Turkey Continues to Look East; Iran Hit by Sanctions

TURKEY, SYRIA: Former enemies find common ground on Kurdish rebels
October 11, 2010 Meris Lutz in Beirut, LA Times

Turkey, a member of the North Atlanta Treaty Organization and an American ally, appears to be developing a synchronized security strategy with Syria, a partner of Iran and the Shiite militia Hezbollah, in a development that is likely to increase Western anxieties over Turkey’s shift eastward.

Just a decade after Turkey and Syria nearly went to war over Syrian support for Kurdish militants, the two neighbors are working together to stamp out the most powerful rebel Kurd group, the Kurdish Workers Party, known by the Turkish acronym PKK.

On Monday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was in Damascus to discuss a joint Syrian-Turkish security crackdown on the PKK, which maintains a strong presence in northern Syrian and southeastern Turkey. The Turkish press also reported on efforts to step up cooperation with Iraq and Iran in an effort to wipe out the PKK completely.

Even Syrian President Bashar Assad expressed surprise at the speed with which Turkish-Syrian relations have improved, according to an official Syrian report based on an interview the president gave last week to Arabic-language Turkish channel TRT TV.

“There is very great momentum and acceleration … so we can say that yes, we expected this, but we’re very glad that the time was less than expected,” Assad said.

Back in July, Turkish media reported that Syria had arrested over 400 Kurds thought to have links to the PKK, which is on both the American and European Union’s list of terrorist organizations……

Growing ties between Turkey, China, Iran worry Israel and U.S.

Turkey held military drill with China, after canceling with Israel; cooperation also reflected in weapons deals, with Iran buying from China mainly missile technology.
By Anshel Pfeffer

The United States and Israel are watching with concern the growing military cooperation among Turkey, China and Iran, especially following a joint Turkish-Chinese air-force exercise last week.

Until two years ago Israel was Turkey’s main partner for air combat training.

In 2001 the Turkish air force inaugurated a tactical air warfare center in Konya with Israel and the United States.

Until 2008 the Israel Air Force was a frequent guest in Turkey’s sky and a regular participant in the country’s big annual exercise, Anatolian Eagle.

In the wake of Operation Cast Lead and the subsequent deterioration of bilateral relations Turkey last year revoked Israel’s participation in the maneuvers. The United States decided not to take part in the exercise this year because of that decision. A number of other NATO members followed suit.

Turkey replaced the Israel Air Force with its Chinese counterpart. China sent Sukhoi SU-27 fighter aircraft and pilots to train with Turkey’s F-16 fighters. In the past these exercises were held in relatively openness, but last week they were held covertly, with only a brief report appearing in the Turkish media after the exercise.

The West has been watching the changes in the Chinese army’s structure, and especially the long-range naval and aerial exercises that indicate Beijing’s intention to acquire the ability to conduct warfare far from China’s borders.

The Chinese are also aggressively pursuing cyber warfare capabilities, employing some 60,000 hackers at it, according to foreign intelligence reports.

The Obama administration protested Turkey’s military cooperation with Iran after it was reported that the Chinese fighter planes were sent to Turkey via Pakistan and Iran.

The developing ties among Turkey, Iran and China are also reflected in weapons deals, with Iran buying from China mainly missile technology.

The C-802 antiship missile fired by Hezbollah in the Second Lebanon War at the Israel Navy’s Hanit missile boat was manufactured in Iran with Chinese technology.

China has also developed a surface-to-surface rocket-launching system together with Turkey. China’s Prime Minister Wen Jiabao is due to visit Ankara this month and to sign several bilateral cooperation agreements.

Turkey and China are also involved in projects to build oil pipelines from Iran.

Another reason for the close relations between the two states is that China, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, has been in the forefront of opposition to imposing harsher sanctions on Iran in connection to the Islamic state’s nuclear program.

Turning turkey on Turkey
newnations.com

US will not participate in the annual joint air force exercise with Turkey in October if Israel is not invited as well..

Anonymous sources have reported that Washington sent a message to the Turkish military that its aircraft will only partake in the exercises held annually between the US, Israel, and Turkey, if the Israeli Air Force is also asked to join.

Turkey cancelled Israel’s participation in the air force drill in 2009 in criticism of the Jewish state’s actions in Gaza. The US cancelled participation then, too, as a show of solidarity with Israel.

The Israel Navy’s raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla further strained relations between the countries, even prompted the recall of the Turkish ambassador from Tel Aviv. Turkey has demanded an apology from Israel and compensation to the families of the nine Turkish nationals killed in the incident.

Tensions have also been intensified between Washington and Ankara over Turkey’s vote against increased international sanctions against Iran over the latter’s nuclear program. In addition, Turkey has revoked Israel’s access to its air space for military drills, sending Israel into the arms of Greece.

The US is particularly irked by Turkey’s stance on Iran’s nuclear program and its warm relations with Hamas and Syria, although there is more than one position in the US government about links with Syria….

The US Senate is also displeased with Turkey. Republican senators are currently obstructing the appointment of ambassador-designate to Turkey Francis Joseph Ricciardone due to his moderate positions.

Course of developments will depend on Israel’s stance from now on, Turkish FM
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on Monday that resumption of indirect talks between Syria and Israel depended on stance of Israel.

……. Davutoğlu said he met with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem and assessed regional matters like Iraq and Lebanon. He said they had a brief assessment on Syria-Israel indirect talks but did not have the opportunity to have talks in detail.

“Turkey has several times reiterated its position on the matter. Syria also did. Actually, two days before my visit, Syrian Foreign Minister Muallem said the talks could only resume over Turkey and expressed Syria’s readiness to start talk from the point it has left. From now on, course of the developments will depend on Israel. …..

Iran’s Currency has Fallen by 10% last Week

Ahmadinejad Returns to Chaos
by Reza Aslan – The Daily Beast!

Don’t let the Iranian president’s confidence at the U.N. last week fool you: He is going home to a country in political turmoil, an economy on the verge of utter collapse, and a government in total deadlock…..The coalition of military, clerical, and political conservatives that had rallied to him in opposition to the Green Movement has completely fallen apart. Now that they no longer have to contend with an unarmed group of college kids demanding their basic rights, Ahmadinejad’s erstwhile allies have begun focusing all their anger upon him.

In the last few weeks, a number of high-profile members of Iran’s parliament—many of them Ahmadinejad’s former supporters—have openly threatened him with impeachment…….

Assad on Turkey

President Bashar al-Assad said that it was hard to imagine that the level of Syrian-Turkish relations would reach their current strategic level in such a short time, but that there was a vision that this was possible for a simple reason, which is that the Turkish-Arab relation is one of fraternity, saying “we lived for hundreds of years in one state, and before the Ottoman state we lived in an Arab state and other different ages and stages… we were always together.” In an interview with the Turkish Arabic-speaking TRT TV satellite station broadcast Wednesday, President al-Assad said that this relation is a natural human relation that underwent conditions that weren’t good for less than a century – around 80 years – and this period cannot replace the entire history of the relation that spans many centuries, adding “it is natural to have confidence and faith that you will reach this level… if we didn’t have this confidence we wouldn’t have reached it… we cannot arrive by chance…..

His Excellency pointed out that there was another side that cannot be denied which is Turkey’s stances towards various issues.

First, Turkey’s stance towards the Palestinian issue which concerns every Arab and every Muslim.

Second, Turkey’s stance towards the war on Iraq, particularly when it refused to become the land from which American planes or foreign forces mobilize to invade Iraq.

“The third stance for us in Syria was when a number of countries were attempting to isolate Syria… most of these countries were participating in this isolation in fear of or in compliance with external pressure… but Turkey maintained a steady relation, which means independence, therefore we move towards any people that proved their independence and motivated their state to be independent like the Turkish people… I believe that these are the main factors that led to this fast launch in relations,” President al-Assad said…….

Another point which asserts the Turkish role is our experiment with the US during 19 years.

Since 1991, the US proved capable of giving guarantees but it was unable to play the role of mediator because it was biased toward one side and because it was ignorant of the culture of the region.”….

Iraq

“What is important for Syria is an Iraqi government that works for the unity, stability and sovereignty of Iraq. The Iraqi government should improve relations with the neighboring countries including Syria.” President al-Assad added, “After elections, communications started between us and the List of Law State headed by al-Maliki.

There was transparent talk about the previous stage of disagreement during the past year, as Syria was accused of supporting terrorists in Iraq. Mistakes were clarified.

…..”President al-Assad added, “Now, relations have become normal with all parities, the Iraqi list, List of Coalition and the List of Law State. In conclusion, we want good relations with all.” Answering a question whether his Excellency expects forming an Iraqi government soon, President al-Assad said, “We hope! Delay is not in the interest of Iraq.

Coordination between Iran, Turkey and Syria

Asked about permanent coordination between Syria, Turkey and Iran on Iraq, President al-Assad said, “I can talk about coordination between Syria and Iran, and Syria and Turkey.

I do not know the volume of coordination between Iran and Turkey in this issue.

Of course there is communication between them.

A meeting was held between Turkish Foreign Minister Davutolgo and his Iranian and Syrian counterparts and others in New York a week ago….

Human Rights

the allegations those countries raise from time too time that Syria does not respect human rights and that President al-Assad has not kept his promises regarding democratic reforms, the President said “First, as for them, if we want to make a comparison, we don’t have Guantanamo detention camp.

We don’t have Abu Ghreib prison.

We didn’t occupy countries.

We didn’t kill or make homeless millions of people.

They have no right to talk about this matter.

As for the promises, I didn’t make promises to them, and the reform process in Syria is none of their business.

When I first spoke in my oath-taking speech in Syria, I didn’t speak of promises, I spoke of a vision.

I was speaking about how I view Syria.

As for promises, I made no promises, to be precise about terms.

Anyway, whether we call it a promise or a vision or anything, such matter is raised inside Syria.

All that I raised was a one hundred percent Syrian vision.

The reform process in Syria is not the business of any country in the world.

We don’t care about their opinions.

We don’t care about their assessment.

We aren’t interested in praise.

Family

It’s not true that a man can’t find time for his family, unless he is messy in his job… The main challenge is how to organize time…you can’t do your job when your family relations are not good or when your health is not good.

Therefore, sport is important.

Sport and family are part of the job, and it’s unreasonable to work for all the citizens and not to work for your family too.

There is a kind of balance which is very necessary.

It is important to be successful in organizing our time, and I believe one of the reasons of backwardness in the East is not setting priorities in life.

Comments (9)


1. why-discuss said:

Iran has grown stronger from sanctions, finance minister says

From Elise Labott, CNN Senior State Department Producer
STORY HIGHLIGHTS

* Hosseini: Sanctions make Iranians invest in the country
* Iran’s finance and economic minister says rising oil prices have helped
* “Plenty of countries are cooperating with us,” the Iranian official says
* Iran continues to face sanctions over its nuclear program

Washington (CNN) — During a rare news conference in the United States, Iran’s finance and economic minister held up a copy of U.S. News & World Report from 1980.

On the cover was a picture of then-President Jimmy Carter and Iran’s then-Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini with the caption, “Where Will It All Lead?” The issue featured an article about the United States’ tightening of economic sanctions against the regime in Tehran while keeping the military option on the table.

“Iran has faced sanctions for 30 years,” said Shamseddin Hosseini, who is in Washington for International Monetary Fund meetings this weekend. “And yet Iran’s economy is stronger.”

The message: Iran hasn’t exactly welcomed the sanctions plaguing the country for three decades. But it has adapted and can continue to do so.

“It goes without saying that Iran has faced some trouble from sanctions,” Hosseini told reporters. “But the positive effects are it made Iranians invest in the country. … We can pass the obstacles produced and made by sanctions.”

Hosseini argued that while Iran faced some economic hardships after the world financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, it has bounced back better than ever, thanks to rising oil prices over the past few years.

While Iran once raised money on the international market and relied on foreign investment, Hosseini said Iran now “relies more on domestic, internal resources.”

For example, he said, Iran transferred its reserves from foreign banks and made that capital available to domestic firms. He said doing so has increased internal demands for projects, construction and labor.

Many Iranian firms have increased their worth on the country’s stock exchange as a result, helping Iran’s stock exchange to increase a whopping 48 percent in the past six months. That, Hosseini said, is one of the best records for any stock exchange in the world.

“When you block the stream of water, it goes another route,” he said.

And the sanctions haven’t necessarily hindered external trade, according to the finance and economic minister. Hosseini said Iran’s nonoil exports have increased 23 percent over the past six months, and imports have increased 24 percent during the same period. He added that Iran’s trading partners are “determined to continue” trading.

“The world of trade and investment is very appealing,” Hosseini said. “Plenty of countries are cooperating with us.”

Although Hosseini has been to Washington for IMF meetings in the past, he has kept a low profile until now, as have other Iranian officials who have made rare visits to Washington.

Iranian leaders visit the United Nations regularly, but the U.S. State Department must approve their travel to the United States. The United States does not have relations with Iran, and Pakistan represents Iranian interests in the United States.

This more high-profile visit could be an effort to show the recent barrage of international sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program has not hurt the Iranian economy, a point Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made when he was on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly last month.

His comments sharply contradict arguments by U.S. and other Western officials that Iran is feeling the bite of a recent round of sanctions in the latest U.N. Security Council Resolution and subsequent, tough unilateral sanctions by the United States and the European Union.

“There is no reason to ignore any opportunity to clear the real picture when there is confusion,” Hosseini said, adding that Iran has faced “no substantive obstacle” in finding money. However, he acknowledged countries and private international firms prefer to be discreet to avoid pressure from the United States.

Hosseini blasted the World Bank and IMF on Friday for denying Iran development and humanitarian loans, claiming they were not part of U.N. sanctions.

“The shocking point is that, based on inquiry made from the legal department of the World Bank, the developmental and humanitarian projects are excluded from the imposed sanctions on Iran,” Hosseini said.

He said in meetings with World Bank officials, a “negative opinion of some countries” is cited as a reason for not lending to Iran.

“My fundamental question is whether such behavior is based upon good governance or political considerations,” Hosseini said, adding that the bank’s articles of agreement state the bank is “forbidden to have any kind of interference with the political affairs of the member countries nor can be influenced by the political inclination of members countries.”

October 9th, 2010, 10:49 pm

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October 11th, 2010, 12:07 pm

 

2. why-discuss said:

Iran to invest $450 million in Lebanon
Source: Press TV

One week ahead of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s trip to Lebanon, Iran agrees to invest USD 450 million in Lebanon’s water and energy sectors.
Iran has expressed its readiness to help boost Lebanon’s economy by undertaking dam construction projects, helping the country with oil and gas explorations and exporting oil and gas derivatives.

http://www.payvand.com/news/10/oct/1075.html

China’s Growing Independence and the New World Order
By Noam Chomsky

http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/6499/chinas_growing_independence_and_the_new_world_order/

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October 11th, 2010, 12:18 pm

 

3. 5 dancing shlomos said:

sanctions.

let’s call it economic warfare. iran has the right to retaliate as iran sees fit.

seen reza azlan couple times on tv. didnt pay much attention to him. to be on american tv more than once the “expert” has to give acceptable viewpoints.

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October 12th, 2010, 1:11 pm

 

4. Norman said:

It look as if the friendship between Syria and Turkey is going to suffocate Israel , I wonder if Israel will reach a peace agreement and be part of prosperous Mideast before it it is too late ,

China is rising and they have no AIPAC,

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October 12th, 2010, 10:23 pm

 

5. Mr. President said:

Serene and others,
The Qubaysiyat is yet another male bashing organization that resembles Western Feminist movements. Western Feminism failed because it contradicted human nature, sexuality, and differences of both men and women. Eastern Feminist movements like the The Qubaysiyat will also fail for the same reasons. Most Qubaysiyat women read their Anseh/teacher instructions while watching their slaves (teenage girls from Indonesia, Sudan,…) cleaning their 100 meter/900 feet apartments and forcing them the sleep in the balconies like street dogs. A Syrian woman usually wants to have her cake and eat it too. Syrian women demanding equality and at the same time demanding all the benefits of being an eastern woman (live-in made, dowry payment before marriage that averages 5+ year man’s salary, a fully paid-for and furnished house, preferential treatments, expecting their brothers to be financially responsible for them in case of a divorce or no marriage,…a friend told me that in Damascus it averages $200,000+ upfront cash for a middle class man to get married.

For those of you who keep bashing Islam and for those who keep using tricks, denials, and apologetic arguments to defend Islam here what I would say:

1. Multiple marriages (polygamy) existed and should still exist in Islam as it existed in other religions (ask king Salmon’s 1000 wives). It is a method for a fair distribution of wealth when no fair tax system existed. It allowed orphaned kids to have a family and to be fed. It allowed men to fight and defend their country/religion/lives knowing that their families will not be homeless. It was a great way to limit slavery by encouraging men to marry their slaves and recognize their children…

2. A woman in Islam is allowed 1/2 inheritance because she get advanced payments (dowry) every time she gets married. In the old days a woman usually married many times in her life time. Also, her brothers are fully responsible for her in case she is no longer married,…

3. A woman in Islam cannot divorce, unless it is agreed upon in the marriage contract, as easy as man without a judge approval. This is because she received a substantial payments and gifts in advance of her marriage. Just imagine a man marries a woman. He makes a substantial dowry payment to her (most of his life’s saving) and she decides to divorce him within few weeks of marriage for what ever reason. In a way, a man in Islam makes an advance divorce payment when he marries. In addition a man cannot just throw his divorced wife on the street. He has to make a financial gesture to her as indicated in the Quran.

Sorry again for the draft format.

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October 13th, 2010, 3:38 am

 

6. Ghat Al Bird said:

As an additional confirmation of what NORMAN said in #4 above. The Turkish news outlet Hurriyet published the following:-

Hurriyet Daily News – October 11, 2010

Iran indirectly supported a secret military drill between the Turkish and Chinese air forces that took place in September, sparking concerns in the United States, daily Hürriyet reported Monday.

The Turkish and Chinese air forces secretly participated in “Anatolian Eagle” war games in Konya, which two years ago involved Turkey’s fellow NATO members the United States, Israel and Italy.

Four drill-bound Chinese SU-27 warplanes that took off from bases in China refueled in Iran – the first time the Islamic Republic has ever allowed foreign warplanes to refuel at its airbases, the report said.

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October 13th, 2010, 11:05 am

 

7. why-discuss said:

French flotilla passengers lodge war crimes case against Israel
The MV Mavi Marmara leaving Antalya for Gaza on 22 May 2010
Free Gaza movement
By RFI

Nine French passengers on board the Gaza aid flotilla stormed by Israeli soldiers in May have filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity, their lawyer said on Wednesday.
http://www.english.rfi.fr/france/20101013-french-flotilla-passengers-lodge-icc-complaint-against-israel

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October 13th, 2010, 12:20 pm

 

8. 5 dancing shlomos said:

#4. no.

israel is intent on destroying, controlling the middle east and taking. it will join/control those who serve it.

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October 14th, 2010, 12:04 pm

 

9. Sae said:

Nobel peace wneinr , president Obama is obviously under a heavy pressure from pro Israel lobby inside his own administration and probably from the AIPAC puppets in Congress !

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February 18th, 2012, 9:42 pm

 

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