Well, no one thought the Turks were subtle … And I like Turks.


"Turkey called on Russia and Iran to pressure the Syrian government to halt a military offensive against Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) in the province of Idlib.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Russia and Iran must fulfill their “responsibilities” under a joint agreement reached with Turkey in 2017. He added that the ongoing advance would not be possible without support of Russia and Iran.

Under the agreement, the three countries announced a “de-escalation zone” in Idlib. Thus, Turkey, Iran, Russia became guarantors of the agremeent in the area.

“Iran and Russia need to carry out their responsibilities. If you are guarantors, which you are, stop the regime,” Cavusoglu told the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Unfortunately, Cavusoglu forgot to added that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is a terrorist group and excluded from the ceasefire agrement. But, who cares, when Ankara sees the operation of the Syrian Army in the area as a threat to its expansionist interests in Syria."  SF



Do Putin and Lavrov really look simple minded enough to allow themselves to be manipulated with scraps of paper and bold-faced ambition driven BS emanating from Ankara?  Do they? 

Turkey's evident ambition to recover as much of Ottoman lands in Syria as possible is pathetically obvious.  pl 


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28 Responses to Well, no one thought the Turks were subtle … And I like Turks.

  1. LeaNder says:

    Ok, good question. But maybe I am (irony alert:) too German to have ever been able to fully accept the discourse around Turkey’s expansionist desires.
    Bits and pieces? No doubt. Limited ‘uninformed’ ones though that somehow made it into my synapses. Tayyip trying to take a leading position during the Arab Spring as some type of leader in the Muslim world? Were would some type of neo-pan-Arabism fit in from an Ottoman perspective?

  2. Paul says:

    Idlib, Mosul… and the Dodecanese. As we say in Ireland – ‘Wind your neck in!’

  3. Fredw says:

    So what is the purpose of BS that can’t possibly achieve its stated demands? Who are the Turks trying to influence with this? Why annoy everyone with utterly simple minded bleats of frustration?

  4. DianaLC says:

    I am inclined to believe that Lavrov and Putin are, indeed, not simple minded. And from my very limited dealings with Turkish folks here, I have found the ones I know to be obtuse. There is no reasoning with them.
    The last think this word needs is a replay of the Ottoman Empire. Leave it in the museum there in Istanbul.

  5. Willybilly says:


  6. plantman says:

    Putin knows that Erdogan is impulsive and untrustworthy and has “played” him perfectly, giving him just enough rope to hang himself many times over.
    Putin in contrast, is perhaps the most consistent politician of our time.
    When he gives his word, he means it and stands by it.
    The media like to deride Putin as the embodiment of sinister evil, but I find him pretty admirable and I wish our leaders behaved similarly.
    They also like to mock him for taking off his shirt or doing things that guys like to do like fish or hunt. But I worked as a contractor for 30 years and I don’t see anything wrong with guys acting like guys.
    I think this is another example of the pencilneck di**heads at the NYTimes ridiculing anyone who doesn’t fit their effete standards of wimpy behavior.
    They should give it a rest.

  7. blowback says:

    Erdogan knows the war in Syria is over but he still has to clean up the mess – he can’t afford to have the various jihadist groups enter Turkey in large numbers. So how to kill them? Give them a few new toys (half a dozen brand new shiny MRAPs and some ATGM) and send them on a death or glory mission against the flank of the SAA salient in Idlib. It looks like there is going to be a great deal of death and little glory for the jihadists who having broken the de-escalation agreement are now a legitimate target for RuAF. The possibility of cutting off the salient will be dangled in front of the jihadists for a few more days or weeks to keep supplying the meat grinder, and Erdogan’s problem is solved.
    Meanwhile Erdogan has convinced the Washington Borg that he’s sticking il to Putin so they are happy as well.

  8. Kooshy says:

    IMO, this new article in Lobe’ is a fair analysis of Iran and the region’ current political situation. This article in my experience is a rarity even on Lobe’ log, for those of us who fallow western analyses of Iran’ international politics.
    “Iran–On The Brink?”

  9. turcopolier says:

    But, Germans have “klarheit,” except for Keitel, Jodl, Krebs and whoever the fat guy is. I don’t get your point. IMO Erdogan and the neo-Ottomans would love to get back as much of the empire as they can. pl

  10. different clue says:

    ( reply to comment 3 ),
    It isn’t the Turks in general who are doing this. It is the Erdogists and especially the Head Erdogist In Charge. Perhaps the R + 6 hope that will become such a clear and present danger to all the other Erdogists that the Erdogists will force Erdogan into an early retirement as an “Elder Statesman Emeritus”, and then move Turkey back into some kind of compliance with R + 6 wishes.

  11. Razor says:

    Never heard that in my little patch in South Dublin!

  12. kooshy says:

    Colonel FYI, according to Iranian Media, today (IRNA/Persian) Sultan Erdo and the bad old election thief “Silvester” Putin spoke on the phone about the work on progress in Idlib. Apparently Erdo much complained about his Jahadies getting their asses handed over to them by SAA, and Putin reminded Erdo of the two new nuclear power plants being built in Turkey, and the south stream oil pipe plan to be built. That may shout the sultan up until the next operation closer to Turkish border. http://www.irna.ir/fa/News/82793047

  13. kooshy says:

    Pan-Arabism was an Egyption Idea promoted and carried on by Nasser and put in coffin by Saadat. The 1967 and 73 wars effectively killed the pan-Arabism but the actual obituary was read by Saadat in signing the Camp David accord.

  14. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Those places are settled by non-Turks who do not want the Turks back. Slivers of land here and there does nothing for Turkey. They are welcome to try to take Haifa back.

  15. LeaNder says:

    I am missing Jim, Kooshy. It’s great he keeps up his blog, but I am missing his own voice on the Lobelog. More by chance he once helped me to connect dots on my own homeground. … What might be interesting in our context is that I recall he once mentioned he had what we call a Hausverbot over here: a ban on entering AEI premises as journalist.

  16. LeaNder says:

    Pat, Klarheit is a good German word.
    More randomly, I am aware of the Turkish struggle concerning parts of North/West Syria in 1917. Of the longer Turkish/Kurdish struggle. Of Turkish co-citizen, both Turkish/Kurdish, noticing that I am more easily irritated lately?
    Klarheit is a state of mind, clearness, clarity, (limpidity, limpidness, lucency, translucence, translucency, transparency – Webster) of mind. Over the decades of my life my belly seemed to prove more reliable then rational me. I may have stored the wrong data points, no doubt.

  17. Procopius says:

    I really have nothing to say, just couldn’t resist,
    “Do Putin and Lavrov really look simple minded enough…”
    From my favorite movie, Pulp Fiction (paraphrasing):
    “What do Marcellus Wallace look like to you? Do he look like a bitch?”

  18. turcopolier says:

    I like your version better than mine. pl

  19. turcopolier says:

    What you are missing is what Christine Helms wrote is the collective me memory of a people, a memory which the Turks possess in full. http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2015/06/dr-helms-on-collective-memory.html

  20. johnf says:

    One might almost surmise that all this latest hoopla and brouhaha about Sh*thole countries and American Embassies in London was being used as a cover to let the Iranian deal carry on.
    If so, good.

  21. LeaNder says:

    Hmm, ok, got it:
    A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.
    James Madison to W.T. Barry, August 4, 1822.

  22. Alexander Mercouris analyzes the new Putin-MoD statement declaring that Turkey was not responsible for the recent drone attack on Russia’s Syria airbase.
    Putin: Turkey not responsible for drone attack; Russia knows who was
    Both Putin and the Ministry of Defense all but accuse the US of organizing and supplying the drones for the attack, without actually saying so.
    So either the US was responsible for the attack – secondary and less likely possibility being Israel – or Putin is using this statement to deflect an apparent US attempt to drive a wedge between Russia and Turkey.

  23. Haralambos says:

    Col. Thank you for this reference. I noticed your 2015 reference to her, but I believe I was not ready to read it. I just did and have found it to be one of the most informative pieces in my reading. By chance, could you supply more information on Dr. Helms and her educational background; I have not been able to dig up anything.

  24. turcopolier says:

    Oxford doctorate, a friend for many years originally from St. Louis.. I have sadly neglected her for a long time. pl

  25. Haralambos says:

    Col., thank you for this information.

  26. LeaNder says:

    Pan-Arabism was an Egyption Idea promoted and carried on by Nasser and put in coffin by Saadat.
    Kooshy, here is a link to Christine Helms, Arabism and Islam, Stateless Nations and Nationless States, The Institute for National Strategic Studies National Defense University, July 1990
    It’s an abbreviated version, 50 pages only. She’s a good writer, good read. Freely accessible online:
    I am aware of pan-Arabism. My random reference had to do with a “twitterer” I recently stumbled across who used neo-pan-Arabist to describe his background.

  27. turcopolier says:

    Pan-Arabism is a dead dog. Israel killed it by destroying the illusion that held that the Arabs (native Arabic speakers)could be united into a mighty country. George Antonius is generally thought to have bee the most important literary figure in the movement. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Antonius

  28. Wunduk says:

    Babak, would it be possible in your view that Erdoğan is trying to surpass Atatürk for domestic consumption; I would speculate that he attempts to counter the myth that Atatürk was the model leader of Turkey by pointing out the National Accord and Atatürk`s inability to reconquer the areas “belonging” to Turkey. So slivers of land might not do much for Turkey, but might they do something for Erdoğan in his quest to surpass Atatürk? I think this is maybe a futile quest, but on the hunt for motives this crossed my mind as a possible one.

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