Turkey's descent into authoritarianism


#42

For all the arch-conservative Republicans wrapping themselves in the flag all the time, why is it that most of the actual, you know, near-treasonous stuff we see reported is traceable back to these same guys? Oh, yeah, I remember. The real principles and meaning of the USA are all about protecting rich white guys and their cash flow.


#43

To me, the most amazing thing about this story is how desperate and incompetent the Turks must be to even consider having Flynn’s imbecile son involved in this operation.


#44

#45

#46

They are so outrageous, yet a former CIA director was there in person for one meeting where it was discussed, and you can bet there were other meetings.


#47

Don’t give up Gulen-haters, DT might still find a reason to extradite him back to Turkey, if the incentives are right (wink, nod). It’s really just a judgement call within the DoJ as to whether the outstanding requests from Turkey are good enough to force him back. But he is quite old and in failing health, so I hope he lives out his life in peace where he has chosen, before he gets dragged onto a plane for a show trial at home in Erodganistan.


#48

This is how this English language Turkish paper reported the breakfast seminar/meeting at the time (January 18, 2017)

"An aide of the foreign minister didn’t provide additional details on the meeting, but said that Çavuşoğlu was the only foreign leader at the breakfast and the topics on the U.S.-Turkish agenda were discussed by the attendees."


#49

And yet they haven’t sued anybody which they are very fond of doing when people sleight Erdogan.


#50

#51



#52

In more recent news, perhaps unsurprisingly, Turkey continues its decent into authoritarianism.

It is yet against extending its state of emergency so that Erdogan can bypass Parliament and rule by decree.

Turkey remains the world leader for jailing journalists in 2017, with 73 jailed as per the Committee to Protect Journalists, or with 180 jailed (and individually named) according to Turkey Purge.

A Turkish District Court has recently ignored a Constitutional Court(Supreme Court) decision on releasing two Journalists jailed for over a year. Turkish leaders have roundly turned on the Consitutional Court since.

In a joint press-conference with Macron last week, Erdogan described journalists as the ‘gardeners of terrorism’.

Turkey also came 155th out of 180th on the World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders

In recent days, a famous Kurdish MP was stripped of her seat for ‘rampant absenteeism’ after she missed 212 days consecutive days in Parliament due to being jailed for being Kurdish.

Perhaps not mentioned earlier, but a referendum passed in April 2017 has paved the way for Erdogan to remain President until 2029, by which time he will have been the undisputed leader of Turkey for 26 years.

And lastly, Turkey is yet again about to foray into Syria. And yet again, it is doing so to kill Kurds who are not closely affiliated with the PKK. Thankfully, the area around the border where they are massing is far from any remaining ISIS pockets so it is likely that Turkey will have gone the entire Syrian Civil War without directly engaging ISIS.

Indeed, the only meaningful engagement was supplying them with cash and arms in return for oil.


#53

In other words, Erdogan is Turkey’s Trump, only far more focused, intentional, and in his own evil way, effective.


#54

An Islamist Putin perhaps.

Putin masked his communist tendencies behind a cheery facade of western Capitalism while cementing power, while Erdogan masked his religious views behind a pleasant secular/moderate public persona in the 90s until he had eroded the military and judicial systems.

Both did inversions between President and Prime Minister (though in opposite directions) to escape term limitations, before increasing term periods (Putin) or removing them entirely (Erdogan).

There are currently both Russian and US combat personnel in the YPG pocket Turkey is targeting, but I suspect Trump will back down and Putin will do yet another murky deal with Erdogan.

Either way, US Kurdish allies will get screwed. Again! They have it almost as bad as Afghans for being not much more than the playthings for greater powers.


#55

Yeah. And I think Islamist Putin is a good call.

American leaders often talk a big game about defending American interests, and supporting people who support our interests. Yet, historically, many of those that we’ve supported have been dreadful, and done dreadful things. Which means either Americans are totally stupid and don’t realize who we are dealing with, or more likely, our leaders know damn well what they are doing and equate “American interests” with whatever agenda satisfies them and their clique.

At this point, support for Erdogan doesn’t seem to offer anything helpful to what I would consider true American interests in the region.


#56

I did wonder if the “army” we’re building over there was some sort of thanks to the Kurds for all they’ve done over the years.

I think I’d rather give them a $5 billion parting gift and wipe our hands of that whole subregion.


#57

Now that the fight against the common enemy of IS is winding down, Putin is finding it easy to get Turkey openly fighting the US-backed Kurds in northern Syria. Once again we will demonstrate what an unreliable partner the US is.

"In Washington […] Syrian Kurdish representatives, said the Syrian Kurdish people expected the United States to declare a no-fly zone over the Kurdish-controlled north, “including Afrin.” Mustafa, who was present at the interview, concurred that Afrin “presents a very real and immediate test of US commitment to their Kurdish partners.” The United States “must and can stop Turkey,” Mustafa said. "


#58

I’m disappointed, but not surprised. After the EU dangling Turkish membership became less interesting in the wake of the 2008 economic depression, it was basically just the US’s partnership with the Kurds keeping the Turks from a direct military push. The writing has been on the wall about that relationship since Flynn literally sold them out last year as the US National Security Adviser while working as a foreign agent for the Turkish government. Doesn’t really seem like the US is a player in the middle east anymore with our current leadership, or lack thereof. As folks mention, Russia is pro-Turkey, and I don’t see any interference coming from Europe. Since the Iraqi Kurds got kicked out of Kirkuk last fall, I’m assuming the Syrian Kurds aren’t likely to hold against an assault, either.


#59

This could be very dangerous, though. As long as the Kurds had a hope of getting some big power or coalition to back them, even if at a distance, they were able to endure a lot of less than optimal (from their POV) situations. Take away any chance of outside assistance, and what do they have left? They don’t strike me as a group, collectively, likely to just throw up their hands and surrender. My worry would be that they would figure, screw it, either we do something drastic or we get Armenian-ized, and I’m pretty sure they’d choose the former.

What might that be, I don’t know, but these folks are resourceful and I would not discount their ability to, oh, I dunno, nuke Istanbul or something.


#60

Yesterday, they held a protest in front of the White House and were handing out these to anyone who would take one:

Of note, the frontline troops that Turkey is using are actually the FSA (supported by Turkish armor and air).


#61

I don’t so how the Kurds in the Afrin pocket can hold out in the long run. Sooner or later they’ll run out of ammunition unless Assad resupplies them.

But what is Erdogan’s plan? Is he going to deport the Kurdish population there to the east and replace them with Arabs? Does he even have a plan, or is he just making it up as he goes?