Erdoğans Transition

BERLIN/ANKARA (Own report) – The German government is negotiating new German Turkish arms deals, as was confirmed by the German Ministry of Economics. Brigitte Zypries (SPD), Minister of the Economy, spoke with the CEO of Rheinmetall weapons manufacturer about upgrading the Turkish Leopard battle tank. “In principle,” such deals with NATO partners “can not to be restricted,” according to Berlin. The German government is also seeking to re-invigorate German-Turkish economic cooperation, to strengthen bilateral relations. Germany does not want to loose Turkey as a “bridge” connecting Germany and the EU to the Middle East. Under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Ankara is not only strengthening the country’s economy and, in the long run, make it one of the world’s top ten economies (“Vision 2023”), he is also planning to transform the country into an independent regional power, forming alliances as it chooses – no longer dependent on the western states. The reorientation of its foreign policy is accompanied by the country’s transformation into a presidential dictatorship. Continue reading

Policy-Shaping Power in the Middle East (I)

BAGHDAD/ERBIL/BERLIN (Own report) – With its military intervention in Syria and Iraq, Germany is emerging as a “policy-shaping power in the Middle East,” according to a government advisor of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). The intervention in Syria, decided last week, could, therefore, last ten years and could be accompanied by “long-term” efforts to “politically reorganize” the entire region, with the cornerstone being military units, equipped and trained by the German government, serving as ground troops for the war against the “Islamic State” (IS/Daesh). In Iraq, the militia of the Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq could take on this role, whereas Berlin only provides minimal support to the Iraqi government’s armed forces. Whereas the government in Baghdad has good relations with Iran and Russia, the Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq is seen as loyal to the West. Having illegally remained in office beyond the August deadline in an insidious coup, the Regional Government’s President Masoud Barzani, with whom German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier met yesterday, is responsible for the brutal repression of civil protests. Ultimately – and with Berlin’s military aid for his Peshmerga – Barzani may be able to proclaim “Iraqi Kurdistan’s” statehood.

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Ankara’s War

ANKARA/BERLIN (Own report) – Berlin has reacted to Turkish air strikes on the “Islamic State” (IS) and the PKK, with both praise and sharp criticism. After several IS attacks on Turkish territory, Ankara halted its support for the IS last week and launched air strikes on the organization in northern Syria. For years, the West, including Berlin, had been benevolently observing how Ankara had been granting assistance to the IS – as an aspect of the war against the Bashar al Assad government in Syria. Ankara is now following the change of course, initiated last year by the West, when it declared war on IS. Berlin’s sharp criticism of Turkish air strikes on PKK camps in northern Iraq must be seen in the context of Turkish plans to invade northern Syria, which would lead to a confrontation with Kurdish forces affiliated to the PKK. Germany clearly rejects such an invasion because either it would strengthen Ankara, which recently has been regularly opposing Berlin, or it would turn another EU-bordering country into a theater of armed conflict – between the Turkish armed forces and Kurdish units.

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A Desperate Defensive Battle

ANKARA/BERLIN (Own report) – Western interventions and the expansionist interests of NATO ally Turkey are responsible for the dramatic situation in the northern Syrian city of Kobane. The conquest of the city appears immanent, in spite of the desperate defensive battle against the “Islamic State” (IS) terrorist organization that was still being waged on Tuesday evening. There are already countless casualties. Western interventions in the Middle East are ultimately responsible for strengthening the IS, which is on the verge of conquering Kobane. Iraqi Kurdish militia – unlike the Syrian Kurds combating IS – are getting support, also from the Bundeswehr, thanks to Turkey’s expansionist concepts. According to these concepts, which are being greeted with sympathy in the West, a “Kurdistan” state could be pried away from Iraq and linked to – or even integrated into – Turkey, in the hopes of weakening the area’s pro-Iranian forces and pit Sunni forces against Iran. These strategic macro plans, which are in Western interests, have led to the terrible situation in Kobane. Continue reading