By Peter Koenig
Excerpt taken from Turkey-Syria Earthquake: Is This An Act of Terror?
1. Turkey has entered an alliance with Russia – which for a NATO-member is like “sleeping with the enemy”. (Michel Chossudovsky) See this and this. Such a partnership with a NATO enemy is indeed an absolute no-go for the west. Under this alliance, Turkey has decided to buy the
2. Russian S-400 Air Defense system, instead of the US Patriot system, as it would behoove for a NATO member, especially one as crucial as is Turkey. Patriot (standing for Phased Array Tracking Radar for Intercept on Target) is a surface-to-air missile and anti-ballistic system. It is NATO’s air defense system. Instead, Turkey’s decision for the more sophisticated, more precise and effective Russian S-400 is a strong backbone for her alliance with Russia.
3. President Erdogan brokered in 2017 a US$ 2.5 billion deal with President Putin for the S-400. First deliveries of the S-400 missile batteries arrived in 2019.
4. The S-400 system is said to pose a risk to the NATO alliance as well as the F-35, America’s most expensive weapons platform. Turkey was severely sanctioned at the time by President Trump, notably by a foreign-manipulated currency devaluation of the Turkish Lira – which had a devastating impact on Turkey’s economy.
It is unusual, almost unheard of, for Washington to “punish” a NATO member for misbehavior.
[separating this “punishment” from 5, below]
5. US warship USS Nitze barred from entering the Black Sea through the Turkish controlled Bosporus. According to USNI News, the US warship USS Nitze, a US destroyer, was spotted in early February 2023, operating near the Black Sea. It is said to be the closest a US warship has come to Russia since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine began.
6. On February 3rd, the Nitze was seen at the lower edge of the Bosphorus Strait, en route to a port call in Turkey. The last US warship to pass through the strait was the USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51), which left the Black Sea on December 15, 2021. See Google map below, followed by video on the USS Nitze
7. In February 2022, Turkey closed the Bosphorus passage from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea for all vessels which do not have a national port within the Black Sea. This means, US war ships are not allowed to cross from the Med-Sea through the Bosporus into the Black Sea, from where Russia may be vulnerable for cruise missiles form US destroyers, for example the USS Nitze. In the meantime, Nitze has scheduled a port call at Gölcük Naval Base, in the Sea of Marmara (see Google map above).
8. Turkey, a key NATO country, between East and West, with the crucial Bosphorus as the dividing line, is closing a critical strategic passage to her NATO ally – NATO commander – protecting Russia, the US enemy – may not be seen with joy by Washington.
9. Turkish – Syrian rapprochement, is certainly not what Washington wants. It is the latest development in regional surprises, as reported by Arab Center Washington DC – see this.
10. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s interest in a rapprochement with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is the latest chapter in his delicate domestic and regional balancing act, and it has his friends and enemies alike, especially the US, scrambling for how this development might impact them. The rapprochement, if it succeeds, would further complicate the domestic and regional dynamics in northern Syria without securing any clear advantage for Erdogan beyond, perhaps, in the upcoming Turkish elections.
11. Remember the Russian Involvement in Syria – when the US was chased out of Syria? At the request of President Bashar al-Assad – Russian military, mostly air force interference from September 2015 until the end of 2017, was largely responsible for Washington’s significant withdrawal, albeit not complete, from Syria. In 2017, when “mission accomplished”, Russian combat troops were withdrawn, but Russia keeps a nominal military police presence in Northern Syria.
12. Turkey’s Bombshell – a few days ago, rejecting Sweden as NATO member, may have been the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. For a new country to become a NATO member, ALL NATO nations must approve the new candidate.
13. Sweden says they cannot meet some of the Turkish conditions. Among them are Turkey’s accusations that Sweden is supporting members of the Kurdish Working Party – the PKK, archenemies of Erdogan’s.
14. According to a Turkish Crisis Group, some 30,000 to 40,000 people are estimated to have died in fighting between the PKK and Turkish government, since 1984.
15. Maybe there were also some Russian interests at stake in Turkey’s rejection of Sweden as a NATO member. Although peace has prevailed between Sweden and Russia, since 1809, the two countries never achieved a close relationship, unlike the situation with other neighbors. This is particularly the case with the current Swedish Government.