— LucidHurricane™✘ (@LucidHurricane_) July 31, 2016
— People's Daily,China (@PDChina) August 1, 2016
Speaking on the telephone last week to 'W the Intelligence Insider' from his missile silo bunker in the great American Pacific Northwest, I noted the remarkable speed at which Turkey's neo-Ottoman Sultan president turned dictator was pivoting towards Russia and the Eurasian alliance that includes China and Iran. The Russia Analyst said this surely wasn't due to any sort of love lost between Putin and Erdogan personally, as the two men plan to meet in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi on August 9, but rather due to pure realpolitik. Though it should also be said here, that Moscow and Ankara aren't wasting any time in terms of restoring the tourist and construction if not agricultural trade between the two countries, as well as through cultural and sporting initiatives. On August 31, the soccer stadium in the once popular with Russian tourists Mediterranean city of Antalya will host a friendly match between the Russian and Turkish national soccer teams.
Yet as we said on the phone with 'W' pro-Kremlin and Russian nationalist media like the Alexandr Dugin-led think tank Katehon are embracing and promoting Ankara's Narrative that the failed mid-July coup d'etat against Erdogan was a U.S. operation run by Turkey's NATO rapid reaction force commanders. Whatever one thinks of the Sultan engaging in a purge that would make the infamously paranoid Joseph Stalin proud or his arrests of suspected coup plotters' relatives, many individuals in the alternative media who do not approve of Erdogan's Islamization of Turkish society or suppression of the press such as former FBI translator and whistleblower Sibel Edmonds or James Corbett concur that Washington was ultimately behind the aborted putsch.
— LucidHurricane™✘ (@LucidHurricane_) July 31, 2016
It has reached the point where Erdogan is ranting that Washington, by which he meant Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, is far more concerned about the fate of coup plotters who were its 'interlocutors' than the hundreds of people dead because of the coup. It has also reached the point where the base commander at Incirlik was probably relieved this past weekend to know that it was only 7,000 Turkish cops massing outside the base gate and not an angry mob of Erdogan supporters burning American flags and chanting "Allahu Akbar, terrorist USA go home".
“Erdogan blasted the West for criticizing the massive purge of Turkey’s military and other state institutions which has seen 60,000 people detained, removed or suspended over suspected links with the coup and for cancelling 50,000 civilian passports which many worry is but a prelude to an expansion of the reign of terror inside the country.
”The attitude of many countries and their officials over the coup attempt in Turkey is shameful in the name of democracy,” Erdogan told hundreds of supporters at the presidential palace in Ankara.
”Any country and any leader who does not worry about the life of Turkish people and our democracy as much as they worry about the fate of coupists are not our friends,” said Erdogan, who narrowly escaped capture and perhaps death on the night of the coup.
The statements come in response to US National Intelligence Director James Clapper’s statement on Thursday that the purges were harming the fight against Daesh in Syria and Iraq by stripping away key Turkish officers who had worked closely with the United States.”
During our conversation 'W' laughed and said that of course Putin wants to remove Turkey as a potential base for a last desperate bid by Washington to forcefully intervene against the Assad government in Syria. To have the opportunity to not necessarily turn Turkey into a Russian ally but at least make the second largest military in NATO neutral towards Russia is one no shrewd Kremlin leader, least of all one as cunning as Putin, would pass up.
As John Helmer writes in the extensive quote from his website Dances With Bears we share below, Turkey's Bosporus Straits have been an abiding Russian strategic interest for 300 years dating back to the Tsars Peter and his successor Catherine the Great, who conquered Crimea from the Ottoman-allied Tatars. Neutralizing Turkey not only opens the door to the resumption of the Turkstream gas pipeline being constructed to Greece via Thrace, it also removes the most vital piece of NATO's Black Sea strategy.
If the Turks are exercising with rather than simulating battles against Russia's Black Sea Fleet, any NATO plan to militarize that narrow body of water against Moscow's resurgent Black Sea Fleet based in Crimea lies in tatters. A NATO 'Black Sea fleet' without the Turkish Navy consisting of old Soviet-built Ukrainian, and Romanian rust buckets is a joke (Bulgaria's PM has already bowed to the Russophilia of Bulgaria's Orthodox Christian majority, and said no to his country joining). But the most important short term Russian consideration is this: even if the neocons succeed in electing Hillary Clinton president of the United States, removing Incirlik or other Turkish air bases from the picture effectively makes even a limited, Russian base-skirting U.S. No Fly Zone over Syria infeasible if not logistically prohibitive.
With Turkey opting out (as it did from the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq), Jordan is unlikely to risk greater spillover of the jihadists in Syria onto its own territory by giving Washington the green light to use its bases for strikes on Assad's troops. Meaning only bases in NATO European countries (which does not include the Greek or Turkish occupied portions of Cyprus) or in the Persian Gulf nations of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait would be available to CENTCOM. But what if the Iranian-backed Iraqi government in Baghdad refuses to open its airspace to U.S. planes attacking Assad government targets? What if it went even further than saying 'no' and actually threatened U.S. jets with Iraq's American supplied F-16s or Russian/Iranian supplied SAMs if they violated Iraq's air space while bombing Syrian troops? Fourteen years after the devastating 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, such a development -- being effectively blocked by the government Washington installed in Baghdad -- would be incredibly ironic.
— Leith Abou Fadel (@leithfadel) July 30, 2016
True, the U.S. could use carrier aviation based in the Mediterranean to launch air strikes on Assad government forces as Hillary's prospective Secretary of Defense Evelyn Farkas has advocated, but U.S. carriers in the eastern Med are vulnerable to Russian made Syrian or even Iranian anti-ship subsonic and supersonic missiles. Furthermore, even if Russia's powerful S400 air defense system or short range Pantsir systems do not engage the American jets, 'Syrian' manned and Syrian flagged BUKs or Iran's newly delivered Russian-made S300 system could deploy under Russian military protection to Damascus, government held Aleppo or other parts of the country. Meaning US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets would be shot down and the Russians would likely be in contact with their American counterparts about the downed U.S. pilots in Syrian or Hezbollah hands. Such a scenario playing out in the minds of the Joint Chiefs of Staff may lead them to nearly revolt against a POTUS Hillary! air war on Assad, just as Gen. Martin Dempsey undermined CINC Obama's plans for strikes on the Syrian Arab Army in August 2013.
In short, as the Guerrilla Economist likes to say, checkmate Putin -- again. Removing Turkey from the war against Assad's government is coffin nails to the neocons plans to confront Russia in Syria and to carve out a U.S. 'moderate rebel' held Salafi enclave from the war torn Levantine nation. The pending downfall of the 'moderate' jihadis who are preventing civilians from fleeing eastern Aleppo and using them as human shields from Russian bombs is further proof that Russia, Iran and Damascus are accelerating their offensives against Washington's pet Salafists. The Eurasian axis wants to deny the Americans Bosnia-style enclaves from which they could launch future jihadist offensives against Assad or Russian forces stationed in the country once their Saudi-bankrolled champion Hillary! takes office.
Even if the hybrid war against Moscow and Beijing can be shifted from Syria where Washington has failed miserably to other theaters of operations like Ukraine or the South China Sea, Turkey's turn against NATO and towards hardline Islamist authoritarianism presents the Alliance with a long term headache. Either NATO kicks Turkey out of the Alliance (a briar patch many Turkish Eurasianists and Erdogan loyalists would be happy to be thrown into, as they would rush to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization instead) or NATO's rhetoric about every member being a democracy and freedom gets undermined by the Sultan's huge purge. Here's how Cato Institute foreign policy libertarian and longtime NATO critic Ted Galen Carpenter puts it:
“The attempted military coup in Turkey sent shock waves through NATO. No matter how the coup turned out, it would have bad news for the alliance. If the attempt had succeeded, NATO would have faced the embarrassment of having a member governed by a military dictatorship. Although that type of situation was tolerated during the Cold War (with respect to founding member Portugal, several military regimes in Turkey, and the brutal Greek junta from 1967 to 1974), matters are much different in the current environment. Since NATO portrays itself as an alliance of enlightened democracies, tolerating a dictatorial member now would be so politically toxic as to be nearly impossible.
That is likely a significant reason why the United States and other key NATO powers opposed the coup and quickly expressed support for the President Erdogan’s government. But Erdogan’s victory over an extraordinarily inept coup plot did not signal a victory for a truly democratic Turkey. Instead, his government has used the incident to purge not only the military, but the judiciary and the educational system of thousands of opponents. The extent and speed of the purge confirms that Erdogan simply used the attempted coup as a pretext for a plan long in place. NATO still confronts the problem of a member state that is now a dictatorship in all but name. That is likely to be unpalatable to several fellow members and cause serious tensions and divisions in the alliance.”
‘Waiting until October’: Turkey issues ultimatum to EU over visa-free travel https://t.co/KV1lJWhUyP
— RT (@RT_com) July 31, 2016
Everyone working for NATO wants to think of and portray themselves as the good guys, rather than ruthless pragmatists or authoritarians in the mold of Erdogan. But that job becomes harder when Hungarian and German if not Polish or Balt journalists are asking the Alliance's spokesmen and women questions about what exactly Erdogan would have to do domestically to be kicked out of the bloc or to see Turkish membership suspended. More shoot to kill enforced curfew lock downs and collective punishments of Kurdish civilians in reprisals for PKK attacks that are killing a dozen Turkish soldiers and policemen per week? More torture of jailed soldiers and 'confessions' beaten out of commanders? Public executions of coup plotters both real and imagined? Jailing the teenage children or wives of the 'traitors' buried in the 'traitors cemetaries' of Istanbul?
What about European Union, which cannot accept as a member any state that practices the death penalty? When does the EU reach the point at which it sanctions Turkey for the kind of human rights abuses and mass arrests that Putin's critics imagine the Russian leader engages in? Sooner or later the double standard and the EU's weakness and constantly being under the threat of Turkish blackmail via the Muslim refugee spigot becomes obvious to all but the most fanatical and detached from reality Atlanticists and EUrocrats. At which point NATO will either have to admit that it's content to keep a dictatorship in the fold -- because southern flank against 'Russian aggression'! -- or cut bait and 'suspend' Turkish membership in the Atlanticist Pact for public relations and geopolitical (read: getting too close to Russia) reasons.
Either way, the status quo in U.S./EU-Turkish relations is unsustainable and there won't be a return to business as usual now that Erdogan and his loyalists have all but accused the U.S. military at Incirlik and the CIA direct involvement in the failed coup. The Guerrilla Economist speaking on the July 28, 2016 "Mornings with V" program was and is correct. The failed, incompetently executed coup is not only an example of Washington's minions losing their grip on events and once superb skills at overthrowing democratically elected governments -- it's also the most important geopolitical development of July if not this year, sealing as it does the fate of most Syrian jihadis if Turkey abandons them. And this is also a textbook example for future historians of Washington's loss becoming Moscow's gain:
“Military sources believe Erdogan’s position is still far from assured. “The numbers and the spread of the purges tell you this is a continuous coup, which could turn into ethnic or communal revolts at any time, or civil war. Russia is positioning itself, as it did in the past, in favour of the stability of the Turkish state – right now this means Erdogan. The Kremlin is against breakup. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, a weak Turkey meant to Moscow that Russia’s enemies gained control of the vital Russian interests of the time, such as the [Dardanelles/Bosporus] Straits.”
Greek, Cypriot and Russian sources questioned about the current course of events say the principal Russian objectives are obvious. Erdogan should stop the export of jihadis, ISIS, and sedition towards the Russian Caucasus in the form of the Chechens. He must also stop his regime-changing tactics in Syria, and not less in the Balkans and in Central Asia. The sources believe that in his current predicament Erogan is a better bet for the Kremlin than the Turkish military, or the so-called Kemalist or Gulenist political groups, encouraged by the US. If the pro-American or NATO elements can be uprooted and destroyed, Russia is bound to feel more secure — so long as Erdogan’s Sunni Islamic orientation will make its peace with Russia, as the Shiites of Iran and Iraq are doing.
According to a Russian military historian, “Putin today can’t be different from the Tsar [Nicholas II] in 1914. Unpredictability and instability in Turkey are threats to Russia, because they let more powerful enemies in.” For a western historian’s conclusion on the same point, read this [https://www.amazon.co.uk/Towards-Flame-Empire-Tsarist-Russia/dp/1846143810].
Political economists in Moscow see the reciprocal benefit for Moscow and Ankara if the South Stream (aka Turkish Stream) gas pipeline project can be revived. Gazprom will assure the sale of larger volumes of gas south and westwards; Turkey can benefit from becoming an energy hub, not only for Russian gas, but also for new flows from Israel, perhaps Lebanon, potentially even Cyprus.
A well-known Cypriot analyst observes: “Yes, Cyprus is better off, though the situation around us is tragic. At least, hegemony, western hegemony, is finished. This is good because a large part of the [Cyprus] problem came from that [Anglo-American] hegemony and its efforts to maintain itself. Their subversion of Arab modernization has been the greatest crime of the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century.”
“Back to Cyprus — with multiple guarantees, not only from the west, and with Turkey more autonomous, and no longer the pawn of anybody, the guarantees for [reunified] Cyprus will be more realistic. They will reflect the real balance of power geographically, and also of the future.”
There is regional support for Putin’s rapprochement with Erdogan, even among the bitterest historical enemies of the Turks. They view the Kremlin as a more reliable curb on Turkish military adventures and expansion than the Americans, British or NATO have proved to be. Says the Cypriot analyst: “Natural gas is the future of Cyprus for all political wings. But moving the economy right now are tourism, and the increasing role of Russian capital, and also the small but growing Russian community. Russia has multiple roles to play in Cyprus. It is probably the force that appeals to the broadest cross-section of the people — to the masses on the left; lately to the centre, and to a section of the [Greek Orthodox] religious right, after almost a century, though they aren’t an autonomous force themselves yet. If now Russia becomes friends with Turkey, then we may even have Turkish Cypriot friends.””
— BANKSTER SLAYER (@banksterslayer) August 1, 2016
And why not? What's a Silk Road without Constantinople?
— BANKSTER SLAYER (@banksterslayer) August 1, 2016