Tayyip Erdogan vows to free Turkey from terrorist attacks following a recent massacre at an Istanbul discothèque over the New Years Eve celebrations. Thirty-nine people were left dead. According to Reuters, the Turkish president issued a written statement which said in part:
“As a nation, we will fight to the end against not just the armed attacks of terror groups and the forces behind them, but also against their economic, political and social attacks.”
Has he successfully brokered a peace deal in Syria? It seems as if Vladimir Putin, along with Turkey, has successfully assisted the Syrian fighters in reaching a deal to stop the slaughter in their country. Sixty-thousand fighters (60,000) have reportedly agreed to lay down their arms and bring to an end this protracted multi-year struggle for power and control of the country. Mr Putin describes the accord as “fragile” perhaps recognizing that similar UN-backed and US supported accords have quickly imploded.
If this agreement sticks, however, it will undoubtedly raise Mr Putin’s stature in the international community, and perhaps even elevate him to the “leader” of the current global system in some people’s minds. Will this sit well with Mr Trump? Will he willingly allow Mr Putin to enjoy the “leader” mantle? Or will he compete to be number one?
Many world leaders have lamented that the US has lost influence in global affairs over the last several years in the Post-Iraq war era. Increasingly, leaders in the Arab states as well as in Europe have looked beyond the UN and the US for solutions to these gnawing conflicts in the Middle East. President Obama’s foreign policy has been that the US should not be the only one shouldering the burden of keeping a misbehaving world in order. He has stressed multilateralism as far as costs and capital and manpower. The wisdom of this approach is indisputable but the result is also evident – the US could lose its “leadership” position in global affairs. Correspondingly, if President Trump adopts the isolationist posture he has threatened during the campaign and focus his energies entirely on reupholstering America’s airports and other infrastructure as well as create jobs domestically and build that Great Wall, America could render itself nearly irrelevant in the international arena.
Is this necessarily a bad thing? America followed an isolationist path before and existed quite happily and productively apart it its cocoon prior to the Second World War. Sure, the world is different from what it was then, and not only from the standpoint of globalization and technological advancement. But it does not mean that America could not successfully isolate itself once again and turn the world over to Russia (and maybe to a lesser extent China) to deal with all the minor headaches – and leaving itself the option of butting in only for the biggest of the big fights. Right?
The assassin of Russian diplomat Andrei Karlov has been allegedly identified by Turkish authorities as Mevlut Mert Altintas. He was 22 years old according to media reports and an off duty police office who received training in Turkey for the “riot” unit. Clearly, he was an expert at this job just by observing the manner in which he handled his gun. He clearly was very skilled with hitting targets and with mastering the art of gun warfare. He had the demeanor of a trained assassin. He fit the part of an assassin to the letter, evoking images of Al Pacino in Scarface as he executed the governmental official who was visiting Turkey for an art exhibit.
Some reports say that he was Syrian descent though he resided in Turkey and worked for the government of Turkey in law enforcement. There are questions about how he was able to enter the exhibit packing so much heat, and how he was able to get so close to the Ambassador before being neutralized. Did he receive aid? And from whom? That is what the international community is now asking and what Vladimir Putin and the Russian government want to know.
Mevlut Mert Altintas’ despicable act will not muddy relations between Russia and Turkey, thankfully. The two countries are working alongside Iran to find a solution to the situation in Syria and they met in Moscow recently without a representative from the US and their Western allies to discuss a ceasefire and the restoration to power of Bashar al Assad.
However, John Kerry and other world leaders have sent their condolences via Twitter and other means to the Russian government and the Russian people.
Mevlut Mert Altintas was killed in an execution style storm of bullets that were fired into him by Turkish police. The holes that were left in the walls of the art gallery by the firepower, next to the dead assassin, were almost as big as golf balls. There was blood everywhere.
May everyone who died in this circumstance rest in peace.
President elect Donald Trump joins Russian President Vladimir Putin in decrying the assassination of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey Monsieur Andrei Karlov on Monday evening in Ankara by an off duty police officer toting a shot gun.
Dressed in a black suit and white shirt, the youthful-looking, markedly thin-statured, dark-haired assassin pumped several bullets into the ambassador who was giving a speech at an art gallery in the middle of the Turkish capital. The killer, who was subsequently “neutralized” by Turkish law enforcement, then began to yell in Turkish about Syria and said something to the effect of “God is great! Do not forget Syria! So not forget Aleppo! You will not have peace as long as we do not have peace in our land!”
Monsieur Karlov survived a few hours but later died in a Turkish emergency room.
US Secretary of State John Kerry as well as the White House denounced the attack by issuing separate statements.
In a series of tweets, President elect Trump called on the “civilised world” to “change their thinking” and to work together to “eradicate radical islamic terrorists off the face of th earth.” According to a Politico.com article, the President elect further stated:
The murder of an ambassador is a violation of all rules of civilized order and must be universally condemned,” the president-elect said.
Shortly after, he released a statement saying that people killed by a truck that drove into a Berlin market on Monday were victims of a “horrifying terror attack” and charging that “ISIS and other Islamist terrorists continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad.”
It has been rumoured that the gunman has connections to Fettulah Gulen, a Turkish activist who had been accused of attempting a coup last summer of the current regime in Turkey. He is exiled in Pennsylvania. However the group ISIS have reportedly taken credit for the shocking hit.
Ankara police have 55 pending arrest warrants for a number of business men who are accused of having tried to aide Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen (who lives in Pennsylvania USA) orchestrate a coup back in July.
President Tayyip Erdogan is so incensed by this attempted toppling of his regime, that according to media reports, he has sacked and/or jailed more than 136,000 in connection with the failed coup.
The businessmen are wanted in connection to allegations that they gave financial support (by carrying large wads of cash between certain countries in a network supportive of Gullen) to the Gullen network over the course of 4 decades and that this cash enabled Gullen to attempt to overthrow the government in July.