Archive for the ‘NATO’ category

Nigel Farage says the EU is a threat to NATO nations

December 15, 2016

Nigel Farage says the EU is a threat to NATO nationsRobinHoodUKIP via YouTube, December 14, 2016

Erdogan’s true ambitions

November 24, 2016

Erdogan’s true ambitions, Israel Hayom, Dr. Ephraim Herrera, November 24, 2016

(Please see also, Turkey’s Brain Drain — DM)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s stances have always approximated those of the Muslim Brotherhood, and, in keeping with that, he protects them. Over the last year, he has strongly condemned the death sentence against ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. He said: “Morsi is the president of Egypt, not [current Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah] el-Sissi.” Hamas representatives feel at home in Turkey. As early as 2012, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was given a royal welcome by Erdogan and the Turkish foreign minister, and Turkey vowed to work toward having Hamas removed from Western terrorist organization blacklists. So his statement to Israeli journalist Ilana Dayan this week, saying that Hamas is not a terrorist organization, is not surprising at all.

In 2009, Erdogan stormed out of a Davos World Economic Forum panel while hurling blame at late President Shimon Peres: “When it comes to killing, you know well how to kill,” he said. Last summer, Erdogan hosted Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal, further proof of the total cooperation between Turkey and the terrorist organization that controls the Gaza Strip. It appears that it was from Hamas’ office in Istanbul that the cruel murders of three Israeli teenagers near Hebron in 2014 were planned as well as the murder of the Henkin couple last year. Hamas is grateful to the Turkish president. Moreover, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood (to which Hamas belongs), sees Erdogan as the next caliph of the Muslim world, the one who will lead Islam’s rule over the entire world.

He has said the following in media interviews: “The Union of Muslim Scholars declares that the caliphate must be established in Istanbul, because it is the [historical] capital of the caliphates. … The new Turkey brings together religion and state, old and new, Arab and non-Arab and unites the ummah [global Muslim community] in Africa, Asia, Europe, the United States and everywhere. The man who is bringing this about in Turkey is Recep Tayyip Erdogan. … He is the leader that knows his God, knows himself, knows his people, knows the ummah and knows the world. It is up to you to stand by his side, to pledge allegiance to him and to tell him: ‘Step forward.'”

In light of this, it is no wonder that Erdogan’s opinions on Israel perfectly line up with the Muslim Brotherhood’s stance, which is not bound by logic. For them, Israel behaves toward the Palestinians the same way that Hitler behaved toward the Jews in the Holocaust. It’s also no wonder that “Mein Kampf” is a best-seller in Turkey.

Turkey belongs to NATO and appears to be a moderate state. However, anyone who follows Erdogan’s policies will see that he succeeded, following the failed coup, in cruelly suppressing any domestic opposition, while firing tens of thousands of state employees, imprisoning journalists, shutting down opposition media outlets and violently fighting the Kurds.

Europe, in its innocence, cooperates with Turkey, which committed to stopping the waves of Muslim immigration to Europe. But the price tag set by Erdogan is high and dangerous: visa-free entry permits to Europe for Turkish citizens. If this agreement comes to fruition, the number of Turkish Muslims living in Western Europe is expected to grow quickly. It has been estimated that there are between 2 million and 2.5 million Turks living in Germany and another 2 million altogether in France, Holland, Britain and Austria. It seems they have more to lose than to gain.

The lesson for Israel is clear: Beware.

Turkey’s Brain Drain

November 24, 2016

Turkey’s Brain Drain, Counter Jihad, November 23, 2016

lightmosque

The Islamist tyranny from the Erdogan regime is stripping Turkey of many of its best minds.

One of the categories here at CounterJihad is “Colonization by Immigration.”  Normally we are thinking about the effect on cultures and institutions in the West of importing millions from poorly-educated nations with intensely political, radical Islamist cultures.  Today we’re going to talk about another aspect of immigration from the Islamic world, though, which is the way in which it can be used to make the Islamist nations safer for Islamism.

In this case, the immigrants aren’t poorly-educated at all.  They’re the very best that Turkey has to offer.  In forcing them out, President Erdogan is undercutting the future of his nation — but also the danger of the young becoming well-enough educated to see how badly he is leading their country.

Education has been a notable target for the Turkish government since July 15’s coup attempt. Since then, the government has shut down 15 universities and around 1,000 secondary education institutions….

“They fired nearly 3,000 to 4,000 people. If they could, if they had their passports, all of them would leave the country. I believe that nearly all academics that speak fluent English, French or German – those who can continue their work in another language – will leave Turkey within a six-month period.”

We have been following this issue for months here.  Erdogan has been involved in a march against Western values of free inquiry and free expression.  Academics who signed a petition calling for an end to the war crimes against the Kurdish population have been rounded up by his government.

The potential damage of watching Turkey slip further into Islamist tyranny can hardly be overstated.  It certainly includes a threat to the NATO alliance, of which Turkey is a long-time part.

Yet the damage goes beyond the damage that will be suffered by the West.  Turkey’s youth, likewise, are being badly punished in the name of political Islam.  Halil Ibrahim Yenigun, interviewed in by DW, was suspended and then fired from his university.

“Most of us want to return home and pass on our experience to the young people of Turkey. That’s all we wanted to do. Before all this, there were many good academics… [W]e wanted to contribute to the education of young people…. These are people who attended state schools and then studied with taxpayers’ money. They went on to do doctorates overseas. And just as they’ve come back to give back to their country, you pluck them away from contributing to the youth of the nation. This is treason. They’re betraying our country’s future. They’re robbing the young of a good education.”

Perversely, Erdogan is encouraging the emigration of this class in order to make it easier to “colonize” his own universities.  It can be expected that they will become bastions of narrow opinion, and teach lockstep obedience to Erdogan’s personal authority.  At least a generation of young Turks will pay a heavy price for his attempt to romantacize the caliphate.  So too shall all of us who could once look upon Turkey as a friend and ally.

Donald Trump and the Return of European Anti-Americanism

November 21, 2016

Donald Trump and the Return of European Anti-Americanism, Gatestone InstituteSoeren Kern, November 21, 2016

European criticism of Trump goes far beyond a simple displeasure with the man who will be the next president. The condemnation reveals a deep-seated contempt for the United States, and for American voters who democratically elected a candidate committed to restoring American economic and military strength.

The primary cause of the global disorder is the lack of American leadership at home and abroad. A series of feckless decisions by Obama to reduce American military influence abroad have created geopolitical power vacuums that are being filled by countries and ideologies that are innately hostile to Western interests and values.

For the past seven decades, the U.S. has spent millions of dollars annually to guarantee German security, although Germany steadfastly refuses to honor a NATO pledge to spend 2% of GDP on defense spending. Germans are now offended that Trump is asking them to pay their fair share for their own defense.

Although President Obama’s foreign policy missteps have made Europe much less safe than it was eight years ago, European elites have overlooked Obama’s mistakes because he is a “globalist” who seems to favor recreating the U.S. in the European image. Trump, by contrast, is a nationalist who wants to rebuild the U.S. in the American, not the European, image.

European anti-Americanism is certain to escalate in the years ahead, not because of Trump or his policies, but because “globalists” appear desperate to save the failing European Union, an untransparent, unaccountable, anti-democratic, sovereignty-grabbing alternative to the nation state.

 

European anti-Americanism — which was on the wane during the presidency of Barack Obama, who steered the United States on a course of globalism rather than nationalism — is back with a vengeance.

Europe’s media establishment has greeted Donald Trump’s election victory with a vitriol not seen since the George W. Bush presidency, when anti-Americanism in Europe was at fever pitch.

Since the American election on November 9, European television, radio and print media have produced an avalanche of negative stories, editorials and commentary that seethe with rage over the outcome of the vote.

European criticism of Trump goes far beyond a simple displeasure with the man who will be the next president. The condemnation reveals a deep-seated contempt for the United States, and for American voters who democratically elected a candidate committed to restoring American economic and military strength.

If the past is any indication of the future, European anti-Americanism will be a pervasive feature of transatlantic relations during the Trump presidency.

Although European opinion-shapers have focused much of their indignation on the threat Trump allegedly poses to global order, the president-elect will inherit a world that is significantly more chaotic and insecure than it was when Obama became president in January 2009.

The primary cause of the global disorder is the lack of American leadership — leading from behind — at home and abroad.

A series of feckless decisions by Obama to reduce American military influence abroad have created geopolitical power vacuums that are being filled by countries and ideologies that are innately hostile to Western interests and values. China, Russia, Iran, North Korea and radical Islam — among many others — have all been emboldened to challenge the United States and its allies with impunity.

European elites have been mostly silent about Obama’s foreign policy failures, but are now lashing out at Trump for pledging to restore order by “making America great again.”

As during the Bush administration, anti-Americanism in Europe is once again being driven by Germany, a country that was effectively rebuilt by the United States after the Second World War. The Marshall Plan granted West Germany some $1.5 billion ($15 billion in 2016 dollars) in reconstruction aid between 1948 and 1951.

For the past seven decades, the United States has spent millions of dollars annually to guarantee German security, although Germany steadfastly refuses to honor a NATO pledge to spend a minimum of 2% of GDP on defense spending. Germany spent only 1.16% of GDP on its own defense in 2015 and 1.15% in 2016. German officials are now offended that Trump is asking them to pay their fair share for their own defense.

Following is a small sampling of recent European commentary on Donald Trump and the United States:

In Germany, the Hamburg-based newsmagazine Der Spiegel, one of the largest-circulation publications in Europe, published a cover with an image of a giant meteor in the shape of Trump’s head hurtling towards the earth. The headline reads: “The End of the World (As We Know It). The issue includes more than 50 pages of related content, including an article by Dirk Kurbjuweit entitled, “One-Hundred Years of Fear: America Has Abdicated Its Leadership of the West.” He wrote:

“For 100 years, the United States was the leader of the free world. With the election of Donald Trump, America has now abdicated that role. It is time for Europe, and Angela Merkel, to step into the void….

“Trump, who wants nothing to do with globalization; Trump, who preaches American nationalism, isolation, partial withdrawal from world trade and zero responsibility for a global problem like climate change….

“We now face emptiness — fear of the void. What will happen to the West, to Europe, to Germany without the United States as its leading power?

2062In Germany, Der Spiegel, one of the largest-circulation publications in Europe, published a cover, after Donald Trump’s election victory, with an image of a giant meteor in the shape of Trump’s head hurtling towards the earth. The headline reads: “The End of the World (As We Know It)”.

In an article, “Trump’s Victory Ushers in Dangerous Instability,” Spiegel commentator Roland Nelles wrote:

“It really happened. He did it. Donald Trump proved all experts wrong…. A man who… preaches hate and snubs America’s most important partners will run the most powerful country on Earth. It is a political catastrophe.

“Crude populism has triumphed over reason. Trump’s success is a shock for all those who had counted on the political wisdom of American voters….

“The world, and America, is now threatened by a dangerous phase of instability: Donald Trump wants to make America ‘great’ again. If one believes his pronouncements, he will proceed ruthlessly: He wants to throw 11 million migrants out of the country, renegotiate all major trade agreements and make important allies such as Germany pay for US military protection. That will trigger significant conflict, incite new rivalries and spur new crises.”

In an opinion article, “An Absurd and Dangerous President,” Spiegel commentator Klaus Brinkbäumer wrote:

“The United States has voted for a dangerously inexperienced and racist man — one who was swept into the White House by an army of disenfranchised white working- and middle-class Americans. It is a movement that now threatens democracy around the world….

“In other words, 60 million Americans acted stupidly. They cast their votes for xenophobia, racism and nationalism, the end of equal rights and social conscience, for the end of climate treaties and health insurance. Sixty million people followed a demagogue who will do little for them.

“Those who have lived in New York or experienced dinner conversations in Georgetown and debates at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, know how brilliantly intelligent and worldly Americans can be…. Once you get outside such circles, such cosmopolitan thinking isn’t nearly as widespread.”

The Munich-based Süddeutsche Zeitung, in an article, “Trump’s Foreign Policy: What This Election Means for the World,” stated:

“The man who politicians around the world called ‘scary,’ ‘ignorant’ or ‘irrational’ will move into the White House. The uncertainty around the world is great. If cartoonists are to be believed, Donald Trump’s idea of the world is very simplistic. Africa is the birthplace of Barack Obama. Russia is a country that was made great again. Great Britain is a no-go area.”

The Hamburg-based Die Zeit, in an article, “Trump and How He Sees the World,” wrote:

“Wow. The West crumbles before our eyes. What is going on here can be explained by two data points: On November 9, 1989, the wall fell in Berlin…. On November 9, 2016, exactly 27 years later, a man has been elected to the White House whose central election pledge was the construction of a wall.

“The ideas of the new president are neither contradictory nor confused. His demands can be easily summarized on the cap of a beer bottle: integrate Putin, keep Mexicans out and treat American allies as the customers of a security service. There is only protection if one pays cash, even in NATO.

In a commentary, “The End of the Enlightenment,” Zeit essayist Adrian Daub wrote:

“Donald Trump is a remnant of a dying America…. He has turned the country from a multicultural lighthouse into an isolated island of white people who are afraid of their own shadow.

“The idea of American exceptionalism, the lighthouse, was already present at the foundation of the nation…. The idea of American radiance is one with the ideas of the Enlightenment that came from Europe to the colonies. Ideas like universal values or the human striving for truth.

“Trump’s election means the end of this project. The United States is no longer a lighthouse, but a flaming fire of tired shadows armed to the teeth. No trace remains of its prototypical character, its imitability. It is defiant, closed to the world. The nationalism of isolationism… the tumultuous tribalism… are shaking the foundations of the Enlightenment.

“The US upheld the values of the Enlightenment — humanism, an optimistic image of man, human dignity and civil rights — when Europe deviated from them in the thirties. It used humanism as a weapon in the struggle against fascism, its universality as a counterpart to nationalism, and with its re-importation after the Second World War has contributed to the reestablishment of the European project. Today, these values are once more in trouble in Europe, but the view across the Atlantic will not be reassuring as of January.”

Other German headlines include: “Trump has the Charisma of a Drunken Elephant,” “Donald Trump: A Horror Clown as a Security Risk,” “Trump: How Could this Happen?,” “Plans of the New US President: How Trump Wants to Poison the Air,” “Donald Trump: A Blow to Open Society,” “America Chooses the Great Divider,” “Donald Trump: A King Without a Plan,” “Donald is not Ronald,” “Donald is not Churchill,” “Can Trump also Happen in Germany?,” “How to Prevent a German Trump,” “Who Can Stop Trump Now?,” and “Will Berlin Have to Pay More for Defense?

In Britain, the Guardian published an editorial, “The Guardian View on Trump’s Foreign Policy: A Threat to Peace,” which stated:

“The victory of Donald Trump shatters the notion that the US can be counted on by its allies not just for defense guarantees and economic cooperation, but even as a defender of liberal democracy, rather than a threat to it. It calls into question the traditional US role as a protector of a UN-based global architecture of multilateralism….

“For Donald Trump, politics — like business — is about deal making. He thinks man-to-man talk with dictators can instantly dissolve problems, and approaches foreign affairs as zero sum game in which making America great can mean demeaning its traditional friends. His election makes the world a more dangerous place and also a more uncertain place, for it is too early to say precisely how those dangers will materialize — or how the next US president will face up to them.”

The Guardian, in an essay, “A Win for Trump was a Win for Bigotry,” columnist Owen Jones wrote:

“Hang on a minute: who am I as a Briton to interfere in the internal affairs of a foreign country? The problem is the entire world is now subject to the writ of the leader of the last superpower. We are all, to a degree, under his dominion….

“Trumpism is, by nature, an authoritarian movement that regards democratic norms as dispensable if they fail to serve political ends. The aspiration — whether realizable or not — is clear: authoritarian societies such as Putin’s Russia, Erdoğan’s Turkey and Orbán’s Hungary that maintain certain democratic trappings as a convenient front.

“If the American people simply accept the legitimacy of this president, and they normalize this would-be tyrant, it will only embolden him…. Civil disobedience should be employed where necessary. Don’t just do it for yourself, America. The fate of the rest of the world will be determined by your choices.”

Other British headlines include: “Will Donald Trump Destroy America?,” “Why President Donald Trump is an Even Bigger Disaster than You Thought,” “Donald Trump’s Victory is a Disaster for Liberal Values,” “Donald Trump’s Victory is a Disaster for Modern Masculinity,” “Privacy Experts Fear Donald Trump Running Global Surveillance Network,” “Terrifying Trump Will Turn into Tamed Trump? It’s an Illusion,” “The Magnetic Pull of Trump, King Narcissist,” “Will Donald Trump Make School Lunches Unhealthy? Doctors Warn the President-elect’s Penchant for Burgers and Fried Chicken Could Hit Meal Trays,” “In the Age of Trump, Why Bother Teaching Students to Argue Logically?,” and “Donald Trump Believed to be Direct Descendant of Rurik the Viking who Established Russian State.”

In Spain, where anti-Americanism has held sway for many decades, the newspaper El Paíspublished an essay, “Declaration of War against Stupidity,” which showcases the contempt many Europeans have for ordinary Americans. The newspaper’s long-time essayist, John Carlin, wrote:

“The victory of Trump represents a rebellion against reason and decency. It is the triumph of racism, or misogyny, or stupidity — or all three things at once. It is the expression of the poor judgment and bad taste of 60 million Americans, the vast majority of them men and women of white skin who own homes, cars, firearms and eat more than citizens of any other country on earth.

“This is where you see with perfect clarity the stupidity, frivolity and irresponsibility of those who voted for Trump. For all of Clinton’s defects, they are trivial compared to those of Trump, whose ignorance, zero principles and zero experience in governance are joined by all forms of personal vices that every person in their right mind at any latitude of the world considers deplorable.

“I know the kind who voted for Trump. I met them when I made reports in Texas, Montana, Arizona, Oklahoma, Alabama and other typically Republican states. They tend to be kind, religious and honest people, decent in their reduced social orbit. But after sitting down to talk with them for a while I always reacted with the same perplexity: how is it possible that we speak the same language? Their words are familiar to me but their brain circuits operate differently. They are people of simple faith, oblivious to the irony; people who choose their truths not based on facts but on their beliefs or prejudices; people who live far from the ocean and the rest of planet Earth, of which they are afraid. I’ve never experienced a similar sense of disconnection in Europe, Africa or Latin America. Just inside the United States.”

In Austria, Kronen Zeitung published a headline entitled, “Nuclear Suitcase: In 72 Days Trump Could Annihilate Civilization.” Also in Austria, Kurier published a story entitled, “Trump Victory: Boon for Suicide Hotlines.” In France, the newspaper Libération featured a cover with Trump and the words “American Psycho.” Another headline read: “United States: The Empire of the Worst.” L’Obs asked, “With Trump, the Beginning of De-Globalization?Le Figaro wrote: “Donald Trump: From Clown to President,” and “Europe Paralyzed by the Trump Shock.” Le Monde wrote, “Donald Trump’s Victory: A Brexit for America.” In the Netherlands, Telegraaf declared, “Trump is a Nightmare for Europe.”

How is one to interpret the resurgence of anti-American sentiment in Europe?

Although President Obama’s foreign policy missteps, especially those in the Middle East, have made Europe much less safe than it was eight years ago, European elites have overlooked Obama’s mistakes because he is a “globalist” who seems to favor recreating the United States in the European image. Trump, by contrast, is a nationalist who wants to rebuild the United States in the American, not the European, image.

European anti-Americanism is certain to escalate in the years ahead, not because of Trump or his policies, but because “globalists” appear desperate to save the failing European Union, an untransparent, unaccountable, anti-democratic, sovereignty-grabbing alternative to the nation state.

Europeans have time and again overestimated their ability to make a fragmented Europe act like a single unified actor. As it turns out, anti-Americanism is a powerful ideology that has wide appeal across Europe — not just among the elites.

In the past, European federalists have tried to make anti-Americanism the basis of a new pan-European identity. This artificial post-modern European “citizenship,” which demands allegiance to a faceless bureaucratic superstate based in Brussels, has been presented as a globalist alternative to the nationalism of the United States. In essence, to be “European” means to not be American.

As the European Union comes apart at the seams, Europe’s political establishment can be expected to try to exploit anti-Americanism in a desperate attempt to use it as a glue to hold a fractured Europe together.

Whether or not that succeed depends, ironically, on U.S. President-elect Donald Trump. If he can demonstrate that he is able to govern the United States and produce tangible results, especially by growing the economy and curbing illegal immigration, Trump is certain to energize support for anti-establishment politicians in Europe, many of whom are already polling well in a number of upcoming general elections.

Commenting on Trump’s victory, Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders, wrote: “America has just liberated itself from political correctness. The American people expressed their desire to remain a free and democratic people. Now it is time for Europe. We can and will do the same!”

Turkey’s Descent into Islamist Tyranny Deepens

October 31, 2016

Turkey’s Descent into Islamist Tyranny Deepens, Counter Jihad, October 31, 2016

turkey-islamic-1

Turkey’s military forces have just seized the Hagia Sophia, appointing a full-time imam to lead Islamic prayers there after 80 years of it being held as a neutral place for both Christians and Muslims.  The move is symbolic, but shows clearly the designs of Turkey’s Islamist president.

The Turkish government under Recep Tayyip Erdoğan used the abortive coup of this summer to deepen its control over every aspect of Turkish life, but especially the media and education.  Over ten thousand public servants have been purged from the government in recent days, raising the total figure to over a hundred thousand — some 37,000 of whom have been arrested. Erdoğan has pressed the Turkish parliament to reinstate the death penalty so that he can begin disposing of those he has identified as his enemies.

“Our government will take this proposal [on capital punishment] to parliament. I am sure parliament will approve it, and when it comes back to me, I will ratify it…Soon, soon, don’t worry. It’s happening soon, God willing. The West says this, the West says that. Excuse me, but what counts is not what the West says. What counts is what my people say.”

According to CounterJihad’s sources, the detained who are subjected to trial must submit to having all of their conversations with their lawyers recorded whenever the prosecution requests it.  Such recordings are of course admissible as evidence against the client — or the lawyer, if he comes to be considered an enemy of the state from working too hard to defend people already classified as ‘enemies of the state.’

The detained include especially members of opposition media.  The leadership of the Cumhuriyet daily newspaper, which is nearly a century old, were arrested and their laptops seized by the police.  Their paper is not only critical of Erdoğan , but occasionally supportive of the Kurdish minority.  That appears to be grounds for arrest in Turkey now:  even two mayors were seized by order of a Turkish court on suspicion of being sympathetic to Kurdish militants.  In addition to the attacks on the Cumhuriyet daily, 15 Kurdish news outlets have been shuttered by order of the state.  A pro-Kurdish television station was raided by police and forced off the air.

In addition to the media, the state has moved to consolidate control over its system of higher education.  Some 1267 academics who signed a “Peace Petition” last January have been removed from their jobs according to CounterJihad’s sources, and several have been arrested and charged with “terroristic acts” for signing or forwarding that petition.  Our sources tell us that under the new laws, President Erdoğan must personally approve all new university presidents.

At the same time, the Turkish government is pressing NATO to end its naval mission aimed at containing migration flows across the Mediterranean sea.  Turkey claims that the mission is no longer needed, but the siege of Mosul is expected to produce at least a million new refugees in the coming months.  The Russian operations against Aleppo are likewise expected to produce new waves of migrants.

Turkey appears to be using its position within NATO to advance Russia’s interest here, which is to flood Europe with migrants in order to overburden European governments.  That will produce a Europe less able to resist Russian expansion into Eastern Europe.  Turkey and Russia recently signed a major energy deal, clearing the way for at least an economic alliance.  Erd also moved to abandon daylight savings time, a shift that places Turkey in the same time zone as Moscow.  Russia for its part appears to be negotiating a peace between Turkey and Iran on a partition of Iraq, one that would give Turkey greater control over its Kurdish problems.  If Russia succeeds in peeling Turkey off from NATO, it would invalidate the alliance as NATO requires unanimous decisions for all military decisions.

Turkey’s New Territorial Claims Threaten NATO

October 13, 2016

Turkey’s New Territorial Claims Threaten NATO, Counter Jihad, October 13, 2016

turkey-islamic

Should Russia be able to get a process of negotiation going between Turkey, Iraq and Iran on the issue of Turkish territorial expansion, Russia would assume the leadership role in the region.  Should it actually resolve the negotiations successfully, it could expect Turkey to become part of the Russian sphere of influence.  That would potentially derail NATO, as NATO’s decisions must be taken by a unanimous vote.  If Turkey becomes as strong a Russian ally as China, NATO could become as useless an organ for opposing Russian ambition as the United Nations Security Council (on which Russia has a veto).

American diplomatic weakness is partially a function of American military weakness in the region.  Russian diplomatic success is partially likewise a function of its deployment of air and naval-gunnery forces, as well as its so-far successful alliance with Iran.  Better American leadership might help, but for now, the situation is rapidly sliding away from America and towards the Russians.

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A significant claim is being pushed by the Turkish government, one that could redraw the lines of the old Ottoman Empire:

Тhe spat erupted after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took the country and the region by surprise last month by calling into question the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, which defined modern Turkey’s borders.  He declared Turkey had been blackmailed by foreign powers into giving up vast swaths of territory that were once part of the Ottoman Empire….

[A]ccording to visiting Carnegie Europe scholar Sinan Ulgen[:]  “The message should be seen more of a signal in relation to Turkish polices towards the south, Syria and Iraq. I read it as a backdrop to a policy that tries to build domestic support for a more long-term presence, particularly in Syria, by pointing out, at allegedly past historical mistakes,” Ulgen said.

Turkish forces are currently in Syria and Iraq. But the Turkish presence at the Bashiqa base, close to the Iraqi city of Mosul, has become the center of a deepening dispute with Baghdad. The base is ostensibly tor training Sunni militia to fight Islamic State.

On Tuesday, Erdogan dismissed Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s calls to withdraw Turkish troops, telling him “he should know his place.”

Ulgen went on to point out that Turkey has historical claims not only to Mosul, currently contested in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS).   Both Mosul and oil-rich Kirkuk were part of the original design of the modern-day Turkey.  The Turks’ traditionalists and nationalists view the treaty that gave them away as having been forced on them at the end of World War I.

If Russian diplomacy can broker a deal that allows Turkey to expand into Iraq and Syria, it could cement Turkey’s move into Russia’s sphere.  Until recently, that looked unlikely at best.  Last year, Turkmen fighters shot down a Russian jet over repeated incursions by the Russian air force.  At that time, relations between the two nations became quite tense.  Russia is backing Iran’s play in the region, apparently in the hope that a powerful Shi’a Iran will create a buffer zone between Russia and the Sunni jihadist forces that have acted to inflame Muslim minorities in Central Asia.  Likewise, the war in the Middle East draws attention away from Russia’s strategic moves in Eastern Europe, such as last week’s deployment of nuclear missiles on the very borders of Poland and the Baltic States.

Turkey’s latest move appears likely to inflame Iraq’s government, and Russia’s ally Iran intends to control Iraq at the end of this conflict.  Surrendering territory, especially oil-rich territory, may be a difficult negotiation.  On the other hand, Kirkuk is also disputed with the Kurds, and whichever government formally holds it after the war is going to have to fight to keep it.  Iran may be willing to be persuaded to concede the fight to Turkey in return for a more firmly-controlled corridor between Tehran and the Levant.

That will require some subtle diplomacy to negotiate, but right now Russia is having significant success in its diplomatic moves.  In the wake of a new energy deal between Turkey and Russia, the Russian diplomatic corps seems to have a lot of momentum on its side.  Turkey was already looking away from NATO and Europe in the wake of its Islamist purge following an alleged attempted coup.  Should Russia be able to get a process of negotiation going between Turkey, Iraq and Iran on the issue of Turkish territorial expansion, Russia would assume the leadership role in the region.  Should it actually resolve the negotiations successfully, it could expect Turkey to become part of the Russian sphere of influence.  That would potentially derail NATO, as NATO’s decisions must be taken by a unanimous vote.  If Turkey becomes as strong a Russian ally as China, NATO could become as useless an organ for opposing Russian ambition as the United Nations Security Council (on which Russia has a veto).

American diplomacy is meanwhile spinning its wheels.  The United States broke off talks with Russia, and then called for war crimes investigations into Russia and Assad for their campaign in Syria.  American Secretary of State John F. Kerry also accused Russia of interfering with America’s elections.  However, it appears that Kerry now wants a new push for a cease-fire in Aleppo, which would require Syria and Russia to sign on.

American diplomatic weakness is partially a function of American military weakness in the region.  Russian diplomatic success is partially likewise a function of its deployment of air and naval-gunnery forces, as well as its so-far successful alliance with Iran.  Better American leadership might help, but for now, the situation is rapidly sliding away from America and towards the Russians.

What’s the Plan for Winning the War?

August 25, 2016

What’s the Plan for Winning the War?, Counter Jihad, August 25, 2016

Who is even thinking about how to win the war?  Will the legacy of the Obama administration be a shattered NATO, a Turkey drawn into Russia’s orbit, an Iranian hegemony over the northern Middle East, and a resurgent Russia?  It certainly looks to be shaping up that way.  Russia is playing chess while the US is playing whack-a-mole.  The absence of a coherent governing strategy is glaring.

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Michael Ledeen makes a clever observation:

Everyone’s talking about “ransom,” but it’s virtually impossible to find anyone who’s trying to figure out how to win the world war we’re facing.  The two keystones of the enemy alliance are Iran and Russia, and the Obama administration, as always, has no will to resist their sorties, whether the Russians’ menacing moves against Ukraine, or the Iranians’ moves against us.

The moves are on the chessboard, sometimes kinetic and sometimes psychological warfare.  Like a chess game, we are in the early stages in which maneuver establishes the array of forces that will govern the rest of the game.  Russia’s deployment of air and naval forces to Syria stole a march on the Obama administration.  Its swaying of Turkey, which last year was downing Russian aircraft, is stealing another.  Its deployment of bombers and advanced strike aircraft to Iran is another.  That last appears to be in a state of renegotiation, as Ledeen notes, but that too is probably for show.  The Iranians have too much to gain in terms of security for their nuclear program, at least until they’ve had time to build their own air force.

Iran is making strategic moves as well.  Ledeen notes the “Shi’ite Freedom Army,” a kind of Iranian Foreign Legion that intends to field five divisions of between twenty and twenty-five thousand men each.  Overall command will belong to Quds Force commander Qassem Suliemani, currently a major figure in the assault on Mosul, having recovered from his injury in Syria commanding Iranian-backed militia in the war there.  The fact of his freedom of movement is itself a Russian-Iranian demonstration that they will not be governed by international law:  Suliemani is under international travel bans for his assassination plot against world diplomats, but was received in Moscow and now travels freely throughout the northern Middle East.

Turkey, meanwhile, has been effectively cut off by Iran’s and Russia’s success in the opening game of this global chess match.  As late as the Ottoman Empire, the Turks looked south through Iran and Iraq to power bases as far away as Arabia.  Now the Ayatollahs are going to control a crescent of territory from Afghanistan’s borders to the Levant, leaving the Turks locked out.  One might have expected the Turks to respond by doubling their sense of connection to Europe and NATO.  Instead, the purge following the alleged coup attempt is cementing an Islamist control that leaves the Turks looking toward a world from which they are largely separated by the power of this new Russian-Iranian alliance.  The Turks seem to be drifting toward joining that alliance because being a part of that alliance will preserve their ties to the Islamic world.

For now, the Obama administration seems blind to the fact that these moves are closing off America’s position in the Middle East.  This is not a new policy.  Eli Lake reports that the Obama administration told the CIA to sever its ties to Iranian opposition groups in order to avoid giving aid to the Green revolution.  Their negotiation of last year’s disastrous “Iran deal” has led to Iran testing new ballistic missiles and receiving major arms shipments from Russia.  Yet while all these moves keep being made around them, the Obama administration proceeds as if this were still just an attempt to crush the Islamic State (ISIS).  The commander of the XVIIIth Airborne Corps has been given a task that amounts to helping the Iranians win.  Our incoherent policy has left us on both sides in Syria.  Our only real ally in the conflict, the Kurds, stand abandoned by America.

Who is even thinking about how to win the war?  Will the legacy of the Obama administration be a shattered NATO, a Turkey drawn into Russia’s orbit, an Iranian hegemony over the northern Middle East, and a resurgent Russia?  It certainly looks to be shaping up that way.  Russia is playing chess while the US is playing whack-a-mole.  The absence of a coherent governing strategy is glaring.

Turkish naval officer serving in US requests political asylum

August 10, 2016

Turkish naval officer serving in U.S, requests political asylum, DEBKAfile, August 10, 2016

turk

Turkish Navy Rear Adm. Mustafa Ugurlu, an officer serving on behalf of NATO at a US military base in Norfolk, Virginia, has requested political asylum in the US. An arrest warrant has been issued in Turkey for Urgulu. The Turkish embassy in Washington has announced that Ugurlu did not report for questioning as requested. The asylum request is expected to strain relations between Washington and Ankara even further following Turkey’s demand for the extradition of opposition leader Fethullah Gulen, who is in exile in the US.

 

Europe’s armies are dysfunctional

August 7, 2016

Europe’s armies are dysfunctional, Israel National News, Giulio Meotti, August 7, 2016

In 1958, a well-known American writer who was conducting an investigation about Europe, Joseph Alsop, asked the pacifist Lord Russell: “What if the Soviets won’t be induced, in any way, to an agreement for nuclear disarmament?”. “In this case – said the Nobel Prize Laureate Russell – I would be personally in favor of unilateral disarmament”. Fifty years later, Lord Russell got his wish. Europe is disarming.

The German weekly magazine Der Spiegel recently published an article entitled: “The unarmed forces of Germany”. “Forget the Wehrmacht, Germany may soon gave no army at all”, added The Guardian. “The inglorious Bundeswehr” wrote Politico. “Do not shoot, please, we’re German”, summarized The Economist. So while late German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, was promising to make Germany a “leader of peace and disarmament”, the American media reported that German soldiers could not even shoot in Afghanistan.

“An unarmed Europe will face the world alone”, wrote Gideon Rachman in the Financial Times.

In 1970, Mogens Glistrup, a prominent politician in Denmark, became famous for suggesting that his country had to replace the armed forces with a recorded message in Russian: “We surrender”. Since 2008, in response to the economic crisis, most European countries have cut defense spending by 10-15 percent. Most Atlantic alliance members have demobilized: Germany went from 545,000 soldiers in 1990 to 180,000, France from 548,000 to 213,000.

A comparison with Putin’s Russia? An increase of 79 percent in military spending in a decade.

The Royal Air Force now has only a quarter of the number of aircraft it had in 1970. The British Army is expected to be reduced to 82,000 soldiers, the minimum since the Napoleonic wars. In 1990 Britain had 27 submarines (excluding those carrying ballistic missiles) and France had 17. The two countries now have seven and six, respectively. And consider that Britain and France are commonly regarded as the only two European countries that still take defense seriously.

Spain today allocates less than 1 percent of GDP to military budget. 75 percent of the Belgian military spending goes to pay army pensions. Many of today’s NATO forces are poorly equipped because much of the money is spent on salaries and benefits. While the United States spends 36 percent of its defense budget on pay and benefits, the majority of NATO members in Europe spend an average of nearly 65 percent.

The NATO Secretary General George Robertson told the truth at the World Economic Forum: “The problem in Europe is that there are too many people in uniform and too few of them are able to go into action”. Belgium, for example, employs hundreds of military barbers, musicians and other useless staff but does not have the money to replace its helicopters. A former spokesman for the Belgian Minister of Defense Andre Flahaut, said it frankly: “I’m not sure that the mission of the military is to fight”.

Fed up with what he had seen, Joseph Ralston, former NATO supreme commander for Europe, defined European armies “fat and redundant”. In 2011, the first military campaign in Libya not guided by the Americans had already demonstrated the limits of European military power. It is no coincidence that this week the Libyan government has turned to the United States to bomb the positions of the Islamic State. While all 28 NATO nations in 2011 approved the Libya mission, less than half participated. “The military capabilities simply are not there”, said the former head of the Pentagon, Robert Gates.

Twenty years ago, at the end of the Cold War, European Allies were contributing one third of the costs for NATO. Today it is only twenty percent.

The Netherlands now invests in defense just 1.15 percent of its gross national product, so that Rob de Wijk, a Dutch defense counsel, told the parliament of the Netherlands that the Dutch are “international freeriders”.

On 11 March 2004, 192 people were killed in a series of terrorist attacks in Madrid. Three days later, the Spanish Socialist leader, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, was elected prime minister. Just 24 hours after the oath, Zapatero ordered the Spanish troops to leave Iraq “as soon as possible”. A monumental victory for radical Islam. Since then, Europe has deployed its boots on the ground not to fight jihadism abroad, such as Isis, but within European countries to protect monuments and civilians.

The current “Opération Sentinels” is the first large-scale military operation within France. For the first time since the end of the Cold War, the number of French soldiers actively deployed in metropolitan France matches those used in overseas operations. There is another worrying fact: of all French soldiers currently engaged in military operations, half of them are deployed on the French roads. Half.

The same figure in Italy: 11,000 Italian soldiers are currently engaged in various military missions and more than half of them are used in the operation “Safe Streets” in Italian cities.

US anti-terrorism officials are so frustrated with the inability of Belgium to face terrorist cells that they compared its security forces to “children”. Until a couple of decades ago, Sweden was militarily strong. Then, a number of decisions based on the belief that wars in Europe were “a thing of the past”, turned Sweden into a defenseless state. According to the Supreme Commander of Sweden, Sverker Göransson, the country is able, at best, to defend itself “in one place for a week”.

At a meeting in Washington with NATO officials and security experts, Robert Gates said that “the pacification of Europe” had gone too far. An example? While the Ukrainian troops were fighting the pro-Russian separatists on the eastern borders of Europe, a German battalion took part in a NATO exercise in Norway. They had no weapons, but the German army, the Bundeswehr, thought well and decided to give the soldiers some broomsticks to be used it as a weapon. The Bundeswehr has helicopters that can not fly, and tanks that can not shoot. And the soldiers will be decreased from 250,000 to 180,000.

Which part of the continent will Europe’s leaders sacrifice to the Islamic State and jihadists as their grandfathers did with Sudetenland to Hitler? The French Islamicized suburbs? Londonistan

Turkey’s Tradition of Murdering Christians

July 31, 2016

Turkey’s Tradition of Murdering Christians, Gatestone InstituteRobert Jones, July 31, 2016

(Please see also, Turkey’s Erdogan to US General: ‘Know Your Place’, which deals in large part with the U.S. relationship with Turkey. Turkey is “our” NATO ally and its membership in the European Union is still under consideration. — DM)

♦ Turkey’s countless agreements with Western organizations do not seem to have reduced the hatred for Christians there.

♦ In Turkey, it is “ordinary people” who murder or attack Christians, then the judiciary or political system somehow find a way of enabling the perpetrators to get away with the crimes. Most of these crimes are not covered by the international media and Turkey is never held responsible.

♦ While Muslims are pretty much free to practice their religion and express their views on other religions anywhere in the world, Christians and other non-Muslims can be killed in Turkey and other Muslim-majority countries just for attempting peacefully to practice their religion or openly express their views.

♦ “Multiculturalism,” which is passionately defended by many liberals in the West, could have worked wonders in multi-ethnic and multi-religious places such as Anatolia. But unfortunately, Islamic ideology allows only one culture, one religion, and one way of thinking under their rule: Islam. Ironically, this is the central fact these liberals do not want to see.

On 26 July, the northern French town of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray witnessed a horrific Islamist attack: Two Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists killed an 85-year-old priest, Jacques Hamel, in his church during Mass. Two nuns and two churchgoers were taken hostage.

The terrorists, who had pledged allegiance to ISIS and, shouting “Allahu Akbar”, slit the throat of the priest and captured the bloody episode on video, according to a nun who escaped the assault.

Such Islamist attacks might be new to EU member countries but not to Turkey. For decades, so many innocent, defenseless Christians in Turkey have been slaughtered by Muslim assailants.

Christians in Turkey are still attacked, murdered or threatened daily; the assailants usually get away with their crimes.

In Malatya, in 2007, during the Zirve Bible Publishing House massacre, three Christian employees were attacked, severely tortured, then had their hands and feet tied and their throats cut by five Muslims on April 18, 2007.

Nine years have passed, but there still has been no justice for the families of the three men who were murdered so savagely.

First, the five suspects who were still in detention were released from their high-security prison by a Turkish court, which ruled that their detention exceeded newly-adopted legal limits.

The trial is still ongoing. The prosecutor claims that the act “was not a terrorist act because the perpetrators did not have a hierarchic bond, their act was not continuous and the knives they used in the massacre did not technically suffice to make the act be regarded as a terrorist act.”

If the court accepts this legal opinion of the prosecutor, it could pave the way for an acquittal. However, given the many “mysterious” rulings of the Turkish judiciary system to acquit criminals, these killers could also be acquitted by a “surprise” ruling any time.

Ironically, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in March that it is necessary to redefine terrorism to include those who support such acts, adding that they could be journalists, lawmakers or activists. There was no difference, he said, between “a terrorist holding a gun or a bomb and those who use their position and pen to serve the aims” of terrorists.

In a country where state authorities are outspokenly so “sensitive” about “terrorism” and “people holding guns,” why are the murderers of Christians not in jail, and why is the prosecutor trying to portray the murders of Christians as “non-terroristic acts”?

Sadly, the three Christians in Malatya were neither the first nor the last Christians to be murdered in Turkey.

On February 5, 2006, Father Andrea Santoro, a 61-year-old Roman Catholic priest, was murdered in the Santa Maria Church in the province of Trabzon. He was shot while kneeling in prayer at his church. Witnesses heard the 16-year-old murderer shout “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is the Greatest”) during the murder.

After the murder, a 74-year-old priest, Father Pierre François René Brunissen, from Samsun, led the next church service in Santoro’s church, which boasted barely a dozen members. Because no one volunteered to replace Santoro, Father Pierre was instructed to travel from Samsun to Trabzon each month to care for the city’s small congregation.

“This is a terrible incident,” Father Pierre said. “It is a sin to kill a person. After all of these incidents, I am worried about my life here.”

In July, 2006, he was stabbed and wounded by a Muslim in Samsun. The perpetrator, 53, said that he stabbed the priest to oppose “his missionary activities.”[1]

The attacks against the Christian culture in Anatolia continue in modern times — even after Turkey joined the Council of Europe in 1949 and NATO in 1952.

Turkey’s countless agreements with Western organizations do not seem to have reduced the hatred for Christians there. In March, 2007, as the Christian community of Mersin was preparing for the Easter, a young Muslim man with a kebab knife entered the church and attacked the priests, Roberto Ferrari and Henry Leylek.

Mersin, in southern Turkey, is home to Tarsus, the birthplace of Saint Paul, and to several churches dating from the earliest Christian era.

As the Christian roots of Anatolia weakened, so did its bonds with Western civilization. “The attack against the priest is an indicator that Ankara is not ready for Europe,” a Roman Catholic Cardinal and theologian, Walter Kasper, told the Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera. “There is some amount of tolerance but there is not real freedom. Turkey has to change many things. This change is not about laws. A change of mentality is needed. But you cannot change mentality in one day.”

Bishop Luigi Padovese, Apostolic Vicar of Anatolia, said: “We do not feel safe. I am very worried. Fanaticism is developing in some groups. Some people want to poison the atmosphere and catholic priests are targeted. Anti-missionary films are broadcast on TV channels.”

At a commemorative ceremony for Father Santoro in February, Bishop Padovese said:

“Today, we are asking the question we asked four years ago: Why? We are also asking the same question for all other victims so unjustly murdered even though they were innocent. Why? What was it that they tried to destroy by murdering Father Andrea? Just a person or what that person represented? The aim of shooting Father Andrea was definitely to shoot a Catholic cleric. His being a Father became the reason of his martyrdom.

“The message of Christ on the cross is clear. ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’ Had they known, they would not have done that. It is wrong to extinguish a life to uphold an idea. It is wrong to think that a person who disagrees with us is at fault and should be destroyed. This is the fundamentalism that crumbles a society. For it wrecks coexistence. This fundamentalism — regardless of what religion or political view it belongs to — might win a few battles but it is doomed to lose the war. This is what history teaches us. I hope that this city and this country will turn into a place where people can live as brothers and sisters and unite for the common good for all. Is the Allah of all of us not the same?”

No, unfortunately, the Allah of all of us is not the same.

Just four months later, in June, 2010, it was Padovese’s turn to be murdered. This time the murderer was the Bishop’s own driver for the previous four years. The driver first stabbed the bishop, then cut his throat, while shouting “Allahu Akbar” during the attack.

At the trial, the driver said that the bishop was “Masih ad-Dajjal” (“the false messiah”), then twice in the courtroom he loudly recited the adhan (Islamic call to worship).

1737 (1)Father Andrea Santoro (left), a 61-year-old Roman Catholic priest, and 63-year-old Bishop Luigi Padovese (right), Apostolic Vicar of Anatolia, were two Christian priests murdered in Turkey in recent years.

In the territory where Christians once thrived, even converting to Christianity now creates serious problems.

“New Christians coming from Muslim families are often isolated and ostracized,” writes Carnes. “Turgay Ucal, a pastor of an independent church in Istanbul, who converted from Islam to Christianity said: “Buddhism is okay, but not Christianity. There was a history.”

And this history includes how indigenous Christians in Anatolia have been slaughtered by Muslims. [2]

The total population of Turkey is about 80 million; believers of non-Muslim faiths — mostly Christians and Jews — comprise 0.2%. Nevertheless, anti-Christian sentiment is still prevalent in much of the Turkish society. [3]

There seems to be a pattern: Murders of Christians are committed stealthily in Turkey: It is “ordinary people” who murder or attack Christians, then the judiciary or political system somehow finds a way of enabling the murderers or attackers to get away with what they have done. Sadly, most of these crimes are not covered by the international media, and Turkey is never held responsible.

Turkey, however, signed a Customs Union agreement with the European Union in 1995 and was officially recognized as a candidate for full membership in 1999. Negotiations for the accession of Turkey to the EU are still ongoing.

How come a nation that has murdered or attacked so many Christians throughout history, and which has not even apologized for these crimes, is considered even a suitable candidate for EU membership? Because of the threat of blackmail to flood Europe with Muslims? Turkey will flood Europe with them anyway. There is even a name for it: Hijrah, spreading Islam (jihad) by emigration. Exactly as Muslims have done inside Turkey.

And what kind of a culture and civilization have many Muslims built for the most part in the lands that they have conquered? When one observes the historical and current situation in Muslim-majority countries, what one mostly sees are murders, attacks and hatred: Hatred of non-Muslims, hatred of women, hatred of free thought and an extremely deep hatred of everything that is not Islamic. Many Muslims that have moved to the West have been trying to import political Islam to the free world, as well.

Muslim regimes including Turkey have not achieved civilized democratization that would enable all of their citizens — Muslims and non-Muslims — to live free and safe lives.

While Muslims are pretty much free to practice their religion and express their views on other religions or on atheism anywhere in the world, Christians and other non-Muslims can be killed in Turkey and other Muslim-majority countries just for attempting peacefully to practice their religion or openly express their views.

“Multiculturalism,” which is passionately defended by many liberals in the West, could have worked wonders in multi-ethnic and multi-religious places such as Anatolia. But unfortunately, Islamic ideology allows only one culture, one religion, and one way of thinking under their rule: Islam. Ironically, this is the central fact these liberals do not want to see.

Much of the history of Islam shows that the nature of Islamic ideology is to invade or infiltrate, and then to dominate non-Muslims.

In general, Muslims have never shown the slightest interest in peaceful coexistence with non-Muslims. Even if most Muslims are not jihadis, most do not speak out against jihadist attacks. Many thus appear quietly to support jihadis. That there are also peaceful Muslim individuals who respect other faiths does not change this tragic fact.

That is why non-Muslims in the West have every right to fear one day being exposed to the same treatment at the hands of Muslims. The fear non-Muslims have of Islamic attacks is, based on recent evidence, both rational and justified.

Given how unspeakably non-Muslims are treated in majority Muslim countries, including Turkey, who can blame them for being concerned about the possible Islamization of their own free societies?

Why does Turkey, which seems to hate its own Christians, want to have visa-free access to Christian Europe, anyway?

____________________________


[1] Christianity has a long history in Samsun – as in all other Anatolian towns. As Amisos, in Greek, it was one of the centers of the ancient Greek Pontos region, and helped spread the Christian influence in the region.

“After 1914 the Greek and Armenian populations were to dwindle considerably due to the organized death marches and other methods used by the Turks during the Greek and Armenian Genocides,” according to “Pontos World.”

Decades later, attacks against Christians are still commonplace. In December 2007, another Catholic priest, Adriano Franchini, 65, of Izmir was also stabbed and wounded during the Sunday church service by a 19-year-old Muslim.

Izmir, or Smyrna, was an ecclesiastical territory of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, and one of the Seven Churches of Asia mentioned by Apostle John in the Book of Revelation.

During the Ottoman era, Smyrna hosted one of the largest populations of Greeks and Armenians. Today, there is only a tiny Christian minority in the city. The devastation of the Greek culture in the city peaked during what is commonly known as the “Catastrophe of Smyrna.” The Turkish army destroyed the city in 1922, after the Great Fire of Smyrna. Turkish soldiers murdered many non-Muslim civilians, including dozens of priests and bishops, and forced countless Greek men to join labor battalions. Most Greeks fled their homes in the city to seek shelter in Greece and other states.

“The Great Fire of Smyrna,” wrote the author Ioanna Zikakou, “was the peak of the Asia Minor Catastrophe, bringing an end to the 3,000-year Greek presence on Anatolia’s Aegean shore and shifting the population ratio between Muslims and non-Muslims.”

According to the journalist Tony Carnes:

“Few nations have as rich a Christian history as Turkey. This is where Paul founded some of the earliest churches, including the church at Ephesus. Seven churches in this region were addressed in the Book of Revelation. Those in the early monastic movement found the caves of Cappadocia a near-perfect place to live out lives of prayer.

“But Christianity came under Islamic rule in Turkey in 1453 and steadily declined for centuries; the last 100 years have been the worst. In 1900, the Christian population was 22 percent. Now most experts estimate that there are fewer than 200,000 Christians nationwide, comprising less than 0.3 percent of the population.”

Today, in Islamized Anatolia, the members of the diminutive Christian minority are daily exposed to verbal or physical attacks. Kamil Kiroglu was born and raised in Turkey as a Muslim. At the age of 24, he became a Christian and served in the Turkish Church until 2009. After he became Christian, he was rejected by his family.

On January 8, 2006, Kiroglu was beaten unconscious by five young Muslim men.

“The attack followed church services,” writes the scholar John L. Allen Jr. in his book, The Global War on Christians. “Kiroglu later reported that one of the young men, wielding a knife, had shouted, ‘Deny Jesus or I will kill you now!’ Another reportedly shouted, ‘We do not want Christians in this country!’ As the attackers left, they told a friend of Kiroglu’s that they had left a gift for him. It turned out to be a three-foot-long curved knife, left behind as a further warning against Christian activity.”

“Turkey may be an officially secular state, but sociologically it’s an Islamic society. In general, the greatest threat facing Christians comes not from religiously zealous forms of Islam but from ultranationalists who see Christians as agents of the West, often accusing them of being in league with Kurdish separatists.”

In 2009, Bartholomew I of Constantinople, the Orthodox Christian Church’s Patriarch, said in aninterview with CBS that Turkey’s Christians were second-class citizens and that he felt “crucified” at the hands of Turkish state authorities.

[2] “The annihilation of the non-Turk/non-Muslim peoples from Anatolia started on April 24, 1915, with the arrest of 250 Armenian intellectuals in Istanbul,” wrote the columnist Raffi Bedrosyan.

“Within a few months, 1.5 million Armenians had been wiped out from their historic homeland of 4,000 years in what is now eastern Turkey, as well as from the northern, southern, central, and western parts of Turkey. About 250,000 Assyrians were also massacred in southeastern Turkey during the same period. Then, it was the Pontic Greeks’ turn to be eliminated from northern Turkey on the Black Sea coast, sporadically from 1916 onward.”

Orhan Picaklar, the pastor of the Samsun Agape Church, was kidnapped and threatened by Muslim locals in 2007. He said that people also tried to kidnap his 11-year-old son from his school. His church has been stoned countless times. Ahmet Guvener, the pastor of the Diyarbakir Protestant Church, said he received so many threats that he was awaiting death: “I will give a letter of attorney to a friend of mine. If I die, I want him to take care of my children.”

[3] See the yearly reports of the Association of Protestant Churches about rights abuses against Christians in Turkey.