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Turkey - a real turkey?

No doubt the sultan will be making some histrionic statement about Gallipoli in reply.

'Britain flexed its naval muscles in its largest deployment off Cyprus in decades, to make its presence felt in the volatile region and underscore what officials said was the country’s post-Brexit commitment to buttressing Europe’s security.

'A three-ship strike force centered around the Royal Navy’s flagship HMS Albion on Tuesday conducted joint maneuvers with a Cypriot patrol vessel and helicopters and the French frigate Jean Bart off the coastal town of Limassol.

'The main part of the exercise involved Cypriot special forces and British Royal Marines boarding a supposedly hijacked ship by fast-roping down from hovering helicopters while small, highly maneuverable speed boats came alongside the vessel.

“This is the U.K. doing its part to prove our commitment to European safety and security whilst working with our NATO allies and partners,” Deputy Strike Force Commander Capt. Phil Dennis told the Associated Press.

'British military officials said the joint training with Cypriot forces also illustrated a joint commitment to regional stability and a determination to further strengthen a bilateral defense relationship.'


Can I remind readers of the catastrophic defeat of the Anglo-French task force in the Dardanelles on 18 March 1915, which precipitated the 'Gallipoli' landings some five weeks later?

Naval Bombardment and Forcing a Passage, February – March 1915

Naval bombardment of fortifications at the entrance to Dardanelles took place on 19 and 25 February 1915, followed by three weeks of minesweeping, during which a number of minor vessels were lost. Royal Marines and personnel from the Royal Naval Division also landed on the tip of the peninsula and destroyed guns and fortifications. These were preparatory actions for the attempt to force a passage through the Dardanelles on 18 March 1915.[1] The allied fleet of some 14 British and four French battleships and battle cruisers, plus a screen of destroyers and pickets, entered the Dardanelles and formed three divisions of four capital ships abreast and effectively silenced most of the fixed batteries and destroyed the forts, although other fire from mobile batteries continued to cause problems and inflict damage on the ships.

Meanwhile, just north of the İstanbul Strait (‘Bosporus’) entrance to the Black Sea, Russian warships sat in anticipation of an Anglo-French breakthrough and then they would sweep south and seize Constantinople and re-establish the Eastern Orthodox Church in Hagia Sophia.

However, the ineffectiveness of allied minesweeping was unknown to the Allied Commander-in-Chief Vice Admiral de Robeck (1862 – 1928). In addition to the fixed minefields covering the Narrows, a Turkish Navy minelayer Nusret had, ten days earlier, laid 20 contact mines at night designed to intercept the Allied warships as they turned starboard out of the gun-line.[2] Although mining activities were covered in intelligence reports, it appears that this information was not passed on to the commanders.

On the afternoon of 18 March, the fleet suffered grievous losses. The first was the French pre-Dreadnought flagship Bouvet which hit a mine, exploded and sank in two minutes with 600 fatalities.[3] This was followed in short order by the battleships HM Ships Irresistible, Inflexible, Ocean and the French battleship Gaulois, which were also mined. The other French battleship, Suffren, received moderate damage from shore batteries as it rescued survivors and attempted to take the Gaulois in tow.[4] In addition, several other vessels sustained artillery hits, so in one afternoon a third of the allied fleet had been sunk or disabled. This was a great fillip to the Ottoman forces, showing that they could defeat, or at least deter, two global naval powers.



[1] Now recognised by Turkey as ‘Naval Victory Day’.
[2] A detailed replica of this vessel is afloat and on display in Çanakkale.
[3] The Bouvet was one of the oldest French warships in front-line service and was designed in the early 1890s to counter the Royal Navy’s Royal Sovereign-class pre-Dreadnoughts. Bouvet was astoundingly ugly and obsolescent, and suffered from stability problems which contributed to her capsizing so rapidly and the subsequent almost total loss of life.
[4] Ocean and Irresistible sank; Inflexible was badly damaged and Gaulois was beached.
 
It'll be revenge for Navarino next!

'Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called on NATO allies to stand shoulder-to-shoulder on values of tolerance and free speech, in a veiled rebuke to Turkey which has been calling for a boycott of French goods.

'Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has urged Turks to stop buying French goods and has accused France of pursuing an anti-Islam agenda. Britain, France and Turkey are all NATO members. Erdogan is one of several leaders in the Muslim world angry with France over its response to the murder of teacher Samuel Paty, who showed pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad as part of a lesson on free speech.

“The UK stands in solidarity with France and the French people in the wake of the appalling murder of Samuel Paty,” Raab said in a statement. “Terrorism can never and should never be justified. NATO allies and the wider international community must stand shoulder-to-shoulder on the fundamental values of tolerance and free speech, and we should never give terrorists the gift of dividing us.”


 
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£5 on Erdogan to encourage followers of snackbar in Europe to rise up against the crusaders.
 
It would seem that Erdogan dreams on.

Timeline seems to have slipped slightly, and it is going to have to do with locally produced F-16 engines. Pity it won’t be able to fly off the Anadolu, the other dream that evaporated, a Turkish aircraft carrier.
Turkey_Creates_New_Factory_to_Manufacture_TF_X_Fighter_Jet

Spanish firm Navantia did the design, technology transfer, equipment and technical assistance to Sedef Shipyard of Turkey for the development of Turkey’s aircraft carrier the Anadolu. Unfortunately without aircraft, her ski jump will just be a reminder to Erdogan that the F-35 program did not depend upon Turkey. Construction of an identical sister ship, to be named TCG Trakya, is currently being planned by the Turkish Navy

As for the Altay...well unfortunately that too is a little behind. Turkey’s indigenous Main Battle Tank won’t get very far without any propulsion. This was Turkey’s most ambitious land vehicle project to date, manufactured by a Turkish-Qatari Joint venture, BMC with an initial order for 250 tanks. A delay in receiving MTU engines and transmission from RENK from Germany has been due to objections of technology transfer.



Oh, not to forget Turkey was also developing its very own ATAK helicopter. This was to be sold to a number of Muslim countries, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and some others. Sadly this too depends on other countries providing Turkey with vital components. Pakistan had ordered 30 in 2018 for $1.5 billion, the deadline for delivery has already been extended as Turkey tries to prepare an indigenous substitute engine.

Erdogan’s recent exploits abroad in the Med with Greece and Cyprus, its adventures in Syria and Libya, down in Africa and now in Nogorno Karabakh, have not gone down well with various EU countries.

Erdogan’s apparent myopia to his foreign policy actions are having to his arms industry may well see a complete halting on these his prestige projects, and ambitions to be the main arms dealer to the Islamic world

Erdogan is reputed to have said “Democracy is like a bus, we know when to get off...” It would seem Erdogan got off quite a few stops back, is consolidating his position and preparing for Dictatorship.
 
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More of the character of Erdogan's Turkey on display.

'Azerbaijan displayed the power of Turks to the entire world with its latest fight with Armenia to liberate Nagorno-Karabagh, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Nov. 1 during his visit to Baku.

“We are proud of your success in the field. You showed the power of the Turk to the whole world,” he said after meeting with Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev.'


 
Why do I suspect the author is not currently resident in Turkey?

'In Europe, Ankara has adopted a language that violates all principles of classical diplomacy and stately relations, replacing them with threats, as seen against Cyprus, France and Greece, and curses, as seen towards Dutch, French and German officials. This is the arrogant and lawless attitude of a rogue state.

'And last but not least, the sponsorship of Islamist militancy. Largely documented by international governmental and non-governmental bodies, the Turkish government’s financial, technical, political and military support for an army of jihadists, which consists of groups designated as terrorists by the U.N., that now operates all the way from sub-Saharan Africa to the Caucasus. Major Turkish populations centres like Ankara, Antioch, Maraş and Istanbul have become safe havens for international jihadists and their families. This points clearly at a rogue – if not a pro-terrorist – state.'


 
Although the U.S. Defense Department had announced that the U.S. Air Force will buy eight F-35As originally built for Turkey, at least 14 jets from the Turkish order were actually built.

A formal Letter of Request (LOR) was sent to the U.S. Department of Defense by Greece’s Ministry of Defense on November 6, 2020 about the possible purchase of between 18-24 F-35’s.

This could be met by diverting some of these ex-Turkish F-35’s being transferred to Greece.

 
Turkeys voting for Thanksgiving/Christmas? It appears the pressure inside the regime is polarising internal divisions, suggesting that Erdogan is going to have to play favourites, which could see his loss of power if he goes the wrong way, which ever that turns out to be. So potentially, Turkey swings into an even more nationalistic phase, or the more Western aligned elements could feel they have enough strength to really have a coup.

'Senior Turkish officials close to the presidency have criticized decisions by the ruling AKP party amid the growing power of two breakaway parties, DEVA and Future.

'On Tuesday, Bulent Arinc, Presidential High Advisory Board member and former deputy prime minister, resigned following a dispute with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over recent remarks in which Arinc criticized the imprisonment of Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas and prominent businessperson and dissident civil society figure Osman Kavala.

“Turkey’s judiciary, economy and other areas evidently need reforms. There is a need for our country to relax and to find a solution to our nation’s troubles. I decided that it would be more appropriate for me to leave my position as a member of the High Advisory Board,” he said on Twitter.

'The move followed the resignation of Berat Albayrak, the finance minister and son-in-law of Erdogan, this time with a bombshell Instagram post on Sunday night.'


 
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Turkeys voting for Thanksgiving/Chrismas? It appears the pressure inside the regime is polarising internal divisions, suggesting that Erdogan is going to have to play favourites, which could see his loss of power if he goes the wrong way, which ever that turns out to be. So potentially, Turkey swings into an even more nationalistic phase, or the more Western aligned elements could feel they have enough strength to really have a coup.

'Senior Turkish officials close to the presidency have criticized decisions by the ruling AKP party amid the growing power of two breakaway parties, DEVA and Future.

'On Tuesday, Bulent Arinc, Presidential High Advisory Board member and former deputy prime minister, resigned following a dispute with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over recent remarks in which Arinc criticized the imprisonment of Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas and prominent businessperson and dissident civil society figure Osman Kavala.

“Turkey’s judiciary, economy and other areas evidently need reforms. There is a need for our country to relax and to find a solution to our nation’s troubles. I decided that it would be more appropriate for me to leave my position as a member of the High Advisory Board,” he said on Twitter.

'The move followed the resignation of Berat Albayrak, the finance minister and son-in-law of Erdogan, this time with a bombshell Instagram post on Sunday night.'


Erdogan is a survivor, in part because opposition has been so fractured with in-fighting and failing to run decent candidates against him. But he will feel the loss of his bonkers Son in Law Berat Albayrak, as he was being groomed as the heir apparent. As I've pointed out before, keep an eye on the former CGS and now Minister of National Defence, Hulusi Akar. Highly rated in the public's mind for standing strong during the coup, he is very western-leaning and secular, and quite pro UK (and a mate of Sir Stu Peach, by the way),
 
Ankara has removed in excess of 130,000 civil servants from their jobs, imprisoned more than 90,000 people over links to the movement as part of a massive purge launched under the pretext of an anti-coup fight, and hundreds of life sentences.

In fact life sentences to a majority of 475 defendants, including army commanders and pilots in recently concluded trials.

It certainly seems to have effected the mood of the General population.
 
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More sweetness and light within the Alliance.

'The main issue on the agenda at a virtual summit of NATO foreign ministers was the rise of China, but a major row between the US and Turkey took centre stage.

'Outgoing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took aim at Turkey during the meeting, decrying Ankara for compounding tensions with other allies in the Mediterranean and for buying a Russian-made anti-aircraft system.

'Turkish FM Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu retorted saying Pompeo had incited European allies to unite against his country in the Mediterranean, also accusing the US of backing Kurdish "terrorist organizations" in Syria while Turkey went up against the extremist Islamic State group.'


NATO meeting: US-Turkey row takes centre stage as FMs discuss China
 
More sweetness and light within the Alliance.

'The main issue on the agenda at a virtual summit of NATO foreign ministers was the rise of China, but a major row between the US and Turkey took centre stage.

'Outgoing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took aim at Turkey during the meeting, decrying Ankara for compounding tensions with other allies in the Mediterranean and for buying a Russian-made anti-aircraft system.

'Turkish FM Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu retorted saying Pompeo had incited European allies to unite against his country in the Mediterranean, also accusing the US of backing Kurdish "terrorist organizations" in Syria while Turkey went up against the extremist Islamic State group.'


NATO meeting: US-Turkey row takes centre stage as FMs discuss China
Well, the US did find and equip the PYD, who promised to return all the weapons when IS was defeated...yeah, right.*

Instead the PYD have ethnically cleansed northern Syrian of ethnic Arabs and established a proto-state.

* US provided weapons have been found in the (dead) hands of PKK terrorists in Turkey.
 
Well, the US did find and equip the PYD, who promised to return all the weapons when IS was defeated...yeah, right.*

Instead the PYD have ethnically cleansed northern Syrian of ethnic Arabs and established a proto-state.

* US provided weapons have been found in the (dead) hands of PKK terrorists in Turkey.

IS has been defeated? Do tell.
 
IS has been defeated? Do tell.
Fair point, but in the areas that were liberated, the PYD (sorry, SDF), re-emerged as a Gendarmerie; meanwhile the US largely withdrew earlier this year - in indecent haste - and didn't bother to recover any of the SALW or AFVs 'loaned' to the PYD (which has very close links to the PKK - shared leadership, for example). Some of these weapons have been used against Turkish forces in northern Syria and by the PKK in terrorist attacks in SW Turkey.
 
Hang on for the ride; this could be going to get rough!

'Officials said President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. must keep from alienating the government in Ankara even as the U.S. and European allies try to curb Turkey’s military ambitions with sanctions.

'No longer restrained by President Trump’s affection for Turkey’s authoritarian leader, U.S. officials and Congress are using the waning days of his presidency to ready sanctions and strike a strident tone against the strategic but unreliable ally.

'Turkey, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, has vexed the administration almost since its start. That has been as much Mr. Trump’s doing — and his admiration for its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan — as that of actions by the government in Ankara, which has abused human rights, imprisoned Americans and journalists, and muscled into confrontations from Syria to Libya to the Caucasus to the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The redirection of U.S. policy also will require President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. to carefully bring Turkey back into the West’s embrace and keep from pushing it closer to Russia.

“For years, President Trump has personally shielded Erdogan and Turkey,” said Senator Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland. He said the incoming Biden administration “will be an important check on Erdogan’s efforts to expand his influence at our expense, in a way that undermines our interests. It’s a little bit of a crossroads for Erdogan,” Mr. Van Hollen said in a recent interview. “He’s going to have to make a decision — is he going to be the faithful NATO ally, or is he going to go it alone in the region?”

'Congress is poised this week to approve economic sanctions against Turkey for buying Russian missile defense systems early in Mr. Trump’s term, potentially exposing NATO military technology to Moscow. Mr. Trump stalled the sanctions last year, after the defense systems were delivered to Turkey.'


U.S. Takes Tougher Tone With Turkey as Trump Exits
 
In the meantime Turkey is the lead nation in Kabul Airport for the NATO mission....mainly because no one else wants to do it.
 

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