March, 2017 Politics

Fethullah Gulen

Author Semih Idiz

Fethullah Gulen, the self-exiled Islamic cleric residing in Pennsylvania who Ankara accuses of masterminding July’s failed coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has become one of the main obstacles to improving Turkey’s ties with the United States and Europe.

Union Jack

The path out of from the European Union is marred with parliamentary battles and legal challenges.
Ted R. Bromund

When British prime minister Theresa May triggers Article 50 on Wednesday, the clock starts ticking on Britain’s exit from the European Union. Barring an extension of the exit negotiations—which would require a unanimous vote of all EU members—Britain will be out on March 30, 2019, deal or no deal.

Europe, Politics
 Arab summit

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report

If the Arab summit opening in Amman Wednesday, March 9 meets the expectations of Washington and Jerusalem, the session will ratify a pivotal initiative for promoting an historic peace process between the Arab world and Israel. This effort, which matured through five months of mostly secret diplomacy, was launched by Donald Trump in November, shortly after he was elected US President.

North Korea


By Michael Brady
Tensions in and around the Korean peninsula continue to escalate and there appears to be no end in sight as North Korea pursues its stated goal of building missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads to the US mainland.

Turkey looks depressing


Murat Yektin  
All I’m going to do is list a number of recent developments reported in the Turkish media over the past couple of days. I’ll start with the most recent case demonstrating the state that Turkey is in:

Politics, Turkey
Assad

 By NEVILLE TELLER 
Back in the glory days of the so-called “Arab Spring”, when Middle Eastern dictators were falling like ninepins, it seemed that the overthrow of Ben Ali of Tunisia, Mubarak of Egypt, Gaddafi of Libya and Saleh of Yemen would inevitably be followed by the downfall of President Bashar Assad of Syria.

Weak MHP support to AKP

Murat Yektin
Weaker than expected support from within the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) for the executive presidency system in the April 16 referendum is turning the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AK Parti) eyes back to Kurdish votes, recent developments in the campaign suggest.

Politics, Turkey
Kadyrov

 


By Emil Souleimanov
At the turn of 2016 and 2017, events took place in parts of Chechnya that again challenged the triumphant statements of local pro-Moscow and federal authorities that the jihadist-inspired insurgency in this North Caucasian republic was eradicated.

Turkey Russian-Kurdish deal


AUTHOR Fehim Taştekin TRANSLATOR Timur Göksel

Turkey’s plans to expand its Operation Euphrates Shield in northern Syria and isolate Kurdish forces in the region appear to be backfiring.

Summit at Mar-a-Lago

Gordon G. Chang
President Donald Trump plays host to someone as powerful and as willful as himself early next month at his Mar-a-Lago resort when Chinese ruler Xi Jinping arrives for a two-day visit. The showdown, disguised as an informal get-together, will be the first meeting of the two figures.


Recep Tayyip Erdoğan


By Burak Bekdil
BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 431, March 22, 2017

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The rising tide of an aggressive blend of nationalism and Islamism might be prompting Ankara to pursue its own WMDs, and its preference appears to be long-range missiles. 

Israeli-Russian clash


DEBKAfile Exclusive Report 

The Israeli drone that targeted the Syrian militiaman Yasser Sayad outside the Golan town of Quneitra Sunday, March 19, reinforced the message first carried by the Israeli Arrow 2 which shot down a Syrian SA-5 anti-air missile Friday. The Israeli ambassador was called twice to the Russian foreign ministry.

Trần Đại Quang Rodrigo Duterte

Can American statecraft sway Manila’s support for China?
Richard Javad Heydarian

“We cannot stop China from doing its thing. Even the Americans were not able to stop them,” remarked Philippine resident Rodrigo Duterte in response to reports that China could soon move ahead with building facilities on the hotly contested Scarborough Shoal. His comments provoked a firestorm, with leading political figures and intellectuals calling for the president to refrain from such blatantly defeatist pronouncements, while others threatened impeachment against Duterte.

Kerry Nazarbayev


By Stephen Blank

the CACI Analyst

Central Asia has never ranked high on U.S. priorities. That is unlikely to change under the Trump Administration. Yet recent developments in Central Asia, particularly in Uzbekistan, do offer an opportunity to advance U.S. interests through a greater economic-political presence in the region, whilst also countering growing Chinese economic dominance and Russian efforts at military hegemony at a relatively low cost. The two key countries in this possible opportunity for the U.S. are Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

Warships South China Sea


By Michael Brady
Reports last week said Japan will send a helicopter carrier into the hotly contested South China Sea in May. The carrier Izumo is based in Yokosuka and its mission is primarily anti-submarine warfare.

Neocons

Criticizing their thuggery is anti-Semitism?
PHILIP GIRALDI

We have a president who is belligerent towards Iran, who is sending “boots on the ground” to fight ISIS, who loves Israel passionately and who is increasing already bloated defense budgets. If one were a neoconservative, what is there not to like, yet neocons in the media and ensconced comfortably in their multitude of think tanks hate Donald Trump. I suspect it comes down to three reasons. 

Politics, United States
 Final Raqqa assault


AUTHOR Fehim Taştekin TRANSLATOR Timur Göksel

It sounded dramatic: The leaders of 50 Syrian Arab tribes met in Sanliurfa, Turkey, and announced they would set up the Army of Al-Jazirah and Euphrates Tribes to end Russian and Iranian occupation of Syria and cleanse the Euphrates and Al Jazeera areas of the Islamic State (IS), the Kurdish nationalist Democratic Union Party/Kurdistan Workers Party (PYD/PKK), Hezbollah and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

FBI Director Comey  Admiral Michael Rogers

By Paul Craig Roberts

 Listening today to the broadcast of testimony by FBI Director Comey and National Security Agency Director Admiral Michael Rogers before the House Intelligence Committee (an oxymoron) made it clear that the Democrats, Comey, and Rogers intend conflict with Russia.

Politics, United States
House Intelligence Committee Hearing

Rep. Schiff and many other Democrats apparently want to broaden and deepen the existing confrontation between the United States and Russia without giving any thought to its possible consequences.

Erdogan Route

 

By Altay Atli
As the diplomatic squabble between Turkey and the Netherlands continues to fester, concerns are raised about whether — and to what extent — the tensions will harm bilateral relations, particularly in economics where the two countries have robust trade and investment connections.

Hizballah’s trust in Russia


DEBKAfile Exclusive Report 

Israel finally took a hand in the swiftly moving events looming from Syria over its northern borders by launching multiple air raids against the key northern Syrian air base known as T4 near Palmyra early Friday night March 17.

Qatar Turkey

Author Metin Gurcan

Turkey has been expanding its relations with Gulf Cooperation Council members, particularly Qatar. Turkey-Qatar relations have gained significant momentum during the past three months, led by the personal actions of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who address each other as "brother." This interesting development calls for a closer look.

Erdogan EU

 FINIAN CUNNINGHAM 
The extraordinary war of words erupting between Turkey and the European Union is pushing already strained relations to breaking point. Ankara has banned all Dutch diplomats from its territory after the Netherlands banished Turkish ministers from holding political rallies, while deploying heavy-handed policing to break up the rallies.

Europe's Turkish Awakening

by Burak Bekdil
The Gatestone Institute

Dutch police contain a riot that broke out in Rotterdam on March 11 when pro-Erdogan crowds violently protested the Dutch government's refusal of entry to Turkish government ministers.
Turkey, officially, is a candidate for full membership in the European Union. It is also negotiating with Brussels a deal that would allow millions of Turks to travel to Europe without visa. 

Russia, Turkey,  Israel


BY MICAH HALPERN 
Israel and Russia need to keep on good terms to make certain the region does not spiral into crisis. Russian President Vladimir Putin is a world-class master when it comes to getting what he wants. He leaves nothing to chance.

Turkey Still a Democracy?

BY DAVID KENNER

An upcoming referendum and a vicious war of words with Europe could end up making Erdogan more powerful — and isolated — than ever.
ANKARA, Turkey — In a half-destroyed temple overlooking the Turkish capital, there is a carved inscription of a text known as “The Deeds of the Divine Augustus.” It is the most complete surviving version of the funerary inscription of the first Roman emperor, Augustus. 

Politics, Turkey
CHINA MILITARY POWER

China revealed plans to increase its marine force by 400 percent, focusing on strategic intercontinental trade routes.
BY TOM O’CONNOR

US Defence Secretary sees no need for US military action in South China Sea
The world's biggest military is about to grow. Beijing announced last week it would increase military spending by about 7 percent, totaling about $147 billion. Beijing also plans to increase its marine corps by 400 percent in a bid to expand the nation's economic and military influence across Asia and into Africa, according to News Corp. Australian Network. With 2,3 million soldiers, Chinese leaders already command the largest standing army on the planet.

 Narendra Modi

Will Modi Remake the Party?
By Milan Vaishnav

There are victories, and then there are victories. Last weekend’s electoral triumph by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the pivotal north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) is of the latter sort. In an outcome that shocked analysts, political rivals, and even some on the winning side, an alliance led by BJP Prime Minister Narendra Modi won 325 out of 403 seats on offer in the state assembly, a humiliating defeat for opposition forces. In the four other states that also went to polls, the BJP is set to form governments in as many as three.

 Europe's 'Turkish Awakening'

by Burak Bekdil
Europe looks united in not allowing Erdogan to export Turkey's sometimes even violent political polarization into the Old Continent. Erdogan clearly rejected Merkel's mention of "Islamist terror" on grounds that "the expression saddens Muslims because Islam and terror cannot coexist".

General Khalifa Haftar

By Phil Stewart, Idrees Ali and Lin Noueihed | WASHINGTON/CAIRO

Russia appears to have deployed special forces to an airbase in western Egypt near the border with Libya in recent days, U.S., Egyptian and diplomatic sources say, a move that would add to U.S. concerns about Moscow's deepening role in Libya.

Netherlands Turkey


Barcin Yinanc

It goes without saying that every Western diplomatic mission in Turkey must have reviewed security measures around their compounds - not only after intensified threats from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) but also after the failed July 15 coup, which saw a rise in anti–Western feelings here.

ISIS-Syria Al Qaeda


DEBKAfile Exclusive Report 
The main thrust of the campaign against the Islamic State in Syria ordered by the Trump administration is still ahead, but ISIS forces did not wait in their Raqqa stronghold for the axe to fall. They moved southeast into the Deir ez-Zour region, where they are beating back Hizballah’s elite Radwan Battalion, which has just been deployed there.

Gwadar


By: PTI | Beijing

China is constructing a naval base in Djibouti to provide logistical support in one of the world's busiest waterways in the Indian Ocean.
China is set to increase the number of its marine corps from 20,000 to one lakh (100.000) as part of plans to deploy them overseas for the first time, including at the strategic Gwadar port in Pakistan and military logistics base in Djibouti in the Indian Ocean. The expansion is planned to protect China’s maritime lifelines and its growing interests overseas, Hong-Kong based South China Morning Post reported on Monday.

Don't travel to Turkey this summer

TEMPTING prices, sunshine beaches and alluring exchange rates will see Britons booking in their thousands to travel to Turkey this summer - something terror experts are claiming would be a MASSIVE mistake.

TURKEY'S ERDOGAN


BY SETH J. FRANTZMAN 
Over the weekend Holland stunned Turkey by preventing rallies over a proposed referendum, drawing fierce rebuke from Ankara.

Holland is a “Nazi remnant,” according Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was prevented from flying to Rotterdam to give a speech, and Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya was deported to Germany.

 Narendra Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party expects national elections in 2019 to deliver an even bigger mandate than in 2014, its leaders said on Sunday, buoyed by a thumping victory in the country's most politically important state.

Turkish courtroom


Ahmed al-Burai
Turkey's armed forces are reportedly unhappy with the AKP's post-coup purge. But if they are planning a coup, Erdogan is ready
On 25 February, the flagship Turkish newspaper Hurriyet published a controversial article with the headline "Unease at the military headquarters", implying serious discontent among the country's armed forces.

Military, Politics, Turkey
Turkish military


Author Ali Bayramoglu, TranslatorTimur Göksel

No one can question the centrality of civilian-military relations in Turkey’s political life. Early in the last century, a military republic assumed the legacy of a military empire. In the 93 years since, Turkey has experienced four military coups and three abortive attempts. For a third of that time, Turkey was under martial law, and until 2000, practically lived under military tutelage.

Military, Politics, Turkey
 Erdoğan’s Forever War

 The turkey analyst,By: Gareth H. Jenkins

The package of proposed amendments to the Turkish constitution that were announced on December 10 foresee the gradual concentration of even more power in the hands of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, leading to the introduction of a full presidential system in November 2019. Yet recent events have shown that the more power Erdoğan exercises, the worse the situation in Turkey becomes.

End of Turkey’s European History

Fabrizio Tassinari
Danish Institute for International Studies

BERLIN—The accusation by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey that Germany perseveres in “Nazi practices,” after a Turkish minister was forbidden from campaigning in Germany, is the latest instance in the perennially tense bilateral relation between Turkey and Europe. 

WikiTrump

Nothing so trivial as the technical proof we’re all being spied upon can be allowed to threaten or add nuance to established narrative

By Pepe Escobar
 "Information Clearing House" - "Asia Times" - The massive WikiLeaks Vault 7 release is an extremely important public service. It’s hard to find anyone not concerned by a secret CIA hacking program targeting virtually the whole planet – using malware capable of bypassing encryption protection on any device from iOS to Android, and from Windows to Samsung TVs.

July 15 coup

Ertugrul Ozkok
In an indictment into the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), three statements taken from the Second Chief of General Staff Yaşar Güler being regarded as a “victim” have been included. His first statement was taken on July 19, 2016 and its content was published on papers.

 Erdogan An Illusionary Sultan

This is the fourth and last in a series of articles based in part on eyewitness accounts about the rapidly deteriorating socio-political conditions in Turkey and what the future may hold for the country. The first, second and third articles are available here: First, Second, Third.

The Russian devil

By William Blum

 "Information Clearing House" - Conservatives have had a very hard time getting over President Trump’s much-repeated response to Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly’s calling Russian president Vladimir Putin “a killer”. Replied Trump: “There are a lot of killers. We have a lot of killers. You think our country is so innocent?”

Military summit on Syria

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report 

EXCLUSIVE: For the first time ever, the top soldiers of the United States, Russia and Turkey are holding a secret meeting in the Turkish town of Antalya for an urgent two-day effort to avert a clash between their three armies, which stand ominously face to face in northern Syria.
(See DEBKAfile’s exclusive disclosure on March 6)

Trump's new travel order

Donald John Trump, has signed a revised travel ban banning citizens of 6 Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
Three African countries are affected by the ban which is expected to take effect after 10 days. Somalia, Sudan and Libya have made the list again.
An earlier ban which affected 7 countries was suspended by a federal judge, the result of which is the current one.

John McCain in Syria

By Whitney Webb

Just a matter of days after John McCain’s “unusual” trip to Syria and Turkey, the Turkish government has cut off water supplies from the Euphrates River into northern Syria, violating international conventions on water rights.

Sub-Saharan migrants


By ERIC MAURICE

How to manage the "ring of fire" on the EU's southern doorstep and the consequences of unrest and poverty?
The question, top of EU leaders' agenda for an age, was the subject of a conference this week in Valletta organised by the Delors Institute think-tank.

Cyprus talks

Barcin Yinanc
The window of opportunity to find a permanent solution to the Cyprus problem is closing – unless some players step in and stick their hands in to keep the window from closing completely. One interesting player could be Israel. A Cyprus peace deal would speed up Israel’s project to provide gas to Turkey, the new Israeli ambassador to Ankara said last week.

Joseph McCarthy

By John Steppling
“Take notice, That England is not a a Free People, till the Poor that have no Land, have a free allowance to dig and labour the Commons, and so live as Comfortably as the Landlords that live in their Inclosures.”
– Gerrard Winstanley, 1652

Politics, United States