The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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Turkey

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Few geopolitical hot spots across the planet may rival the Caucasus: that intractable, tribal Tower of Babel, throughout History a contentious crossroads of empires from the Levant and nomads from the Eurasian steppes. And it gets even messier when one adds the fog of war. To try to shed some light into the current Armenia-Azerbaijan... Read More
Late afternoon in May 29, 1453, Sultan Mehmet, the third son of Murad, born of a slave-girl – probably Christian - in the harem, fluent in Turkish, Arabic, Greek, Latin, Persian and Hebrew, followed by his top ministers, his imams and his bodyguard of Janissaries, rides slowly towards the Great Church of St Sophia in... Read More
At the start of their discussion marathon in Moscow on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with arguably the most extraordinary diplomatic gambit of the young 21st century. Putin said: “At the beginning of our meeting, I would like to once again express my sincere condolences over the death of... Read More
The latest installment of the interminable Syria tragedy could be interpreted as Greece barely blocking a European “invasion” by Syrian refugees. The invasion was threatened by President Erdogan even as he refused the EU’s puny “offer you can refuse” bribe of only one billion euros. Well, it’s more complicated than that. What Erdogan is in... Read More
Compare US pillaging with Russia-Iran-Turkey’s active involvement in a political solution to normalize Syria
What happened in Geneva this Wednesday, in terms of finally bringing peace to Syria, could not be more significant: the first session of the Syrian Constitutional Committee. The Syrian Constitutional Committee sprang out of a resolution passed in January 2018 in Sochi, Russia, by a body called the Syrian National Dialogue Congress. The 150-strong committee... Read More
Russia-Turkey deal establishes ‘safe zone’ along Turkish border and there will be joint Russia-Turkey military patrols
The negotiations in Sochi were long – over six hours – tense and tough. Two leaders in a room with their interpreters and several senior Turkish ministers close by if advice was needed. The stakes were immense: a road map to pacify northeast Syria, finally. The press conference afterwards was somewhat awkward – riffing on... Read More
Forget an independent Kurdistan: They may have to do a deal with Damascus on sharing their area with Sunni Arab refugees
In the annals of bombastic Trump tweets, this one is simply astonishing: here we have a President of the United States, on the record, unmasking the whole $8-trillion intervention in the Middle East as an endless war based on a “false premise.” No wonder the Pentagon is not amused. Trump’s tweet bisects the surreal geopolitical... Read More
Erdogan looks set to buy Russian missile defense system in defiance of US and NATO, tying his cart to China and Russia
Turkey is a key hub in the emerging New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative. Erdogan is a master at selling Turkey as the ultimate East-West crossroads. He has also expressed much interest in joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), led by Russia-China, whose annual summit took place in Bishkek a few days before... Read More
Let’s cut to the chase: Ankara 2016 is not Sarajevo 1914. This is not a prelude to WWIII. Whoever plotted the assassination of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov – a cool, calm, collected old-school diplomat - risks a mighty blowback. The assassin, Mevlut Mert Altintas, was a 22-year-old police academy graduate. He was... Read More
Amidst an astonishing, relentless, wide-ranging purge that shows no signs of abating, with 60,000 – and counting – civil servants, academics, judges, prosecutors, policemen, soldiers jailed, fired, suspended or stripped of professional accreditation, it’s relatively established by now the Turkish government was very much informed a military coup was imminent on July 15. The information... Read More
Anyone who haggled about the price of a carpet in a Turkish bazaar knows these guys are more reptilian than Henry Kissinger. They always get what they want by letting you leave with the impression you got what you want for a price way higher than you were initially inclined to pay. Cue to a... Read More
From a failed attempt to clear the Calais jungle to the appalling situation at the Greek-Macedonian border, the EU crumbles under the strain of a massive refugee crisis. Even the Kafkaesque Brussels Eurocrat construct admits it – off the record, because official EU must always project a mythical image of unity: «We are on the... Read More
Legend has it that Kurds will never be united because they’d rather be bickering among themselves; Kurds taught me that, in Turkey, Iraq and Syria. The Americans have been manipulating Iraqi Kurds at will since 1991. Now the top instrumentalizer/demonizer of Kurdish hopes and dreams – across the Turkey/Syria front – is neo-Ottoman Sultan Erdogan.... Read More
«Sometimes I wonder if it’s 2016 or if we live in 1962». What Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told 60 foreign and defense ministers at the 52nd Munich Security Conference this past Saturday was hardly news. What some of us have been qualifying, for quite a while, as Cold War 2.0, was branded «New Cold... Read More
Islamic State leader Caliph Ibrahim – aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – never ceases to amaze us – and most of all his powerful petrodollar-stuffed backers. The Caliph is for all practical purposes now an oil major worth of membership of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). His takfiri/mercenary goons – in theory –... Read More
While everyone is concentrated on the possibility of a tectonic shift in US-Iran relations, and while a solution may be found for the Syrian tragedy in another upcoming set of negotiations in Geneva, Turkey is silently toiling in the background. Let's see what these sultans of swing are up to. We start on the internal... Read More
Is this the Turkish Spring? No, at least not yet. Is Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan the new Mubarak? No, at least not yet. History keeps warning us it takes just a spark to light a political bonfire. The recent spark in Istanbul was provided by a small group of very young environmentalists organizing... Read More
Kofi Annan looks increasingly like Austin Powers these days, minus the purple suits; an international man of mystery shuttling between world capitals trying to prevent a vicious war. Dr Evil, of course, is played by Syria's Bashar al-Assad. Swingin', baby! The United Nations mediator-in-chief is now convinced that both Iran and Iraq support his new... Read More
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is running out of rhetorical ammunition in the US's Holy War against Syria. Perhaps it's the strain of launching a NATO war bypassing the UN Security Council. Perhaps it's the strain of being eaten for breakfast routinely by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Hillary has just called on "Western... Read More
Once upon a time, not too long ago, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was the prime proponent of a foreign policy dubbed "zero problems with our neighbors" - derided by many in the West as "new-Ottomanism". The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) meets this Tuesday in Brussels not only to craft its response to a... Read More
There is a video [1] that could be loosely translated as "Terrorist Turkish border opening fire on the Syrian side" that pretty accurately sums up what's going on at the ultra-volatile geopolitical hotspot of the moment. The voice over says, "This is the Syria-Turkey border, and this is an operation of the Free Syrian Army... Read More
There is a video [1] that could be loosely translated as “Terrorist Turkish border opening fire on the Syrian side” that pretty accurately sums up what’s going on at the ultra-volatile geopolitical hotspot of the moment. The voice over says, “This is the Syria-Turkey border, and this is an operation of the Free Syrian Army... Read More
Nabucco - the alleged gas Holy Grail from the Caspian Sea to Europe, 4,000 kilometers from Turkey to Austria - is the perennial Pipelineistan soap opera. Part of the gas to supply Nabucco may come from Azerbaijan. Another part might - a very problematic "might" - come from Turkmenistan. But every self-respecting energy analyst knows... Read More
Finally. Crystal clear. Someone finally said it – what the whole world, except Washington and Tel Aviv, knows in its collective heart; the recognition of a Palestinian state is “not an option but an obligation”. It did wonders that the man who said it was Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Cairo, at the... Read More
It was a bloody Monday all across Iraq; two suicide bombers, 11 car bombs, and 19 VBIEDs (Pentagon speak for "vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices") - with nearly 70 people dead and over 300 wounded. Car bombs in Najaf, another one inside Kut's main market, a bomb set off near the convoy of the mayor of... Read More
Suppose this was a Hollywood script conference and you have to pitch your story idea in 10 words or less. It's a movie about Syria. As much as the currently in-research Kathryn Hurt Locker Bigelow film about the Osama bin Laden raid was pitched as "good guys take out Osama in Pakistan", the Syrian epic... Read More
At the sixth al-Jazeera forum in Doha in mid-March, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu gave a remarkable speech. He argued that the great 2011 Arab revolt was "necessary in order to restore the natural flow of history". According to him, "abnormalities" had to be corrected; the carving-up strategy of colonialism (which, for instance, severed historical... Read More
Three mummies were recently found in an underground temple in Luxor, Egypt. Translated hieroglyphs identified them as the Clash of Civilizations, the End of History, and Islamophobia. They ruled in Western domains into the second decade of the 21st century before dying and being embalmed. That much is settled. Without them, the Middle East is... Read More
So Many Ways to Strut Your Democratic Stuff in a New World
They can’t help themselves. Really, they can’t. Like children, the most monstrous of secret police outfits evidently come to believe themselves immortal. They lose all ability to imagine that they might ever go down and so keep records to the very moment of their collapse. Those records, so copious, damning, and unbearably detailed (which doesn’t... Read More
Why would Israel, in a deliberate and methodical operation planned over a week in advance - according to statements by senior Israeli military commanders made in Hebrew-language media days before the attack - target an unarmed ship on a humanitarian mission flying the flag of Comoros? (Unlike Turkey, Comoros is a party of the Rome... Read More
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was scheduled to meet Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva this Thursday in Brasilia. As much as the Barack Obama administration has been moving mountains to undermine the Iranian nuclear fuel swap deal mediated by Brazil and Turkey, both leaders (and US allies) are far from dropping the... Read More
As D-Day approached in Tehran, it was as if the whole world was watching a numbers game. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, on his way to Iran, said the chances of convincing the Islamic Republic to accept a nuclear fuel swap deal were close to 99%. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, after meeting with... Read More
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a fine politician, knew even before he set foot in Washington on Monday that President George W Bush could not possibly have anything tangible to offer him on the explosive Turkey vs Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) dossier, apart from Pentagon aerial intelligence passed on to Turkish generals. Erdogan, although... Read More
The George W Bush administration would not flinch to betray its allies in Iraqi Kurdistan if that entailed a US "win" in the Iraq quagmire. And it would not flinch to leave its Turkish North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies in the wilderness as well - if that entailed further destabilization of Iran. Way beyond the... Read More
"We have no friends other than the mountains." - Kurdish proverb With more than 100,000 troops and all those F-16s, tanks and helicopter gunships massed on the Turkish-Iraqi border, the new George W Bush greater Middle East war - that is, the Turkish invasion of Iraqi Kurdistan - is ready to roll. This "war on... Read More
PastClassics
The JFK Assassination and the 9/11 Attacks?
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.