"A source close to Russian President Vladimir Putin told me that the Russians have warned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Moscow is prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons if necessary to save their troops in the face of a Turkish-Saudi onslaught. Since Turkey is a member of NATO, any such conflict could quickly escalate into a full-scale nuclear confrontation.
Given Erdogan’s megalomania or mental instability and the aggressiveness and inexperience of Saudi Prince Mohammad bin Salman (defense minister and son of King Salman), the only person who probably can stop a Turkish-Saudi invasion is President Obama. But I’m told that he has been unwilling to flatly prohibit such an intervention, though he has sought to calm Erdogan down and made clear that the U.S. military would not join the invasion.
So far, Erdogan has limited Turkey’s direct military attacks on Syria to cross-border shelling against U.S.-backed Kurdish forces that have seized territory from the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) in northern Syria. Turkey considers the Kurdish fighters, known as YPG, to be terrorists but the U.S. government sees them as valuable allies in the fight against Islamic State terrorists, an Al Qaeda spinoff that controls large swaths of Syria and Iraq." Robert Parry
The status of the supposed letter to Kerry from six senators is still unclear to me so I have removed it. OTOH the Parry article can stand by itself. pl
I know a guy who knows a guy …
Wait. I thought that there were no Russian ground troops. Maybe a few Spetznaz that can be easily withdrawn?
Sounds like more extra-diplomatic negotiations.
One thing I know for sure: I need to buy more popcorn.
There is an excellent article in the Boston Globe by S Kinzer,
fully consistent with information presented on S-S-T. https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2016/02/18/the-media-are-misleading-public-syria/8YB75otYirPzUCnlwaVtcK/story.html?p1=Article_Trending_Most_Viewed
Maybe we need a modified version of Goodwin’s law for negotiations.
Just as lengthy blog discussions lead to a mention of Hitler, lengthy negotiations (either diplomatic or battlefield) lead to veiled threats of nuclear weapon use?
I’d go for Erdogan being mentally unstable these days.
Sounds that the author (Mr. Perry) has some issues with scale:
“then Russia will have to decide what to do to protect its 20,000 or so military personnel inside Syria.”(c)
Russia doesn’t have 20 000 military personnel in Syria, unless I missed the moment Ivanovo or Pskov Divisions landed there. Using nuclear weapons option, however, is not that unfeasible. After all, there was a lot of behind the scene activities between UK and Argentina during Falkland War in 1982 and one of the arguments used there was nuclear. But, judging by the recent activities of the Southern Command (Military District) of Russian Armed Forces, Russia is ready to go conventional if need be.
Parry, not Perry. pl
Roger that. Indeed, my mistake. I know Mr. Parry as journalist and respect most of his work.
Within the last half hour I saw a report of over a hundred Turkish tanks crossing at Kilis… but still haven’t seen it hit any other site….
seemed to happen a few moments after it was public that france and US would not support the russian UNSC draft…
Gullen is no panacea; putting one’s hopes on him is a misplaced; it is wishful thinking.
I seriously doubt that Putin has made such a threat about using nuclear weapons.
Thanks for the link, but the comment section is not encouraging. Overall more criticism of the article than support for it. Shows how successful the propaganda has been.
Really? Would be an interesting news day tomorrow if it is so. Hundreds of Tanks are a little too many for that kind of terrain, and we know how media calls everything on tracks “tanks”. Anyway, there would have been a lot of aircraft activity as well, which would be on the wires momentarily. Maybe maneuvers, shifting of unit positions an making threatening noises. But I don’t see an all out invasion, just dry posturing, ala Erdogan.
I don’t think that it is Putin who makes those. There are plenty of other high positioned people in Kremlin and General Staff who can simply remind those overly zealous to re-read Russia’s military doctrine. This is as far as this “threat” can go. Nobody would literally threaten the use of tactical nukes. But, sometimes, getting the perspective on things needs to be encouraged. Having said that, there are conventional contingency plans in place anyway.
Agreed. I have to wonder about this statement…
“If Turkey (with hundreds of thousands of troops massed near the Syrian border) and Saudi Arabia (with its sophisticated air force) follow through on threats and intervene militarily…”
Does Turkey really have “hundreds of thousands” of troops on the border?
The problem is you can see how it could happen. As soon as any hostilities start between Turkey and Russia, the Turks could close the Bosphorus. At that point it’s all in or fold as far as the Russians are concerned.
We are in a dangerous place right now. Washington and Ankara are faced with a “to be or not to be” moment because the R+6 are going to win, absent action from Obama and Erdogan.
Obama made the quips to the effect that “it was not about him and Putin” in his recent press conference. This is BS, its always about him because that is the way narcissists are constructed. The question then becomes what the Borg will do as it contemplates a renewed Syria and a battle tested and hardened R+6 who, I think, will have their own plans for the Middle East that will not advance Israeli or American interests one bit.
Erdogan faces the collapse of his Neo ottoman dreams and the possibility of a Kurdish state carved out of Turkeys border region.
Saudi Arabia contemplates a renewed and “emboldened” Shia crescent that will no doubt have a view on its treatment of its own Shia minorities.
Will Obama allow Turkey to make one last throw of the dice?
Babak, Gulen has a huge network and money behind him in many countries, and his movement is producing regiments of PhD’s in all the respectable Universities around the world. At one time within the last decade, his disciples in police forces within Turkey were trained and educated in top US universities on full scholarships. They were the ones who led the legions which crushed my friends through the Gezi protests with ruthless efficiency which stunned me, as an observer and participant, I have commented here. I have never thought Turkish police so well trained in Western tactics in crowd suppression and control, and brutal as borgs, as if brainwashed. These people are just not capable of doing what they do without some kind of deep support from somewhere, for some purpose, but my mind is too precious to occupy with the answers of such questions. Others say, though.
That man is a false messiah, who knows what he is after, but it is definitely not a dialog between faiths and peace on earth. Ask The Turkish Army Officer corps which has been decimated through false accusations and frame ups over the last decade.
Istanbul Guy: I guess the Russians will just continue thinning the Jihadi herd.
New information, Erdogan and Davutoglu lied, within hours of Ankara bombing they declared it was done by YPG militants. YPG denied it, so did PKK. Turns out, based upon the latest information, it is TAK, a hawkish offshoot of PKK, you can call it a rogue element. PKK disavows them, so who does the Turkish Army attacks and punishes now? Maybe a call went to Carl Rove, I don’t know, so who you gonna call for a new book of dirty tricks Volume II?
I don’t think the threat needs to be made explicit–just a few reminders that, if, in response to Russian response, Western powers try to escalate, the logical end point is mutual nuclear destruction. Conventional Russian military power should, without doubt, be able to defeat the Turks if properly mobilized. The real Turkish gambit has to be that NATO would bail them out if they have to face the full weight of Russian conventional forces–and suitable rattling of the nuclear saber ought to dampen it.
The real question for me, though, is whether the present day Western leaders are sufficiently aware of their surroundings to realize this.
Cynical Turks. See https://twitter.com/KenRoth/status/700614157067010049
It is Russian military doctrine that if threatened with loss by overwhelming NATO conventional force they will respond with nuclear weapons. That is why Ukraine is amazingly short sighted because it puts WW3 and the end of humanity on a fifteen minute hair trigger. The US likes to keep all options on the table, Russia just states, we nuke you till your country glows.
I don’t think the Russians would start lobbing nukes around just cause the straights were closed for a while, they have lot’s of options, who knows how long they would stay closed. Temporary loss of southern maritime access is not an existential threat.
Maybe not …
In regards to Ph.D.s… etc.
Taken to Mecca
Still be an Ass!”
IMO in this day and age if any major power uses a tactical nuke the backlash of public opinion around the world would be huge. Its not worth it unless it is existential.
What I have observed of Putin and the Russian military with respect to Syria is that they are sober realists and very professional. The restraint they showed when one of their fighters were shot demonstrated seriousness in decision making.
Erdogan could be a loose canon. But I doubt Obama will bail his ass if he does something rash and gets whacked. Neither the Europeans. They may huff & puff but I doubt they’ll get into a war with Russia. Too much risk for unintended consequences and spiraling out of control.
Putin already stated, in connection with Ukraine, last year: “Let me remind our partners that we are a nuclear armed state.”
My point was specifically about this document’s claim that Putin had explicitly threatened the use of tactical nuclear weapons in Syria against Turkish Army.
It is just not Putin to make such statements.
What was stupid, at the level of Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran, was the shooting down of the Russian jet fighter – a friendly country with which Turkey was enjoying good relations after hundreds of years.
With the disintegration of USSR, all of which that the Tsars of Muscovy had gained over 300 years were gone and Turkey no longer bordered Russia. It was time for a new chapter.
[Similar to Iran, in that respect.]
But no, they had to go and spite the Bear….
And help wreck another Muslim country – I guess as long as women are wearing hejab it is quite acceptable to ruin the lives and livelihoods of others….
I don’t think Russia will use nukes on Turkey unless NATO gets involved, But I also don’t see why NATO would want a war at all. Besides the media PR I can’t see a real coherent stratgic alliance in NATO
“seemed to happen a few moments after it was public that france and US would not support the russian UNSC draft…”
This draft was put out by Russia not to pass but to fail. It was done deliberately. It is called the diplomatic cover of things of non-diplomatic nature. Also shows who is who.
This is in German but the computer translation says NATO will not support Turkey in a war with Russia.
You can be fairly certain that while the Europeans may talk a big game when push comes to shove they will not escalate to war with Russia. OTOH, if it were one of our crazies like all our neocon inspired candidates (Hillary, Cruz, Rubio, Kasich) the outcome is not certain. IMO, Obama for all his narcissism will not directly get involved in a military confrontation with Russia. He may try to be devious by arming & supporting the jihadists who are on the run now. But maybe the time for even that has now passed as the R+6 are on such a roll.
We need RICO laws applied to think tanks, lobbies, and PACs.
This TAK crew reads like the Kurdish version of “Continuity IRA”. Or, alternately, like some red herring set up by the good MIT, reminiscent of the “Khorasan-scare” that was run a while ago…
About that latter thing: I’m a bit hazy about the details, but was this supposed to be a sub-division of Nusra or ISIL, as per official reading?
Der Spiegel mostly runs the same hive-mind trash you’d find on WaPo, WSJ, Graun or similar. Sometimes, though, they do still deliver articles that reveal a modicum of interest in self-preservation, if nothing else:
“Syrienkonflikt: Warnung aus der Nato an die Türkei
Kein bedingungsloser Schutz gegen Russland: Die Nato würde Ankara im Falle einer türkischen Aggression gegen Moskau keine Hilfe leisten, sagte Luxemburgs Außenminister Asselborn dem SPIEGEL.”
“Syria conflict: warning from NATO to Turkey
No unconditional protection against Russia: the NATO would not lend support in case of a Turkish aggression against Moscow, Luxembourg’s FM Asselborn told the Spiegel.”
“The real question for me, though, is whether the present day Western leaders are sufficiently aware of their surroundings to realize this.”
The “quality” of Western so called “elites” declined so badly that I would assume that they are simply not capable to comprehend even “lite” military-political and geopolitical briefings. It is expected in the environment of the Ivy League humanities “educated” people who never had any serious applicable skills other than what amounts to a degrees in English or some “philosophical” abstractions. As I already stated, I know the “level” of many US “Russia’s specialists”–it is appalling, it is also dangerous since those “experts” form public opinion and have the ear of decision makers. OODA loop was broken with almost complete eradication of two “Os” from it. So, I would say–no, they are not sufficiently aware, which is a polite form of defining ignorance.
I’ve been thinking about this. I believe closing the straits is the long term goal of the Obama crowd;I won’t give them credit for thinking very far ahead. Russia could easily counter by allowing the turks to go all the way to Aleppo, then slamming the door shut by dropping a couple of divisions worth of troops across their LOC. recall their snap drills last week? A mini Stalingrad. Starving 18 or 29 thousand Turkish troops should be enough to reopen the straits.
Good, a shocking bit of commonsense on NATO’s part. What is the position on NATO members who attack other countries and endanger all the rest of us. Can they be expelled?
Personal I would be perfectly happy if Syria told everyone not invited to assist them that they would be targeted including NATO planes in Syrian air space and SF on the ground. If Turkey continues to fire artillery into Syria they should be told to expect to have their batteries destroyed by cruise missiles. I can not see NATO being anything like as patient as the Russians have been, were the boot on the other foot. The non-aligned countries are rapidly learning that we are the global bad guys, if they didn’t already. I am getting fed up with being on the wrong side of one conflict after another.
I’m surprised by that statement by Parry, directly quoting a source close to Putin. I don’t think I’ve seen Parry do that before. He has cited sources in the US intelligence community a number of times but I don’t recall Putin related sources.
I take Parry seriously.
I thought this had calmed down and that the Saudis and Turks threats of invasion were pretty much exposed as bluster as an attempt to get Russia to back down.
I seriously doubt Putin would make a threat like that unless he thought they were really planning to attack their air base in Syria and/or some other Russian target.
An al-Masdar article also had really, really strong language but it was weakly sourced. In that article it claimed Putin also said he’d also go to war with the US if necessary.
So this is where we are:
A few steps away from World War III – either in Eastern Ukraine or in Northern Syria…soon to be joined by the South China Sea…
I hope everyone now appreciates the point that I have been making for the need to replace the now defunct Peace of Yalta with a new one.
May I suggest that Turkey has been used as a disposable patsy to stress out the Russian federation. This clever game could have certain unintended (and horrific) consequences for the armchair warriors and war profiteers and, first of all, for the real humans. It is not impossible that the prolonged unaccountability for the top echelon has eventually generated the overwhelming numbers of incompetent opportunists among the US “deciders and advisers.”
Red flags went up for me too when I saw Gulen’s name in that letter. What are these senators even calling for with respect to Gulen, and why? I would have never heard of the guy except that Sibel Edmonds has talked about him in her analysis numerous times.
Considering the consequences – the considerable loss of commerce and tourism and pipeline – it is hard to believe that Turkey made that supra-stupid decision on air ambush on her own volition.
Although I understand that the Turks have been respected as tenacious fighters, like you I have to wonder about the impact of the Army purges on the military’s morale and competence.
Problem is the Turkish army has nukes too
No, they do not. pl
Potential independent candidate Michael Bloomberg is also a rabid Zionist would have no qualms about supporting Islamism/jihadism and destroying secular Middle East Arab countries to fulfill the ultimate goals of Clean Break. Bloomberg will only get into the race if it comes down to Trump and Sanders. Very telling.
Gulen is another intellectual and political dead end.
I too was surprised to see his name; but then I thought it foolish for non-Muslims to try to pick winners and losers of Islam. Hubris.
I do not think anyone set Erdogan or other Turkish leaders up to it; they did it on their own.
During the last 2 centuries of the Ottoman Empire, on several occasion, the English counseled them against aggressive actions against the Russian Empire – sometimes they prevailed and some times their advice was ignored.
Each time the Ottoman Empire ignored that sage English advice, she lost more of her territories to the Russian Empire.
That’s what I called it well prior to 1991, the least warlike, least bloody 46 years of European history in the last thousand, and probably more.
War returned to Europe within weeks of the Warsaw Treaty Organization dissolving itself.
And in each of a good many of the years since 1991, there were more war dead inflicted in Europe than were inflicted there during the entire existence of the Warsaw Treaty Organization.
Agreed. IMO, the US and Russia should conclude a Peace & Friendship Treaty. We have more in common than differences. And from a geopolitical and strategic perspective it will enable an alignment away from the Ziocon lunacy. Global stability should be the emphasis for the remainder of this century. There’s too many exciting developments in molecular biology, materials science and astrophysics to focus on.
That makes common sense if the NATO countries had any….sense that is. If the Sultan is crazy enough he has many American and western people handy to become hostages. Then would come the threats from the west, which Obama can not envisage in his wildest nightmares nor in the thoughts of his R2P harridans.
a link to the english translation of the der spiegel article:
In an effort to prevent further escalation, NATO has made it exceedingly clear to the Turkish government that it cannot count on alliance support should the conflict with Russia head up as a result of a Turkish attack. “NATO cannot allow itself to be pulled into a military escalation with Russia as a result of the recent tensions between Russia and Turkey,” says Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn. …
Ankara was already rebuked following the shooting down of the Russian warplane, with NATO diplomats speaking of a Turkish overreaction. “We have to avoid that situations, incidents, accidents spiral out of control,” warned NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg.
Berlin agrees. “We are not going to pay the price for a war started by the Turks,” says a German diplomat. Because decisions taken by the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s primary decision-making body, must always be unanimous, it is enough for a single country to exercise its veto rights, the official says. But, the official adds, it won’t get that far: there is widespread agreement with the US and most other allies that Turkey would get the cold shoulder in such a case.
I can’t agree with that. Erdogan capitalized on Turkey’s agreed-upon role in the Syria regime change project to start setting his own agenda. Since the prospects for that project, and with it Erdogan’s ambitions, have been glimmering, Erdogan has been looking for some way to force the Empire to double down. Thus far he has not been successful. How the current situation would play out with any of the current crop of US Presidential candidates other than Trump or Sanders should make our blood run cold.
It was entirely foreseeable that some NATO member would try to leverage the alliance for their own ambitions. We’ll see whether or not NATO is capable of learning the lessons from the Turkey experience.
While it is feasible for Bloomberg to get on the general election ballot, it will require a decent amount of organization to get the 900,000 signatures required nationwide. He will need to decide fairly soon, as Texas – a state he would need if he were serious about winning – requires 80,000 signatures to be filed by May 9.
Look at the ratings of those comments. They show overwhelming support for Kinzer’s view. Or did yesterday.
Turks are a martial people Sir, unlike any nation I know of, a common motto inbred in the culture is “Every Turk is born as a soldier”. The discipline and propensity to a martial way of life, in defense, or offence is palpable and easily observable even in urban life here in the heart of Turkey where I live. An adolescent is not considered a true man, unless he performs some sort of military service, he may not even be allowed to marry until he does so. Those who serve in the military are revered and respected, and loved. This is a few millennia tradition, not a modern fad.
The army purges in which Gulen organization took part have been hard on the Army, But the falsely accused closed ranks, fought their innocence in courts democratically and since then all have been vindicated. Another saying goes here, is that, “Those who die on the battlefield, let them be, those who remain are ours”. So, the falsely persecuted high ranking officers will be replaced by the rank behind them, much like a British Square of Waterloo times, but a special vengeance that will be lashed out at an opportune time. Of the unity of command and effectiveness of the Armed Forces, I would not worry. During the Korean War, of all the UN forces who were POWs, Turks lost the fewest men, because of a very effective pass of command due to losses, discipline, camaraderie and downright obstinacy that drove the Chinese and North Koreans crazy. Not one Turk turned communist, or ratted on his fellow soldiers, none were left behind. I know many of these people, comrades of my late father. Reading up of my handle name, Kunuri will tell you a few things.
Yes, Turkey will have the right to close the straights to Russians if open hostilities commence. But Russians read history, they will not force a passage. Therefore, they will not attempt an open war with Turkey, though they may try anything short of. As much as Turkey is at odds with NATO, thanks to a bunch of amateurs at helm, Turkey is still within the NATO umbrella.
Sir, Turkey has a standing Army of close to 500,000, with 4,000, 000 in reserves. Leave no man behind rule applies in the Turkish Army as well. The situation down there has no resemblance to Stalingrad, except in the romantic minds of people like you, or even me, who makes his living out of stuff like that.
Russians will not let it come to this kind of do or die gambit for Turks, Turkey will never open the straits, and will never let thousands of soldiers perish without too heavy a price on Russians. Germans threatened little Switzerland during the WWII as well, but were daunted by their resolve, and suicidal determination not to be stepped on without extracting too heavy a price. Even a maniac like Hitler was persuaded not to mess with them.
Russia will not let its expeditionary force in Syria be starved to death. pl
Yes Babak, I wrote here before, shooting down of that jet was utterly stupid. I blame, and point out one guy for that within Erdogan orbit, chief advisor and now presidents spokes person, Ibrahim Kalin. A true neocon, and a deep mole in his side, useful when someone needs Erdogan to take a certain step. I looked up his bio and credentials a few years back, some very incriminating associations in CIA recruitment farms, all have been wiped out from the internet now that he is no longer an academic.
And yes, Turkey and Russia were getting along just peachy for as long as I have been here. Antalya, has something like a 40 000 settled Russian population, I see Russians in Istanbul everyday, in my neighborhood, there are 5 star hotels built just for Russian tourists, one even named Kremlin in Antalya. There are border incursions all around on the air, on purpose or not. That incident was just plain bizarre. Its as if someone wanted to put Turkey and Russia on opposing ends of a feud so not to let something happen, or to pave the way to let something happen, I don’t know. And in real world, Turks have no feuds or particular animosities with the Persians, actually very similar in world outlook, even closer to each other than the Arabs regarding each. Go figure.
Wouldn’t have made a difference, Russians had one and only goal at those times, Absolute Vodka at Sultanahmet Square rather than Turkish coffee.
The Erdogan wrecking crew is doing damnest to link TAK with YPD, and if that does not work, link them to PKK, and link PKK to YPD. Then go bomb YPD to save their kind of Jihadis. Flim Flam men of Ankara, now you see it, now you don’t, and abracadabra. How long before the world and Turkish people wake up to this nightmare-good grief!
Albayim, that is assuming there is open war between Turkey and Russia, and by Monteux treaty recognized by all nations, Turkey has the legitimate right to close the straights. If there is open war between Turkey and Russia, and short of illegal invasion or aggression by Turkey towards another sovereign nation, NATO obligations, and UN commitments should be in force. Then unfortunately it will have to be global war, where no one will win. Otherwise, Russians will be within their rights to do what they have to do. Anyway, if things come to that, somebody will have to remind somebody what happened to El Duce.
Lets just hope that there are enough responsible people out there whose influence outweighs, on both sides, over those who wish to be saved in the afterlife, at any cost to others.
Right on the money Babak, those asses don’t fool me, but fool enough people with their messeniastic credentials, a lot of influential and gullible people. And are very dangerous, because they learn the craft of rhetoric and populist, faith based oratory skills that mesmerize on the surface. Like RTE. Like Hitler.
Yet the Sultan is very adapt at holding peoples as rhetorical hostages, and is used to putting those who expose his fallacies in jail. Like protestors, journalists and ordinary people who express discontent. But please don’t tell me nobody in the Western world knew of this for the 14 years he had been a good boy for some.
Serious psychologists and academicians in the last decade have made credible arguments that he suffers from megalomania, personality disorder and is a pathological liar who actually believes in his own constructs .
I am told that the friends of the Kemalists here despair in the hope of decisive action. pl
Turkey doesn’t have nukes.
The US has nukes, in Turkey, at Inclirk. B61 Gravity Bombs.
Assuming that the author is the same Stephen Kinzer who is a former NYT Middle East reporter, he’s quite knowledgeable in the region. He’s also written several books very much worth reading. The most one is “The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War.” (http://amzn.to/1Uf063v) The author makes plausible case for asserting that the brothers’ closeness enabled them to convince him to sign off on aggressive overt and covert actions and policies he might otherwise have avoided, including the 1953 coup in Iran. Kinzer wrote a book about that too, “All the Shah’s Men.”
Which Turkey can use in retaliation in case of nuke use without presidential approval. At least that is what the rumors are of the B61 nukes treaty. And i don’t really think that it really matters what is in the treaty because Turkish F14 will fly with those nukes in case of Russia nuclear use, with or without American approval.
That is absolute bullshit!! The US NEVER turns over nukes to anyone!!! pl
Do tell us more about these rumors and their source. Please also explain how and when the US transferred custody of the bombs to Turkey and the codes (PAL) to arm them.
That rumor mill writer drank a bit too much cool aid. The US isn’t about to turn over nuclear weapons to any nation. There is also, baring the US, little military power in NATO that could on short notice pose an existential threat to Russia.
Russia has shown it’s weapons systems work and that they have clear headed strategic thinkers in government and the military. They don’t need to resort to tactical nuclear weapons. Russia could turn the lights out in Turkey with a rather small number of cruise missiles. I’m sure there is no practical defense at civilian power plants. This would cripple Turkish industrial output and most of its economic output at the same time; and do so for a very long time.
Someone in the Turkish armed forces should be explaining reality to their civilian masters just like our own needs to do with the borg.
Some of my friends and acquaintances in US academia who went on trips to Turkey funded by some religio-political organization–which I assume must be the Gulen organization. Their specialty is in electoral strategy–how to mobilize votes and maximize the electoral gains most efficiently (both so-called “ground game” in campaigns and how to take advantage of electoral formulas.) I don’t know how and where Gulen fits in the electioneering game in Turkey or whether the students it sends out are trained in these tactics. Fascinating (and frightening) how they play the long run game with with the clubs and ballot boxes.
I don’t see it. Turkey is a NATO country: if there is a full blown fight breaking out between Turkey and Russia–which Turks seem determined to engineer–all NATO countries are required to come to its aid. There will be a lot of legal contortionist act to get out of obligation if things actually get nasty enough–but that will effectively break NATO’s credibility to its own members. My suspicion was and still is that Russia is showing the nuclear card to warn the NATO leaders of the dangerous natural path of escalation if things do get nasty–so that NATO leaders will restrain the Turks. I unfortunately agree with SmoothieX that the warning may well have been lost on Western leaders, and the Erdogan may still engage in further provocations to escalate.
Turk’s don’t have F-14’s either.
On the Northeast side of Fatih Park, behind the remains of the Valens Aqueduct, there is a pedestrian mall with lots of restaurants and food shops; it reminded me of Iran. It was one of the highlights of my trip to Istanbul.
Forget about UN, it is irrelevant.
Tidewater to Kunuri,
You said something that has really caught my attention. That there are thousands of Russian expatriates at Antalya, that is, in the sunny Turkish coastal region that resembles Spanish coastal Andalusia at the other end of the Mediterranean, where there are also thousands of expatriates, among them, there, too, many Russians. I didn’t realize that. I just noted an article that said there are 70,000 Russian speaking expatriates in the Antalya area. Many of these are from Ukraine. After the Russian plane was shot down, Putin issued orders which block and sanction Russian travel agencies from issuing airplane tickets or setting up tours to Turkey. Understandably, Putin is warning Russians to stay away from Turkey. In recent years Russians have been spending billions every year on vacations in Turkey, which makes the actions of Erdogan all the more strange. The Antalya area faces a deep recession this year. Everything has ground to a halt. These expatriates are an added element to the growing crisis.
If,somehow,fighting started and Turkey began to intern these Russians, I don’t think Putin would allow Erdogan to put its nationals in prison camps. Russia would demand embarcation by ship under a flag of truce.
If Turks began to slaughter Russians in Antalya I would assume you could expect nuclear weapons to be used and a Russian military force to invade
It might be remembered that the 1936 Montreux Treaty did not involve either Italy or the United States. It involves,among others, the six Black Sea countries whose maritime commerce depends upon the straits. Great Britain gave Turkey a very good deal in this treaty because Turkey had to be kept neutral in the war that was coming. Yes,of course, Turkey can close the straits, but this is an act of war against its neighbors. If the Turkish army invaded Syria, the question that would matter would be how long it would take the invader force to get to any of its objectives that would threaten the Russian expeditionary force, its airfields, or its port in the Latakia region. Such an invasion would be, of course, a unilateral declaration of war. It would follow that the straits automatically would be closed by the same unprovoked, unilateral action. Russia would be free to respond in any way it felt appropriate. NATO would do nothing. There are five nations with nuclear weapons which have doctrines that allow the use of nuclear weapons against a conventional enemy force.
If Russia could fight a defensive battle in Syria for a number of weeks, or a month or so,and could hold off a now greatly over-extended and slowed Turkish army using air attacks and stand off missile attacks, destroying for example fuel,ammunition and food supply following behind the force, it could then set in motion a calculated and systematic destruction of carefully chosen Turkish military and economic infrastructure using its air power and cruise missiles. In short, as long as the Turkish army is in Syria and has not accomplished its mission beyond depriving the Kurds of some territory, or in energy wasting efforts at creating a RTP Hitler style Sudetanland, there is the tremendous opportunity for a Putin judo throw. It might only take three or four weeks before world wide uproar would demand the whole thing be wound down. I agree with Fred’s comments in this matter. Consider the vulnerablity of Turkish hydroelectric projects; for example, the Southeastern Anatolia Dam Project (GAP); or, as I have previously noted, the Bosphorous suspension bridges. These are national monuments.
It would seem to me that as the ruin rapidly progressed, with the daily destruction of Turkish air and naval assets, the sub base at Bartin bombed, tankers sunk off of Istanbul, the electric power grid badly damaged, lights off, certain tower blocks housing the families of certain very high Turkish officials made uninhabitable, the ministries of certain critical government agencies badly damaged, the villas of certain very prominent leaders along the Bosphorous destroyed in “accidents” –I don’t even think I have scratched the surface on what is possible here.
At some point I think the Turkish people would get over their shock and rise up against the Erdogan government. The Turkish army in Syria would have to withdraw under humiliating circumstances. At some point a peace would have to be brokered. Turkey would find it had lost billions and billions in infrastructure and military assets. Turkey would face years of impoverishment. A terrible lesson about the use of military power would have been administered to Sunni Islam. The Russian forces would still be in Syria. Orthodox Greece would be overjoyed and the way forward for a Russian base in Greece or Cyprus would be set. NATO would be stunned. Such a Russian victory would be a warning to Europe to get right with God–meaning Russian Orthodoxy. The godless Anglo-Zionists would have been diminished. Europa would be wondering how to get the American/Zionist monkey off her back.
As for Erdogan’s current state of mind: consider the painting by Jean Lecomte du Nouy, c. 1904, now in the Cleveland Museum of Art,called “Sketch for Reve d’orient (The Oriental Dream).(Images.):)
For what it’s worth, Syria has now taken this Turkish shelling to the United Nations, and Russia is (obviously) backing them and escalating to the UN Security Council.
What good it will do? Maybe not much, but I don’t believe the US public wants to risk war on behalf of Turkey. I doubt the Euros are enthusiastic either, after the number of refugees Turkey just dumped on them. Having a UN condemnation against Turkey would give NATO a reason to throw their hands in the air and refuse to support aggression. Probably the UN Security Council will not give a unanimous verdict here, but we will find out.
Stephen Kinzer is also a Turkey expert, having lived here for many, many years as a correspondent and journalists. He speaks fluent Turkish with many friends and contacts in the region at the highest levels.
Yes, I always suspected that fundementalists in Turkey are getting foreign advise how to run election compaigns, ground game, grass roots organization and all that, very much like the US election campaigns in which I participated myself as a volunteer several times. The secular and democratic opposition on the other hand, has no clue.
Istanbul is fascinating that way Babak, if you had ventured out a little bit in Fatih District, you may have found yourself in Saaudi Arabia,and in Pera, couple of kilometers away, 19th century France, and the deep alleys of Istiklal, Paris underground scene in the 70s. Or a little ways away, tucked between skyscrapers and ultra modern malls, a typical rundown middle Anotolian town. And the Grand Bazaar will take you into the Ottoman Epmire 18th century, sans slave markets, of course.
There is always a faction among the Kemalists who are for “lets just get over there and end the whole mess once and for all”. But the true Kemalists are realists and for peace. Ataturk has said, after having actively been in war for 11 consecutive years of his life, “War, for any reason other than righteous self defense, is bloody murder.”
On the other hand, if decisive action means to go get the those who are actually responsible in bringing Turkey into this precipitous situation, I would say “keep your powder dry.” Such action may have even worse consequences than actually going to war in Syria.
Grand Bazar is no longer authentic – it is a tourist trap.
Real bazar is in Tehran…
I think you are wrong to expect the Turkish people to depose Erdogan and AKP in case of a Russo-Turkish War. Rather, they would rally to the flag of Turkey & Islam and depending on the course of that war and its duration, become more and more Islamic.
tayyip and his rubber stamp government/parliment has not yet issued an order for TSK to attack Syria. TSK will NOT act w/out an order which clearly identifies reasons, goals and those who are issuing the order. They remember the Sukhoi case and the subsequent farce. The tayyiban claimed to have issued the order, and then they backtracked when they saw the Russian response. Then a “rouge” pilot belonging to the gulen gang was blamed, and now the issue is not even mentioned… If the attack order is illegal under international law, TSK will refuse it and then things could get interesting in Turkey.
Note that quite a few Turks do not equate artillery attacks on the YPG with attacks on the SAA. It is puzzling that YPG is now supported by both the USA and the Russians. Seems like a precarious situation.
I just went back and reviewed the top group of comments (still mostly negative)… I can’t see any ratings… perhaps because I don’t have a subscription. I did’t scroll all the way to the end of the comments either to see if there were more supportive ones there.
Good to know that. Thanks. I highly recommend the two books of his I’ve read, which are the ones I mentioned in the above comment. I recently reserved another one that’s pertinent to our times at my local library, “Overthrow: America’s century of regime change from Hawaii to Iraq.” Kinzer wrote it ten years ago.
The naivete about “democracy” seems widespread among many, both in US and elsewhere. I can understand why people outside the West might be a bit naive about how “democracy” works, that they should often believe that “will of people” somehow automatically exists and implements itself automatically if the government is “democratic”–whatever that means. The enforced naivete among the Western elites about “democracy” often astounds me: many R2Pers are themselves veterans of electioneering campaigns–they are familiar with the various gimmicry and tricks. If they bother to look, they would also see that many semi-democratic governments (Russia, Iran, etc.) are, in most cases, simply very good and ruthless at playing the electioneering games while their oppositions are naive and clueless. Yet, the same bare-knuckles electioneering tactics are taken as evidence that the elections in those (semi-democratic) countries are completely fraudulent. (NB: Often, the problem in semi-democratic countries is not just that the opposition is naive but also that they are forbidden engage in tactics that undermine “democratic norms” by law–which are, obviously, enforced very selectively: this was true in Taiwan and South Korea during authoritarian years.)
“… the way forward for a Russian base in Greece or Cyprus would be set. NATO would be stunned.”
The grand strategists of the borg probably haven’t considered such a possibility since they consider Greece subservient to Brussels since they are part of the EU. I believe they think these sovereign states are subordinate departments of the EU government structure.
I read through these interesting and insightful comments and from I gather from the links and spoon fed media silliness is that we are the Sleepwalkers this time, even if the process remains the same. Maybe it happens in 100 year cycles, more or less, like some mad, hysterical compulsion to just be utterly stupid and inept.
Even within the Western Diocletian states; I should think only the English can operate Westminster type of democracy.
They are subordinates – I agree with that statement. There are degrees to this.
In case of Greeks, they sold their sovereignty last year.