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Turkey’s Dangerous Ambitions

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Re: Turkey’s Dangerous Ambitions

Post  Admin on Tue 22 Mar 2016 - 15:27

Turkey refugee deal 'is ILLEGAL': UN Human rights groups warn that collective expulsion of foreigners is banned under international law
Talks broke up in Brussels, but EU confident deal will be struck next week
Ankara has tabled plan to take back one illegal Syrian migrant for every genuine Syrian refugee that is resettled in Europe from Turkish camps
Turkey accused of holding Europe to ransom after demanding €6billion in aid – double the previous figure – to help its 2.9million refugees
Ankara also wants visa-free travel for Turks by June and faster talks on Turkey becoming a full member of the EU
Critics says visa deal will encourage even more economic migrants to EU
Human rights groups claim the deal could be illegal because collective expulsion of foreigners is banned under international law
For more on the EU refugee crisis visit www.dailymail.co.uk/refugeecrisis
PUBLISHED: 07:50, 8 March 2016 | UPDATED: 11:54, 9 March 2016
An EU deal with Turkey to stem the migrant crisis was last night in chaos as the UN warned it could be illegal.
European leaders hope to finalise the plan next week for Turkey to take back those crossing the Aegean Sea, in return for giving Ankara more than £4billion in aid – including £500million from Britain.
Turkey is also demanding that its citizens – nearly 80million – are allowed to travel to continental Europe without visas.
But at the heart of the deal is a controversial refugee exchange programme that would see the EU admit one refugee directly from Turkey for each Syrian it took back from the Greek islands.
All migrants intercepted as they head to Greece on boats will be returned to Turkey. They will not be part of any exchange deal.
However, even senior EU officials have admitted there are doubts about the legality of the proposals and there are fears that the forcible return of people who have paid thousands to smugglers to come to Europe could lead to violence.
Turkey is home to some 2.7million Syrian refugees and Filippo Grandi, the UN’s high commissioner for refugees, told the European Parliament in Strasbourg yesterday he is ‘deeply concerned about any arrangement that would involve the blanket return of anyone from one country to another without spelling out the refugee protection safeguards’.
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Amnesty International called the proposed mass return of migrants a ‘death blow to the right to seek asylum’, while Tory MEP and former home office minister Timothy Kirkhope said it would ‘almost certainly’ be challenged in the European courts.
European Council president Donald Tusk, who is in charge of brokering the deal, admitted the end of Monday’s summit where the framework was agreed: ‘We have to be cautious with some details – for example the legal aspects.’ 
Ankara last night tabled the 'one-for-one' plan to take back all illegal Syrian migrants in exchange for the EU resettling an equal number of genuine refugees directly from Turkey.
After 12 hours of talks in Brussels, EU leaders hailed the offer as a 'game-changing' breakthrough in the bloc's attempts to stem the flow of asylum seekers into the Continent.
But critics condemned it as a 'dirty' and 'catastrophic' deal amid fears it could make the problem worse by creating a 'migrant merry-go-round'. 
Turkey has also been accused of holding Europe to ransom by demanding it doubles its current offer of funding to €6billion to deal with the 2.7million refugees in the country.  
The deal could create an incentive for Turkey to allow many more illegal Syrian refugees through to Greece because for every one sent back, Europe would then take a Syrian from Turkish camps, which would not have happened before.
This could potentially bring hundreds of thousands more migrants into Europe by the time the deal expires in December 2018. 
It also raises security concerns because it would be reliant on Turkey correctly determining who is a genuine asylum seeker. 
The proposed deal came as Turkey and Greece vowed to work closelyon a plan to send back migrants rejected by Europe, laying aside historic differences in an agreement they hope will end illegal flows of people across the Aegean Sea.  

As part of the deal, backed by British Prime Minister David Cameron, Turkey has also demanded visa-free travel in Europe for its citizens by June and faster talks on it joining the EU, all moves critics say will only intensify the crisis.
Ukip leader Nigel Farage said: 'EU actions are going from bad to catastrophic. Visa-free access to the EU for Turks will only encourage more economic migrants.
'Turkey is a state with a terrible human rights record which has facilitated ISIS fighters and finance.
'It's completely wrong-headed of Cameron to support this move and indeed full Turkish accession.
'How will an economically failing, migrant-flooded EU look in ten years' time?' 
David Davis, Tory spokesman for the Grassroots Out campaign, said: 'We are being held to ransom by the Turkish government. This whole charade proves what pitiful influence we have within the EU.
'The fact we are set to give Turkey £500million to help them deal with their own crisis – and then allow 77million Turks visa-free access to Schengen by the summer as a bonus – demonstrates that the EU is a very weak negotiator in these matters, and is a club we are better off not being a part of.' 
Human rights groups have also been scathing about a Europe preaching democracy but cutting a deal with a Turkish government accused of persecuting opponents.
Many are concerned about a quickfire process of deporting everyone back to Turkey with little regard for individuals. 
As such, the UN's refugee agency (UNHR) and human rights group Amnesty International claim the whole deal could be illegal.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3481673/Hopes-breakthrough-refugees-crisis-Ankara-offers-illegal-migrants-exchange-EU-accepting-equal-number-genuine-asylum-seekers-direct-Turkey.html#ixzz43e0pji8d 
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Re: Turkey’s Dangerous Ambitions

Post  Admin on Tue 22 Mar 2016 - 0:40

Turkey's Erdoğan Gambles and Loses
by Daniel Pipes
The Australian
March 19, 2016

Originally published under the title "Erdoğan's Despotic Slide in Turkey is Bad News for Europe."

A rhetorical question by the time the Economist ran this cover in June 2013.
The Republic of Turkey, long a democratizing Muslim country solidly in the Western camp, now finds itself internally racked and at the center of two external crises, the civil war in next-door Syria and the illegal immigration that is changing European politics. The prospects for Turkey and its neighbors are worrisome, if not ominous.

The key development was the coming to power of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2002, when a fluke election outcome gave him total control of the government, which he then brilliantly parlayed into a personal dominion. After years of restraint and modesty, his real personality – grandiloquent, Islamist, and aggressive – came out. Now, he seeks to rule as a despot, an ambition that causes his country incessant, avoidable problems.

Initially, Erdoğan's disciplined approach to finance permitted the Turkish economy to achieve China-like economic growth and won him increasing electoral support while making Ankara a new player in regional affairs.

After years of restraint, the real Erdoğan – grandiloquent, Islamist, and aggressive – came out.

But then conspiracy theories, corruption, short-sightedness, and incompetence cut into the growth, making Turkey economically vulnerable.

Initially, Erdoğan took unprecedented steps to resolve his country's Kurdish problem, acknowledging that this ethnic minority making up roughly 20 percent of the country's population has its own culture and allowing it to express itself in its own language.

But then, for electoral reasons, he abruptly reversed himself last year, resulting in a more-than-ever determined and violent Kurdish insurgency, to the point that civil war has become a real prospect.

Initially, Erdoğan accepted the traditional autonomy of the major institutions in Turkish life – law courts, the military, the press, banks, schools.

Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Can Dündar (right) and journalist Erdem Gül (left) were jailed on charges of terrorism and espionage when they exposed Erdoğan's covert support for ISIS.
No longer; now he seeks to control everything.

Take the case of two prominent journalists, Can Dündar and Erdem Gül: because their newspaper, Cumhuriyet, exposed the Turkish government's clandestine support for the Islamic State (ISIS), Erdoğan had them imprisoned on the surreal charges of espionage and terrorism. Worse, when the Constitutional Court (Turkey's highest) reversed this sentence, Erdoğan accused the court of ruling "against the country and its people" and indicated he would ignore its decision.

Initially, Erdoğan maintained cautious and correct relations with Moscow, benefiting economically and using Russia as a balance against the United States. But since the reckless Turkish shoot-down of a Russian warplane last November, followed by a defiant lack of apology, the little bully (Erdoğan) has more than met his match with the big bully (Russia's Vladimir Putin) and Turkey is paying the price. French President François Hollande has publicly warned of "a risk of war" between Turkey and Russia.

Initially, Erdoğan's accommodating policies translated into a calming of domestic politics; now, his bellicosity has led to a string of minor and major acts of violence. To make matters worse, many of them are murky in origin and purpose, building paranoia. For example, before the Kurdish group TAK claimed responsibility for the bombing on Mar. 13 that killed 37 near the prime minister's office in Ankara, the attack was variously blamed on Kurds, ISIS, and the Turkish government; . It was interpreted as intending to justify a more forceful campaign against domestic Kurds or to punish the government for attacking the Kurds; to encourage a Turkish military invasion of Syria or to frame Erdoğan's political archenemy, the Gülen movement.

The scene in Ankara on March 13.
Initially, Turkey became a plausible candidate for membership in the European Union thanks to Erdoğan's muted behavior. Now, his slide toward despotism and Islamism means the Europeans go merely through the motions of pretending to negotiate with Ankara, while counting on the Republic of Cyprus to blackball its application; as Turkish journalist Burak Bekdil notes, "modern Turkey has never been this galactically distant from the core values enshrined by the European civilization and its institutions."

In the early months of the Syrian uprising, Erdoğan offered sage advice to the dictator in Damascus, Bashar al-Assad, about relaxing his grip and allowing political participation. Things have gone so awry that – as Dündar and Gül reported – Erdoğan now supports ISIS, the most fanatical and Islamist organization of today, and perhaps ever. That support has taken many forms: permitting foreigners to cross Turkey to reach Syria, allowing recruitment in Turkey, providing medical care, and provisioning money and arms. Despite this, ISIS, fearful of betrayal by Ankara, threatens and attacks Turks.

Erdoğan's error of backing ISIS and other Sunni Islamist organizations in Syria has hurt him in another way, leading to a massive influx of Syrian refugees to Turkey, where, increasingly unwelcomed by the indigenous population, they cause new social and economic strains.

Which brings us to Erdoğan's latest gambit. The many Syrian refugees wanting to go on to northwestern Europe provide him with a handy mechanism to blackmail the European Union: pay me huge amounts of money (€6 billion at latest count) and permit 80 million Turks to travel visa-free to your countries, or I will dump more unwelcome Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans, Somalis, et al. on you.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu speaks at a conference on immigration.
So far, the ploy has worked. Led by Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Europeans are succumbing to Erdoğan's demands. But this may well be a Pyrrhic victory, hurting Erdoğan's long-term interests. In the first place, forcing Europeans to pretend they are not being blackmailed and to welcome Turkey with clenched teeth, creates a foul mood, further reducing, if not killing off, Turkish chances for membership.

Second, Erdoğan's game has prompted a profound and probably lasting shift in mood in Europe against accepting more immigrants from the Middle East – including Turks – as demonstrated by the poor showing of Merkel's party in elections earlier this month.

This is just the start. In combination, these errors by Erdoğan point to more crises ahead. Gökhan Bacik, a professor at Ipek University in Ankara, notes that "Turkey is facing a multifaceted catastrophe," the scale of which "is beyond Turkey's capacity for digestion." If Iran is today the Middle East's greatest danger, Turkey is tomorrow's.

Daniel Pipes (DanielPipes.org, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum.

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Turkey’s Dangerous Ambitions

Post  Admin on Tue 29 Dec 2015 - 21:11

Turkey’s Dangerous Ambitions
By Burak Bekdil December 28, 2015 , 7:00 am
Erdogan repeated on Dec. 11 that Turkey would not pull out its troops out of Iraq. In response, Iraq appealed to the UN Security Council to demand an immediate withdrawal of all Turkish troops from Iraq, calling Turkey’s incursion a “flagrant violation” of international law.

“For centuries, and even since the Mongols, sensible Islam has asked: ‘What went wrong? Why has God forsaken us, and allowed others to reach the moon?'” — Professor Norman Stone, prominent expert on Turkish politics.
With the inferiority complex and megalomania still gripping the country’s Islamist polity, Erdogan’s Islam is not sensible; it is perilous.
It is the same old Middle East story: The Shiite accuse Sunnis of passionately following sectarian policies; Sunnis accuse the Shiite of passionately following sectarian polices; and they are both right. Except that Turkey’s pro-Sunni sectarian policies are taking an increasingly perilous turn as they push Turkey into new confrontations, adding newcomers to an already big list of hostile countries.
image: http://www.breakingisraelnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/BIN-OpEd-Experts-300x2501.png

Take President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent remarks on the centuries-old Shiite-Sunni conflict: they amusingly looked more like a confession than an accusation: “Today we are faced with an absolute sectarianism. Who is doing it? Who are they? Iran and Iraq,” Erdogan said.
This is the same Erdogan who once said, “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers….” Is that not sectarian?
So, with a straight face, the President of one sectarian country (Sunni Turkey) is accusing another country (Shiite Iran and Shiite-dominated Iraq) of being sectarian.
Erdogan went on: “What about the Sunnis? There are Sunni Arabs, Sunni Turkmen and Sunni Kurds [in Iraq and Syria]. What will happen to their security? They want to feel safe.”
Never realizing that its ambitions to spread Sunni Islam over large swaths of the Middle East, especially Syria and Iraq, were bigger than its ability to do so, Turkey now finds itself confronting a formidable bloc of pro-Shiite countries: Russia, Iran, Syria, Iraq, and (not to mention the much smaller Lebanon).
Even before the crisis with Russia that began on November 24 — over Turkey’s shooting down a Russian SU-24 along the Turkish-Syrian border — has shown any sign of de-escalation, another Turkish move had sparked a major dispute with neighboring Iraq.
Just when Turkey moved to reinforce its hundreds of troops at a military camp in Iraq, the Baghdad government gave an ultimatum to Ankara for the removal of all Turkish soldiers stationed in Iraq since last year. Turkey responded by halting its reinforcements. Not enough, the Iraqis apparently think. Iraq’s prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, said on December 7 that his country might turn to the UN security council if Turkish troops in northern Iraq were not withdrawn within 48 hours. Hadi al-Ameri, the head of the militant Shiite Badr Organization, threatened that his group would fight Turkish forces if Ankara continued its troop deployment.
Badr Brigade spokesman Karim al-Nuri put the Turkish ambitions in quite a realistic way: “We have the right to respond and we do not exclude any type of response until the Turks have learned their lesson … Do they have a dream of restoring Ottoman greatness? This is a great delusion and they will pay dearly for Turkish arrogance.”
Inevitably, Russia came into the picture. Russia’s UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said he told the Security Council that Turkey was acting “recklessly and inexplicably” by sending troops across the border into Iraq without the consent of the Iraqi government. According to Russia, the Turkish move “lacks legality.”
All that fell on deaf ears in Ankara, as Erdogan repeated on Dec. 11 that Turkey would not pull out its troops from Iraq. In response, Iraq appealed to the UN Security Council to demand an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all Turkish troops from northern Iraq, calling Turkey’s military incursion a “flagrant violation” of international law.
The next day, Shiite militia members gathered in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square to protest against Turkey. Crowds of young men in military fatigues, as well as some Shiite politicians, chanted against Turkish “occupation,” vowing they would fight the Turkish troops themselves if they do not withdraw. Angry protesters also burned Turkish flags.
image: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/pics/1399.jpg

Supporters of Iraqi Shiite militias burned Turkish flags in Baghdad this month, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan refused to withdraw Turkey’s troops from northern Iraq.
Through its efforts to oust Syria’s non-Sunni president, Bashar al-Assad, and build a Muslim Brotherhood-type of Sunni Islamist regime in Damascus, Turkey has become everyone’s foe over its eastern and southern borders — in addition to having to wait anxiously for the next Russian move to hit it — not knowing where the blow will come from.

The confrontation with Russia has given Moscow an excuse to augment its military deployment in Syria and the eastern Mediterranean, and weaken allied air strikes against Islamic State (IS).
Russia has increased its military assets in the region, including deploying S-400 air and anti-missile defense systems, probably ready to shoot down the first Turkish fighter jet flying over Syrian skies.
image: http://www.breakingisraelnews.com/wp-content/uploads/useful_banner_manager_banners/18-HebrewNameCertificate-Chana-600WIDE.jpg
Waiting for Turkish-Russian tensions to ease, and trying to avoid a clash between NATO member Turkey and Russia, U.S. officials have quietly put on hold a request for Turkey to more actively to join the allied air missions in Syria against IS. After having lost its access to Syrian soil, Turkey also has been declared militarily non grata in Iraq.
As Professor Norman Stone, a prominent expert on Turkish politics, explained in a recent article: “Erdogan’s adventurism has been quite successful so far, but it amounts to an extraordinary departure for Turkish foreign policy, and maybe even risks the destruction of the country. How on earth could this happen? The background is an inferiority complex, and megalomania. For centuries, and even since the Mongols, sensible Islam has asked: ‘What went wrong? Why has God forsaken us, and allowed others to reach the moon?'”
With the inferiority complex and megalomania still gripping the country’s Islamist polity, Erdogan’s Islam is not sensible; it is perilous.
Reprinted with author’s permission from Gatestone Institute

Read more at http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/7079/turkey-ambitions#MjfZcPscfa0gi3rC.99

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