Tag Archives: Turkey

‘Holy Wars Will Soon Begin in Europe’ | Mar 17, 2017

Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu: ‘Holy Wars Will Soon Begin in Europe’

|  theGatewayPundit

“In one of the first reactions from Ankara to the Dutch election result, Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, warned that Europe was heading towards the abyss and that ‘holy wars’ would soon begin on the continent – this coming despite the fact that nationalist Geert Wilders, a vocal critic of Islam, was pushed into second place by the center right Prime Minister, Mark Rutte.

 

Çavuşoğlu, who has been addressing Turkish crowds across Europe ahead of a constitutional referendum in Turkey next month, was refused permission to land in Holland for a campaign rally on Saturday, sparking a heated diplomatic row and street protests which dominated the final days of the Dutch election campaign.

The dramatic war of words, which saw Ankara accuse the Dutch government of ‘fascism’ and of being a ‘Nazi remnant’, has grown in recent days to include other Western European nations which have restricted Turkish political rallies on their soil, most notably Austria and Germany, but also Denmark and Switzerland.

Recent months have seen mass demonstrations and rallies, with seas of red ‘star and crescent’ flags greeting Turkish ministers campaigning in Europe on behalf of their government’s referendum proposal. The sheer size of some rallies has caused unease, highlighting the scale of Europe’s burgeoning foreign populations and offering a glimpse of the continent’s demographic future.

Of the millions of Turks living in Europe, some five million – many of them dual citizens – are eligible to vote in the referendum, set for April 16th, which seeks to significantly increase the powers of authoritarian Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Speaking at a rally east of Istanbul just hours after his foreign minister’s controversial comments, Erdoğan accused the EU of launching an anti-Islamic ‘crusade’ between the Christian cross and the Muslim crescent, referring to Tuesday’s ruling by the EU Court of Justice which would allow employers to prohibit political and religious symbols in the workplace, including the wearing of the Islamic veil.

‘They have commenced a struggle between the cross and crescent. There is no other explanation than this. I am saying this clearly – Europe is heading toward the days just before World War II,’ Erdoğan stated in combative tone.

Following on from comments by his foreign minister earlier this week, Erdoğan again threatened to end the year-old migrant deal signed between the EU and Turkey, which could see millions of migrants flood into Europe from Turkey via Greece and Bulgaria.

Of some six million migrants seeking to enter Europe from countries surrounding the Mediterranean, an estimated three million are currently waiting in Turkey, according to a leaked German intelligence report published last month, a figure Erdoğan is fond of raising in negotiations with the EU.”

….Continue reading @ theGatewayPundit

 

Law |

Campaign Pledges Haunt Trump in Court

| New York Times

Outside the context of Mr. Trump’s two travel bans, few judicial rulings have addressed how much weight courts may put on statements from political candidates. Even informal remarks from sitting government officials are often ignored by courts, which can be reluctant to conduct what the Supreme Court has called “judicial psychoanalysis.”

“In quick succession on Wednesday night, federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland blocked President Trump’s revised travel ban. They said statements Mr. Trump had made as a presidential candidate, including his call for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” helped doom the executive order.

The judges said Mr. Trump’s promises to impose a “Muslim ban” were too telling and categorical to be ignored. “Simply because a decision maker made the statements during a campaign does not wipe them” from judicial memory, wrote Judge Theodore D. Chuang of Federal District Court in Maryland.

Outside the context of Mr. Trump’s two travel bans, few judicial rulings have addressed how much weight courts may put on statements from political candidates. Even informal remarks from sitting government officials are often ignored by courts, which can be reluctant to conduct what the Supreme Court has called “judicial psychoanalysis.”

But decisions about religious discrimination allow courts to consider government officials’ real purposes, even if their stated ones are neutral.

The Supreme Court has said judges may not turn a blind eye to the context in which government policies on religion arose. “Reasonable observers have reasonable memories,” Justice David H. Souter wrote in a leading religion case.

Justice Department lawyers had urged the judges to ignore Mr. Trump’s speeches on the campaign trail. “Candidates are not government actors, and statements of what they might attempt to achieve if elected, which are often simplified and imprecise, are not official acts,” the government said in a brief in the Maryland case. “They generally are made without the benefit of advice from an as-yet-unformed administration, and cannot bind elected officials who later conclude that a different course is warranted.”

The courts had to navigate two bodies of precedents, pointing in different directions. In cases concerning immigration and national security, most decisions suggest that courts should not look behind the stated government rationale.

Courts have only rarely used statements from candidates to judge the constitutionality of government actions. In 2003, the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, took account of campaign materials from Chief Justice Roy S. Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court to judge his actions concerning a Ten Commandments monument in his courthouse.

In the context of immigration and efforts to combat terror, the Supreme Court has been reluctant to look behind official actions to root out authentic motives. In 2006, in a case concerning detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, Justice John Paul Stevens criticized a dissenting justice for relying on “press statements” from sitting Defense Department officials. “We have not heretofore, in evaluating the legality of executive action, deferred to comments made by such officials to the media,” Justice Stevens wrote. If even statements from government officials are out of bounds, it would follow that statement from political candidates should carry no weight.

In a 1972 immigration case concerning a Marxist scholar denied a visa, the Supreme Court similarly said it would not “look behind” the government’s “facially legitimate and bona fide reason.”

….Continue reading more @ NY Times

More on the US Nukes in Turkey | July 2016

America’s Nukes Aren’t Safe in Turkey Anymore

– FP

ADANA, TURKEY - JULY 24: A military aircraft of Turkish Air Force lands at the Incirlik 10th Tanker Base Command in Saricam district, Adana on July 24, 2015. On Friday, Turkish F-16 fighter jets hit three Daesh targets in Syria in the morning. Turkish jets carried out the operation without violating the Syrian airspace, according to a statement by the Prime Ministry. (Photo by Ibrahim Erikan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ADANA, TURKEY – JULY 24: A military aircraft of Turkish Air Force lands at the Incirlik 10th Tanker Base Command in Saricam district, Adana on July 24, 2015. On Friday, Turkish F-16 fighter jets hit three Daesh targets in Syria in the morning. Turkish jets carried out the operation without violating the Syrian airspace, according to a statement by the Prime Ministry. (Photo by Ibrahim Erikan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

“Among the candidates for most iconic image of this past weekend’s attempted coup in Turkey has to be the many videos of Turkish F-16s, hijacked by the mutineers, flying low over Istanbul and Ankara. Eventually, those planes seem to have bombed the parliament. There were rumors that they considered shooting down the plane of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

What’s clear is that mutineers managed to keep the F-16s in the air only because they were able to refuel them mid-flight using at least one tanker aircraft operated out of Incirlik Air Base. Eventually Turkish authorities closed the airspace over Incirlik and cut power to it. The next day, the security forces loyal to the government arrested the Turkish commander at the base. (The images of him being escorted away in handcuffs are in the contest to qualify as the weekend’s most iconic.)

In retrospect, it is understandable why the Turkish government closed the airspace over Incirlik, even if it did temporarily disrupt air operations against the Islamic State in Syria. But that is in retrospect. In the moment, it raised a disquieting thought. There are a few dozen U.S. B61 nuclear gravity bombs stored at Incirlik. Does it seem like a good idea to station American nuclear weapons at an air base commanded by someone who may have just helped bomb his own country’s parliament?

To be sure, coups have occurred in other countries where the United States stores nuclear weapons. Turkey, Greece, and South Korea have all seen military juntas seize control while U.S. nuclear weapons were present on their soil.

Counterintuitive as it might seem, nuclear weapons have tended not to be a primary target of coup plotters. This has been true for countries that host U.S. nuclear weapons stationed abroad, but also for coup attempts in France and the Soviet Union. My friend Bruno Tertrais found the French case so peculiar that he wrote a great little paper about it.

The weapons at Incirlik are stored in vaults in the floor of the protective aircraft shelters. The shelters are inside a security perimeter. The United States and its NATO allies recently invested $160 million on security upgrades for nuclear weapons, the most visible aspect of which is new security perimeter at Incirlik visible in satellite images. And, of course, if the coup plotters have accessed a weapon, it would require someone to enter a code to arm it. It would not be a simple thing to snatch and use a U.S. nuclear weapon. Coup plotters generally have other things to worry about.

At the same time, if a hostile junta were to seize control of a country with U.S. nuclear weapons stationed in it, things might be dicier. An airbase is a not a fortress; it is not intended to withstand a siege by the host government any more than an embassy might. Use control devices such as “Permissive Action Links” can prevent someone from easily using a stolen weapon, but may eventually be bypassed. There has long been talk about developing security features that would render a lost or stolen weapon a “paperweight” but that’s mostly been just that — talk.

The security situation in Turkey has been deteriorating for some time. Earlier this year, the Department of Defense evacuated military and civilian families from Incirlik, citing concerns about terrorist threats. Then, in April, two goons from a local right-wing group attempted to “sack” a U.S. airman on base. (Sacking is just that — throwing a sack over someone’s head, in this case retaliation for a perceived slight against Turkish soldiers.) This occurred about one kilometer from the weapons perimeter. And now an official in the Erdogan government insinuated that the United States may have played a role in the coup, largely on the basis that a cleric named Fethullah Gulen, who has a large number of followers in Turkey, resides in exile in the United States.”

….Continue reading the thoughtful and provocative article by Jeffrey Lewis @ ForeignPolicy.com

Obama gets Dissed as Turkey President holds US Air Force Hostage at airbase | July 2016

Turkey Suspends All US Operations Against ISIS At Incirlik Airbase, Which Vaults B61 Nuclear Bombs

– ZeroHedge

incir2

“Following the failed Turkish coup, U.S. military operations out of Turkey’s giant Incirlik Air Base – critical in the ongoing campaign against ISIS – came to a halt Saturday afternoon as the Turkish military closed the airspace around the base and suspended all US-led operations, mostly targeting the Islamic State.

Some have speculated that the airbase may be held “hostage” by Ankara as a bargaining chip ahead of demands for the extradition of Erdogan’s arch enemy, Fethullah Gulen, currently a resident of the state of Pennsylvania.

As a reminder, Germany’s Deutsche Welle recently estimated that Incirlik’s vaults currently held 50 B61 nuclear bombs.”

…Continue reading @ ZeroHedge

 

Turkey Cuts Power to Incirlik Air Base, Suspends Military Flights

– Military.com

c-17-incirlik-600

Power to the huge U.S. airbase at Incirlik in southeastern Turkey was cut off Saturday and flight operations against ISIS were shut down in the aftermath of the failed military coup.

The U.S. military was still seeking a full accounting of all personnel and dependents in Turkey, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in a statement.

“All indications at this time are that everyone is safe and secure,” he said. “We will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety and security of our service members, our civilians, their families and our facilities.”

Cook said the Turkish government “has closed its airspace to military aircraft and, as a result, air operations at Incirlik Air Base have been halted at this time.”

There was no indication when flights against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, would resume.

Cook said U.S. Central Command was making adjustments with aircraft operating out of other regional bases “to minimize any effects on the campaign.”

In addition, commercial power to the base where about 2,000 mostly Air Force personnel are stationed was cut off but the base was able to function on internal power, he said.

The statement contrasted with the initial reports from defense officials Friday night as the coup was underway. At the time they said Incirlik was not affected and flight operations were continuing.

U.S. European Command, which has responsibility for Turkey, evacuated about 600 of the estimated 700 military families who resided at Incirlik following the terror attacks on the Brussels airport and Metro in March. However, a defense official told Military.com Friday night that about 100 dependents were still in Turkey.

NATO ally Turkey was rocked Friday by clashes between the coup militants and forces loyal to the government of President Recep Tayyin Erdogan that left at least 265 dead and 1,440 wounded, according to Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. At a news conference Saturday in Ankara, the capital, Yildirim called the failed coup “a stain on the history of democracy.”

…Continue reading @ Military.com