Monday, October 6, 2014

Turkey and Russia: Geostrategy, Trade and the Big Picture

Continuing on with our bigger picture news day

Want Turkey’s support on ISIS- Think Russia- Al Jazeera
Read in full at the link
“It took Washington four years to wake up from the dream to realise that replacing Ankara with Erbil was much like replacing Britain with Malta as the main ally in the Mediterranean”
It wasn’t going to work out?
“How does this translate into Turkey's withdrawn role against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)? Yes, Ankara is worried about its self-inflicted vulnerability against ISIL; it has little idea about the operations of the sleeper cells in Istanbul or elsewhere in the country and God knows what is going on along Turkey's 909km border with Syria”.
 In my opinion Turkey’s military has a pretty darn good idea of what is happening along the border, Ankara, perhaps that's debatable?

Resolving the issues think Russia?
However, all these reasons can be resolved if the anti-ISIL coalition is steered accordingly and if Washington steps up proper leadership with due planning for a longer-term game. So what's the problem? The problem, which eludes the attention of almost every analysis, is Russia.

Michael Tanchum first brought the issue of the radically changing balance of power in the Black Sea, after Russia's annexation of Crimea, in his April 2014 naval analysis. Turkey's decision to cancel its next-generation corvette and frigate programme, MILGEM, had strangely lead to Turkey shooting itself in the foot when it came to its own defences in the Black Sea. Then, I took up on Tanchum's argument to emphasise that Russia's historical interest in Crimea signalled further expansive moves in the Black Sea, which, since 1783, have almost always happened at the expense of Turkey.
In today's terms, Russia's annexation of Crimea is sufficiently alarming for Ankara, with the added dimension of Russian naval supremacy in the Black Sea. Turkey is now virtually defenceless there and has lost its deterrence or negotiation leverages against Moscow in a number of issues. (how accurate is this statement?) The most immediate is the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) designations in the Black Sea, critical due to Shell, Exxon, and Chevron exploration operations on Turkey's northern coast.

Western expansionism?

But the most serious and significant problem arises from a grand-strategy perspective. In 2010, the southern flank of NATO's missile defence architecture became the early warning radar system in Kürecik base. This was regarded by Moscow as a sign of western expansionism via Turkey. Despite the US assertion that the system was intended to protect Turkey from a possible Iranian missile, Russia dismissed the argument, viewing Kurecik as NATO's front-line surveillance deterrence asset to prevent Moscow from diplomatically pressuring Azerbaijan and Georgia.

As the West works on sanctions against Russia and tries to salvage Ukraine, Ankara is worried that the presence of a sizeable NATO air force presence in Incirlik would be seen by Russia as a sign of preparation for potential aggression - especially when considered together with the Kurecik radar base. Moscow's perception of Kurecik and Incirlik bases as joint focus of deterrence is understood by Ankara - and thus, the persisting reluctance to allow the Incirlik Air Base or commit militarily to the anti-ISIL coalition.
A big part of this reluctance originates not from ISIL, but from the concern over NATO's ability to protect Turkey from the security backlash from Moscow. In other words, NATO's inability to deal with the Ukrainian situation decisively, prevents Turkey from confidently committing to the anti-ISIL coalition. 
As Turkey sees a struggling NATO in the north and an under-planned US action in the south, its reluctance to exert its weight in favour of a western-backed military intervention grows significantly. Sandwiched between two of the most tense conflicts in current world affairs - Ukraine and ISIL - Turkey is in a much more different position than any other country in the anti-ISIL coalition. Much more is at stake for Ankara and the potential is much more worrying than ISIL or any radical group in Iraq or Syria.
If the US wants to recruit Turkey's support against ISIL, not only should it address the full spectrum of the causes that created ISIL in the first place, but also make longer-term commitments against a Russian backlash against Turkey in the Black Sea. Only by approaching Ukraine and ISIL as complementing grand strategy issues can Washington find the ally it seeks in Ankara, without any need to counterproductively move any bases out of Turkey or clumsily write-off Ankara's cooperation.
I would really love some input on that oped?

What will Turkey do if Russia shuts off the gas?
(This may help to explain Turkey working with the Kurds and Iraq’s increased output)

As the European Union toughens sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis, uneasiness is growing over the possibility of Russia retaliating by cutting natural gas supplies.
With winter approaching, European countries reliant on Russian gas have been taking precautions against the “freezing scenario.” Stress tests have been used to predict the effects of gas cuts of durations of one, three, six and nine months. According to a study by Cologne University’s Institute of Energy Economics, Turkey, Finland and Poland would be hurt the most if Russia turns off the gas taps. If such a cut lasts six months, Germany, too, would be negatively affected. In the case of a nine-month cut, all European countries except Norway, the Netherlands and Britain would be affected.
And what is Turkey doing to get ready for possible shortages?
Turkey to export milk to Russia

Turkey is paving the way to export milk exports to Russia through an agreement signed on Friday by the Turkish Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Husbandry and the Russian Federation.

The deal on veterinary health certificates comes after three Turkish companies received export licenses from Russia in August.

Milk is among several food items Russia will not import for a year from the EU, the U.S., Canada and Australia, as part of a comprehensive ban approved by Moscow in August this year.

1 comment:

  1. I think we can look no farther in determining the value of the op-ed than this line, Penny:

    "If the US wants to recruit Turkey's support against ISIL, not only should it address the full spectrum of the causes that created ISIL in the first place..."

    Um, the full spectrum of the causes? You mean, that the US is going to "address" - hold you laughter - the neoconservative strategies and plans it has been undertaking for the last 3+ decades?

    I don't think any opinion piece can be considered serious that takes the ISIS phenomenon - or ANY Western/Zionist intel-created phenomenon (Ukraine, Hong Kong, Syria, etc, for that matter ) - at face value because it means that the author is starting from such preposterous axioms - ISIS is real, etc - that all of the rest of the prognostication is therefore invalid.

    It's exactly like people talking about the very great threat that Al-CIAda used to pose in light of their - again, hold your laughter - "terror attacks" on 9/11.

    Thus, it's easy to spot the faux writers and propagandists because they take such nonsense as the BASIS for their theorizing.

    Allow me to do a little propagandizing by way of example. Nearly every good GWOT propagandist has to include this line - in some way shape or form - into nearly every piece they pen about what the US government should do about "terrorism":

    "After the Al-Qaeda led terror attacks on 9/11..."

    There you go. Everything I write AFTER this phrase - now that you understand that I'm beginning with false premises - is guaranteed to be complete and utter nonsense. It may sound detailed and "serious" but it's nonsense nonetheless.

    In addition, I have NEVER seen the modern Turks as ANYTHING but obedient lickspittles for the Zionist West so it's hard for me to take the author seriously in that regard.