Turkey’s President threatens to impose sanctions on the Netherlands and take it to the European Court of Human Rights over a recent speaking ban.
The Russian ambassador to Turkey has been shot dead in an attack at an Ankara art gallery by a gunman shouting “Don’t forget Aleppo”.
The jets hit 18 targets in Maarrat Umm Hawsh, a region north of the city of Aleppo, the official news agency Anadolu said.The army claimed 160 to 200 militants f
How the West would love to believe that Turkey’s army in Syria – all 10 tanks of it – are striking at last at everyone’s enemy, the blood-soaked cult of the “Islamic State”. But few in Syria or Turkey will be fooled. Isis have been sitting in Jerablus for many months; it is the advance of the American-armed Kurdish YPG militia along the Turkish border towards Jerablus that worries Sultan Erdogan.
Turkey has banned all academics from leaving the country, and has ordered all those who are abroad to return immediately, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan implements a far-reaching crackdown following the failed coup to oust his government. All teachers’ annual leave has been cancelled, and those abroad have been given hours to return to Turkey where they must report for work at 8.30am on Thursday.
France’s foreign minister has said Turkey may no longer be a viable partner in the fight against Isis in Syria, while Syrian state media has claimed the failed coup in the country was fabricated by President Erdogan to tarnish the military’s reputation.
The sweeping purge of soldiers and officials in the wake of the failed coup in Turkey is likely to be conducted with extra vigour because a number of close associates of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are among the 265 dead. The number of people detained so far is at 6,000 including soldiers, and around 3,000 judges and legal officials who are unlikely to have been connected to the attempted military takeover.
The coup plays right into the hands of authoritarian president Erdogan.
Nearly 3,000 soldiers arrested and 2,700 judges fired as Turkey begins punishing those linked to attempted coup.
Istanbul’s international airport has reopened with Turkish Airlines resuming flights on Saturday following a failed coup attempt.
Turkey’s military has claimed to have seized power of the country – but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the attempted coup would be put down. If successful, the overthrow of Mr Erdogan, who has ruled Turkey since 2003, would transform one of the most important US allies in the region while war rages on its border. “We will overcome this,” Mr Erdogan said, speaking by mobile phone to the Turkish sister station of CNN. He called on his followers to take to the streets to defend his government and said the coup plotters would pay a heavy price.
As police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse crowds protesting outside the headquarters of the opposition Zaman newspaper in Istanbul on Friday, RT discussed with experts media persecutions in Turkey.
Turkey favors Syrian jihadist groups that emerged from Al-Qaeda, a top Kurdish commander has told Russian media. He claims that Ankara, along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have been furnishing extremists with weapons and munitions.
Global outcry over academic freedom and human rights has erupted following news on Friday that the Turkish government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has arrested at least 18 academics and scholars for signing an open letter last week calling for the end of Turkey’s brutal treatment of the country’s Kurdish people.
December 8, 2015
This week Eric welcomes to CounterPunch Radio author, political analyst, and regular CounterPunch contributor John Wight to discuss recent developments in Syria, and the regional geopolitics that inform all events in the Middle East. Eric and John go in depth on the downing of the Russian jet by Turkey, and what that means for the ongoing war in Syria. They address a wide range of issues from the interplay between Wahhabi extremism and the Muslim Brotherhood, to the political development, and regional significance, of Egypt. The conversation also touches on the economic motivations of the interested parties, the role of Israel, Obama vs the Neocons, British politics as related to the war on Syria, and much much more. This far-ranging interview is yet another example of the kind of thing you just don’t find outside CounterPunch.
Intro/Outtro: “Freight Train Rollin'” by David Vest
Interlude: “Where Were You” by The Mekons
The Turkish government is hitting against the part which is not as strong as Russia and other regional partners of Syria. They are hitting back at the Kurds – at the Kurdish civil society in Turkey, says Karin Leukefeld, Middle East journalist.
Turkey will not withdraw hundreds of soldiers who arrived last week at a base in northern Iraq despite being ordered by Baghdad to pull them out.
Turkey’s decision to down a Russian fighter jet was dictated by a desire to defend IS oil supplies to Turkey, Vladimir Putin says.
The shooting down of a Russian fighter jet on the Turkey-Syria border is a grave development that could push the world back towards the darkest hour of the Cold War, a foreign policy expert has warned.
”Turkey is an important partner for the EU in the fight against terrorism and extremism. Clearer actions from the Turkish side in the implementation of necessa
(Reuters) – A convoy of peshmerga fighters from northern Iraq headed across southeastern Turkey on Wednesday towards the Syrian town of Kobani to try to help fellow Kurds break an Islamic State siege which has defied U.S.-led air strikes.
Kobani, on the border with Turkey, has been under assault for more than a month and its fate has become a test of the U.S.-led coalition’s ability to combat the Sunni Muslim insurgents.
Weeks of air strikes on Islamic State positions around Kobani and the deaths of hundreds of their fighters have failed to break the siege. The Kurds and their international allies hope the arrival of the peshmerga, along with heavier weapons, can turn the tide.
The Kurdish fighters were given a heroes’ welcome as their convoy of jeeps and flatbed trucks, some bearing heavy machineguns, snaked its way for around 400 km (250 miles) through Turkey’s mostly Kurdish southeast after crossing the border from northern Iraq.
The presence of Kurdish forces passing with government permission through a part of Turkey which has seen a three-decade insurgency by local Kurdish PKK militants was an extraordinary sight for many residents.
Villagers set bonfires, let off fireworks and chanted by the side of the road as the convoy passed. Thousands took to the streets of the border town of Suruc, descending on its tree-lined main square and spilling into side streets, some with faces painted in the colors of the Kurdish flag.
“All the Kurds are together. We want them to go and fight in Kobani and liberate it,” said Issa Ahamd, an 18-year-old high school student among the almost 200,000 Syrian Kurds who have fled to Turkey since the assault on Kobani began.
An initial group of between 90 and 100 peshmerga fighters arrived by plane amid tight security in the nearby city of Sanliurfa early on Wednesday, according to Adham Basho, a member of the Syrian Kurdish National Council from Kobani.
Saleh Moslem, co-chair of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), said the peshmerga were expected to bring heavy arms to Kobani – known as Ayn al-Arab in Arabic.
“It’s mainly artillery, or anti-armor, anti-tank weapons,” he said. The lightly armed Syrian Kurds have said such weaponry is crucial to driving back Islamic State insurgents, who have used armored vehicles and tanks in their assault.
Kurdistan’s Minister of Peshmerga, Mustafa Sayyid Qader, told local media on Tuesday that no limits had been set to how long the forces would remain in Kobani. The Kurdistan Regional Government has said the fighters would not engage in direct combat in Kobani but rather provide artillery support.
Islamic State has caused international alarm by capturing large expanses of Iraq and Syria, declaring an Islamic “caliphate” that erases borders between the two. Its fighters have slaughtered or driven away Shi’ite Muslims, Christians and other communities who do not share their ultra-radical brand of Sunni Islam.
Fighters from the Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s official affiliate in the Syrian civil war, have meanwhile seized territory from moderate rebels in recent days, expanding their control into one of the few areas of northern Syria not already held by hardline Islamists.
Nearly 10 million people have been displaced by Syria’s war and close to 200,000 killed, according to the United Nations. A Syrian army helicopter dropped two barrel bombs on a displaced persons camp in the northern province of Idlib on Wednesday, killing many, camp residents said.
In Iraq, security forces said they had advanced to within 2 km (1.2 miles) of the city of Baiji on Wednesday in a new offensive to retake the country’s biggest oil refinery that has been besieged since June by Islamic State.
Islamic State has threatened to massacre Kobani’s defenders, triggering a call to arms from Kurds across the region.
The U.S. military conducted 14 air strikes on Tuesday and Wednesday against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, according to a statement from U.S. Central Command. Eight of the raids destroyed Islamic State targets near Kobani, it said.
At least a dozen shells fired by Islamic State fighters fell on the town overnight as clashes with the main Syrian Kurdish armed group, the YPG, continued, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
It said preparations were being made at a border gate which Islamic State fighters have repeatedly tried to capture before the arrival of the peshmerga, while YPG and Islamic State forces exchanged fire in gun battles on the southern edge of the town.
The Observatory also said 50 Syrian fighters had entered Kobani from Turkey with their weapons, though it was unclear which group they belonged to. Turkey has pushed for moderate Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad to join the battle against Islamic State in Kobani.
Rebel commander Abdul Jabbar al-Oqaidi said he had led 200 Free Syrian Army fighters into Kobani but there was no independent confirmation of this. The FSA describes dozens of armed groups fighting Assad but with little or no central command. It is widely outgunned by Islamist insurgents.
The Iraqi Kurdish region’s parliament voted last week to deploy some peshmerga forces to Syria and, under pressure from Western allies, Turkey agreed to let then cross its territory.
The United States and its allies in the coalition have made clear they do not plan to send troops to fight Islamic State in Syria or Iraq, but they need fighters on the ground to capitalize on their air strikes.
Syrian Kurds have called for the international community to provide them with heavier weapons and munitions and they have received an air drop from the United States.
But Turkey accuses Kurdish groups in Kobani of links to the militant PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), which has fought the insurgency against the Turkish state and is regarded as a terrorist group by Ankara, Washington and the European Union.
That has complicated efforts to provide aid.
A Syrian Kurdish official said in Paris on Wednesday that France, which has taken part in air strikes in Iraq and given Iraqi peshmerga fighters weapons and training, had yet to fulfill a promise to give support to Kurds in Syria.
“France has said it was ready to help the Kurds, but we haven’t been received by the French authorities. There has been no direct or indirect contact,” Khaled Eissa, representative in France of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), said.
French officials confirmed there had been no meetings in large part due to concern about historic links to the PKK.
Ankara fears Syria’s Kurds will exploit the chaos by following their brethren in Iraq and seeking to carve out an independent state in northern Syria, emboldening PKK militants in Turkey and derailing a fragile peace process.
The stance has enraged Turkey’s own Kurdish minority, about a fifth of the population and half of all Kurds across the region. Kurds suspect Ankara, which has refused to send in its forces to relieve Kobani, would rather see Islamic State jihadists extend their territorial gains than allow Kurdish insurgents to consolidate local power.