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The article first published in americanthinker.com on 10/23/2017. Though Western Europe and Washington are reluctant to fess up to this unfortunate fact, Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long ago given up even the pretence of being a democratic polity and is openly pursuing policies detrimental to democracy, the rule of law and Western security considerations. In short, Turkey has become an Islamist dictatorship every bit as inimical to Western interests as Iran, except for being allowed by the West to maintain the charade that it is still a member of NATO and the western community of nations. This is a dangerous charade that would inevitably come back to haunt us. For the reality is that Erdogan the Islamist, has ambitions that go beyond Turkey and even the Middle East. Well
The news from Ankara these days ascertain an important segment in President Erdogan’s drive for global prominence as he is borrowing heavily from President Putin’s guide for autocratic leaders. Yet it is hard to see how he will be able to profit from the Kremlin’s recipes, lacking the tsar’s resources and insatiable pool of social patience. Russia has been seeking to build on the rifts within NATO and US-Turkish relations by enticing Erdogan into a pool of geopolitical tradeoffs and gambles. Putin’s attempts to undermine the EU and the US are persisting. The chance to help Turkey steer away from NATO’s mainstream and turn into its weakest element seems up for grabs. President Putin is visiting Turkey this week to talk over a new strategic framework
There are historical events that are just that, vaguely-remembered memories of events past that are of interest mostly to professional historians. And then there are momentous events that shape a nation’s consciousness for better or worse for generations to come. One such event for the Greeks is the massacre at Smyrna at the end of WWI nearly a 100 years ago. Just in time to remind us of this consequential tragedy is a new book by the German historian, Heinz A. Richter, a rare impartial look at one of the events that colors Greek national identity like few others. Nor is this reminder of historical significance alone. For it is the case that Turkey’s Islamist dictator, Erdogan and the subservient to him Islamist press, ever more openly question the
One of the greatest challenges we face today is to understand the trends and reap the benefits of change in a rapidly evolving world. Just a decade ago, leaders in south and southeastern Europe believed that breaking away from Gazprom’s monopoly meant they needed to connect to the Caspian Sea gas finds. The second phase of the Shah Deniz-2 project was considered the Holy Grail of energy independence for SEE countries – a belief that led to the strategic project of the Southern Gas Corridor, the development of the second phase of the Shah Deniz gas field and the construction of costly transport infrastructure, worth in total more than $45 billion. In the original plan these investments were meant to be recovered via gas sales with 9
The article first published in danielpipes.org on 07/18/2017. In February, Turkey’s ambassador to Israel told this author to stay away from his country; at least he did so diplomatically. In June, Turkey’s ambassador to Bulgaria treated me in a remarkably rude and undiplomatic manner. The occasion was a talk I gave, “On Turkey and Erdoğan – a partner or a threat,” for the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies think tank in Sofia. After mentioning my connections to and affection for Turkey, I explained that strongman President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s inability to reconcile three competing priorities — Islam, Turkey, and Erdoğan — and the resulting contradictions are likely to doom his regime. By the end of the event, Amb. Süleyman Gökçe confirmed that prediction. He came early, sat in
Gazprom again is launching its mothballed project of bypassing Ukraine with Russia’s own version of a ‘Southern Gas Corridor’. On May 4 the Audacia pipe-laying vessel, run by Allseas Group, reached Anapa on the Russian coast of the Black Sea. Ten days later, another vessel of Allseas, the world’s largest pipe layer Pioneering Spirit, also made it to the Black Sea through the Bosporus to join the operation. Allseas had been contracted by Gazprom in April 2014 to build the second string of the South Stream pipeline project after Italy’s Saipem had been awarded a contract for the first string. After the failure of the South Stream idea, Gazprom severed the contract with Saipem but asked Allseas replace the Italians in building the initial string of the pipeline,