New Erdogan Decree Grants Immunity For “Suppressing Terror”, Paves Way For Militia Violence

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s latest batch of presidential decrees has transformed Turkey into a nation of government-endorsed militias and “anti-terror vigilantes.”
According to Ahval, Erdogan published Turkey’s latest state of emergency government decree – the country has been under a perpetual state of emergency since the summer of 2016 failed coup – in the Official Gazette on Sunday. And not only does it condone the purging of thousands of civil servants from their jobs, but, in an unprecedented escalation, grants immunity to “those who took to the streets during the coup attempt” or “assisted with suppressing terror.” Furthermore: ”Notwithstanding whether individuals hold a formal title or whether they have fulfilled a formal duty, those who have acted in the scope of suppressing the coup attempt and acts of terror on July 15, 2016, and actions that were extensions of these events” will be exempt from being put on trial for their actions.”
Of course, anyone who has been following the situation in Turkey over the past year-and-a-half (and certainly longer) knows that ‘suppressing terror’ is Erdogan’s popular euphemism for punishing or imprisoning suspected Gulenist sympathizers, and also anyone who dares to bring attention to Erdogan’s brazen corruption.
As a result, the Turkish president has been busy lately, signing a flurry of decrees that have further consolidated political power in the office of the president – a stunning reversal from the early days of Erdogan’s political career, when he was a well-regarded moderate advocating much needed government reforms.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 25, 2017.

Mueller Probes Flynn’s Role In $15 Million Plot To Kidnap Erdogan’s Arch-Nemesis

Last week, we reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is close to asking a grand jury to approve indictments for former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn and his son, Mike Flynn Jr., as investigators believe they have enough evidence to bring charges after speaking to multiple witnesses about Flynn’s lobbying work, including whether he laundered money or lied to federal agents about his overseas contacts. Now, we have a somewhat clearer picture of what Mueller has been digging around for in his investigation of Flynn who was fired after just 24 days on the job.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Mueller is probing a plot involving Flynn and his son to forcibly, and lucratively, remove Fethullah Gulen, who as most regular readers know is Turkish president Erdogan’s arch-nemesis, and the man who – according to Erdogan – controls Turkey’s “deep state”, and was responsible for the failed (and faked) July 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan. In more practical terms, Gulen is a 76-year-old Muslim cleric currently residing in rural Pennsylvania. And, as is also well-known, Erdogan has for years been attempting, lobbying and threatening the US in hopes of getting him extradited back to Turkey. This is where Flynn allegedly comes in: reportedly he, and his son, were part of a plan to grab Gulen and deliver him to Turkey in return for $15 millions. To wit:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 10, 2017.

Middle East ‘Peace’ Report: Turkey Risks Kurdish War on Two Fronts as Army Advances in Syria

Mustafa Denktas had twin sons. One of them, a Kurdish militant, was killed fighting the Turkish army in 2012. Denktas was still in mourning when news arrived three weeks later that the other son had met the same fate.
Back then Turkey’s war with separatist Kurds, however bloody and protracted, was essentially a domestic issue. Now it’s an international conflict. When President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent his army into Syria last month, he wasn’t just striking a blow against Islamic State: a second goal was to stop Kurds from creating a de facto state.
That’s the element of Erdogan’s Syrian gambit that poses the biggest political risks. It threatens to ensnare his soldiers in a civil war that’s already lasted 5 1/2 years, and drive a wedge between Turkey and its NATO allies – especially the U. S., which considers the Syrian Kurds an ally against Islamic extremists. When Moody’s Investors Service cut Turkey’s rating to junk last week, it cited ‘the persistence of geopolitical threats’ among other reasons.
Erdogan is trying to stem a tide that turned more than two decades ago, when war in Iraq left Kurds in charge of that country’s oil-rich north. Since 2011, civil war has given a similar opportunity to Syrian Kurds, who now control of much of the territory along the 900-kilometer border with Turkey. Among the world’s largest ethnic groups without a state of their own, the Kurds can now glimpse a viable one.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner By Selcan Hacaoglu, Bloomberg Business ‘ September 29, 2016.

Turkey in Crisis: Another Painful Lesson Why U.S. Should Avoid Foreign Meddling

This article appeared in Forbes on July 18, 2016. Turkey was convulsed by an attempted coup last week. Nominally democratic but in practice increasingly authoritarian, the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has initiated a broad crackdown that goes well beyond the military. He has the makings of becoming another Vladimir Putin – except supposedly on America’s side, but even that is up for debate. Turkey’s dubious evolution should remind Americans how hard it is for U. S. officials to play social engineers to the world. Instead of constantly meddling in hopes of ‘fixing’ other nations, Washington should step back when its interests are not vitally affected, which is most of the time. The physicians’ injunction, ‘First do no harm,’ would be a good principle for American foreign policy.
Ankara joined NATO during the Cold War. The U. S. was not much concerned about whether Turkey was a democracy. Washington wanted to secure the Balkans and project U. S. power into the Middle East. Containment of the Evil Empire was the principal objective.
That policy should have expired with the collapse of the Soviet Union and dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. Friendship rather than alliance should have become America’s objective. By then Turkey was nominally a parliamentary democracy, but the military still wielded extraordinary power, overthrowing an elected government as late as 1997.
Unfortunately, Washington decided to use its new ‘unipower’ status to attempt to micro-manage the Middle East. Consecutive administrations launched a succession of ill-considered interventions.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on July 20, 2016.

Could There Be A Coup In Turkey?

The situation in Turkey is bad and getting worse. It’s not just the deterioration in security amidst a wave of terrorism. Public debt might be stable, but private debt is out-of-control, the tourism sector is in free-fall, and the decline in the currency has impacted every citizen’s buying power. There is a broad sense, election results notwithstanding, that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is out-of-control. He is imprisoning opponents, seizing newspapers left and right, and building palaces at the rate of a mad sultan or aspiring caliph. In recent weeks, he has once again threatened to dissolve the constitutional court. Corruption is rife. His son Bilal reportedly fled Italy on a forged Saudi diplomatic passport as the Italian police closed in on him in an alleged money laundering scandal. His outbursts are raising eyebrows both in Turkey and abroad. Even members of his ruling party whisper about his increasing paranoia which, according to some Turkish officials, has gotten so bad that he seeks to install anti-aircraft missiles at his palace to prevent airborne men-in-black from targeting him in a snatch-and-grab operation.
Turks – and the Turkish military – increasingly recognize that Erdogan is taking Turkey to the precipice. By first bestowing legitimacy upon imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah calan with renewed negotiations and then precipitating renewed conflict, he has taken Turkey down a path in which there is no chance of victory and a high chance of de facto partition. After all, if civil war renews as in the 1980s and early 1990s, Turkey’s Kurds will be hard-pressed to settle for anything less, all the more so given the precedent now established by their brethren in Iraq and Syria.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on on 03/27/2016.

The Smoking Trucks: Proof That Turkey’s Intelligence Service (MIT) Shipped Weapons To ISIS

Secret official documents about the searching of three trucks belonging to Turkey’s national intelligence service (MIT) have been leaked online, once again corroborating suspicions that Ankara has not been playing a clean game in Syria. According to the authenticated documents, the trucks were found to be transporting missiles, mortars and anti-aircraft ammunition. The Gendarmerie General Command, which authored the reports, alleged, ‘The trucks were carrying weapons and supplies to the al-Qaeda terror organization.’ But Turkish readers could not see the documents in the news bulletins and newspapers that shared them, because the government immediately obtained a court injunction banning all reporting about the affair.
When President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was prime minister, he had said, ‘You cannot stop the MIT truck. You cannot search it. You don’t have the authority. These trucks were taking humanitarian assistance to Turkmens.’
Since then, Erdogan and his hand-picked new Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu have repeated at every opportunity that the trucks were carrying assistance to Turkmens. Public prosecutor Aziz Takci, who had ordered the trucks to be searched, was removed from his post and 13 soldiers involved in the search were taken to court on charges of espionage. Their indictments call for prison terms of up to 20 years.
In scores of documents leaked by a group of hackers, the Gendarmerie Command notes that rocket warheads were found in the trucks’ cargo.
According to the documents that circulated on the Internet before the ban came into effect, this was the summary of the incident:

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on December 2, 2015.

Washington’s Syria “Strategy” In Complete Disarray As “Ally” Turkey Bombs US-Armed Rebels

A little over a week ago in ‘Full Metal Retard: US Launches ‘Performance-Based’ Ammo Paradrop Program For Make-Believe ‘Syrian Arabs” we outlined what is perhaps the most hilarious Pentagon scheme designed to arm rebels in Syria to date (and that’s saying something).
Following the comical demise of the latest ‘train and equip’ program, the US is out of options for supporting the opposition in Syria and so Washington decided to go back to Old Faithful: the Kurds.
But that presents a problem.
The US is now flying sorties from Incirlik and Turkish autocrat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hates the Kurds and has gone out of his way to make it clear that Ankara doesn’t distinguish between the PKK and the YPG. For the uninitiated, here’s the problem broken down in bullet points:
The US is flying from a Turkish airbase Access to that airbase came with NATO’s tacit approval of Erdogan’s move to crack down on the Kurdish PKK operating in Turkey (that crackdown is designed to bolster support for the government ahead of elections next month) Both the US and Turkey designate PKK as a ‘terrorist’ group BUT while Ankara equates the PKK with the Kurdish rebels battling ISIS in Syria, Washington actually supports those same rebels, setting up a conflict of interest Now clearly, this is beyond absurd. That is, Turkey only got NATOs support for the politically motivated crackdown on the PKK because Ankara agreed to bundle said crackdown with a military campaign against ISIS. But the Syrian Kurds are the most effective ground force of them all when it comes to combating Islamic State. Because those Syrian Kurds are aligned with the PKK, Turkey is effectively trying to say its army is fighting ISIS, the PKK, and YPG all at once even as both the PKK and the YPG are also fighting ISIS.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 10/27/2015.

Mal-Asia: Politcal, Currency Crises Converge As Stocks Head For Bear Market

As the great EM unwind continues unabated, we’ve noted that in some hard-hit countries, the terrible trio of falling commodity prices, decelerating Chinese demand, and looming Fed hike has been exacerbated by political turmoil.
In Brazil, for instance, President Dilma Rousseff’s approval rating is at 8% and voters are calling for her impeachment amid allegations of fiscal book cooking and corruption at Petrobras where she was chairwoman for seven years. This comes as the BRL looks set for further weakness and as the country grapples with stagflation and dual deficits.
In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has brought the country to the brink of civil war in an effort to nullify a strong showing at the ballot box by the pro-Kurdish HDP. In the process, he’s managed to put the lira under more pressure than it might already be under and indeed, the currency is putting in new lows against the dollar on almost daily basis.
Now, we turn to Malaysia where, as we documented exactly a week ago, the situation is tenuous at best and nearing a veritable meltdown at worst. As a reminder, here’s what happened last Friday:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 08/21/2015.

Pepe Escobar: The Caliph fit to join OPEC

Islamic State leader Caliph Ibrahim – aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – never ceases to amaze us – and most of all his powerful petrodollar-stuffed backers. The Caliph is for all practical purposes now an oil major worth of membership of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). His takfiri/mercenary goons – in theory – have for some time been extracting, refining, shipping and/or smuggling and clinching juicy deals involving vast quantities of oil, reaping profits of roughly US$2 million a day.
The Caliph's oil prices are to die (be beheaded?) for; after all, he's implementing the same low-price strategy concocted by the people he wants to dethrone in Mecca, the House of Saud. The caliphate's GDP across "Syraq" has only one way to go: up.
And oh, the irony Top customers for The Caliph's cheap oil happen to be "Sultan" Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Earthly paradise, aka Turkey – a North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally – and that King "Playstation" Abdullah II ibn al-Hussein's domain impersonating a country, aka Jordan.
Meanwhile, the awesome, immensely sophisticated military apparatus/intel agency acronym fest deployed by "free" U.S./NATO somehow is simply unable to register/intercept this racket.

This post was published at Asia Times