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  • What is going on with Turkey (Not Thanksgiving)?

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on November 26th, 2015 (All posts by )

    istanbul

    Turkish F 16s shot down a Russian SU 24, a bomber, after it entered Turkish airspace and did not respond to warnings.

    A U.S. track of the Russian plane shot down by Turkey shows that the plane was inside Turkish airspace for 17 seconds, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports.

    After 10 warnings without a response, a Turkish fighter jet shot the plane down Tuesday. U.S. officials said Wednesday that all of the warnings occurred before the plane entered Turkish airspace, Martin reports.

    What remains unclear is whether the Russian plane was still in Turkish airspace when the F-16 fired, Martin reports. The explosion that brought the warplane down occurred when it was back in Syrian airspace, the U.S. officials said.

    Why did Turkey do this ? One reason may be that the Russians were attacking Turkmen who are opposed to Assad.

    Another is that Turkey is involved in oil trade with ISIS.

    Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who canceled his planned trip to Turkey after the incident, described the shooting down of the Russian plane as a “planned provocation.”

    He said the Turkish action came after Russian planes successfully targeted oil infrastructure used by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, alleging that Turkey benefited from the oil trade.

    Lavrov also said that Turkish territory was used by “terrorists” to prepare attacks in other countries, but offered no details. He said that Russia “has no intention to go to war with Turkey,” but added that Moscow will re-consider its ties with Ankara.

    Turkey has been trending to Islamism since Erdogan took over the government ten years ago.

    President Erdogan also attended the summit, proceeding to speak at the event’s closing ceremony: “Muslim sailors reached the American continent 314 years before Columbus, in 1178. In his memoirs, Christopher Columbus mentions the existence of a mosque atop a hill on the coast of Cuba”. In this way, the Turkish President managed to cause a sensation, while ignoring the fact that mere notion of the ‘discovery of America’ is nothing but a linguistic ploy used to consecrate the European domination of the world from the 16th century onwards and to discount the achievements of the continent’s native populations.

    Richard Fernandez has a theory about why this is happening.

    Charles Krauthaummer argues that since the Turks could not have been spurred into action by such minor Russian intrusion into their airspace, their true motive must have been to signal Moscow to lay off one its proxies, the Turkmen. They were willing to violate the ‘no clash between principals’ rule to emphasize the point.

    This I think sort of highlights that, the Turks are the most opposed to Assad of anybody on the ground. It wasn’t only that the Russian airplane went into Turkish air space. It’s that the bombing run was against Turkmen, who a minority in Syria, ethnically Turkish that the Turks have always felt they have to defend.

    Remember that Turkey and ISIS are both Sunni Muslim and the entire ISIS movement began as a Sunni reaction to the extreme provocation of the Sunnis by the Pro-Iran government of Iraq.

    The challenge has been Russia’s focus on propping up Assad rather than focusing on ISIL. … Until that happens, it’s very difficult. It’s difficult because if their priority is attacking the moderate opposition that might be future members of an inclusive Syrian government, Russia is not going to get the support of us or a range of other members of the coalition.

    Putin’s reaction to the incident on the occasion of his meeting with the King of Jordan describes the same strategic picture, albeit viewed from the other side of the lines.

    Obama is basically an ally of Iran and that may be why he withdrew US forces that might have imposed discipline on the Iraqi government. In that sense, ISIS was created by Obama as the Sunnis had nowhere else to go. Turkey has little incentive to fight ISIS as they share Sunni religious affiliation and have no love for the Kurds and other anti-Assad forces. They certainly have little love for Shia Islam, of which Alawite is a form.

    The differences between Russia and the West are also a a major factor in our dilemma.

    Anybody who has met actual Russians knows how little they, even the cultured ones, have been touched by post-modern Western mores on race, gender, and sexuality. They remain comfortable with the tough, ugly, dog-eat-dog world we have. I have tried on multiple occasions to explain “trigger warnings” to educated Russians, but they never believe me and burst out laughing. What causes this — Communism? Byzantinism? Tsarism? something in Russian water and/or DNA? — is debatable but that Russians simply live in a different mental universe than twenty-first century Westerners do is not.

    No matter what we wish to see they are not like us. We are getting further and further from any common culture.

    Putin and Putinism represent a direct challenge to the post-modern way of life that has become normative, especially among educated Westerners since the 1960’s. A worldview that prefers soft, feminine values to tougher masculine ones, that finds patriotism risible, that believes there is nothing worth dying for, has little to say when the monsters we firmly believed were safely behind the fortress walls, lurking hungrily, turn out to be on our doorstep, and the front door is unlocked.

    What can we expect to see in the future ?

    Putin is clearly holding Washington accountable for keeping Turkey to the proxy war rules. The most singular thing about the president’s press conference was how completely he avoided addressing the issue of whether Erdogan was a loose cannon. Instead he flew off into the most bizarre tangent possible at such a moment.

    next week, I will be joining President Hollande and world leaders in Paris for the global climate conference. What a powerful rebuke to the terrorists it will be when the world stands as one and shows that we will not be deterred from building a better future for our children.
    But there was no indication he was taking the Turkish wolf or the Russian bear in hand. Both were left to roam in the wild for the present. Interestingly, it was the French president, not Obama, who was most alive to the danger.

    The French have had a rude lesson in nationalism and self interest. We have no leadership that seems willing to accept this as a warning.

    The WEIRD take on Putin has been perfectly captured by a piece in The New York Times Magazine, authored by just the self-absorbed, nebbishy sort who both writes and reads the Grey Lady. The author, a Russian Jew who came to America as a child, covers his subject with roughly the same dispassion as a Palestinian would write about Israelis. To learn what makes Putin’s Russia tick, the author submitted himself to a week of non-stop Russian TV, while holed up in a swanky Manhattan hotel, fed with room service finery to counteract all the Kremlin agitprop.

    Lots Seinfeld-y inside jokes about calling therapists ensue, amidst constant jibes about how latently homosexual Putin and his testosterone-driven Russia really are. What comes through clearly, however, is that popular culture under Putin has created a mindset that is nationalist and firmly anti-Western in virtually every way; at times, it drips with hatred towards the West, seeing nefarious plots against Russia everywhere. That Russians are a bunch of uncouth idiots is made obvious. But the crux of the matter, as revealed in the piece’s title, “Out of My Mouth Comes Unimpeachable Manly Truth,” is that Russia has simply opted out of the post-modern Western way of life, emphasizing outmoded values such as masculinity, faith, plus traditional sex and gender roles, in a thoroughly atavistic manner.

    The US seems to be the one with a weak sense of self preservation. At least the left-leaning coastal elites have little sign of “manly virtues.”

     

    34 Responses to “What is going on with Turkey (Not Thanksgiving)?”

    1. PenGun Says:

      I’ll explain. The American Empire is ending. That’s a fact. China will take over as the preeminent power on Earth and America will have to take second place sometime in the coming century.

      In the Ukraine is pretty obvious that the CIA engineered yet another regime change. The reason for this was the ongoing good relations the Europeans and Russians had established. Left unchecked the combination of Europe and Russia happily trading and cooperating would create another block with more economic power than the the good ol USA.

      In the Middle East the various players are being played to block the Russian oil wealth. The Saudis, now led by a lunatic, are onside to use their wealth to keep prices down to hurt one of Russia’s main sources of money. The ISIS ploy is pretty genius and is very useful. Well it was until Vlad accepted Assad’s invitation to intervene in Syria. Now after the attack by another mad leader on Russia’s plane, they are in for blood now, not just the strategy. This may be the biggest mistake the west has made. You can be sure the US was in the loop for this attack and is now watching the fallout from it.

      The Russians understand all the above. They have decided to fight the long game the US is playing. Intervening in Syria is another genius move and we’ll see who can ride this tiger most effectively.

    2. Bill Brandt Says:

      Something besides the actual 17 second incursion motivated the Turks to shoot down the plane. I have no love for Putin but the reason for the shoot down seemed flimsy when I first read of it.

      Good article; my money is on the Turkmen. I wonder if the Russians will continue to attack them.

      What a mess and largely preventable had Obama kept a residual force in Iraq.

      There was a good article on the origins of ISIS in, I think, Time Magazine – at the time al-Zarqawi was killed, there were 400 members – all grown with Obama’s vacancy of Iraq.

      http://time.com/4030714/isis-timeline-islamic-state/

    3. Jason In LA Says:

      According to Time’s timeline, on July 24, 2015 Turkey launched airstrikes against ISIS in Syria. If true that’s a curious way for an alleged sympathetic government to treat ISIS. Or are there certain elements within ISIS that Turkey targeted?

      As one who has a few Russian expatriate friends living in California I’m struck by the sense of Russian nationalism the SU-24 downing has stirred in them. They are rallying around Putin.

    4. askeptic Says:

      I believe the Turks have several Centuries of reasons to dislike the Russians.

    5. Mike K Says:

      “July 24, 2015 Turkey launched airstrikes against ISIS in Syria.”

      That’s a good question. Are we sure they were aimed at ISIS ? That is a very complex part of the world.

    6. Grurray Says:

      Turkey used those ostensible airstrikes on ISIS as cover to attack the Kurds in western Anatolia and to stop the Syrian Kurds from advancing past the Euphrates. They dropped a few bombs onto empty land in ISIS territory while they killed dozens of Kurds.

    7. Sgt. Mom Says:

      And, Askeptic, a good few centuries-worth of reasons for the Russians to hold a grudge against Turkey, as the remnant of the Ottoman Empire.
      And Moscow does claim to be (one of) the successors of Rome.

    8. Grurray Says:

      Sorry- eastern Anatolia.
      Typing on my phone in between football games

    9. brer rabbit Says:

      The first thing to do today is show your kids and family the Duck ‘n Cover videos from the 50s and 60s, That way if they see a bright flash TOMORROW they will know what to do. If not (if the burst is more than 10 miles away) the kids will be blind if they look at the fireball and they will have a very bad sunburn and their skin will falloff. If your family is closer than 10 miles to ground zero, they will be dead.

      These results are based on Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well as tests in Nevada and Pacific during the 50s..

    10. Tyouth Says:

      Am I wrong in thinking that, if Syrian Muslim rebels came to power, they would be every bit as tyrannical, bloody, and anti-liberal as Bashar al-Assad’s people are? If that is so then Russia serves the rest of the world’s interests in propping up the secular (and otherwise unaffiliated) dictator.

    11. Jonathan Says:

      Jennifer Dyer:

      I’ve given the reason, in my post, why I think the Turks chose the option of shooting it down instead of de-escalating, as they did before. FWIW, I don’t think the Turks are lying about the air space violation. I do question whether they needed to pull the trigger in this incident.
       
      Things like this underscore the hazards of not having an atmosphere of boundaries and leadership in international security. A he-said/she-said situation should never have to be parsed to decide who the good guys are, and whether there’s a pretext for war.
       
      In this situation, frankly, we have two guys who need supervising, but who can be contributing members of global society if they have good leadership from the US. Erdogan is driving Turkey off the rails, but that doesn’t mean Turkey, per se, is a “bad guy.” Putin is making menacing moves against the NATO West — with which he supposedly wants to make common cause against Islamism — but that doesn’t mean Russia, per se, is a “bad guy.”
       
      The real problem in the whole mix is that Obama is using America to leave everyone else feeling insecure, and like there’s an opportunity now to act out everyone’s most aggressive aspirations.
       
      It’s like the cops and the city council are off getting drunk together and plotting how to finish stealing everything the taxpayers have, and the street gangs who have the poor people under their thumbs are seeing the biggest opportunity of their lifetimes.

    12. Tyouth Says:

      Brer Rabbit, just to add to your depressing comment: It might not be a bad idea to have Betadine (a quart or two?-I’m not sure how long one would need to apply it; probably depends on a number of factors) or any 2% iodine solution in the medicine cabinet. I’m told that 1/2 tbsp twice daily on the tummy (externally) protects one from radiation (specifically Iodine 131, a major nuclear detonation product).

    13. Grurray Says:

      This isn’t just about over-escalating proxy wars.
      Russia has been violating Turkish airspace, and they have an interesting reason for doing it

      http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/russian-overflight-of-turkey-more-than-meets-the-eye

      Hatay province contains Antioch, the city where Christianity began. The Russians appear to be reviving their old role as protectors of Christians in the Ottoman Empire.

    14. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      BTW, I hadn’t realized Istanbul was a commercial spaceport. Lots of stuff up on the launchpads too.

    15. Richard Says:

      Let’s not overlook the Russian “naval base” in Syria, which together with the Crimea, moves Russia toward its historic foreign policy goal of attaining a warm water port.

      Not there yet, but closer than Peter the Great.

    16. Robert Schwartz Says:

      The Russian Jew who wrote the NYT article cited above is Gary Shteyngart. He has a literary reputation in New York literary circles which means that the NYT finds him acceptable. Whether he became a NYT lefty to achieve literary success, or became a lefty because of his success is not important. He is not a representative of his community.

      My mother was a “Russian Jew”*. She left the Soviet Union at the age of 12 in 1936. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, she sponsored the immigration of 45 family members. I know these people fairly well. They are not liberals or leftists in the American political spectrum, and have no sympathy for the obsessions of that bunch. They also think that Putin is a fascist. They don’t like him.

      *Russian Jew is an oxymoron. In the Soviet Union, your identification showed your nationality. You might be Russian or you might be Jewish, but you could not be both. My mother was born in Ukraine, at home, her parents spoke Russian, and her grandparents spoke Yiddish. She was educated in Russian. Her family who later emigrated were all educated in Russian and spoke Russian. My mother loved the Russian language and Russian literature. She earned a PhD in Russian, and taught it for many years. She did not like ethnic Russians. She thought they were fascistic, anti-Semites, and drunks.

    17. Robert Schwartz Says:

      As for the Turks, F&%$#@ ’em. Turkey is Islamist, Anti-American, and Anti-Israel. Like their neighbors in Greece, Turkey has no strategic or economic utility to the US. Turkey has provided no assistance to the US in any of our middle eastern misadventures. This is their problem and they get to solve it. If they can’t appease Russia, let the Russians do with the Turks as they will. It boots us not.

    18. Jonathan Says:

      Turkey is Islamist, Anti-American, and Anti-Israel.

      This is true of Turkey under Erdogan in the same way that it was true of Egypt under Morsi. So, is it better for us to write Turkey off or to encourage the Turks to select better leaders?

    19. Jim Says:

      To Tyouth – Anybody who succeeds in ruling the geographical area called “Syria” as a unitary political entity will be a despot whose concern for human rights will differ little from that of Assad.

    20. Jim Says:

      Americans would be much better off if the US were to disengage from its involvement in the endless conflicts of the Middle East. Let the Arabs, Turks, Jews, Kurds, Persians etc. butcher each other to their hearts content. They’ve been doing that for many centuries past and no doubt for many centuries to come. We live on the other side of the globe and there is no good reason for us to be involved. If the Russians want to stick their dick in this meat-grinder who cares?

    21. Grurray Says:

      I’ve known some Pakistani Muslims, mostly from school and work (engineering and technical professions). I just figured they were the same as all the Muslims I saw in the news. It wasn’t until recently that I learned they were Sindhi
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sindhi_diaspora
      They seemed to assimilate fine. There should be a qualification for ethnic groups, but I’m not sure if there’s a genetic test for that.

    22. Jonathan Says:

      Americans would be much better off if the US were to disengage from its involvement in the endless conflicts of the Middle East.

      Isn’t that what Obama has been doing?

    23. Mike K Says:

      “As for the Turks, F&%$#@ ’em.”

      I kind of agree. We have considered Turkey an ally, first because they gave us a base near southern Russia where we had ICBMs way back in the 50s. In those days, ICBMs needed better accuracy and close was better.

      Second, we thought Ataturk’s Turkey was a window on Islam that might lead to “Islamic Reformation.” It hasn’t. Turkey is going the other way. I was there in 2006 and it seemed the secularization was still in motion but I think it has changed and I am not interested in going back to find out.

      Third, we needed the oil of the Middle East. We don’t anymore. Europe still does because of their antiquated laws on mineral deposits which have prevented the fracking revolution we see. Europe and China can figure out an accommodation with Islam to get the oil. The Russians are also providing an alternative but they are asking a high price and may not be reliable.

      The other factor is still there and that is that this is a conflict of civilizations. Muslims hate our society and seem to want to do us harm even if we leave them alone. Some of that is recognition thatchy are not a successful civilization. Islam began as a raiding culture that attacked and stole from caravans passing through their territory. They made nothing. The supposed history of cultural success, like “Arabic numbers” or the invention of paper are all myths that involve inventions of other societies stolen by Arab raiders. The Chinese invented paper and much metallurgy, although much was forgotten bent time Europeans got to China in any numbers. Arabic numbers were Hindu and Algebra was known to early Mesopotamian civilization. The ancient Egyptians invented geometry to measure fields after the Nile flood, and so on.

      However, the North Koreans and North Vietnamese did not follow us hime. Once they had their own country secured as they saw fit, they spent time oppressing their own people. The Muslims seem to want to convert everybody to their 7th century religion. It is insanity to invite these people here. They have made their own society a disaster and show no sign of realizing why.

      The Palestinians have success sitting next door with Israel which in the past has offered to share the knowledge and industry they are capable of creating in that desert. So what do Palestinians do ? They blow themselves up to kill Jews.

      Grurray, your comment about Pakistanis is interesting and maybe there are subsets of these people worth knowing but England has not had a success importing Pakistanis.

    24. Mike K Says:

      Grurray, this may explain a lot.

      Following the independence in 1947, most of the Sindhi Hindu community migrated to India. Today, there are over 3.8 million Sindhis living in India.[2] Most of these Sindhi migrants have established settlements in Western India.

    25. Mrs. Davis Says:

      Americans would be much better off if the US were to disengage from its involvement in the endless conflicts of the Middle East.

      Isn’t that what Obama has been doing?

      Not at all. He has shifted our alliance from traditional Sunni states to Shia states at the direction of the greatest power behind the throne in American hisotry, Valerie “the Iranian” Jarrett. We are no less involved than we have been since 1945.

    26. Robert Schwartz Says:

      “is it better for us to write Turkey off or to encourage the Turks to select better leaders?”

      Write them off. Erdogan famously said that democracy is like a bus, when you get to your stop, you get off.

      Further, The secular opposition was centered in the military, which Erdogan has very carefully neutered. His main opponent is a Muslim preacher named Muhammed Fethullah Gülen who lives in exile from Turkey in a small town 20 mi north of Allentown/Bethlehem PA. I.e., he is not much of a threat.

      But the main point is: “Turkey has no strategic or economic utility to the US”. The same could be said of the entire Black Sea circle.

      We should not run the risk of conflict with the Russians because Mr. Macho Man Erdogan wants to pick a fight that he cannot win, so he is counting on us to bail him out.

      The Russians are not our friends. Indeed in many postures they are our enemy. But, conflicts with nuclear powers should limited to spaces where we have clear and understood national interests. Turkey is not one of those places.

    27. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Shorter version. The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend, he may just be an @$$#01e who is out to cause trouble for everyone.

    28. Mike K Says:

      conflicts with nuclear powers should limited to spaces where we have clear and understood national interests.

      Fernandez puts it even more succinctly.

      The clash between the Turkish Air Force and Russia is dangerous because it violates the first rule of proxy warfare which is principals don’t fight principals. The whole point of proxy warfare is that only the seconds are allowed to cross swords. The duelists are forbidden from engaging each other directly, a convention intended to limit the scope of war.

    29. Jim Says:

      To Mrs. Davis – I wish it were the case but Obama has pretty much continued past involvements and started new ones such as intervening in Libya and become deeply involved in the civil war in Syria. These policies of Obama had created even more chaos and turmoil producing now a flood of refugees threating Europe.

    30. Jim Says:

      I meant to direct the above to Jonathan.

    31. Jason In LA Says:

      Would Turkey have fired on that Russian warplane were it not a member of NATO? And has ISIS found refuge under NATO’s article 5?

    32. Sgt. Mom Says:

      Not an expert in this, but if Turkey is planning to take shelter under the cloak of NATO membership from Russian retaliation after covertly supporting ISIS … and don’t forget blocking the US Forces from linking up with the Kurds in Northern Iraq at the start of the Iraq War … that would take the prize for sheer brass neck.
      About the only certainty I can see in this will be that Obama will pick the worst of all possible courses, diplomatically and militarily. And that he will blame everyone else but him for the bad result. Whatever the bad result will be.

    33. brer rabbit Says:

      RT and Sputnick suggest that the NATO states will remove Turkey from NATO membership because it bought ISIS oil stolen from Iraq and Syria in order to give ISIS the money it needs to promote terrorism and drive refugees out of Syria. They name Turkey and the US as they cause of the refugee problem.

      The NATO European members will give Russia NATO membership. Currently France, UK, Germany are hunting buddies with Russia chasing ISIS. Greece and Italy and some Eat European countries support Russia. The plan is to eliminate the NATO alliance because it no longer has an enemy. Communism has been rejected by Russia and China and the US is the only remaining country with dreams of world domination.

      US dominated NATO has encircled Russia with troops and armor stationed in 9 different countries and holds regular war games practicing invading Russia. NATO has to act quickly to force Russia into a war before the alliance gets dissolved. The European countries realize that if NATO succeeds then the NATO members will become the battle ground.

      This is the Russian POV which Europe leadership is beginning to adopt. So far, the European press prints the same propaganda as the US press.

    34. Grurray Says:

      Mike, being subjects of the Anglosphere possibly a factor? Maybe that should be part of the screening for potential refugees.