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#181 Yervant1


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Posted 15 March 2017 - 08:22 AM

I think ErDOGan went too far this time! It's backfire time finally Europe is waking up.

Saarland authorities of Germany to ban speeches of Turkish politicians

22:11, 14.03.2017
Region:World NewsTurkey
Theme: Politics

Saarland authorities of Germany intend to prohibit foreign political propaganda activities, reports Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. 

The Prime Minister of the region Annegret Kramp Karrenbauer noted, that after the recent scandals in regard to the Turkish politicians in Germany and Netherlands, Saar authorities are "doing everything possible to prevent such events in their territory."

"Germany should not be a domestic place for political conflicts," said Karrenbauer. "A campaign that threatens the peace of our country, should be banned," she said. Saar, according to the Prime Minister, "will not be waiting until the authorities resolve the situation in the state, or when a decision is made at EU level on such a settlement."

"We do not want and cannot allow any comparisons of Germany with Nazi policy," Karrenbauer said. "We must send a clear signal, including to the entire European Union," she stressed.




#182 Yervant1


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Posted 15 March 2017 - 08:27 AM

Keep it coming, the emperor has no clothes for all to see. But than again Europe knew what Turkey was all about and turned a blind eye and empowered the goon. 

FARS News Agency, Iran

March 13, 2017 Monday

German MPs Call for Troop Withdrawal from Turkish Airbase amid Rally Row

TEHRAN (FNA)- A number of German MPs called for the withdrawal of
troops deployed at Incirlik airbase, amid a row with Turkey over its
presidential powers referendum.

The request by the German MPs comes as the country is flying
reconnaissance sorties from the Turkish base as part of the US-led
anti-ISIL coalition, RT reported.

Concerns over the presence of German airmen at the base, which is
located in Southern Turkey close to Syria, came from lawmakers of both
the ruling coalition and the opposition.

Florian Hahn, spokesman for security and foreign policy of the
Christian Social Union (CSU), said the Germans soldiers and officers
may become pawns in Turkish power games.

“Amid this heated atmosphere, it has become increasingly uncertain
that the Turkish government can and will guarantee the protection of
our soldiers in Incirlik,” he told Germany’s Bild am Sonntag
newspaper. He called on the government to stop investing in the
infrastructure of the airbase and transfer the Tornados stationed
there elsewhere.

The CSU is the Bavaria-based sister party of Chancellor Angela
Merkel's Christian Democrats, while similar concerns came from the
Left Party, the main opposition force in Germany.

“In light of the current developments in Turkey, it is overdue that we
withdraw our Tornado jets and Bundeswehr soldiers, as well as halting
the supply of weapons to Turkey immediately,” argued Left leader Sahra
Wagenknecht, as cited by Deutsche Welle.

The Green Party's Cem Ozdemir, an ethnic Turk and long-time critic of
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said withdrawing troops from
Turkey would send a clear message to Ankara, which is, according to
him, “in the process of losing the last remnants of respect towards

Several NATO allies have troops stationed at Incirlik, with Germany
maintaining a force of some 240. They are ensuring continued flights
of the German Tornado aircraft for reconnaissance missions in Syria
and Iraq, part of Berlin’s contribution in the US-led coalition
fighting terrorist group ISIL.

Germany is considering multimillion-dollar investment into Incirlik
for the long-term deployment of its troops there. Turkey is set to
benefit from the money, both because its base would grow and because
local contractors would be involved in the renovation.

Supporters of the idea of pulling out the Tornados from Turkey say
they could be stationed in Greece, Cyprus or Jordan and still
contribute to the anti-IS campaign. They also say Ankara already
played the Incirlik card last year, when it prevented German MPs from
visiting the base amid a row over Berlin’s formal recognition of the
mass killings of Armenians under Ottoman Empire rule as genocide.

The obstruction was apparently meant to express Turkey’s irritation
with the German parliament after it passed the genocide resolution. In
Germany, the parliament has strong oversight powers over the military,
which is meant to prevent executive abuse and is rooted in the legacy
of Nazi-era atrocities. Lawmakers have to sign off on any foreign
deployment of German troops and defense spending in other nations.

So far, the German government has brushed aside the calls to withdraw
from Turkey, with Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere saying that
German soldiers were there to “protect NATO interests, and therefore
our interests.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday spoke along the same
lines and suggested that Turkey and other allies should focus on
things that unite them rather than on those which divide them.

Tensions between Germany and Turkey have escalated as Ankara prepares
for a referendum in April, which seeks to give more powers to the
office of the president. The Turkish government is sponsoring a series
of rallies of Turkish citizens living in Europe, campaigning for their
votes in the plebiscite. In several European nations, including
Germany, this effort has been undermined by the cancelation of rallies
and bans on the public appearance of Turkish officials at campaign


#183 Yervant1


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Posted 17 March 2017 - 10:35 AM

1051656168.jpg Turkish Foreign Minister: 'Holy Wars Will Soon Begin in Europe'
© REUTERS/ Fabrizio Bensch
18:49 16.03.2017
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has claimed that there is no difference in the Netherlands between liberal and fascist politicians. His comments come despite Dutch PM Mark Rutte seeing off a challenge from the overtly anti-Islam candidate Geert Wilders in the Dutch election.

In the latest denigration of relations between the Netherlands and Turkey, Turkey's chief diplomat Mr. Cavusoglu has made an astonishing prediction: that political co-operation between Turkey and Europe is so poor, a literal clash of civilizations is on the horizon.

© Sputnik/ Fuad Safarov
"Now the election is over in the Netherlands… When you look at the many parties you see there is no difference between the social democrats and fascist Wilders. All have the same mentality. Where will you go? Where are you taking Europe? You have begun to collapse Europe. You are dragging Europe into the abyss. Holy wars will soon begin in Europe," Cavusoglu said.

His extraordinary forecast are the first official comments from Ankara on the Dutch election, which was seen as a barometer of populism in Europe.

The current Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, was victorious in the Wednesday, March 15 vote.

© AP Photo/ Patrick Post
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte gives 'high five' to children after casting his vote for the Dutch general election in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, March 15, 2017

However, clearly Mr. Rutte's success was not enough to placate the Turkish Foreign Minister.

Mr. Cavusoglu recently attempted to enter the Netherlands to attend a Turkish referendum expat rally campaigning to to grant Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan more powers, but was denied entry by Mr. Rutte's government.

Mr. Cavusoglu's comments have been dismissed by many in Europe has incendiary and fanciful. However, a breakdown of the Dutch election results reveals that anti-immigrant populism in the Netherlands is far from defeated.

Rutte's governing VVD party lost 8 seats, while Geert Wilder's Freedom gained 5 seats, coming in at second place.

© AFP 2017/ Martijn Beekman
Dutch far-right Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders

It means that a Mr. Wilder's — a political leader who pledged to close all mosques and ban the Koran — still won enough support from Dutch citizens to achieve the second highest number of seats, with 20 MPs.

And even Mr. Rutte, who immediately proclaimed his win was a victory over the "wrong kind of populism," is no stranger to flirting with nationalist demagoguery.


In January 2017, in a blunt campaign poster, Mr. Rutte's face looked impassive above the words, "Act normal, or go away."


The controversial message was widely seen as an attempt to appeal to voters considering voting for Geert Wilder's overtly anti-immigration Freedom party, which had been running high in the opinion polls.

However, Mr. Rutte insisted that his campaign wasn't against immigration, but for an increased focus on the integration of migrants into Dutch communities.

The Netherlands is home to 400,000 expat Turks, many of who want to attend Turkish referendum rallies run by the Turkish authorities but have been unable to, due to the Dutch authorities.

This clash has been replicated in other European countries, including Austria and Germany, who have also been reluctant to allow Turkish rallies to take place.

© REUTERS/ Osman Orsal
People shout slogans during a protest in front of the Dutch Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, March 12, 2017.

Turkish President Erdogan has reacted aggressively, dismissing European politicians across the continent as "Nazis" and "fascists."

On March 12, at a rally pressing for a yes vote in the upcoming Turkish referendum — which would significantly increase his own powers — Mr. Erdogan declared:

"I have said that I had thought that Nazism was over, but that I was wrong. Nazism is alive in the West."

For their part, senior European leaders have decried the Erdogan administration's use of language.

Former Prime Minister of Belgium, and senior EU negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt, dismissed Erdogan as "cynical," citing the Turkish government's attempts to crack down on dissent, in the aftermath of the failed 2016 Turkish coup attempt.


Diplomatic ties have deteriorated so rapidly between Turkey and it's former European allies, that there are no signs of détente on the horizon. While a "holy war" being launched is unlikely, there are key geo-political issues that are now threatened as a result of the tit-for-tat debacle. 


Turkey is a key player in the EU's attempts to mitigate Europe's migrant crisis. A year on from the EU-Turkey deal, which blocked the flow of asylum seekers into Europe, the Turkish authorities have threatened to withdraw from the agreement.

No specifics have been given, with President Erdogan only warning that the Netherlands specifically will "pay the price" for poor relations.


#184 Yervant1


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Posted 18 March 2017 - 08:54 AM

 Erdogan urges for Turks to change the demographics of Europe by having five children

By Paul Antonopoulos  17/03/2017


BEIRUT, LABANON (10:16 P.M.) – Turkish President Recep Erdogan has urged all Turks living in Europe to have at least five children, saying they are the future of the continent and that it would be the best response to the “injustices” imposed on expatriates there, RT reported.

“Go live in better neighborhoods. Drive the best cars. Live in the best houses. Make not three, but five children. Because you are the future of Europe. That will be the best response to the injustices against you,” Erdogan said in the city of Eskisehir on Friday.

This followed on from an earlier statement by the Turkish Foreign Minister who warned that ‘holy wars’ in Europe would begin soon.

Turkey has lambasted European countries for not allowing Turkish officials to speak to the vast Turkish community in Europe ahead of a referendum that will give greater power to the president.

#185 Yervant1


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Posted 19 March 2017 - 09:49 AM

Bulgaria president confirms Turkey involvement in upcoming parliamentary election
11:13, 18.03.2017
Region:World NewsTurkey
Theme: PoliticsIncidents

The President of Bulgaria, Rumen Radev, has confirmed Turkey’s intervention in the forthcoming parliamentary election in the country.

“Turkey’s interference in our elections is a fact, and this interference is impermissible,” said Radev.

But he noted that, nonetheless, Bulgaria intends to maintain good neighborly relations with Turkey.

“The Bulgarian organizations and competent services are actively working to prevent any attempt of interference in the electoral processes of our country and in our internal affairs,” added the president of Bulgaria.



#186 Yervant1


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Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:52 AM

Associated Press International
March 18, 2017 Saturday 9:34 PM GMT

German FM: Turkey 'further away than ever' from joining EU

By FRANK JORDANS, Associated Press

BERLIN (AP) - Senior German officials cast doubt Saturday on Turkey's
chances of joining the European Union, amid growing tensions with
Ankara over human rights and Turkey's claim that it's being treated
unfairly by countries in western Europe.

In an interview published by Hamburg weekly Der Spiegel, Germany's
foreign minister suggested that for now the most that Turkey can hope
for is to one day achieve a "privileged partnership" with the bloc.

"Turkey is further away than ever before from EU membership," Sigmar
Gabriel was quoted as saying.

Gabriel said he was always skeptical of the idea of Turkish EU
membership. He told Der Spiegel that upcoming negotiations about the
EU's future relationship with Britain might provide a blueprint for
Turkey "in the long term."

Thomas Oppermann, the parliamentary caucus leader of Gabriel's Social
Democrats, said Turkey's chances of joining the EU would be "gone for
good" if the country reintroduced the death penalty, as Erdogan has

"(Erdogan's) announcement makes clear that he isn't interested in
joining at all," said Oppermann. "Erdogan is clearly on the wrong path
and he's harming Turkish interests."

Relations between Berlin and Ankara have soured recently over a German
Parliament resolution labeling the 20th century killing of Armenians
as "genocide," Turkey's crackdown on the opposition and civil society
following a failed coup last summer, and appearances in Germany by
Turkish officials campaigning for constitutional change in an upcoming

A German satirist's poem poking fun at Turkish President Recep Tayyip
Erdogan and the arrest of a German-Turkish journalist in Istanbul have
further fanned tensions between the two countries.

Erdogan's call Friday for Turks living in Europe to have at least five
children, as a response to Europe's "injustices," has also angered
German nationalists - who responded by renewing calls for an end to
dual citizenship.

Ankara, meanwhile, has accused Germany of allowing the banned
Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, to hold rallies in Germany. Kurds
make up a sizable number of the over 3 million people of Turkish
origin in Germany.

About 30,000 Kurds gathered in the central city of Frankfurt on
Saturday to protest against the constitutional reforms sought by
Erdogan, which would give the president greater power. Dozens of
protesters unfurled banned flags of imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah
Ocalan at the rally.

#187 Yervant1


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Posted 27 March 2017 - 09:36 AM

Turkish government ungrateful? Did you realize that now, we knew that for a long time. 


Politics 13:13 27/03/2017 Region
Iran’s MFA reacts to another anti-Iranian statement by Turkish authorities

The Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of Iran has reacted to another anti-Iranian statement made by the Turkish authorities, Panorama.am reports citing Tasnim Iranian news agency.

As the Iranian source reports, the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey has announced that a new flow of over three million refugees of other countries in Iran is moving from Iran to Turkey and from there to Europe.

Responding to the above-mentioned statement of the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, as well as to the Turkish President Erdoğan's speech in Istanbul, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghasemi in particular noted: “Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continues making baseless statements against Iran. As for the refugees, Iran has been hosting millions of refugees from its neighboring countries for more than 30 years. Turkey should learn how Iran has treated refugees having never misused this humanitarian issue for special pre-planned political purposes against any country.”

To note, turning to the regular anti-Iranian statements made by Turkey’s President and Foreign Minister, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif noted that “Turkey is an ungrateful neighbour.”

Earlier, during the visit paid to Bahrain, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan touched upon the regional developments noting that religious and national differences are observed in Iraq. Iranian nationalism, as well as separatist movements have also been formed there which must be stopped.

In that regard, Turkey’s Ambassador to Iran was summoned to the Foreign Ministry.




#188 Yervant1


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Posted 29 March 2017 - 09:23 AM

March 27, 2017 Monday 9:34 AM EST

Zoryan Institute Releases New Book on Fate of Non-Muslims and
Christians in Turkey 1913-1923, Contextualizing What Is Happening in
the Middle East Today

TORONTO, ON --(Marketwired - March 27, 2017) - Zoryan Institute
released a new book contextualizing what is happening in the Middle
East today.

"When one sees what is happening in Turkey right now, how Turkey is
dealing with its own minorities, the type of language that the
President of Turkey is using in regards to non-Muslim Europe, it all
reflects the same narrow, ethno-religious nationalism that prevailed
there 100 years ago. It is being used today by the President of Turkey
to mobilize masses to fulfill his political objectives. In fact, the
non-Muslim groups combined, including Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks,
and Jews, now make up only around 100,000 of Turkey's population, as
opposed to 4.5 million in Ottoman Turkey before the Genocide." So says
George N. Shirinian, editor of a new book titled, Genocide in the
Ottoman Empire: Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks, 1913-1923.

Shirinian explained what message he wished the reader to take away
from this book, which is also part of his own personal history.

"Being the son of two orphan survivors of the Armenian Genocide, I was
always very aware of the devastating effect the Genocide has had on
Armenians, and it always bothered me to read in some books that it
took place as a legitimate reaction by the Ottoman state to a
so-called Armenian revolt against the whole Ottoman Empire. I began to
undertake research years ago to verify if this was true, and to
understand what the causes of the Armenian Genocide were. Through my
years of research and the preparation of this book, what I would like
for the reader to understand is that some 4.5 million people,
primarily Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks, were either killed or
uprooted from their ancestral homes during a short, ten-year period.
This is essentially because they were non-Turks and non-Muslims. There
were numerous factors that led to these genocides, but it is now clear
that the alleged Armenian revolt was a fabrication of the Young Turks
to stir up their own citizens against the Armenians, to provide a
justification to their German allies so they would not intervene, and
to keep the neutral but very engaged Americans from interfering. This
becomes especially clear when you see that the Young Turks also
deported and massacred the Assyrians and Greeks, who definitely were
not part of any alleged revolt.

"The Young Turks believed that a policy of "Turkey for Turks" would
solve their political problems, thus they adopted an ultra-ethnic,
nationalist attitude towards the non-Turks. This attitude may be
compared to the attitude of ISIS today. Driven by extreme Sunni
radical Islamic nationalism, they draw on religious fanaticism and use
it to stir up those who are susceptible to kill Christians, Yezidis,
and even other Muslims who are not Sunni.

"This mindset of "Turkey for Turks" only is best exemplified by
statements by the president of Turkey today, and as far back as when
he was Prime Minister in 2004: "Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
Erdogan has warned European Union leaders that violence from Islamic
extremists could escalate if the EU rejects Turkey as a member." A
more recent example is the following from March 17, 2017: "…The
place in which you are living and working is now your homeland and new
motherland. Stake a claim to it. Open more businesses, enroll your
children in better schools, make your family live in better
neighborhoods, drive the best cars, live in the most beautiful houses.
That's because you [the Muslim Turks] are the future of Europe. It
will be the best answer to the vulgarism, antagonism, and injustice
made against you."

George N. Shirinian was asked by the Asia Minor and Pontos Hellenic
Research Center in Chicago, to prepare and to edit a multi-author book
on the genocide of the Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks in the Ottoman
Empire, with contributions by fourteen specialists , including his
introduction and the first chapter. This book is relevant today
because it contextualizes what is happening in the Middle East now
with the events of history.

George N. Shirinian is the Executive Director of the Zoryan Institute.
In addition to this new book, he is also the co-editor of Studies in
Comparative Genocide (Macmillan 1999) and editor of The Asia Minor
Catastrophe and the Ottoman Greek Genocide: Essays on Asia Minor,
Pontos, and Eastern Thrace, 1913-1923 (Asia Minor and Pontos Hellenic
Research Center 2012).


#189 Yervant1


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Posted 30 March 2017 - 10:16 AM

Germany has found possible alternatives to Injirlik airbase in Turkey
20:11, 29.03.2017

Germany found possible alternatives to the Injirlik airbase in Turkey. "From a military point of view, military bases in Jordan, Kuwait, and Cyprus can function well," reads the German government's reply to the inquiry of the deputies of the Bundestag from the Left Party, Deutsche Welle reports.

Representatives of the Bundeswehr visited three military sites in Jordan and Kuwait, as well as Akrotiri and Paphos bases in Cyprus, the document states. The German government has been yet conducting negotiations with these countries about conditions under which Bundeswehr can use these military bases.

In connection with the recent aggravation of relations between Turkey and Germany after a ban on Turkish politicians to conduct pre-election campaign in Germany, a number of Bundestag MPs, both from the ruling coalition and the opposition, called on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to withdraw the Bundeswehr contingent from the Injirlik base.

Last year, Ankara for several months prohibited the deputies of the Bundestag to visit German servicemen in Injirlik in response to the resolution of the German parliament, which recognized the massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide.

About 270 soldiers and officers are located on the Injirlik base in eastern Turkey, who support the international coalition led by the United States in the fight against the Islamic State.


#190 Yervant1


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Posted 30 March 2017 - 11:03 AM

Is this fact or fiction?

Turkish MP: If coup had been successful, Armenian state was to be established in eastern Turkey

13:14, 30.03.2017


Mehmet Erdoğan, an MP from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Turkey, stated that had last year’s coup attempt succeeded, four states were to be established in the country.

Erdoğan noted that he had seen the map, in which the boundaries were to be drawn of the countries to form in the present-day territory of Turkey, if the coup had succeeded, according to Olay Medya (Event Media) news website of the country.  

The AKP deputy stressed that according to this plan, Istanbul was to become a city-state, an Armenian state was to be created in eastern Turkey, a Marxist-Leninist Kurdish state—in the southeast, and a Turkish state—in inner Anatolia.



#191 Yervant1


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Posted 30 March 2017 - 11:21 AM


Politics 17:03 30/03/2017 Region
Fethullah Gülen, enemy of Turkish authorities, moving to Canada

U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, Head of the ‘Gülen community’ classified as a terrorist group by the Turkish authorities plans to move to Canada.

As Panorama.am was informed from Ermenihaber news agency, the mentioned information has been provided by the recent report submitted to the Turkish Government by the Turkish Intelligence Service. According to the report, Gülen has assigned his supporters to sell his property in Pennsylvania as soon as possible to this end.

According to the reports, Gülen has also instructed his followers in Turkey to remain covered even refraining from interacting with each other through any technique and in case of necessity to immediately leave Turkey to join the European structure. Pursuant to the allegations of the Turkish authorities, Gülen supposedly attempts to establish a new structure in Europe. The report says that according to the acquired information, activities are carried out in that direction. According to another claim, some of the Gülen followers who are under prosecution have begun to seek an asylum in African countries.

The report of the Turkish intelligence also provides details on the failed coup on July 15 2016. In particular, active works have been conducted to prevent the confessions of the Gülen followers after the failed coup. The leadership of the organization has provided assistance to the families of the supporters of Gülen who are under detention. In particular, those families have received a monthly payment totalling to 500-2.000 liras.


#192 Yervant1


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Posted 10 April 2017 - 10:39 AM


Politics 17:51 10/04/2017 Region
Turkey’s Erdoğan confesses to Turkey’s crime committed 100 years ago

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has delivered a speech at a referendum rally in the western Turkish city of Izmir.

As Ermenihaber reports citing Diken Turkish news agency, speaking about the people who are against the constitutional reforms, Erdoğan said: “Do you remember those who were thrown into the sea 100 years ago? It is their supporters who say ‘no’ today, sending their dogs and horses against those who say ‘yes’.”

He claimed that the people who speak against the presidential system of governance are Turkey’s enemies.

In his speech, Erdoğan went on describing Europe as a “sick man”, claiming the European economy weakened every year.

“They are infected with the virus of racism. This time they will be in a grave state,” Turkey’s President said.

Erdoğan also expressed an opinion that the Turks living in Europe face pressure, making threats that after April 16 referendum Europe will pay for its treatment.

To note, according to the official Turkish historiography, in 1922-1923, during the Kemalist movement, Turks threw the “Christian invaders” into Bosporus as a way to fight against the imperialism and occupation.


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Posted 12 April 2017 - 11:40 AM

Title: Turkey's Barks and Bites
Turkey's Barks and Bites
by Burak Bekdil
April 11, 2017 at 4:00 am

Turkey's foreign policy and the rhetoric that presumably went to support it, has, during the past several years, aimed less at achieving foreign policy goals and more at consolidating voters' support for the Ankara government.

Self-aggrandizing behavior has predominantly shaped policy and functioned to please the Turks' passion for a return to their glorious Ottoman past.

Assertive and confrontational diplomatic language and playing the tough guy of the neighborhood may have helped garner popular support for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP), but after years of "loud barking and no biting", Turkey has effectively become the victim of its own narrative.

In 2010, Turkey froze diplomatic relations with Israel and promised "internationally to isolate the Jewish state", and never to restore ties unless, along with two other conditions, Jerusalem removed its naval blockade of Gaza to prevent weapons from being brought in that would be used to attack Israel. Turkey's prime minister at the time, Ahmet Davutoglu, said Israel would "kneel down to us".

In 2016, after rounds of diplomatic contacts, Turkey and Israel agreed to normalize their relations. The blockade of Gaza, to prevent shipments of weaponry to be used by Gazans in terror attacks remains in effect.

In 2012, Davutoglu claimed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's days in power were numbered, "not by years but by weeks or months". In 2016, Davutoglu had to step down as prime minister, but Erdogan's and his worst regional nemesis, Assad, is in power to this day, enjoying increased Russian and Iranian backing. In 2012, Erdogan said that "we will soon go to Damascus to pray at the Umayyad mosque" -- a political symbol of Assad's downfall and his replacement by pro-Turkey Sunni groups. That prayer remains to be performed.

In November 2015, shortly after Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 military jet and cited violation of its airspace, Erdogan warned Russia "not to play with fire." As for the Russian demands for an apology, Erdogan said it was Turkey that deserved an apology because its airspace had been violated, and that Turkey would not apologize to Russia.

In June 2016, just half a year after Russia imposed a slew of economic sanctions on Turkey, Erdogan apologized to Russian President Vladimir Putin.


In July 2016, Erdogan apologized for downing a Russian plane, and in August he went to Russia to shake hands for normalization. Pictured: Russian President Vladimir Putin with Turkey's then Prime Minister Erdogan, meeting in Istanbul on December 3, 2012. (Image source: kremlin.ru)

Erdogan and his government have countless times warned the United States not to side with the Syrian Kurds --whom Turkey views as a terrorist group-- in the allied fight against radical jihadists of ISIL's Islamic State. In March 2017, Washington denied that Syrian Kurds were a terrorist group and pledged continued support for them.

Erdogan's Turkey has done more than enough to show that its bark is worse than its bite. Yet it keeps barking badly. This time, the enemy to bark at, not bite, is Europe. This is the first time that Erdogan is openly challenging a concerted European stand.

In a recent row between several European capitals and Ankara over Erdogan's ambitions to hold political rallies across Europe to address millions of Turkish expatriates, the Turkish president said he would ignore that he was unwelcome in Germany and would go there to speak to his Turkish fans.

In response, the Dutch government deported one of Erdogan's ministers who had gone uninvited to the Netherlands to speak to the Turkish community there.

Germany launched two investigations into alleged Turkish spying on German soil.

Similarly, Switzerland opened a criminal investigation into allegations that Erdogan's government had spied on expatriate Turks.

In Copenhagen, the Danish government summoned the Turkish ambassador over claims that Danish-Turkish citizens were being denounced over views critical of Erdogan.

The barking kept on. In Turkey, Erdogan warned that Europeans would not be able to walk the streets safely if European nations persist in what he called "arrogant conduct." That comment caused the EU to summon the Turkish ambassador in Brussels to explain Erdogan's threatening language.

Farther east, in the rich European bloc, several hundred Bulgarians blocked the three main checkpoints at the Bulgarian-Turkish border to prevent Turks with Bulgarian passports, but who were living in Turkey, from voting in Bulgarian elections. The protesters claimed that Turkish officials were forcing expatriate voters to support a pro-Ankara party.

Meanwhile, at the EU's southeast flank, Greece said that its armed forces were ready to respond to any Turkish threat to the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

What happened to Erdogan's promised "bite" that he could go to Germany to speak to the Turkish community despite repeated German warnings that he would not be welcome? "I will not go to Germany," he said on March 23.

Erdogan may be winning hearts and minds in Turkey with his neo-Ottoman Turkey "barks." But too few foreign capitals find his threats serious, too few politicians think that he is convincing and too many people tend to believe Turkey's bark is worse than its bite.

The recent wave of European constraints against Erdogan shows that, for the first time in recent years, Europe does not seem to fear Erdogan's bluffing and thuggishness.

At the moment, Erdogan's priority is to win the referendum on April 16 that he hopes will change the constitution so that he can be Sultan-for-life. Picking fights with "infidel" Europeans might help him garner more support from conservative and nationalist Turks.

When the voting is done, however, he will have to face the reality that an alliance cannot function forever with one party constantly blackmailing the other.

Burak Bekdil, one of Turkey's leading journalists, was just fired from Turkey's leading newspaper after 29 years, for writing what was taking place in Turkey for Gatestone. He is a Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

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