President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates ‘Joe Biden Way’ to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans ‘either in complete lockstep’ or ‘afraid’ of Trump MORE appears determined to withdraw as many troops as he can from the Middle East before he vacates the White House on Jan. 20, …
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has brokered a Nagorno-Karabakh peace deal that locks in territorial gains for Turkey-backed Azerbaijan. In doing so, he has thwarted a stronger Turkish presence in a region Moscow views as its backyard. Six weeks of heavy fighting between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces over the enclave have tested …
Turkish troops in northwestern Syria have pulled out of a second military base in the area that had been surrounded by Syrian government forces, media activists said Tuesday. The pullout from the observation post in Sher Mogher in northern Hama region comes nearly a month after the evacuation of Turkey’s largest military base in the …
ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey said on Tuesday that a deal to end more than a month of fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh had secured important gains for its close ally Azerbaijan in the conflict with Armenia. The agreement, signed by Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, follows six weeks of heavy fighting and advances by Azeri forces. On Sunday, …
Erdogan has launched Turkey on an increasingly assertive and independent regional posture. Unlike Americans on the right and left, the concept of “endless wars” doesn’t register for him. And despite being a member of NATO, and a onetime aspirant for European Union membership, Erdogan seems to relish accusing Europe, and especially France, of mistreating Muslims, with pointed back-and-forths threatening boycotts and sanctions.
The next US administration may have come to come to terms with a Turkey that is less of an ally and more a self-interested occasional partner — and one that pursues its own agenda at the center of increasingly complex and conflict-prone relations in the Caucuses, the Middle East and the eastern Mediterranean.
[… ] Ankara was quick to inject weapons and advisers, which swung the battlefield pendulum back toward stalemate. But this came with a hefty price. Tripoli signed an agreement demarcating exclusive economic zones (EEZ) with Turkey that purported to recognize Ankara’s vast offshore claims in the increasingly energy-rich Eastern Mediterranean.
[…] America has let Turkey and Russia dominate the conflict in Libya. There will be no peace if they are allowed to dominate the ceasefire as well.
[…] But either Erdogan doesn’t care, or he has a fetish for popular pain. After all, the president’s showdown with Greece is nothing short of an imperialist effort to rewrite sovereign boundaries and subjugate the nemesis of all loyal Turkish ultra-nationalists. Erdogan’s effort to establish an Islamic boycott of French goods is both immoral and destined to failure (there are few substitutes for high-value French produce), and the EU has already offered President Emmanuel Macron its support. Erdogan’s obsession with retaining the S-400 system is equally idiotic. That system is totally at odds with Turkey’s responsibilities to NATO.
Putin said on Thursday that “many countries, including Turkey and a host of European states” should work together to find consensus. Turkey, an ally of Azerbaijan, has demanded a greater say in talks.
“The first stage is to stop the fighting, stop the killing,” Putin told an online Russian investment forum.
Greek Foreign Minister Dendias pointed out that during their meeting that he had made “a special reference to the inalienable right of our country to extend its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles, as provided by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.”
“Russia cannot take any position other than that dictated by the Law of the Sea,” Lavrov stated, adding that any member of the treaty could declare up to 12 miles of territorial waters, taking into account common sense and geographical peculiarities.
The Russian Foreign Minister also stated differences could be resolved “only through negotiations that take into account the interests of everyone.”
“The US Department of Defense condemns in the strongest possible terms Turkey’s October 16 test of the S-400 air defense system — a test confirmed today by Turkish President Recep Erdogan,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.
“We object to Turkey’s testing of this system, which risks serious consequences for our security relationship,” Hoffman said.
“We have been clear and unwavering in our position: an operational S-400 system is not consistent with Turkey’s commitments as a US and NATO ally.”
“Turkey has already been suspended from the F-35 program and the S-400 continues to be a significant barrier to progress elsewhere in the bilateral relationship,” Hoffman said.
Where does this leave us?
Well, with the increasing obvious but sad reality that Erdogan is no longer a partner to Europe’s or America’s democratic security. Instead, Erdogan requires confrontation. The United States should join with the European Union in preparing sanctions on the Turkish central bank. The Turkish lira is already at pathetic lows (in no insignificant part, thanks to Erdogan’s economic mismanagement). Let’s see whether the sultan feels so supreme when his economy implodes.
Nagorno-Karabakh, locally known as the Republic of Artsakh, is not the first to be targeted by Turkey, whose aggressive neo-Ottoman ambitions have manifested in recent intrusions into Libya, Israel, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Greece. To make matters worse, Turkey transports impoverished Syrian, Libyan mercenaries, and jihadist ISIS rebels to Azerbaijan as its proxy army in Nagorno-Karabakh. Both Azerbaijan and Turkey have strongly denied the deployment of mercenaries despite accumulating evidence in the international press as well as concerns raised by government representatives in France, Russia, Iran, Syria, and Libya.