Wednesday 22nd of September 2021

reviving the ottoman empire...

The present unease between Turkey and the rest of the world seems to be a continuation of the Ottoman Empire, which has been victorious at times, but has also been defeated, to be now restricted to Turkey.

Turkey’s present leader, Erdogan, is flexing “Otto-manic" muscles… One needs to be alert as to what he will do next. But our soporific news is not connecting the dots so far. Erdogan has dreams of reviving the Empire, bit by bit. 

In the Theodosia Art Gallery, Crimea, there is a large painting, “Brig Mercury" Attacked by Two Turkish Ships (Russian: Бриг "Меркурий", атакованный двумя турецкими кораблями),  by Russian painter Ivan Aivazovsky (1817–1900) rendered in 1892.

The painting depicts three ships in close combat on a rough sea. The battle occurs between two Turkish warships, and another ship referred to in the painting's title as the Russian brig Mercury. 

The Mercury was a small ship (20-gun Brig — some sources say 18 guns, some say 24). It differed from other Brigs of the Russian Navy at the time because of its shallow draught that limited its speed. Apart from sails it was equipped with oars, and this could have been seen as ridiculous, yet its task — guarding the shallows of Northern Caucasus coast — was considered unique for the shipbuilders.

The Mercury fought in several naval battles. One of the most notable of these battles involved a battle between the Mercury (commanded by Alexander Kazarsky) and two other Russian brigs, against a large armada of 14 Turkish ships, that were returning from Anatolia. Turkish victory was foreseeable, but the Mercury escaped after a final, powerful assault by the three Russian brigs.

… the name of a hero should be wrote by the gold letter in the shrine of glory: the captain was Kazarsky, and the name of the brig was “Mercury”.

So, what are the Turkish hopes and pressure points?

Turkey and Europe over migrants
It was said to be the moment when the European Union lost its political innocence. Nearly four years ago, in March 2016, EU leaders signed a deal with Turkey aimed at preventing asylum seekers from travelling to Europe.

The pact was “celebrated by people who are dancing on the grave of refugee protection”, said the Europe boss of Amnesty International. But the realpolitik worked: the number of people arriving on the Greek islands from Turkey dropped drastically from a peak of 7,000 a day to a few hundred, although numbers began creeping up again in 2019.

Now that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s president, claims to have opened the gates to Europe, the EU’s failure to agree a common migration policy during the intervening four years threatens to be exposed.

Turkey and Greece/Europe over Cyprus and oil exploration
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey called on Sunday for the European Union to end what it said was the bloc’s prejudice against Turkish Cypriots, defending its launch of a fresh round of hydrocarbons drilling off the Mediterranean island.
Turkey began drilling for oil and gas near Cyprus last year despite warnings from the EU, stoking tensions with neighboring members Greece and Cyprus.

In the latest move, Energy Minister Fatih Donmez on Friday told the state-owned Anadolu news agency that Turkey’s Yavuz drilling ship was setting off for Cyprus, prompting cautionary EU comments.

“The EU has remained silent since 2003 to the usurping of our country’s and the Turkish Cypriots’ rights in the eastern Mediterranean,” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a written statement.

Turkey and Greece/Orthodox over St Sophia
The recent uproar from within Turkey and globally about changes to Hagia Sophia — a 1,500-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site of religious significance to both Christians and Muslims — is justified and understandable. 

A Turkish court revoked the site’s status as a museum while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered the space open for Muslim prayer. The move effectively claimed Hagia Sophia as a mosque and is seen as part of Erdogan’s push to assert his version of an exclusionary religious Islamic identity in Turkey.

The Greek Foreign Ministry characterized the changes as the “religious and nationalist fanatic ramblings of today’s Turkey.” Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual head of many Orthodox Christians, said the change would be divisive and Pope Francis expressed sadness and disappointment. UNESCO says revoking the museum status undermines an important “symbol for dialogue.”

Turkey and Germany
There are many Turks living in Germany. They provide a major workforce. Merkel also “welcomed” many refugees into Germany, but the refugee camps in Turkey/Lebanon/Syria/Jordan/Iraq are still full. The wars spurn by the British sponsored “Arab Spring” and the “moderate rebels” who became Daesh (Isil, Isis), sponsored by the USA have only destabilised the Middle-East, giving hopes for some but many bombs on many others. Merkel showed compassion, but not all Germans are in favour of refugees. 

Turkey and France over Muslim terrorism
Paris has recalled its envoy from Turkey following scathing remarks by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who questioned his French counterpart’s mental health, accusing Emmanuel Macron of “mistreating” millions of Muslims.
The move was announced by Macron’s office late on Saturday.

In its statement, Paris indicated that it does not plan to engage in name-calling with the Turkish leadership.

“Outrage and insult are not a method,” the office said.

Turkey and Russia over Crimea
Writer Platon Besedin told Life publication that the official version voiced the idea that Turkey does not recognize Crimea as part of Russia. According to Erdogan, Turkey believes that Russia annexed the peninsula, so Ankara will continue its help to the Crimean Tatars. 

Zelensky had nothing against such an idea, although the remarks, which Erdogan made, go against the position of any government that Ukraine has seen during the recent years. 

After all, the Ukrainian administration believes that the Crimea is part of Ukraine, that Russia committed acts of aggression against Ukraine, which, for some strange reason does not cut off trade and all sorts of cooperation between Russia and Ukraine. 

According to Besedin, duplicity is a weapon that all politicians resort to, and it is not clear whether one can say that "Crimea is Ukraine" after Erdogan's statement. At the same time, it is clear what the Turkish president had in mind in relation to who owns the Crimea. 

It is difficult for Ukraine that had formal presence on the peninsula even during the times of peace to understand the things that were said between the lines.

Ukraine never had the Crimea in its possession either historically, culturally or economically, and the loss of the peninsula is only a plus for the Ukrainian "self-esteem."

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Turkey and Russia in Syria
Idlib is of paramount important to the Turkish leadership because it believes it cannot afford another Syrian refugee crisis in the middle of a dire economic situation, with xenophobic resentment against Syrians on the rise in Turkey.

Ankara has made numerous deployments in Idlib by sending special forces, armoured vehicles including tanks, and air defence systems. It also created a unified war room with opposition armed groups in the city of Hatay to quickly respond to any attack that could come from Assad forces.

“Turkey is training hundreds of Syrians in Idlib against a possible Syrian regime-led offensive,” one Syria expert told MEE. “Turkey has now established an intensive control in Idlib. Regime forces wouldn’t be able to move like they did in March."

One of the fundamental steps that the Turkish military has taken is deploying air defence systems. “Assad cannot send his air assets anymore,” the expert said. “So if you see an air operation, now you know that they are definitely Russians.”

During the meetings in Ankara last week, Turkish officials tried to explain to their Russian counterparts that Turkey now has more control in Idlib and HTS is no longer the threat it used to be. “We are now on the ground and HTS cannot move freely,” one Turkish official said.

Turkey and the USA
Turkey is not a “tribal state” that can be pushed around, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said, dismissing the American warnings over its procurement of Russian-made S-400 anti-aircraft systems.
Ankara will see through the deployment of its S-400 systems, which will not be disrupted by any threats or sanctions, Erdogan made clear, speaking in the eastern Turkish city of Malatya on Sunday. The Turkish leader even dared Washington to go ahead and introduce any S-400-related sanctions it might be planning.

You don't know who you’re dealing with. Whatever sanctions you have, don’t keep us waiting – introduce them. We paid for the F-35. You threatened us. You said, ‘Send the S-400s back to Russia.’ We are not a tribal state. We’re Turkey.

Erdogan’s tirade comes in response to recent remarks by the Pentagon, which, on Friday, blasted Turkey’s tests of the Russian-made systems. The US Department of Defense said it condemned the tests “in the strongest possible terms,” warning that Ankara’s activities might yield “serious consequences for our security relationship.”

In conclusion, we have no clue as to the double-game plans in the head of the boffins at the Pentagon. Turkey is part of NATO and has been used by the USA as a base to launch the American “regime-change” against Syria — a situation that has not occurred yet, because of Russia’s intervention. A change of leadership in the USA would modify this “annoyance” as the Democrats are preparing to bomb Damascus, like they were in 2016, should Hillary Clinton had won the presidency... This is why many “Republican” Generals and warmongers have left their traditional conservative party to join Joe Biden.

Keep your eyes opened on the rest of the world, while you’re doing your local basket-weaving…

Gus Leonisky
Local expert basket-weaver...

maximum pressure...

Donald Trump’s puzzling relationship with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long perplexed policy watchers. Things have become much clearer after the release of The Room Where It Happened, the new book [Gus: a pack of lies] from former National Security Advisor John Bolton [a major warmonger], which reveals new details about Trump, Erdogan, and Iran that should worry the public even more.

The most perplexing detail, less well-known to the public but frequently mentioned in Bolton’s book, is Trump’s soft spot for Halkbank — Turkey’s second-largest state bank, which federal prosecutors in October charged with helping Iran evade sanctions. Trump’s acquiescence in Erdogan’s tireless efforts to shield the Turkish bank and its accomplices from legal action remains sharply at odds with the U.S. president’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran.

The Halkbank saga goes back to Obama-era sanctions against Iran and the Turkish lender’s role — with Erdogan’s approval — in helping Tehran illicitly transfer tens of billions of dollars, as part of one of the biggest sanctions-evasion schemes in history. U.S. authorities arrested Reza Zarrab, the Iranian-Turkish ringleader of the conspiracy in March 2016, along with Mehmet Hakan Atilla, Halkbank’s deputy general manager, in March 2017, for their respective roles in the scheme.

Zarrab then turned state’s witness in the high-profile Manhattan case that led to Atilla’s conviction in January 2018 for his participation in a “scheme to violate U.S. economic sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Attila received 32 months in prison, a ruling a federal appeals panel upheld on July 20. Halkbank, charged for the same scheme in October 2019, pleaded not guilty in a court in the Southern District of New York on March 31 and has moved for the recusal of the judge overseeing the case.



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boycotting turkey, france and the rest of the world...

Following the appeal by a group of Saudi personalities, a movement to boycott Turkish products is spreading throughout the Arab world (barcode starting with "8 69"). It has caught on particularly in Bahrain, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, eastern Libya, and Syria.

This boycott, which was launched during the Kashoggi affair (December 2018), has restarted in solidarity with the Armenians in Karabakh.

Given the current difficulties of the Turkish economy, it constitutes a real danger to many businesses, especially in the food and textile sectors. It would turn into a catastrophe were it to hit the European Union.

For his part, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called for a boycott of French products in the Muslim world. It is only being followed in Qatar.


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peace for armenia....

Armenia either goes with Russia or falls into abyss of national catastrophe

World » Former USSR


by Inna Novikova


Why did the military victory parade in Azerbaijan take place? Was it an act of visualisation of success? What did Azerbaijan want to show? The internal political situation in Armenia remains extremely acute. The opposition is trying to remove Pashinyan from power, whom they see as a symbol of defeat. Why is he still in the office? What was the point of the military parade? Was it a declaration for the future?

It was most likely an act of symbolism, and it was not incidental. From the very beginning it was announced that Azerbaijan was waging a patriotic war, a war for the liberation of its territory. There was symbolism in that. As much as twenty percent of the territory of Azerbaijan had been under the control of Armenia for 30 years. The people of Azerbaijan obviously see the outcome of this war as a victory, because they see it as restoration of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. And indeed it is.

Correcting mistakes of the past

Thus, with this military parade Azerbaijan put an end to almost 30 years of the national tragedy that took place in the history of this country. Armenia's victory in the early 1990s became possible, because there was no strong state power in Azerbaijan back then. The Popular Front of Azerbaijan came to power, which was guilty of failures at the front and territorial losses that Azerbaijan suffered.

The triumph of the victors

The parade became a historic milestone both for modern-day Azerbaijan and for the South Caucasus in general. Of course, Yerevan shares a completely different point of view on this topic. For Armenia and the Armenians, all this comes as a national tragedy, because no one there expected such an outcome. Many in Russia did not expect such an outcome either, because previous clashes did not end with anything serious. Yet, this time it goes about an act of real victory. Azerbaijan is living in a state of euphoria now! In this regard, the military parade put an end to 30 years of that violent conflict. Now we will see how the situation is going to develop in the future.

Of course, the state of affairs in Armenia is completely different, and the aftertaste is very bitter.  Pashinyan still remains in place, despite all the threats, a number of politicians have made quite harsh statements. Pashinyan makes harsh statements himself and calls on the nation to take different steps. Many people support him, although it would seem that after such a defeat he should resign.

Indeed, Pashinyan is a symbol of defeat. Moreover, Pashinyan signed a trilateral political agreement on Azerbaijan's terms. The main factor that keeps Pashinyan in the office is the position of the Armenian military, who did not stand up against him.

Pashinyan says that it was Armenian generals, the chiefs of the Armenian Defense Ministry, who offered him to cease the hostilities by signing this agreement. Therefore, it is not only him, who is accountable for the situation on the front - he shares this responsibility with the military leadership of Armenia.

Armenian Defense Minister, however, Tonoyan, has already been dismissed. A new defense minister was appointed - he earlier served as a military adviser to Pashinyan during the hostilities. The loyalty of the army and the national security service ensures a certain political stability to Pashinyan. 

Of course, Yerevan had to go through several days of chaos. The crowd seized the government building and Pashinyan's residence, there were pogroms. During the days of bacchanalia and instability, Pashinyan was hiding in an underground bunker under the building of the Ministry of Defense. The Armenian military were were protecting Pashinyan.

Nevertheless, according to various estimates, 54-58 percent of the population of Armenia support Pashinyan, because the Armenian people expressed their claims to the former political administration. Pashinyan exposed a number of high-profile corruption cases. Therefore, the people of Armenia, despite the bitterness of defeat, support him, because they do not want corrupt figures to return to power in Armenia. In addition, Pashinyan enjoys the support of his party members - Pashinyan's faction has a constitutional majority. In Armenia, one can change power only by vote in the parliament.

Putin kept Pashinyan in place

Pashinyan's political stability, of course, appears to be an unexpected factor. Armenia no longer accepts multi-vectorism: Armenia either goes with Russia or falls in an abyss of national catastrophe. Putin publicly supported Pashinyan by saying that Pashinyan had to make a courageous, but a very tough decision to end the war by surrendering the territories that Armenia previously held. Putin thus made it clear that Russia would not insist on the immediate resignation of Pashinyan, which gave him a sense of solid ground underneath his feet.

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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has hit out at new US sanctions imposed on Turkey over its purchase of an S-400 missile defense system from Russia, saying that he expected backing from his country’s NATO ally, not punishment.

In a speech on Monday, Erdogan said that Turkey would not be deterred in defending itself by either US sanctions, or those agreed by the EU in response to the country’s gas drilling in Mediterranean waters claimed by Cyprus. 

“We expect support from our NATO ally, America, in our fight against terrorist organizations and forces ... not sanctions,” Erdogan said.



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