Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Report from Turkey - 02/08/2016

Here we concentrate on what Turkey is up to - in terms of plans to invade Syria and its war against the Kurds and Erdogan's blackmail of Europe threatening to unleash refugees on the continent.


9 February, 2016

Original published by RIA; abridged translation and analysis by J.Hawk

Turkey’s Prime Minister Davutoglu called on the country to return its historical debt to “Aleppo brothers” who defended Turkish cities during World War 1.

Akhmet Davutoglu said that the country intends to defend Syria’s Aleppo, referring to it as the return of a historical debt. <…> “We will return our historic debt. At one time, our brothers from Aleppo defended our cities of Shanlyurfa, Gaziantep, Kahramanmarash, now we will defend the heroic Aleppo. All of Turkey stands behind its defenders,” Davutoglu said at the meeting of the Party of Justice and Development parliamentary faction which he heads.

J.Hawk’s Comment: Davutoglu is only the Prime Minister, not President, of Turkey, which means his statement carries less weight than even the words of the Foreign Minister. Is Davutoglu therefore preparing the ground for Erdogan’s upcoming statements, making statements as trial balloons, or is he perhaps trying to pressure and goad Erdogan into more aggressive action? The relationship between Erdogan and Davutoglu bears closer scrutiny in order to ascertain which of them is the more hawkish or dovish of the two (it would be very unlikely for them to have an identical view of the events in Syria), particularly since they are doing their level best not to show any public differences of opinion.

One way or the other, regardless of what is behind Davutoglu’s words, the formulation of “Aleppo brothers” represents a major change in Turkish rhetoric. The proposed Turkish intervention in Syria is no longer being framed in terms of fighting terrorism or even humanitarian assistance. Instead, it is framed in terms of reunification with long-lost “brothers.”

Thousands of protesters tear-gassed by Turkish police in Kurdish city

© Sertac Kayar
© Sertac Kayar / Reuters

Turkish police have fired tear gas at thousands of people protesting in the city of Diyarbakir. Citizens of the Kurdish-majority city had been demonstrating against the continuation of a crackdown on Kurdish activists by Turkish police.

As a sign of protest, shops and schools were closed in the city, which is in southeastern Turkey. A representative of the Democratic Societies Congress said that the demonstration would last for three days before residents decide whether to continue the protests or bring them to a halt, RIA reports....[ ]

US responds to Erdogan’s ultimatum on Kurds

Riled by a meeting between a US official and the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which controls the Syrian town of Kobani, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told Washington to choose between Turkey and, as he put it, the “terrorists.”

RT's Gayane Chichakyan went to the US State Department to get its reaction

Erdogan Blackmailed EU for €30 Bln Over Migrant Crisis Plan
In November, during a meeting with President of the European Council Donald Tusk and European Commission Chairman Jean-Claude Juncker, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded from Brussels €30 billion to resolve the European migrant crisis, a leaked document revealed.

9 February, 2016

The talks took place in Antalya on November 14, 2015. The confidential document has been published by Greek website Euro2Day.

According to it, Erdogan threatened to send migrants to Europe.
By that time, the EU and Turkey had agreed a plan on providing €3 billion to Ankara in exchange for assistance in resolving the migrant issue.

However, Erdogan threatened that he would take measures if the EU delayed Turkey’s admission to the bloc. Particularly, he said Turkey would put refugees on buses to Europe and the consequences for Europe will be "more than a dead boy" on the Turkish shores.
Erdogan refused to receive the €3 billion in two years, which he had earlier agreed to. He said the proposal should be at least €3 billion a year. Otherwise, no deal concerning the refugees would work, according to the document.

It also read that the EU Council of Ministers delayed its progress report on Turkey’s accession to the EU with the purpose to help the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to win the elections.

Erdogan was arrogant and hasty and the negotiations ended with no result, the document read. Demanding more money, he claimed that during the financial crisis Greece received €400 billion from Brussels.

He also told EU officials that Turkey had already spent €8 billion on refugee camps.
"Erdogan asks rhetorically: 'So how will you deal with refugees if you don’t get a deal? Kill the refugees?'," according to the document.
However, this incident exposing Turkey’s position has not been reported to the EU authorities and country members of the bloc, the article read.

Report: Erdogan threatens to flood Europe with refugees

Press TV have reported that a newly leaked report has revealed that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had threatened EU leaders with a flood of refugees unless Ankara was offered better funding to deal with the ongoing crisis.

On Monday, the financial news website published what it claimed to be minutes of a November meeting between Erdogan, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and EU President Donald Tusk.

The report does not state the exact date of the meeting but, according to Reuters, it was probably held on November 16, 2015, in Antalya on the sidelines of a G20 summit.

During the meeting, the EU officials were attempting to gain Turkey’s support for stemming the flow of Syrian asylum seekers pouring towards Europe, most of whom arrive in Europe after crossing the sea between Turkey and Greek islands.

We can open the doors to Greece and Bulgaria anytime and we can put the refugees on buses … So how will you deal with migrants if you don’t get a deal? Kill the refugees?” Erdogan was quoted as saying.

He also demanded some six billion euros over two years. When the amount was denied by Junker, Erdogan said that his country did not need the money anyway.

In the end, Turkey settled for three billion euros, earmarked for improving asylum seekers’ living conditions, revival of the country’s accession talks, and acceleration of visa-free travel for Turkish nationals in exchange for curtailing the number of refugees entering Greece.

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