Germany warns it could pull its NATO troops out of Turkey base

Source: Spacewar

 

Berlin on Monday slammed Ankara’s refusal to allow German lawmakers to visit a NATO base near Syria and warned it could move its troops elsewhere.

The German foreign ministry described as “absolutely unacceptable” Turkey’s latest ban on a visit to the Incirlik base in southern Turkey, used by the international coalition fighting the Islamic State group.

Germany has about 250 military personnel stationed there, flying Tornado surveillance missions over Syria and refuelling flights for partner nations battling IS jihadists. Continue reading

Great Power Realignment – To Russia?

  • As the Russians insist that the Assad government is the only legitimate government, all anti-Assad fighters — ISIS, al Qaeda-related, or U.S.-backed or Turkish-backed “moderates” — are, by definition, terrorists.
  • Russian — and in particular Syrian — tactics are appalling. Washington would rather not be associated with them, but has a horror of the vacuum that might emerge if Assad is swept aside. Mainly, the U.S. has hung its hat on the International Syria Support Group. The U.S. is muddled, as usual, without a clear goal, clear allies or fixed positions beyond support for a “political process.”
  • The U.S. is looking less and less relevant, as historic Great Powers do what they have historically done best — fight for their national interests as they define them. President Obama appears to be conceding the lead to Russia and Russian aims.

The shelling of Syrian soldiers by the Turkish military is one more step back into Great Power politics — historic Turkish-Russian enmity played out over Kurds and Syrians. The U.S. appears to believe 21st century wars cannot be won by military force and that battling parties can be induced to set aside their national and religious aims for a negotiated “peace.” Meanwhile, the parties to the conflict are using their armies to pursue victory.

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Churches in Turkey on the Verge of Extinction

While Eastern Orthodox Christians recently celebrated their Easter holy week, a historical Church in Istanbul — the once magnificent Christian city of Constantinople — is witnessing yet another abuse at the hands of its current authorities.

“The historic Istanbul cathedral and museum, Hagia Sophia, witnessed its first Quran recitation under its roof after 85 years Saturday,” reported the state-run Anatolian News Agency of Turkey. “The Religious Affairs Directorate launched the exhibition “Love of Prophet,” as part of commemorations of the birth of Islamic Prophet Muhammad.” Continue reading

Erdogan: Turkey to normalize relations with Israel “within days”

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he is prepared to normalize ties with Israel within days or weeks after counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu apologized for a deadly raid in 2010.

Erdogan, speaking on US broadcaster PBS late Monday, said US President Barack Obama was instrumental in arranging a phone call between the leaders of Israel and Turkey, once intimate allies, but who have been at odds since a 2010 Israeli assault on a Gaza-bound flotilla of aid ships in which soldiers shot dead nine pro-Palestinian Turkish activists.

Officials said the two government in recent weeks have been narrowing the gap between them by overcoming sticking points including the amount of compensation to be paid to Turkey.

Erdogan said the issue has been resolved. Continue reading