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24 June 2010

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Toni

Are the bomb explosions in Istanbul a part of the "punishment"?

confusedponderer

I'm not surprised, because just three days ago the JINSA Report #999 warned me insistently: Suppose Turkey Transfers U.S. Technology and Tactics to Iran and Syria‏.

As a member of NATO, Turkey has access to a wide array of American technology that, if compromised, could spell real danger for U.S. operations in the Middle East and Persian Gulf, and threaten allies that rely on American equipment and training. Turkey's increasingly close relations with Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, Iran and, recently, Russia, should cause the United States to monitor Turkey closely with an eye toward the damage that could be done to American interests.
...
The big risk is that the intelligence services, conflating their very strong hatred of Israel with their support of Israel's - and America's - enemies, will grab equipment and information from the Turkish military and share it with those enemies.

No one can competently say what Turkey is discussing - or sharing - with Hamas and Hezbollah, or with Iran and Syria. Until the Gaza flotilla, Israel did not collect intelligence on Turkey, and it is unlikely the U.S. has paid much attention.
...
Turkey could transfer sensitive systems to America's adversaries
...
... it is true that in some areas, most particularly in Afghanistan, the Turks are making a contribution ... But even this positive is a red flag, because Turkey's close relationship to Iran could pose a serious risk if Ankara and Tehran expand their relationship to cover the evolving situation in Afghanistan and connected with it, Islamic ideological collaboration.

OMG! If we knew what the Turks are really up to ... We do don't know, but if ... OMG! Be very scared! /sarcasm

bold for hypothetical
inverse for hyperbole

DaveGood

The European Union have never heard of either Mike Spence or Shelley Berkley. The European Union could not care less what the hell they ( alledgedly) "think".

DaveGood

Fred

From the Congressman's official bio:

Congressman Pence describes himself as "a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order."

"American" doesn't make the list. If you live in Indiana's 6th Congressional District does he still listen too and represent your interests if you are not a Christian, conservative or a Republican?

http://mikepence.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=54&Itemid=53

b

See also Jim Lobe's documenting piece two weeks ago: Neo-Conservatives Lead Charge Against Turkey

Outraged by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip's Erdogan's repeated denunciations of the May 31 Israeli raid, as well as his co- sponsorship with Brazil of an agreement with Iran designed to promote renewed negotiations with the West on Tehran's nuclear programme, some neo-conservatives are even demanding that the U.S. try to expel Ankara from NATO as one among of several suggested actions aimed at punishing Erdogan's AKP (Justice and Development Party) government.
...

Castellio

Related news: "Arad was barred from entering the U.S. for two years during the Bush administration because of his key role as a Mossad operative in the Rosen-Franklin spy scandal. He is known to have met regularly with Larry Franklin. The Obama administration, wanting to start off on the right foot with Netanyahu after he became prime minister, removed this prohibition. Now, Arad is welcome back in DC despite his checkered past."

Why is Obama worse than Bush in this regard? Will the American people ever regain control of a foreign policy they pay for?

From http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2010/06/24/uzi-arad-israels-dr-strangelove/

different clue

How do we (or someone) launch a counter-narrative fast enough to be successful in the time remaining? A c-narrative about how sometimes we have to put survival above sentiment? About how the relationship with Israel may be special, but the relationship with Turkey is crucial?

It might mention that Saudi Arabia has poor relations with Israel, but Saudi Arabia is too important to estrange; so we don't try to pick Saudi Arabia's friends for it. Likewise, Turkey is too important to estrange (and list the basic reasons), so we have too much to lose by trying to pick Turkey's friends for it.

Matthew

The great thing about being in Congress is you are never individually responsible for damaging the Republic.

Hence, the cynicism shown in Phil's piece.

confusedponderer

David Brog is 'Talking Turkey' to his flock at Hagee's CUFI:

Talking Turkey
...
In recent months, Turkey has leapt to the front of the always fast-moving anti-Israel bandwagon. ... Turkey has been one of Israel’s most treasured allies. ...
...
Yet whether or not Israel could have better managed this relationship – including the recent interception of a Turkish vessel bound for Gaza – it is hard to avoid the conclusion that this decline in relations is a deliberate Turkish policy. For some time now, Turkey’s Islamist Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been distancing his country from Israel and cozying up to Iran, Syria and Hamas. In the process, Erdogan has burrowed to new lows in hypocrisy.

Erdogan was one of the leading critics of Israel’s 2009 Operation Cast Lead, in which Israel sought to stop Hamas terrorists from firing thousands of rockets into Israel’s southern cities and towns. Yet when Turkey suffers so much as one attack, it does not hesitate to strike hard at those responsible. We were reminded of this fact on Saturday, when Turkey retaliated for an attack on a military outpost by the Kurdish group PKK with a series of air raids against Kurdish positions in northern Iraq. Erdogan has vowed to press ahead with the fight against the PKK “until the terrorist organization is eradicated.” Yet he demands that Israel not only refrain from fighting Hamas, but also allow Hamas to be fully restocked and resupplied.

Turkey has criticized Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza despite repeated Israeli offers to hand these territories over the Palestinians – offers which have been consistently rejected. Yet Turkey remains unwilling to even discuss its occupation of almost 40% of Cyprus and the displacement of Greeks from the Turkish zone. Turkey’s occupation is deemed illegal by the European Union and the United Nations and recognized by only one nation: Turkey.

Finally, Turkey has singled out Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians as the most serious of human rights offenses. Erdogan has gone so far as to publicly confront Israel’s President Shimon Peres – a leading Israeli dove – and shout at him: “When it comes to killing, you know well how to kill.” Yet Turkey is famously prickly about anyone trying to criticize its treatment of its Kurdish and Armenian minorities. Turkey reacts with fits of rage every time nations so much as debate recognizing the killing of over one million Armenians at the close of World War I as a genocide.

The three things they will beat the Turks over the head with, accusing them of hypocrisy, will be (i) Armenian Genocide, (ii) Cyprus and (iii) the Kurds. Not that that would justify Israel in any way. It is solely aimed on discrediting and hurting Turkey.

In his effort to paint Turkey as hypocritical Brog goes to some length to paint Turkey as having done a lot of the same things (occupying territory, bombing terrorists etc.) as Israel does. When Israel's actions are right and just, as he suggests, why does he insist on condemning the Turks for the same actions? The answer is simple: Because they are not with Israel, they are thus with the enemy. He would not have made a sound would Turkey still do what he wants them to do. It's purely punitive.

Consequently, Brog is blatantly propagandising - mix the Armenian genocide after WW-I with Turkey's current treatment of minorities today - and imply continuity. Sleazy.

Or take the passage where Brog writes of Turkey wanting "Hamas to be fully restocked and resupplied". Turkey supported the Flotilla and has called to lift the siege to resupply the population with civilian supplies of the sort Israel has thus far been blocking. That's not arming Hamas. It may be tantamount to restocking and resupplying Hamas in Brog's fevered mind, but that doesn't make it so.

And as for those 'repeated Israeli offers to hand these territories over the Palestinians – offers which have been consistently rejected' - the man really has a nerve. Why is it that those ill willed Palestinians continue to refuse Israeli invitations for them to unconditionally surrender? How dare they refuse such generosity!

I could go on but that would only ruin my evening. And in doing so I'd miss the main point about Brog at CUFI:

Brog strikes the right chords with his audience. I have spoken with a few such folks. They believe Brog's narrative. He is preaching to to the choir. He doesn't want to persuade us. CUFI is strictly a mobilisation vessel, not something to win over converts for the cause with.

John Waring

Turkey is doing the United States a favor in taking on Israel. Turkey is doing a better job of furthering our interests in the Muslim world than we are ourselves. In refusing to grant Israel a free hand with the Palestinians, Turkey is acting as an honest broker, a skill the US appears to have misplaced. Turkish policy may be loathed in certain quarters here, but I'll wager that world opinion is in their corner. The Israelis can only indulge in so many acts of stunning egregiousness before they repulse even a jaded and distracted world. Killing nine Turkish citizens in international waters with multiple pistol shots at close range -- such acts do tend to take the blinkers off.

Jose

Just hope Foolbama and our Parliament of Whores do not lose Incirlik Air Base for our forces, wait there is always Manas Air Base...

ritamary

To different clue: seems like an excellent idea to launch a counter-narrative about Turkey. However, where would that counter-narrative be launched from? The New York Times? The Washington Post? CNN? Any other so-called "mainstream" media that would willingly present any sort of information that is not 100% pro-Israel?

confusedponderer

Patrick Seale asks: Can Israel Make Peace With Syria?

With growing insistence, some influential Israelis are beginning to press the Netanyahu government to seek to make peace with Syria -- even if the price-tag is the return of the entire Golan to Syrian sovereignty.

The latest example of this campaign is an interview which Major-General (res.) Uri Saguy, 66, gave on 11 June to the Israeli daily Yediot Aharanot, in which he declared that “I believe that a political agreement between Syria and Israel is a military national interest of the highest order.”
...
He now urges that talks with Damascus should resume. He also criticizes Ehud Barak for not making peace with Syria when, as Prime Minister in 2000, he had the chance to do so -- but backed away. Saguy calls that “a missed opportunity of deep historic significance.”
...
So could President Bashar al-Asad, in these circumstances, conclude a separate peace if Israel were ready to withdraw from the whole of the Golan? He answered this question with great clarity in an important interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica on 25 May.

“If Israel will return the Golan,” he declared, “we cannot say no. But only a comprehensive agreement, which includes the Palestinians, will guarantee real peace… An agreement limited to Syria and Israel will leave the Palestinian issue unresolved. Rather than peace, it will be a truce.” ...
...
Instead, President Bashar is taking comfort in what he describes as “an agreement between Middle Eastern powers to redesign the regional order.” He calls this “a new geostrategic map, which aligns Syria, Turkey, Iran and Russia, brought together by shared policies, interests and infrastructure.”

Very probably, it is precisely the emergence of this new geostrategic map, unfavourable to Israel, which is causing General Uri Saguy and other prominent Israelis to lobby for peace with Syria, even at the cost of returning the Golan.

In that sense, Turkey is not just doing the United States a favour, but Israel as well by forcing them to take overdue steps for their own good.

But forcing Israel to make peace - i.e. returning land - must be unpalatable for the Greater Israel ideologues. If you subscribe to that view Turkey is indeed a grave threat to (Greater) Israel.

In the inimitable words of another ideologue, used totally out of context for comical effect: Vorwärts immer! Rückwärts nimmer! To them all Israel controls is hers and they don't want to give back a bit of it.

Kunuri

Incirlik and US-Turkish relations is safe, there are sufficient numbers of sane and mature people in Turkey who are able to evaluate the current events with an eye on the past, and the other cast on the future.

USA is still seen as the most important economic and strategic ally of Turkey and on a people to people basis Turks and Americans connect on a level far above those of Europeans or any other nation. This special relationship should be cultivated, from the US standpoint, not on a plane of short term and narrow interests, such as punishing Turkey for alleged “Axis Shift” as Turkey becomes a serious economic and political power. Same can be said about the Jews, and Turks anywhere, anytime in the history, the historical special relationship of Turks and Jews is well known. It’s a shame on those who are forgetting that special relationship by confusing the criticisms of the actions of the Israeli government with anti semitism

As my representative Shelley Berkley has now committed to keeping Turkey out of EU, and I wonder how far she could go if she had done the opposite, or kicking Turkey out of NATO, or on a number of other peripheral contentious issues, will have no effect other than really create an “Axis shift”. If the NATO issue is one of leaving Turkey without armaments, Turkey now has a robust defence industry, and money to buy what it can’t produce, yet, or if its rationale is leaving Turkey exposed to Russian aggressions by depriving her NATO protection, Turkey is now serious economic and strategic partners with Russia and cold war is over. The only threat of Russian invasion now, and under way already, by the Russians in shorts and thongs invading the southern beaches and holiday resorts every summer and many of them staying and “going native”.

Is AKP and Erdogan using the worsening of Turkish Israeli relations and championing the cause of the Palestinians for political advantage and worldwide visibility? The answer is a definitive yes, as seen in within Turkish political arena, but it is difficult for any Turk not to respond fervently when issues of nationalism and religion are involved. As it became slowly apparent that EU dream is just that, and there are other alternatives to becoming a member of that elite Christian club, go it alone alternative becomes the logical choice, and Turkey seems to be benefiting from this new direction than being harmed.

For US, a paradigm shift in re evaluating the new Turkey will definitely pay dividends far above the meagre effort it will take to cut down on hubris and concentrate on real real politik.


ting

I recently came across this blog, and I'm impressed by the discourse here. It also gives me the impression of being ahead of the curve in understanding current events.

As a Norwegian I find this campaign against fellow NATO member Turkey to be a bit disheartening. This campaign seems to be on behalf of a non NATO country trying to effect relations within the alliance.

There was a poll conducted shortly after the attack on the flotilla showing that 34% of Norwegians support a boycott of Israel, 10% are personally already boycotting Israel while 30% were opposed to a boycott. Thats 44% vs 30%(+-3.1% margin of error).

If this campaign against Turkey succeeds, what is in store for my country? I think we are strategically less important than Turkey and hence the strategic implications for the alliance is smaller if we are vilified in the US.

Shouldn't NATO or the NATO countries intelligence services play a role in keeping this campaign in check?

I should think that during the cold war there were preparedness plans to deal with such a divide and conquer strategy by a foreign power.

Ps. I'm just a psychology student, so I apologize for being a bit naive.

markfromireland

"As my representative Shelley Berkley has now committed to keeping Turkey out of EU, "

Here's a small hint for her - nobody in the EU gives a damn about some Nevadan congresswoman even if she does represent the first district. If Turkey is going to be kept out of the EU it'll be because some very short-sighted European politicians, mostly in Germany and France*, want it that way.

The last serious push by Americans on the Turkish EU application was from Colin Powell who was pressurising to let them in. He was very publicly told to get lost.

* Plenty of politicians want to keep the Turks out but it's the Germans and French who count.

J

When Israel attacked NATO Turkey, why didn't NATO respond by putting its NATO Six-Shooter to Israel's temple and say 'make my day punk'? Guess NATO didn't want to deal with the stench that would have followed in Israel's drawers because of it.

NATO needs to send a strong message to the thug-of-the-middle-east known as Israel, put its NATO Six-Shooter to Israel's temple and pull the hammer back and mime Clint Eastwood's famous words.

jon

Diplomatic and media conflict with Turkey benefits Israel only insofar as it distracts attention from Israel's other issues, which include the West Bank settlement expansion, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Syria's cooling towards peace settlements, and Israel's own intractable internal dynamics.

Recognition by and trade with Turkey has been very helpful for Israel, one of their diplomatic coups over the past forty years. It is remarkable to see just how far they seem willing to test that relationship.

Turkey represents a critical strategic asset for the West, particularly after the fall of the Shah and the seizure of power by the mullahs. Turkey has proven its value and loyalty over decades of NATO membership. Should Turkey ally itself with Iran or Russia, it would upend the current dynamic balance, and provide a substantial threat to the Mediterranean and Balkans.

Turkey desperately wants to join the EU, which will tie it even more tightly to the West. This effort faces great opposition due to age old ethnic and religious hostilities in Europe. If I was Turkey, I would be purchasing billions in Greek bonds right now as a show of good faith. And I would be trying to resolve Cyprus, finally, perhaps as a joint protectorate to be administered by NATO or the EU.

By sponsoring the flotilla, Turkey has jumped to the fore of the nations aspiring to lead and unite Islam. Memories of Ottoman holdings are surely present. This is beneficial to the mildly Islamic current government.

Turkey is also a neighbor and trading partner with Iran, and needs to maintain cordial relations. But they are also competitors for power and influence.

Perhaps Israel's gambit is to provoke Turkey's government to overreact, which will place EU membership or other assets in jeopardy, in order to provoke a military coup and the return of a nonreligious government that will be less concerned with the Palestinians? What has become of the second flotilla, with Turkey's President amongst the company? It is one thing when Rosencrantz and Guilderstern go missing, and yet another when Hamlet is placed in peril in the second act.

different clue

Ritamary,

That is a very good question. I don't have an answer. I hope we don't yet need an answer because this "Islamizing Turkey turning against the West" is
too new a narrative to have entered the MSM yet, so far as I know. It is easier to strangle a new narrative in its cradle than it is to remove an entrenched narrative from the MSM.

Senator Lugar (R-Indiana)
regards himself as one of the Wise Elders of foreign policy and security. If enough people write to him with their thoughts about how Spence and others need to have this narrative discredited with scorn and ridicule poured upon them; perhaps Lugar will bestir himself to try and help arrange such a Scorn Offensive. Maybe he already
is. Maybe others already are as well.

If this new narrative emerges in personal conversation, perhaps it can be ridiculed with ridiculous replies. "If we break relations with Turkey,
do we have to give back all the Turkish baths? Where will we get our Turkish Taffy?" Such ridiculous comebacks might make the new narrative itself seem ridiculous.

J

Hmm....so Mossad attempted to assassinate Turk PM Erdogan.

'Mossad hit men targeted Erdogan'

"The Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has failed in an attempt to assassinate Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a Jordanian weekly says.

Informed sources in Turkey say that the Mossad plot has been foiled by the country's security forces, al-Manar quoted a report in the most recent edition of the Al-Majd weekly as saying.

There are also reports that Israel has been trying to incite violence inside Turkey by lending support to the militants of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Earlier in June, Sedat Laciner, the head of the International Strategic Research Organization — a Turkish think tank — said Mossad agents and Israeli military retirees had been sighted providing training to PKK militants in Iraqi Kurdistan."

I have the url for the original Al-Majd article cited above, if anybody wants it.

markfromireland

@ jon | 25 June 2010 at 09:21 AM


"Turkey desperately wants to join the EU, which will tie it even more tightly to the West."

This isn't any longer quite correct from what I've been told by people involved in the negotiations on both sides.

The Turks would still like to join, very much, but the increasingly evident hostility to the idea from the European side and the proffering of offers designed to be refused have rather dampened Turkish ardour.

Thus Turkey is now not so much looking "east" as looking to its "near abroad" if I may borrow the phrase.

I rather suspect that this will turn out to be far more beneficial for Turkey than some ½ way house EU membership. I also deeply regret the EU stance Europe will lose out in the long run because of this - and deserves to.


Jackie

Kunuri,
I was talking to a gentleman last week who had spent two weeks in Turkey. He said it was fantastic and the people are really warm and hospitable.

As a contrast to that one, a couple of months ago an older Jewish man in K.C. was telling me he took a trip to Israel once and didn't want to go back because he didn't like the Israelis and thought they were rude.

Charles I

I just heard Erdogan reported as closing Turkish airspace to IDF on CBC radio.

Different clue, this my tireless lament!: " If enough people write. . . "

Get on it people, I'm dashing one off as I catch up here just so's I'm not a hypocrite!

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