Posts Tagged ‘Turkey’

NATO Deploys Missiles & Troops On Syrian Border

January 6, 2013

NATO has begun deploying surface-to-air missiles and troops on Turkey’s border with Syria. The Alliance approved the reinforcements last month, after Ankara requested support. NATO claims the move is to help defend its member from the conflict in Syria. But Moscow said the deployment will only serve to escalate tension in the region. Germany and the Netherlands are preparing to ship six more Patriot batteries early next week, they’ll be operational by the end of January. However, Jeremy Salt, a Middle Eastern history and politics professor from Bilkent University says NATO is actually now realizing who it’s supporting, and losing its appetite for direct action in Syria.

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Pre-Empty: US Ramps Up WMD Rhetoric Against Syria

December 10, 2012

 

The chemical scare around Syria is receiving a skeptical response not only from Assad’s government, but now the very people seeking to bring him down.

A senior rebel official has dismissed Washington’s reports that Assad was arming chemical warheads, saying it was all part of a media game.

NATO Says Anti-Missile Defense For Turkey Does Not Open Door To Syria Intervention

December 5, 2012

The Washington Post
Anne Gearan

BRUSSELS — NATO agreed Tuesday to send new American-made air defenses to Turkey’s volatile southern border with Syria, a boost to an alliance member on the front lines of Syria’s civil war and a potential backstop for wider U.S. or NATO air operations if the situation deteriorates further.

The alliance’s approval of Patriot anti-missile batteries represents NATO’s first significant military involvement in the 20-month-long crisis, even if it falls well short of rebels’ demands for help.

NATO and U.S. officials insisted that the system is entirely devoted to defending Turkey and is not a precursor to a military intervention in Syria. The Patriots will provide no protection for Syrian civilians or rebels fighting to unseat President Bashar al-Assad.

However, the system, likely to deploy early next year, could be repurposed as part of a wider air campaign or to provide air cover for action in Syria should NATO change its mind. Military experts said Patriots are as effective against aircraft as they are against missiles, and deploying the system at the border could be instrumental in quickly carving out a 25-mile buffer zone.

The threat that a besieged Assad might resort to chemical weapons as rebels gain ground gave new urgency to NATO’s debate. Syria, which is party to the 1925 Geneva Protocol banning chemical weapons in war, has repeatedly insisted that it would not use such weapons, even if it possessed them.

It has called the Patriot plan “provocative” and considers it a possible first step toward a no-fly zone, airstrikes or an invasion.

For now, U.S. and NATO officials say the system is designed to bolster the NATO member most directly affected by the Syrian civil war, and nothing more. Although the alliance counts the 2011 Libya no-fly zone as a success, it opposes similar action in the Syrian conflict. The Obama administration also remains opposed to intervention in a civil war that has claimed as many as 40,000 lives, including at least 15 on Tuesday when mortar rounds slammed into an elementary school.

“Turkey has asked for NATO’s support, and we stand with Turkey in the spirit of strong solidarity,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said after approval by the 28-member alliance at a meeting in Brussels. “To the Turkish people we say, ‘We are determined to defend you and your territory.’ To anyone who would want to attack Turkey we say, ‘Don’t even think about it.’ ”

Chemical weapons moved

Syria is believed to have the world’s third-largest store of chemical weapons, along with medium- and long-range missiles that could deliver them inside or outside the country. The weapons, which can kill large numbers of soldiers or civilians, can also be delivered by aircraft.

U.S. officials said Monday that satellite images showed Syrian forces moving chemical weapons into positions where they could be used more quickly. Although Rasmussen offered no specifics, U.S. officials said the White House and its allies are weighing military options to prevent or defend against a chemical attack.

Continued 

Fighting in Gaza leaves U.S. in difficult position with Turkey, Egypt

November 20, 2012

Wahington Post
Anne Gearan

The Israeli-Hamas conflict is putting the Obama administration at odds with two of its most important partners in the Middle East, threatening to undermine other U.S. objectives in the region at a time of political upheaval. 

On Monday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, which has frequently served as a moderate voice in the region, described Israel as a “terrorist state” and condemned the airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, which is run by the Islamist group Hamas. Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has warned Israel against a ground invasion and thrown his support behind Hamas’s leadership, sending his prime minister to Gaza.Pyongyang, however, might not be able or willing to follow Burma’s example of reform and opening.The growing outcry has exposed the United States to criticism that it has not done enough to press Israel to agree to a cease-fire. The conflict has also created a wedge in relations with officials in Egypt and Turkey and highlighted the limits of U.S. influence in the aftermath of the revolutions that swept the region last year.

Against this backdrop, President Obama on Tuesday escalated U.S. involvement in trying to resolve the conflict, dispatching Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to meet with officials in Israel, the West Bank and Egypt. She leaves for the region from Phnom Penh, where she took part in the East Asia Summit with Obama.Since the United States does not have relations with Hamas, however, Clinton is scheduled to meet in Ramallah with West Bank Palestinian leaders who are on the sidelines of the Gaza crisis, leaving it unclear how much she can hope to achieve.Hours before Clinton was due to arrive in Israel, police and ambulances were called to…     Read More

Turkey Starts its Own Nuremberg Trials Against Israel

November 7, 2012

Editor’s Note: If it was the other way around, Israel would just go and get them.

“In absentia” trials against four senior IDF officers

On November 6, 2012, Turkey announced that a court in Istanbul will try in absentia four ex-Israeli military commanders over the IDF Freedom Flotilla raid in 2010.

The Mavi Marmara was trying to break the blockade of Gaza and bring humanitarian aid to the refugees there. Nine Turkish activists were killed by Israeli naval commandos (Shayetet 13), who had boarded the ship. The event caused a sharp deterioration in the relations between Turkey and Israel, which until then had been close allies. At the beginning of May 2012, Turkey’s Justice Ministry Sadullah Ergin finished his probe on the affair and requested information from the country’s Foreign Ministry on several IDF soldiers; a fact reported by the Turkish Today’s Zaman. On May 24, it was made public that criminal charges had been laid by Turkey against four IDF officers, demanding life sentences. Among the indictments were “inciting murder through cruelty or torture” (see Criminal Charges Placed against IDF General Ashkenazi).

Cheers! Admiral Eliezer Marom | Criminal Charges

The accusations target the IDF upper echelon. The list is led by former IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi; the others are the ex-naval chief Admiral Eliezer Marom, the former head of military intelligence Major General Amos Yadlin, and the former head of the air force Major General Avishai Lev. Over 500 people will give testimony during the trials, most of them passengers who were aboard during the event. There is no question about the events; all the facts are acknowledged also by the IDF and the UN; both published reports on the violent event. The UN inquiry said that Israel’s decision to board the ship and the use of substantial force was “excessive and unreasonable.” Yet, considering the videos of the event, the UN asessment looks unreasonably soft towards Israel. Heavily armed commando soldiers attacked and killed people armed with little more than improvised sticks. Moreover, on June 13, 2012, Israel State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss published his report on the Israeli government’s behavior in the event. Prime Minister Netanyahu turned out to be rather clumsy and incompetent to the extent of causing an unnecessary disaster. In the words of the comptroller: “The decision making process regarding the dealings with the Turkish flotilla led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and under his responsibility was found to include essential and significant flaws” (see Netanyahu Found Guilty by State Comptroller). One could expect Turkey to make use of the Israeli reports and place charges also against Mr. Netanyahu. However, this is not posible. On February 15, 2002, the International Court of Justice halted a Belgian attempt to try Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for the massacre of hundreds of Palestinians in Lebanon in 1982 when he was Israel’s Minister of Defense, ruling that serving ministers are protected from prosecution. Thus, Turkey chose to center its efforts on the responsible IDF officers.

Nuremberg Trials

Gabi Ashkenazi | Criminal Charges against former IDF Chief of Staff

“In absentia” is Latin for “in the absence;” a phrase which refers to a trial at which the defendant is not physically present. Turkey decided to conduct the trials in such a fashion because the four officers are in Israel and there is no chance the latter will allow them to be present at the event. Such trials are widely considered as violations since the defendant cannot answer the charges. This explains the rapid Israeli reaction; on the same day the trials were announced, the Israeli embassy in Ankara called them a “unilateral political act with no judicial credibility.” One could almost be tricked to support the Israeli position on this, but then one remembers two classes of events in which Israel clearly supported trials in absentia. Despite preceding Israel, the latter obviously accepts the process known as the Nuremberg Trials. These were a series of military tribunals, held by World War II Allied forces, of prominent Nazi Germany leaders. They were held in the city of Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany, in 1945–46. One of the defendants, Martin Bormann, was tried in absentia, and sentenced to death; he had been the successor to Hess as Nazi Party Secretary. His body was found only in 1972; it is claimed that he died in 1945. An indirect testimony of the Israeli acceptance of the Nuremberg Trials is that Israel conducted similarly problematic trials. The Nazis and Nazi Collaborators Punishment Law (Hok Le’Asiat Din BaNatzim) from August 1, 1950, legalizes the execution of Nazis. Between 1950 and 1961, this law was used to prosecute 29 Jewish Holocaust survivors alleged to have been Nazi collaborators. The first and only time it was used to execute a person was in the Adolf Eichmann case. He was illegally kidnapped by Mossad from Argentina in 1960 and two years later was hanged.

What makes this a special event from a legal point of view is that this law is a retroactive and extraterritorial law since the State of Israel didn’t exist during WWII. Moreover, the alleged crimes were neither committed in Israel nor against Israeli citizens. An ex post facto law (Latin for “after the fact”), or retroactive law, is a law that retroactively changes the legal consequences of actions committed prior to the enactment of the law. Such laws are expressly forbidden by the United States Constitution, though some countries accept them. They cannot be accepted as fair practice, regardless of the justifications used for their approval. Simply, how can one protect oneself against a law that has not been legislated? Years later, it was used to harass Ivan Demjanjuk (see Western Psikhushka Killed Demjanjuk).

Major General Amos Yadlin | Criminal Charges

This is enough to render worthless Israel’s protest against the trials in Turkey. Yet, there is another issue. A topic which is often reported by Israeli media and that has never been denied by Israel, is its endless appetite for extrajudicial executions. I expanded on that in Scary Sicarii: Israeli Extrajudicial Executions, but the pattern is clear. A person is declared “undesirable” by the military establishment, it is specifically targeted, and assassinated. No trial is held, no chance is given to the victim to defend himself. Similarly distressing, are detentions held without legal process, since Israel claims that its officials possess precognition powers. They can detain someone on the grounds that he is about to commit a crime (see Minority Report: IDF arrests Palestinian prisoner released in Shalit swap). These cases show that Israel does not recognize the rule of law. It is a lawless, savage society. The victims of the Freedom Flotilla raid cannot find justice. The performance of similar crimes in the future cannot be deterred. In this context the Turkish reaction can be understood, despite being based on a problematic legal principle. Israel’s Nuremberg Trials are about to begin.

Source: roitov.com

Russia wades into intercepted jet row

October 11, 2012

Moscow officials say the lives of Russian passengers were put at risk by the interception of a Syrian passenger plane by Turkish jet fighters. 

‘Four beaten when masked men boarded Syria-bound plane’ – attendant

October 11, 2012

Humiliation, threats and brutal beatings – that’s how some of those on board a Syria-bound plane describe the welcome they received in Turkey. F-16 fighter jets were scrambled to ground the Moscow – Damascus flight. It was carrying over thirty passengers, including small children.

Rebels to kill Iran’s hostages if Syria rejects prisoner release

October 5, 2012

In Syria, the Free Syrian Army says in two days they could start executing 48 Iranians they kidnapped in August. They claim their captives are Revolutionary Guards, Tehran says they’re pilgrims. The threat would be carried out if the Syrian regime does not fulfill demands to release rebels fighters and stop shelling. RT talks to John Laughland – from the Paris-based Institute of Democracy and Cooperation.

West Use Terrorists in Turkey to Bait Syria as with Soviets in Afghanistan

October 4, 2012

In a bid to speed up their time tables for Spring 2013, the West and their proxy Turkey are now baiting Syria into a wider regional conflict. Turkey’s parliament has authorized cross-border military operations into Syria ‘when necessary’ following a casual mortar-shelling incident on the Turkish-Syrian border. UK Column’s Patrick Henningsen breaks down the geopolitical dynamics of this latest dangerous situation…

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Turkey strikes Syria targets after deadly mortar attack

October 3, 2012

Turkey has fired back at Syria after Syrian mortar bombs killed five people and wounded eight others in a Turkish town near the border, says the Turkish Prime Minister’s office