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Turkey Invades Northern Iraq In Operation Against Kurdish Militants

Turkey Invades Northern Iraq In Operation Against Kurdish Militants

Turkey has launched a cross-border operation into neighboring Iraq against Kurdish militants in a mountainous northern region of the country. 

The Turkish defense ministry confirmed its military unleashed a barrage of artillery fire and air strikes on Monday afternoon before ground forces entered northern Iraq to “demolish the caves and shelters that are being used by terrorist groups and to eliminate terrorists”  a reference to the outlawed PKK. 

“The operation, with the support of our attack helicopters, is continuing as planned,” the statement said further. While cross-border shelling has happened somewhat frequently in the past, Turkey has rarely sent ground troops.

Back in December 2015 when Turkey, claiming to be engaged in counter-ISIS and general counter-insurgency operations, crossed into Iraq with a large ground force then Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Abadi demanded Turkey cease violating Iraqi sovereignty, in a standoff which proved a major embarrassment for Baghdad. 

Turkish state media released video footage of its operation inside Iraq:

Embedded video

Turkey launches a counter-terrorism operation dubbed Pence, which means claw in Turkish, , in northern Iraq https://www.trtworld.com/article/27052

Not only has Turkey not been bashful about routinely violating the sovereignty of both Iraq and Syria ostensibly to “fight terrorists”, it has often positively boasted about it and published video footage of the incursions. 

Citing the defense ministry, Reuters reports the following of the ongoing, controversial operation:

It said the operation targeted Iraq’s Hakurk region, just across the border from Turkey’s southeastern tip, which also borders Iran. The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group is based in northern Iraq, notably in the Qandil region to the south of Hakurk.

Video published by the ministry showed helicopters landing commandos on mountainous terrain. It also shared photos showing shells fired by howitzers and soldiers perched on ridges, surveying hillsides with their rifles.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Russian Military Pulls Out Of Syrian Kurdish Town As Turkey Initiates “Massive Cross-Border Attack”

Turkey’s defense minister has confirmed the Turkish military has begun cross-border shelling of the Syrian Kurdish enclave of Afrin in what he further describes as the “de facto start” of the operation in order to destroy – in President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s words – Kurdish “terror nests” – and which has been dubbed previously by Turkey as a ‘massive cross-border attack.’

Defense Minister Nuettin Canikli said Friday that Ankara “has no option” regarding the planned invasion of Northern Syria to dislodge the YPG (Kurdish “People’s Protection Units”) and other factions, which it considers an extension of the “terrorist” PKK. Kurdish YPG militias and their media arms began reporting sporadic shelling and clashes earlier this week.

Crucially, the Turkish state-run news agency Anadoul confirmed that Russian military personnel have started pulling out of Afrin ahead of Turkey’s “expected” and imminent cross-border military operation. Russia has administered ‘deconfliction’ zones in the Afrin area while controlling airspace overhead, and has sponsored trilateral talks with Turkey and Iran which seeks cooperation among the three powers to wind down the war in Syria. The Russian military has long had “military advisors” on the ground in Afrin, which have in the past helped coordinate the fight against ISIS. 


Image via AFP

As we explained previously, the question of whether or not the large-scale Turkish assault on the Syrian Kurds moves forward or not depends in large part on Russia. On Thursday Turkey signaled that it had Russia cooperation in its planned invasion, though this was not confirmed by Moscow. As Reuters reported, “Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also told broadcaster CNN Turk that Turkey will coordinate with Russia and Iran on an air operation in Afrin.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Massive Explosion Reported In Turkish Capital, Military Dormitory Targeted

Massive Explosion Reported In Turkish Capital, Military Dormitory Targeted

With Turkey on the brink of going to war with Russia and, implicitly, Iran, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is looking for an excuse to invade Syria.

The rebels Turkey and Saudi Arabia back are staging what amounts to a last stand at Aleppo and the Kurdish YPG is moving to cut the Azaz corridor, which would effectively mean that Turkey has no way of resupplying the insurgency.

For the past five days, Ankara has been shelling the YPG in a futile attempt to stop their advance.

The only thing that can save the rebellion against Bashar al-Assad is an outright ground operation by the rebels’ Sunni benefactors, including Turkey.

All Erdogan needs is a pretext and he may have just gotten one as reports indicate there’s been a huge explosion in Ankara near parliament.

Early indications are that military barracks were targeted. A “large number of casulaties” are rumored. Expect this to be pinned on either ISIS or the PKK. If it’s the latter, Ankara will once again claim that the group is working in concert with the YPG and that will be all the evidence Erdogan needs to march across the border.

  • EXPLOSION REPORTED IN TURKISH CAPITAL ANKARA, AHABER SAYS
  • ANKARA EXPLOSION OCCURRED NEAR MILITARY RESIDENCES: OFFICIAL

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Turkey’s Revival of a Dirty ‘Deep State’

Turkey’s Revival of a Dirty ‘Deep State’


Turkey’s embattled President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is resurrecting the “deep state” alliance of secret intelligence operatives and extreme rightists that he so notably challenged just a few years ago while putting hundreds of military officers and other opponents on trial for conspiring against Turkish democracy. In a remarkable about-face, Erdogan is now emulating the ruthless tactics of previous authoritarian rulers at the expense of Turkey’s evolution as a liberal state.

Like many of his secular predecessors, Erdogan has reverted to waging an all-out war against radical Kurdish separatists, the PKK. He is dramatically expanding the once discredited National Intelligence Agency, which in years past recruited Mafia criminals and right-wing terrorists to murder Kurdish leaders, left-wing activists and intellectuals. And he appears to be forging an alliance with ultranationalist members of the National Action Party (MHP), who supplied many of the ruthless killers for those murderous operations.

Turkish President Recep Erdogan.

Turkish President Recep Erdogan.

These developments should alarm U.S. and European leaders. They are ominously anti-democratic trends in a country that once promised to meld the best of Western and Near Eastern traditions. They are also helping to drive Turkey’s secret alliances with Islamist extremists in Syria and its violent opposition to Kurdish groups that are leading the resistance to ISIS in that country.

Erdogan successfully cultivated a democratic image after his moderate Islamic party, the Justice and Development Party (AKP), gained a two-thirds parliamentary majority in the November 2002 elections. Then in 2008, with public support for his party sagging, Erdogan oversaw the mass indictment of more than 200 former military officers, academics, journalists, businessmen and other opponents of the AKP.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Violence Erupts In Turkey After Prominent Lawyer Is Assassinated On Live TV

Violence Erupts In Turkey After Prominent Lawyer Is Assassinated On Live TV

A day after Turkey arrested two journalists for their report exposing Erdogan’s weapons deliveries to “extremist groups” in Syria, confirming that no dissent to the president’s foreign policy would be allowed, today a new riot has erupted in Istanbul following the dramatic murder in broad daylight of Tahir Elci, the president of the Turkish bar association in southeastern Diyarbakir province, who was shot dead by unidentified gunmen while giving a public speech. 

A campaigner for Kurdish rights, Elci had been criticized for challenging Turkey’s official stance of calling the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) a terrorist organization. A Turkish prosecutor last month demanded up to seven and a half years of prison tme for Elci on the grounds of “making propaganda of a terror organization” after remarks he made supporting the PKK.

Just before being gunned down, Elci called for peace & silencing of all guns.


Dört Ayaklı Minare’de yapılan basın açıklaması sırada çıkan çatışmada Tahir Elçi ve 1 polis hayatını kaybetti. https://amp.twimg.com/v/4abb3ecd-72e1-4f1f-b020-edaa39a02658 


Öldürülen Tahir Elçi, basın açıklamasında: “Savaşlar çatışmalar silahlar operasyonlar bu alandan uzak olsun diyoruz”


Moments later the following shoot out broke out, which claimed the life of Elci who was pronounced dead from gunshots to the head:

 

 

The killing which was captured on tape, took place while Tahir Elci was making a statement to the media.

“The moment the statement ended, the crowd was sprayed with bullets,” Reuters cited Omer Tastan, a local official from the pro-Kurdish HDP party, as saying. “A single bullet struck Elci in the head,” he said, adding that 11 people had also been injured in the incident.

In other words, a hit meant to take out the pro-Kurdish lawyer, staged as an attack by the very people he was defending.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

US Ally Turkey Throws Journalists In Jail For “Attempting To Overthrow The Government”

US Ally Turkey Throws Journalists In Jail For “Attempting To Overthrow The Government”

Let’s just be clear: while it’s not precisely clear what combination of voter fraud, intimidation, and coercion ultimately led to Sunday’s sweeping ballot box victory for AKP in Turkey, there’s little question that the election results reflect the will of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan more than they reflect the will of the people.

Indeed, quite a few observers have voiced concerns over the election outcome including the US.

“We have both publicly and privately raised our concerns about freedom of the press, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly in Turkey,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Monday.

For those unfamiliar with the backstory, Erdogan effectively started a civil war with the PKK in order to convince the public that only a dictator is capable of keeping the peace. Meanwhile, the PKK claims that Ankara has been using ISIS affiliates to stage what amount to false flag suicide bombings on Turkish citizens in order to frighten voters into relinquishing their support for the pro-Kurdish HDP.

The turmoil led directly to a plunging lira and crackdowns on anyone that even looked like they might be against the government. For example, here are some images from attacks on HDP offices in the lead up to the elections:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Another Black Swan? Turkey Holds Snap Elections Amid NATO-Backed Civil War

Another Black Swan? Turkey Holds Snap Elections Amid NATO-Backed Civil War

There’s a potential black swan event taking place in Turkey on Sunday and no one seems to care. That is, the media isn’t devoting nearly enough coverage to Turkish elections considering the impact the outcome will invariably have on the situation in Syria, on the fate of the lira, and on the Pentagon’s strategy with regard to embedding spec ops with the YPG.

As a reminder, Turkey held elections back in June and the outcome did not please President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

AKP lost its absolute majority in parliament thanks in no small part to a relatively strong showing by the pro-Kurdish HDP and that meant that Erdogan couldn’t move forward with plans to consolidate his power by amending the constitution. Well, if you know anything about Erdogan, you know that he isn’t exactly the type to take these kinds of things lying down, and so, he decided to trade NATO access to Incirlik for Western acquiescence to a crackdown on the PKK.

Of course that’s not how it was pitched to the media.

The official line was that after a suicide bombing in Suruc claimed by ISIS, Ankara decided it was time to go after Islamic State. Not to put too fine a point on it, but that’s a joke. The PKK and many other observers have long contended that Turkey is complicit in allowing money, guns, and personnel to flow across the border into Syria so that ISIS can continue to destabilize the Assad regime which Ankara opposes. In other words, Erdogan has no interest whatsoever in fighting ISIS. What he does have an interest in is starting a new war with the PKK in order to convince voters that the security situation in Turkey is such that only a dictator can get the situation under control – that’s the whole gambit.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Angry Mobs Torch Kurdish Offices, Shops As Turkey Descends Into Chaos

Angry Mobs Torch Kurdish Offices, Shops As Turkey Descends Into Chaos

History is replete with examples of US-backed world leaders oppressing their people with Washington’s implicit blessing and despite the fact that the eyes of the world are trained squarely on Syria and, by extension, on any neighboring country that has a role to play in determining the outcome of the Syrian civil war, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan has managed to orchestrate a political coup of epic proportions in plain sight by plunging his people into civil war as NATO looks the other way.

What Erdogan has done, in the space of just three months, is nullify a democratic election outcome by first obstructing efforts to form a coalition government on the way to calling for new elections, then launching a military campaign against the PKK, knowing full well that if enough people are killed between now and the time Turks return to the ballot box in November, the public’s negative perception of the PKK will likely translate to diminished support for the pro-Kurdish HDP, which was in part responsible for AKP losing its absolute parliamentary majority in June.

This is all possible because Erdogan was effectively allowed to trade access to Incirlik (which gives the US army a forward operating base for what will eventually be a ground incursion in Syria) for NATO’s acquiescence to the extermination of the Kurdish opposition in Turkey. 

As of Tuesday, this deal had resulted in: 1) hundreds of people killed, 2) the arrest of journalists, 3) the collapse of the lira, 4) a Turkish invasion of Northern Iraq (the fifth in two decades), and 5) no perceptible progress in the “fight” against ISIS which was the pretext for the entire effort.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Turkey On The Brink As Calls For Martial Law, Civil War Send Lira Plunging Again

Turkey On The Brink As Calls For Martial Law, Civil War Send Lira Plunging Again

For anyone who might have missed it, Turkey is quickly descending into chaos on all fronts.

The lira is putting to new lows against the dollar on a daily basis as confidence suffers from a worsening political crisis which began in June when AKP lost its parliamentary majority for the first time in over a decade throwing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s plan to transform the country’s political system into an executive presidency into doubt. Not one to give up easily (especially when it comes to consolidating his power), Erdogan proceeded to launch an ad hoc military offensive against the PKK in an attempt to undermine support for the pro-Kurdish HDP ahead of new elections which, thanks to the willful obstruction of the coalition formation process, are now virtually inevitable.

Turkey’s central bank hasn’t helped matters and the lira legged lower on Wednesday after it was made clear that a rate hike was not in the cards until Fed liftoff is official.

Citi has taken a look at the situation and determined that in fact, the lira is the most vulnerable of all EM currencies they track:

We believe it is going to be difficult for the local markets angle of the EM asset class, in this important (potential) transition of monetary policy in the US, and also taking into account any potential move by the ECB in 2016 (away from a QE stance). That prompted us to revisit our FX vulnerability model. In the model, we look into EMFX from three angles: 1) the macro vulnerability aspect (focused on BoP dynamics, FX reserve metrics, portfolio flows and CDS); 2) interest rate coverage (measured by 1y1y forward real rates, current implied yields and bond yield premium after hedging costs); and 3) our assessment of positioning by real money investors and leveraged accounts in the several EM currencies. TRY, BRL, ZAR, MXN and MYR rank high in terms of aggregate vulnerability.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Is Turkey In Over Its Head?

Is Turkey In Over Its Head?

Erdogan, cc Flickr thierry ehrmann

Turkey’s war against Islamic State began with bombs being dropped on Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) forces – a central actor in the ongoing insurgency across parts of Syria (a country that ostensibly no longer exists) and Iraq. The PKK has sought autonomy from Turkey since the mid-1980s, with tens of thousands of Turkish and Kurdish soldiers and civilians being counted as part of the casualties of the roughly 30-year conflict. Attempts to carve out a sovereign Kurdish homeland from Turkey during the 1980s led to the deaths of over 30,000 people, many of whom were ethnic Kurds. As part of Turkey’s new role in its conflict with ISIS, the United States has been granted permission to launch aircraft from the Incirlik airbase located near Adana. The United States already has approximately six fighter aircraft and several hundred military personnel stationed at the base.

The battle of Kobane, which lasted from mid-September 2014 until mid-March 2015, brought the fighting to the borders of Turkey. At the end of July 2015, when Turkey entered into the conflict, its attacks against the PKK were the first strikes against the Kurds situated in northern Iraq since the brokering of a peace deal between Turkey and the PKK in 2013. The Kurdish group’s accusations that the Turkish government is plotting terrorist attacks (in collusion with ISIS forces) against ethnic Kurdish communities greatly adds to tensions due to Ankara’s already inimical disposition toward the Kurds.

The situation in northern Iraq and Syria is a Gordian knot: Turkey vs. Kurds (with Kurdish intergroup fighting predating ISIS) vs. ISIS (with internal fragmentation and al-Qaeda support) vs. Syrian opposition groups.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

The Fake War on ISIS: US and Turkey Escalate in Syria

The Fake War on ISIS: US and Turkey Escalate in Syria

It is late July 2015, and the media is abuzz with the news that Turkey will allow US jets to use its bases to bomb Islamic State (ISIS) targets in Syria. There is much talk about how this development is a “game-changer,” and how this is a clear escalation of the much ballyhooed, but more fictional than real, US war on ISIS: the terror organization thatUS intelligence welcomed as a positive development in 2012 in their continued attempts to instigate regime change against the Syrian government led by Bashar al-Assad.

The western public is told that “This is a significant shift…It’s a big deal,” as a US military official told the Wall Street Journal. What the corporate media fail to mention, however, is the fact that Turkey has been, and continues to be, a central actor in the war in Syria and, consequently, in the development and maintenance of ISIS. So, while Washington waxes poetic about stepping up the fight against the terror group, and lauds the participation of its allies in Ankara, the barely concealed fact is that Turkey is merely further entrenching itself in a war that it has fomented.

Of equal importance is the simple fact that a “war on ISIS” is merely a pretext for Turkey’s military engagement in Syria and throughout the region. Not only does Turkey’s neo-Ottoman revanchist President Erdogan want to flex his military muscles in order to further the regime change agenda in Syria, he also is using recent tragic events as political and diplomatic cover for waging a new aggressive war against the region’s Kurds, especially Turkey’s longtime foe the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK).

In this way, Turkey’s recent moves should be seen as merely a new phase of its engagement in the regional war that it has helped foment. Contrary to western corporate media talking points, Turkey has not just recently become actively engaged in the conflict; Ankara has merely shifted its strategy and its tactics, moving from covert engagement to overt participation.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Turkey indicts Dutch reporter over ‘terror propaganda’

Turkey indicts Dutch reporter over ‘terror propaganda’

Geerdink, who rejects charges, is indicted for making “terrorist propaganda” in social media and her opinion articles.

A Dutch journalist based in southeastern Turkey has been officially indicted by Turkish prosecutors for spreading “terrorist propaganda” on social media.

Frederike Geerdink, who rejected the charges, told Al Jazeera that she received an indictment notice from the prosecutor’s office in Diyarbakir, the city she is based in, adding that the document charges her with crimes committed between September 10 and October 28.

“The document refers to tweets and Facebook posts as well as her weekly column on Diken.com.tr, an independent Turkish news website,” she said.

The Prosecutor’s office charges Geerdink with spreading propaganda for the outlawed armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) group that has been fighting against the Turkish state since mid-1980s. She is facing one to five years in prison.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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