Posted tagged ‘U.S. – Turkey relationship’

Trump authorizes heavy weapons for Kurds fighting Raqqa

May 9, 2017

Trump authorizes heavy weapons for Kurds fighting Raqqa, DEBKAfile, May 9, 2017

US President Donald Trump has approved supplying weapons to Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State in Syria, the Pentagon says. The Kurdish YPG leading the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) would be equipped to help drive ISIS from its stronghold, Raqqa, a spokeswoman said. The US was “keenly aware” of Turkey’s concerns about such a move, she added. The SDF, which comprises Kurdish and Arab militias, is already being supported by elite US forces and air strikes from a US-led coalition. The group is currently battling for control of the city of Tabqa, an ISIS command centre just 50km (30 miles) from Raqqa. The equipment would include ammunition, small arms, machine guns, heavy machine guns, construction equipment such as bulldozers and armored vehicles. The Pentagon ource added that the US would “seek to recover” the equipment afterwards.

 

Rushed evacuation of US nukes from Incirlik

August 18, 2016

Rushed evacuation of US nukes from Incirlik, DEBKAfile, August 18, 2016

US_PLANES_INCIRLICK_8.16

The talks ground to a halt over Turkish insistence on assuming control of the nuclear arsenal and America’s rejection of this demand.

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In an earthshaking Middle East development, the United States has begun secretly evacuating the tactical nuclear weapons it had stockpiled at the southern Turkish air base of Incirlik and is transporting them to US bases in Romania.

The Obama administration has thus taken another step towards folding its tents in the Middle East.

In contrast, Moscow is rapidly expanding its air force footprint in the region with a new base in Iran following its facility in Syria. Advanced bombers and fighters are stepping up operations in both countries, while Russian warships carrying Kalibr cruise missiles gather in the Mediterranean and Caspian Seas.

DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report that Washington decided to remove the nuclear arsenal to safety after talks between American and Turkish talks on release 1,500 US airmen serving at the base from the siege clamped down a month ago broke down. The airmen were running the US air campaign against ISIS in in Syria just 112km away.

The talks ground to a halt over Turkish insistence on assuming control of the nuclear arsenal and America’s rejection of this demand.

The 50-70 B61 tactical gravity nuclear bombs were stored in underground bunkers close to the US bombers’ air strips. Although this was not fully admitted by Washington, the US air and ground crews were held intermittently in lockdown since the President Tayyip Erdogan suppressed a military coup against him a month ago.

The deteriorations of relations between Ankara and Washington contrasted strongly with the Turkish-

Russian rapprochement, which Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin sealed in St. Petersburg on Aug.8. Since then, there have been calls for the Russian Air Force to be allowed to displace the US warplanes at Incirlik. This process has now begun.

Turkey’s Erdogan to US General: ‘Know Your Place’

July 31, 2016

Turkey’s Erdogan to US General: ‘Know Your Place’, Clarion Project, William Reed, July 31, 2016

Turkey-Erdogan-Gulen-IP_0Turkish President Recept Tayyip Erdogan (left) shown with his nemesis Fethullah Gulen, who he accuses of being behind the coup. (Photo: © Reuters)

The U.S. still maintains the false view that Turkey is absolutely necessary for the U.S. because Turkey provides an access to a land base to the Middle East.

They refuse to believe that the U.S. or the West can be just as effective without Turkey. The old anti Soviet fears are still there, and it seems that the U.S. will not budge from the opinion that the U.S. should support Turkey, no matter what Turkey does.

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U.S. Central Command Commander General Joseph Votel said on July 28 that a number of the U.S. military’s closest allies in the Turkish military have been placed in jail following the July 15 attempted coup.

“We’ve certainly had relationships with a lot of Turkish leaders, military leaders in particular,” General Votel said at the Aspen Security Forum meeting in Colorado. “I’m concerned about what the impact is on those relationships as we continue.”

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper also echoed General Votel’s statements.

The failed coup and the government’s backlash have “affected all segments of the national security apparatus in Turkey,” Clapper stated. “Many of our interlocutors have been purged or arrested.”

Referring to the U.S.’s Middle East strategy, Clapper added, “There’s no question that this is going to set back and make more difficult.”

On July 29, in a public statement in Ankara caught on video, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan lashed out against Votel’s comments. “A human is supposed to feel embarrassed a little bit. How dare you make this decision?” he railed. “Who are you? First, you will know your place. You will know yourself. When you – in the name of democracy – need to thank this state that has repelled this coup attempt in my country, on the contrary, you side with coup plotters. After all, the coup plotter [Fethullah Gulen] is in your country. You are feeding the coup plotter in your country. This is obvious.”

Erdogan continued, “You can never convince my nation. My nation knows who is involved in this trick now. They very well know [through] such statements who is behind this act and who the mastermind is. You reveal yourselves with these statements. You expose yourselves. Turkey will not fall for these games.”

 

Turkey Crackdown after Failed Coup

Amnesty International has issued some statistics on the situation following the failed coup in Turkey:

  • 131 media outlets and publishing houses have been shut down including 3 news agencies, 16 TV channels, 23 radio stations, 45 newspapers, 15 journals and 29 publishing houses.
  • At least 89 arrest warrants were issued for journalists. More than 40 have been detained.
  • At least 260 people were killed and more than 2,000 injured amid the failed coup attempt in Istanbul and Ankara, according to government accounts.
  • More than 15,000 people have been detained since the failed coup.
  • More than 45,000 people have been suspended or removed from their jobs, including police, judges and prosecutors, and others.
  • More than 1,000 private schools and educational institutions have been closed and 138,000 school children will have to be transferred to state schools.
  • Turkish police in Ankara and Istanbul have reportedly been holding detainees in stress positions for 48 hours. Detainees have been denied food, water and medical treatment, and been verbally abused and threatened. Some have been subjected to severe beatings and torture, including rape.
  • No independent human rights monitors have been provided with access to detention facilities in Turkey after its National Human Rights Institution was abolished in April 2016.

In addition:

  • Turkey has also cancelled the passports of 50,000 people the Islamist government suspects of being dissidents.
  • 63 teenage boys aged 14-17 who attended a top military high school have been arrested and prevented from being in touch with their parents. A lawyer for the boys said that they were duped into coming to school the night of the coup after being promised they would be meeting famous soccer players. They were then given camouflage uniforms and guns with empty magazines.

 

“Traitors’ Cemetery”

A “Traitors’ Cemetery” has recently been created in Istanbul to hold the bodies of coup plotters who died in the failed coup attempt.

Government officials have branded people allegedly involved in the attempted coup as “traitors” and “terrorists” undeserving of a proper burial. Turkey’s state-funded Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) also issued a directive denying funeral prayers and services for them.

Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas said: “May every passer-by curse them and let them not rest in their tombs.”

 

U.S.-Turkey Relations

The U.S. still maintains the false view that Turkey is absolutely necessary for the U.S. because Turkey provides an access to a land base to the Middle East.

They refuse to believe that the U.S. or the West can be just as effective without Turkey. The old anti Soviet fears are still there, and it seems that the U.S. will not budge from the opinion that the U.S. should support Turkey, no matter what Turkey does.

To many who hold this view, Turkish crimes are not important or relevant to the geopolitical considerations of the U.S. and its military goals.

Even Turkey’s documented facilitation of the Islamic State fighters through its territory or the rising dictatorship of  Erdogan have not change the Western considerations of support.

It seems that Turkey can slaughter its Kurds en-masse (which they have) or Turkey-supported terror groups can massacre Alevis and Christians in Iraq and Syria daily with no reaction from the U.S.

Turkey has seen that it has suffered no consequences for its invasion and occupation of Cyprus for decades.

With blessings from the West, Turkey has been able to devastate the Hellenic and Armenian cultural heritage of Anatolia, systematically attack and destroy historic churches and other Christian sites, ban the Alevi faith and the Kurdish language and oppress all non-Turkish cultures in a tyrannical manner.

Turkey is still allowed to deny, whitewash and even take pride in the 1915 Armenian genocide.

Tragically, it seems that what Western powers are mostly interested is to keep their monetary and other interests in Turkey for as long as it lasts.

And while that happens, the thousands of victims of Turkey’s brutality will lie in their graves or prison cells and be damned.