The Multifaceted Russian-Turkish Conflict

russian pilots
© Sputnik/ Alexander Vilf Relatives of Russian Su-24 Pilot ‘Refuse to Believe He is Dead’

The following article was written on 27th November, therefore some of the details might have changed.
Wherever possible, I have made adjustments.

Just a few days after Turkish F-16s shot down the Russian Su-24 aircraft on 24th November, tens of scenarios and analysis have been published and broadcasted and they all have a common factor:

They accept that the players after the incident are much more than two and that a new chapter in foreign policies has opened.
The time perspective of the event itself will reveal the whole spectrum of participants, those concerned and the stakeholders, the number of who appears to be growing.
In the foreground, there are Russia, its president Vladimir Putin and their recent involvement in the war against ISIS in Syria on one hand, and the NATO member Turkey of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on the other.
Inevitably, the European Union and its two most powerful countries, Germany and France, become parts of this equation to a more or less obvious extent. They are both NATO members and that’s a role they have to support.
France’s wound of 13th November is fresh as much as are its president’s Francois Hollande declared intentions (and actions) to intensify war against terrorism of ISIS by cooperating with allies and not-so-allies, as is Russia.
To this end, all predictions and signs favored a joint effort with Russia and Mr Hollande’s meet with US president Barack Obama included smoothing of edges and bridging the gap between US and Russia in the name of the common cause.
An aspect of these policies is that Russia’s decision to operate against ISIS in Syria has been vindicated and it can be seen as a win of Vladimir Putin, whose country is blacklisted by NATO, USA and EU, i.e. from the West.
Even if NATO members defended the “right of Turkey to protect its land”, they didn’t provide any further support through public statements.
Therefore Erdogan, who at first seemed to have deterred the approach between West and Russia and the reinforcement of powers against ISIS willingly or not, failed to promote his country as a decisive regional factor.
Irrespective of Turkish president’s instability, as German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said on 25th November, and “exuberance”, by the defensive-aggressive movement of shooting a NATO non-friendly country’s war craft, Turkey repeated its practice of establishing de facto conditions (Cyprus occupation is one of them) and attempted to demonstrate and “tout” its role and status of NATO member.
Also, the overt and straight support to Turkmens could be interpreted as a “declaration” implying the “Kurdish factor”, i.e. Turkish friendly Vs Turkish hostile populations.
Only a short time before, Erdogan had highlighted Turkey’s ambitions to become member of EU and used the refugee crisis and the “need” of EU to ensure Turkish cooperation, in order to extract a promising result.
The obvious benefits though have been a few and so far limited to a financing from EU.
[During the conference of 29Nov., EU promised 3 billion euros which could, and they possibly will, increase and visa regime “rearrangements” and everyone turned a blind eye to the flagrant human rights violations. But then again, that’s the EU …]
So, Turkey decided to use the “NATO card”.

We have to remember that both Angela Merkel and Jean-Claude Junker “suggested” common Greek and Turkish rescue operations in Greek territorial waters.
When Greece rejected such type of Turkish involvement, Ms Merkel underlined that “both countries are NATO members”, as if it should be understood that the membership would allow common territorial grounds or that insured territorial security -for Greece.

It also goes without saying that inside his country Erdogan emphasizes in every possible way the factors of security and stability and projects the image of a strong, powerful, competent and determined leader.
This image covers and entertains impressions and reactions against his controversial “relationship” with civil rights and has even supported his party AKP in recent parliamentary elections.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has a more moderate approach and made efforts to express more peaceful intentions after the downing of the Russian jet.
Turkish and Russian presidents have several similarities as leading personalities and some observers would find similarities even in governing.
It’s their differences, though, which make the “difference” together with the roles of their countries with regard to international relations.

Within the recent picture, Syria remains the hot spot and the threat of ISIS is the global factor.
President Hollande had to suffer a second hit of French capital and citizens, in order to consider a plan of joint action, not restricted inside NATO frame and interests, but comprising several regional powers.
In this frame, while Vladimir Putin has taken a positive initiative (if war can ever be considered positive), Recep Tayyip Erdogan appears as the negative factor.
[The disclosures (within the country and after Putin had spoken about it publicly) of Turkish role and involvement in oil smuggling, triggered Erdogan’s beloved practice of overt censorship.]

The downing of jet incident brought to the forefront the many and “artfully” non-promoted by western media, dark spots of Turkish involvement and role in Syria crisis.
The day-after has brought Russian resolutions about sanctions to Turkey -and Russians know a lot about sanctions as imposed on them by USA allies.

Although some analysts have spoken about a WWIII, on one hand this seems to be happening now with all these open fronts all over the world, and on the other it is highly undesirable even by US, the “usual suspect” of initiating wars and invasions and at least during Obama’s administration.

The nightmare of a generalized regional war could involve:
Lebanon, a tormented country which recently has (silently) suffered major inland hits by terrorism,
Egypt, a country which is revising, rebuilding and expanding its foreign relations,
Jordan, because of proximity and as the hosting country of thousand of refugees,
and probably Iran as a Russian and Syria ally but also against ISIS.
It could also involve Israel, its phobic and pro war policies and, worst case scenario, its nuclear weapons.

The news “run”, tension intensifies or discharges sequentially, anything written could be soon outdated and the so called “diplomatic thriller” between Russia and Turkey continues. with Erdogan’s invitation to Putin to a meeting during World Climate Conference (COP21) in Paris.

[It is imperative to remember, although Davutoglu’s statements and attitude leaved no chance to forget, that Turkish diplomacy is among the (two in my opinion) most insolent of the world.
Another feature of their policies is (again among the two) to create «guilt complexes» to their interlocutors.
The combination of antidemocratic practices, together with the assassination of Tahir Elci, pro-Kurdish activist, made EU-Turkish approach more bitter.
]

At this point of time we can conclude that although hopes and fears are significant yet invisible and neglected factors of foreign policies, prudence, sangfroid and sobriety combined with care about people, are better consultants and should prevail for all participants, at last.

 

Paris Attacks and Some First Thoughts

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It was just yesterday when a posting has been shared here about actions which would take place in Paris alongside COP21 (the summit of UN for the climate).
During the night, Paris has become victim of murderers fascists terrorists and human lives have been lost in Europe as well -apart from almost all around the world.
It is extremely early to reach “safe” (what a word!) conclusions but I believe there are a few points worth mentioning.
It is understood that the attacks have created a status which several sources have chosen to name «European 11 September».
This name-giving is an omen by itself.
At the same time, France closed its borders -or intensified border controls, other sources say- and was declared a state of emergency, which are both provided and expected measures under extreme situations.
“French police ban all public demonstrations in Paris region until Thursday”, according to AFP, while the army has been mobilised inside Paris.
Every guest/speaker at TV news shows relate, one way or another, terrorism with refugees.
Unavoidable to repeat here the opinion about the terrorism from which refugees are fleeing (see Fleeing Morality and Refugees), which is induced by “regime change” interests/obsessions of the West/ USA/ NATO and inflicted wars in Middle East and Northern Africa.

The correspondent of a Greek TV channel in France, among others, informed us that President Hollande had already planned measures of border controls for the people who would arrive to participate to marches, ahead of COP21.

Conclusively, a certain type of measures would and shall obstruct or block peaceful protesters.
Therefore, terrorists have led to the same type of measures aimed anyway for civilians.
Therefore, people have been killed and shot, human lives have been lost, persons have died and the result is that restricting civil actions is appropriate means for containing danger.

Attacks both in Ankara, Turkey last October and Paris last night, aimed normal civil functions and activities.
(Turkey has conveniently blamed Curds -as usual- but that’s another form of obsession/perversion.)

What has been attacked in both recent cases is the everyday life, the “normality”, the freedom of ordinary people to have ordinary activities.
Fear destroys everything acting either like tsunami or cancer.

I repeat that it’s very early to anticipate or predict what the near (and far) future is carrying.
Signs give a glimpse.

Incidentally, a few days ago, passing additional control at Paris airport, near an American woman, I commented that “9/11 has destroyed us all” and she responded that it is inconvenient indeed but “it is for our safety”.
For “safety” (but not privacy or dignity) reasons I know now what she carried inside her bag and the next person waiting knows what I carried in mine.

A Greek song repeats the motto “for my own good” while describing the hardship and suffering incurred and imposed for this reason.
For who’s “good” rights and liberties will be limited?
For who’s “good” Muslim European citizens or migrants or refugees are likely to suffer even more discrimination, racism, bigotry, xenophobia and atrocities (as has already happened) by “europeans”? 

We stand by Paris people in any way we can and we keep our minds and hearts clear of fear.

The Greek Thriller

Humanite 6.7.2015

It is understood that referendum of 5th July in Greece and the next, ongoing round of negotiations with European institutions, have gained the lion’s share of interest for two weeks now.
Although nothing solid has been achieved until this time, talks in Euro Group continue, a summit meeting of 19 countries of Eurozone is expected during the day (Sunday 12.7.2015) and the summit of 28 EU member-states is said to be cancelled.
That last (cancellation) can be interpreted as a sign that Grexit is not an option anymore.
Meanwhile, the German “idea” of a temporary Grexit (for five years) has been characterized ridiculous by several EU members.
At the same time, Finland’s minister of economy has come up with a decision from his country to negotiate nothing but an exit of Greece.

It is certain that there is no easy or painless solution for the Greek people (a relative article in The Conversation here) , 61, 3% of whom voted NO and showed that they are fed up with and determined to resist austerity, which Noam Chomsky considers a Class War.
On the other hand, it has become common knowledge that EU (which is quite different thing or notion from Europe) is rotting because of its political, structural, ideological and social problem caused by strict neo-liberal policies.
The decay offers way to “euro-skepticism” which, unfortunately, is supported by extreme right wing nationalists and racists.
If there is a “healthy” solution to EU’s problems it is certain that it cannot be induced and launched by misanthropes (an interesting article about the notion by TeleSur here) of any kind (like Christian-democrats of Germany or fascists in France, Greece, Denmark, Finland etc.)
Although that it is unfounded and kind of racist to attribute behavioral properties to entities such as nations, the same way that Greeks have been repeatedly accused of not working much (laziness), the “hard working” Germans have been historically proved as obsessed to impose their (sour) way of narrow-thinking, living, ruling or working to other states – either by wars or by financial ruling and deprivation.

On the other hand, other European leaders (when they manage to extricate from German “rules”), they support Greece on an ethical, diplomatic or political level.
This is the case of France, even if Francois Hollande is just trying to show his own and his country’s political importance within EU and to prove wrong whoever claims that he appears more as a Merkel’s follower than a strong politician.
European people from their part, have never stopped to support Greece both as a “cause” and as a reflection of their own future.
Sadly, the word solidarity has become the quinessence of hipocricy of EU institutions and a testament to that is the try of european officials to stop IMF’s report which says that Greek debt is not viable and that is should be reduced or restructured.

It is worth wondering if Greece would have recovered by now from a default five years ago.
It is certain though that they have not recovered, quite the opposite, with austerity measures, with huge loans to banks and not to the people or to development and with authoritarian policies of EU and IMF.

While Greek “thriller” is underway, the world is spinning and life goes on, hopefully,  although this is not the case everywhere.
So, hopefully, we shall be back with a review of the week.