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Westlake Legal Group > Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Trump is finally applying some pressure on Turkey

Westlake Legal Group erdogan-weapons Trump is finally applying some pressure on Turkey Turkey The Blog Sanctions Russia Recep Tayyip Erdogan missiles F-35 Lightning arms sales

Last week we discussed Turkey’s decision to go ahead and take delivery of the S-400 missile system from Russia and the implications that held for the United States and NATO. At the time, I suggested that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erodgan had revealed himself as no longer being an ally of ours and punitive measures were called for. One of the biggest items on the table was the pending sale of our F-35 fighters to Turkey, a transaction that needed to be canceled.

It appears that the President has been getting advice from like-minded people because as of now, the sale is off. (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)

President Trump said the U.S. would withhold sales of advanced F-35 stealth jet fighters to Turkey after Ankara received a new air-defense system from Russia, putting new strains on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

The decision to cancel the F-35 shipment was expected, but until Mr. Trump’s remarks on Tuesday, the administration had held off on responding to Turkey’s decision to accept delivery of the Russian S-400 system. Turkey’s action and the U.S. response inject tension and uncertainty into the 67-year security pact between Turkey and other NATO members.

The latest moves come amid differences between Ankara and Washington over Syria and a sharp disagreement over the role of Kurdish fighters, who U.S. officials say have played a major role in battling Islamic State militants but who Turkey sees as a terrorist force.

This is a complicated situation that the President is wading into. For their part, Turkey is saying they will seek international arbitration over the canceled sales, but it’s unlikely any such move could force our hand. At the same time, the future production of more F-35s is in question, at least in the short term, because a number of parts for the planes are manufactured in Turkey. The Trump administration is already working on alternate vendors if those parts suddenly become unavailable.

While complicated, this is a smart move. Most defense analysts seem to agree that the S-400 system’s radar would give the Russians (through their agency in Turkey) the ability to discover secrets about the F-35s, making it easier for them to counter the stealth planes in a potential military conflict. And given the chummy relationship between the Tyrant of Turkey and Vladimir Putin, that would probably have been happening almost immediately.

But the cancelation of this sale likely won’t be enough. There should be new sanctions imposed on Erdogan personally and Turkey in general. They’ve been playing both sides of the fence for too long now and their membership in NATO going forward should also be up for debate. Turkey derives tremendous economic and political advantages from being aligned with NATO and the west, but they’ve been abusing those privileges mightily.

It’s not too late for Erdogan to step back from the brink, but he may need a bit more of a push to get him to see the light. And if he chooses to abandon us entirely and throw his lot in with Russia and Iran, well… it’s not like we’d be losing a very good ally anyway.

The post Trump is finally applying some pressure on Turkey appeared first on Hot Air.

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Can we finally admit Turkey is no longer our ally?

Westlake Legal Group ErdoganRouhaniPutin715 Can we finally admit Turkey is no longer our ally? Vladimir Putin Turkey The Blog Russia Recep Tayyip Erdogan missiles

Ever since the Tyrant of Turkey took complete control of his nation, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been having his cake and eating it too. He retains all of the benefits of being a NATO member, favorable trade deals, access to western technology and military hardware, and a key place on the global stage. But at the same time, he pals around with the leaders of Iran, Russia, and Venezuela, takes hostages from multiple countries (including America), imprisons journalists and makes a mockery of his formerly democratic government. And now he’s thumbed his nose at the west yet again, taking delivery of an order of Russian S-400 surface to air missiles in defiance of NATO requirements. (NY Times)

The first shipment of a sophisticated Russian surface-to-air missile system arrived in Turkey on Friday, the Turkish Defense Ministry announced, a process that is expected to incur United States sanctions and will test the NATO alliance.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has been insistent in his determination to purchase the S-400 system, Russia’s most advanced antiaircraft weaponry, despite warnings from the United States. Washington has cautioned that the deal will lead to economic penalties against Turkey, a fellow NATO member, and cancellation of Turkey’s purchase of American F-35 fighter jets.

The United States has been unyielding in its opposition to Turkey’s acquisition of the S-400.

The S-400 is not compatible with the rest of the military systems used by NATO. In the event of an outbreak of military conflict, Turkey would not be able to fully coordinate with the rest of her supposed allies. None of this seems to be of any concern to Erdogan, who has been repeatedly warned not to go through with this purchase.

So what can we do about it? Well, it’s too late to stop the sale since they already took delivery. But we can and should immediately cancel their anticipated purchase of our F-35 fighters. In reality, we shouldn’t have been lining up to sell them those jets in the first place. That’s some our top of the line technology, and Turkey is just going to wind up exposing our classified technology to the Russians anyway.

In addition to canceling any such sales, we should be imposing new sanctions on both Turkey and Erdogan personally, just as we’ve done with other tyrannical regimes. And if we can build consensus with the rest of our actual allies, Turkey should be put on notice that their future membership in NATO is not assured.

My major concern here is whether or not President Trump will be of a mind to take this situation seriously. One of my complaints about this administration has been the way that Donald Trump has cozied up to Erdogan from day one, even when he was holding Pastor Andrew Brunson hostage for years on end. I understand that Turkey retains a key position in that part of the world, particularly given their proximity to Syria and Iraq, but our patience can’t be unlimited. Erdogan is a tyrant and a thug who clearly values his relationships with Russia and Iran more than the ties he supposedly has with the west. And it’s time he was held accountable.

The post Can we finally admit Turkey is no longer our ally? appeared first on Hot Air.

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Son of Hamas founder: It’s a “racist terror organization,” you know

Westlake Legal Group yousef Son of Hamas founder: It’s a “racist terror organization,” you know Turkey The Blog Suheib Yousef Recep Tayyip Erdogan Palestinian people Israel Hamas Gaza espionage corruption

Even more remarkable than what Suheib Yousef said is where he said it. The son of Hamas founder Hassan Yousef appeared in an interview with an Israeli television broadcaster to tell the truth about his father’s creation. Not only is Hamas a “racist terror organization,” Yousef told journalist Ohad Hemo, its leaders live high on the proverbial hog on monies intended for those they oppress,

In fact, they make that money by turning poor Palestinians into cannon fodder for Iran:

“Hamas leaders [in Turkey] live in fancy hotels and luxury towers, their kids learn at private schools, and they are very well paid by Hamas. They get between four and five thousand dollars a month, they have guards, swimming pools, country clubs,” said Suheib, who worked for Hamas’s political branch in Turkey.

“When I lived in Turkey, I was shocked by the behavior of the Hamas members. They ate in the best restaurants, in places where one course cost $200,” he said. “A family in Gaza lives on $100 per month.”

In hiding in an unnamed Asian country, Suheib also said Hamas was working for a “foreign agenda,” selling information about Israel to the Iranians in exchange for financial assistance. He said the group’s operation in Turkey was run under the guise of a civil society organization but was gathering intelligence on Palestinian leaders in Ramallah, as well as leaders from other Arab countries.

He also said the group actively recruited young Palestinians in the West Bank to carry out attacks against Israel, not to liberate Palestinian land or for resistance, but to spread the crisis from Gaza to the West Bank.

The Washington Post’s coverage omits one key detail from Yousef’s description of “spreading the crisis.”  Yousef told Hemo that Hamas recruits children for terror attacks against you know who:

He said the setup in Turkey was also used to conscript people, including children, in the West Bank to carry out terror attacks against Israelis.

“The point of the attacks in the West Bank is to kill civilians, not for the aim of resistance, nor Jerusalem; not for liberating Palestinian land, and not even because they hate Jews,” he told the TV channel. “They send out these innocents because they want to export the crisis [from Gaza] to the West Bank.”

Yousef has a suggestion for Hamas’ leadership on that score:

“I want them to send their own children to carry out attacks if they have to. Why doesn’t [Hamas leader] Ismail Haniyeh go to the fence to throw stones?” he asked, referring to weekly protests along the Gaza-Israel border organized by Hamas.

“How does Hamas benefit from these attacks? Nothing,” he said. “It is a racist terror organization that is dangerous for the Palestinian people.”

Yousef is the second son of Hassan Yousef to turn on Hamas. His older brother Mosab defected over a decade ago, working for Israel at first before coming to the West and converting to Christianity. Known as “the Green Prince,” Mosab wrote his memoirs, Son of Hamas, and has actively campaigned against his father’s organization. Suheib sounds distant from his brother, emphasizing that he himself never worked for Israel and never intends to do so, but that he wants to work against Hamas and its corruption.

For the US, the most intriguing part of Yousef’s declaration might be the spy ring operating under the auspices of our supposed ally, Turkey:

Now, he reveals how the organization’s political bureau operates, which actually serves as a spy center for Iran.

“Hamas operates security and military institutions on Turkish soil under the guise of civil society,” Yusuf explained. “They have security centers, and from there they use sophisticated listening equipment to listen to people and leaders in Ramallah, using sophisticated equipment and software on the computers, and some people are experts on this.

“They use state-of-the-art equipment to promote a foreign agenda and that’s what I want to expose,” said a former Hamas official. “The movement uses this information not for the benefit of the Palestinian people – it sends the intelligence information to Iran in exchange for financial support, even money being transferred through Turkish banks under the guise of civil society centers.”

That revelation comes at a particularly bad time for Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He’s trying to eat his cake and have it too with purchases of both the F-35 and Russian anti-aircraft systems, plus maintain his status within NATO. If Erdogan is allowing Iran to penetrate Turkey, it’s not going to be just to target Israel. This puts the US at risk as well as its European allies.

So what will happen to the man who made all this public? Yousef seems more fatalistic than his older brother. “If Hamas wants to turn me into a shahid, then I will be a martyr,” he told Hemo. “I prefer to be the victim and not the one who hurts [others].” Hamas will want to accomplish that before Yousef can pass along the details of these intelligence operations, if he has not already done so. The US should work to put Yousef under our protection quickly — even if it won’t necessarily bring the two brothers any closer.

Yousef speaks for himself in this video, which is entirely in Hebrew and Arabic. It’s worth it for a look at the man who dared to tell the truth about Hamas, even while many prefer to live in denial.

The post Son of Hamas founder: It’s a “racist terror organization,” you know appeared first on Hot Air.

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Erdogan loses round two in Istanbul

Westlake Legal Group erdogan-weapons Erdogan loses round two in Istanbul Turkey The Blog Recep Tayyip Erdogan opposition party Istanbul elections

Back in March, citizens in Turkey went to the polls for their latest series of national elections. The presidency wasn’t up for grabs, but they were electing regional legislators, mayors and other local positions. In a shocking turn of events, the part of the Tyrant of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, narrowly lost the election for mayor in Istanbul, one of the largest population centers. Erdogan was clearly unhappy about this turn of events so he did what any freedom and democracy loving ruler would do. He had the mayor thrown out of office and ordered another election be held.

Yesterday, the Turks returned to the polls in Istanbul as ordered and held the do-over vote. Surprise, surprise. In what the BBC is describing as a “disastrous loss,” Erdogan’s chosen candidate was defeated again by an even wider margin. Ouch. That’s gonna leave a mark.

As the scale of Ekrem Imamoglu’s victory became clear, his supporters thronged his election headquarters. Lining the street outside was a row of cameras. Among them: Turkey’s state broadcaster TRT, heavily under the thumb of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

A woman approached, waving her Turkish flag bearing the face of Mr Imamoglu at the TRT cameraman. “Now are you going to film us?”, she cried, “we’re here, now show we are!”

It encapsulated the feeling of an opposition that has been stifled for years, all the organs of the Turkish state controlled by Turkey’s powerful, polarising leader. Finally, the other side of this country feels as though the hand that has covered its mouth has been unclasped.

This has to be a stinging blow for Erdogan. He was born and raised in Istanbul and served as the mayor himself back in the 90s. His AKP Party has controlled the region for decades and his hand-picked candidate to be Mayor was expected to do the same.

If you read the BBC analysis, you’ll see that members of the opposition party are already talking about the beginning of the end of Erdogan’s rule. If his party can lose Istanbul, the thinking goes, his support will probably be on the decline around other parts of the country. The next national elections aren’t scheduled until 2023, but the opposition may be able to force a new vote sooner than that.

But can Turkey actually get rid of their Tyrant by simply voting him out? Erdogan has managed to rewrite the country’s constitution, vesting nearly all power in his office. The military answers directly to him and any perceived opponents in their ranks have been weeded out since the coup attempt a couple of years back. He controls all of the remaining media in the country, a fact that allows him to heavily sway public opinion.

And if even with all of that going for him, it looks like he might still lose, he would likely move to postpone the elections further. Even worse, if he calls the election and loses, he could simply refuse to step down and declare martial law. The people of Turkey have lived to see interesting times. Let’s hope they survive the process.

The post Erdogan loses round two in Istanbul appeared first on Hot Air.

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Turkey needs to pick a side in S-400 deal

Westlake Legal Group S400 Turkey needs to pick a side in S-400 deal Turkey The Blog Russia Recep Tayyip Erdogan Patriot missile system missiles F-35 Lightning

This is a showdown that’s been in the making for at least two years. The Tyrant of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a man who is allegedly one of our allies, has been negotiating with Moscow to purchase their S-400 guided missile system for some time now. One of the many problems with this very bad idea is that the system isn’t compatible with the rest of the NATO hardware and software in use around the region. Another issue is that NATO is supposedly providing a bulwark against possible Russian aggression, not acting in support of them.

At the same time, Turkey would also like to purchase 100 of our F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets. These incompatible goals have led the White House to set a deadline of July 31st for Turkey to cancel their deal with Russia or they will not be able to purchase our fighters. And since no progress has been made, the Pentagon just announced that they are beginning the process of “unwinding” Turkey from the F-35 Fighter program. (Government Executive)

The Pentagon has started the process of removing Turkey from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, and has drawn up plans to shift the NATO ally’s manufacturing roles to American and allied manufacturers, U.S. defense officials said Friday.

Washington has given Ankara a deadline: by July 31, Turkey must cancel its order of Russian S-400 missile interceptors — or lose its right to buy 100 F-35s and make parts for even more of the high-tech jets, Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord told reporters on Friday.

“As we have very clearly communicated at all levels, Turkey will not receive the F-35 if Turkey takes delivery of the S-400 system,” Lord said. “Thus we need to begin unwinding Turkey’s participation in the F-35 program.”

The Pentagon spokeswoman has brought up another disturbing and very pertinent point. If Turkey winds up with both the Russian missile system and our F-35s, they can use the radar capabilities of the S-400 to scan their own F-35s and ship the data off to Moscow, allowing them to develop better ways of taking down our planes. I would go one step further and suggest that they could begin digging around in the jets to learn secrets valuable to the Russians. For that matter, particularly given how erratic Erdogan can be, they might just “lose” one of our fighters someplace where the Russians could recover it.

When previously threatened with the cancellation of the jet sale, Erdogan quickly responded by saying that if that was the case, he would simply begin shopping for new jets from the Russians as well. And he’s doing all of this in spite of the fact that we’ve offered to sell him our NATO-compatible Patriot missile defense system to use instead of the S-400s. This guy has been given every opportunity possible to make a reasonable deal and he’s basically spitting in our eyes.

Erdogan earns some minor points for finally releasing Pastor Andrew Brunson, but he took far too long to do it. Other than that, he’s basically collapsed any claim to being an ally of ours. He’s either going to go through with the purchase of the S-400s or he’s going to demand a ridiculous pound of flesh in exchange for doing the right thing. Personally, I think we should just cancel the sale of the F-35s to him right now and be done with it. The Tyrant of Turkey simply cannot be trusted.

The post Turkey needs to pick a side in S-400 deal appeared first on Hot Air.

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Turkey’s president didn’t like an election outcome so he’s “fixing” it

Westlake Legal Group turkeys-president-didnt-like-an-election-outcome-so-hes-fixing-it Turkey’s president didn’t like an election outcome so he’s “fixing” it Turkey The Blog Recep Tayyip Erdogan mayor elections corruption

Westlake Legal Group erdogan-weapons Turkey’s president didn’t like an election outcome so he’s “fixing” it Turkey The Blog Recep Tayyip Erdogan mayor elections corruption

Our “ally” in Turkey continues to blaze a trail toward a future for his country that looks less and less democratic by the day. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s PK party didn’t fare all that well in the country’s recent round of parliamentary elections. They didn’t lose power, but there was definitely a shift in the electorate and opposition parties fared better than in previous years. One place where Erdogan’s candidates did especially poorly was in the major city of Istanbul. Erdogan’s party’s candidate for mayor was defeated there by Ekrem Imamoglu of the CHP party. That apparently didn’t sit well with the President, so he’s decided to take an unusual course of action. He’s having the election run again. (Reuters)

Turkey’s main opposition party said on Tuesday its candidate for Istanbul mayor would again contest and win the post, after the election board ordered a re-run of the city election in a ruling that has spooked investors and drawn European criticism.

President Tayyip Erdogan had pushed hard for the re-run after his ruling AK Party (AKP) lost control of Turkey’s biggest city in the March 31 poll and he welcomed the High Election Board’s (YSK) decision. But one opposition leader compared it to a “civilian coup” and Germany urged Ankara to respect democracy.

Highlighting the risks of a re-run for Erdogan and the AKP, several smaller opposition parties who fielded their own candidates in the March poll signaled that this time round they could back the ousted mayor, Ekrem Imamoglu of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), a potentially significant move given the tight margin of his original victory.

It seems pretty clear what’s going on here. Erdogan’s claims of “corruption” in the election process are just another way of saying that he doesn’t like the outcome. And by golly, he’ll keep having that election until he gets a result that suits him. It’s a heck of a way to run a government.

This has angered the voters in Istanbul and they’ve been taking to the streets in protest for days. The chairman of the opposition party addressed the crowds, declaring in a sarcastic fashion that it was “illegal to win against the AK Party“. But the AKP might not have such an easy time of it in the rerun. There were several third-party candidates in the mayor’s race who soaked up some of the votes. This time they are all saying they will drop out and toss their support to the CHP. Erdogan’s people may have to seriously cook the books to make it look like they won next time.

This is only the latest in a long series of disappointing developments in Turkey since Erdogan fully consolidated his power. Not that long ago, Turkey was one of the most promising examples of a country working toward freedom and democracy in that region. Their economy was competitive and thriving and the citizens enjoyed more freedom than they had in the past. But ever since the Tyrant of Turkey rewrote the constitution and placed almost unchallenged power in his own office they’ve been going downhill. And if Erdogan is just going to start voiding elections where he doesn’t like the results, there isn’t much of a light on the horizon for them.

The post Turkey’s president didn’t like an election outcome so he’s “fixing” it appeared first on Hot Air.

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Garvan Walshe: Erdogan’s reaction to election defeat – get the people to vote again

Garvan Walshe is a former National and International Security Policy Adviser to the British Conservative Party. He runs TRD Policy.

Turkey’s Erdogan finds himself in trouble. After the Maidan toppled Yanukovich in Ukraine, his became the most advanced of the facade democracies, where the outward forms of democratic practice are preserved but emptied of content. There are courts, but judges are carefully vetted. There is media, but even when it’s privately owned, it depends on the government or its supporters for advertising. There is civil society, but it is starved of funds. There are economic regulators, but their members are politically beholden. There’s a private sector, but success in business depends on the forbearance of those regulators. What there must be, however, are elections.

Because Erdogan does not consider himself a dictator. He derives his legitimacy from prevailing against the opposition in a fight that isn’t transparently fake. He tilts the playing field in his favour but can’t get away with tying both the opposition’s hands.

He harasses the opposition, closes their newspapers, intimidates their financial backers, orchestrates prosecutions of academics and filmmakers for opposing his adventurism in Syria, but he has to allow them to campaign. His victories in recent elections and referendum campaigns came by uncomfortably close margins. Faith in the election results is far from universal.

But last week in Istanbul and Ankara the voters sprung a surprise. Despite an initial proclamation of a government victory by the state news agency, the opposition CHP’s candidates (Republican People’s Party) won, and recounts demanded by the Erdogan’s AKP failed to change the result.

Though the AKP had only held Ankara, the capital founded by secularist Ataturk, since 2014, Istanbul, where Islamist Erdogan was himself mayor between 1994 and 1998, and which the AKP have held since 2004, is a different matter. Its importance is far more than symbolic.

Istanbul is where the AKP has ruled for 15 years, it is also where their patronage networks are most developed. The city’s budget amounts to some $8 billion a year. Its finances, and those of the taxpayers who pay for it, have come under severe pressure as the Turkish lira has fallen due to Erdogan’s repeated attacks on the central bank, foreign investors and, in an anti-Semitic dog whistle, “the interest rate lobby.” Defeated AKP mayor Binali Yildrim warned voters that taxes would have to “rise.”

Istanbul´s voters however, increasingly suspect skulduggery. How much of their money has disappeared, they ask, after 15 years of AKP control of the city, in padded public contracts awarded to AKP cronies? An opposition-controlled mayoralty will be able to look at the books and find out.

Corruption — theft from citizens — is where facade democracies come unstuck. It is where abstract worries about the rule of law are revealed in uncollected rubbish, understaffed schools and hospitals and take solid form in property developers’ building on public space and rezoned land.

The new mayor, Imran Imamoglu, can now turn this to his advantage. He is in a position to expose 15 years of graft and implant into every Turk’s head the thought: ‘If this is what they stole from Istanbul, how much did they take from the country?’

Meanwhile, within the AKP itself, Erodgan’s rivals are rattling sabres. Ahmed Davutogulu (former foreign minister) and Abdullah Gul (former president) are letting rumours of a break-away party and new parliamentary elections gather steam. The AKP lacks a parliamentary majority, and avoids a situation where Erdogan would have to “cohabit” with an opposition Prime Minister thanks to a confidence and supply deal with a nationalist, but non-religious, party, largely on the basis of shared opposition to Kurdish insurgency.

Erdogan is now pushing for repeat elections in both cities. In a sense he wants to repeat his gambit of 2015, when a second set of parliamentary elections allowed him to regain a majority that he lost in the first. But then he had the advantage that the opposition simply failed to coalesce against him, and normal procedures caused parliament to be dissolved and new elections held. This time he has to find a way of leaning on the Supreme Electoral Council to order a re-run without any justification other than that the “wrong” side won.

Telling people to vote again because they voted the “wrong” way the first time risks an almighty backlash. Even if he manages to coerce the council, it’s not clear the elections would deliver the results he needs.

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Turkey threatens to take their military business to Russia… again

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With so much else going on in the world, we’ve haven’t heard quite as much out of Turkey lately. Once President Recep Tayyip Erdogan finally released some of his hostages, things seemed to be cooling down a bit, but now he’s back in the news. And as usual, the Tyrant of Turkey is being his usual antagonistic self. As Turkey continues to defy their supposed allies and further cozy up to Vladimir Putin, Erdogan plans to go ahead with purchasing Russian S-400 missile defense systems. The White House responded by threatening to cut off other military sales to Turkey and things went downhill from there. (Reuters)

Turkey warned on Wednesday that it could buy jets and additional air defense systems from Russia if it cannot get Patriot missile shields and F-35 jets from Washington, raising the prospect of ever deeper defense ties between Moscow and a NATO member.

President Tayyip Erdogan’s existing plans to buy Russian S-400 missile defenses have already alarmed the United States, which says they are not compatible with NATO systems and would compromise the security of F-35 jets Turkey is due to receive.

Washington has offered Ankara both carrot and stick in response, proposing to sell it the Raytheon Co. Patriot systems instead of the S-400s, while at the same time warning of sanctions and a halt in the F-35 fighter jet sales if the Russian deal goes ahead.

The Turks are claiming that they’re going ahead with the S-400 purchase because the sale was already negotiated and it’s a “done deal.” That’s nonsense, of course, because purchase orders are canceled all the time. The real issue here is whether or not our supposed allies plan to continue playing on our team. The S-400s aren’t compatible with other NATO systems, so it’s a weak link in our defensive chain. If they had no other options on the table we might be able to understand the choice, but the White House has already offered to sell Erdogan Patriot missile systems in place of the Russian equipment.

So now we’re in the position of not only not sending them Patriots, but also cutting off their opportunity to buy our new F-35 Lighting fighter jets. (Pretty much our top of the line hardware in that department.) The Turkish response to that proposal was delivered by their Foreign Minister, who said that if we don’t sell them the F-35s they would just go back to the Russians and start buying their SU-34s or SU-57s.

This would put more money in Russia’s pockets while strengthening the ties between Erdogan and Putin. What a lovely situation. At some point, either Erdogan needs to decide once and for all if he still wants to be an ally of the west or we need to decide it for him. If he’s not going to play ball and would rather be aligned with the Russians, Turkey shouldn’t continue to reap the benefits of being a NATO member. He’s already established closer ties to Iran and the current Syrian regime than he has with most of his other neighbors as it is.

The post Turkey threatens to take their military business to Russia… again appeared first on Hot Air.

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As predicted, Erdogan is “determined” to drive the Kurds out of Syria

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Earlier this week we heard rumors that the President’s decision to pull out of Syria abruptly was reached during a phone call to Turkish tyrant Recep Tayyip Erdogan. At the time, I wrote, “The real danger to the Kurds comes from Turkey, where Erdogan has been hell-bent on exterminating them for quite some time. I’m somewhat less concerned with allowing ISIS in Syria and Iraq to slip the noose than abandoning the Kurds to a massacre.”

Well, that didn’t take long. I generally enjoy a good “I told you so” moment as much as the next guy, but I can take no pleasure in this. It sounds like Erdogan isn’t wasting any time in preparing his next move. Whether he can (or even truly wants to) eradicate ISIS in Syria and Iraq, his first objective clearly seems to be clearing our allies the Kurds out of the entire region. (Associated Press)

Turkey said Tuesday it is working with the United States to coordinate the withdrawal of American forces but remains “determined” to clear U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters from northeastern Syria.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters that “if Turkey says it will enter, it will,” in comments carried by private DHA news agency.

For weeks, Turkey has been threatening to launch a new offensive against the Kurdish fighters, who partnered with the U.S. to drive the Islamic State group out of much of northern and eastern Syria. Ankara views the Kurdish forces as terrorists because of their links to an insurgent group inside Turkey.

We should probably be clear about one thing here. When Erdogan says “drive them out” he most likely means “wipe them out.” If the Kurds decided to leave the region of their own volition and retreat to their traditional stronghold in northern Iraq, he might be satisfied with that. But if push comes to shove Erdogan would no doubt be even more satisfied with his military exterminating them.

The Kurds are on thin ice and have been for a long time. Both Turkey and Iran are perpetually on the verge of war with them. The government of Iraq seems to only tolerate them because of their alliance with the United States and they are viewed as a potential breakaway province in that nation. How long that situation will hold with the United States mostly out of the region has always remained an open question.

The Kurds have been loyal allies to America and fearless fighters. They appear to neither have nor desire the option of some sort of mass diaspora to escape their enemies. They have their own lands to protect in Kurdistan, as they have for more than a thousand years. We’re sending a very poor message in terms of any present and future alliances if we sit back and let Turkey’s military wade into the YPG.

Just to add a bit more ugliness to this mess, during the same announcement, Erdogan said that he was heading to Moscow next week to discuss this situation with Vladimir Putin. Russia and Iran are on the same side when it comes to supporting Bashar al-Assad and opposing the American-backed Syrian opposition groups. Everyone has their eyes on eastern Syria because of its rich oil fields. With every turn of the news cycle, the news out of this region looks worse and worse.

The post As predicted, Erdogan is “determined” to drive the Kurds out of Syria appeared first on Hot Air.

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