Turkey Is On Brink Of Chaotic Battle For Territory, And ISIS Isn’t Main Threat This Time

DVIDSHUB / Flickr Creative Commons

By Vijay Prashad for AlterNet – The Turkish army build-up in Reyhanli sends a message to the rebels in Idlib province (Syria), where the Turkish proxies and the al-Qaeda groups have sheltered in anticipation of a large-scale Syrian army operation. Idlib is the last stronghold of the rebellion against the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad. Rebels elsewhere seem to have lost their determination, as their outside backers have turned away from them and as US air strikes against Damascus seem improbable. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the other Gulf Arab states seem to have lost interest in the Syrian war. Even the Saudi regime has been making noises about a domestic crackdown against the anti-Assad clergy inside the kingdom. Last week, in Astana (Kazakhstan), Iran, Russia, Syria and Turkey agreed to a variety of ‘de-escalation zones’ in Idlib to prevent any hasty military action that would restart a war that seems to be coming to an end. These ‘de-escalation zones’ are intended to produce the confidence for peace talks. Turkey’s troops on the border north of Idlib provide some security guarantees to the various rebels towards talks. The second has to do with the Iraqi Kurdish referendum. The Turkish military exercise near Sirnak, which is towards the Turkish-Iraqi border, sends a strong message to the Iraqi Kurds.

Turkey: Show Trials Of Journalists Are A Travesty Of Justice


By Staff of RSF – This week, ARTICLE 19 and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) are monitoring two trials of journalists in Turkey. On Monday 18 September they attended the first hearing in the trial of 30 journalists, columnists and staff working for Zaman newspaper, including Şahin Alpay, Ali Bulaç, Ahmet Alkan Turan and Mümtazer Türköne. Today, on Tuesday 19 September, they are attending the second hearing in the case of 17 journalists and columnists including Ahmet and Mehmet Altan. ARTICLE 19 and RSF call for the journalists to be released from pre-trial detention and for the charges to be dropped. In both trials, the defendants are accused of involvement in last year’s failed coup. They face charges of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order through violence or force”, “attempting to overthrow or interfere with the work of the national assembly through violence or force” and “attempting to overthrow or interfere with the work of the government”. In the Zaman case, the defendants are also charged with membership of a terrorist organisation, which refers to the Gülen movement, the organisation the Turkish government blames for the coup attempt. In the Altans’ case, the defendants are charged with aiding a terrorist organisation without being a member, which carries the same sentence as membership.

Turkey’s ‘Justice March’ Leaves Erdogan With Difficult Options

Ziya Koseoglu, AFP | Thousands of protesters hold a 1,100 meters-long national flag at the CHP Justice March on July 1, 2017.

By Leela Jacinto for France 24 – In a country that has seen a silencing of virtually all forms of opposition against the government, a startling spectacle has been unfolding in Turkey over the past few weeks. Since June 15, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, head of Turkey’s main secular opposition CHP (Republican People’s Party), has been leading a daring 450-kilometre protest march from Ankara to Istanbul. Since he took over the CHP in 2010, the dull, retiring Kilicdaroglu has been widely considered an ineffective politician, a personification of Turkey’s emasculated opposition helplessly watching Erdogan win every round of the Turkish political game. Suddenly, the former bureaucrat-turned-politician appears to have found his political mojo, catching most Turks off-guard. Holding a sign printed with a single word, “Adalat” — or “justice” – Kilicdaroglu has been leading thousands of protesters on foot through the blistering Anatolian heat in a display of resistance that has been likened to Mahatma Gandhi’s famous “Salt March” against British India’s colonial masters.

Three Way Conflict Between Kurds, Shia And Sunni Arabs In Syria


By Nauman Sadiq. the ethnic and sectarian conflict in Syria and Iraq is actually a three-way conflict between the Sunni Arabs, the Shi’a Arabs and the Kurds. Although after the declaration of war against a faction of Sunni Arab militants, the Islamic State, the US has also lent its support to the Shi’a-led government in Iraq, but the Shi’a Arabs of Iraq are not the trustworthy allies of the United States because they are under the influence of Iran. Therefore, the US was left with no other choice but to make the Kurds the centerpiece of its policy in Syria after a group of Sunni Arab jihadists overstepped their mandate in Syria and overran Mosul and Anbar in Iraq in early 2014, from where, the United States had withdrawn its troops only a couple of years ago in December 2011.

Brutal Assault By Erdogan Guards Against Nonviolent Protest In DC

Twitter/ Samira Ghaderi‏

By Staff of Popular Resistance – Hours after President Trump met with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House, a bloody brawl broke out at a protest outside the Turkish Embassy in Washington, DC. Eleven people were injured, including one police officer; nine of the victims were hospitalized, according to the New York Times. The DC police chief, Peter Newsham, called it a “a brutal attack on peaceful protests. ” The police department is working with the State Department and Secret Service on the matter. Voice of America was one of the first to report that Erdogan’s guards were involved in the brutal assault. This is not the first time attacks have occurred related to Erdogan in Washington, DC. A year ago, Turkish journalists said they were physically attacked by Erdogan supporters and his guards in D.C. as they attempted to cover the president’s speech at the Brookings Institution.

Neoliberalism’s Crumbling Democratic Façade


By Joris Leverink for ROAR Magazine – Years from now, when we look back at the 2010s, what will be the images that come to mind? Will we recall the wealth and prosperity brought to us by free markets and private investment? The freedom and democracy we enjoyed under our neoliberal governments? Or the ways in which we bravely protected our cultural and natural heritage, safeguarding it for future generations? Most likely not. When we think of the 2010s, we will remember the protesters in the streets, the wars ravaging the Middle East, causing entire populations to leave home and hearth behind, and the millions of people across the globe risking their lives just to make a living somewhere else. We will remember the xenophobic attacks, the racist politicians, the gag orders and the crackdowns.

Cumhuriyet, Latest Victim Of “Never-Ending Purge” Of Turkish Media


By Staff of RSF – Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is appalled by the accelerating extinction of media pluralism in Turkey, with a police raid on Cumhuriyet, one of the last major opposition dailies, at dawn today, less than 48 hours after a decree dissolving 15 Kurdish media outlets, and with the Internet subject to long cuts in the southeast. In the raid on Cumhuriyet, the police arrested at least 12 journalists and other employees including managing editor Murat Sabuncu

Turkey And Iran Reach Agreement On Conditions For Syria Peace

President Obama and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey leave after holding a joint news conference, at the White House in Washington, May 16, 2013. (Doug Mills / The New York Times)

By Gareth Porter for Truthout – In a stunning diplomatic surprise, Turkey and Iran have announced a preliminary agreement on fundamental principles for a settlement of the Syrian conflict. The dramatic turn in the diplomacy of the Syria War was revealed in Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s regular weekly speech to the ruling AKP Party in the parliament and confirmed by a senior Iranian foreign ministry official Tuesday.

Turkey – World Leader In Imprisoned Journalists


By Staff of RSF – The witchhunt launched in the wake of the 15 July coup attempt in Turkey continues to take a heavy toll on journalists. In the draconian state of emergency imposed after the abortive coup, the authorities have closed more than 100 media outlets critical of the government, placed 42 journalists in provisional detention and banned many others from travelling abroad.

US Air Base, Nuclear Bombs Surrounded By Citizens, Troops

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By Staff of RT – Introduction: The protest occurred the day before US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford was due to arrive in Turkey for an inspection of the base. Common Dreams reported: Thousands of Turkish troops, citizens and police ‘surrounded’ the Incirlik air base it operates with the United States Saturday night — blocking all entrances to the air base with heavy vehicles and security forces sent to secure its perimeter.

Turkey: Media Purge Intensifies In Coup Attempt’s Wake


By Staff of RSF – Reporters Without Borders (RSF) deplores the growing persecution of critical media in the week since the 15 July coup attempt in Turkey. With the government’s response seeming more and more like a witchhunt, journalists have been subjected to arrests, seizures of entire newspaper issues and a menacing state of emergency. “No one disputes the Turkish government’s legitimate right to defend constitutional order after this abortive coup but democracy, for which hundreds of civilians gave their lives, cannot be protected by trampling on fundamental freedoms,” said Johann Bihr, the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk.

Chill In US-Turkish Relations May Signal Ankara’s Shift Toward Moscow


By Staff of Sputnik – Due to its unique geostrategic position, Turkey has long been important to the US as a NATO ally and a “bridge” between the West and the Arab world. However, clouds are gathering on the horizon of US-Turkish relations after Friday’s coup attempt. “US Secretary of State [John] Kerry has not been able to take a firm stance against the failed Gulenist coup attempt, drawing heavy criticism in Turkey.

Turkish Coup: Excuse For Hunt To Suppress Dissent


By Isil Sariyuce and Angela Dewan for CNN – Istanbul (CNN)Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the nation is imposing a three-month state of emergency in the aftermath of last week’s bloody coup attempt. Erdogan met Wednesday with his national security council and council of ministers, the latter of which approved the state of emergency recommendation “The purpose of the declaration of the state of emergency is, in fact, to be able to take the most efficient steps in order to remove this threat as soon as possible, which is a threat to democracy…

Turkish People Power Foils Attempted Coup

A pro-government rally in central Istanbul on Saturday. (photo: Emrah Gurel/AP)

By Juan Cole for RSN – The poorly planned junior officers’ coup in Turkey on Friday appears to have failed as I write late Friday night, though rebel military elements still hold positions in some parts of the country, including Ankara, the capital. Their allegiances and motives are still unclear. Remarkably, among the reasons for the failure was the determined stance of the Turkish people who stood up for their democracy, even if about half of them deeply dislike President Erdogan.

Turkey’s Failed Coup Hands Erdoğan Pretext For Further Repression


By Julian Sayarer for New Statesman – Turkish politics is seldom what it seems and so a coup late at night, backed with the imposing presence of military hardware, unravels to become an attempted coup come morning. Turkey will now face the prospect of yet another of its paradoxes, in which a public show of support for democracy, with people pouring onto the streets to protect an elected government, could well become the basis by which the Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, expands his power over the Turkish state and justifies still more of his disdain for democracy.