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Old 10-14-2014   #21
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An 'interesting' day in regards of Turkey today.

First the rumours started flying about, US says Turkey OKs use of bases against militants. Then Turkey, Denies/d Reports of Deal for Use of its Bases in Fight Against Islamic State.

On the contrary, F-16s of the Turkish Air Force (THK) have flown a series of air strikes against PKK bases in northern Iraq, along the border to Turkey, today. With this, the cease-fire between Ankara and the PKK is now dead and they're at war (again).

These air strikes came in response to wild 'demonstrations' launched by the PKK in various parts of south-eastern Turkey in recent days, and reported re-activation of some of PKK's cells, which resulted not only in quite some material damage, but the death of more than 30 people too.

And thus, sorry Kobane, but no way are Turks now going to let even a single Kurd refugee within their borders go back to fight in Syria. If you wonder why, remember the rule No. 1 of COIN warfare ('separate insurgents/terrorists/freedom fighters from the population').

In this place: my hearty congratulations to Obama (plus all the idiots in different Western governments and media, especially so in Germany): man, that's a third conflict in the same zone now.

You've got a hat-trick!
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Old 02-19-2015   #22
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Stranger than fiction? Turkey's position has been challenged, now we have this report for March 2014: Wiretaps reveal Turkey's attacks on Syrian regime positions:
Quote:
Court documents reveal that last year, when the Syrian opposition captured the Armenian town of Kassab, the Turkish army shelled the Syrian army.
Link:http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/orig...armenian.html?
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Old 02-22-2015   #23
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To make things particularly interesting, and all of a sudden, two days ago Turkey has announced that its troops guarding the Shah Suleiman Tomb near Qarah Qawzaq have been held as hostages by the ISIS since June 2014.

Ironically, local FSyA and YPG units are now attempting an advance in this direction. They should have reached the place yesterday: Syria Kurds, rebels advance into ISIS bastion
Quote:
Syrian Kurdish and rebel forces, backed by U.S.-led air strikes, advanced Thursday into Raqqa province, where ISIS has its de facto capital, an activist group said.

"The YPG [Kurdish People's Protection Units] and rebel forces captured 19 villages in Raqqa province," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"The U.S.-led international coalition played a key role in the advance, bombing the ISIS positions and forcing its fighters to withdraw," said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.
...
To further increase the irony, YPG spokesman Polat Can (his Twitter account was meanwhile shut down) now claims Turkey officially requested the YPG to rescue its hostages.
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Old 02-22-2015   #24
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Default Turkish enclave (Tomb) is evacuated

The NYT reports that Turkish forces entered Syria and evacuated the garrison at the tomb and the tomb's contents:
Quote:
The Turkish Army launched an operation into Syria to evacuate soldiers guarding the Tomb of Suleyman Shah, which has been besieged by Islamic State militants, and move the tomb’s remains, an official and Turkish news media reported on Sunday.The military then destroyed what was left of the site to prevent the militants from using the enclave, and one soldier was killed by accident during the operation, CNN Turk said Sunday, citing military officials.
The operation, called “Sah Firat,” began on Saturday and involved a large convoy of tanks and other heavy weaponry that entered Syria through Kobani....
Link:http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/22/wo...orts-say.html?

The BBC has a report, with some footage of the returning Turkish convoy and this:
Quote:
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the remains of Suleyman Shah would be moved elsewhere in Syria.
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Old 02-22-2015   #25
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Default Turkish Withdrawal: The Implications

A thorough joint commentary by a RUSI SME and 'Turkey Wonk':https://turkeywonk.wordpress.com/201...-implications/

It is interesting to note the tomb's new home is in the "grey zone" in Syria @ Eshme village; the zone is a narrow area where local rebel groups do not exert full control.

From the conclusion:
Quote:
Turkey, however, has proven yet again that its role in the Syrian conflict must not be overlooked. It has links to all the main actors operating in northern Syria and is able to generally get its way with most of them, albeit with the occasional disagreement. The biggest change appears to be Ankara’s approach to ISIS. Since 2013, Turkey had treated ISIS as an irritant, rather than a major security threat, but the Suleyman Shah operation is the clearest sign to date that this approach is changing.
They conclude that Turkey's role will remain limited.
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Old 03-17-2015   #26
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Default With an ally like Turkey?

Yesterday 'National Interest' had an article 'Turkey's Secret Proxy War in Libya?', which ends almost with:
Quote:
If Turkey were backing Libya’s jihadists, it would fit a dangerous pattern of Turkish support to extremist regional actors.
Link:http://nationalinterest.org/feature/...ar-libya-12430

Then today Al-Monitor has a Turkish author writing 'Pakistan warns Turkey: Don’t make our mistakes', citing a Pakistani politician:
Quote:
I warned Davutoglu when he was here, ‘You are repeating in Syria the mistakes we made in Afghanistan. Organizations you support now will turn against you.’ Pakistan was wrong in becoming party to the war in Afghanistan and was wrong in supporting the Taliban. We are now paying the costs of these mistakes."
Link:http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/orig...mistakes.html?
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Old 07-25-2015   #27
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Default A perilous game indeed

Turkey's decisions this week to "come off the fence" has been welcomed by some and a few have wondered if bombing ISIS & the PKK is helpful.

The Soufan Group's viewpoint:http://soufangroup.com/tsg-intelbrie...islamic-state/

The BBC's Turkey correspondent:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-33664269
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Old 07-26-2015   #28
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Default History and water

Two reminders that history dating back to the Ottoman era's conflict with extremist Muslim, the Ikhwan and Salafi tradition, has an impact today. Then the Turkish dam building programme and the impact of flooding on the PKK.

History:http://nationalinterest.org/feature/...nst-isis-13412

Water:http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/orig...-of-dams.html?
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Old 07-28-2015   #29
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Looks like Turkey's new policy is to create a safe zone in a small section of northern Syria which will protect rebels it backs there and defend an important border crossing from falling into PYD hands. One wave of bombing in Syria was to hit IS supply areas near a rebel command center in that area. Striking PYD & PKK targets appears to be a bigger concern as Erdogan opposes any kind of Syrian autonomous region in northern Syria which is already de facto come into being.
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Old 07-28-2015   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JWing View Post
Striking PYD & PKK targets appears to be a bigger concern as Erdogan opposes any kind of Syrian autonomous region in northern Syria which is already de facto come into being.
That would be my reading too. We will see in a couple of months who bore the brunt of various Turkish activities and who got most of it's support. So far in years past that answer has been rather clear...
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Old 07-29-2015   #31
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Please, don't now start to misinterpret actions against the PKK and the Daesh as 'actions against the YPG'.

Sure, the YPG is de-facto led by ex-PKK thugs, but 'even' the Turks are making difference between them. So, everybody else might want to do the same.

As next, oh my bad, yes: Erdogan is angry about recent election win of Kurdish parties in Turkey.

But, did he order the military into action over this issue?

Nope.

- PKK has re-opened hostilities by its own action, i.e. attacks; it wasn't Turkey that started.

- Even the leader of Iraqi Kurds has commented PKK's attacks with something like, 'PKK is making a fatal mistake: by resuming attacks they are preventing negotiations that came a long way...'

- Turkey has never negotiated with the PKK: PKK is a terrorist organization and Turkey is not negotiating with such. Turkish position was always crystal clear: negotiations are possible if the PKK stops fighting.

So, please somebody explain: why should Turkey start negotiating with the PKK now - and then at a gun-point?

Because the HDP won few additional seats in the Parliament?

- A 'BTW' factor: HDP's negotiations with Turkish government stalled (and that's the supposed reason for renewal of PKK's attacks) over the issue of introducing 'Kurdish' language as official language in Turkey (that said, Kurds already have their Kurdish-language newspapers, TV- and radio-stations, and the right to use Kurdish in schools and universities). This demand was turned down by two major Turkish parties. Reason: there are 47 different Kurdish languages, with 4 different roots and 4 different alphabets. Several of languages in question have never been spoken in Turkey. Not even the Kurds can agree over their 'official' language; indeed, the PKK is using Turkish as its 'official' language, so all of its members can understand each other!

Please somebody tell me then: precisely what other state would accept such demands?

- Furthermore, Turks are interested in retaining a land connection to Syria, and thus not the least keen to see this cut off by a terrorist organization (whether the Daesh or the YPG, with the note that the latter is de-facto led by ex-PKK) - that's then also cooperating with the regime of Bashar al-Assad (which both the PKK/YPG and the Daesh are meanwhile known to be doing).

- Finally, in its opening strike, the THK is known to have bombed one assembly point and two local HQ of the Daesh in syria, killing 35 (this without violating Syrian airspace, i.e. by deploying PGMs from inside Turkey), and up to nine PKK-related targets in northern Iraq (this time violating Iraqi and Syrian airspace), killing at least one (one of top PKK COs) and wounding three.

During the second strike it flew up to 160 sorties with F-16s and F-4E-2020s in three waves to hit 400 targets in northern Iraq, plus Daesh positions around Azzaz, in northern Syria.

Ever since, it's primarily flying recce.

So, if a 'security zone' - then not 'against the YPG', but only in the area north of Aleppo held by the Daesh and squeezed in between two areas held by the YPG.
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Old 07-29-2015   #32
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Turkey is not making a distinction between the PYD/YPG and PKK. Prof Henri Barkey pointed out that Turkish govt press & papers that back Erdogan routinely say that PKK, PYD & YPG are all the same and that they are a bigger threat than IS. The only time the Turks try to make this distinction is when they talk to the U.S. and you can guess why.
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Old 07-29-2015   #33
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There are words, and there are actions.

Surely, for public consumption at home, Erdogan (don't worry: I'm not trying to defend him) is making no difference between the PKK and the PYD (YPG is the armed wing of the latter).

And he's got not only 'a few good reasons' to do so: the PYD/YPG-conglomerate is de-facto led by the PKK-cadre that used to cooperate with Assadists before the PKK was 'disbanded', three years ago, after which they all fled to Syria. Through the last three years they have assasinated, executed, liquidated or forced into exile any concurent Kurdish leader in Syria in order to establish 'their' PYD/YPG as a 'representative for all the Kurds in Syria'.

They are actually still collaborating with the Assad regime, and not the least interested in supporting other insurgent factions in Syria (though it finds it fine when these are supporting it).

So, considering history of their leaders, and what are they doing... why should it be surprising the PYD/YPG ended on at least the Turkish list of terrorist organizations?

But, this does not mean that Turkey is now going to start bombing US- (and FSyA-) supported YPG units fighting the Daesh around Hassaka. Even less so it's going to drive its Army into northern Syria in order to conquer the area presently controlled (primarily) by the PYD/YPG.
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Old 07-30-2015   #34
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New Chatham House paper on Turkey's entry into IS war. Concludes Ankara wants to establish hegemony over Syrian Kurds rather than fight IS and any safe zone created in northern Syria would probably be used by anti-western jihad groups who want to fight Assad rather than IS.

http://www.chathamhouse.org/expert/c...N25HY,CSLXQ,1#
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Old 07-31-2015   #35
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'Anti-Western Jihad groups who want to fight Assad'...?

Yeah, everybody in the West and his/her next kin, 'knows' that not only Syria, but all the countries in the Middle East are predominantly populated by exactly such elements: crazy hordes of extremist Islamists that want nothing else but to be anti-West and to go fighting Assad...

...like JAN, which pledged allegiance to al-Qaida, but can't stop declaring no intention to go fighting Jihad in the West, and is fighting Assad at every opportunity...

...or like the IF, which has nothing to do with al-Qaida, and fights Assad above everything else...

...or all the different moderate groups, which are still there and still more numerous despite everybody's - really everybody's: Assad's, Daesh's, JAN's, and even Western - sternous efforts to exterminate them...?

...and let me guess what comes as next: 'logical next step' would be to sell - or better: donate - B-52s to Israel, so it can better 'defend' itself... because it is ah-so-well-known that Israel is the only US 'friend' in the Middle East and all the time doing precisely what the USA says and what is in US interest... just like it's clear that continous blanc support for corrupt theological dictatorships like that in Saudi Arabia is certainly going to result in them help establishing democracies in such countries like Syria or Yemen...

Bottom line: throw the facts and logic out of the window. Who cares? It's since long that common sense is anything but common.
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Old 08-05-2015   #36
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I'm going to triple post this because it relates to the Iraq, Syria & Turkey threads. Pardon the repetition.

Just wrote an article on Turkey's decision to join the US led coalition against IS. Three main points to take away:

1) Turkey is going to follow its own policy which conflicts with the U.S. Obama admini thinks it can change Erdogan's view in the long term while getting right to use Turkish bases in the short. Obama only has little more than a year in office however so Turkey will probably win out in the long run.

2) Turkey wants to punish the PKK/PYD into submission and make it a client like it's done to the KRG

3) Finally Turkey wants to give more direct aid to the Syrian rebel groups its supports like Al-Nusra with the Syrian Free Zone.

Here's the full article
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Old 08-21-2015   #37
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Default Pentagon Chief: Turkey Needs to Do More to Fight IS

Pentagon Chief: Turkey Needs to Do More to Fight IS

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Old 08-28-2015   #38
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Default Why is Turkey Attacking the Kurdish Militants Instead of ISIS?

Why is Turkey Attacking the Kurdish Militants Instead of ISIS?

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Old 06-27-2016   #39
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Default Changing the regional equation

After a six year hiatus Israel and Turkey are friends again, which will be a lot more than diplomacy:
Quote:
The reconciliation deal between Israel and Turkey will see a return to normal diplomatic relations, but ties are unlikely to have the warmth that they did in the past. It is Turkey's growing diplomatic problems - strategic tensions with Russia; difficulties with Europe due to the growing authoritarianism of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan; and above all the failure of Turkey's Syria policy (which has also soured ties with Washington) - that have prompted this move.
Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-36639834


FP added:
Quote:
Netanyahu credited U.S. Vice President Joe Biden for acting as a peace broker between Israel and Turkey.
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