, and yes, even to Israel, Turkey’s actions are far beyond acceptable by any standards of international law – or morality.

<snip>

'Erdogan is a longtime supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, and has routinely aligned himself with Muslim Brotherhood-supporting nations such as Qatar. He has provided support to Hamas terrorists repeatedly, including welcoming them to Turkey and even granting them citizenship. Within Turkey as well, Erdogan has brutally oppressed political dissidents and aided in the Islamization of historic sites, such as turning the Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

'Unsurprisingly, in response to the United Arab Emirates and Bahraini peace deals, Turkey sided against the Arab world and publicly condemned peace, siding with some the world’s worst human-rights abusers: Iran, Qatar and Palestinian leaders. Despite being allies of Hamas, earlier this month, Erdogan shared a bizarre tweet glorifying Ottoman control over the city of Jerusalem that stated, “Jerusalem is ours,” and claiming the Ottomans “lived with the Palestinian people for centuries.” Ironic, considering the bloody history of the Ottomans in fighting against the local Arab population in order to control the city of Jerusalem.'


 
The seeds of discontent?

'A large collection of seeds held by the British Institute at Ankara have been seized by Turkish authorities, according to reports.

Specimens of ancient and modern seeds were taken by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, which claimed the collections “belonged to Turkey,” The Times newspaper reported.

<snip>

'The Turkish authorities have “removed this research resource from the wider Turkish and international community of researchers. It was a nice, small research facility, open to anyone who wanted to use it. Now it’s all gone,” said Dorian Fuller, an archaeobotanist at the UCL Institute of Archaeology.

<snip>

Analysts say the seed seizure is another example of the “hyper-nationalist atmosphere” prevalent under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“For over a decade now Turkish nationalists have been mulling over a ‘seed conspiracy’ — based on the idea that ‘Israeli seeds’ are pushed upon Turkish farmers in order for them to produce tomatoes, onions or eggplants of a lesser quality, with no smell or taste but bright colours,”Asli Aydintasbas, a senior fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, told The Times.

“The theory has now expanded to cover a vast western conspiracy to deprive Turkey of seeds — and is now apparently shared by Erdogan, who has reinvented himself as a super-nationalist. This has more to do with the hyper-nationalist atmosphere in Turkey today than anything else.”


 
More Turkish paranoia and xenophobia. Real tinfoil hat stuff!

'Iraq has been destroyed. The same is about to happen in Syria. No name has been given yet to this destruction and the pieces from it. It may never be named!

'However, all the preparations necessary to establish a terrorist state in southern Turkey have been completed! A second Israel, a second troublemaker under Jewish control that will cause chaos in the region and push Turkey in the corner at all times.

'This is going to be more threatening than the first Israel. We all know what Israel is all about, but this is not the case for this second Israel; what we do know is that it is going to cause chaos in the region, protect Israel’s interests all the way and, more critically, this is going to be a troublemaker that will enable Israel to gain geopolitical, geostrategic, geoeconomics, and theopolitical dominance over the region!

'The future of both Kurds and Turks depends, like in the past, on their support for one another – not on striking each other. A state to be established based on Kurdish ethnicity will be nothing but a puppet state, and be used by those who have such a state established.

'In summary, the terrorist state to be established will have a key role in both the destabilization of the region, and ensuring and strengthening Israel’s dominance over the region!

<snip>

'Turkey is perhaps facing the biggest siege in its history, from the south to the east, from the East Mediterranean to the Caucasus. However, this is also the first time in the last two decades it feels so strong, especially due to its revolutionary initiative in the defense industry.'


 
How to keep pressure on Greece: but we're negotiating in a NATO forum, so stop being so unreasonable Athens!

'Turkey announced plans late Sunday to send the research ship Oruc Reis to the the eastern Mediterranean to carry out a seismic survey over the next 10 days, a step likely to revive tensions with NATO ally Greece.

'The Turkish navy said the Oruc Reis vessel would carry out activities in the region, including the south of the Greek island of Kastellorizo, from Monday until October 22 in a message sent to the maritime alert system NAVTEX.'


 
How to keep pressure on Greece: but we're negotiating in a NATO forum, so stop being so unreasonable Athens!

'Turkey announced plans late Sunday to send the research ship Oruc Reis to the the eastern Mediterranean to carry out a seismic survey over the next 10 days, a step likely to revive tensions with NATO ally Greece.

'The Turkish navy said the Oruc Reis vessel would carry out activities in the region, including the south of the Greek island of Kastellorizo, from Monday until October 22 in a message sent to the maritime alert system NAVTEX.'


As pointed out before Kastellorizo ('Mouse Island), in less than 2 miles off the coast from Kac, on the Mediterranean coast. It is an outlier - south of Kastellorizo is open sea to Cyprus.
 
The EU may have thought they dodged a bullet when they denied Turkey membership, but it seems, whether in an ‘alliance’ or outside it, Turkey remains obstructionistic and problematic.

Her present antics in the Mediterranean are now garnering her possible sanctions from France and Germany.


In short a real wild hair in the collective EU fundament.
 
The much anticipated S-400 test may have occurred.

'Turkey fired a missile from its Black Sea coast on Friday in an area where the military was expected to test the Russian S-400 missile system, Reuters reported, citing a video it obtained.

'The footage showed a narrow column of smoke rising high into the air above the coastal city of Sinop, Reuters said.

'Turkey has issued notices to restrict air and sea traffic to allow for the tests. The notification were due to expire on Friday.

'Turkey's defence ministry refused to confirm or deny the missile tests.

'State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus, in an exclusive statement to Ahval, said that the U.S. is "aware of these reports. The United States has expressed to the Government of Turkey, at the most senior levels, that the acquisition of Russian military systems such as the S-400 is unacceptable."

'The United States has warned Turkey against activating the S-400 system for several years, which it took delivery of from Moscow last year despite the threat of sanctions.

'Ortagus, in the same statement, told Ahval, that "the US has been clear on our expectation that the S-400 system should not be operationalized.  We have also been clear on the potential serious consequences for our security relationship if Turkey activates the system."

'The Trump administration has thus far proven hesitant to impose penalties on Turkey over the issue.

'Ortagus, in the same statement, said, "If confirmed, we would condemn in the strongest terms the S-400 test missile launch as incompatible with Turkey’s responsibilities as a NATO Ally and strategic partner of the United States."


 
Leveraging 'combat-proven' military hardware from the NK conflict as a negotiating tool for Black Sea-centric cooperation outside NATO? If Georgia were also to come on board, as a country as frustrated about NATO membership as Turkey is with the EU, it would present an influential new bloc which NATO might be interested in, but Moscow should be having kittens about.

'Turkey signed a military framework agreement with Ukraine during Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to Ankara on Friday, Turkey’s Presidential Communications Directorate announced. The two countries also signed a declaration of good will regarding defence industry projects, and two agreements on economic cooperation and trade.

'Details of the current military framework agreement have not been made public yet, but in a February deal the two countries had agreed that Turkey would provide 205 million liras ($25.8 million) to Ukraine for the country’s military needs, as well as to increase bilateral trade to $10 billion, according to state-run Anadolu Agency.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Ukraine was a key country for stability, security, peace and prosperity in the region, and that Turkey has “always supported and always will support Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and political unity including Crimea.”

“Turkey has never recognised the illegal annexation of Crimea, and never will,” Erdoğan said, adding that Turkey’s support to Crimean Tatars will continue together with Ukrainian authorities. Construction projects by Turkish companies of residential buildings and a mosque in Kiev continue, he said.

'Zelenskiy said, “No virus will hinder the partnership and friendship of our countries. And today's fruitful talks clearly prove it,” as cited by a statement from his office. “The Republic of Turkey supports Ukraine's perspective for membership to the North Atlantic Alliance and welcomes Ukraine's recognition as an Enhanced Opportunities Partner,” the two countries said in a joint statement. The meeting comes after Ukraine delivered an S-125 Pechora missile system to Turkey, and declared an intention to purchase 48 Turkish-made Bayraktar armed drones.'


 
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In addition to pissing off the EU, Turkey has now gone ahead and test fired the S400, despite a warning from the US that to so would risk triggering (CAATSA), sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act if the S-400 system was activated.


At least one missile was fired in Turkey's northern city of Sinop on Friday, this following a report that the military would test its Russian-built S-400 air defence system in the area this week. Local videos appeared to confirm the firing and an S-400 battery traveling in northern Turkey toward Sinop.


Erdogan may have chosen to test it just before the November US presidential election. The Trump administration had warned Turkey not to activate its S-400 system or else face economic sanctions, but despite having been urged by Congress to do so, has not yet enacted any further penalties on Turkey after the cancellation of the F-35’s to Turkey.

Erdogan was repeatedly warned before the loss of the F-35’s. It seems he 'doesn’t do warnings.'

The activation of CAATSA would create serious problems for a number of Turkish Military projects that depend on US components that are intended both for home defence, and exports.

So far Erdogan's miscalculations have resulted in no 5th gen fighters for the Air Force, no Turkish pocket aircraft carrier, her indigenous MBT is stalled, as is her locally produced 5th Gen stealth aircraft. It would seem he has single handedly gutted his countries military of weapons, after first gutting it of officers.
 
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Another great success for NATO unity and diplomacy.:rolleyes:

'Turkey issued a navigation telex (Navtex) on Friday evening announcing naval exercises in the eastern Mediterranean for Oct. 27 and 28, hours after NATO said that the country and Greece had agreed on Friday to cancel military exercises in the Aegean Sea scheduled on each other’s national holidays on Oct. 28 and 29.

'Ohi Day is celebrated by Greeks and Greek Cypriots on Oct. 28, while Turkey commemorates the founding of its republic on Oct. 29.

'NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said earlier on Friday he hoped that the cancelation of the exercises would have a positive effect on German-mediated efforts to ease tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, AP reported. Germany has been leading mediation efforts to de-escalate the two NATO allies’ dispute over rights to territorial waters and hydrocarbon resources in the region.'


 

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