Archive | Turkey

Russia calls on Erdoğan for an explanation

On 13 October 2020, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu gave a call to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

After reminding him of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s condemnation of Turkey’s active support of Daesh in November 2015 during the G20 summit in Antalya and on the sidelines of the Paris climate conference, he enjoined Turkey to respond to the charges levelled against her: the transfer of Syrian and Iraqi jihadists to Libya and Azerbaijan.

Russia already views the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with trepidation, but especially with anger at the arrival of jihadists in its area of influence.

Long before being president, as leader of the nationalist militia Millî Görüş, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had provided a rear base in Chechnya for terrorists of the Islamic Emirate.

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Will Artsakh (Karabagh) be the tomb of Erdoğan ?

by Thierry Meyssan

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict certainly had its origins in the dissolution of the USSR, but it was revived by the will of the Turkish president. It is unlikely that he took this initiative without first referring it to Washington. This is also what President Saddam Hussein did before invading Kuwait, falling by ambition into the trap set for him and causing his downfall.

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On his Twitter account, President Erdoğan wrote on the day of the outbreak of hostilities: ” – During the phone calls we had today, a wise and resolute stance, the “one nation, two states” approach, once again testifies, as I mentioned to Ilham Aliyev, the President of Azerbaijan, that Turkey will continue to strengthen its cooperation with its Azerbaijani brothers. – As we call on the Armenian people to defend their future against their domination and those who use them as puppets, we call on the whole world to support Azerbaijan in its struggle against occupation and oppression. – The international community, which was unable to provide a necessary and sufficient response to Armenia’s provocative aggression, is once again showing its double game. The trio from Minsk, which has maintained its negligent attitude for about 30 years, is unfortunately far from being solution-oriented. – By adding a new attack to the previous ones against Azerbaijan, Armenia has once again shown that it is the biggest threat to peace and tranquility in the region. The Turkish Nation supports its Azerbaijani brothers with all its means, as always. »

A very ancient conflict, frozen for the past 30 years

The Turkish people define themselves as descended from the “children of the wolf of the steppes”, i.e. as descendants of the hordes of Genghis Khan. It is composed of both “one people and two states”: Turkey and Azerbaijan. The political rebirth of the former automatically engenders the arrival of the latter on the international scene.

Of course this political renaissance does not mean a resurgence of the violence of the barbarian hordes, but this past has nonetheless forged mentalities, despite the efforts of many politicians who, for a century, have been trying to normalize the Turkish people.

In the last years of the Ottoman era, Sultan Habdulhamid II wanted to unite the country around his conception of the Muslim faith. He therefore ordered the physical elimination of hundreds of thousands of non-Muslims. This was supervised by German officers who acquired during this genocide an experience that they later put at the service of Nazi racial ideology. The Ottoman policy of purification was pursued on a larger scale by the Young Turks at the beginning of the Republic, particularly against the Orthodox Armenians [1].

Murder being an addiction, it reappeared sporadically in the behavior of the Turkish armies. Thus, in March 2014, they escorted hundreds of jihadists from the al-Nosra Front (al-Qaeda) and the Army of Islam (pro-Saudi) to the city of Kessab (Syria) to massacre the Armenian population. The jihadists who participated in this operation were today sent to kill other Armenians in Karabagh.

These massacres ceased in Azerbaijan during the brief Democratic Republic (1918-20) and the Soviet period (1920-90), but resumed in 1988 with the collapse of Moscow’s power.

Precisely during the Soviet period, in accordance with Joseph Stalin’s policy of nationalities, an Armenian region was joined with Azerbaijan to form a Socialist Republic. Thus when the USSR was dissolved, the international community recognized Karabakh not as Armenian but as Azeri. The same mistake was made in the rush in Moldova with Transnistria, in Ukraine with Crimea, in Georgia with South Ossetia and Abkhazia. A series of wars immediately followed, including that of Nagorno-Karabakh. These are cases where international law developed from an error of appreciation at the beginning of the conflicts, as in Palestine, which was not rectified in time, leading to inextricable situations.

Westerners intervened to prevent a general conflagration. However, the example of Transnistria attests that it was a step backwards in order to better jump: thus the United States resorted to the Romanian army to try to annihilate the nascent Pridnestrovie [2].

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE, then CSCE) created the “Minsk Group”, co-chaired by the United States, France and Russia, to find a solution, which it never did: Russia did not want to choose between its former partners, France wanted to play the important game, and the United States wanted to maintain a conflict zone on the Russian border. The other conflicts, created at the dissolution of the USSR, were deliberately fuelled by Washington and London with Georgia’s aggression against South Ossetia in 2008 or the EuroMaydan coup d’état aimed, among other things, at expelling Russians from the Crimea in 2014.

The attack on the Republic of Artsakh (Karabagh) by Azerbaijan and Turkey was justified by the speech of Azeri President Ilham Aliyev at the UN General Assembly on September 24. [3] His main idea was that the Minsk Group had qualified the status quo as unacceptable, but that “statements are not enough. We need action. He could not have been clearer.

In accordance with his family’s ideology, he put his opponents under the greatest burden, for example, attributing the Khojaly massacre (1992, more than 600 victims) to “Armenian terrorists”, even though it was a black operation during an attempted coup in his country; in any case, this allowed him to present in a biased manner the actions of ASALA (Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia) in the 1970s and 1980s. He pointed out that four Security Council resolutions ordered the withdrawal of Armenian troops, playing on the homonymy between the Armenian population of Karabagh and the neighboring state of Armenia; one way of ignoring the fact that the Council also enjoined Azerbaijan to organize a referendum of self-determination in Karabagh. It accused, not without reason, the new Armenian Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan, of being one of the men of the speculator Gorge Soros, as if this erased what had gone before.

The conflict can only end after a referendum of self-determination, the outcome of which comes as little surprise. For the time being, it benefits those who, like Israel, sell arms to the aggressor.

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The Turkish, Azeri and Pakistani armies display their unity against the Armenians.

For Erdoğan, one war too many?

Having said this, let us analyze the current conflict from another angle, that of international balances, keeping in mind that the Turkish army is already illegally present in Cyprus, Iraq and Syria; that it violates the military embargo in Libya and now the cease-fire in Azerbaijan.

Baku is organizing itself to postpone the inevitable deadline even further. Azerbaijan has already obtained the support of Qatar, which also supervises the financing of jihadists in this field of operations. According to our information, at least 580 of them have been sent from Idleb (Syria) via Turkey. This war is expensive and KKR, the powerful company of the US-Israeli Henry Kravis, seems to be involved as it is still involved in Iraq, Syria and Libya. As in the destabilization of communist Afghanistan, Israeli weapons could be routed through Pakistan. In any case, in Turkey, posters flourish placing side by side the flags of the three countries.

Even more astonishing, President Aliyev received the support of his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko. It is likely that he is acting in agreement with the Kremlin, which could herald a more visible Russian support for Orthodox Armenia (Russia, Belarus and Armenia are all members of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization).

Strangely, Shiite Iran has not taken a position. Yet, although ethnically Turkish, Azerbaijan is the only other Shia people in the world because it was part of the Safavid empire. President Hassan Rohani had included it in his plan for a Shia Federation presented during his second election campaign. This withdrawal gives the impression that Tehran does not wish to enter into conflict with Moscow, which is officially neutral. All the more so since Armenia plays a non-negligible role in the circumvention of the US embargo against Iran.

On the Armenian side, the diaspora in the United States is lobbying intensely in Congress in order to make President Erdoğan -whose country is a member of NATO- responsible for the conflict before an international tribunal.

In the case of a tacit agreement between Moscow and Washington, this war could be turned diplomatically against President Erdoğan, now unbearable to the Big Two. Like Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, who brutally changed from valet of the Pentagon to public enemy No. 1 when he thought he had the authorization to invade Kuwait, the Turkish president may have been encouraged to take the blame.

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Turkey ‘playing with fire’

 by Trevor Rayne

Turkish warship

On 14 August Greek and Turkish warships collided in the Aegean Sea. The Turkish government accused Greece of a ‘provocation’. Greek vessels had been shadowing their Turkish counterparts as they searched for natural gas reserves in territory claimed by Greece and Cyprus. German foreign minister Heiko Maas sounded the alarm: ‘The current situation in the eastern Mediterranean is … playing with fire, and any spark, however small, could lead to a disaster.’ With the US pivot to Asia and its reduced presence in the Middle East, Turkey is testing the limits to its reach as it seeks to become the dominant power in the region. The dispute with Greece over gas is enmeshed with conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Libya, where Turkey is probing; deploying military force to expand its scope. TREVOR RAYNE reports.

Turkish President Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) have stated their intention to revive the authority of the Ottoman Empire for Turkey. From the 14th century to the First World War, the Ottoman Empire, at various times, possessed much of south eastern Europe, including Greece and Cyprus, North Africa, including Egypt and the Red Sea, and much of the Middle East, including Palestine, part of the Persian Gulf and the Caucasus.

Ottoman empire

In 2015, Turkey agreed to construct a military base in Qatar on the Persian Gulf. There are over 3,000 Turkish troops at the Tariq Ibn Ziyad base, named after the eighth century Berber whose army conquered what are today Spain and Portugal. In 2017, Turkey opened a military base in Somalia to train the Somali Armed Forces. Like the base in Qatar, Turkey’s presence in the Horn of Africa is a counter to Saudi and United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) regional influence. Historically, the Ottoman Empire challenged the European approach to the Horn and Gulf regions.

In January 2018, Turkish forces attacked and then occupied Afrin, the predominantly Kurdish canton in Rojava, northern Syria. Turkey wants to create a buffer zone from Afrin to Qandil on the Iraqi border with Iran, using its army and mercenaries. Turkish Armed Forces are garrisoned in northern Iraq and Syria. Turkish warplanes daily bomb towns and villages across northern Syria and northern Iraq. On 11 August, two senior Iraqi officers were killed by Turkish drones in the Kurdish autonomous region of Iraq. Turkey has recruited, funded and armed jihadist groups to terrorise the local populations in its war against the Kurds and to extend its reach into these neighbouring countries. On 14 September, the United Nations reported on the atrocities committed by these groups, but Turkey is not challenged and is consequently emboldened in its bellicosity.

When a border dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia flared up in July, Turkey launched a two-week long military exercise alongside the Azeri armed forces. One of the final atrocities of the Ottoman government was the Armenian Genocide; the mass killing of 1.5 million ethnic Armenians between 1915 and 1923.

Testing the waters

Israel found gas reserves off its coast in 2009 and the following year discovered the large Leviathan field. Cyprus discovered gas in 2011, followed by significant finds by Italy’s Eni, France’s Total and the US’s ExxonMobil. The giant Zohr gas field was found off Egypt by Eni in 2015. Most of the major finds have been in waters close to Egypt, Israel and off Cyprus’ southern coast.

Turkey’s borders were agreed at the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. When President Erdogan visited Athens in 2017, the first visit to Greece by a Turkish head of state in 65 years, he said he wanted the Treaty reviewed. Turkey invaded Cyprus on 20 July 1974, occupying over a third of the island in the name of protecting the Turkish minority population. Only Turkey recognises the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus; Greece and the European Union recognise the Republic of Cyprus, which is predominantly Greek by ethnicity. Turkey says it wants the status of Greek islands off its coast changed; the pro-Erdogan newspaper, Yeni Safak, suggested the Turkish military should invade 16 Greek islands – Northern Cyprus being the precedent.

Since 2014 Libya has been divided between forces loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli and the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Benghazi-based General Haftar. Last year the LNA put Tripoli under siege. In November 2019, the GNA signed two agreements with Turkey. Turkey sent its soldiers and mercenaries drawn from Syria plus arms to support the GNA. This was backed by Qatar. A new sea boundary between Libya and Turkey was also established, stretching from Turkey’s southern coast to Libya’s northeast coast. This angered Greece by threatening plans for a future gas pipeline from Cyprus to mainland Greece via the Greek island of Crete. Turkey claims territorial rights up to the coasts of Crete and Rhodes. Responding, Greece entered into gas exploration agreements with a range of local states, including Egypt. In Libya, Greece, Egypt, France, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Russia have backed the LNA; the GNA is recognised by the United Nations and backed by Turkey and Qatar. Italy has sought not to take sides in the conflict.

Behind these manoeuvres and alliances is the prospect of supplanting Russia as Europe’s major natural gas supplier. Over half of Europe’s natural gas comes from Russia. Oil and gas account for 60% of Russia’s exports and 30% of its gross domestic product. Libya itself has substantial gas and oil reserves. In January 2020, Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and Italy signed an agreement to establish the EastMed Gas Forum, intending to lay a pipeline to bring natural gas from the Leviathan Basin to Europe. France asked to join, and the US requested permanent observer status. If successful, this would not only tie Europe closer to Israel, it would boost revenues for Greece and Cyprus, and, most significantly, it would undermine Russia’s economy and strategic importance to Europe.

Turkey was furious at the EastMed deal; it not only excludes Turkey but threatens Russian gas supplies to Europe traversing Turkey. The Turkish ruling class is determined to get a share of the eastern Mediterranean reserves, regardless of rival claims to the waters. In May 2020, Turkey announced it would drill off the Greek islands of Crete, Rhodes and Karpathos and off Cyprus’ southern coast. Turkey refuses to sign the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which is normally called upon to resolve such disputes as those over the Aegean islands and eastern Mediterranean.

Sabre rattling

Contending claims are backed by sabre rattling. In 2018, Turkish warships blocked an Eni rig drilling off Cyprus, the first of a series of incidents. Turkey sent a ship, Fatih, named after the Ottoman sultan who led the 1453 conquest of Constantinople, to drill in contested waters, accompanied by Turkish warships. Cyprus issued arrest warrants for a Turkish drilling ship crew. In February 2020, France deployed its Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in a show of support for Total and Eni ships confronted by Turkish vessels. The UAE sent four fighter jets to Crete. Israel stages regular training missions in Greek airspace. At the end of August, France said it would join Greece, Cyprus and Italy in joint military exercises in the eastern Mediterranean. Greece said it would buy 18 French Rafale warplanes, four German frigates with helicopters, anti-tank weapons, torpedoes and missiles, and that 15,000 more soldiers would be recruited.

The US has left attempts to subdue tensions between fellow NATO members Greece and Turkey primarily to Germany. Germany and the EU fear that Turkey will send more of its four million Syrian and other refugees to Europe and have been timid in their response to Turkey’s threats. Turkey is Germany’s major arms export market; accounting for over a third of Germany’s arms exports in 2019. Germany supplies Turkey with drone technology; drones are key to Turkey’s war on the Kurds in Syria and Iraq and to its intervention in Libya. Nevertheless, on 16 September European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen said of Turkey, ‘The distance between us appears to be growing …Our member states, Cyprus and Greece, can always count on Europe’s full solidarity on protecting their legitimate sovereignty rights.’ Two days later the Turkish government said it would begin talks with Greece, after a Turkish exploratory vessel returned from waters claimed by Greece and Cyprus. But not before Erdogan had threatened France: ‘Macron, this is not the last problem you will have with me. You don’t know history. Don’t mess with me. Don’t mess with Turkey.’

The drive to war is absurd

To compete over fossil fuels today is absurd and destroys the planet. Turkey and Greece’s militarism is economically and socially unsustainable. Greece’s average income per head has fallen from almost $32,000 in 2008 to $19,600 in 2019. Its GDP fell 15% in the second quarter of 2020 and unemployment rose to 18.3%. Yet over the past four years Greece’s military spending has grown and the government now intends to increase it by a third, or $11.9bn, over the next decade.

Turkey’s neo-Ottoman ambitions have no economic basis to sustain them. This September, the rating agency Moody’s gave Turkey’s debt the lowest grade it has ever given, saying the country was heading for a balance of payments crisis. Erdogan responded, ‘Do what you want to do, your ratings are of no importance.’ Turkish banks and corporations need to roll over $170bn of debt in the next year. That means higher interest charges. This year, the Turkish lira has dropped 20% against the US dollar. As the lira drops so the cost of meeting debt obligations becomes more onerous. Turkey’s central bank spent $65bn failing to effectively support the lira in the first six months of 2020. Tourism, which made Turkey $34.5bn in 2019, is down by three quarters this year due to Covid-19. The country is heading for bankruptcy.

Britain is Turkey’s second largest trade partner after Germany. There are over 2,500 British companies operating in Turkey, including major corporations BAE Systems, BP, Shell, Vodafone, Unilever, HSBC, Aviva and Diageo. British arms companies have had sales of over £1bn to Turkey in the past seven years. Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, described Britain as a ‘strategic ally’. Maybe so, but the City of London votes with its money. In May 2020, the Turkish state barred three international banks from its currency market as it tried to stop the sale of lira. International finance was not impressed. In the City, Aberdeen Standard Investments said, ‘We think it best not to have a position in Turkey at all.’ The chief economist at Renaissance Capital agreed: ‘I just find it easier to encourage investors to look almost anywhere else.’

With economic woes mounting in Turkey and his AKP losing elections in major cities in 2019, Erdogan seeks to buttress his reputation as a strong leader and defender of the Muslim faith. The July 2020 decision to revoke the status of Hagia Sofia as a museum, which it had been since 1934, and return it to being a mosque, is presented as a return to Ottoman status. With the UAE and Bahrain signing diplomatic agreements with Israel, Erdogan affects leadership of Muslims against the west and Israel. The 18 December 2019 Daily Telegraph ran two pages plus an editorial detailing and condemning Turkish intelligence agents’ collaboration with Hamas of Palestine. Erdogan’s championing of Palestinian rights is intended to bolster his nationalist and religious credentials amidst a gathering crisis.

Iraq used chemical weapons to kill 5,000 Kurds at Halabja on 16 March 1988. The Iraqi army was equipped by Britain, West Germany and the US, among others. Today, Turkey cannot wage wars and threaten neighbours without weapons supplied by other countries. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists reports: ‘Conventional wisdom says Turkey won’t go nuclear. That might be wrong.’ It quotes Erdogan, presumably speaking with Israel in mind, ‘some countries have missiles with nuclear warheads, not one or two. But [they tell] us we can’t have them. This, I cannot accept’ (7 July 2020). We have been warned.

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Neo-Ottoman Nights of Armenian-Azerbaijani War

By South Front 

Turkish Sultan-in-Chief Recep Tayyip Erdogan has come up with a justification for the deployment of Syrian militants to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone to support the war against Armenia.

According to him, at least 2,000 fighters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) are supporting Armenian forces there.

During the meeting with the ruling Justice and Development Party parliamentary group, Erdogan claimed that during the phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he allegedly told him that Turkish authorities,

“have identified, through intelligence sources, that there are some 2,000 PKK terrorists fighting for Armenia at the moment for $600. Mr. President said he was not aware of that.” “I have told Putin that if our red lines are crossed, we would not hesitate to take action,” he added. Apparently, these non-existent PKK and YPG members in Karabakh are to justify direct Turkish involvement in the conflict on the side of Azerbaijan and somehow neutralize the mounting evidence showing Turkish-backed al-Qaeda-linked militants moving to Karabakh.

Meanwhile, the Armenian side revealed radar data confirming the involvement of the Turkish Air Force in the Armenian-Azerbaijani war. The released tracks show that Turkish warplanes deployed in Azerbaijan provide air cover for Bayraktar TB2 drones striking Armenian positions, while the Turkish aerial command post circulating in Turkish airspace, near the conflict zone, coordinates the entire aerial operation.

The entire operation, according to Armenia, was planned and carried out with the deep involvement of Turkish military specialists.

Under the pressure of evidence, the Azerbaijani side has already admitted the presence of Turkish specialists and military equipment on its territory. The last step towards reality would be to confirm that they are involved in combat.

On October 28 and 29, forces of the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc were conducting intensive strikes on Shushi and Stepanakert, the largest towns in Nagorno-Karabakh. Several airstrikes even hit the maternity section of the hospital in Stepanakert. Some sources even speculated that these strikes were delivered by F-16 warplanes. On the other hand, the Armenian side demonstrated that it is not much better and shelled the Azerbaijani town of Barda killing at least 21 people and wounding 70 others.

The Turkish-Azerbaijani shelling of settlements and towns in Nagorno-Karabakh is a logical result of its attempt to remove Armenians from the region. Therefore, their strikes are aimed not only at military targets, but also at civilian ones in order to displace the local population.

Meanwhile, the Armenian retaliation in a similar manner rarely has real military goals, rather it helps Ankara and Baku to gain some ‘evidence’ to confirm its propaganda narrative about ‘Armenian terrorism’. Moreover, these actions of the sides contribute to the further escalation of the conflict and undermine any weak hopes for escalation via diplomatic channels.

On October 29, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported that it continues combat operations in the Khojavend, Fizuli, and Gubadli directions of the front calling its offensive ‘retaliatory measures’ to contain Armenian ceasefire violations. According to Baku, the Armenians lost two T-72 tanks, two BM-21 “Grad” MLRS, 14 different types of howitzers, and 6 auto vehicles in recent clashes. Earlier, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev announced that his forces had captured 13 more settlements in the districts of Zangilan, Fuzuli, Jabrayil and Gubadli.

In their turn, the Armenian military claimed that it has repelled an Azerbaijani attack in the direction of the towns of Kapan and Meghri in southern Armenia inflicting numerous casualties on the ‘enemy’. Armenian forces are also counter-attacking in the district of the Gubadli, aiming to retake the district center. However, this attack reportedly was repelled.

As of October 29, Armenian forces have contained Azerbaijani attempts to reach and fully cut off the Lachin corridor linking Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. Nonetheless, the situation in the area remains instable and the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc still continues its offensive operations in this direction.

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4 000 jihadists in Nagorno-Karabakh

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According to Armenia’s Ambassador to Moscow, Vardan Toganyan, ahead of the clashes Turkey deployed 4,000 jihadists from northern Syria to Azerbaijan, where they received training before attacking Nagorno-Karabakh.

Since the beginning of the year, Turkey has been drawing on its reserve of Syria-based jihadists to support the Muslim Brotherhood in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, against the Tobruk-Benghazi Assembly.

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As war goes on, Armenia asks Trump if he gave Turkey F 16s to aid Erdogan’s New Holocaust

By VT Editors 

RT/Moscow: Armenia’s prime minister wants clarification from the US about the sale of F-16s to Turkey, claiming the advanced jets are bombing civilians amid the ‘existential’ battle with Azerbaijan over the contested Nagorno-Karabakh.–

Turkey and Azerbaijan strongly denied the claims, but the rebuttals have not prevented Armenia from raising the issue of Ankara’s perceived involvement in the Nagorno-Karabakh fighting with its major NATO ally, the United States.

Last Thursday, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan held a telephone conversation with US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, the New York Times reported on Monday. Washington “needs to explain whether it gave those F-16s [to Turkey] to bomb peaceful villages and peaceful populations,” Pashinyan told the Times.

According to the Armenian leader, O’Brien “heard and acknowledged” his grievances and promised to arrange a separate phone call with President Donald Trump. That conversation did not take place, however, as Trump announced he had tested positive for Covid-19 shortly afterward.

Yerevan has long insisted that Turkey’s backing of Armenia’s arch-foe Azerbaijan is not restricted to diplomatic and propaganda support. In recent days, Armenian officials have repeatedly accused Ankara of funneling Syrian mercenaries into Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as deploying US-built F-16 fighter jets to aid Azerbaijani troops on the ground.READ MORE: Azerbaijan has ‘handed over’ command of its Air Force operations in Nagorno-Karabakh to Turkey, Armenian Defense Ministry claims

The Turkish Air Force, one of the largest within NATO, is in possession of an estimated 245 F-16C/D aircraft assembled locally by Turkish Aerospace Industries.

Hostilities broke out again between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh on September 27, with both sides blaming each other for firing the first shots.

The disputed enclave, populated by ethnic Armenians but internationally recognised as an illegally-occupied territory of Azerbaijan, has seen many military flare-ups over three decades. But the current one poses an “existential threat” because of the Turkish factor, Pashinyan told the Times.

READ MORE: Armenia warns it will deploy Russian-made Isubuilt F-16 jets in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Armenia has always been wary of Turkey, not least because of the bitter 20th century legacy of the genocide of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire – which killed an estimated 1.5 people – but also due to its long-standing military and political support for Azerbaijan.

According to officials in Yerevan, Turkish officers are commanding Azerbaijani Air Force operations in Nagorno-Karabakh. Last week, Armenia’s military claimed that a Turkish F-16 shot down their Su-25 attack aircraft, leading to the death of a pilot.

A spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denied Yerevan’s claim, and Ankara’s Defense Ministry said Azerbaijan’s military is able to fight a war on its own. Baku, in turn, also dismissed Armenian assertions as “lies and provocation,” noting that its air force does not have F-16s in its inventory.

Posted in USA, Armenia, Azerbaijan, C.I.A, TurkeyComments Off on As war goes on, Armenia asks Trump if he gave Turkey F 16s to aid Erdogan’s New Holocaust

Anti-Turkish sentiment is mushrooming

Kulikov reports that Erdogan also is putting boots on the ground in Yemen to confront Saudi Arabia and the UAE

By Jim W. Dean,

by Valeri Kulikov, …with New Eastern Outlook, Moscow, …and the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a research institution for the study of the countries and cultures of Asia and North Africa.

VT: Kulikov seems to be giving Israel cover as they are both partners in supporting Syrian terrorists fighting with Turkey against Armenia but they are also hosts for Turkey’s planes now stationed in Armenia as well, at a base long ago taken over by Israel.

[ Editor’s Note: Mr. Kulikov gives not only a good overview of busy Mr. Erdogan’s multiple foreign policy military adventures, but the ripple effects they are having not only in the Mideast but in European capitals, also.

It’s a mystery to me how Erdogan can be funding this geopolitical chaos under his currently stressed economic situation, and unfortunately Valeri does not seem to know either, so my search will continue. I smell a well heeled country supporting him that so far has remained below the radar, and the list would be a short one.

But his article is well worth the read to see who Turkey’s growing list of opponents are, which makes one wonder that in the middle of the coronovirus pandemic financial devastation, why would a country like Turkey become so aggressive? Why not wait until the world had reached a more stable state before launching on a new Ottoman empire jihad.

Nagorno Karabakh
Turkey jumps into another war

Kulikov had written this before Erdogan’s latest aggression chapter, namely Turkey’s deep involvment with the Azerbaijani attacks on the disputed Armenian territories that found the Turkish airforce in combat.

Erodogan has once again shown his nimbleness to produce a few thousand jihadi combat veterans on short notice to take a well paid working vacation and get to kill Armenian Christians.

The EU had put the possibility of shipping sanctions on Turkey because of the dustup with Greece over the Western Med undersea oil prospecting rights. Erdogan had to be planning at the same time this Armenian move. 

And last, Kulikov reports that Erdogan also is putting boots on the ground in Yemen to confront Saudi Arabia and the UAE. There is no way Erdogan could be funding this out of Turkey. Who else is behind him, and why? … Jim W. Dean ]

– First published … September 29, 2020 –

Recently, the activities performed by Turkish President Erdogan and his outspoken “neo-Ottoman” policy have been eliciting increasing concern not only in the Middle East, but also in the United States, Europe, and among NATO allies.

The European “partners” are particularly apprehensive about Ankara’s actions and military provocations in the Eastern Mediterranean, which have to do with the arbitrary demarcation of the maritime borders there, and Turkish expansion into Libya.

These kinds of actions, aggravated by Ankara’s incessant blackmailing with the threat of immigrants from the Middle East, led to the formation quite a few months ago of a diplomatic front on the part of EU politicians versus Turkey.

The head of the largest supranational political party in the EU, the conservative European People’s Party (EPP), when speaking at the session of the European Parliament on July 9 expressed the opinion held by a significant number of European politician.

The EPP stated that the European Union should stop all negotiations about admitting Turkey, that these were a historical mistake, and new legal groundwork to serve as the foundation for relations with this country should be developed.

On September 15, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell also announced that ties “are at a watershed moment in history, which will go to one side or the other, depending on what happens in the next days,” Reuters reports.

“Turkey is the biggest threat to Europe today,” Britain’s former Minister of Europe Denis MacShane told The Independent. His conclusion is that Ankara threatens not only the territorial integrity of the EU, but almost everything that the European Union holds as its values.

“Under the leadership of President Erdogan, Turkey has become a stray bullet, both overextending its authority in the region and becoming increasingly shut off,” the British newspaper The Times writes, stressing that the Mossad sees a greater threat from Turkey today than it does from Iran.

Erdogan is fragmenting NATO with his stunts in the Eastern Mediterranean, and turning Turkey into a headache for the alliance, states the Al-Monitor website.

The New York Times upholds that view, emphasizing that Ankara is becoming more aggressive, ambitious, and authoritarian, with its active participation in the Libyan conflict, and that it has demonstrated assertiveness in terms of energy resources that almost caused an armed conflict with other NATO members, France and Greece.

And Europe is not the only place where the foreign policy course currently taken by Turkey has been called nothing less than foolhardy. According to specialists in Turkish affairs, the actions taken by Ankara all at once in several regional areas of focus deserve this assessment, and one of those areas is the Middle East, where a steady deterioration can be observed in the relations between Turkey and leaders across the Arab world.

After conducting three military missions in the northern part of a neighboring Arab republic (Operation Euphrates Shield in 2016-2017, Operation Olive Branch in January-March 2018, and Operation Peace Spring in October last year), its cross-border interventions in Iraq, and a large-scale invasion of Libya, Turkey’s actions in the Middle East have come under increasing criticism in many Arab capitals.

In particular, people in the region have expressed clear disapproval that a pattern of Ankara carving out an external “foothold”, similar to what occurred in Libya, has recently begun to manifest itself in Yemen. This was specifically reported by The Arab Weekly, where Ankara is suspected of planning to become a stand-alone force in the conflict in Yemen to try to counter the policy of its regional rivals, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

To do this, in a fashion similar to Libya, Ankara found a partner on the inside with an Islamist political and ideological agenda – the Al-Islah party, which is associated with the Islamist organization al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun (the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization banned in Russia) – through which it is attempting to gain logistical access to Yemen territory to perhaps subsequently set up a military base.

This work is being particularly vigorously carried out by Turkey in the coastal regions of that Arab country – in the provinces of Taiz and Shabwa, which are adjacent to the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, respectively.

In particular, according to reports from some media outlets, recruitment stations and training camps are opening up in Yemen’s Shabwe and Taiz provinces to put together an anti-Saudi coalition composed of pro-Turkish and pro-Qatari militias.

Due to this, the Arab world has already started to build a coalition against Turkey. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Sudan, and Morocco are expressing their willingness to act as a united, anti-Turkish front.

In addition, the Egyptian-Jordanian-Iraqi summit that was held in Jordan at the end of August was also marked by the creation of another Arab bloc geared toward keeping Turkey in check.

Besides European and Arab countries, even India has recently begun to speak out and persistently criticize Ankara. Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations T.S. Tirumurti leveled criticism at the proclamation made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about Kashmir and supporting the Pakistani side in that conflict.

Overt dissatisfaction with Erdogan’s actions has been growing in the United States for a long time. The crisis in US-Turkish relations, whose onset occurred after Ankara purchased Russian S-400 anti-aircraft weapon systems, continues to deepen.

For almost two years, members of the American Congress blocked deals concerning the sale of arms to Turkey due to Ankara’s purchase of the S-400 weapon systems, with one purchase involving upgrading work on F-16 fighter jets.

And Robert Menendez, the senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen also recently called for imposing new US and EU sanctions on Turkey. One of the candidates in the current US presidential race, Joe Biden, does not shy away from letting his negative attitude toward Erdogan’s policy be heard. If he wins, he is ready to “perk up” the Turkish opposition.

Under these conditions, and given Ankara’s lack of readiness to make certain adjustments to its foreign policy, a further increase should be anticipated in the confrontation between Turkey and a host of countries, and in response to that Ankara will undoubtedly seek a way out of the situation by creating a rebuilt circle of trusting, supportive countries.

In this regard, what can be expected is a desire on the part of Turkey to consolidate relations with China, Russia, and Ukraine, with which Ankara has recently been striving to develop its network of contacts and cooperation in various areas of focus, including military cooperation.

Valery Kulikov, a political analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Prelude to World War III Outlined

Press TV just announced that Azerbaijan has assured Iran no Israeli attack would occur from their territory.  This is their announcement, from Tehran, moments ago:

October 2, 2012 TehranPress TV – Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Pakistan says Baku will not allow Israel to use its airspace or land to carry out a military attack on Iran or any other country.

“Azerbaijan has been following a policy of non-interference in the [internal] affairs of other countries,” Baku’s Ambassador to Pakistan Dashgin Shikrov said in an exclusive interview with the Pakistani daily The Newson Monday.

The ambassador strongly rejected rumors in Western media outlets about his country’s readiness for providing Israel ground facilities for attacking Iran’s nuclear sites. “Azerbaijan is member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and nobody should have any doubt that it will not permit the use of its territory for committing acts of aggression against another OIC member,” the ambassador added.

Israel has recently stepped up threats of carrying out a strike against Iran’s nuclear energy facilities. The threats are based on the unfounded claims that the peaceful nuclear activities of the Islamic Republic include a military component.

Iranian officials have refuted the allegation and have promised a crushing response to any military strike against the country, warning that any such measure could result in a war that would spread beyond the Middle East

______________________________

Earlier this week, Reuters confirmed through two Azeri officers that Israeli forces were in place in Azerbaijan and that the president was weighing options of supporting their attack.  That text is now below from Reuters.  Their unedited full text  is at Addendum I:

Reuters – Yet despite official denials by Azerbaijan and Israel, two Azeri former military officers with links to serving personnel and two Russian intelligence sources all told Reuters that Azerbaijan and Israel have been looking at how Azeri bases and intelligence could serve in a possible strike on Iran.

“Where planes would fly from – from here, from there, to where? – that’s what’s being planned now,” a security consultant with contacts at Azeri defense headquarters in Baku said. “The Israelis … would like to gain access to bases in Azerbaijan.”

It doesn’t take a genius to see that Azerbaijan was “caught with their pants down” and is now trying to lie their way out of this.

___________________________

In an explosive turn of events, Press TV announces Azerbaijan has “turned chicken” after receiving a chastising based on receiving an early distribution of this  Veterans Today document through Russian sources.

Additional VT staff were, while at the Pentagon, responsible for drawing up the war plans, not just for the initial invasion of Iran but the American invasion of Azerbaijan, slated for 2008, as part of a Bush administration military takeover of the entire Caspian Basin.

The map for that attack by US troops from Iran is below:

US Army 2006 “exercise” plans predicated on a 2005 successful invasion of Iran, confirmed by direct Pentagon sources. (the author)

The cover sheet for the War Plans/Exercise Plans is below, a document that contained a full outline for needed capabilities for the successful takeover of all of the former Soviet Republics, beginning with Azerbaijan as seen on the map above.

Today, Azerbaijan announced it would allow Israeli planes to use their air bases to attack Iran.  Reuters published the press release from Baku, one originally released in Veterans Today 27 months ago.  From Reuters:

BAKU (Reuters) – Israel’s “go-it-alone” option to attack Iran’s nuclear sites has set the Middle East on edge and unsettled its main ally at the height of a U.S. presidential election campaign.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exudes impatience, saying Tehran is barely a year from a “red line” for atomic capacity. Many fellow Israelis, however, fear a unilateral strike, lacking U.S. forces, would fail against such a large and distant enemy. But what if, even without Washington, Israel were not alone?

Azerbaijan, the oil-rich ex-Soviet republic on Iran’s far northern border, has, say local sources with knowledge of its military policy, explored with Israel how Azeri air bases and spy drones might help Israeli jets pull off a long-range attack.

This attack might have happened sooner without the break in the Turkish relations

An investigation done by independent intelligence organizations made up of former CIA, Army Intelligence and FBI personnel as published on June 18, 2010, discovered a plot between Israel, Georgia, Turkey and Azerbaijan to attack Iran.

At that time, Israeli planes were training in Turkey on terrain meant to simulate Iran.  Israel would send over 8 planes at a time and 6 would return.  Sources report that two would fly to Azerbaijan where Israel now occupies two former Soviet fighter bases.

Israel was building a secret air force in Azerbaijan.  That “secret air force” is now no longer secret, it is public knowledge but few know its history or the threat to world peace this irresponsible act represents.

The bases were supplied through the Georgian port of Poti with cluster and bunker-buster bombs being delivered beginning June 10, 2010.  Units of the Russian Navy observed the deliveries and reported the incident to a world press that suppressed the story.  The ship delivering the illegal arms were flagged American, the USS Grapple.

In consultation with intelligence operatives, it was found that the USS Grapple had been leased to Germany who had then allowed Israel to use it to deliver bombs to the Black Sea port under American naval identity.

USS Grapple – ARS-53

We have since learned that Turkey, despite what they claim is a hostile relationship with Israel, has allowed over flight by Israeli military planes who are using Turkish air space to relocate to Azerbaijan after a two year period of disagreement.

This relationship, negotiated between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Turkish President Erdogan includes provision for Turkey to assume partial territorial control of a border region inside Syria. 

Turkey is planning to seize this territory and call it a “buffer zone” but the “buffer” may include up to 30% of Syrian territory.

Israel and Turkey have agreed to “Balkanize” Syria.  However, the roots of today’s announcement were known some time ago.

On June 18, 2010, over two years ago, this columnist released the following information:

Would Israel take the gamble, or make the U.S. do it?

“A week ago, Israel leaked to the press that they had permission from Saudi Arabia to use their air space to attack Iran. The Saudi’s quickly denied this.

The effort on Israel’s part was a ruse to cover their real plans, to attack from the Republic of Georgia, close to Iran’s northern border.

However, the breakdown in relations with Turkey after miscalculating the response to their Flotilla raid on a Turkish ship in international waters may have ended this operation.

Israel, whose arms agreements with Turkey mounted to nearly 5 billion dollars over a period of years, had been training pilots in Turkey for bombing attacks on Iran. During these training missions, Israel was smuggling aircraft through Turkish airspace.

Sources indicate that Georgia has become a major transshipment point for narcotics from Afghanistan and other countries in the region. Both a land route through Turkey and into Northern Cyprus and air and sea routes directly into Europe and North America have been cited.

Turkey had allowed Israel to use their air space for training because their terrain closely resembled areas of Iran that Israel planned to attack. However, Turkey was unaware that planes involved in this effort were being relocated to forward staging areas in the Republic of Georgia, making Turkey, technically, fully complicit in this planned illegal attack.

Israeli F-15

Helping coordinate the attack are intelligence units forward stationed in Azerbaijan, under the guise of technicians, trainers and advisors under the broad armaments agreements with that small nation.

Supply operations, moving necessary ordnance, much of it supplied by the United States under ammunition storage agreements, is being moved through the Black Sea to the Georgian Port of Poti, a major site for exporting coal and manganese ore.

Cover for the supply operations is being performed by the Georgian Coast Guard, set up by Israel and manned with Israeli observers. Their job is to keep Russian surveillance craft away from supply operations under the guise of a “Gaza type” naval blockade of Abkhazia, a separatist province supported by Russia.”

Reuters, in its story published today indicated confirmed sources within the military intelligence community of Azerbaijan.  Reuters goes further:

Israeli F-16

“Yet despite official denials by Azerbaijan and Israel, two Azeri former military officers with links to serving personnel and two Russian intelligence sources all told Reuters that Azerbaijan and Israel have been looking at how Azeri bases and intelligence could serve in a possible strike on Iran.

“Where planes would fly from – from here, from there, to where? – that’s what’s being planned now,” a security consultant with contacts at Azeri defense headquarters in Baku said. “The Israelis … would like to gain access to bases in Azerbaijan.”

“ICEBERG” RELATIONSHIP

That Aliyev, an autocratic ally of Western governments and oil firms, has become a rare Muslim friend of the Jewish state – and an object of scorn in Tehran – is no secret; a $1.6-billion arms deal involving dozens of Israeli drones, and Israel’s thirst for Azerbaijan’s Caspian Sea crude, are well documented.

Israel’s foreign minister visited Baku in April this year.

But a leaked U.S. diplomatic cable from 2009 quoted Aliyev, who succeeded his father in 2003, describing relations with Israel as “like an iceberg, nine tenths … below the surface”.

The unknown factor is Azerbaijan’s ability to withstand a massive and immediate ground assault from Iran.  US Army experts on the region indicate that Iran has a “superhighway direct to Baku,” the capitol of Azerbaijan and keystone to the massive Baku/Ceyhan pipeline.

Azerbaijan’s military, 45,000 active duty, a few thousand reserves and an unarmed and untrained inactive reserve of 300,000 veterans is extremely small in comparison to Iran’s military.

A reasonable estimate is that, under the best of cases with support from both Turkey and Israel, that Baku could fall in 48 hours or less, should they choose to participate in an unprovoked attack on Iran.

If you are not getting a piece of the oil biz, drugs are the only option

Azerbaijan is closely aligned with Turkey.  However, they fought and lost a war in the early 1990’s against Armenia.  Azerbaijan lost 16% of their territory at that time.

During that war, Azerbaijan turned to Al Qaeda and Chechen forces for support, an act that angered Russia.  Azerbaijan is still a “safe haven” for terrorists and is commonly used to transit narcotics from Afghanistan and is a “way station” in human trafficking.

It is believed that an Israeli attack launched from Azerbaijan would unleash an immediate response from Armenia against Azerbaijan.  The two nations have been at the verge of hostilities for nearly two decades.

A recent estimate of regional forces paints a very dark picture for Azerbaijan:

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Armenia has followed a policy of developing its armed forces into a professional, well trained, and mobile military. In 2000, Centre for International Studies and Research reported that at that time the Armenian Army had the strongest combat capability of the three Caucasus countries’ armies (the other two being Georgia and Azerbaijan.

CSTO Secretary, Nikolay Bordyuzha, came to a similar conclusion after collective military drills in 2007 when he stated that, “the Armenian Army is the most efficient one in the post-Soviet space”.

This was echoed more recently by Igor Korotchenko, a member of the Public Council, Russian Ministry of Defense, in a March 2011 interview with Voice of Russia radio.

___________________________

CASPIAN OIL SUPPLIES AT RISK

Check out the company names on these oil fields. All would be grabbed in an attack on  Iran as compensation for the pre-emptive strike.

The 1100 mile pipeline is the only outlet for oil from the Caspian basin to outlets on the Mediterranean.  A branch of the pipeline services the massive Kirkuk oil fields of Northern Iraq.

The pipeline is owned by a number of companies with BP having a 30 percent stake.

The 25% stake theoretically held by SOCAR, the state oil company of Azerbaijan is under Israeli control, as collateral to underwrite Israeli weapons sales.

Israel has an agreement to link to the pipeline through Iraq, a deal negotiated between the Elat Ashkian Pipeline Company of Israel and the US backed Chalabi government that assumed control of Iraq after the 2003 invasion.

It is no longer clear as to whether the current government in Baghdad is still interested in this project.

Additional threats to the pipeline are in Armenia, where it may also be intercepted and in Turkey, where the PKK, a Kurdish separatist group, has put the pipeline out of commission many times.

The significance of the pipeline is great in that, even if Iran has no rationale to cut oil supplies through the Straits of Hormuz, it could easily gain control of 5% of the world’s oil output and put all Caspian Basin oil off the market without in any way interfering with free transit of sea-lanes.

Additionally, the transit fees charged for use of the pipeline are a major source of revenue for both Georgia and Turkey, a source that would immediately end.

Two “wild card” issues are Russia and Iraq.  As Iraq’s government is now under Shiite control and Azerbaijan’s relations with, not just Armenia but Russia have been extremely poor, the chances for this move by Israel turning into a regional conflict or world war are very high.

Taking into account Turkey’s “ham handed” plotting with Israel against Syria and their attempts to spread influence into Central Asia, their short lived position as a potential leader in the Islamic World has clearly taken a “back seat” to Iran, Egypt, Pakistan and Indonesia.

Israel’s timetable to attack from Azerbaijan is entirely dependent on the risks their long time but highly secretive ally is willing to accept.

Minimally, Azerbaijan might actually disappear.  In a best case scenario, they would lose additional territory to Armenia and suffer total devastation of their oil production and processing facilities and destruction of their armed forces.

For the rest of the world, the result, as expected, higher gasoline prices, higher food prices and more threats to currencies already nearing collapse.

Editing:  Jim W. Dean

______________________________

Addendum I

By Thomas Grove

BAKU | Sun Sep 30, 2012 12:46pm EDT

(Reuters) – Israel’s “go-it-alone” option to attack Iran’s nuclear sites has set the Middle East on edge and unsettled its main ally at the height of a U.S. presidential election campaign.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exudes impatience, saying Tehran is barely a year from a “red line” for atomic capacity. Many fellow Israelis, however, fear a unilateral strike, lacking U.S. forces, would fail against such a large and distant enemy.

But what if, even without Washington, Israel were not alone?

Azerbaijan, the oil-rich ex-Soviet republic on Iran’s far northern border, has, say local sources with knowledge of its military policy, explored with Israel how Azeri air bases and spy drones might help Israeli jets pull off a long-range attack.

That is a far cry from the massive firepower and diplomatic cover that Netanyahu wants from Washington. But, by addressing key weaknesses in any Israeli war plan – notably on refueling, reconnaissance and rescuing crews – such an alliance might tilt Israeli thinking on the feasibility of acting without U.S. help.

It could also have violent side-effects more widely and many doubt Azeri President Ilham Aliyev would risk harming the energy industry on which his wealth depends, or provoking Islamists who dream of toppling his dynasty, in pursuit of favor from Israel.

Yet despite official denials by Azerbaijan and Israel, two Azeri former military officers with links to serving personnel and two Russian intelligence sources all told Reuters that Azerbaijan and Israel have been looking at how Azeri bases and intelligence could serve in a possible strike on Iran.

“Where planes would fly from – from here, from there, to where? – that’s what’s being planned now,” a security consultant with contacts at Azeri defense headquarters in Baku said. “The Israelis … would like to gain access to bases in Azerbaijan.”

“ICEBERG” RELATIONSHIP

That Aliyev, an autocratic ally of Western governments and oil firms, has become a rare Muslim friend of the Jewish state – and an object of scorn in Tehran – is no secret; a $1.6-billion arms deal involving dozens of Israeli drones, and Israel’s thirst for Azerbaijan’s Caspian Sea crude, are well documented.

Israel’s foreign minister visited Baku in April this year.

But a leaked U.S. diplomatic cable from 2009 quoted Aliyev, who succeeded his father in 2003, describing relations with Israel as “like an iceberg, nine tenths … below the surface”.

That he would risk the wrath of his powerful neighbor by helping wage war on Iran is, however, something his aides flatly deny; wider consequences would also be hard to calculate from military action in a region where Azerbaijan’s “frozen” conflict with Armenia is just one of many elements of volatility and where major powers from Turkey, Iran and Russia to the United States, western Europe and even China all jockey for influence.

Nonetheless, Rasim Musabayov, an independent Azeri lawmaker and a member of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said that, while he had no definitive information, he understood that Azerbaijan would probably feature in any Israeli plans against Iran, at least as a contingency for refueling its attack force:

“Israel has a problem in that if it is going to bomb Iran, its nuclear sites, it lacks refueling,” Musabayov told Reuters.

“I think their plan includes some use of Azerbaijan access.

“We have (bases) fully equipped with modern navigation, anti-aircraft defenses and personnel trained by Americans and if necessary they can be used without any preparations,” he added.

U.S. CONCERNS

The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama has made clear it does not welcome Israel’s occasional talk of war and that it prefers diplomacy and economic sanctions to deflect an Iranian nuclear program that Tehran denies has military uses.

Having also invested in Azerbaijan’s defenses and facilities used by U.S. forces in transit to Afghanistan, Washington also seems unlikely to cheer Aliyev joining any action against Iran.

The Azeri president’s team insist that that will not happen.

“No third country can use Azerbaijan to perpetrate an attack on Iran. All this talk is just speculation,” said Reshad Karimov from Aliyev’s staff. He was echoing similar denials issued in Baku and from Israel when the journal Foreign Policy quoted U.S. officials in March voicing alarm that Azeri-Israeli action could thwart U.S. diplomacy toward Iran and across the Caucasus.

Israeli officials dismiss talk of Azeri collaboration in any attack on Iran but decline public comment on specific details.

Even speaking privately, few Israeli officials will discuss the issue. Those who do are skeptical, saying overt use of Azeri bases by Israel would provoke too many hostile reactions. One political source did, however, say flying unmarked tanker aircraft out of Azerbaijan to extend the range and payloads of an Israeli bombing force might play a part in Israeli planning.

Though denying direct knowledge of current military thinking on Iran, the Israeli said one possibility might be “landing a refueling plane there, made to look like a civilian airliner, so it could later take off to rendezvous mid-air with IAF jets”.

A thousand miles separates Tehran and Tel Aviv, putting much of Iran beyond the normal ranges of Israel’s U.S.-made F-16 bombers and their F-15 escorts. So refueling could be critical.

INTELLIGENCE COOPERATION

There is far from unanimity among Israeli leaders about the likelihood of any strike on Iran’s nuclear plants, whether in a wider, U.S.-led operation or not. Netanyahu’s “red line” speech to the United Nations last week was seen by many in Israel as making any strike on Iran unlikely – for at least a few months.

Many, however, also assume Israel has long spied on and even sabotaged what the Western powers say are plans for atomic weapons which Israel says would threaten its very existence.

A second Israeli political source called the idea of Azerbaijan being either launch pad or landing ground for Israeli aircraft “ludicrous” – but agreed with the first source that it was fair to assume joint Israeli-Azeri intelligence operations.

The Azeri sources said such cooperation was established.

As part of last year’s arms deal, Azerbaijan is building up to 60 Israeli-designed drones, giving it reconnaissance means far greater than many analysts believe would be needed just to guard oil installations or even to mount any operations against the breakaway, ethnic Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

“With these drones, (Israel) can indirectly watch what’s happening in Iran, while we protect our borders,” legislator Musabayov said – a view shared by Azeri former military sources.

Less reserved than Israeli officials, the sources in Azerbaijan and in Russian intelligence, which keeps a close eye on its former Soviet backyard, said Baku could offer Israel much more, however – though none believed any deal was yet settled.

The country, home to nine million people whose language is close to Turkish and who mostly share the Shi’ite Muslim faith of Iran, has four ex-Soviet air bases that could be suitable for Israeli jets, the Azeri sources said. They named central Kyurdamir, Gyanja in the west and Nasosny and Gala in the east.

The Pentagon says it helped upgrade Nasosny airfield for NATO use. It also uses Azeri commercial facilities in transit to Afghanistan. But U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan is limited by Washington’s role as a mediator in its dispute with Armenia.

One of the sources with links to the Azeri military said: “There is not a single official base of the United States and even less so of Israel on the territory of Azerbaijan. But that is ‘officially’. Unofficially they exist, and they may be used.”

The source said Iran had been a main topic of talks in April with Israel’s Soviet-born foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman.

RECONNAISSANCE, RESCUE

Azeri tarmac, a shorter flight from key sites in northern Iran including the Fordow underground uranium enrichment plant and missile batteries at Tabriz, might feature in Israeli war planning in less direct ways, the former Azeri officers said.

With Israel wary of its vulnerability to pressure over air crew taken prisoner, plans for extracting downed pilots may be a key feature of any attack plan. Search and rescue helicopters might operate from Azerbaijan, the sources said – or planes that were hit or low on fuel could land at Azeri bases in extremis.

Such engagement carries risks for Azerbaijan and its oil platforms and pipelines operated with international companies.

Defending against Iran is part of public debate in Baku. The United States has provided Azerbaijan with three Coast Guard cutters and has funded seven coastal radar sites as well as giving Baku other help in protecting its oil installations.

Relations have long been strained between the former Soviet state and Iran, which is home to twice as many ethnic Azeris as Azerbaijan itself. Tehran beams an Azeri-language television channel over the border which portrays Aliyev as a puppet of Israel and the West, as well as highlighting corruption in Baku.

Azerbaijan sees Iranian hands behind its Islamist opposition and both countries have arrested alleged spies and agitators.

Faced with an uneven balance of force, Aliyev’s government makes no bones about Israel being an ally. As one presidential aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, explained: “We live in a dangerous neighborhood; that is what is the most powerful driving force for our relationship with Israel.”

However, Israel’s confrontation with Iran may turn out, the arms build-up in Azerbaijan, including recent Israeli upgrades for its Soviet T-72 tanks, may have consequences for the wider region and for the stand-off with Armenia – consequences that would trouble all the powers with stakes in the Caspian region.

“We keep buying arms. On the one hand, it’s a good strategy to frighten Armenia,” one of the former Azeri officers said of the shaky, 18-year-old ceasefire over Nagorno-Karabakh. “But you don’t collect weapons to hang on the wall and gather dust.

“One day, all these could be used.”

(Additional reporting by Dan Williams in Jerusalem and Phil Stewart in Washington; Editing by Alastair Macdonald)

Posted in TurkeyComments Off on Anti-Turkish sentiment is mushrooming

Communist Party of Turkey: Justice for George Floyd! Solidarity with the uprising!

Photo of Communist Party of Turkey: Solidarity with Denver anti-racist organizers!

Communist Party of Turkey

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The following solidarity statement was issued by the International Relations Department of the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP)

Dear comrades,

On behalf of the Communist Party of Turkey, we express our heartfelt support for the working people of the United States who took to the streets protesting the brutal murder of George Floyd by racist policemen. In the past weeks, people’s anger has already grown because of the devastating social effects of the pandemic. The Trump administration’s failure in containing the spread of the disease and its outcomes has deepened the vast social inequalities in the United States, marked by unemployment, poverty and homelessness.

The Party for Socialism and Liberation is struggling at the forefront of the manifestations. With their creative efforts and efficient campaigns, comrades of the PSL reveal the bonds between racism and exploitation, which is as we all know in its essence a problem of labour. We are witnessing how powerful the working people can become, when they are united and organized against the dominant classes, regardless of which bourgeois party they are represented by.

Communists in Turkey are and will remain in solidarity with communists of the USA and with the great struggle of the working people there, aiming for justice for Floyd and equality for all.

With comradely greetings,
Communist Party of Turkey
International Relations

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Communist Party of Turkey: Solidarity with Denver anti-racist organizers!

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Liberation Staff

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Note from the PSL: We are deeply appreciative of the many solidarity statements we have received from around the country and the world. If your organization would like to offer a statement, please send it to info@pslweb.org. We will be collecting and posting more statements soon. Individuals can also sign the petition demanding freedom for the arrested organizers here and make a donation to provide support for their case here.

We learned that the leading PSL members of the anti-racist movement have been arrested in a police crackdown in the Denver area on September 17th. This is obviously a futile and cowardly attempt of the U.S. administration to intimidate the movement and repress the communist activists.

The Trump administration is showing its worst face to the people as its last stand in the forthcoming elections while the powers that be are ultimately trying to absolve US capitalism. Under these circumstances the PSL is giving a rigorous political struggle with its activists at the forefront.

We are aware that U.S. police brutality at home and U.S. imperialism around the world are inseparable. We reiterate that all anti-imperialists and anti-racists around the world should join in the final struggle for socialism as is also indicated by the PSL.

We express our strong support to the anti-racist struggle in the United States, send our sincerest feelings of solidarity to our comrades in PSL who are arrested by the police and call on the U.S. administration to drop all charges and to release them immediately.

Communist Party of Turkey
International Relations

Posted in USA, TurkeyComments Off on Communist Party of Turkey: Solidarity with Denver anti-racist organizers!

Turkish General died from “Heart Attack” in Idlib. Two Mossad agents allegedly captured

Later on the same day, the Russian Aerospace Forces conducted a series of airstrikes on positions of the Turkish-backed terrorist group, Hayat Tahrir al-ShamBy South Front -September 10, 2020

…from SouthFront.org

A Turkish general died of a heart attack in the combat zone of the Syrian province of Idlib, the Turkish Defense Ministry reported on September 9. According to Turkish state media, the general started to feel bad in the combat zone and was evacuated to a hospital. However, he died despite doctors’ best efforts. Afterwards, his body was moved to the Turkish province of Hatay.

The announcement came just a few days after the Syrian Army and the Turkish Armed Forces exchanged strikes in southern Idlib. Pro-Turkish sources on social media immediately became pretty active arguing that these developments and the death of the general from a supposed ‘heart attack’ are not related.

Later on the same day, the Russian Aerospace Forces conducted a series of airstrikes on positions of the Turkish-backed terrorist group, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, in the western countryside of Idlib. Earlier, Russian airstrikes pounded positions of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its allied terrorists from the Turkistan Islamic Party in the vicinity of the town of Kabani in northern Lattakia.

Both waves of airstrikes hit weapon depots and fortified terrorist positions. Pro-government sources as always claimed that these strikes were a pretext for a new Syrian-led ground operation in Greater Idlib.

This scenario remains unlikely. The more realistic option is the further development of Turkish-Russian cooperation in the field with the intent of finally creating a real demilitarized zone along the M4 highway and enforcing the withdrawal of radicals and heavy weapons from it.

In this light, Syrian sources say that a few more ‘heart attacks’ targeting Turkish officers, who are sabotaging the implementation of this deal and thus directly contributing to the Turkish campaign to defend terrorists hiding in Greater Idlib,  may have a positive impact on the situation.

A new armed group calling itself the “Freedom Movement” claimed that it had captured two officers of the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad. In an official statement, first posted on a Facebook page called “Palestinian Top Secrets” on September 5, the group claimed that the officers were captured while carrying out “cross-border security missions.”

The group shared a video of the alleged Israeli officers in captivity. One of the alleged officers identified himself in Hebrew as “David Ben-Rose.” He supposedly worked undercover for Mossad as a petrochemicals scientist. Israel has not commented on the group’s claim so far. In most cases, Tel Aviv does go public with incidents involving its citizens or service members.

There is a significant chance that the Freedom Movement statement may be a part of the ongoing media campaign waged by pro-Palestinian groups against Israel. On the other hand, if the claims turn out to be true, this will become a notable blow for Israeli propaganda amid the country’s growing tensions with Hezbollah and Iran.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, TurkeyComments Off on Turkish General died from “Heart Attack” in Idlib. Two Mossad agents allegedly captured

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