Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Turkey's Near Century Distrust of the US = Rational Basis for Afrin Move

From the Atlantic

How the Past......
In the 19th century, Britain, France, and Russia occupied or fostered the independence of Greece, Serbia, Romania, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Tunisia, and Egypt—each one part of the Ottoman Empire. In 1920, the victors of World War I forced the Ottomans to sign the Treaty of Sèvres, which detached what would become Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Israel from the House of Osman. The agreement also granted the French a zone of influence in the southeastern portion of Anatolia, adjacent to its Mandate for Lebanon and Syria, while the Italians were ceded an area that included southern and central parts of Anatolian territory, including Antalya and Konya. The Greeks established a protectorate in Smyrna, now known as Izmir.

In response, an Ottoman officer named Mustafa Kemal, later known as Atatürk, and a cadre of nationalist collaborators, raised an army and drove the Allies out of what became the Republic of Turkey on October 29, 1923. Despite Atatürk’s triumph and Turkey’s subsequent growth into a regional power, the dissection of the empire and the attempted division of its remnant has sowed a profound and pronounced mistrust of foreign powers—even allies—in Turkey’s political culture.
Through 94 years of independence, Turkish leaders have made clear that the nightmare of post-World-War-I dismemberment can never repeat itself. But it has, despite their best efforts—albeit in an updated form, involving the United States and Syrian territory that the Kurds call Rojava, or Western Kurdistan.
Erdogan in Ankara

.......Shapes the Future
" The Turkish operation is entirely rational—not only in terms of how the Turks view the war in Syria and its impact on their own security, but also in terms of Turkey’s geography, identity, and problematic history with great powers. 
Policymakers in Washington often justify Turkey’s strategic importance based on location. The country’s capital, Ankara, sits roughly at the geographic center of many U.S. foreign policy concerns in the Balkans, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Caucasus, and the Middle East. 
This geography also has its disadvantages for Turks. As a rump state of the Ottoman Empire, it shares long borders with threatening, unstable, or warring countries, a fact the Turks recognize. 
It is hard to have, in Atatürk’s famous words, “peace at home, peace in the world” when the fragmentation of countries on one’s borders threatens one’s own unity.
 Observers were shocked (Really? Why?) when, in October 2016, Erdogan questioned the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne that defined the Republic of Turkey’s borders. At the time, the Turks were facing the possibility that Iraq’s Kurds would declare their independence at the same time their Syrian cousins were leveraging battlefield success and American support to do the same.

This geographical fate accentuates the unresolved problem of identity within Turkey’s ethno-national state. It is true that there are many Kurds who have prospered and participate in the political, social, and economic life of the country. (Most likely the vast majority of  Kurds have prospered and participated in the Turkish nation- which explains all the AKP supporters )  But there are also a large number (How many? No mention, of course)  of Turkey’s approximately 15 million Kurdish citizens (wave around a big number....) who are alienated from a society that, over the course of the republic’s history, has denied their identity or made it difficult to express their “Kurdishness.” These circumstances spawned separatists in the form of the PKK, ( IMO the PKK is a NATO Stay Behind aka destabilizing force) raising fears among Turks that, should this group prevail in battle, it would shear off a large piece of Turkey’s southeast territory.
What, from the perspective of Turks, would this mean for Armenian and Greek claims on current Turkish land? All three Anatolian minorities have strong support in the West, raising fears in Turkey—that seem unreasonable and even conspiratorial to Westerners, but reasonable to Turks—about the country’s dissolution"
As has been reported here, for years, the US and it's pal Israel, really, really want Turkey broke up into a number of weak state-lets. This is why the spin regarding the intended targeting, planned destabilization of Turkey has been extremely whirling dervish like. 

To betray Turkey, a long time US/Israel/NATO ally, has to be done in such a way as to create the idea that Turkey has  been or is the betrayer And it's actions have forced a necessary response. I have already read that narrative being employed. It was featured in yesterday's post & there have been other articles very heavily reliant on that narrative.

Yesterday:  Unless Erdogan Stops Spitting in Trumps Face the US/Turkey Alliance Will End?

 Had the US successfully pulled off the coup- this out in the open type plotting would have been unnecessary.  I have the opinion that Russia assisted Turkey to prevent the murder of Erdogan and the governmental overthrow in order to force the US's duplicity out in the open.

"Every Turkish worry about its geographic vulnerability and the ceaseless struggle over identity is wrapped up in Turkey’s unhappy history with the great powers and the current conflict in Syria. The unwillingness of the Americans to intervene in the slaughter in Syria for more than fours years posed a threat to Turkish security, and then, when the United States finally intervened after Kobani, it did so in a manner that threatened Turkish security. As the YPG rolled up the Islamic State with American help, it controlled more and more territory along the Syrian-Turkish border. Of course, Turkish reluctance to fight the Islamic State (explained Turkish reluctance many times) drove the United States to work with the YPG, but this point is almost always lost on the Turkish leadership, which has watched the developing relationship between its alleged strategic partner and its bitterest enemy with growing alarm.
Unlike American policymakers, the Turks (quite rightly) make no distinction between the YPG and the PKK. After working with the Syrian Kurds to defeat the Islamic State and announcing that the YPG will be part of the American military commitment in the form of some sort of “border force,” the Turks are drawing the not-unreasonable conclusion that U.S. policymakers support Kurdish territorial claims in Syria—which, from the Turkish perspective, would be a “terrorist state.”

The twists and turns in the Syrian civil war and the American determination not to get sucked into it, but to still defeat the Islamic State, have created a slew of inconsistencies in Washington’s approach to those two goals. Being the friend of your friend’s enemy contributes to outcomes like Turkey’s Afrin incursion, which both the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Trump administration oppose. It is true that Afrin is located in the northwest, far from the area east of the Euphrates that is of most concern to the Pentagon, but Secretary of Defense James Mattis’s declaration in response to Operation Olive Branch that “we’ll work this out” with the Turks are the words of a man—no matter how smart and learned—with little in the way of leverage. The United States is likely to accommodate itself to Turkey’s 20-mile security zone in Afrin, but the Turks do not trust (perhaps irreparably) the United States. Washington plays a central role in their century-old nightmare."

From earlier today:

Brand New US Warship Trapped in Icy Water in Montreal, Canada


  1. Since Turkey, like the US is made up of many ethnicities (cultural melting pot), the West will push for citizens to identify with their ethnicity (Laz, Greek, Armenian, Kurd, Assyrian, Aramean) rather than nationality.I have been listening to several of Erdogan#s public speeches and he really is trying to unite everyone. He addresses all ethnicities and makes it very clear that Turkey is united and the PKK is not Kurds.
    One of my Turkish friends has told me that the MHP (nationalist party) has been gaining a lot of popularity. Known as a Grey Wolves party, its leader has been going to Eastern Turkey to garner support from the Kurds too. Erdogan might be threatened by this party.
    Several academics, including Noam Chomsky have signed a letter condemning Turkey's incursion into Afrin:

    1. Hey Ally- Identity politics.. no matter how it's played is played to undermine... unity/cohesion of a nation state/society.

      Here in Canada and it seems the same in the US- it's not the varying ethnicities used against one another except for the recent influx of illegals

      It's the gay vs straight
      transgender vs everyone
      men vs women
      In each case we have the victim vs oppressor theme
      It's tiresome.

      I'm not surprised Noam Chomsky would sign such a letter- though he feigns criticism of Israel- he's a zionist.

      Love the mention of Kobane- which is the Kurdish name for annexed Syria- That city's official name is Ayn al-Arab-

      Which indicates zionist/anti war Noam is ok with the
      destruction of Syria's territorial integrity and the annexation along with the displacement of all those who lived there prior to the KurdIShIS psyop- yup good old gate keeper Noam Chomsky

      When I was vastly more naive I thought he was important, and while he does talk about important topics he's still avoiding many others in a very limited hangout sort of way- I removed all Chomsky books from my home- and yes I had them, regretfully.

      Live and learn.

      I'm suspicious of the Grey Wolves for a number of reasons- that includes their political affiliate MHP-

      Ultra nationalists parties play identity politics in a different way...

      I have a post from 2015 here regarding grey wolves..

    2. The Atlantic article is yet another slithery repainting of reality. Rump "Turkey" itself was an outcome of the Great Powers WW1 destruction of the Ottoman Empire (arguably the main goal of that war) and Ataturk himself was funded and promoted by the Great Powers. His secularisation of "Turkey" served their interests, not least in the immediate term by allowing the British to hand the caliphate to their newly created Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a booby prize, having otherwise shafted them. The Great Powers did not intervene in the Armenian genocide nor the 1922 Smyrna catastrophe. Their ships refused to rescue the Greeks pushed into the sea and their sailors pushed drowning greeks back into the water (supposedly their allies).

      Turkey, along with the rest of the MENA countries have been apprised of the US / Israel MENA balkanisation plan since the late 1980s; this was signed into policy in June 2006 by all of NATO+Israel in Tel Aviv. This plan is still underway though facing obstacles.

      However, why the article? US cannot really afford to lose Turkey....

    3. Tsigantes: apparently you did not read this?

      "In 1920, the victors of World War I forced the Ottomans to sign the Treaty of Sèvres, which detached what would become Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Israel from the House of Osman."

      The US can and has to "lose" Turkey as it exists today-

      I've written on that subject several times since 2014.. And again as recently as Tuesday

      "I personally believe the US has envisioned a NATO with a vastly different Turkey still ensconced in the ‘alliance’ for quite some time now."

      The why of the article is addressed in the post
      How the past affects the present

    4. To be honest, the only thing I worry about MHP is if they have a competent crew to take the government.

    5. Hey Kaz!

      Who the Turks elect is best left to the Turks
      I only speak as an outsider- it's bad enough in Canada with no choice at all

    6. I think that Noam Chomsky, like many of the so-called anti-imperialists is just more 'controlled' opposition - he goes into anti-US topics, but only to a certain extent - limited hangout, like you said. Noam Chomsky has been very vocal about his support for the 'Kurds', even calling for the delisting of the PKK. He has also been vocal against Assad
      He has been to Turkey and visited the Kurdish areas. Pathetic. Chomsky is a CIA rat - he even mentions that the Amnesty International, another CIA organisation reports on Turkish massacres of Kurds. He talks about the Serbs massacring in the Balkans - wasn't Chomsky also supporting the Kosovars
      Chomsky is very pro-Atlanticist.

    7. Some Quote about what I think if people just stayed in their respective fields without going into politics.

      "If Noam Chomsky just kept on staying in linguistics, the universe wouldn't have ever heard of Noam Chomsky."

    8. Ally: I won't disagree with what you have said

      and Kaz- if he would have stayed in linguistics we wouldn't of heard of him- so why did he become such a revered political figure? I liked him when I was more of a self identifying leftists- or as I like to say when I was vastly more naive- that ship has sailed... into the sunset

    9. should have added Chomsky was promoted heavily too

    10. Because for some odd reason, when people in sciences happened to be the top of their field and see that it does not give the recognition they want, they go political. And than I am right because I happened to have a piece of paper with my name on it. :/

    11. Kaz: that explains the "climate scientists" and their politicization.

  2. @ destruction of the Ottoman Empire (arguably the main goal of that war)

    Arguably the main goal of that war was the destruction of Russia. The Ottoman Empire sided with Germany attacking Russia. Russia and the Allies declared war in response. Turkey couched it in terms of 'jihad' against the 'infidels', appealing to the whole Muslim world.

    1. hey wiz oz!

      it's not likely the commenter your responding to will read your response- but still it's good to have offered up one

      I'll leave wikidpedia which is never the best but it can be a start

      And add that destroying Turkey was maybe another angle to the war.?