The measure is taken ahead of a planned military operation targeting Kurdish militants in the region. Earlier, the army announced an end to another operation against the PKK in Nusaybin near the Syrian border and in Shirnak near the border with Iraq. Turkish security sources say more than 1,000 people, mostly PKK militants, have been killed in three months of clashes in those areas. The fighting resumed in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast last July after the collapse of a two-year-old ceasefire. P-K-K militants have been fighting for an independent Kurdish region in the country’s southeast since the 1980s. The conflict has killed over 40,000 people on both sides.
Turkey’s main opposition party has filed a lawsuit against the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accusing Ankara of “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization.”
The Republican People’s Party (CHP), Turkey’s main opposition party, has filed a criminal complaint against senior officials of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), including President Erdogan, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, National Intelligence Organization (MIT) Chief Hakan Fidan.
The complaint accuses Ankara of being complicit in violence caused by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara itself considers a terrorist organization, as well as the group’s accumulation of weapons, for political gain. Continue reading »
As you might have noticed, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is about to lose his mind with the situation in Syria.
To be sure, the effort to usurp the Bashar al-Assad government wasn’t exactly going as planned in the first place. Regime change always takes time, but the conflict in Syria was dragging into its fifth year by the time the Russians got directly involved and although it did indeed look as though the SAA was on the verge of defeat, the future of the rebellion was far from certain.
One of my often-cited sayings is around 2,500 years old. It’s from the respected Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu in his small masterpiece, The Art of War. For centuries it’s been one of the most influential strategy writings not only in Asia, but also the Western world. It goes as follows:
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
In geopolitical analysis, when I examine a major political or economic development, it’s very important that I first look into myself, to feel if I’m blurring my analysis because of deep-felt personal wishes for a peaceful, more harmonious world, blurring the reality of a given nation or groups of nations. Similarly, if I take those malevolent patriarchs who dominate American and NATO policies today, I must be certain I know, not merely the surface of what an American President or Secretary of State might say on a given day. It can be a lie, a slick maneuver or it can be even honest. The work of any serious analyst is to sort out which it is, to go deeper, to “mine” the lode in order to see the real strategic implications. Continue reading »
Update: Here are the latest headlines out of Russia where the defense ministry is at wit’s end with the Turks.
RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY SAYS ‘TERRORISTS’ IN SYRIA’S IDLIB AND ALEPPO PROVINCES CONTINUE TO RECEIVE WEAPONS AND REINFORCEMENTS FROM TURKISH TERRITORY – INTERFAX
TURKEY IS LAUNCHING ‘MASSED’ ARTILLERY STRIKES ON SYRIAN GOVT FORCES AND ‘SYRIA’S PATRIOTIC OPPOSITION’ – RIA CITES RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY
Turkey shelled Syria for a fourth consecutive day on Tuesday as Ankara steps up efforts to bolster rebels in the face of an advance by the Kurdish YPG. “As many as 150 terrorists were killed during the 4-day-long shelling targeting PYD points,” the pro-government Yeni Safak wrote today, adding that “the PYD, backed by both the US and Russia, is working with President Bashar al-Assad to control areas along the Turkish border.” Continue reading »
Turkey’s president has welcomed a criminal probe into the leaders of the pro-Kurdish HDP opposition over their calls for autonomy. Ankara has been cracking down on protesters supporting the Kurdish minority in the country.
The criminal investigation was opened last week after the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) issued a statement calling for the Kurdish population in the southeast of the country to be given self-government. Continue reading »
100 Kurdish women and children were killed in southeastern Turkey over the past six months, said the Human Rights Watch and added that the number is not exact. The victims died during government special operations and armed clashes.
Tensions between Turkish authorities and Kurdish opposition escalated in July after the latter broke a ceasefire agreement and accused Ankara of supporting Daesh (Islamic State). After, HRW called on the Turkish government to suspend military operations and launch a full-scale investigation. Continue reading »
Escalating violence, ongoing clashes, curfews and brutal crackdowns on Kurdish nationals have squeezed hundreds of thousands of people out of Turkey’s southeast after Ankara launched a military offensive against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.
Some 200,000 people have been forced to leave the areas of settlement in Turkey’s south as a result of a special operation which Ankara launched against the outlawed PKK after uneasy ceasefire collapsed in July, Turkish daily Today’s Zaman reports. Continue reading »
Turkish warplanes struck Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant targets in northern Iraq overnight and a policeman was killed in southeastern Turkey during clashes with the group.
Turkish jets hit targets in the Qandil, Hakurk, Zap and Avasin Baysan areas of northern Iraq, targeting storage units and shelters for the militants, the Turkish army said on Wednesday. The region is part of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish entity known as Kurdistan. Continue reading »
A day after Turkey arrested two journalists for their report exposing Erdogan’s weapons deliveries to “extremist groups” in Syria, confirming that no dissent to the president’s foreign policy would be allowed, today a new riot has erupted in Istanbul following the dramatic murder in broad daylight of Tahir Elci, the president of the Turkish bar association in southeastern Diyarbakir province, who was shot dead by unidentified gunmen while giving a public speech. Continue reading »
History is replete with examples of US-backed world leaders oppressing their people with Washington’s implicit blessing and despite the fact that the eyes of the world are trained squarely on Syria and, by extension, on any neighboring country that has a role to play in determining the outcome of the Syrian civil war, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan has managed to orchestrate a political coup of epic proportions in plain sight by plunging his people into civil war as NATO looks the other way.
What Erdogan has done, in the space of just three months, is nullify a democratic election outcome by first obstructing efforts to form a coalition government on the way to calling for new elections, then launching a military campaign against the PKK, knowing full well that if enough people are killed between now and the time Turks return to the ballot box in November, the public’s negative perception of the PKK will likely translate to diminished support for the pro-Kurdish HDP, which was in part responsible for AKP losing its absolute parliamentary majority in June.
This is all possible because Erdogan was effectively allowed to trade access to Incirlik (which gives the US army a forward operating base for what will eventually be a ground incursion in Syria) for NATO’s acquiescence to the extermination of the Kurdish opposition in Turkey. Continue reading »
On Monday we warned that the violence in Turkey stemming from Ankara’s politically-motivated, NATO-sponsored crackdown on the PKK is escalating rapidly as are efforts to censor the media and attack (verbally or otherwise) the pro-Kurdish HDP, whose strong showing at the ballot box in June triggered an absurdly transparent effort on the part of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to undermine the country’s fragile democracy by using ISIS as a smokescreen to gain international support for the resumption of civil war with the Kurds.
As a reminder, Ankara is on the offensive after a series of attacks blamed on the PKK killed multiple Turkish soldiers over the weekend. Here’s what we said yesterday: Erdogan told the the press that the war on terror would now be waged “with much greater determination” and that means more violence and more crackdowns on the media and anyone deemed to be a PKK sympathizer. Sure enough, AKP supporters massed outside the headquarters of the Hurriyet newspaper on Sunday, accusing the paper of misquoting Erdogan and on Monday, HDP offices were attacked across the country. More from Zaman: Continue reading »
In what looks like the latest escalation in a string of wartime crackdowns, Turkey has declared a curfew for citizens of Lice, a district of Diyarbakir province. As Bloomberg reports, “citizens are prohibited from going out on streets from 9pm tonight until 7am on Tuesday.” Additionally, “the Governor of Diyarbakir [has] declared ‘special security zones’ in Silvan, Lice, Kulp and Dicle,” citing the PKK “terror” threat.Continue reading »
Last week, we noted that the Turkish lira had plunged to a record low against the dollar as coalition talks between the country’s two largest political parties broke down, setting the stage for snap elections later this year.
As we’ve detailed over the past several weeks, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is keen on sending the country back to the polls in an effort to nullify a stunning ballot box victory by the pro-Kurdish HDP in June.
Deflecting criticism surrounding Ankara’s anti-terror air campaign, Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu last week told state television that strikes against ISIS targets would pick up once the US had its resources in place at Incirlik which will supposedly serve as a hub for a new “comprehensive battle.”
Turkey has had a difficult time explaining why, after obtaining NATO support for a new offensive campaign to root out “terrorists”, its efforts have concentrated almost solely on the PKK and not on ISIS. As we’ve discussed in great detail (here, here, and here), and as the entire world is now acutely aware, Ankara’s newfound zeal for eradicating ISIS is nothing more than a cover for its efforts to undermine support for the PKK ahead of snap elections where President Tayyip Erdogan hopes to win back AKP’s absolute majority in parliament which it lost last month for the first time in 12 years. Continue reading »
Late in July, the Anti-Media reported that Turkey joined the U.S. led coalition conducting airstrikes against the Islamic State (IS, ISIS, ISIL). Since then, it has become clear that Turkey’s strategy is part of a larger agreement with the U.S. to conduct a war against “extremism” in the region.
The deal between the U.S. and Turkey has the following contours: Turkey will allow the U.S. to use its military base at Incirlik to conduct airstrikes against the Islamic State. In exchange, the U.S. will allow Turkey to create a buffer zone on Syrian soil free of Islamic State and Kurdish fighters. The stated aim of the “safe zone” is to create a refuge for internally displaced Syrian civilians inside Syria. According to the New York Times,
“The plan would create what officials from both countries are calling an Islamic State-free zone controlled by relatively moderate Syrian insurgents, which the Turks say could also be a ‘safe zone’ for displaced Syrians.”
For Turkey, however, the real aim is to prevent the YPG Kurdish fighters from linking up their three zones of control (Efrin, Kobani, and Cizir pictured below; Tal Abyad is already under YPG control) in northern Syria with each other. These Kurdish fighters also happen to be the sole force that has shown the ability to effectively defeat ISIS in battle. However, the real aim of Turkey was voiced by the leader of the Kurdish opposition party—HDP— in the Turkish parliament, Selahattin Demirtas:Continue reading »
An analyst has warned that Turkey’s close alliance with the US and the West against the government of Syria would be “a lethal embrace” for Ankara, Press TV reports.
“They (Turkish authorities) have to understand that the alliance with the US and the British is a lethal embrace, in other words, the Anglo-Americans are going to love them to death,” Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley, author and historian from Washington, told Press TV on Friday.
Tarpley added that Ankara’s support of the Western-backed insurgents in Syria would also harm the national interests of the country in the future.
“They will play them against Syria, in the full knowledge that the blowback from that conflict is likely to destroy modern Turkey. So they should cease and desist, there is nothing to gain in this and everything to lose and it has a lot to do, I am afraid, with the psychology of Erdogan and Davutoglu, who have been, essentially, conned by Obama,” he said.
Since the onset of the foreign-backed insurgency in Syria, Turkey has actively played the CIA assigned role of arming, funding and supporting the anti-Syrian terrorists.
Turkey, along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, has also set up a secret base near its border with Syria to send military supplies to the insurgents.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s comments follow the deaths of eleven soldiers and 12 PKK guerrillas during a battle in Hakkari
Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said today that Kurdish militants would “drown in their own blood” as he led political and army chiefs in paying his respects to troops killed in a clash with the rebels during fighting on Saturday. Eleven soldiers and 12 Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK) guerrillas died in the south-eastern province of Hakkari, near the Iraq border.
At a ceremony in the city of Van, Erdogan said: “I say here very clearly, they will not win. They will gain nothing. They will melt away in their own darkness … they will drown in their own blood.” The death toll in Saturday’s clash was one of the highest in recent years in a conflict which has killed more than 40,000 since the PKK took up arms against the state in 1984 with the aim of creating a homeland in the south-east. Continue reading »