Seen as a rogue outlier in Nato, Turkey found and acted upon the opportunity to get the West to support its military operation in northern Syria. Turkish forces and alleged mercenaries occupy parts of this region. A vast array of human rights abuses was reported during the peak of its military intervention and Ankara faced condemnation from the Western world. All major NATO members including Germany, France, UK and Canada have refused arms sales to Erdogan’s Turkey. Tensions further escalated when Turkey stepped up its belligerence towards fellow Nato member Greece in the eastern Mediterranean and the West largely backed Athens through this tussle. The list of Turkey’s excesses can go on, but the West has decided to overlook all that now. US President Biden’s own stance on Turkey used to be one of admonishment. Today, that seems to change with Ankara’s new leverage in the game.
Mr Erdogan will now expect Sweden and Finland to adhere to the spirit, and not just the (notably vague) letter, of the agreement. This means he will demand they back a future Turkish operation in Syria to combat the YPG, who happen to be the West’s main allies against Islamic State, support Ankara’s plans to expel and forcibly resettle over one million Syrian refugees in northern Syria, take concrete steps to extradite alleged members of the PKK and Gulen movement to face trial, unlikely to be fair, in Turkey, and keep schtum about Turkey’s poor human rights records and abuses of fundamental democratic freedoms.
Turkey will seize on any hemming and hawing on these issues as evidence of bad faith, if not betrayal, and a just cause to reignite a crisis in Turkey’s relations with the West. Turkey under Erdogan is a fundamentally untrustworthy ally. The NATO deal has triggered a countdown to the next noisy but inevitable conflagration.
A trio of senior administration officials detail the first day of NATO Summit in Madrid. Here’s what they told The Pavlovic Today. The new NATO strategic concept will be released shortly and focuses heavily on Russia. But it also, for the first time, mentions China. The document will note that China’s stated ambitions and challenge …
The US did not offer Turkey anything to get Erdogan to drop his objections to allowing Sweden and Finland into the alliance, a trio of senior administration officials claim – The Pavlovic Today Read More »
Before the text was released, Turkish officials circulated to media outlets a note titled “Turkey got what it wanted.” Finland’s leading newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, wrote in an editorial that “Turkey got what it wanted – and so did Finland and Sweden.”
“The memorandum was the price that had to be paid for the weird style of dealings with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that at the same time represents typical behavior to Turkey,” the Finnish newspaper said.
While arguing against making Sweden and Finland NATO members, Erdogan showed videos and photographs of PKK demonstrations in Sweden as evidence of his claim of Swedish indifference to terrorism.
While Russia has become India’s “second-biggest” oil source since the start of the war in Ukraine, following its $25 per barrel discount to India and supply chain disruptions since the war, data collected by the Finnish think tank, the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), also shows that India has been Russia’s eighth largest importer of fossil fuels, at 3.4 billion euros worth of imports since the beginning of the war.
Meanwhile, China and Germany rank as Russia’s primary importers of fossil fuels, at 12.6 billion and 12.1 billion euros, respectively, according to the CREA data. Italy and Netherlands come next, with 7.8 billion euros worth of imports each, with Turkey not too far behind at 6.7 billion. As a whole, 61 per cent of Russia’s fossil fuel exports between 24 February and 3 June went to the European Union, the CREA report added.
U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today issued the below statements following the Committee’s approval of their bipartisan resolution welcoming His Excellency Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of Greece, to the United States for an address to a joint meeting of Congress. The resolution was originally introduced concurrently with Representatives Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) and Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“As we told Prime Minister Mitsotakis during his visit to the U.S. Capitol: Greece will continue to have a stalwart friend and ally in the United States,” Chairman Menendez said. “The U.S.-Greece relationship is rooted in shared devotion to advancing democracy, shoring up energy and security partnerships, and safeguarding human rights worldwide. With this bipartisan resolution, we reaffirm yet again our commitment to continue growing that bond for generations to come.”
Any Turkish operation would attack the Kurdish YPG militia, a key part of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that controls large parts of north Syria and is regarded by Washington as an important ally against Islamic State. Ankara sees it as a terrorist group and extension of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
A spokesman for the Turkey-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) said Russia was reinforcing positions near Tal Rifaat, Manbij, the southern outskirts of Kobani, and Ain Issa – all towns within 40 kilometers of the Turkish border.
“Since the announcement of the operation, the Syrian regime and its Iranian militias have mobilized and [are] sending reinforcements to the YPG,” Major Youssef Hammoud told Reuters.