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.

 

What lies behind Greek debt and negotiations

tsipras-liou

A few days earlier, on May 27, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called Jack Lew, US Treasury Secretary and asked him to mediate in favor of an agreement between Greece and the so-called institutions (EU, IMF, ECB) during G7 talks in Germany.
Mr Lew, according to Embassy of US in Athens: “Emphasized that the Treasury remains engaged with all parties involved – including Greece, its European partners, and the IMF – and continues to urge all parties to find common ground and reach an agreement quickly.  Secretary Lew reiterated that failure to agree on a path forward would create immediate hardship for Greece and broad uncertainties for Europe and the global economy.  Secretary Lew offered to remain in contact with the Prime Minister and other parties in Europe and the international financial institutions”.
According to Reuters, although Greece was not in the agenda its crisis has overshadowed G7 talks.

Here, it is necessary to quote: The Group of 7 (G7) is a group consisting of the finance ministers and central bank governors of seven major advanced economies as reported by the International Monetary Fund: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States meeting to discuss primarily economic issues. The European Union is also represented within the G7. The G7 are the seven wealthiest major developed nations by national net wealth, representing more than 64% of the net global wealth ($263 trillion) according to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report October 2014. The IMF’s Managing Director usually participates. (Wikipedia)
G7 used to be G8 but Russia, the 8th member, has been excluded since 2014 and the whole gathering has become a gathering under the wing of US. G7 is in fact a group of capitalist countries with similar economic and political systems.
Furthermore, the epitome of capitalism, IMF, also participates.

In 2001, 200,000 demonstrators from several countries, protested during G8 summit in Genoa, Italy and “accused the police of brutality and denying them their right to non-violent protest. They believe that G8 summits are non-legitimate attempts by eight of the world’s most powerful governments to set the rules for the planet at large”.

Leading or following?

It is therefore worth wondering:
Why a politician of leftish ideology and probably politics, as soon as he will be allowed to govern his country, Mr Alexis Tsipras, thinks that a gathering of eminently neo-liberal officials would act in favour of Greece and not to the benefit of a bunch of conservative “institutions”?
Even more when their ultimate objective is austerity, wage reductions and dominance of the markets? 

Even if Prime Minister represents Greek public opinion according to polls, there is an inconsistency between on one side his election program, the communist ideas of his party and probably his own views and on the other side the negotiating moves he makes.
EU itself is a nest of neo-liberalism and all regulations, guidelines, directives and legislation do not leave space for any progressive government and administration.
Apart from the pressure of repayment of an unsustainable debt, the left Greek government will have to overcome the imposed by USA et al. conservative and restrictive guidelines (inside and outside the country) in order to apply progressive and left politics. Under present circumstances, it is understood that “conspiracy theories” about a deliberate destruction of Greece, seem to be confirmed.

Greece is not free anymore to import from, to export to, to connect and collaborate with, and to develop trade or other cooperation with any country without, at least EU’s, prior permission -with or without debt.
If a first visit in Moscow caused such a wave of reactions (TWTP article) it can be easily understood what would a broader collaboration with Russia or with Venezuela (for example) would ignite.
It is yet to see the impact of the Iranian foreign minister’s Javad Zarif visit in Athens on May 29th.
However, debt protects the “system” from “bold” exercise of sovereignty, something which is thought more possible by a left government.

Anything “left” causes abhorrence and fear to conservatives all around the world.
Europe has been the cradle of both dark ages but also of enlightenment.
EU, by following the imperialism dogma of USA and NATO has declined to a “follower” to say the least. If war is induced under the pretext of “union” (namely in Ukraine) it becomes obvious that it has deviated seriously.

It is ironic that Greek media present as “positive” any comment or statement of officials against Grexit or whatever similar.
It is common knowledge that no-one would like Greece to exit the euro zone – let alone EU and any capitalist group like G7.
Unless EU changes radically and be released from the chariot of USA, it will reproduce a modern yet conservative model which is incompatible with once progressive European traditions, ideas and cultures. Consequently, EU will become even more “toxic” for its member-states. 
Failing to distance itself, will also lead to its full inferiority which, among others, dictates agreements like TTIP or “demonization” of any sovereign country which is not subordinated to USA.

Then and now

Greece is presented as the weakest link but in fact it has escaped the “adjustment and compliance stage” of uniformity inside neo-liberalism.
Corruption is common among many countries more or less but in Greece it was formed by the “triangle” of Government officials-Big businesses plus media-Banks.
On the other hand, this same triangle led Greek people skillfully and systematically to a consuming delirium -top feature of capitalism- only to find themselves trapped a few years after the country entered the euro zone, in fact without the prerequisites.
An answer to why corruption as well as uncontrolled debt has been allowed within the bosom of EU, is the present situation.
Debt and loans is only a means to further restrain a country and terms about privatizations of crucial assets and state property is not investing but just a sample of extended dependency of the country. “They want to buy Greece cheap”, as is mentioned in the article of Steve Weissman What Europe and the IMF Are Doing to Greece: A First-Hand Look.

Greece possesses the undoubted advantage of its geopolitical position and historically, so far, this card has not been played to its own benefit by the majority of Greek politicians.
Even the…urge to join euro zone (and European Community earlier) brought benefit only to certain circles and not to the people.
After all, the whole idea of united European countries is based upon the profit of the few and not of the many who are sentenced to lack of reaction due to either exhaustion or to consent which is, as well known, manufactured by media and by propaganda.

Mr. Tsipras’ government has the chance not only to restore some breakdowns of the past but also to start a new age of politics and of an authentic union.
If he fails, many of European people’s dreams, aspirations, fights and movements will undergo a severe setback.
This is the ultimate purpose of conservatism and capitalism but it is not in favour of people’s interests -nowhere in the world.

FYROM: The next potential victim of western imperialism

FYROM_parliament_interior

The destabilization in one more country is being attempted in Former Yugoslavian Republic Of Macedonia (FYROM) by the West, namely USA. This time, the sine qua non local “liaison” is the leader of the opposition party Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM), Zoran Zaev.

According to international Media, this attempt is one more recognizable sign of the American and NATO imperialism and another brick in the wall of Cold War between USA and Russia (after Ukraine and Syria).

According to CIA’s World Factbook about FYROM: “A couple of major transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin and hashish; minor transit point for South American cocaine destined for Europe; although not a financial center and most criminal activity is thought to be domestic, money laundering is a problem due to a mostly cash-based economy and weak enforcement. Since its independence in 1991, Macedonia has made progress in liberalizing its economy and improving its business environment, but has lagged the Balkan region in attracting foreign investment and corruption remains a significant problem”.

“Consolidation”, “need of reforms”, “democratization”, “freedoms”, “liberalization of economy” are the pretexts and eventually a change of government or of regime is attempted, and there are certain steps which follow and usually lead to destruction. These used methods seem so distinctive that they could barely miss the eye of even the most “innocent” observer although, according to an exhaustive analysis by Strategic Culture Foundation, this specific issue has a couple of hidden sides.

Apart from these, the pattern for toppling Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski (of christian democratic VMRO-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity) and a government change attempt strictly follows some main features, factors and principles which remain unchanged.

Let’s examine some of the facts:

I. FYROM has been declared as “potential candidate” member of EU back in 2003 – 12 years after country’s declaration of independence in 1991 and two years after the insurgency of the ethnic Albanian National Liberation Army (NLA) militant group in 2001.
Furthermore, in 21 – 22 June 2002 “at the Seville Conference, the European Council expressed the willingness of the EU to take over from NATO in fYR Macedonia”.

It is worth noticing here the existing objection of Greece against the use of the name of the Greek region Macedonia. In EU the country’s official name is FYROM, which is though not used in numerous other occasions such as media, social media or by the USA et al.
Greece has vetoed FYROM’s NATO accession in 2008, and has been hindering the start of its EU accession talks.

The report of EU Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament “Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2010-2011” about FYROM, notes:
However, relations with Greece continued to be adversely affected by the unresolved name issue. The country is engaged in talks under the auspices of the UN on resolving it. Actions and statements which could negatively impact on good neighbourly relations should be avoided. The direct meetings at the highest political levels are positive steps, although this momentum has not yet led to concrete results. Maintaining good neighbourly relations, including a negotiated and mutually acceptable solution to the name issue, under the auspices of the UN, remains essential“.

The point here is (very) relevant to the economic crisis in Greece.
The meet of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras with Russian president Vladimir Putin alarmed USA and the announcement of a possible cooperation for a gas pipeline, alarmed both USA and EU.
Greece has longed suffered under the fear of “threat from the East” (i.e. Turkey).
Although the relationships of the two have not and will not normalize as long and the Cyprus issue remains unsolved, it is possible that a destabilized FYROM could be used as an additional “threat from the North” and therefore, as a means of pressure on Greece for “compliance, conformity and obedience”.

II. Government is set under pressure by the “revelations” of scandals (Accusations for wiretapping by the government, Purchase of an expensive car by the Prime Minister). After the above said accusations two ministers and the head of the intelligence have resigned while government denies the allegations about tapping, reports BBC.
Alleged use of vicious methods and wealth owned by leaders have been used in almost every case of regimes or governments overthrows. They are a common instrument of propaganda in order to “touch” sensitivity of public opinion.

III. In case that politics and accusations do not succeed in toppling the government and in order to impose faction and destabilization, people are “motivated” through social media to protests which resemble to these which led to destabilization in Ukraine, in “Arab Spring” in North Africa but failed and turned into war in Syria.
Additional pressure is applied by internal discord between ethnic, political or other groups which is incited by the opposition (SDSM and Zaev). Specifically, SDSM appears to have orchestrated protests in Kumanovo in May 5 and 6.
The protests turned violent and resulted to the death of six policemen (eight according to other Media) after clashes with albanian ethic groups.
The groups are said to be “terrorists who crossed the border and entered the territory of the Republic of Macedonia on May 5th and 6th”. SDSM has planned a rally for May 17th.

For this purpose, SDSM already mobilized the membership with focus on collecting abusers and people with multiple file of offenders and former prisoners with series of crimes”, comments local Kurir. Earlier, opposition leader “in an interview with the show ‘360 stepeni’ which is aired on Alsat television again revealed state secret and said that he knew of the terrorist group, but did not report to law enforcement authorities. Zaev admitted that the SDSM had evidence of movement of criminal structures, shared with the former leader Branko Crvenkovski, SDSM recognizing that there is parallel security service”, reports Kurir.

The strategy here is to apply dual mechanisms of pressure that can engage in ‘friendly competition’ with one another in seeing which can overthrow the government first. The only reason that this concept is even considered and that the Color Revolution hasn’t totally fizzled out by this time is because it’s gained some support from dissatisfied youth groups who have been manipulated into joining the anti-government protests. With the Color Revolution kept alive by a collection of youth and their heavily publicized tweets and protests, and the Unconventional War dependent on terrorism, the regime change operations’ social foundations are extremely weak, yet they have the potential for massive expansion if the 17 May destabilization events can gather more adults and Albanians (either through enticement or provocation)”, notes Strategic Culture Foundation.

IV. Foreign diplomats, potiticians and governments, all of them US alliances, criticise the government. After the clashes, EU said it was “deeply concerned, which is worrying for country’s candidacy to become EU member.

The opposition leader “refused to participate at the reconciliation meeting between the four largest parties, which was reportedly scheduled to take place on May 14th”, reports Novinite and continues: “According to media reports, Zaev would accept a meeting with Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski only in the presence of international mediators and representatives of the international community. The opposition leader dismissed the possibility of Gruevski heading a broad coalition government. Zaev called for the establishment of an interim government, which should prepare Macedonia for the holding of free, fair and democratic elections. The SDSM leader ruled out the participation of the incumbent prime minister and other people involved in crimes in an interim cabinet”.

The intentions of Zaev become more and more obvious. He displays his contempt to Prime Minister and challenges his authority. At the same time he demands the presence of “mediators and representatives of international community” as if Gruevski weren’t the elected leader.
Thus, after constructing the background, he calls into question the sovereignty of the government and uses external sources to essentially support the toppling.

The country is thereby driven to extensive conflicts and doomed to destabilization or:

V. If needed, in the next stage the methods of propaganda, public discontent and protests are degenerated to violence with the use of militant groups supported and armed by the US as is the case of Ukraine and as has already happened in FYROM.

Meanwhile, after clashes with police, “Russia accused Western organisers on Saturday (May 16) of trying to foment a colour revolution in the troubled former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, where political tensions are building ahead of an opposition rally on Sunday” and “the EU and NATO have called for a transparent investigation into last week’s killings”, reports Reuters.

The reaction of Russia could be taken for granted and as mentioned above, one more front opens in order to further demonize the country of Putin and to further implicate EU in case that Angela Merkel’s visit to Moscow on May 10th, a day after Moscow’s vast military parade in honor of the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany, would be translated as sign of reconciliation.

Conservative government of Skopje will have to resist pressure and fraudulent practices and any change has to be peacefully conducted by people and not from Western interests. 
The most important challenge though is to avoid internally and externally “submitted” violence and conflicts.