Tag Archive: Kurdish people


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Why Turkey Stabbed Russia in the Back

By: Pepe Escobar

© AFP

Russia’s and Turkey’s objectives in fighting the Islamic State group are diametrically opposed.

It’s absolutely impossible to understand why the Turkish government would engage in the suicidal strategy of downing a Russian Su-24 over Syrian territory – technically a NATO declaration of war on Russia – without putting in context the Turkish power play in northern Syria.

President Vladmir Putin said the downing of the Russian fighter jet was a “stab in the back.” So let’s see how facts on the ground allowed it to happen.

Ankara uses, finances, and weaponizes a basket case of extremist outfits across northern Syria, and needs by all means to keep supply line corridors from southern Turkey open for them; after all they need to conquer Aleppo, which would open the way for Ankara’s Holy Grail: regime change in Damascus.

At the same time Ankara is terrified of the YPG – the Syrian Kurd People’s Protection Units – a sister organization of the leftist PKK. These must be contained at all costs.

 

So the Islamic State group – against which the United Nations has declared war – is a mere detail in the overall Ankara strategy, which is essentially to fight, contain or even bomb Kurds; support all manner of Takfiris and Salafi-jihadis, including the Islamic State group; and get regime change in Damascus.

 

Unsurprisingly, the YPG Syrian Kurds are vastly demonized in Turkey, accused of at least trying to ethnic cleanse Arab and Turkmen villages in northern Syria. Yet, what the Syrian Kurds are attempting – and to Ankara’s alarm, somewhat supported by the U.S. – is to link what are for the moment three patches of Kurdish land in northern Syria.

A look at an imperfect Turkish map at least reveals how two of these patches of land (in yellow) are already linked, to the northeast. To accomplish that, the Syrian Kurds, helped by the PKK, defeated The Islamic State group in Kobani and environs. To get to the third patch of land, they need to get to Afryn. Yet on the way (in blue) there is a collection of Turkmen villages north of Aleppo.

The strategic importance of these Turkmen lands cannot be emphasized enough. It’s exactly in this area, reaching as much as 35 km inland, that Ankara wants to install its so-called “safe zone,” which will be in fact a no-fly zone, in Syrian territory, ostensibly to house Syrian refugees, and with everything paid by the EU, which has already unblocked 3 billion euros, starting Jan. 1, via the European Commission (EC).

The now insurmountable obstacle for Turkey to get its no-fly zone is, predictably, Russia.

Using the Turkmen

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Research Paper: ISIS-Turkey List

Posted: 11/09/2014 11:25 am EST Updated: 11/29/2015 11:59 pm EST
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
IN THE CITY OF NEW YORKINSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF HUMAN RIGHTSResearch Paper: ISIS-Turkey Links

By David L. Phillips

 

Introduction

Is Turkey collaborating with the Islamic State (ISIS)? Allegations range from military cooperation and weapons transfers to logistical support, financial assistance, and the provision of medical services. It is also alleged that Turkey turned a blind eye to ISIS attacks against Kobani.President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu strongly deny complicity with ISIS. Erdogan visited the Council on Foreign Relations on September 22, 2014. He criticized “smear campaigns [and] attempts to distort perception about us.” Erdogan decried, “A systematic attack on Turkey’s international reputation, “complaining that “Turkey has been subject to very unjust and ill-intentioned news items from media organizations.” Erdogan posited: “My request from our friends in the United States is to make your assessment about Turkey by basing your information on objective sources.”

Columbia University’s Program on Peace-building and Rights assigned a team of researchers in the United States, Europe, and Turkey to examine Turkish and international media, assessing the credibility of allegations. This report draws on a variety of international sources — The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, BBC, Sky News, as well as Turkish sources, CNN Turk, Hurriyet Daily News, Taraf, Cumhuriyet, and Radikal among others.

AllegationsTurkey Provides Military Equipment to ISIS• An ISIS commander told The Washington Post on August 12, 2014: “Most of the fighters who joined us in the beginning of the war came via Turkey, and so did our equipment and supplies.”

• Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, head of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), produced a statement from the Adana Office of the Prosecutor on October 14, 2014 maintaining that Turkey supplied weapons to terror groups. He also produced interview transcripts from truck drivers who delivered weapons to the groups. According to Kiliçdaroglu, the Turkish government claims the trucks were for humanitarian aid to the Turkmen, but the Turkmen said no humanitarian aid was delivered.

• According to CHP Vice President Bulent Tezcan, three trucks were stopped in Adana for inspection on January 19, 2014. The trucks were loaded with weapons in Esenboga Airport in Ankara. The drivers drove the trucks to the border, where a MIT agent was supposed to take over and drive the trucks to Syria to deliver materials to ISIS and groups in Syria. This happened many times. When the trucks were stopped, MIT agents tried to keep the inspectors from looking inside the crates. The inspectors found rockets, arms, and ammunitions.

• Cumhuriyet reports that Fuat Avni, a preeminent Twitter user who reported on the December 17th corruption probe, that audio tapes confirm that Turkey provided financial and military aid to terrorist groups associated with Al Qaeda on October 12, 2014. On the tapes, Erdogan pressured the Turkish Armed Forces to go to war with Syria. Erdogan demanded that Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MIT), come up with a justification for attacking Syria.

• Hakan Fidan told Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Yasar Guler, a senior defense official, and Feridun Sinirlioglu, a senior foreign affairs official: “If need be, I’ll send 4 men into Syria. I’ll formulate a reason to go to war by shooting 8 rockets into Turkey; I’ll have them attack the Tomb of Suleiman Shah.”

• Documents surfaced on September 19th, 2014 showing that the Saudi Emir Bender Bin Sultan financed the transportation of arms to ISIS through Turkey. A flight leaving Germany dropped off arms in the Etimesgut airport in Turkey, which was then split into three containers, two of which were given to ISIS and one to Gaza.

Turkey Provided Transport and Logistical Assistance to ISIS Fighters• According to Radikal on June 13, 2014, Interior Minister Muammar Guler signed a directive: “According to our regional gains, we will help al-Nusra militants against the branch of PKK terrorist organization, the PYD, within our borders…Hatay is a strategic location for the mujahideen crossing from within our borders to Syria. Logistical support for Islamist groups will be increased, and their training, hospital care, and safe passage will mostly take place in Hatay…MIT and the Religious Affairs Directorate will coordinate the placement of fighters in public accommodations.”

• The Daily Mail reported on August 25, 2014 that many foreign militants joined ISIS in Syria and Iraq after traveling through Turkey, but Turkey did not try to stop them. This article describes how foreign militants, especially from the UK, go to Syria and Iraq through the Turkish border. They call the border the “Gateway to Jihad.” Turkish army soldiers either turn a blind eye and let them pass, or the jihadists pay the border guards as little as $10 to facilitate their crossing.

• Britain’s Sky News obtained documents showing that the Turkish government has stamped passports of foreign militants seeking to cross the Turkey border into Syria to join ISIS.

• The BBC interviewed villagers, who claim that buses travel at night, carrying jihadists to fight Kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq, not the Syrian Armed Forces.

• A senior Egyptian official indicated on October 9, 2014 that Turkish intelligence is passing satellite imagery and other data to ISIS.

Turkey Provided Training to ISIS Fighters

 

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SU-24 bomber

Turkey ‘Ambushed’ Russian Su-24 to Protect Its ‘Proxies’ in Syria

© Sputnik
Middle East
21:30 26.11.2015(updated 14:06 27.11.2015)

The shooting down of the Russian Su-24 bomber was a planned attack and a trap set by the Turkish Air Force, Dr. Mark Galeotti, the Professor of Global Affairs at the New York University, told Radio Sputnik.

“What it in fact seems to be, as many are saying, it was more of an ambush than anything else,” Galeotti told Sputnik.

By downing the Russian plane, Turkey had two things in mind. First of all, Ankara wants to assert itself as a powerful regional actor, especially considering Russia’s active participation in Syria. The Turkish government thought that by shooting down its plane Turkey would make Russia take Ankara more seriously in the future.

Secondly, the Turkish government wanted to protect its allies, whom Russia’s currently bombing in Syria, Galeotti, an expert in Russo-Turkish relations, explained.

Turkey intends to protect ISIL, as it has direct financial interests involved in the delivery of oil extracted from ISIL-controlled territories. Various estimates place oil revenues generated by ISIL somewhere between $40 and $50 million a month. A day prior to the downing of the Su-24, Russian airstrikes destroyed over 1,000 semi-truck tankers carrying crude oil to ISIL refineries, a large oil storage facility and an oil refinery in Syria.

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Syrian Turkmen commander who ‘killed’ Russian pilot turns out to be Turkish ultranationalist

© RT / DHA
A Syrian rebel commander who boasted of killing a Russian pilot after Turkey downed Russian jet on Tuesday appeared to be Turkish ultranationalist and a son of former mayor in one of Turkish provinces.

Alparslan Celik, deputy commander of a Syrian Turkmen brigade turned out to be the son of a mayor of a Keban municipality in Turkey’s Elazig province.

He also turned out to be the member of The Grey Wolves ultranationalist group, members of which have carried out scores of political murders since 1970s.

 

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Did Washington just tell Erdogan to ‘man up’?

 By Finian Cunningham
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan © Umit Bektas
 
In the space of a few hours, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan went from running scared to defiant belligerence over the shooting down of the Russian fighter jet. It would appear that someone had a stiff word in his ear.

Tough-talking Turkish President? No. More like somebody’s message boy.

When the news first broke on Tuesday that Turkish F-16s had downed a Russian Su-24 bomber near the Syrian border, the Erdogan government in Ankara immediately called for an emergency NATO summit.

Ankara rushed to explain that it was the party that had incurred an act of aggression from Russia. Erdogan was running scared because the facts were such that it was the Turks who had actually carried out an act of aggression against Russia, not the other way around.

And they knew it.

Suspiciously, Ankara did not contact Moscow about the incident, which would have seemed a normal thing to do in the aftermath of a serious incident in which a Russian aircrew was forced to eject and one of the pilots was subsequently killed.

Recall that Turkey claimed that it did not know the identity of the Russian warplane as it allegedly approached Turkish airspace. So if, as it turned out, the Turks shot down a Russian jet in a rapid encounter of uncertainty about its “national security”, then why didn’t Ankara make subsequent attempts to resolve the matter with the Russians as an urgent matter when the circumstances soon became clear? That would have been the expected behavior if the incident was simply an unfortunate, unforeseen confrontation.

Again, the inference is that Ankara knew full well that it was committing a sinister deed.

 

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Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Ireland, he is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.

 

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847 shotguns seized in Italy en route from Turkey to Belgium

© Pupia Crime
A large cargo of shotguns without transportation permits has been seized by the Italian police at the Port of Trieste. The 847 Turkish-made Winchester shotguns worth about €500,000 were on their way to Belgium.

The weapons were declared along with other cargoes destined for Germany and the Netherlands on a Dutch-registered truck driven by a Turkish citizen. Gun shipments from Turkey are nothing new in Trieste, but this time the shipment was missing a key document: authorization for transportation in the EU.

The shipment consisted of 847 pump-action Winchester shotguns: 781 SXP 12-51 and 66 SXP 12-47 models, La Stampa reports.

The Haddad I departed from the Turkish port of Iskenderun and was heading to the Libyan city of Misrata. After intelligence services informed the Greek coastal guards about the ship’s cargo of guns, the vessel was intercepted south of Crete by the Open Sea Coast Patrol.

 

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Putin: US knew the flight plan of the Russian jet

https://i1.wp.com/neurope.eu/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Turkey-Russia-Syria.jpg

EPA/SERGEI CHIRIKOV

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) speaks during a press conference following talks with French President Francois Hollande (L) in the Kremlin, Moscow, Russia, 26 November 2015.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he expected from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to simply apologise, but the latest ruled out such a move

President Vladimir Putin said that Russia had given prior information to the United States of the flight path of the Su-24 downed by the Turkish Air Force on the Syrian border. The US leads the anti-Daesh coalition, in which Turkey is member.

“The American side, which leads the coalition that Turkey belongs to, knew about the location and time of our planes’ flights, and we were hit exactly there and at that time,” Putin said at a joint press conference with French counterpart Francois Hollande in the Kremlin. ”Why did we give this information to the Americans if they did not pass it along to the rest of the coalition?”

Moreover, Putin dismissed as “rubbish” Turkey’s claim that it didn’t know the nationality of the plane when the Turkish Air Force hit it. “They (Russian military jets) have identification signs and these are well visible,” Putin said and added. “If it was an American aircraft, would they have struck an American?…What we hear instead is they have nothing to apologize for.”

 

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Thousands rally against Erdogan as Turkey mourns deadliest attack

AFP

Associated Press Videos

Raw: Thousands Mourn Victims of Ankara Blast

Raw: Thousands Mourn Victims of Ankara Blast

Ankara (AFP) – Thousands of mourners filled the streets of Ankara Sunday and vented their anger at President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after 97 people were killed in the country’s worst-ever terror attack, while the government raced to identify the two male suicide bombers it blamed for the bloodshed.

Flags flew at half-mast across Turkey on the first of three days of national mourning declared by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, as questions grew over who could have ordered Saturday’s bombings on a peace rally in Ankara.

Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), one of the groups that had organised the rally, said it believes the death toll now stands at 128.

The attacks have raised tensions in Turkey just three weeks before snap elections are due on November 1 and as the military wages an offensive against Islamic State (IS) jihadists and Kurdish militants.

With the country on edge, Erdogan issued a statement condemning the “heinous” bombings and cancelled a planned visit to Turkmenistan but he has yet to speak in public since the attack that shocked the nation.

On Sunday, thousands of demonstrators thronged central Ankara’s Sihhiye Square, close to the blast site by the city’s main train station, to pay tribute to the victims.

Many of those gathered accused the government of failing to provide security at the ill-fated rally and several anti-government demonstrators shouted “Erdogan murderer” and “government resign!”

“I am a mother, I’m worried about my grandchildren, I am marching for our children, for our future. Each time there are people dead, I also die a little,” said Zahide, who like many others carried a pink carnation flower to commemorate the victims.

The premier’s office said 97 people were killed when the bombs exploded just after 10:00 am (0700 GMT) as leftist and pro-Kurdish activists assembled for the rally.

It added that 507 people were wounded, with 160 still in hospital and 65 in intensive care in 19 hospitals.

An AFP correspondent said the scene of the blast was littered with ball bearings, indicating the explosions were intended to cause maximum damage.

– ‘Topple the dictator’ –

In an emotional address to the mourners in Ankara, the HDP’s leader Selahattin Demirtas said that rather than seeking revenge people should aim to end Erdogan’s rule, starting with the upcoming legislative elections.

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Fury towards Erdogan intensifies after Ankara attack

AFP

A Turkish woman argues with police who are blocking the way to the site of the bomb attacks in Ankara, on October 11, 2015
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Ankara (AFP) – Anger towards President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over Turkey’s worst-ever terrorist attack intensified as authorities raced to identify the two male suicide bombers it blamed for the bloodshed.

The streets of Ankara filled with anti-government and pro-Kurdish protesters accusing the government of responsibility for the blast that ripped through a peace rally a day earlier, with several shouting “Erdogan murderer” and “government resign!”In Istanbul on Saturday, a 10,000-strong crowd accused the government of failing to protect citizens by providing security for the event, carrying placards reading “the state is a killer” and “we know the murderers”.

As tributes poured in from world leaders, Selahattin Demirtas, leader of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), was cited as saying “State attacked the people. Condolences recipient should be the people not Erdogan” on the party’s Twitter account.

In an emotional address to mourners in Ankara, Demirtas said that citizens should aim to end Erdogan’s rule, starting with the upcoming legislative elections.

“We are not going to act out of revenge and hatred. But we are going to ask for (people to be held to) account,” he added, saying the vote would be part of a process to “topple the dictator.”

The party believes the death toll now stands at 128, higher than the 97 people the prime minister’s office said were killed when the bombs exploded on Saturday morning as leftist and pro-Kurdish activists assembled by the city’s main train station.

The official toll also said 507 people were wounded, with 160 still in hospital and 65 in intensive care in 19 hospitals.

– Erdogan silent

 

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By ADAM SCHRECK | Associated Press

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s prime minister met with the head of Exxon Mobil on Monday to discuss the firm’s plans in the country, raising the possibility that Baghdad could be mending its dispute with America’s largest oil company.

Exxon is helping to develop one of Iraq’s largest oil fields, but it has infuriated Baghdad by signing separate deals with the OPEC member’s largely autonomous Kurdish region to hunt for crude there too.

Baghdad and the Kurds have been at loggerheads for years over rights to develop Iraq’s vast oil wealth, but tensions have been on the rise in recent months. The Kurds, who have their own armed forces, have signed dozens of deals with foreign oil companies since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Recently, the Kurds began trucking oil pumped from their self-rule region into neighboring Turkey, prompting allegations of smuggling and threats of lawsuits from Baghdad. Iraq’s central government does not recognize the Kurdish agreements, which offer more generous terms than its own. It believes it should manage the country’s oil policy and wants all exports to travel through state-run pipelines.

Iraq announced the meeting between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Exxon Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson in a brief statement following the talks in Baghdad. It offered few specifics, saying that the men discussed the company’s activities and working conditions in Iraq.

Tillerson said Exxon was eager to continue and expand its work in Iraq and “will take important decisions in this regard,” according to the statement.

 

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