Category: Antichrist

Was Göbeklitepe An Ancient Temple of Sacrifice?

Göbeklitepe, the world’s oldest  temple, is around 12,000 years old. It was built by hunter-gatherers in the pre-pottery  Neolithic period, before writing and the wheel were invented. Göbeklitepe has rewritten the history of human civilization.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2018, the site began to attract travelers and history enthusiasts from all over the world. The Turkish Ministry of Tourism and Culture designated 2019 as the Year of Göbeklitepe with over a million visitors expected.

As such,  Göbeklitepe is the most important archaeological site in the world. It is a small hill on the horizon, 9.5 miles (15 kilometers) northwest of the town of Urfa in Southern Anatolia. Called “the town of prophets” Urfa has been linked with the biblical  Abraham (some claim that Urfa was the town of Ur mentioned in the Bible) and was known to have hosted the Holy Mandylion.

Once also known as  Edessa, Urfa is on the edge of the rainy area of the  Taurus Mountains , source of the river that runs through the town and joins the Euphrates. Urfa was (and still is) an oasis, which could explain why Göbeklitepe was built nearby.

A life-sized  limestone statue  found in Urfa, at the pond known as Balikli Göl, has been carbon-dated to 10,000 – 9,000 BC, making it the earliest known stone sculpture ever found. Its eyes are made of  obsidian.

Some believe that  Göbeklitepe was a major step in the evolution of religion and the human connection with God – that it marks the beginning of civilization and might be the root of the world’s three great monotheistic religions. Göbeklitepe is a vast collection of stone structures built by Stone Age  hunter-gatherers. Construction started about 12 millennia ago and continued for approximately 2,000 years.

T-Shaped Pillars Symbolizing Humans Found at Göbeklitepe

A typical structure consists of a circle of standing pillars built from stones up to 20 feet (6.1 meters) tall. These pillars each weighed as much as 20 tons (9.1 quintals) and each was carved out of a solid block of granite. They were pried out and moved a few hundred feet using only wooden levers.

The pillars were then erected vertically into a base that had been carved into the bedrock. Some researchers estimate this would have required many clans to come together – perhaps 500 people at a time – to both build and feed the builders.

Each circle is about 30 feet (9.1 meters) in diameter. One circle has 12 stones spaced around its perimeter and two stones in the middle. Only a few of these circles have been excavated so far and the site is already massive. Every circle has two massive T-shaped pillars at the center of the circle.

The T-shaped pillars at Göbeklitepe. ( muratart / Adobe Stock)

Piled up stones serve as a wall to make this circle an enclosure. Smaller pillars surround the area. Some think these T-shaped pillars once held up a thatched roof or other material; others believe they  symbolize humans. This is what I also believe that the builders of Göbeklitepe wanted to attract the  attention of the gods , above the stars, in order to interact with them.

Most of the pillar carvings are of animals. But there are also the ones that are anthropomorphic or in the shape of a human. This was a project similar to building the pyramids of Egypt. But building with  stones that weigh tons began here in Göbeklitepe, long before Egypt or  England with Stonehenge.

What Was the Reason Beyond…

Why was this huge project built?

One thing is clear to the excavators — this site was not a place to live. There is no sign of food storage or farming and it has no evident purpose. Its mission must purely be a religious one. It has been declared the oldest known structure built as a temple.

My point of view for the mysterious Göbeklitepe, which harbors many secrets, is as follows:

One of the most important changes in the history of humanity was taking place in the area between the rivers Euphrates and Tigris about 12,000 years ago. Humankind was just beginning to move from the forager lifestyle to a settled way of living – from hunting and gathering to farming and production.

This transition period took maybe a few centuries or even a millennium. Initially they witnessed a seed from a fruit turning into a crop, emerging from the earth and blooming as a process of rebirth! This might have been the reason for them to start burying their dead and hoping for a rebirth in due time.

Various types of gods with supernatural powers were interrupting their daily life with climate changes and natural disasters. And there was one thing they were sure of: that they must please the gods, behaving as the gods wished them to behave.

In order to save the lives of their loved ones – to see their deceased family members re-born – and in order to start  farming, men believed that they must come to terms with all gods.

They thought that they needed the approval of supernatural powers to shift to a settled life and start farming. When would it rain, when would it storm or hail, or turn everything upside down with earthquakes? Would the sun god, moon god, or other gods, which seemed sometimes to punish men and make them afraid, allow them to farm, to cultivate and harvest?

Seeking the Permission of Gods for Farming

Men tried to placate the gods to avoid their anger and to keep them satisfied. As the gods punished them with  natural disasters , taking many lives when they became angry, men sought a way to mollify the gods, killing some of their own to ward off the gods’ rage, thinking that the gods were satisfied when these people or animals were  sacrificed.

Did they need to obtain the gods’ permission for farming when moving toward permanent settlements? Would they be able to satisfy the gods and harvest the crops if they sacrificed animals and humans – the youngest and most beautiful ones – in rituals and ceremonies?

Perhaps the temples of Göbeklitepe were temples for sacrificial rituals that were created as a result of these ideas! Who knows, maybe this was really so…

Maybe the animal and human bones, catching our eyes among the finds, and beer or wine jugs – possibly used in rituals – do tell us about this, who knows? Whatever the truth, Göbeklitepe temples, whose secrets have not yet been completely discovered, are rewriting the history of humanity.

Ancient site of Göbeklitepe in Turkey, the oldest temple in the world. (Teomancimit /  CC BY-SA 3.0 )

Bribing the Gods!

Human sacrifice was practiced by many ancient cultures. People would be ritually killed in a manner that was supposed to please or appease a god or spirit. Droughts, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, etc. were seen as a sign of anger or displeasure by deities, and sacrifices were supposed to lessen the divine ire.

The people of those prehistoric times, who wanted to start a settled life with farming, believed they had to ask for the gods’ permission by sacrificing some of their loved ones. Sacrifice meant that man made a gift to the gods and expected a gift in return. They cut off human heads, defleshed and cleaned the skulls, and hung them at an angle to face the gods.

They wanted the gods to see the huge, human-like pillars first, then the sacrificed humans, especially the young and beautiful ones – and thus be appeased, granting permission for settlement and farming under decent natural conditions, no storm or hail but abundant rain and sunshine… Elucidating what the gods wanted was the secret.

Human sacrifice is not just a ritual act designed to pacify the gods, divine the future, or bring luck and prosperity to those offering the sacrifice. Human sacrifice requires the exchange of a life – willingly or not – in return for supernatural assistance or for a greater cause. And at these temples other, inanimate offerings were also made.

A remarkable find was a limestone statue, referred to as the ‘gift bearer’, a kneeling figure carrying a human head in its hands, the eyes and nose of which are discernible.

Building D pillar. Image of the ‘Gift Bearer’ at Göbeklitepe. (Image: German Archaelogical Institute – DAI / Author Provided)

Many Bones But No Burials at Göbeklitepe

A considerable number of fragmented human bones have been recovered but the evidence of human burials is absent from Göbeklitepe. One explanation is that this particular variation of decapitation and skull modification was connected to activities specific to the Göbeklitepe site.

It is the oldest site where carved skulls have been found and fragments of three modified human  skulls have recently been discovered at Göbeklitepe. Skull carvings are the result of multiple cutting actions, not related to defleshing or scalping, as  defleshing must be accompanied by other types of cutting marks on the skulls, and scalping can be ruled out on the basis of the absence of typical markers.

All skulls found at the site carry  intentional deep incisions along their sagittal axes. In one of these cases, a drilled perforation is also attested. These findings are outstanding because they provide the very first osteological evidence of sacrificial ritual.

Because no signs of healing could be detected, modifications were probably performed shortly after death, which is a robust clue for us to believe that sacrifice was the case. Skulls were carved no earlier than the perimortem stage; this observation is confirmed by microscopic analyses: cut marks are characterized by sharp edges, meaning that the bone was cut when still elastic, that is, at an early state of decay.

Another outstanding feature of one of the skulls found is the drilled perforation in the left parietal, the position of which was carefully chosen so that the skull might hang vertically and face forward, looking at the gods, when suspended. Drilled perforation at the top of the cranium is used to suspend the skull with a cord. Carvings were used for stabilization purposes, preventing the cord from slipping.

One of the 3 skulls found belonged to an individual, 25 to 40 years of age, who was more likely female than male. These pieces of evidence have culminated in the interpretation of Göbeklitepe as a sacrificial ritual center of early hunter-gatherer groups living around Southeast Anatolia.

The people who gathered at these temples were not permanently living in that area and they wanted the temples to stay safe until their next visit. It has been discovered that these temples were hidden by the builders under soil, to protect them until the next sacrificial ceremony – maybe till the next harvest season!

According to a recent study the ancestors of the people who built Stonehenge traveled west across the Mediterranean before reaching Britain. Researchers in London compared DNA extracted from Neolithic human remains found in Britain with that of people alive at the same time in Europe.

The Neolithic inhabitants appear to have traveled from Anatolia (modern  Turkey) to Iberia before winding their way north. Maybe the recently discovered  Dolmen de Guadalperal  ( so called the Spanish Stonehenge) at the Valdecanas Reservoir in Spain – which is also believed to be a place where religious rituals were performed – is another example that had been created by the people that traveled from Göbeklitepe to  Stonehenge.

They reached Britain in about 4,000 BC. Pieces of human bones in soil from niches behind the stone pillars at the site, like those discovered in Göbeklitepe, and the vast amount of animal bone discovered at the site, suggest that ritual sacrifice regularly took place here.

There is perhaps a parallel here with the much later site at Durrington Walls, close to Stonehenge, in Wiltshire, England. Dating to around 2,600 BC, Durrington Walls was a huge ritual timber circle where enormous amounts of animal bone, primarily from pigs and cattle, were discovered.

So, maybe all these temples were the sites of sacrifices to please the gods and seek their permission… and this was how mankind was trying to move from ‘hunting and gathering’ to ‘farming and production’.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10160

It’s Middle East Mayhem As U.S. Pulls Out All Troops In Front Of Rapidly Advancing Turkish Army Leaving Syria In The Hands Of Erdogan And Putin

The fast-deteriorating situation was set in motion last week, when Trump ordered U.S. troops in northern Syria to step aside, clearing the way for an attack by Turkey, which regards the Kurds as terrorists. Since 2014, the Kurds have fought alongside the U.S. in defeating the Islamic State in Syria, and Trump’s move was decried at home and abroad as a betrayal of an ally. Over the past five days, Turkish troops and their allies have pushed their way into northern towns and villages, clashing with the Kurdish fighters over a stretch of 200 kilometers (125 miles). The offensive has displaced at least 130,000 people. On Sunday, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said all American troops will withdraw from northern Syria because of the increasing danger of getting caught in the crossfire.

by Geoffrey Grider October 13, 2019

The Kurdish fighters in Syria had few options after the United States abandoned them, and it had been anticipated they would turn to Assad’s government for support.

Here’s a little Bible Prophecy 101 for you: The Old Testament prophets all tell us that Syria in general is a major end times player, with Damascus being mentioned repeatedly in particular and singled out for ultimate destruction during the Battle of Armageddon just prior to the Second Coming. Also we read out Russia, China, Iran and Turkey as playing major roles. Care to hazard a guess which world superpower is absent from your end times scorecard? You guess it, it’s the most powerful nation on the face of the Earth who is looking more and more like its about to be put out to pasture. Who am I talking about? Us, the United States of America. We don’t even get a passing mention, that should tell you how great our fall from power is about to be.

“The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap. The cities of Aroer are forsaken: they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid. The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria: they shall be as the glory of the children of Israel, saith the LORD of hosts.” Isaiah 17:1-3 (KJV)

As the slaughter in Syria intensifies, with over 130,000 persons already displaced in the first 5 days of fighting, it is becoming obvious that Turkey is not there to “defend its borders’ as they had said. They are in Syria to take control of the northern part of it, which coincidentally is right near where the Golan Heights is located as well. Israel is the center of bible prophecy, and it doesn’t take a prophet to tell you that if Turkey is allowed to continue then Israel will be forced to defend themselves as well.

ISIS Affiliates Break Free From Camp in Syria

FROM THE AP: Syria’s Kurds said Syrian government forces agreed Sunday to help them fend off Turkey’s invasion — a major shift in alliances that came after President Donald Trump ordered all U.S. troops withdrawn from the northern border area amid the rapidly deepening chaos.

The shift could lead to clashes between Turkey and Syria and raises the specter of a resurgent Islamic State group as the U.S. relinquishes any remaining influence in northern Syria to President Bashar Assad and his chief backer, Russia.

Adding to the turmoil Sunday, hundreds of Islamic State families and supporters escaped from a holding camp in Syria amid the fighting between Turkish forces and the Kurds.

The fast-deteriorating situation was set in motion last week, when Trump ordered U.S. troops in northern Syria to step aside, clearing the way for an attack by Turkey, which regards the Kurds as terrorists. Since 2014, the Kurds have fought alongside the U.S. in defeating the Islamic State in Syria, and Trump’s move was decried at home and abroad as a betrayal of an ally.

Over the past five days, Turkish troops and their allies have pushed their way into northern towns and villages, clashing with the Kurdish fighters over a stretch of 200 kilometers (125 miles). The offensive has displaced at least 130,000 people.

On Sunday, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said all American troops will withdraw from northern Syria because of the increasing danger of getting caught in the crossfire.

“We have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing armies, and it’s a very untenable situation,” he said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” He did not say how many would withdraw or where they would go but that they represent most of the 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria.

The peril to American forces was illustrated on Friday, when a small number of U.S. troops came under Turkish artillery fire at an observation post in the north. No Americans were hurt. Esper said it was unclear whether that was an accident.

Trump, in a tweet, said: “Very smart not to be involved in the intense fighting along the Turkish Border, for a change. Those that mistakenly got us into the Middle East Wars are still pushing to fight. They have no idea what a bad decision they have made.”

Later in the day Sunday, Kurdish officials announced they will work with the Syrian government to fend off the Turkish invasion, deploying side by side along the border. Syrian TV said government troops were moving to the north to confront the Turkish invasion but gave no details.

The Kurdish fighters had few options after the United States abandoned them, and it had been anticipated they would turn to Assad’s government for support.

A return by Assad’s forces to the region where Syrian Kurds have built up autonomy in the north would be a major shift in Syria’s long-running civil war, further cementing Assad’s hold over the ravaged country.

It would also mean that U.S. troops no longer have a presence in an area where Russia and Iranian-backed militias now have a role. It was not clear what Russia’s role was in cementing the agreement. But Russian officials have been mediating low-level talks between the Kurds and Damascus. Syria is allied with Russia, and Turkey, though it is a NATO member, has drawn close to Moscow in recent years under Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. READ MORE

Turkey’s Syria offensive: Erdogan defiant in response to US threats

The US military is warning Turkey that its incursion into Syria could jeopardize progress in defeating the so-called “Islamic State.” Kurdish-led forces in the region say they can’t keep ISIS prisoners contained and hold back the Turkish military. The US defense department is calling on its NATO ally to halt operations, and US President Trump has threatened economic sanctions. There has already been one explosion near an outpost of US Special Forces. And the UN says 100,000 civilians have fled their homes since the offensive began three days ago.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10139

The days of the Ottoman Empire are over’

After years of inaction, new Foreign Ministry plan aims to stop Ankara’s efforts to undermine Israeli sovereignty in east Jerusalem. Among proposed steps: outlawing Muslim Brotherhood, limiting activities of Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency, whose stated objective is “preventing the Judaization of Jerusalem.”

by  Ariel Kahana , Israel Hayom Staff

Last modified: 2019-10-07 09:46

Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz has ordered his office to draw up plans to stop the Turkish government’s efforts to undermine Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem and protect Jordan’s special status as guardian of Muslim holy sites in the city.

Katz intends to present the plan to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu soon, so he can authorize its implementation. Due to the sensitivity of the plan, whose implementation will almost certainly lead to a direct confrontation with Ankara, it is also expected to be raised for discussion by the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet. According to ministry officials, as the plan pertains to security matters, there is nothing preventing it from being implemented by a transition government.

The issue of Turkey’s influence on members of Jerusalem’s Arab population has weighed on security and diplomatic officials’ minds for years. As Israel Hayom has previously reported, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been buying influence over sites and prominent figures in east Jerusalem for years. Nevertheless, Jerusalem has not made any effort to challenge these efforts up until now.

The Foreign Ministry’s plan would see the Muslim Brotherhood, which has close ties to Erdoğan’s Justice and Development party, deemed an illegal association in Israel. Further ministry recommendations for thwarting Ankara’s efforts include restricting the activities of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency, or TIKA, in Israel. The organization, whose stated objective is “preventing the Judaization of Jerusalem,” spends some $12 million annually on activities aimed at undermining Israeli sovereignty in east Jerusalem. It should be noted that these activities are personally managed by Erdoğan.

The plan’s architects propose obligating TIKA to coordinate its activities with Israel in advance and preventing the association from act unequivocally in Jerusalem. In addition, they propose Jerusalem not renew the head of TIKA in Jerusalem’s, a move that would strip the organization head of his diplomatic status in Israel and render his presence in Israel illegal.

Additional steps would include restricting communications between members of the Islamic Waqf.

In preliminary discussions, Katz said, “We will not accept a situation in which the Turkish government headed by Erdoğan acts to create centers of unrest and incitement in Jerusalem through funding and holding radical Islamic activities [inspired by] the Muslim Brotherhood and under the auspices and disguise of religious, social, cultural, and educational activities.”

Katz emphasized, “We will take all the [necessary] steps to pull the rug out from under the diplomatic basis for Turkey’s activities in east Jerusalem in order to bolster Israeli sovereignty in all parts of the city. The days of the Ottoman Empire are over.”

According to Katz, “Erdoğan’s declarations that Jerusalem belongs to all of the Muslims are unfounded and baseless. Israel is the sovereign in Jerusalem, through protecting full freedom of worship to members of all religions. We will not allow any element to harm this sovereignty.

“Beyond that,” Katz noted, “in accordance with the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan, the Jordanians have special status as far as concerns the holy places to Islam in Jerusalem, and we will not allow Erdoğan to harm Jordan’s status, as is happening today.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10132

Turkey: Angel of Peace Ally of the West or Satanic Source of Gog and Magog?

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz October 6, 2019 , 2:15 pm

“So Esau went unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives that he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Avraham’s son, the sister of Nebaioth, to be his wife.” Genesis 28:9 (The Israel Bible™)

Turkish tanks are grinding across the border into Syria with the intent to crush the Kurdish forces who have allied with the U.S. in its fight against ISIS. Viewed through a political lens, Turkey presents a murky image of a finicky ally of the U.S. but when viewed with the eyes of prophecy, Turkey’s role as a leader in the Gog and Magog pre-Messiah War comes into clear focus.

Turkey’s Troubled History of a Shaky Alliance with the West 

Turkey beefed up its forces on the Syrian border with heavy armor and on Saturday announced its intention to launch a military incursion into Syria against the Kurds. Turkey wants to create a 20-mile buffer zone inside Syria along the 500-mile border and resettle up to two million of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees it currently hosts.  The U.S. would like to restrict the proposed buffer zone to nine miles.

The alliance between Turkey and the U.S. dates back to World War II when Turkey fought with the allies and was formalized when they joined the North American Treaty Alliance in 1952 Turkey relied on the U.S. for security guarantees against the former Soviet Union which they perceived as a threat. Relations began to deteriorate in 2003 when Turkey refused to allow the United States to use Incirlik Air Base for the invasion of Iraq. This downward trend worsened as the U.S. entered Syria to lead an international coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS). The American forces in the Syrian Civil War openly allied with the Kurdish YPG fighters and support them militarily, considering the group to be a key element in fighting ISIS. The YPG is targeted by Turkey for its alleged support for the PKK, a Kurdish far-left militant and political organization based in Turkey and Iraq. Turkey, NATO, and the U.S State Department have classified the PKK as a terrorist organization.

Another wrinkle in these relations came up after a coup attempt in July 2016 nearly succeeded in toppling the regime of Turkish Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Turkey demanded that the United States government extradite Fethullah Gülen, a cleric and Turkish national living in the U.S. who they claimed was behind the coup.

In a complete turnaround from the Cold War alliance, in 2019 Turkey signed a contract to buy Russia’s advanced S-400 anti-air missile system that had been designed specifically to counter U.S. air assets. The U.S. responded by canceling a deal in which Turkey was to receive 100 F-35 combat aircraft. 

The planned incursion into Syria will put Turkey at odds with both the U.S. and Russia which backs the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. The U.S. currently has more than 1,000 troops stationed in Syria. Turkish and U.S forces began conducting combined ground patrols in September. Turkey has already launched two such military incursions into Syria since 2016 targeting both ISIS and YPG forces. 

It is All About Religion

“Most Americans do not understand Turkey and prefer to stick their heads in the sand,” Professor Mordechai Kedar, a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University, told Breaking Israel News, pointing out that Turkey’s role in the regional power structure cannot be underestimated as it hosts the largest military in NATO second only to the U.S. 

“Ideologically they are absolutely an enemy of the U.S,” Kedar said succinctly. “Erdogan is part of the Muslim Brotherhood and, for him, America is the Big Satan. Practically, they play as if they are friends of the West. Despite being members of NATO, they have never and will never take any role, even indirectly, in any actions against another Muslim nation.”

Dr. Kedar noted that despite seeing the U.S.as an enemy and buying Russian military hardware, Turkey is no friend of Moscow.

“They side with Russia because Russia does not hesitate to twist their arms, threaten, or follow through with those threats,” Dr. Kedar said, explaining that the only motivation for Erdogan is religion. 

“Erdogan sees himself as a leader in the Sunni Islamic world and his actions are focused or restoring the Ottoman hegemony.”

Erdogan and Gog and Magog

Erdogan’s Islamic aspirations may go even further, placing him at the head of the multinational armies of Gog and Magog. Modern-day Turkey was once the Ottoman Empire that ruled over much of the world for over six hundred years. But in Biblical terms, Turkey is known as the location of Mount Ararat, the resting place of Noah’s ark. That region was settled by the descendants of Gomer, the eldest son of Japheth. His descendants formed the nations of Meshech, Tubal, Beth-togarmah, and Gomer, all found in what is now modern Turkey. All of these nations were listed by Ezekiel as being part of the Gog and Magog alliance against Israel.

 O mortal, turn your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. Prophesy against him… Among them shall be Persia, Nubia, and Put, everyone with shield and helmet; Gomer and all its cohorts, Beth-togarmah [in] the remotest parts of the north and all its cohorts—the many peoples with you. Ezekiel 38:2-6

Rabbi Yekutiel Fish,  an expert in Jewish mysticism who blogs in Hebrew under the title ‘Sod Chashmal,’ cited the Aramaic translation of the Bible written by Jonathan Ben Uziel, who studied under Hillel the Elder during the time of Roman-ruled Judea and his commentary on the verse in the Book of Numbers. 

Ships come from the quarter of Kittim; They subject Assyria, subject Eber. They, too, shall perish forever. Numbers 24:24

“Jonathan Ben Uziel explains that this prophecy describes how Gog will come out of Constantinople, which was the capital city of the Roman Empire but is now called Istanbul and is one of the major cities in Turkey,” Rabbi Fish explained. “He goes on to say that Italy will join forces with Gog and Magog. He goes on to say that after they join forces, the Moshiach (Messiah) will come and destroy whatever remains of the Turks.”

The prophecy states that boats of Constantinople will set out to attack the Attorai (אתוראי),” Rabbi Fish said. In Jewish commentaries, the Attorai are associated with the Assyrians who lived in a region that is now in modern Syria and Turkey.

“The Attorai may be the Kurds,” Rabbi Fish speculated.

Turkey is Changing the Rules of the Game

The overreaching political implications of the Turkish military incursion were described by Seth Frantzman, the Middle East affairs analyst at The Jerusalem Post. Frantzman described this recent move by Turkey as a game-changer with implications that spread much further than the Levant.

“Turkey’s innovative approach to international law re-writes UN charter so that countries now have a right to invade other countries and create “safe zones” as long as they can argue there may be “terrorists” present.

Turkey’s policy has ramifications for the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, and maybe the Balkans or Caucuses, where countries will say they need to do a “Turkey” and move into their neighbor’s territory to create a safe zone and send millions of settlers in to create new communities.

Ankara’s model has wide-reaching ramifications for a new world order.”

Pope: Erdogan is an Angel of Peace

Erdogan’s oblique approach to this “new world order” has created unexpected and inexplicable alliances. The Turkish leader supports the Palestinians and has called for a Muslim uprising to prevent Jerusalem from remaining in the hands of the Jews. Turkey also gives substantial practical support to Hamas. These efforts are understandable as they represent inter-Islamic cooperation. But the bilateral pledge of cooperation that was made at a meeting between Erdogan and Pope Francis at the Vatican in 2018 was entirely perplexing given the more than 1,500 year conflict between the Church and Islam.

At the meeting, the Pope presented Erdogan with a bronze “angel of peace” medallion.

“This is the angel of peace who strangles the demon of war,” the Pope told Erdogan as he gave him the medallion. “(It is) a symbol of a world based on peace and justice.”

This papal sentiment was also evident when Pope Francis presented Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas with a medallion at the Vatican in May 2015. At the time, the pope said that the “angel of peace” was “destroying the bad spirit of war” and praised Abbas for being an “angel of peace.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10123

While Erdogan Slammed Israel At U.N., Turkish Support For Terror Was Revealed

By Steven Emerson October 3, 2019 , 8:00 am

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan used his United Nations General Assembly speech last week to blast Israel as the cause of “injustice” in the Middle East and vow that his country “will continue to stand by the oppressed people of Palestine as she has always done.” But a new report by Israel’s Meir Amit Intelligence and Information Center, as well as new sanctions announced by the U.S. Treasury Department, make it clear that Erdogan is in no position to cast aspersions.

“Turkey turns a blind eye to Hamas’s covert operational and financial activity being carried out from its territory (which has recently been demonstrated in the American sanctions) and regularly denies its existence,” the Meir Amit center reported.

“[T]he latest American designations clearly demonstrate that Turkey continues to be used as a hub for Hamas’s operational and financial activity, even after the departure of Saleh al-Arouri,” the Meir Amit report saidArouri, a founder of the Hamas military wing and a member of the Hamas political bureau, lived in Turkey until last year.

During his time in Turkey, he helped plot Hamas terror attacks. He claimed credit on behalf of Hamas for the 2014 kidnapping and murder of three Israeli yeshiva students. Later that year, the Shin Bet “uncovered an extensive Hamas military network which operated in Judea and Samaria. Its operatives had planted IEDs in Samaria. They [were] handled by Hamas’s headquarters in Turkey,” the Meir Amit report said. “Hamas’s military operatives who were trained abroad (in various countries, including Turkey) participated in this activity.”

For his part, Erdogan considers Hamas a “liberation movement” and denies that it is a terrorist group.

While it supports the Palestinian-Arab cause, Turkey denies autonomy to more than 15 million Kurds and even represses the use of the Kurdish language. It has bombed Kurdish civilians. It occupies much of northwestern Syria and has engaged in ethnic cleansing against the Kurds there. Turkish warplanes bombed a hospital in Afrin during its invasion of the Kurdish enclave last year, independent analysis by Bellingcat, a citizen journalism organization that focuses on war crimes and criminal activities, showed.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions on Hamas leaders and ISIS facilitators living in Turkey.

Those include Zaher Jabarin, who heads Hamas’ finance office from Turkey and manages tens of millions of dollars in Hamas money. Jabarin’s transfers of U.S. dollars “finance HAMAS’s terrorist activity,” the Treasury statement said. Like Arouri, Jabarin was one of the founders of the Hamas military wing in Judea and Samaria. Jabarin was in charge of a Hamas squad that abducted and murdered Israeli border policeman Nissim Toledano in 1992, the Meir Amit report said.

“Jabarin has served as the primary point of contact between Hamas and the [Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp –Quds Force] IRGC-QF. Since 2017, his relations with them were enhanced based on Hamas operatives’ efforts to increase funding from Iran,” the report said.

Treasury also targeted the Turkey-based Redin Exchange as “a key part of the infrastructure used to transfer money” to Hamas. Redin transferred $10 million to the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, in March.

Redin also facilitated a $2 million transfer last year from the IRGC-QF and Hezbollah to Hamas. Its deputy CEO, Ismail Tash, was the primary contact in numerous Iran-Hamas money transfers, the Meir Amit report found.

Erdogan’s inner circle has encouraged bloodshed between Israel and the Palestinians by providing assistance to the al-Qassam Brigades. Israel’s Shin Bet arrested two suspects last year linked to the Turkish private military company SADAT, which run by top Erdogan military adviser retired Brig. Gen. Adnan Tanriverdi. It accused them of helping Hamas’ military buildup by providing money and weapons to the terrorists. SADAT’s website calls for the use of military force against Israel. Meir Amit reported that Jabarin had recruited the men under instructions from Arouri.

“The liaison of Palestine with the globe should not be left at the mercy of Israel. This requires open support by Islamic countries. Every effort should be made, including use of force,” SADAT says on its website.

Erdogan presented Turkey as a terrorism fighter, saying Turkey killed ISIS fighters in areas of Syria it occupies. He glossed over Turkey’s clandestine support for ISIS in Syria.

 “Turkey has been the country most influenced by the [ISIS] threat; this terrorist organization has harassed our borders and targeted our cities very near the borders with suicide bombings that have killed hundreds of Turkish citizens,” Erdogan said. “Turkey is the first country that has delivered the heaviest blow to the [ISIS] presence in Syria.”

Internal documents and whistleblowers tell a different story — one of a country that plays both sides when it comes to ISIS. Leaked emails from Erdogan’s son-in-law and current Turkish finance minister, Berat Albayrak, showed his connection to an ISIS oil smuggling operations.

The Treasury Department sanctions also targeted several Turkish companies that “materially assisted … or provided financial, material, or technological support” to ISIS.

Turkey’s intelligence agency, the MIT, conspired to bus ISIS jihadists across Turkish territory, leaked Turkish wiretaps show. At least 15,000 ISIS fighters entered Syria that way, Abdullah Bozkurt, former editor of Turkey’s Today’s Zaman newspaper, told the Investigative Project on Terrorism (where we both work) in February.

Turkish police were told not to arrest ISIS fighters traveling to Syria, said former Turkish National Police official Ahmet Yayla.

Turkey provided ISIS with drones and munitions, an ISIS fighter detained by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who was interviewed by the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism said. He and a Palestinian-Arab ISIS fighter held by the SDF said that Turkish hospitals provided medical assistance to wounded ISIS terrorists.

“Like me, thousands of ISIS members have been treated in Turkey. Everyone knows that Turkey is the mother of all jihadist groups,” said former ISIS fighter Islam Ahmed Muhammed Balusha. “This applies to the jihadist groups in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and even from Palestine to Afghanistan. Turkey has supported the ISIS massively.”

Erdogan’s party, the AKP, allegedly used ISIS to attack political opponents.

EU INTCEN, the European Union’s intelligence arm, reportedly suggested the AKP ordered an October 2015 ISIS suicide bombing at a peace rally in Ankara that killed 109 people.

Erdogan’s pretense of being the savior of the region’s problems belies the fact his government has become a major terrorism supporter and is guilty of everything he criticizes Israel of doing.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10112

The Invincible Sultan: Is Erdoğan Losing His Populist Charm?

By Burak Bekdil September 26, 2019

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,300, September 26, 2019

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: At testing times, Turkey’s Islamist strongman, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has always sought refuge at home, taking pleasure in his massive popularity. But after 17 consecutive years in power, having won every election in which he ran, Turkey’s self-declared Sultan is showing signs of fatigue – and his popularity may be wearing thin.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan behaves like a cornered cat when it comes to regional politics: he acts savagely and erratically, lashing out at both real and imagined enemies. His adversaries are the EU (Italy, France, Cyprus, and Greece in particular, due to a row over hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean), the US, and Israel. In neighboring Syria he is threatening a bloody military assault on the Kurds. He is explicitly unwanted in fellow Muslim countries like Egypt, Lebanon, and the UAE due to his rigid support for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. In Libya he is waging a proxy war against secular Muslims who want to oust an Islamist government in Tripoli.

At times like these, Erdoğan has always sought refuge at home, taking pleasure in his massive popularity. But after 17 consecutive years in power, having won every election, Turkey’s Islamist strongman is showing signs of fatigue. And as the country continues to fail both economically and politically, Erdoğan may no longer be invincible.

“He who wins Istanbul wins Turkey” is Erdoğan’s own dictum. He may be right: Istanbul is home to nearly 15% of Turkey’s 57 million voters and accounts for 31% of its GDP. Erdoğan launched his political journey by being elected mayor of Istanbul in 1994.

On March 31, a little-known opposition candidate, Ekrem Imamoğlu, won Istanbul (where more than 11 million voters are registered) by a margin of 13,000 votes. Erdoğan challenged the result and demanded a new vote – only to lose, the second time, by a margin of 800,000. He lost both Istanbul and Ankara after 25 years of Islamist rule.

Erdoğan’s bitter defeat came at a time of a rise in anti-government protests, mostly focused on environmental issues. “The wave of peaceful demonstrations – the country’s largest since the 2013 Gezi Park rallies – suggests a newfound vitality among the opposition, with potentially deep implications for Turkey’s democracy,” wrote Soner Cağaptay and Deniz Yüksel for the Washington Institute. “This consolidation of power, coupled with frequent crackdowns on protestors, left many in the opposition disheartened.”

With 4.7 million jobless and unemployment continuing to soar, 15% inflation, and high borrowing rates, Turkey’s economy is not functioning well. The national currency, the lira, has been volatile ever since a serious crisis last year.

Erdoğan is at war with Turkey’s 15 million or so Kurds. He recently appointed government trustees to three overwhelmingly Kurdish provinces in southern Turkey, escalating tensions between Ankara and the Kurdish southeast and further undermining Turkey’s already problematic democratic outlook.

It would be ironic if Erdoğan were to lose power after his long stretch of Islamist rule. Necmettin Erbakan, whom Erdoğan often referred to as “master,” became Turkey’s first Islamist PM in 1995 when he won 21% of the national vote and signed a coalition agreement with a center-right party. Erbakan’s political vision featured a rigid Islamism based on an anti-Western, anti-EU isolationist rhetoric known as “the National View” – a bizarre policy blend deeply hated by the (then) strong military top brass. Wisely, Erdoğan parted ways with his “master” and burst onto the political stage with a less rigid Islamist policy calculus. His Islamism was to be compatible with Western democratic culture and capitalism, or so he claimed. In a 2000 interview he said “he had thrown away the shirt called “National View.”

Erdoğan and his top brass – whom Erbakan called “our naughty boys” for their departure from the straight and narrow – held that a more pro-Western rhetoric had to be showcased if Islamists wanted to come to power. This was a political struggle between the Islamist conservative and reformist wings.

Erdoğan’s second-in-command was his long-time comrade Abdullah Gül. Through a controversial parliamentary vote in 2007, Gül became president with Erdoğan, who was PM at the time. Erdoğan and Gül thus ran the show together, à la Putin and Medvedev. In 2009, Erdoğan appointed Ahmet Davutoğlu, a Gül confidante, as FM, and, in 2014, as PM. The third man in Erdoğan’s hall of fame was brilliant economist Ali Babacan, who became finance minister.

All three men grew disillusioned with Erdoğan’s increasingly despotic one-man approach to governance. Now in political exile, they are showing signs of making a comeback. Last year, this prospect was just another tidbit on the Ankara political grapevine, but it has gone beyond mere speculation. Gül, Davutoğlu, and Babacan are working day and night to formally launch their version of a market-friendly, pro-Western, pro-democracy political party (or two parties).

Erdoğan has threatened that they will pay a high price for their “treason” and claimed that a new party (or parties) would mean “dividing the umma.” If launched, this would be the sixth Islamist party in Turkey’s political history, with Erdoğan’s emerging as the only successful experiment.

How popular the “new party” will be (to use the phrase of Turkish observers) is anyone guess. Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party, supported by the ultra-nationalist Nationalist Movement Party, appears to be able to give him the 50% plus one vote he needs to be reelected in the presidential elections of 2023. The “new party” will try to challenge him directly, with the aim of winning a share of his conservative voter base. Observers rightly think the “new party” will appeal more to “intellectual conservatives” whereas Erdoğan’s party will continue to target less educated Islamists.

“Even if the ‘new party’ won [only] a couple of percentage points from Erdoğan, it may be the beginning of the end for him,” an Erdoğan confidante admitted.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10093

Turkey’s Erdogan: Israel was originally mostly Palestinian

“All actors of the international community and in particular the UN should provide complete support to the Palestinian people beyond more promises,” Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

By Tovah Lazaroff

September 24, 2019 21:41

3 minute read.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan holds up a map as he addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., September 24, 2019. (photo credit: REUTERS/CARLO ALLEGRI)

“Israel, which was almost non-existent in 1947, has continued until this day to seize Palestinian land with the aim of eliminating the state and the Deal of the Century will support those territorial ambitions,” Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

“Where are the borders of the State of Israel? Is it the 1947 borders, the 1967 borders or is there another border that we need to know of?” Erdogan asked, alluding to Netanyahu’s plan to expand Israeli sovereignty to West Bank settlements.

Erdogan held up four maps to illustrate his point, with the Palestinians in green and Israel in white, to demonstrate Israel’s changing border from 1947 to today.

Erdogan also spoke against the US recognition of Israel’s 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights.

“How can the Golan Heights and the West Bank settlements be seized just like other occupied Palestinian territories before the eyes of the world?” Erdogan asked.

He accused the Trump administration of wanting to destroy Palestinian statehood with its unpublished plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Is the aim of the initiative to promote, as the ‘Deal of the Century,’ to entirely eliminate the presence of the state and the people of Palestine? Do you want another bloodshed?” Erdogan asked. “All actors of the international community, and in particular, the UN, should provide complete support to the Palestinian people beyond more promises.”


Erdogan did not speak of the refusal of the Arab countries to accept UN General Assembly Resolution 181, the 1947 partition plan that would have created both Jewish and Palestinian states. Nor did he speak of Jordan’s attack against Israel during the Six Day War – despite Israeli pleas to King Hussein to stay out of the fighting – in response to which Israel wrestled control of the West Bank.

“I am quite curious, what about this map of Israel? Where is Israel? Where does the land of Israel begin and end? Look at this map, where was Israel in 1947 and where is Israel now, especially between the years between 1949 and 1967?” Erdogan said.

The Turkish President then pointed to the map and said, “Look, this is 1947. The land of Palestine. There is seemingly almost no Israeli presence on this lands, the entire territory belongs to the Palestinians.”

He said that 1947 was the year that the “Palestinian land starts shrinking and Israel starts expanding” and added that “Israel is still expanding and Palestine is still shrinking.”

He called on the UN to take action and enforce its many resolutions against Israel, as “Israel is still willing to take over the remainder of the land,” according to Erdogan.

“Under this roof, we are producing resolutions without any effect, so when do you think – or where do you think – justice can prevail?” he asked.

Israel and the US, he said, were busy “intervening and attacking the historical and legal status of Jerusalem, and holy sacred lands and artifacts,” Erdogan said.

The Turkish President said he supported a two-state solution on the pre-1967 line and warned the US that any other resolution would not work.

“Any other peace plan other than this will never have a chance of being fair

[and]

just, and it will never be implemented,” Erdogan said. “Today, the Palestinian territory under Israeli occupation has become one of the most striking places of injustice.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10086

Next for Turkey? Nuclear Weapons!

by Burak Bekdil
September 18, 2019 at 5:00 am

https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/14896/turkey-erdogan-nuclear-weapons

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan now wants to make Turkey a rogue state with nuclear weapons.

  • For several decades, Turkey, being a staunch NATO ally, was viewed as the trusted custodian of some of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. In the early 1960s, the U.S. started stockpiling nuclear warheads at the Turkish military’s four main airbases
  • Presently, the nuclear warheads in Turkey at Incirlik airbase still remain at the disposal of the U.S. military under a special U.S.-Turkish treaty. That treaty makes Turkey the host of U.S. nuclear weapons. According to the launch protocol, however, both Washington and Ankara need to give consent to any use of the nuclear weapons deployed at Incirlik.
  • “Countries that oppose Iran’s nuclear weapons should not have nuclear weapons themselves.” — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Hürriyet, 2008.
  • If Turkey overtly or covertly launched a nuclear weapons program — as Erdoğan apparently wishes — the move could well have a domino effect on the region. Turkey’s regional adversaries would be alarmed, and Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria and Greece might be tempted to launch their own nuclear weapons programs. Erdoğan should not be allowed to possess nuclear weapons.

During the 17 years he has ruled NATO-member Turkey, the country’s Islamist strongman, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has rarely missed an opportunity stealthily to convert Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s secular, pro-Western establishment into a rogue state hostile to Western interests. Erdoğan now wants to make it a rogue state with nuclear weapons.

“They say we can’t have nuclear-tipped missiles, though some have them. This, I can’t accept,” Erdoğan said in a September 4 speech, while conveniently forgetting that Turkey has signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1980. In other words, Turkey’s elected leader publicly declares that he intends to breach an international treaty signed by his country. Turkey is also a signatory to the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which bans all nuclear detonations, for any purpose.

For several decades, Turkey, being a staunch NATO ally, was viewed as the trusted custodian of some of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. In the early 1960s, the U.S. started stockpiling nuclear warheads at the Turkish military’s four main airbases (Ankara Mürted, Malatya Erhaç, Eskişehir and Balıkesir). If ordered, Turkish air force pilots were tasked with hitting designated Warsaw Pact targets.

Squadrons of jets designated for carrying nuclear bombs were kept at each airbase (first F-100s, followed by F-104s and finally by F-4s) on a round-the-clock basis. Each base housed a small U.S. military unit in charge of the nuclear stockpile. In addition, a Turkish-U.S. military base in Incirlik in southern Turkey kept nuclear warheads to be operated by U.S. military. “With that role Turkey significantly added to NATO’s deterrence in Cold War years,” said Yusuf Kanlı, a prominent columnist and president of the Ankara-based think tank, Sigma Turkey, in a private interview on September 9.

After the end of the Cold War, the nuclear weapons in Turkish possession (at the four airbases, except Incirlik) were gradually removed, while nuclear guardianship came to a halt. Presently, the nuclear warheads at Incirlik still remain at the disposal of the U.S. military under a special U.S.-Turkish treaty. That treaty makes Turkey the host of U.S. nuclear weapons. According to the usage protocol, however, both Washington and Ankara need to give consent to any use of the nuclear weapons deployed at Incirlik.

This is not, in fact, the first time Erdoğan has voiced an eagerness to make Turkey a nuclear-armed state. As early as 2008 — when he was the poster child of naïve Western statesmen and intellectuals who believed he was a reformist democrat — Erdoğan said: “Countries that oppose Iran’s nuclear weapons should not have nuclear weapons themselves.” Despite his use of the plural “countries,” Erdoğan was apparently pointing his finger at the country he hates the most: Israel, not the United States.

In a 2010 speech, Erdoğan described Israel as “the principal threat to peace” in the Middle East. In that speech, he repeated his skepticism about whether Iran intended to use its nuclear-fuel program to build nuclear weapons, and said there was no such uncertainty concerning Israel’s undeclared arsenal.

If Turkey overtly or covertly launched a nuclear weapons program — as Erdoğan apparently wishes — the move could well have a domino effect on the region. Turkey’s regional adversaries would be alarmed, and Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria and Greece might be tempted to launch their own nuclear weapons programs. Erdoğan should not be allowed to possess nuclear weapons.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10064

Will Turkey and China Become Friends?

Soner Cagaptay with Deniz Yuksel

August 14, 2019

Despite their limited economic relations and ongoing differences over the Uyghur issue, the two countries could grow closer if Western partners fail to provide the financial boost Turkey needs so badly.

In June, China’s central bank reportedly transferred $1 billion to Turkey as part of a currency swap agreement that dates back to 2012. While the influx of cash is the largest Beijing has ever provided to Ankara, the most it can do is lend a minor short-term boost to the country’s dwindling foreign exchange reserves. For China to fully sponsor Turkey’s struggling economy, the two governments would have to overcome key historical policy differences, especially regarding the Turkic Uyghurs in China’s restless Xinjiang region.

ECONOMIC TIES UNDER ERDOGAN

With few natural resources of its own, Turkey relies on foreign capital injections and strong ties to international markets for growth. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s electoral success since 2003 has been largely driven by the record amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) the country has attracted during his tenure, mostly from Europe. The resultant economic growth boosted his voter base—many of his diehard fans are attracted to him because he helped lift them out of poverty.

More recently, however, the economy has been shrinking amid financial volatility, political uncertainty, rising unemployment (currently 15 percent), and rampant inflation (17 percent). Erdogan therefore needs more FDI to finance the growth he relies on politically.

Given the size of Turkey’s economy—just under a trillion dollars—only the U.S.-headquartered International Monetary Fund would have the funds necessary to rescue it in case of financial meltdown, as Erdogan is well aware. He also realizes that Russia cannot afford to play that role on its own. In theory, China could do so, but this would require the two countries to bridge their differences on the Uyghur issue.

In June 2018, Erdogan sent Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to seek economic assistance from Beijing at a time of dire need—the lira was collapsing, a wider meltdown loomed, and relations with Washington were in crisis over the Pastor Andrew Brunson affair and related U.S. sanctions. Yet Cavusoglu returned home with no promise of a Chinese rescue.

This result seemed surprising given that Beijing had been courting Turkey through its enticing Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), aimed at developing extensive trade routes to Europe and other locales. In Ankara’s case this meant providing soft loans for construction of new metro lines and other infrastructure. These investments are at the core of China’s Turkey policy, and Ankara has repeatedly expressed its desire to benefit from the BRI. Almost all Turkish ministries have developed action plans to boost ties with China, and the BRI has been incorporated in the policy papers of Turkish bureaucracy.

ENTER THE UYGHURS

Despite this momentum, Beijing remains deeply worried about Ankara’s deep historical ties with the Turkic Uyghur community in Xinjiang. Previously known as East Turkestan, Xinjiang was a nominal part, and occasionally a vassal state, of China’s nineteenth-century Qing dynasty. Turkey’s involvement in Uyghur affairs dates back to that time, when Ottoman sultans instrumentalized Islam to spread their influence.

For instance, in 1873, Sultan Abdulaziz sent the Uyghurs a shipment of weapons for use against the Qing in return for recognition of his suzerainty. At the time, the Qing were once again trying to advance deep into Xinjiang, laying the foundations of Chinese domination that would become formalized and deeply entrenched in the next century.

After the Turkic region became firmly integrated into China following the 1949 Communist Revolution, Mao Zedong initiated a crackdown against nationalist Uyghurs, forcing many to flee in search of political asylum. Turkey, then a newly minted and committed U.S. ally in the Cold War, gladly welcomed these ethnic kin. In doing so, it further solidified relations with Washington and undermined Beijing ahead of the Korean War. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Ankara resettled thousands of Uyghurs with U.S. support. Another wave arrived in the late 1970s, following post-Mao reforms.

Ankara has maintained strong support for the Uyghurs under Erdogan, who in 2009 called Chinese policies in Xinxiang “a genocide.” Meanwhile, the issue has emerged as the most serious political challenge to Chinese leader Xi Jinping, spurring him to respond with a heavy-handed crackdown on the Uyghurs. In addition to sending hundreds of thousands of them to “reeducation camps,” he has initiated mass surveillance of their communities via closed-circuit camera systems and high-tech eavesdropping on smartphones and social media.

More recently, Erdogan has downplayed the issue in the state-dominated Turkish media, which now carries very few stories about the suffering of the Uyghurs. This strategy seems aimed at currying favor with Beijing. Nevertheless, leading Uyghur activists still meet regularly with Turkish officials, and their community in Turkey remains the center of the global Uyghur diaspora. No official data is available on their numbers, but tens of thousands of them are estimated to live in Turkey, and they are well liked by Turkish foreign policy elites. Aware of these deep ties, Beijing has shied away from providing the hundreds of billions of dollars needed to definitely ward off a Turkish economic meltdown.

LITTLE TRADE OR INVESTMENT

Another obstacle to Beijing throwing Ankara an economic lifeline is the fact that their current trade and financial relations are relatively small. Although Erdogan has diversified Turkey’s trading partners, none of them, including China, has emerged as a strong alternative to the country’s traditional markets in the West. Turkey’s exports to China are a fraction of Europe and America’s, and its trade deficit is large—in 2018, its imports from China amounted to $19.4 billion, but its exports were only $2.7 billion. And while the non-Western share in Turkish trade has increased to nearly 30 percent, the EU alone still accounted for 42 percent last year, compared to just 6 percent for China.

Similarly, while Turkey’s investment partners have diversified under Erdogan, the U.S. and European share of FDI inflows has increased as well. In 2005, the EU was Turkey’s largest investor, accounting for 58 percent of net FDI inflows; by 2018, the figure had grown to 61 percent. In contrast, Chinese investment flows remained under 1 percent.

Some recent developments hold the promise of future growth—for instance, a Chinese state-owned company owns a majority share in Istanbul’s Kumport container docks, and Chinese companies have reportedly offered to take over management of Istanbul’s “Third” Bosporus Bridge. Yet Beijing’s overall financial footprint in Turkey is still quite small compared to the West’s.

CONCLUSION

A resource-poor nation with an annual energy import bill of about $30 billion, Turkey needs tens of billions of dollars in FDI or heavy annual cash flows to maintain economic growth and keep Erdogan’s base satisfied. Attracting such a windfall from China would require Ankara to substantially change its Uyghur policy—a tall order given historical patterns. Yet Turkish businesses have had trouble obtaining credit from European and American investors of late, creating a void that Chinese investors may decide to fill in greater numbers. If that scenario comes to pass, Beijing’s political muscle over Ankara could increase considerably, moving Turkey closer to the emerging China-Russia axis in global politics.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10007

Erdogan May Buy Russian Fighter Jets After Trump Refused him F-35s

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz August 13, 2019 , 4:49 pm

Among them shall be Persia, Nubia, and Put, everyone with shield and helmet Ezekiel 38:5 (The Israel Bible™)

Turkey doubled-down on its controversial decision to acquire Russian S-400 air-defense systems by setting out to acquire Russian Sukhoi SU-35 fighter jets. 

Last month, Turkey finalized a $2.5 billion deal with Russia and acquired the first S-400 systems. The purchase was in response to the U.S. delaying an acceptable alternative. Turkey is a member of the Northern Alliance Treaty Organization (NATO) and acquiring Russian weaponry is problematic, making their systems operationally incompatible with those of the other NATO nations.

The S-400 was specifically designed to shoot down advanced U.S. warplanes like the F-35.

It is touted to have a range of up to 150 miles (240 km) and the ability to intercept ballistic missiles from up to 38 miles away. 

The Turkish S-400’s are scheduled to be operational in September. The second batch of S-400’s is scheduled to arrive next year. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has already announced that his country intends to take part in the upcoming S-500 program.

Last month the sale of the S-400 to Turkey was finalized and the U.S. announced that Turkey was being removed from the F-35 program. Turkey was slated to purchase 120 of the hyper-advanced F-35’s. Turkey has already technically received several F-35s, but they remain on U.S. soil, and their transfer has been blocked by Congress.

The acquisition of Russian hardware has raised doubts about the future of Turkey as a NATO member.

The White House at the time said, “The F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence-collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities.”

After the U.S., Turkey has the second-largest land army of any NATO member and is considered a key member of the alliance.

Erdogan denied that acquisition of the S-400 was detrimental to his country’s NATO membership.

“There is no concrete evidence showing the S-400s will harm the F-35s or NATO, nobody should deceive each other. Many NATO member states have purchased from Russia. We don’t see this being turned into a crisis,” Erdogan was quoted as saying in Reuters.

Yeni Safak, a Turkish news daily, reported that the Turkey’s Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB), the Turkish Air Force Command, and other relevant authorities have been asked to investigate the possibility of purchasing the Russian SU-35 jets.

The conflict over military hardware underscores other disagreements between Turkey and the U.S.

The U.S.-led coalition in Syria allied with Kurdish militia in the effort to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS). Turkey considers the Kurdish militia to be a terrorist and has been at war with them for decades.

Despite acquiring Russian military hardware, Turkey’s relationship with Russia is at least as rocky as its relationship with U.S. In 2015, Turkish F-16 combat aircraft shot down a Russian Su-24 during an airspace dispute close to the Turkish-Syrian border. In response, Russia imposed a number of economic sanctions on Turkey. Relations were normalized one year later.

Since that time, the two countries have sided together in political disputes with the U.S.

Ironically, the current S-400 situation is the mirror image of a crisis that emerged in 1997 when Cyprus, Turkey’s smaller and less militaristic neighbor, planned to install two Russian-made S-300 air-defense systems. Turkey overtly threatened either a pre-emptive strike to prevent the arrival of the missiles or an actual war on Cyprus as a response to the arrival of the missiles. Turkey obtained from Israel surface-to-surface missiles, which could be used in a military operation to destroy the S-300 when they would be installed on the island. The crisis effectively ended in 1998 with the decision of the Cypriot government to transfer the S-300s to Greece’s Hellenic Air Force in exchange for alternative weapons from Greece. The ultimate irony is that while the Greek S-300’s were used in joint Cypriot-Israel air exercises, giving the Israeli Air Force a rare glimpse into the capabilities of the Russian system

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9997