Turkey

Pompeo’s thankless visit to the Middle East

Featured image Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in the Middle East trying to assure friends, allies, and non-adversaries that the U.S. isn’t walking away from the region. He claimed that progress has been made in addressing Turkey’s objections to Kurdish militants in northeastern Syria and that Turkey has provided “commitments” that Kurds who fought with U.S. forces against ISIS will be protected when the U.S. leaves Syria. The only public commitment »

Erdogan snubs Bolton, then denounces him on TV

Featured image On Monday, John Bolton declared that the Trump administration’s plan to pull U.S. forces out of Syria is conditioned on protecting the Kurdish warriors who bore the brunt of our fight to defeat ISIS. This condition seemed to preclude a complete withdrawal in the foreseeable future. As I explained: I don’t see how a complete U.S. withdrawal can be accomplished without putting the Kurds in serious jeopardy at the hands »

How serious is Trump about withdrawing from Syria?

Featured image The U.S. withdrawal from Syrian might not be as precipitous as it was originally described by President Trump. It also may not be as complete. Yesterday, during a visit to Israel where he met with Prime Minister Netanyahu, John Bolton outlined objectives that must be met before the U.S. withdraws from Syria. “The timetable flows from the policy decisions that we need to implement,” he explained. One objective, of course, »

The Hypocrisy of Nike

Featured image We were surprised when Nike launched a major advertising campaign featuring former quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and even more surprised when it seemed to work. Nike’s sales went up, and the company attributed the increase in part to Kaepernick chic. The tag line of Nike’s Kaepernick ad was, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Of course, Colin Kaepernick didn’t sacrifice everything by taking an anti-American stance–only, at most, »

The Cost of Betraying Syria’s Kurds

Featured image Tommy Meyerson, a former Marine who served in Syria, has written an op-ed for Wall Street Journal called “The Cost of Betraying Syria’s Kurds.” He argues that withdrawing from Syria will likely produce catastrophic humanitarian consequences and cause harm to U.S. interests. Meyerson begins by noting the immense contribution the Kurds have made in the war against ISIS: The U.S. and the West have quietly relied on the Syrian Kurds »

Khashoggi, Erdogan, and the Washington Post

Featured image I understand why the Post wants to keep banging the drum over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. He’s one of their own. Trying to cause the U.S. to reverse its foreign policy in the Middle East over one more killing in the region, however heinous, seems rather ambitious and, from the point of view of U.S. interests, misguided. But the Post has every right to try. However, the Post crosses »

Turkey’s hypocrisy, and Jamal Khashoggi’s

Featured image “Under Erdogan, journalists in peril.” That’s a headline (paper edition) of an article in today’s Washington Post. Correspondent Chico Harlan provides plenty of evidence to support the headline. The most compelling piece comes from the Committee to Protect Journalists. It found that Turkey jails more journalists than any other nation. Indeed, it jails more than China, Russia, and Egypt combined. The U.S. under President Trump jails approximately zero journalists. Whining »

Loose Ends (41)

Featured image Got a whole bunch of short items to get off my spindle this morning. • So Elon Musk says the Saudis are interested in financing Tesla to go private. Why would the Saudis want to become the major financial player in an electric car company? I simply can’t imagine. I guess Musk is too young to remember an old Johnny Carson Tonight Show line about an idea being as bad »

Can We Have Constantinople Back?

Featured image Turkey, sometimes an unsteady ally during the Cold War and in Middle Eastern affairs but an ally nonetheless, is showing increasing signs under Erdogan of tilting toward Islamism and away from the West. And that’s leaving aside the appalling scene from Erdogan’s recent visit to Washington, which featured his security goons beating up on protestors in the streets of Washington outside the Turkish embassy. Today the Wall Street Journal reports »

Mr. Erdogan goes to Washington

Featured image A little bit of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime came to Washington for Erdogan’s visit with President Trump earlier this week. In this case, a little bit is way too much, although it may be a representative sample. Tom Rogan notes that on Tuesday the Turkish Presidential Protection Department attacked peaceful protesters on American soil (video below). Making themselves feel right at home in Washington, TPPD officers launched a coordinated attack »

Should Trump have called Erdogan?

Featured image Andy McCarthy sees the constitutional changes in Turkey as having “hammered the final nail in the coffin of [that] country’s democracy.” He castigates President Trump for calling to congratulate strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan on this accomplishment. Lee Smith sees the situation differently. He contends that the closeness of the referendum on Erdogan’s changes represents “a warning that he had better address Turkish voters’ key concerns—the economy, political stability, terrorism—or else »

Erdogan’s narrow victory: What does it mean?

Featured image On Sunday, a narrow majority of Turkish voters agreed to grant sweeping powers to their president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The referendum that accomplishes this was approved by slightly more than 51 percent of the electorate, amidst allegations of fraud by Erdogan and his backers. Voters in Istanbul, Ankara, and other major cities rejected the constitutional changes proposed by Erdogan. Approval was due to voters in the countryside where, says David »

The Mysterious Terror Attack In Istanbul [Updated]

Featured image Experience has taught us to treat skeptically all early news reports of dramatic events like terrorist attacks, because such reports nearly always turn out to be wrong, at least in part. But the attack on the night club Reina in Istanbul seems particularly mysterious, especially given how many witnesses there were. It is still not entirely clear whether there was just one attacker, as the authorities maintain, or several, as »

Islamic Terrorist Assassinates Russian Ambassador [Updated]

Featured image This morning in Ankara, Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov was speaking at an art gallery when he was murdered by a Muslim terrorist. The terrorist shouted “Allahu akbar” and delivered a monologue about Russia’s actions in Syria. The gunman apparently agreed with Russia that its efforts are anti-terrorist. A courageous Associated Press photographer who was present shot a stunning series of photos. The gunman approaches the ambassador from behind: »

Turkey moves against our Kurdish allies; U.S. sides with Turks

Featured image This past week, Turkey entered the fight in Syria against ISIS to much ballyhoo from the mainstream media. But according to Christoper Caldwell, who quotes the German weekly Der Spiegel, “ISIS is a pretext, the Kurds are the target.” Says Caldwell, Turkey’s strategic objective is not to “crush” ISIS. It is to crush the most effective part of the anti-ISIS coalition: the Syrian-Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and People’s Protection »

Trump reignites conservative concerns about his foreign policy views

Featured image During an interview with the New York Times yesterday, Donald Trump made two controversial statements about foreign policy. First, in response to the question whether he would come to the aid of NATO allies in the Baltic, Trump said: “If they fulfill their obligations to us, the answer is yes.” Second, Trump said he would not pressure Turkey or other authoritarian allies not to conduct purges of their political adversaries »

Coup’s next

Featured image Paul noted the attempted coup in Turkey last night. Reuters reports that forces loyal to Turkey’s government fought this morning to crush the last remnants of a military coup attempt which collapsed after crowds answered President Tayyip Erdogan’s call to take to the streets and dozens of rebels abandoned their tanks. In what appears to be a slightly more up to the minute account, the New York Times reports: “Turkey’s »