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Turkey receives more S-400 parts as US holds off retaliation ‘until after coup attempt anniversary’

RT | July 14, 2019

Additional S-400 air defense components have arrived in Turkey, as Washington remains unusually silent while reportedly contemplating the proper timing and degree of pain it wants to inflict on its NATO ally for disobedience.

An Ilyushin Il-76 cargo plane landed at Murted Turkish Air Force base just outside Ankara on Saturday with the latest batch of the S-400 parts, the country’s Defense Ministry confirmed, a day after three gigantic Antonov An-124 jets delivered the first components of the defense system. The cargo was welcomed by a large number of military personnel and offloaded by heavy-duty military trucks into secure hangars.

Despite the lack of immediate reaction from Washington, the White House currently working on a sanctions package which will be invoked under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. The content and the degree of the punitive measures has reportedly already been carefully debated between State Department and National Security Councils officials together with the Pentagon.

Now, it is up to Trump to sign off on the package, which however is unlikely to come before the end of next week, as the administration allegedly wants to “wait until after Monday’s anniversary” of the Turkey military coup attempt as to “avoid fueling further speculation” about Washington’s possible involvement.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed the failed July 15, 2016 rebellion on a cleric living in the US under CIA protection, and – amid souring relations with Washington which accused him of a brutal and undemocratic crackdown on the coup plotters – began increasingly turning towards Russia for defense supplies.

July 13, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment

Egypt Rejects Hamas’ Request for Haniyeh to Travel

Palestine Chronicle | July 12, 2019

Egypt has rejected a request by Hamas to allow the head of its political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, to travel to a number of countries including Iran, Turkey, Qatar, and Russia.

Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported Egyptian sources as saying that after postponing its response, Cairo finally rejected it saying that regional and security conditions do not allow for Haniyeh to travel.

The news site quoted a Hamas source as saying:

“It is clear that Egypt completely objects to Haniyeh’s foreign tour, in protest against the countries which he will visit.”

The source pointed out that Hamas has decided that Mousa Abu Marzouk will head the movement’s delegation to Moscow next week to discuss the Palestinian reconciliation file among other issues.

The source added that the visit has been postponed more than once in the hope that Egypt would allow Haniyeh to travel.

July 12, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trump outflanks Iran to the west and east

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | July 5, 2019

The Turkish state news agency Anadolu has featured an analysis titled US sanctions on Iran increasing public unease, which is highly critical of the Iranian ruling elite’s approach to the current standoff with the US. The thrust of the commentary is that the Iranian ruling elites are deliberately provoking a showdown with the US by spurning President Trump’s repeated offers for unconditional negotiations because Tehran harbours the notion that it can lethally damage his bid for a second term in the 2020 election by entangling the US in an asymmetrical war and creates a Middle Eastern quagmire for him. The sub-text of the commentary is that the newfound belligerence in Tehran is attributable to the Supreme Leader and is not in the interests of the Iranian nation.

The opinion piece comes at a time when Turkey is quietly pleased with President Trump’s pragmatism in accommodating its purchase of the S-400 ABM system from Russia. It reinforces the impression from Trump’s extraordinary remarks at the press conference in Osaka on June 29 on Turkish President Erdogan that some sort of a deal has been struck by the two leaders. Trump  had gone out of the way to defend Erdogan’s decision on purchase of the S-400 missiles (because “he got treated very unfairly” by the Obama administration), which is “not really Erdogan’s fault”. Trump had said he’s “working on it (S-400 deal). We’ll see what we can do.”

Erdogan claimed later that Trump told him at their meeting in Osaka that the US will not impose sanctions against Turkey on account of the S-400 deal with Russia. Meanwhile, the actual delivery of the S-400 system in Turkey is expected next week. (Erdogan had also said recently that a visit by Trump to Turkey in July “is being talked about”.)

Some sort of an understanding between Trump and Erdogan with regard to Iran cannot be ruled out. Of course, Turkey is in a position to render invaluable help to Iran to bust the US sanctions (which it actually did in the past under the infamous oil-for-gold deal between Turkish and Iranian business elites during the Obama presidency.) Trump would know that if Turkey denies “strategic depth” to Iran, it can be a game changer for the  “maximum pressure” strategy against Tehran.

Significantly, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is also due to visit the US to meet Trump on July 22. Turkey and Pakistan aren’t exactly comparable but there are common elements here. Turkey is an estranged NATO ally which is open to reconciliation, whereas Pakistan is keenly seeking the resuscitation of its moribund strategic ties with the US.

The bottom line is that the US stands to gain out of “win-win” cooperation with both these Cold War allies over the vexed Iran problem.

Turkey’s cooperation is vital for the US to plug Iran’s land route to Syria’s ports in eastern Mediterranean and the US bases in eastern Turkey are key intelligence outposts eavesdropping on Iran. Similarly, the US hopes to keep a “very large” intelligence presence in the Afghan bases, which requires Pakistan’s acquiescence. Certainly, these US intelligence assets are not merely focused on the terrorism problem but also target Russia, China and Iran. In sum, the US intelligence assets in Turkey and Pakistan will play a crucial role in any military confrontation with Iran.    

Fundamentally, in regard of both Turkey and Pakistan, their estrangement as allies happened due to the US’ flawed policies that failed to adequately accommodate their legitimate interests. In both cases, the degradation of the relationships and the ensuing nosedive took place under President Obama. The alienation of Turkey when the Obama administration began soft-pedalling on the regime project in Syria in 2012 and it exacerbated following the failed coup attempt in 2016 to overthrow Erdogan.

In the case of Pakistan also, that watershed moment was reached in 2011 when a series of incidents took place that rocked the US-Pakistan ties — the detention of ex-CIA employee Raymond Allen Davis in Lahore in January that year, the Abbottabad operation to kill Osama bin Laden in May and the slaughter of 28 Pakistani troops at two Pakistani border posts in Mohmand tribal agency by NATO Apache helicopters, an AC-130 gunship and fighter jets in November.)

Unsurprisingly, Trump didn’t say at the press conference in Osaka as to what Erdogan’s side of the bargain might be. But the Anadolu commentary hints that Turkey won’t erode the US’ “maximum pressure” on Iran. Turkey has closed its ports to Iranian oil, fully complying with US sanctions against its main supplier — although Erdogan had previously slammed the sanctions, saying they are destabilising for the region. Prior to May 2018, when the US pulled out of the Iran nuclear accord, Turkey imported an average of 912,000 tonnes of oil a month from Iran, or 47% of its total imports.

Again, last Tuesday, the US put the Baluchistan Liberation Army on its global terrorist watchlist and on Thursday, Islamabad made the formal announcement on Imran Khan’s visit to the US. Pakistan comes under the US Central Command theatre of operations. (So does Iran.) Currently, there are no US bases in Pakistan.

But Pakistan, like Turkey, also has a long history of hosting American military bases. In Baluchistan alone, there were several US drone bases — Shamsi Airfield, shrouded in secrecy, which exclusively used to conduct drone operations and housed US military personnel; PAF base on the Sindh-Baluchistan border, which was also used for CIA drone operations; Pasni Airport where US spy planes used to be based, and so on.

July 5, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | 2 Comments

Erdogan Says ‘Out of Question’ to Support US Plan on Palestine

Al-Manar | July 1, 2019

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said it was “out of the question” for Turkey to support the US economic plan of President Donald Trump’s so-called “deal of the century” on Palestine and the Zionist entity.

The White House plan revealed last week calls for $50 billion in investment over 10 years in the Palestinian territories and their Arab neighbors.

“It is out of the question for us to approach this issue positively,” Erdogan told journalists on Monday aboard his plane returning from the G-20 summit in Japan, according to pro-government daily Yeni Safak.

Trump’s administration has hinted that its political plan, which will follow the economic one and is due later in the year, will not mention a Palestinian state.

The Palestinian Authority and its rival Hamas have both denounced the economic initiative, saying it amounts to a bid by the unabashedly pro-‘Israel’ Trump to buy off their demands for an independent state.

Erdogan has presented himself in the last years is a vocal advocate of the Palestinian cause, and strongly opposed the US decision to move its Israeli embassy to Al-Quds (Jerusalem) last year.

July 1, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Iran, Turkey sign document to enhance strategic cooperation

Press TV – June 21, 2019

Iran and Turkey have signed a document to enhance their mutual strategic partnership as Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu visited the country.

The document was signed on Friday during a meeting between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Cavusoglu in the central city of Isfahan.

The Turkish foreign minister said Ankara is ready to deepen and strengthen mutual ties with Iran in various political, economic and cultural areas. Zarif voiced Tehran’s readiness to increase the volume of trade with Turkey.

The two sides also discussed the latest regional developments, particularly the situation in the Persian Gulf.

Earlier this month, the presidents of Iran and Turkey expressed their opposition to any sanctions and unilateralism in international relations.

Iran is keen to expand relations with Turkey in all fields, particularly in economic and trade sectors, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said.

He made the remarks in a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Tajikistan.

The Turkish president, for his part, hailed growing relations between Tehran and Ankara and said his country attached high importance to further expansion of ties.

Iran and Turkey have agreed to step up their economic cooperation and raise their annual trade to $30 billion.

Ankara has denounced unilateral US sanctions on Tehran, saying it is determined to maintain trade with the Islamic Republic.

Iran is a key gas supplier to Turkey which receives 353 billion cubic feet per year under a 25-year agreement signed in 2001.

Head of the National Iranian Gas Company Hassan Montazer Torbati said in March Turkey has requested to purchase more natural gas from Iran.

 

June 21, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , | Leave a comment

US sees Turkey’s S-400 deal as fait accompli

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | June 8, 2019

Three developments in quick succession in the weekend bring closer to a flashpoint the brewing discord between the US and Turkey on account of the latter’s purchase of the S-400 air defence system.

First, Russia disclosed on Friday that the delivery of the S-400 missile defense system will begin within two months. Turkey has made the advance payments and the Turkish military personnel have completed their training in Russia to operate the system. It appears that the die is cast.

Second, Washington has reacted instantaneously, as if anticipating that Turkey is sticking to its decision despite immense American pressure.

The US Acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan has addressed a letter to his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar — and simultaneously leaked it to the media — intimating that “Turkey will not receive the F-35 if Turkey takes delivery of the S-400. You still have the option to change course on the S-400.”

Shanahan added that “Turkish F-35 students currently in training” in the US will be sent back by July 31 and no new training programme for Turkish personnel is being scheduled “as we anticipate they would be recalled in the near future.” Meanwhile, in immediate terms, “To facilitate an orderly cessation of Turkish participation in the programmatic management activities of the F-35 program, we will not plan for Turkish participation in the annual F-35 Chief Executive Officer Roundtable on June 12, 2019 and planned updates to the program’s governing programs will proceed without Turkey’s participation.”

Shanahan referred to the Russia-related Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), but concluded that the two countries should endeavour to “manage this matter in a respectful way, to preserve other aspects of our deep security cooperation.”

Third, an innocuous-sounding US State Department readout on June 6 said: “Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan met today with Greek Defense Minister Evangelos Apostolakis to reaffirm the U.S. and Greek commitment to cooperation that strengthens bilateral defense and security and NATO, and to continue discussions started at the December 2018 U.S.-Greece Strategic Dialogue. Deputy Secretary Sullivan underscored the strategic importance of the Eastern Mediterranean and Balkans and highlighted Greece’s role as a pillar of stability and key partner in the region.”

Considering that Turkey’s hostile relations with Greece are even more ancient than India-Pakistan enmity, it is at once apparent that Washington is hitting back at Turkey on the geopolitical plane. Turkey’s principal motivation to procure the S-400 missile defence system is its unmatched capability to threaten aircraft up to 200 miles away—giving it so-called anti-access/area-denial (A2AD) (A2AD) potential.

The Turkish motivation is comparable to India’s (except that India has problematic relationships with two countries.) In layman’s terms, Turkey’s interest in the S-400 needs to be understood in terms of its ongoing rivalry with fellow NATO member Greece, with which it has nearly fought a war over the island of Cyprus. The S-400’s anti-access capabilities strengthen Turkey’s hand in its security competition with Greece.

Quite simply, S-400 system is peerless. The Patriot system that the US has offered Turkey as an alternative is optimised for relatively short-range (less than 40 kms) ballistic missile defence, lacking in A2AD potential.

Like any divorce, this is going to be a messy affair. Out of all the issues complicating the Turkish-American relationship — starting with the US-backed failed coup d’état attempt in July 2016 to kill President Recep Erdogan and overthrow his nationalist government — the S-400 issue has surged as the coup de grâce.

To be sure, if the US cancels the collaboration with Turkey on the development and production of F-35 fighter jets, the latter will look for alternate sources of stealth technology. The fact of the matter is that Turkey seems unperturbed that it is parting ways with the US’ program to develop the F35 fighter and buy 100 planes. But Turkey would like the US to initiate the break-up so that it is free to develop options. In the Turkish assessment,  F-35 has serious deficiencies.

Equally, Turkey (like India) has already stated its ambitions to develop a domestic stealth fighter and knows that the US will never transfer such cutting edge technology. In all probability, Turkey may approach Russia. Speculation is rife.

Quite obviously, all this has very serious implications for India, which merit a separate analysis.

June 8, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Cyprus signs $9bn contract with Israel to extract gas

MEMO | June 7, 2019

Cyprus will earn $ 9.3 billion over 18 years thanks to the exploitation of the Aphrodite gas field under a renegotiated contract with Dutch-British Shell, US-based Noble, and Israeli company Delek, the Energy Minister for Cyprus, announced.

George Lakkotrypis told reporters that the reworking of the production contract guaranteed Cyprus an average annual income of $ 520 million over the life of the gas field.

“We believe it is a good contract under the current circumstances as it will allow the Republic of Cyprus to earn significant commercial revenues estimated at more than $ 9 billion throughout 18 years of the well’s production.”

Under the new deal, companies will commit to a short period for gas reserves exploitation. “Based on the development and production plan we discussed, we expect the first gas quantities to be extracted by 2024-2025,” he said.

Lakkotrypis explained that “the consortium was not previously bound to a deadline.”

Aphrodite gas field is the most significant development project on the island with about $ 7.9 billion invested in related infrastructure.

In 2011, Texas-based Noble Energy made its first discovery off the southern coast of Cyprus in the Aphrodite block, which is estimated to contain about 4.5 trillion cubic feet (127 billion cubic meters) of gas that have not been marketed yet.

The discovery of a vast offshore field in nearby Egyptian waters in 2015 raised more interest in exploring similar resources in Cypriot waters.

Cyprus aims to start pumping natural gas through a pipeline to an Egyptian gas liquefaction facility.

Cyprus has continued to explore marine energy resources despite the collapse of talks between the Turkish and Cypriot sides, in 2017, to end the division that lasted for decades in the island which north is occupied by Turkey.

The new agreement has angered Turkey, which seized the northern part of the island in 1974 following a coup sponsored by Greece’s military junta.

Accordingly, Turkey sent drilling vessels into Cyprus exclusive economic zone, last month, after it announced it would begin its energy exploration work.

In February, Exxon Mobil and Qatar Petroleum discovered a vast reserve of natural gas off the coast of Cyprus, estimated at five to eight trillion cubic feet.

Italian ENI and French Total are likewise involved in oil and gas exploration activities off Cyprus.

June 7, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

US condemns Turkey for drilling in Cyprus, foiling Israel pipeline deal

US Ambassador to Cyprus, Judith Garber
MEMO | June 7, 2019

The US Ambassador to Cyprus, Judith Garber, has expressed her deep concerns over Turkey’s continued drilling off the coast of Cyprus, and urged Turkey to halt the operations exploring energy reserves in the surrounding waters.

Garber made the remarks yesterday evening at the Independence Day reception held at the US Embassy in Nicosia, while in the presence of the President of southern Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades. She reiterated her support for the Republic and reassured them that the US recognises its right to develop and exploit resources within its “exclusive economic zone” (EEZ).

The resources in question are the vast gas and energy reserves discovered first in Egyptian waters and then in Cypriot waters in recent years, particularly the untouched and un-marketed 4.5 trillion cubic feet (127 billion cubic metres) of gas discovered off the southern coast of Cyprus in 2011. Then in February this year, the companies Exxon Mobil and Qatar Petroleum discovered an estimated five to eight trillion cubic feet of natural gas off the coast of the island.

In her remarks, Garber also touched on the concept of a possible agreement between the Greek and Turkish sides of the island, stating that “resources should be equitably shared between both communities in the context of an overall settlement,” Garber added. “It is our earnest hope that such resources will soon benefit a united Cyprus.”

This, however, does not seem likely, as such vast reserves have prompted a recently-signed deal between Greece, Cyprus and Israel to build the newly planned Eastern Mediterranean (EastMed) pipeline, which would supply gas to European countries and subsequently allow them to decrease their reliance on gas from other sources such as Russia. The deal will mean Cyprus will earn $9.3 billion over 18 years of the reserve’s production.

This new tripartite deal, backed by the US, has angered Turkey, causing it to send drilling vessels into Cyprus’s EEZ last month, announcing that it will begin the work of exploring more energy reserves.

June 7, 2019 Posted by | Russophobia | , , , , | 1 Comment

Erdogan must honor his promise to return occupied Syrian territory

Turkish army pullout will bring peace to Northern Syria

By Firas Samuri | Aletho News | May 22, 2019

In mid-January 2018, the Turkish General Staff announced the beginning of Olive Branch Operation. The goal was to oust the Kurds from the outskirts of Afrin, as well as to create a buffer zone along the Syrian-Turkish border.

These steps were sharply criticized by the world community, but Ankara hastened to declare that the presence of its troops in Syria was temporary. Erdogan promised to return these territories to Syrians. Indeed, the fighting stopped on March 20 2018, after capturing Afrin when several hundred Kurds were killed and wounded. However, now it looks like Turkey is not going to leave the occupied territory.

Kurdistan 24 TV channel recently published information that Ankara is building a concrete wall around the city of Afrin to isolate it from its surroundings. “Sources on the ground in Afrin see this as another step of Turkey’s annexation of Afrin into its borders,” said Mutlu Çiviroğlu, a Syria and Kurdish affairs analyst. Though several locals support Turkish activity, it doesn’t bring peace and stability to the region. Just remember the events of the last year.

First of all, let’s notice the terrorist attacks in Afrin that have been carried out against the Turkish Forces and Free Syrian Army (FSA) units. Among the biggest attacks, the car bomb explosion in front of Ahrar al-Sharqiya headquarters is often mentioned. An investigation was initiated, but the responsible parties were never found. That demonstrates the support of the residents for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.

Moreover, since the beginning of the Turkish occupation, the humanitarian situation in northern Syria has deteriorated significantly. The main reason is the closure of medical and educational facilities whose activities, for some reason, didn’t suit the local pro-Turkish administration. On demand of the Turks, some of them were converted to the military headquarters.

Return of the northern regions under the control of the Syrian government undoubtedly will lead to the reopening of the health centers, hospitals, and schools. Consequently, more Syrian children will be able to obtain an education, and older people will receive appropriate medical treatment.

The districts of Damascus that have been completely liberated from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham militants and now are being speedily reconstructed by the Syrian government serve as a good example. Thus, in February 2019, the provincial departments of education reported on the restoration of 57 schools, another eight are still being reconstructed. The same situation takes place in other parts of Syria.

The reopening of the Police stations and reactivation of other security services will help reduce arms and drug trafficking, as well as limit the supply of weapons to terrorists in the neighbouring province of Idlib. Such actions will lead to a de-escalation of tensions in the region.

Currently, the key reason for hostilities in the region is the ongoing extremist provocations. Ankara ignores such incidents as these radicals are fighting against Kurds. The militants are opposed to President Assad, but after the withdrawal of the Turkish troops, Damascus will be able to establish a dialogue with FSA, as has happened in southern Syria. There the Syrian government managed to persuade the militants to lay down weapons and then amnestied them.

At the same time, we should not forget about the fate of Kurds. If the north of Syria remains under Turkish control, thousands of locals will become refugees and won’t get back to their homes, fearing constant repression by the Turkish authorities. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, more than 100,000 people have already left the region before the Turkish invasion.

Therefore, the return of the areas occupied by the Turkish Army to the control of the Syrian government is an essential step towards restoring sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria. It contributes a lot to the strengthening of peace and stability, both in the north of the country and in the region as a whole.

May 22, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , | Leave a comment

The West Is in No Position to Lecture Turkey on Democracy or Human Rights

Euro-elitist Guy Verhofstadt
By Martin Jay | Strategic Culture Foundation | May 10, 2019

April fool’s day passed a few weeks ago but when we see news from Turkey that President Erdogan is going to do a re-run of elections in Istanbul, some of us are left doing a double take. But then the jaw dropping moment which follows is not what’s going on in Turkey, a country that certainly has human rights issues, no question – but how the West lines up to chastise the country. The hypocrisy is quite amazing.

And which particular moron should stand first in line with the hilarious opprobrium other than the European Union’s own clown MEP, Guy Verhofstadt a euro-elite type who is hard ignore but well worth the effort. This former Belgian PM recently ejaculated in the European parliament his important thoughts on Turkey and Erdogan, in line with former MEPs who jump on this bandwagon when it suits their federalist interests – before retreating and allowing the circus of EU accession to rumble on in Brussels when it also suits. Right now, with only days before EU elections and record gains expected for populist parties, it was hardly surprising the odious Belgian liberal would take the stage and dutifully pour scorn on Turkey.

But there are times in the EU bubble when reality seems to have been taken over by The Truman Show. Is this for real?

The European Union, probably the most corrupt, anti-democratic, white supremacist, freemason, autocratic organization which has practically invented the handbook on fake news, corruption cover ups and how to bribe journalists and fund despots around the world, is actually holding Turkey to account on its democracy score?

“This outrageous decision highlights how Erdogan’s #Turkey is drifting towards a dictatorship” gushed the Belgian MEP in a tweet. “Under such leadership, accession talks are impossible. Full support to the Turkish people protesting for their democratic rights and for a free and open Turkey!”.

But wait. Is this the same European Union which, when questioned about Romania and Bulgaria’s colossal corruption problem in 2004 (whose judiciaries are run by mafia mobs) said “we’ll let them in and then reform them” only for journalists to be later gunned down in Bulgaria and for Romania to have so many anti-corruption organizations that hacks there joke about getting an EU grant to export it? Or, for that matter, the same EU which repeatedly calls for second elections itself when it doesn’t get the result that it requires, like in Ireland and more recently in the UK with Brexit?

This is the same European Union which signed the arrest warrant of German journalist Hans Martin-Tillack in 2003 – and handed it to Belgian police – so that the journalist’s house could be raided and his computer seized, only for him to be thrown into the back of a police van where a cop tells him “well, it’s not Burmah”?

Or the same EU, which, in the same period where it started a reform process actually just rounded up all its whistleblowers and hung them up on a meat hook as an example to deter others in the EU institutions?

The European Union has a shocking history of human rights abuses not only on its own turf but more poignantly around the world with the regimes it supports with aid. Most central African despots are supported by EU cash, which, in turn, leads to intensified human rights abuses on a grand scale – which then leads to an exodus of migrants who end up in Libya sold as slaves, raped and abused. In many country’s its own environmental programs are bogus so as to funnel slush funds to dictatorships it supports, like in Lebanon for example where its recycling and composting schemes are actually so bad that they are poisoning the country’s water and linked to increased numbers of cancer.

This is the reality of the EU’s human rights record and its own check on democracy. The list just goes on and on and befittingly it is curious that the EU’s own ‘third word country’ (Belgium) which has a shocking deficit on press freedom and is a country infamous for industrial scale pedophilia which historically was the financial basis (blackmail) to fund political parties, is the very country which produced Verhofstadt and accommodates his pathetic ramblings in the European parliament, the only assembly in the world which is so useless that MEPs can’t even initiate legislation in it.

Verhofstadt is a signed up member of the Wet Dream Society, or as it is formerly know the ‘Spinelli Group’ – a sort of freemason’s talk shop of those who believe the EU could one day be a super power and have a real foreign policy. And so it is normal for him to take the floor and deliver such stupendously boring and utterly ludicrous speeches which are delusional at best and simply an old man’s fantasy at worse. Rather like Verhofstadt’s dream in 2004 of being European Commission president – a bid blocked by Tony Blair.

But here’s the real cherry on top if you like your irony in triple doses. The European parliament operates a scheme where it subsidizes all media in their production expenses, running into hundreds of millions of euros. If it didn’t do that, most broadcasters wouldn’t report on the mind numbingly boring events there. Some might call this bribing the press as there is obviously a ‘pay back’ there in helping the EU promote itself. But Euronews, which reported in Verhofstadt’s speech and gave it great prominence, not only profits from the scheme but actually gets a massive subsidy from the Brussels annual budget itself to report on MEPs – a double whammy, so in fact, the Verhofstadt ramble is actually fake news itself. This is an institution – the European Parliament – which voted just recently to actually finance media operations to write propaganda about the EU.

You can’t actually make this stuff up.

But meanwhile, there is news from the other side of the Atlantic, a real super power, which suggests that CNN in Atlanta might send journalists to CNN Turk to train them in the art of journalism. Given that nearly all of its big named foreign reporters make up their stories when they travel the globe – Anderson Cooper, Christiana Ammanpour and Parisa Khosravi – as I was informed by Elise Labott, a ex CNN ‘reporter’ not handicapped herself by journalistic skills, then this could also be a parody, or fake news. CNN Turk is attacked by the West for being pro Erdogan, without any acknowledgement that CNN Atlanta is entirely partisan itself and regularly rigs the news in favour of Clinton or whoever will slip into her peep toes.

At least CNN will not send Labott to Istanbul, a reporter who made a career out of making stories up to such an extent that Atlanta finally had to let her go earlier in the year after at least three investigations into her fabulous lack of journalist ethics, broke all records.

May 10, 2019 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , | Leave a comment

The Same Guy Verhofstadt Who Wants a New Brexit Vote Decries a New Vote For Istanbul’s Mayoral Election

By Adam Garrie | Eurasia Future | 2019-05-07

The leader of the Liberal faction in the European Parliament, Guy Verhofstadt has just decried a decision by Turkish officials to conduct a re-vote in the contentious Istanbul Mayoral race. During the initial vote on 31 March, it was proclaimed that CH Party candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu beat AK Party candidate Binali Yıldırım by a razor thin margin.

Since the initial tally, AK representatives have challenged the result alleging serious irregularities that could have influenced the vote in favour of İmamoğlu. Today, the Turkish Supreme Election Council (YSK) annulled the result of the 31 March election for the Mayoralty in Istanbul and have scheduled a new election to take place on 23 June.

Although such re-run elections are never ideal, in circumstance when a preponderance of evidence indicates that there were enough irregularities present that could have changed the result, re-run elections become the least bad of no good options. This is what the YSK has decided upon in a manner consistent with the principles of mainstream 21st century democracy.

But while the re-run election will be conducted according to normal democratic principles, this has failed to satisfy the notoriously vocal Guy Verhofstadt. The EU Liberal big wig has taken to Twitter to say the following:

“This outrageous decision highlights how Erdogan’s Turkey is drifting towards a dictatorship. Under such leadership, accession talks are impossible. Full support to the Turkish people protesting for their democratic rights and for a free and open Turkey!”

First of all, it was not President Erdoğan who made the decision to hold a new election. It was the YSK’s decision, a body made up of members from multiple parties who then vote on a majoritarian basis in order to enact a decision. In this case, the democratic decision to hold a new election passed by a margin of seven against four.

Secondly, if Turkey’s long stalled quest to join the EU would portend future anti-democratic interference from the likes of Guy Verhofstadt, perhaps many in Turkey ought to be thankful that Brussels has recently leaned against full Turkish membership of the EU. Finally, it is not the “Turkish people” protesting. Those protesting are CH Party workers and supporters who are naturally upset by the electoral re-run. Likewise, supporters of the AK Party had peacefully protested in favour of a re-run. There is nothing unusual about this and of course the protests are occurring freely and without violence.

But the greatest absurdity of Guy Verhofstadt’s meddlesome comments is that while he decries a second vote in a local Turkish election, he has consistently agitated for Britain to hold a re-run vote in order to overturn the Brexit decision made by voters in 2016.

Unlike in the Istanbul election, the British government and opposition parties all accept that the 2016 election was without any worrisome irregularities. In other words, the Brexit referendum was a free and fair vote whilst Turkish authorities have decided that there were too many irregularities in the Istanbul vote for the initial result to be accepted as legitimate.

And yet, Verhofstadt is allying himself with forces that want to overturn a universally acknowledged legitimate vote whilst complaining that a vote in Turkey found to be illegitimate must be set in stone. Once again, double standards rule the day in Brussels.

May 7, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Progressive Hypocrite | , | Leave a comment

Different when we do it: Why re-voting is ‘dictatorship’ in Turkey & ‘unity’ in EU

EU Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt © Reuters / Eric Vidal
RT | May 7, 2019

The decision to rerun a local mayoral election in Istanbul has sparked scathing criticism in Brussels — ironically, from none other than the EU’s Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt.

Tweeting about the move, which was branded a “coup” by a Turkish opposition newspaper, Verhofstadt said it highlighted that Turkey was “drifting towards a dictatorship” and offered “full support to the Turkish people protesting for their democratic rights.” Along with the verbal slap on the wrist, he said that under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s leadership, talks on Turkey joining the EU are “impossible.”

The irony in Verhofstadt’s outrage, is that the EU itself has a long history of either totally ignoring referendum votes — or just making people vote again until the ‘correct’ result is achieved. But that, of course, does not make the EU a dictatorship. It’s still a “bastion of hope, freedom, prosperity & stability” (as per another recent Verhofstadt tweet). Twitter users wasted no time in pointing out the “irony” and “hypocrisy.”

“How dare [Erdogan] use EU tactics,” one irritated Verhofstadt follower responded, with another saying that the UK itself was currently “battling for its democracy” — a reference to EU officials (including Verhofstadt) who have frequently voiced their personal opposition to Brexit and the ‘Remain’ factions in Britain who have been calling for a re-run of the 2016 referendum.

While there may be at least some merit to the idea of Brexit referendum re-run after two years of failed negotiations and with more accurate information now available to British voters, the idea of simply re-doing EU-related votes is hardly a one-off.

Maybe Verhofstadt should take a trip down memory lane.

France voted ‘no’ to accepting a proposed ‘EU Constitution’ by 54.9 percent in 2005, but the outcome was ignored. The same thing happened in the Netherlands, which rejected it by 61.5 percent. The ‘EU Constitution’ was later repackaged into the Lisbon Treaty and presented to the French parliament where it was adopted, without being put to the people this time (much easier!).

This new Lisbon Treaty was then rejected by Irish voters in 2008, once again sending Brussels into meltdown mode, as the pact needed to be ratified by all member states before taking effect. So, of course, they made some tweaks and asked people to vote again — and got the ‘right’ result the next time. It wasn’t the first time Ireland was asked to re-vote after giving the wrong answer, either. The country also rejected the Nice Treaty in 2001 and accepted it in a second vote a year later.

Greece voted overwhelmingly to reject severe austerity measures desired by the EU in 2015 in exchange for a multi-billion euro bailout. Not long after, under pressure from Brussels, the country’s government agreed to implement even harsher methods — totally ignoring the will of the Greek people.

But way before all that in 1992, Danes, displeased with plans for a single currency, common European defense policies and for joint rules on crime and immigration, rejected the Maastricht Treaty — and were asked to vote again.

Ironically, many European voters voted ‘no’ to these treaties because they were worried that the EU would be turned into some kind of undemocratic superstate where the wills of individual countries and people would be ignored. Being forced to vote until you give the ‘right’ answer doesn’t exactly put those worries to bed. It’s part of the reason why the British voted for Brexit in the first place.

Then there’s Catalonia, where pro-independence leaders were thrown in jail for their role in holding an independence referendum in 2017. One tweeter scolded Verhofstadt and other EU leaders for believing that they have some “moral authority” over Turkey while abuse of pro-independence forces in Catalonia is ignored. “Our leaders are still in prison because they let citizens vote,” they wrote.

With a history like that, maybe it’s a bit rich for Verhofstadt to be going around lamenting the lack of democracy in other countries.

May 7, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | Leave a comment