November, 2016 Politics

Absurdistan


Burak Bekdil
Turkish politics is struggling harder and harder to go beyond the title of “Absurdistan.” Sadly, not even the sky is the limit.
It is no secret that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan worships the notion of the “national will,” the sanctity of elected officials and, therefore, their decisions. But he only worships the will of the Turkish nation - and only when he wins at the ballot box. 

 Trump’s NATO

By Dr. Tsilla Hershco 
BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 381

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: US President-Elect Donald Trump has toned down the anti-NATO rhetoric he employed on the campaign trail, but it remains uncertain whether he appreciates the value of the organization for American interests. NATO provides security insurance not only to Europe but also to the US. Trump should be cautious about weakening its deterrence and power projection.

 America  Russia Partnership

by Jiri Valenta with Leni Friedman Valenta

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 380

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: A pragmatist like Reagan, President Trump will face three urgent foreign policy issues: renegotiating the Iran nuclear deal with a US-Israel military option and Russia’s acquiescence; resolving the human catastrophe in Syria in partnership with President Putin; and a Great Bargain with Putin on the Ukraine. 

Turkish economy


Hurriyet Daily News
The Turkish economy may collapse in a couple of years if politicians do not show the West that the economy is trust-worthy, Daron Acemoğlu, Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), told the daily Hürriyet. 

Economy, Politics, Turkey
 Putin Syria


Al-Monitor
Putin wastes no time in Syria

Although US President-elect Donald Trump has signaled his willingness to work with Russia to end the war in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin is taking nothing for granted.
Trump said in an interview with The New York Times on Nov. 22, “We have to end that craziness that’s going on in Syria.” 

Globalization’s second wave


Laurence Chandy Fellow - Global Economy and Development, Development Assistance and Governance Initiative
Brina Seidel Research Assistant - Global Economy and Development, The Brookings Institution

After two decades defined by growing integration, the global economy appears to be at an inflection point. This judgment has been prompted both by structural changes in the global economy, especially since the Great Recession, and political events over the past year illustrative of a backlash against past integration. Following one such event—the U.K.’s Brexit vote in June—The Economist magazine reported, in a funereal tone, that globalization now seems to be receding, inspiring comparisons with the rise and fall of globalization a century ago.[1]

Russian intervention

 The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst

Few people think about trends in the Caucasus with reference to or in the context of Russia’s Syrian intervention. But Moscow does not make this mistake. From the beginning, Moscow has highlighted its access to the Caucasus through overflight rights and deployment of its forces in regard to Syria, e.g. sending Kalibr cruise missiles from ships stationed in the Caspian Sea to bomb Syria. Therefore we should emulate Russia’s example and seriously assess military trends in the Caucasus in that Syrian context.

 Europe Planned Marriage Turkey


by Burak Bekdil, The Gatestone Institute
Visiting Minsk, the capital of Belarus, in the first week of November for the opening of a mosque in a dictatorial country where there are 100,000 Muslims, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Western Europe of "intolerance that spreads like the plague."

 Trump the Great


By Paul Craig Roberts

 "Information Clearing House" - Liberals, progressives, and the left-wing (to the extent that one still exists) are aligning with the corrupt oligarchy against president-elect Trump and the American people.

Politics, United States
Shiite militias


Rekindling sectarian rivalries at a sensitive time, Iraq's parliament on Saturday voted to fully legalize state-sanctioned Shiite militias long accused of abuses against minority Sunnis, adopting a legislation that promoted them to a government force empowered to "deter" security and terror threats facing the country, like the Islamic State group.

Erdogan’s rise

Author Ali Bayramoglu
Ever since coming to power in November 2002, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won all elections he contested, almost always by increasing his popular support. In terms of achievement, however, Erdogan’s image and policies have not followed a steady trend. 

Politics, Turkey
 Turkey Iran

Burak Bekdil
A few days ago, columnist Nevşin Mengü wrote an excellent piece in this newspaper, “Iran’s Turkish question,” (HDN, Nov. 22). Ms. Mengü wrote that she was wandering around a historic caravansary outside Kashan in Iran where a young man said there was no such language as Turkish as “Turkish was a dialect of Farsi.”

TrumpTurkish Business Partner

Paul Blumenthal 
President-elect Donald Trump called his Turkish business partner a “close friend” on a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
WASHINGTON ― When President-elect Donald Trump spoke to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Nov. 9, he mentioned one of his Turkish business partners as a “close friend” and passed on his remarks that he is “your great admirer.”


Fake News

 By Finian Cunningham

 "Information Clearing House" - "Sputnik" - You really know that masses of people are living within a mind-control matrix when the greatest, most pervasive purveyors of fake news denounce others for the practice. And yet they do so without the slightest hint of awareness about their own monstrous hypocrisy.

 Trump Gen. Flynn


DEBKAfile Exclusive Report

Unlike most US president elects, Donald Trump is not waiting to be formally sworn into office on Jan. 20. DEBKAfile’s exclusive military and Washington sources reveal that he has already plunged unannounced into managing America’s military role in the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. 

Turkish-Russian Rapprochement


F. Stephen Larrabee 

Geostrategically, the collapse of the Soviet Union removed the main rationale for the U.S.-Turkish security partnership Many Western officials worry that the strengthening of ties between Russia and Turkey signifies an increasing “eastward drift” in Turkish policy and a weakening of Turkey’s ties to the West. 

Unicorn


BY STEPHEN M. WALT

On magical creatures and the promises of politicians.
Have you ever seen a unicorn? Me neither. Unicorns are mythical beasts, supposedly imbued with many attractive, even magical, qualities — but, alas, they are not actually real. Nor have I seen any orcs, basilisks, balrogs, or any of the other evil creatures dreamt up by fiction writers: Here, the good news is these don’t exist and never did. Apart from CGI-enhanced movies, anyone who claimed they could find or create one of them would be regarded as something of a crackpot.

Merkel Renzi


As the German chancellor stands for re-election, she must grapple with the rising tide of nationalism.
By Jacob L. Shapiro

The U.K. is leaving the European Union. Donald Trump, he of the threats to pull U.S. support from NATO and the ambiguous relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, is president-elect of the United States. Marine Le Pen is doing well in French polls, and even if she loses (which in light of the recent performance of opinion polling should be regarded as a healthy possibility), upcoming French elections are already centering around issues of French identity and immigration. 

‘My Fair Lady’

Burak Bekdil
After this column argued last week that “Turkey’s identity crisis is too persistent to disappear, even after decades of soul-searching, Turkey is too Islamic to belong to Europe, too secular and non-Arab to belong to an Islamic club, too Sunni to find a seat in any Shiite Muslim club, too Turkish to find allies in a Eurasian pact, and too alien to find a meaningful African alliance,” a most dear friend wrote from London:

Politics, Turkey
 Recep Tayyip Erdoğan


In full interview with Israel's Channel 2, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks of Israel and Turkey's reconciliation, the 2010 Mavi Marmara crisis and his relations with Hamas.

Global Wealth

by Tyler Durden
Today Credit Suisse released its latest annual global wealth report, which traditionally lays out what is perhaps the biggest reason for the recent "anti-establishment" revulsion: an unprecedented concentration of wealth among a handful of people, as shown in its infamous global wealth pyramid, an arrangement which as observed by the "shocking" political backlash of the past few months suggests that the lower 'levels' of the pyramid are increasingly unhappy about.

Economy, Global, Politics
Turkey economy

Uğur Gürses
Last week, when the U.S. dollar rose to a record high, the Turkish Central Bank’s foreign currency and gold reserves eroded exactly $5.5 billion. They fell back to $117.5 billion, which is the highest drop since 2009 in the foreign exchange reserves, which are released on a weekly basis.

Economy, Politics, Turkey
Trump Economic Policy


Author : Nick Timiraos
The announcement last week by the United States of the largest military aid package in its history – to Israel – was a win for both sides.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu could boast that his lobbying had boosted aid from $3.1 billion a year to $3.8bn – a 22 per cent increase – for a decade starting in 2019.

Turkey brain drain

Author Sibel Hurtas
The aftermath of the July 15 coup attempt has sparked a migration flurry among educated Turks amid crackdowns on media freedoms and free speech, arbitrary restrictions on property and work rights, and growing talk of a looming economic crisis and even a civil war. Many of those leaving the country are academics, expelled overnight from universities via legislative decrees, journalists out of work and under the threat of imprisonment, and members of non-Muslim minorities who feel increasingly insecure.

Politics, Turkey

 

by Tyler Durden
Submitted by Eugen von Bohm-Bawerk via Bawerk.net,

A Brave New World is coming? Perhaps. We had a recent discussion with a group of people in the hopeless business of doing long term forecasting. This made us think about what the world will look like over the next 20 to 40 years. A pretty thankless task, but the bottom line is without a damn good war, Asia will be the way of the future.

Turkey what lies ahead

Nuray Mert
Que sera, sera” is how some of us are looking at current developments in Turkey: “What will be, will be.” But in our case this only refers to a feeling of uncertainity, hopelessness and despair. The future is uncertain, not only for dissidents but also for the whole country, which stands on the verge of regime change.

Politics, Turkey
 Israel-Jordanian-Syrian border

DEBKAfile Special Report

Israel, Jordan and Syria have embarked on secret discussions for the stabilization of their borders in southern Syria by restoring the status quo ante that reigned on the Golan prior to the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

Islamic-military alliance


Fatih Yaşlı in Birgün writes that the alliance between the supposed “vanguard of secularism” – the military – and political Islam, which historically was motivated by a shared desire to beat the left, has a long pedigree. The military entered into a pragmatic relationship with the political representatives of religion during the Cold War. 

Israel Turkey gas pipeline

 Meeting builds on October meeting between Israel's energy minister and Turkish counterpart
A delegation from Israel's Foreign Ministry and Department of Energy last week held a secret meeting with Turkish representatives to discuss the construction of a gas pipeline between the two countries, Israel's Army Radio reports.

Mad Dog James Mattis

 By MICHAEL WILNER 
'Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet'
Analysis: Marine Gen. James Mattis would be conventional voice in the White House.

WASHINGTON – Donald Trump sees the “real deal” in retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, a hardened military creature whose star rose through the Bush and Obama administrations in wars the president-elect now fiercely opposes.

 Turkey authoritarianism

Editorial
Turkey’s sad slide away from freedom is not just a tragedy for that country. It’s a warning that democracy is fragile and can be quickly undermined if a society loses the will to fight for it.

 Can Turkey and Israel Reconcile?


Pinhas Inbari
Institute for Contemporary Affairs

Turkey’s entry into Gaza has several implications: challenging Turkey’s enemies in the Middle East, Egypt and Iran; and placing Gaza’s rehabilitation in Turkey’s hands, which pulls the rug out from under Europe’s patronage.

Turkey's Islamist Leader

 FOREIGN POLICY
Eli Lake

Many people are delighted by Donald Trump's election last week. There are (some) Republicans. Some Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. Alt-right online trolls and opponents of free trade. Add to this list Turkey's Islamist president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey EU membership

BURAK BEKDİL

The birth of the modern state in the Islamic world has brought with it an eternal casus belli: Should the state be based on man-made laws or divine law? That question has been at the heart of decades-long ideological wars in Muslim lands. Turkey is no exception.

 “Gun for Hire”


By David L. Phillips

 "Information Clearing House" - "Huffington Post" - Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, a Trump national security adviser, has been paid by Turkish money laundered through a Dutch company to lobby on behalf of the Turkish government. More than bad judgement, Flynn’s egregious conduct raises ethical questions. It also casts doubt on his suitability for public office.

Turkey negative growth rates


Author Mustafa Sonmez

Toward the end of the year, when the time comes to disclose Turkey's growth rate in the third quarter, the Turkish Statistical Institute is expected to announce the country's worst rate for the past 27 quarters. The signs are already there, growing clearer every day. In its latest report on Turkey, the International Monetary Fund has already said the year-end rate would be below 3%, a projection that is likely to be revised further downward.

Economy, Politics, Turkey
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli

Taha Akyol
Apparently, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has accepted a system that removes the “government” institution. The name of this is the presidential system.

Politics, Turkey
TURKEY FAIT ACCOMPLI IN SYRIA

AARON STEIN
Just days after the U.S. presidential election, newspapers allied with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) published stories alleging that elements of the U.S. government would conspire to prevent Donald Trump from governing. Trump, the consensus in the pro-government media held, was a better choice for Turkey: As a billionaire who is outside of the Washington mainstream, he is above influence from members of the Gulen Movement, some of whom gave money to Hillary Clinton’s super-PAC.

Russia Middle East

 

A briefing by Anna Borshchevskaya
Anna Borshchevskaya, the Ira Weiner Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and a fellow at the European Foundation for Democracy, briefed the Middle East Forum in a conference call on November 3, 2016.

INADVERTENT WAR

 In 1914, Austria-Hungary launched what it thought would be a short punitive war against Serbia. The next thing it knew, it was involved in a war against Russia, Italy, France, Britain, and then the United States. Four years later, Austria-Hungary ceased to exist. If the Austro-Hungarian government had known where its Balkan intervention would lead, it would never have launched it. But it didn’t know. World War I was an inadvertent war.

John Bolton

By Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

 "Information Clearing House" - "Rare" - Rumors are that Donald Trump might pick John Bolton for Secretary of State. Heaven forbid.

Erdogan-Trump honeymoon


Author Semih Idiz
Donald Trump’s election as president may have sent shock waves across the world, leaving many countries deeply concerned, but it has had the opposite effect in Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) are pleased with this turn of events.

 Trump International Security


by Richard Kemp

It is the EU, not Donald Trump, that threatens to undermine NATO and the security of the West. An EU defence union will present a direct threat to NATO, competing for funds, building in duplication and confusion, and setting up rival military structures.

Erdogan Jockey


by Burak Bekdil, The Gatestone Institute
Both fascism and communism exercised a large influence on the Arab "Baathist" ideology -- "resurrection" in Arabic, and which started as a nationalist, Sunni Arab movement to combat Western colonial rule and to promote modernization. In Iraq, the despotic Baathist regime survived 35 years, largely under the leadership of Saddam Hussein. 

Politics, Turkey
Mont Pelerin rendezvous


Yusuf Kanli
The Mont Pelerin rendezvous of the Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders was slated to be an “end game” but it turned out to be an almost “game over.” Upon request of the Greek Cypriot leaders, the deadlocked talks were suspended for one week and are scheduled to resume, this time in Geneva, on Nov. 20.

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran


BY ROBERT SPENCER 

In his 2006 Regensburg address, Pope Benedict cited the 14th-century Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus regarding the preaching of violence in a religion, stating:

“Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached…”

Obama’s Arms-Export Tally


BY MARCUS WEISGERBER, CAROLINE HOUCK

Most of the $278 billion in approved sales have gone to Saudi Arabia and other Mideast allies.

The Obama administration has approved more than $278 billion in foreign arms sales in its eight years, more than double the total of the previous administration, according to figures released by the Pentagon on Tuesday.

Trump  Iran


DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis 

Donald Trump's ratings soar in Iranian media too
In more than one campaign speech, President elect Donald Trump declared that his number priority was “to dismantle the disastrous deal” with Iran, which he said was “the worst deal ever” He was referring to the 2015 accord negotiated with Iran by the 5P+1 (five Permanent Security Council members plus Germany), which the Obama administration presented as putting the lid on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

New, level-headed Trump


Ron Ben-Yishai

Analysis: Forget about the election campaign’s provocateur and chatterbox. The US president-elect’s victory speech made it clear that he feels the full weight of responsibility hanging on his shoulders. So in what direction does he plan to navigate America, and where do Israel and the Palestinians come in?

 Medvedev in Jerusalem


DEBKAfile Special Report 

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his prime minister Dmitry Medvedev to Israel Wednesday, Nov. 9 as a gesture to mark the 25th anniversary of the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries.