by Gilad Atzmon
Putin and Erdogan have agreed to meet in early August. The tension between Russia and Turkey has gradually dissipated since Putin and Erdogan’s June telephone call. This week Turkish and Russian officials stated that the two administrations have reached a new consensus. The effect of this understanding is that Erdogan is changing its policies toward Syria, Assad and NATO intervention. Turkey may no longer be part of the Syrian crisis, it may as well become elementary to the peace process. Evidence of this shift occurred over a week ago when Turkey began to reinstate its relationship with the Syrian regime.
On Wednesday 13 July, just two days before the attempted coup, The Guardian wrote:
“More than five years into Syria’s civil war, Turkey, the country that has most helped the rebellion against the rule of Bashar al-Assad, has hinted it may move to normalise relations with Damascus.” The Guardian headline read “Syrian rebels stunned as Turkey signals normalisation of Damascus relations.”
We also learned in the last few hours that the Russian government accepts now that the Turkish assault on its Su-24 jets over Syria airspace last year was a clear plot to derail the relationships between the two countries.
This is certainly hopeful news for the region. But it was not necessarily the news NATO, America and Israel wanted.
Did the emerging alliance among Russia, Turkey and possibly Syria lead a few Turkish military leaders to execute a coup? Is it coincidental that the headquarters of the failed coup was at Incirlik Air Base, the Turkish airfield from which the United States and NATO regularly launch airstrikes against the Islamic State? There was also news this week that Incirlik is home to 50 Americans nuclear bombs.
Putin and Erdogan share many characteristics. Both leaders are popular and charismatic. Each of them is considered by his own people to be nationalist and patriotic and each operates within a nation that suffers from a long history of political instability and military coups. Both men seem to be original and astute political animals. But neither leader appears to be among the USA/NATO favorites. Both are despised by Zio-cons, the Jewish lobbies and Israel. Some commentators suggest that last Friday’s events in Turkey may be a warning sign for Putin: he may be the next to endure a coup attempt.
This is a strange time for the press. Not a single news outlet is reliable or trustworthy. We are bombarded by a plethora of global propaganda networks. The more news channels we have the less we know. Building a coherent and objective picture of reality or global affairs is pretty much impossible. The networks of progressive activists and commentators recycling ready made sound bites don’t help either. I was shocked to find out this week that a bunch of Assad Western supporters, whom I considered by mistake, well meaning and informed, employed neocon terminology such as ‘Islamists,’ ‘thugs’ and ‘Islamofascist’ to the Turkish people who went to the streets to save their country from a military regime.
As the picture clarifies, it seems that the coup attempt was motivated by the emerging alliance between Turkey and Russia. The possibility that Turkey becomes integral to a peaceful resolution in Syria brings to an end NATO’s interventionist war against the Assad regime. The plotters against Erdogan were desperate to halt such a transition.
An old friend of mine reminded me yesterday of Charles Bukowski’s precious insight: « the problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts while the stupid ones are full of confidence ».