For starters, I recommend you read my friend Andrei Martyanov’s article, This Is Getting Curiouser And Curiouser. Turkey has taken center stage in global affairs this week, with important implications for Turkey’s tightening relationship with Russia and warning signs for Turkey’s relationships with NATO and the United States.
Following a terrorist bombing in Istanbul — attributed to the Kurdish Workers Party by Turkish authorities — Turkey’s Foreign Minister told the United States to go screw itself.
According to the breaking news, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said in a statement after the explosion on Istanbul Taksim Istiklal Street, “We do not accept the condolence message of the US Embassy. If we had not caught the attacker, he would have fled to Greece today.” said.
Minister Soylu said, “Operations continue. All of our security, security forces, and all intelligence units are on alert together. We said what we were going to say last night. We know how the incident was coordinated. We know how it was coordinated.“We will bury our bodies. We have just sent our Ecrin to Adana and sent his father. It must be said. We know the message that was given to us, we received the message that was given to us and we know what the message was given to us. We will send a very strong message to this message,” he said.
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Let me translate — Turkey blames the United States for the attack because of its role in funding and arming the Kurds in Syria and Iraq. The Government of Turkey has been at war with the Kurdish Worker’s Party (i.e., PKK) since the 1970s. Full disclosure, my former boss at State Department, Ambassador Morris Busby, and I were hired in 1996 (after we left the service of the US Government) by the Government of Turkey to produce a study regarding Greek support for the PKK. Here is a shocker — we concluded that the Greek government provided financial support to the PKK, making the Greeks a de facto state sponsor of terrorism, at least in the eyes of Turkey.
The statement by Turkey’s Interior Minister is not just a passing, emotional response. He is sending Biden and his team a clear message — we blame you for this. Quite a potential rupture of the process to bring two new NATO members into the fold. This is likely to make Turkey even more determined to press Sweden and Finland to stop harboring PKK members. Unless the two aspiring NATO applicants submit to Turkey’s demands, Turkey will continue to block their admission. This will create a dilemma for NATO. Press Sweden and Finland to accede to Turkey’s position on the matter or ignore Turkey and risk Turkey withdrawing from NATO.
Turkey appears to be relishing its growing influence as an international political broker. It was the site of futile peace talks in May between Russia and Ukraine. It has played a key role in brokering the deal to allow Ukrainian grain to be shipped ostensibly to needy countries. And yesterday (Monday), the Russian and US spy chiefs met in Turkey:
Reports have circulated in Russian media about secret US-Russian talks hosted by Türkiye. The Kommersant daily reported, citing anonymous sources, that the un-announced meeting is allegedly being held on Monday in the Turkish capital Ankara. The outlet reports that Moscow has sent Sergey Naryshkin, director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, or SVR, to the talks. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov later confirmed to Russian media that bilateral talks had taken place in Ankara, adding that they were held at the US’ initiative. Earlier this month, Western media reported that top Russian and US officials were engaging in undeclared contacts. According to the Wall Street Journal, US national-security adviser Jake Sullivan has been engaged with Yury Ushakov, a senior foreign policy aide to President Vladimir Putin, and with Nikolay Patrushev, Sullivan’s counterpart in the Russian government.
I agree with Moon of Alabama’s conclusion that Washington’s claim about the purpose of the meeting is false:
The Biden administration has now confirmed that CIA head Burns has met with Naryshkin. But it is lying about the content of the talks:
- William J. Burns, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, met with his Russian counterpart in Turkey on Monday to warn Russia against the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine, a White House spokesman said.
- The National Security Council said Mr. Burns’s meeting in Ankara was not in any way meant to negotiate or to discuss any settlement of the war in Ukraine. Ukraine was briefed in advance on the trip, the spokesman said.
- President Biden has insisted that Ukraine, and not the United States, will dictate if and when negotiations commence to end the war.
Russia has not threatened to use nuclear weapons. There is no reason for it to do so and many good reason to refrain from using them. It would foremost alienate China and other Russian allies. It was in fact the U.S. which planted nuclear scare stories in another of its attempts to smear Russia. The U.S. of course knows that there is no danger that Russia would use nukes and it is likely that Burns did not even mention them.
The United States asked for this meeting. Not Russia. When you factor that in with General Mark Milley’s call for Ukraine to entertain negotiations with Russia, this is a clear sign that the United States has growing concerns about Ukraine’s prospects for success and Washington’s ability to keep funneling money into the Black Hole of Kiev:
Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. According to US officials, Milley “has made the case in internal meetings that the Ukrainians have achieved about as much as they could reasonably expect on the battlefield before winter sets in and so they should try to cement their gains at the bargaining table.”
The top US general has made no secret of his stance. “When there’s an opportunity to negotiate, when peace can be achieved, seize it,” Milley declared in a public speech this week.
If Ukraine really did have Russia on the ropes, with victory in its grasp, why would anyone in Washington want to encourage Ukrainian President Zelensky to negotiate? Western euphoria about Russia’s tactical withdrawal from the city of Kherson, is masking the growing pressure from the citizens of NATO countries to halt financial support to Ukraine while they suffer with rising prices and contracting economies. A Spanish satirical magazine, El Jueves (“Jueves” means “Thursday”, and the photo of the latest cover contains the tag line, “La Revista Que Sale Los Miercoles, which translates to “The Magazine that Comes Out on Wednesday”) did its take on recent Times Square ad that described Zelensky as a “Black Hole.”
Retired German Colonel Ralph Thiele, chairman of the Politisch-Militärische Gesellschaft e.V. (Political military Society, a German non-profit association), made a startling admission in a clumsy effort to support the propaganda that Ukraine is marching towards victory. He wrote:
“The Ukrainians are currently “on a winning run” and want to “continue this, of course, but it will be difficult for them.” That’s because, “The Ukrainians are running out of young men, they already have to draft over 45-year-olds to fill the gaps in the troops.” The Russians, on the other hand, are training 120,000 young men right now, he said.
It appears that this retired German Colonel knows his history. In the final days of the Third Reich, Adolf Hitler was drafting old men to pick up guns to defend Berlin because there were no longer military aged males to call to the task.
One final data point (also noted by Andrei Martyanov and Moon of Alabama) — the United States no longer has excess 155 mm howitzer shells to send to Ukraine and is looking to South Korea to pony up 100,000 rounds:
News of the transfer, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, comes as the US has warned that North Korea is secretly supplying Russia with artillery shells for the war in Ukraine. The intended transfers from both Pyongyang and Seoul highlight the pressure the war has put on the defense industrial bases of US and Russia.
“There’s no question that it’s put pressure on our own stockpiles,” said Colin Kahl, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, speaking to reporters at a virtual meeting of George Washington University’s Project for Media and National Security. “It’s put pressure on our own industrial base. That’s been true of our allies.”
If you think that 100,000 artillery rounds is enough to sustain Ukrainian military operations, think again. According to Valery Zaluzhnyi, commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, the Russians are shooting 60,000 rounds a day. If Ukraine was firing at that same rate, the 100,000 rounds would be expended in two days. Then what? The fact that the war is entering its ninth month and the United States has not been able to ramp up production of 155 mm howitzer shells is a further reminder that the defense production capability of the United States has been hollowed out.