Category Archives: Turkey

Obama’s deal with Turkey is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken ISIS

Patrick Cockburn writes for The Independent:

US aircraft have yet to start using Incirlik airbase, and the reason is that Turkey does not want US aircraft using it to launch air strikes (AP)The deal between the US and Turkey which will allow American bombers to use Incirlik airbase while Turkey takes action against Islamic State (Isis) looks stranger and stranger. When first announced over a week ago, US officials spoke triumphantly of the agreement being “a game-changer” in the war against Isis. In fact, the war waged by Turkey in the days since this great American diplomatic success has been almost entirely against the Kurds, at home and abroad.

Turkish jets are pounding sites occupied by the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) guerrillas in the Qandil Mountains and other parts of northern Iraq. Inside Turkey, the majority of those detained by the security forces turn out to be Kurdish or left-wing activists and not suspected Isis sympathisers. Prosecutions are threatened against MPs of the largely Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) which has tirelessly advocated peace between the PKK and the Turkish government. Evidently, the HDP’s offence was to win 13 per cent of the votes in Turkey’s general election on 7 June, thereby depriving President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AKP of its parliamentary majority for the first time since 2002.

It is now becoming clear that two crucial parts of the accord were not agreed at the time of the historic announcement. The US Air Force was desperate to get the use of Incirlik, 60 miles from the Syrian border, in order to intensify its bombardment of Isis. American planes currently have to fly long distances from Bahrain, Jordan and an aircraft carrier in the Gulf. The failure of the US air campaign to prevent Isis fighters capturing Ramadi and Palmyra in May intensified the sense of urgency.

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Fighting Both Sides of the Same War: Is Turkey Using Attacks On Islamic State As Cover for Assault on Kurds?

‘Turkish jets have reportedly launched their heaviest assault on Kurdish militants in northern Iraq since airstrikes began last week, effectively ending a two-year truce. Over the past week, the Turkish military has launched combat operations on two fronts: one against the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Syria, and another against Kurds inside Turkey and in northern Iraq, where Kurdish groups have been fighting against the Islamic State. This means Turkey is now essentially bombing both sides of the same war. During an emergency session of NATO in Brussels Tuesday, the body offered support for Turkey’s military campaigns, although some member states expressed unease over the crackdown against the Kurds. Turkey’s attacks on the Kurds come just a month after the pro-Kurdish opposition People’s Democratic Party won 13 percent of the vote, helping to deprive President Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP Party of a majority in the parliament for the first time since 2002. Over the past week, Turkey has detained more than 1,000 people in a series of raids, many targeting members of Kurdish groups. We speak to Kani Xulam, Director of the American Kurdish Information Network.’ (Democracy Now!)

Endless enemies: How the US is supporting the Islamic State by fighting it

Nafeez Ahmed writes for Middle East Eye:

‘[…] So on the pretext of fighting Assad, the US armed and funded extremist Syrian rebels through its regional allies, including al-Qaeda in Iraq, which went on to spawn the “Islamic State”.

The US is now intent on fighting Assad’s enemy, IS, in turn bolstering Assad.

Simultaneously, Assad’s ambiguous strategic and energy relationship with IS is empowering the movement, and the US is coordinating with Assad to execute airstrikes against Assad’s chief regional enemy, IS.

But, the US is still working with its allies to arm a coalition of “moderate” rebels to fight both IS and Assad.

That “moderate” coalition, however, includes al-Qaeda’s Syria arm, Jabhat al-Nusra, which is being supported due to its rivalry with IS. Yet al-Nusra maintains tactical alliances with IS, while other FSA “moderates” also coordinate with IS to counter Assad, to the point that Western, Gulf and Turkish supplies to “moderates” are at risk of being systematically diverted to al-Nusra and IS.

If you have difficulty understanding this, don’t worry. I don’t understand it either. But what’s clear is that the ever shape-shifting US war on al-Qaeda, IS and Assad, is propping up al-Qaeda, IS and Assad.

On top of all this, the general Syrian population is increasingly cognisant of these contradictions, and disillusioned about the US-led strategy and its motives, not to mention angered at ongoing civilian casualties from airstrikes. That, too, is driving ordinary people into the arms of extremists.

It doesn’t really matter whether you think all this is a result of incompetence or conspiracy, or a bit of both. The upshot is unequivocal: This strategy is not going to eliminate terrorism or make us safer. On the contrary, it is a perfect recipe for endless war.’

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Koç pops up at Bilderberg: could this be the year to let it all hang out?

Charlie Skelton writes for The Guardian:

Mustafa Koç arrives at Bilderberg 2015.There was an unfortunate limo-jam outside the gates of the Interalpen-Hotel. Over to the side was a whispering huddle of police, flicking hopelessly through a list of names and shrugging, while a row of V12 Mercedes idled angrily. What was happening? Had the organisers realised they’d made a terrible mistake inviting Ed Balls and scratched his name at the last minute?

A people carrier pulled up to the back of the queue, carrying a face I knew well. It was Turkish billionaire and Bilderberg steering committee member, Mustafa Koç. He rubbed the back of his wrestler’s neck with a meaty hand and looked profoundly unamused by the Koç block. I haven’t witnessed a Koç being denied entry this embarrassingly since my university leaving ball.

After snapping a quick Koç pic I ventured a hello. “Mr Koç!” I cried, and gave a friendly wave. He nodded back. I introduced myself, and took his photo again. This suddenly felt a little rude in the middle of a more than usually human moment, so I apologised. “No problem,” he said, and smiled.

Oh my goodness, this was it: dialogue! The great I-Thou connection at the root of all human interaction. Me and Koç, two souls reaching out to each other, across the barricades. I pressed on.’

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Diminishing press freedom in Erdogan’s Turkey

‘As Turkey gears up for its parliamentary elections the treatment of the media has become a focal point of criticism of the ruling party.President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been accused of trying to muzzle newspapers critical of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the run-up to the June 7 vote.In the past week alone, Erdogan has publicly accused the editor of the Cumhuriyet newspaper of espionage and slammed the New York Times for holding a grudge against him and Turkey itself.Erdogan has targeted media outlets associated with the reclusive US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.Gulenists, who once supported the AK Party, have turned, and Erdogan accuses the movement of trying to bring down the government.’ (Al Jazeera)

Erogan’s Power Grab Rejected: What’s Behind Turkey’s Ruling AK Party Setback?

Syria: Turkish Military Provided ‘Support Fire’ in al-Qaeda Takeover of Town

Jason Ditz reports for Antiwar:

Syria’s Foreign Ministry was quoted on the nation’s state media today as blaming Turkey in large measure for al-Qaeda’s takeover of the border town of Jisr al-Shughour, saying Turkish military forces providing both logistics support and providing “support fire” for advancing Islamists.

This is not the first time Syria has blamed Turkey for al-Qaeda’s recent gains, as they similarly accused Turkey of having orchestrated the offensive which put them in control of the city of Idlib, not far away.’

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Fear of Vladimir Putin, Islamists and immigration see new iron curtains constructed once again across Europe

Joseph Charlton writes for The Independent:

The “Great Wall of Ukraine” looks nothing like its nickname suggests. It boasts no stone, brick or tampered earth, you can’t walk along it, and there is little chance (one would hope) that parts of it will remain standing 2,000 years from now. It is, however, “a priority”, according to the Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, and its intended purpose is simple: to keep Russia out and would-be secessionists in.

Two years ago, the Ukrainians did not need this “wall”. Or, to put it differently, they did not think they needed it. Times, however, have changed. The wall – simply an idea 12 months ago, a political play by Poroshenko in the run-up to elections – is now being marked out. The first stretch of wire fencing has already gone up in Kharkiv, the northern region not far from neighbouring Luhansk, where skirmishes are frequent. The eventual plan, however, is to create something much larger in scale: a boundary to run the length of Ukraine’s eastern land border with Russia, stretching 1,500 miles, and replete with trenches, watchtowers and armed guards. It will take an estimated three to four years to build and $500m (£330m) to fund – a figure of which bankrupt Ukraine is hoping the EU will help to provide at least a portion in support.

It will not be the only fence to go up this year. All over Eastern Europe – from Ukraine, to Poland, to Bulgaria – Soviet-style “iron curtains” are celebrating a renaissance, with boundaries springing out of the ground in places few would have expected half a decade ago, and neighbours separating themselves in new and surprising ways. Poland this month announced plans to harden its border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad to the north – with six watchtowers to be put up this year – in a move indicative of worsening relations between Russia and its contiguous EU states. Meanwhile, further south, in Bulgaria, a fence topped with razor wire is being erected to stretch the length of the southern border with Turkey. The goal, according to the administration in Sofia: to stop the flow of refugees from the Middle East and Africa, and curb the risk of receiving militants from Syria and Iraq.’

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A People Expunged: Marking the 100th Anniversary of Armenian Genocide amid Ongoing Turkish Denials

‘This week marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. On April 24, 1915, the Young Turk government of the Ottoman Empire began a systematic, premeditated genocide against the Armenian people — an unarmed Christian minority living under Turkish rule. An estimated 1.5 million Armenians were exterminated through direct killing, starvation, torture and forced death marches. Another million fled into permanent exile. Today, the Turkish government continues to deny this genocide, and since becoming president, President Obama has avoided using the term “genocide” to describe it. We’re joined by Peter Balakian, professor of humanities at Colgate University and author of “The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response”; Anahid Katchian, whose father was a survivor of the 1915 Armenian genocide; and Simon Maghakyan, an activist with Armenians of Colorado. We also play a recording of Armenian broadcaster and writer David Barsamian’s mother recalling her experience during the Armenian genocide as a young girl. Araxie Barsamian survived, but her parents and brothers did not.’ (Democracy Now!)

What Obama’s Refusal to Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide Tells Us About the U.S. — and the Rest of the World

Jon Schwarz writes for The Intercept:

‘[…] During Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, he explicitly promised that “as President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.” Samantha Power, author of A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide and now Obama’s ambassador to the U.N., recorded a video urging Armenian Americans to support him because he would acknowledge the genocide: “I know [Obama] very well and he’s a person of incredible integrity. … He’s a true friend of the Armenian people, an acknowledger of the history … he’s a person who can actually be trusted.”

Obama’s commitment was quietly removed from his website sometime afterDecember 2010, and this Armenian Remembrance Day, he broke his promise for the seventh year in a row.’

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The Gallipoli centenary is a shameful attempt to hide the Armenian Holocaust

Robert Fisk wrote for The Independent back in January:

An image from 1915. Turkey deported two thirds of the Armenian population; many were either killed or died of starvation during the journeyWhen world leaders, including Prince Charles and the Australian and New Zealand prime ministers, gather at Gallipoli to commemorate the First World War battle at the invitation of the Turkish government in April, the ghosts of one and half million slaughtered Christian Armenians will march with them.

For in an unprecedented act of diplomatic folly, Turkey is planning to use the 100th anniversary of the Allied attempt to invade Turkey in 1915 to smother memory of its own mass killing of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire, the 20th century’s first semi-industrial holocaust. The Turks have already sent invitations to 102 nations to attend the Gallipoli anniversary on 24th April — on the very day when Armenia always honours its own genocide victims at the hands of Ottoman Turkey.

In an initiative which he must have known would be rejected, Turkish President Recep Erdogan even invited the Armenian President, Serge Sarkissian, to attend the Gallipoli anniversary after himself receiving an earlier request from President Sarkissian to attend ceremonies marking the Armenian genocide on the same day.

This is not just diplomatic mischief. The Turks are well aware that the Allied landings at Gallipoli began on 25th April – the day after Armenians mark the start of their genocide, which was ordered by the Turkish government of the time – and that Australia and New Zealand mark Anzac Day on the 25th.’

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Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Robert Fisk, author of The Great War For Civilisation, writes for The Independent:

At seven o’clock on Thursday evening, a group of very brave men and women will gather in Taksim Square, in the centre of Istanbul, to stage an unprecedented and moving commemoration. The men and women will be both Turkish and Armenian, and they will be gathering together to remember the 1.5 million Christian Armenian men, women and children slaughtered by the Ottoman Turks in the 1915 genocide. That Armenian Holocaust – the direct precursor of the Jewish Holocaust – began 100 years ago this Thursday, only half a mile from Taksim, when the government of the time rounded up hundreds of Armenian intellectuals and writers from their homes and prepared them for death and the annihilation of their people.

The Pope has already annoyed the Turks by calling this wicked act – the most terrible massacre of the First World War – a genocide, which it was: the deliberate and planned attempt to liquidate a race of people. The Turkish government – but, thank God, not all the Turkish people – have maintained their petulant and childish denial of this fact of history on the grounds that the Armenians were not killed according to a plan (the old “chaos of war” nonsense), and that the word “genocide” was anyway coined only after the Second World War and thus cannot apply to them. On that basis, the First World War wasn’t the First World War because it wasn’t called the First World War at the time!’

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100 years later, Armenian genocide still not universally accepted

Roy Gutman reports for McClatchy:

In the swank shops and tidy cafés that line the new pedestrian zone in Armenia’s capital, there’s barely a hint that nearly everyone here is the descendent of a generation that escaped with their lives in a harrowing flight from Ottoman Turkey in the midst of World War I.

On the eve of the centennial commemoration of what Armenians call Meds Yeghern, or “the great calamity,” posters featuring a violet forget-me-not and a slogan, “We remember and we demand,” dot Yerevan.

The symbol hasn’t caught on, even in government offices.

Yet Armenia, and the slaughter, is at the center of world attention as the April 24 anniversary nears.’

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Humanitarians for War on Syria

Rick Sterling writes for CounterPunch:

‘A massive campaign in support of foreign intervention against Syria is underway. The goal is to prepare the public for a “No Fly Zone” enforced by US and other military powers. This is how the invasion of Iraq began. This is how the public was prepared for the US/NATO air attack on Libya.

The results of western ‘regime change’ in Iraq and Libya have been disastrous. Both actions have dramatically reduced the security, health, education and living standards of the populations, created anarchy and mayhem, and resulted in the explosion of sectarianism and violence in the region. Now the Western/NATO/Israeli and Gulf powers, supported by major intervention-inclined humanitarian organizations, want to do the same in Syria. Is this positive or a repeat of past disasters?’

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Gen. Wesley Clark: “ISIS got started through funding from our friends and allies to destroy Hezbollah”

Grossly Hypocritical For Egypt, Turkey and Russia to Attend Charlie Hebdo March, says Reporters Without Borders

Louise Ridley reports for The Huffington Post:

Leaders from Egypt, Turkey and Russia are grossly hypocritical for attending today’s Paris march for the journalists murdered at Charlie Hebdo magazine when they continue to persecute journalists in their own countries, according to a journalists’ charity.

Reporters Without Borders (RWB) says it is “appalled” that leaders of countries including United Arab Emirates were present. It accused them of trying to “improve their international image” while “spitting on the graves” of the cartoonists and journalists.

[…] RWB secretary-general Christophe Deloire said: “It would be unacceptable if representatives of countries that silence journalists were to take advantage of the current outpouring of emotion to try to improve their international image and then continue their repressive policies when they return home.

“We must not let predators of press freedom spit on the graves of Charlie Hebdo.”’

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The Perils of Political Cartoonery

Michael Dickinson writes for CounterPunch:

dt5_jpg_display‘2006, Istanbul: As I was being escorted by armed guards through the dimly lit corridors of Umraniye prison to my allocated cell, a prisoner in a queue heading in the other direction pointed me out to his mate.

“That English guy! He insulted the Prime Minister! It was on the telly tonight.”

We reached an iron cell door, which was unlocked, and after my handcuffs were removed, I was ordered to enter. The door slammed behind me, and I heard the key turn in the lock.

The bunk-lined walls of the dark room were lit by a smoking oil lamp and the shadows of a group of unshaven men in undervests who crouched eating with their hands around a table in the middle of the room. They all stared at me.

“What are you in for?” asked a gruff Turkish voice.

I gulped.

“I made a picture ot the Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogan with a… with a dog’s body.”’

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Raids Stun Turkish Media

Internet Freedom: The Rest of the World Gradually Becoming More Like China

Vauhini Vara reports for The New Yorker:

‘On Thursday, Freedom House published its fifth annual report on Internet freedom around the world. As in years past, China is again near the bottom of the rankings, which include sixty-five countries. Only Syria and Iran got worse scores, while Iceland and Estonia fared the best… China’s place in the rankings won’t come as a surprise to many people. The notable part is that the report suggests that, when it comes to Internet freedom, the rest of the world is gradually becoming more like China and less like Iceland. The researchers found that Internet freedom declined in thirty-six of the sixty-five countries they studied, continuing a trajectory they have noticed since they began publishing the reports in 2010.

Earp, who wrote the China section, said that authoritarian regimes might even be explicitly looking at China as a model in policing Internet communication. (Last year, she co-authored a report on the topic for the Committee to Protect Journalists.) China isn’t alone in its influence, of course. The report’s authors even said that some countries are using the U.S. National Security Agency’s widespread surveillance, which came to light following disclosures by the whistle-blower Edward Snowden, “as an excuse to augment their own monitoring capabilities.” Often, the surveillance comes with little or no oversight, they said, and is directed at human-rights activists and political opponents.’

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan: The President Who Ate Turkey

Steve A. Cook writes for Politico:

‘Without fail every year, starting around November 10, my #Turkey Twitter feed is jammed with not just the latest news from Ankara and Istanbul, but also Auntie Jean’s turkey recipe and suggestions about how to deep fry the bird without blowing up your house. And every year, on behalf of Turks and Turkey scholars the world over, I plaintively ask the tweeting masses to change #Turkey to #Turkiye, the actual Turkish name for the country that borders Greece, Bulgaria, Iran, Iraq and Syria—alas, with no success.

This year, however, basting and brining be damned, I am not going to make my annual plea. In an odd sort of way, #Turkey and #Turkiye have come together for me. That’s because after a mere 90 days as president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has become the man who has eaten Turkey—the country. He is president and de facto prime minister, making him Turkey’s first “Primesident”—sort of like the political version of Turducken. Yet Erdogan’s powers run even further and deeper. He is also, effectively, the country’s foreign minister and chief judge, a prosecutor and big city mayor, university rector and father figure. There is nothing that better represents how Erdogan has gorged on Turkey than the president’s own newly unveiled Ak Saray, or White Palace, with its $350-$650 million price tag, 1,000 rooms and more than 2 million square feet.’

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Hawks Triumph in Senate; Will Push More Aggressive US Policy

Jason Ditz writes for Antiwar:

‘The Republicans took control of the Senate in Tuesday’s elections, but much more important than which party took control is the nature of the incoming Senators from the new ruling party.

It’s not an influx of Tea Party members, reluctant to waste US funds on overseas adventures and suspicious of federal power, but rather a series of hawks in the model of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R – SC) that seized the reins of power last night.

The new senators are typified by Jodi Ernst (R – IA) and Tom Cotton (R – AR), who campaigned heavy on escalating the ISIS war in Iraq and Syria, as well as being more hawkish at essentially every opportunity.”

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Noam Chomsky: “US created the conditions from which ISIS arose”

Adam Curtis: HAPPIDROME (Part One)

Adam Curtis writes on his BBC blog:

Happidrome‘[…] The accepted version is that the neo-liberal right and the free market triumphed. But maybe the truth is that what we have today is far closer to a system managed by a technocratic elite who have no real interest in politics – but rather in creating a system of rewards that both keeps us passive and happy – and also makes that elite a lot of money.

That in the mid 1980s the new networks of computers which allowed everyone to borrow money came together with lifestyle consumerism to create a system of social management very close to Skinner’s vision.

Just like in the mental hospital we are all given fake money in the form of credit – that we can then use to get rewards, which keep us happy and passive. Those same technologies that feed us the fake money can also be used to monitor us in extraordinary detail. And that information is then used used to nudge us gently towards the right rewards and the right behaviours – and in extremis we can be cut off from the rewards.

The only problem with that system is that the pigeons may be getting restless. That not only has the system not worked properly since the financial crash of 2008, but that the growing inequalities it creates are also becoming a bit too obvious. The elite is overdoing it and – passive or not – the masses are starting to notice.’

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Venezuela, Malaysia, Angola, New Zealand and Spain win U.N. Security Council seats, Turkey bid fails

Michelle Nichols and Louis Charbonneau report for Reuters:

‘Venezuela, Malaysia, Angola, New Zealand and Spain won seats on the United Nations Security Council on Thursday for two years from Jan. 1, 2015. The 193-member U.N. General Assembly elected Venezuela with 181 votes, Malaysia with 187 votes, Angola with 190 votes.

All three countries campaigned unopposed for their seats after being chosen as the candidates for their respective regional groups, but still needed to win the votes of two-thirds of the General Assembly to secure their spots.

The only contest was between New Zealand, Spain and Turkey for two seats given to the Western European and others group. New Zealand won a seat during the first round of voting with 145 votes. Spain beat Turkey in a third round of run-off voting.’

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ISIS fighter in Kobanê: “Erdoğan has helped us a lot”

Iskender Doğu writes for Roar Mag:

Post image for ISIS fighter in Kobanê: “Erdoğan has helped us a lot”‘[…] The general opinion of the Kurds and their supporters here at the border is that the Turkish government has had a hand in ISIS’ assault on Kobanê. This rumor was confirmed by a member of ISIS with whom we spoke on the phone, a mere two hundred meters from the border with Syria.

My friend Murat and I were walking through the fields when we met a man who explained to us that he had just escaped from Kobanê. He told us how, two days before, he had tried to call a friend who was fighting with the Women’s Defense Forces. But instead of his friend answering, an unknown man picked up the phone and told him that his friend was dead — killed by ISIS — and that this phone now belonged to him.

Murat encouraged the man to try and call the number again, and after it rang a number of times, the same man picked up. Our friend spoke to the ISIS fighter for a while, in Arabic, and then asked him: “how is your friend Erdoğan doing?” The reply confirmed what many here have been suspecting all along: “Erdoğan has helped us a lot in the past. He has given us Kobanê. But now we don’t need him anymore. After Kobanê, Turkey is next!”’

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War against ISIS: US air strategy in tatters as militants march on

Patrick Cockburn writes for The Independent:

‘[…] In the face of a likely Isis victory at Kobani, senior US officials have been trying to explain away the failure to save the Syrian Kurds in the town, probably Isis’s toughest opponents in Syria. “Our focus in Syria is in degrading the capacity of [Isis] at its core to project power, to command itself, to sustain itself, to resource itself,” said US Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken, in a typical piece of waffle designed to mask defeat. “The tragic reality is that in the course of doing that there are going to be places like Kobani where we may or may not be able to fight effectively.”

Unfortunately for the US, Kobani isn’t the only place air strikes are failing to stop Isis. In an offensive in Iraq launched on 2 October but little reported in the outside world, Isis has captured almost all the cities and towns it did not already hold in Anbar province, a vast area in western Iraq that makes up a quarter of the country. It has captured Hit, Kubaisa and Ramadi, the provincial capital, which it had long fought for. Other cities, towns and bases on or close to the Euphrates River west of Baghdad fell in a few days, often after little resistance by the Iraqi Army which showed itself to be as dysfunctional as in the past, even when backed by US air strikes.’

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EU chastises Turkey over interference in courts, freedom of speech

Robin Emmott reports for Reuters:

‘The European Union reprimanded EU candidate Turkey on Wednesday for political meddling in the judiciary, saying a response to a government corruption scandal has harmed the independence of the judiciary and weakened civil rights.

The unusually harsh language by the European Commission, the European Union’s executive, raises questions about Turkey’s chances of EU membership almost a decade after negotiations were launched.

But in its annual report on countries seeking to join the bloc, Brussels said it still believes more talks are possible, recommending opening discussions on the judiciary and fundamental rights as a way to force Turkey to confront the issue.’

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The Impending Fall of Kobani Reveals Failure of U.S. Bombing Campaign: Interview with Patrick Cockburn

Editor’s Note: Patrick Cockburn writes a regular column for the The Independent and CounterPunch. His new book ‘The Jihadis Return‘ is available from OR Books. You can read his article related to the below interview here.

Turkish President Erdogan: ‘I am increasingly against the internet every day’

Heather Saul reports for The Independent:

‘The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has defended his government’s efforts to control online speech, telling a press freedom conference: “I am increasingly against the Internet every day.” Mr Erdoğan’s comments came during an “unprecedented” meeting with the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the International Press Institute (IPI).

The meeting, which also included Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ, took place as the Turkish parliament voted on military action in Syria. Turkey’s leaders “aggressively” defended its record on press freedom during the 90-minute conference, and criticised various media outlets for “polarising and distorting coverage of recent events” such as the Gezi Park anti-government rallies.’

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Does NATO’s Outgoing Head Have Kurdish Skeletons in His Closet?

teleSur reports:

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks during a news conference in September, 2014. (Photo: Reuters)‘The secret story of how the outgoing head of the most powerful military alliance landed his job “has everything,” according to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

“It has the Kurds. It has the destruction of an entire TV station. Corrupt deals between intelligence agencies and the judiciary. The corruption of a Scandinavian country, Denmark. And the head of that country, the prime minister, doing a corrupt deal to get his job,” Assange told teleSUR English in an exclusive interview.

Continuing, Assange lamented the “whole thing, signed off, explicitly by Barack Obama.”

The story with “everything” is now a pending case before the European Court of Human Rights, but it begins two years ago, with the prosecution of a Kurdish language television station in Denmark.’

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