Turkish leader slams Israel before hundreds of thousands of supporters; opponents accuse Erdogan of ‘populist’ rhetoric ahead of historic election.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel on Sunday of deliberately killing Palestinian mothers and warned it would “drown in the blood it sheds”, pulling foreign policy to center stage as a presidential race enters its final week.
Addressing hundreds of thousands of supporters at his biggest rally so far ahead of the Aug. 10 election, Erdogan again likened Israel’s actions to those of Hitler, comments that have already led Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accuse him of anti-Semitism and drawn rebuke from Washington. Continue reading
ANKARA — Turkey’s once powerful General Staff is reportedly struggling
amid the resignation of senior military officers.
Military sources said senior officers were increasingly choosing early
retirement rather than confront the intervention of Prime Minister Recep
They said many of the officers were dismayed by the return of
personnel linked to Islamist groups as well as the arrest of 400 officers accused of supporting a coup against the ruling Justice and Development Party. Continue reading
On January 25, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that he thought Turkey should consider looking east for allies instead of to the Western European powers. Europe has been stringing Turkey along with the carrot of EU member status since Oct. 3, 2005, when, alongside Croatia, Turkey began accession talks.
“We are not the ones that are undecided; the European Union is. Whereas if they would just reveal their true intentions to us, we would be at ease. … The European Union needs to stop stalling us. … We told [Russia], if you say come, we will come,” said Erdogan in an interview printed in the Turkish newspaper Sabah (translation from Pravda).
Why doesn’t the European Union want to bring Turkey into the fold? It is stronger economically than Croatia. Its GDP of over $783 billion grew at a real rate of 3 percent last year, 2012 unemployment was 9 percent and its budget deficit was only 2.6 percent, a little more than half of Croatia’s. And with a labor force some 25 times the size of Croatia’s, there is a greater potential for industrial capacity and productivity. Continue reading
Between now and the next ten years, Turkey is likely to be absorbed into the SCO rather than the EU for obvious reasons such as what Mr. Erdogan had stated. The anti-US SCO is a counterweight to the US-European NATO alliance, as well as the US-allied bloc in Asia that includes countries such as Japan and South Korea. The US is in suicidal decline while the EU also cannot get its act together as well. The Sino-Soviet led SCO on the other hand is awash in resources from Russia while China supplies the man power. Technology is also advancing in both countries by leaps and bounds. Lastly, membership offers a military protectorate umbrella under both China and Russia. Western powers have reason to be worried, especially should India and Pakistan gain membership status.
To put in perspective the political, military and geographical reach of the SCO, take a look at the following map (click for larger picture):
As Turkey and the EU slowed down the accession process in recent years, Turkish public opinion adopted a negative outlook toward the EU. In a recent Turkish opinion poll, survey participants were asked: “What should Turkey do regarding EU membership in the next five years?” Two thirds of Turks responded that Turkey should quit trying to be a member of the EU altogether. Only 33 percent of respondents believed that Turkey should insist on full membership status (edam.org.tr, January 22). Continue reading
Erdoğan holds surprise meeting with Ahmadinejad to ‘bridge differences’ over Assad crisis
Israel would consider a military option against Syria to ensure that the country’s chemical weapons do not reach the hands of extremists, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday. Continue reading
Although extremely leftist, full of anti-Americanism and likes to portray America as a warmongering country that invades only for oil, the article could be correct in its assertion of Turkey being the “middle-man”.
All this Soviet propaganda factory-of-a-website is missing is the admission that Syria and 75% of the other middle eastern countries are all Russian proxies that threaten Israel and the West via economic warfare (even by using oil) and military means. Yet, as previously stated, the popular thing to do is superficially propagate ‘greed for oil’ as the true underlying factor for war as it’s easy to convince the shallow-minded who don’t dig deep enough in informing themselves.
The stage is set, the NATO forces are in position and authorization has been given, now all it will take is a little spark to ignite the powder keg that is the Middle East. The West needs a middle-man, a reason to invade Syria, and Turkey is that tool. Statements by both NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and the Turkish Parliament come as a proof. Continue reading
…and now for a second time. These recent escalations can only continue for so long before it turns into a full-scale war, which will likely light the entire middle east on fire.
Turkey’s military has returned fire across the border after a Syrian mortar round again landed on Turkish soil, television channels say.
The incident happened in southern Hatay province on Friday afternoon, Turkish media said. No injuries were reported.
On Wednesday Syrian mortar fire killed five Turkish civilians in the town of Akcakale. Continue reading
The Syrian crisis continues to lead rhetoric among Turkish politicians, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan once again accusing main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu of siding with the Baath regime over the Syrian people, in a speech Aug. 5.
“The CHP will not dare to go to Damascus tomorrow, you will see it. But we will go there in the shortest possible time, if Allah wills it; and embrace our brothers. That day is close. We will pray near the grave of Salahaddin Ayyubi and pray in the Umayyad Mosque. We will pray for our brotherhood freely in Hejaz Railway Station,” Erdoğan said, speaking at an extended group meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), held at the party’s headquarters.
Full article: Premier Vows to Pray in Damascus Mosque ‘Soon’ (Turkish Weekly)
The Turkish Armed Forces have begun working on a project to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), broadcaster NTV reported on its website today.
A decision to launch the project was made in a July 17 meeting of the Defense Industry Executive Board, headed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel. Erdoğan had previously requested that the military develop missiles with a 2,500-kilometer range.
The board decided to form a satellite launch center that would have a two-fold effect on Turkey’s aerospace and military endeavors. First, the center will enable Turkey to place its own satellites in orbit, and second, the center will allow the Turkish military to launch missiles that can navigate outside of the Earth’s atmosphere. Attaining an ICBM launch capability is reportedly the chief aim of the satellite launch center.
The Turkish Defense Ministry, the Defense Industry Undersecretariat and the Scientific and Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), have been jointly working on the project for some time.
The report said Ankara could cooperate with an undisclosed Eastern European country to develop the satellite launch center.
Full article: Turkey begins work on ICBM (Hurriyet Daily News)
Turkey has scrambled six F-16 fighters jets near its border with Syria after Syrian helicopters came close to the border, the country’s army says.
Six jets were sent to the area in response to three such incidents on Saturday, the statement said, adding that there was no violation of Turkish airspace.
The incident further strained already tense relations between former allies.
On Friday, Turkey said it had begun deploying rocket launchers and anti-aircraft guns along the border in response to the downing of its F-4 Phantom jet on 22 June.
The move came after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that Turkey had changed its rules of military engagement and would now treat any Syrian military approaching the border as a threat.
Full article: Turkey scrambles F-16 jets on Syria border (BBC)
Fierce fighting has been reported between Syrian troops and rebel forces in the suburbs of the capital Damascus.
Witnesses say it is some of the most intense violence in the area since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began more than a year ago.
Reports from activists, which cannot be verified, say rebels clashed with Syria’s elite Republican Guard.
The violence came as Turkey issued a stark warning to its neighbour Syria over the downing of a jet last week.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told parliament that if Syrian troops approached Turkey’s borders, they would be seen as a military threat.
Correspondents say it is rare for fighting to take place near Republican Guard bases and suggests a growing confidence among the rebels.
The elite Republican Guard, commanded by President Bashar al-Assad’s younger brother Maher, is tasked with protecting the capital.
State TV confirmed the fighting but said dozens of “terrorists” had been killed and many others taken prisoner, including foreign fighters.
It said large numbers of armed rebels had moved into al-Hama and tried to take control of a main road to the west in order to bring in more arms and fighters.
Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP: “This is the first time that the regime has used artillery in fighting so close to the capital.
“This development is important because it’s the heaviest fighting in the area and close to the heart of the capital.”
Earlier, Mr Erdogan spoke of Turkey’s “rage” at Syria’s decision to shoot down the F-4 Phantom last Friday and described Syria as a “clear and present threat”.
“A short-term border violation can never be a pretext for an attack,” he said.
Full article: Syria crisis: Fierce fighting erupts near Damascus (BBC News)