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19 February 2016

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kao_hsien_chih

annamaria,

I don't see it. Turkey is a NATO country: if there is a full blown fight breaking out between Turkey and Russia--which Turks seem determined to engineer--all NATO countries are required to come to its aid. There will be a lot of legal contortionist act to get out of obligation if things actually get nasty enough--but that will effectively break NATO's credibility to its own members. My suspicion was and still is that Russia is showing the nuclear card to warn the NATO leaders of the dangerous natural path of escalation if things do get nasty--so that NATO leaders will restrain the Turks. I unfortunately agree with SmoothieX that the warning may well have been lost on Western leaders, and the Erdogan may still engage in further provocations to escalate.

Brunswick

Turk's don't have F-14's either.

Babak Makkinejad

On the Northeast side of Fatih Park, behind the remains of the Valens Aqueduct, there is a pedestrian mall with lots of restaurants and food shops; it reminded me of Iran. It was one of the highlights of my trip to Istanbul.

Babak Makkinejad

Forget about UN, it is irrelevant.

Tidewater

Tidewater to Kunuri,

You said something that has really caught my attention. That there are thousands of Russian expatriates at Antalya, that is, in the sunny Turkish coastal region that resembles Spanish coastal Andalusia at the other end of the Mediterranean, where there are also thousands of expatriates, among them, there, too, many Russians. I didn't realize that. I just noted an article that said there are 70,000 Russian speaking expatriates in the Antalya area. Many of these are from Ukraine. After the Russian plane was shot down, Putin issued orders which block and sanction Russian travel agencies from issuing airplane tickets or setting up tours to Turkey. Understandably, Putin is warning Russians to stay away from Turkey. In recent years Russians have been spending billions every year on vacations in Turkey, which makes the actions of Erdogan all the more strange. The Antalya area faces a deep recession this year. Everything has ground to a halt. These expatriates are an added element to the growing crisis.

If,somehow,fighting started and Turkey began to intern these Russians, I don't think Putin would allow Erdogan to put its nationals in prison camps. Russia would demand embarcation by ship under a flag of truce.

If Turks began to slaughter Russians in Antalya I would assume you could expect nuclear weapons to be used and a Russian military force to invade
that area.

It might be remembered that the 1936 Montreux Treaty did not involve either Italy or the United States. It involves,among others, the six Black Sea countries whose maritime commerce depends upon the straits. Great Britain gave Turkey a very good deal in this treaty because Turkey had to be kept neutral in the war that was coming. Yes,of course, Turkey can close the straits, but this is an act of war against its neighbors. If the Turkish army invaded Syria, the question that would matter would be how long it would take the invader force to get to any of its objectives that would threaten the Russian expeditionary force, its airfields, or its port in the Latakia region. Such an invasion would be, of course, a unilateral declaration of war. It would follow that the straits automatically would be closed by the same unprovoked, unilateral action. Russia would be free to respond in any way it felt appropriate. NATO would do nothing. There are five nations with nuclear weapons which have doctrines that allow the use of nuclear weapons against a conventional enemy force.

If Russia could fight a defensive battle in Syria for a number of weeks, or a month or so,and could hold off a now greatly over-extended and slowed Turkish army using air attacks and stand off missile attacks, destroying for example fuel,ammunition and food supply following behind the force, it could then set in motion a calculated and systematic destruction of carefully chosen Turkish military and economic infrastructure using its air power and cruise missiles. In short, as long as the Turkish army is in Syria and has not accomplished its mission beyond depriving the Kurds of some territory, or in energy wasting efforts at creating a RTP Hitler style Sudetanland, there is the tremendous opportunity for a Putin judo throw. It might only take three or four weeks before world wide uproar would demand the whole thing be wound down. I agree with Fred's comments in this matter. Consider the vulnerablity of Turkish hydroelectric projects; for example, the Southeastern Anatolia Dam Project (GAP); or, as I have previously noted, the Bosphorous suspension bridges. These are national monuments.

It would seem to me that as the ruin rapidly progressed, with the daily destruction of Turkish air and naval assets, the sub base at Bartin bombed, tankers sunk off of Istanbul, the electric power grid badly damaged, lights off, certain tower blocks housing the families of certain very high Turkish officials made uninhabitable, the ministries of certain critical government agencies badly damaged, the villas of certain very prominent leaders along the Bosphorous destroyed in "accidents" --I don't even think I have scratched the surface on what is possible here.

At some point I think the Turkish people would get over their shock and rise up against the Erdogan government. The Turkish army in Syria would have to withdraw under humiliating circumstances. At some point a peace would have to be brokered. Turkey would find it had lost billions and billions in infrastructure and military assets. Turkey would face years of impoverishment. A terrible lesson about the use of military power would have been administered to Sunni Islam. The Russian forces would still be in Syria. Orthodox Greece would be overjoyed and the way forward for a Russian base in Greece or Cyprus would be set. NATO would be stunned. Such a Russian victory would be a warning to Europe to get right with God--meaning Russian Orthodoxy. The godless Anglo-Zionists would have been diminished. Europa would be wondering how to get the American/Zionist monkey off her back.

As for Erdogan's current state of mind: consider the painting by Jean Lecomte du Nouy, c. 1904, now in the Cleveland Museum of Art,called "Sketch for Reve d'orient (The Oriental Dream).(Images.):)

Tel

For what it's worth, Syria has now taken this Turkish shelling to the United Nations, and Russia is (obviously) backing them and escalating to the UN Security Council.

What good it will do? Maybe not much, but I don't believe the US public wants to risk war on behalf of Turkey. I doubt the Euros are enthusiastic either, after the number of refugees Turkey just dumped on them. Having a UN condemnation against Turkey would give NATO a reason to throw their hands in the air and refuse to support aggression. Probably the UN Security Council will not give a unanimous verdict here, but we will find out.

Kunuri

Stephen Kinzer is also a Turkey expert, having lived here for many, many years as a correspondent and journalists. He speaks fluent Turkish with many friends and contacts in the region at the highest levels.

Kunuri

Yes, I always suspected that fundementalists in Turkey are getting foreign advise how to run election compaigns, ground game, grass roots organization and all that, very much like the US election campaigns in which I participated myself as a volunteer several times. The secular and democratic opposition on the other hand, has no clue.

Kunuri

Istanbul is fascinating that way Babak, if you had ventured out a little bit in Fatih District, you may have found yourself in Saaudi Arabia,and in Pera, couple of kilometers away, 19th century France, and the deep alleys of Istiklal, Paris underground scene in the 70s. Or a little ways away, tucked between skyscrapers and ultra modern malls, a typical rundown middle Anotolian town. And the Grand Bazaar will take you into the Ottoman Epmire 18th century, sans slave markets, of course.

Kunuri

There is always a faction among the Kemalists who are for "lets just get over there and end the whole mess once and for all". But the true Kemalists are realists and for peace. Ataturk has said, after having actively been in war for 11 consecutive years of his life, "War, for any reason other than righteous self defense, is bloody murder."

On the other hand, if decisive action means to go get the those who are actually responsible in bringing Turkey into this precipitous situation, I would say "keep your powder dry." Such action may have even worse consequences than actually going to war in Syria.

Tyler

Relevant

http://imgur.com/PAXhuSR

Babak Makkinejad

Grand Bazar is no longer authentic - it is a tourist trap.

Real bazar is in Tehran...

Babak Makkinejad

I think you are wrong to expect the Turkish people to depose Erdogan and AKP in case of a Russo-Turkish War. Rather, they would rally to the flag of Turkey & Islam and depending on the course of that war and its duration, become more and more Islamic.

Ishmael Zechariah

Tidewater,
tayyip and his rubber stamp government/parliment has not yet issued an order for TSK to attack Syria. TSK will NOT act w/out an order which clearly identifies reasons, goals and those who are issuing the order. They remember the Sukhoi case and the subsequent farce. The tayyiban claimed to have issued the order, and then they backtracked when they saw the Russian response. Then a "rouge" pilot belonging to the gulen gang was blamed, and now the issue is not even mentioned... If the attack order is illegal under international law, TSK will refuse it and then things could get interesting in Turkey.
Note that quite a few Turks do not equate artillery attacks on the YPG with attacks on the SAA. It is puzzling that YPG is now supported by both the USA and the Russians. Seems like a precarious situation.
Ishmael Zechariah

Valissa

I just went back and reviewed the top group of comments (still mostly negative)... I can't see any ratings... perhaps because I don't have a subscription. I did't scroll all the way to the end of the comments either to see if there were more supportive ones there.

ex-PFC Chuck

Good to know that. Thanks. I highly recommend the two books of his I've read, which are the ones I mentioned in the above comment. I recently reserved another one that's pertinent to our times at my local library, "Overthrow: America's century of regime change from Hawaii to Iraq." Kinzer wrote it ten years ago.

kao_hsien_chih

The naivete about "democracy" seems widespread among many, both in US and elsewhere. I can understand why people outside the West might be a bit naive about how "democracy" works, that they should often believe that "will of people" somehow automatically exists and implements itself automatically if the government is "democratic"--whatever that means. The enforced naivete among the Western elites about "democracy" often astounds me: many R2Pers are themselves veterans of electioneering campaigns--they are familiar with the various gimmicry and tricks. If they bother to look, they would also see that many semi-democratic governments (Russia, Iran, etc.) are, in most cases, simply very good and ruthless at playing the electioneering games while their oppositions are naive and clueless. Yet, the same bare-knuckles electioneering tactics are taken as evidence that the elections in those (semi-democratic) countries are completely fraudulent. (NB: Often, the problem in semi-democratic countries is not just that the opposition is naive but also that they are forbidden engage in tactics that undermine "democratic norms" by law--which are, obviously, enforced very selectively: this was true in Taiwan and South Korea during authoritarian years.)

Fred

Tidewater,

"... the way forward for a Russian base in Greece or Cyprus would be set. NATO would be stunned."

The grand strategists of the borg probably haven't considered such a possibility since they consider Greece subservient to Brussels since they are part of the EU. I believe they think these sovereign states are subordinate departments of the EU government structure.

jr786

I read through these interesting and insightful comments and from I gather from the links and spoon fed media silliness is that we are the Sleepwalkers this time, even if the process remains the same. Maybe it happens in 100 year cycles, more or less, like some mad, hysterical compulsion to just be utterly stupid and inept.

Babak Makkinejad

Even within the Western Diocletian states; I should think only the English can operate Westminster type of democracy.

Babak Makkinejad

They are subordinates - I agree with that statement. There are degrees to this.

In case of Greeks, they sold their sovereignty last year.

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