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China applauds Putin’s win, backs Russia on Skripal case, hails China’s ‘strategic partnership’ with Russia

Messages of support for Russia and its “comprehensive collaborative strategic partnership” pour in from China

Alexander Mercouris

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President Putin’s massive election victory and the fallout from the Skripal case have provided Global Times – an English language newspaper published under the auspices of the People’s Daily, the official organ of China’s Communist Party, and therefore reflecting the views of China’s leadership – with the opportunity to give Russia strong backing as it comes under renewed Western pressure.

The first editorial, published on 16th March 2018 under the title “West hopes to hurt, intimidate Russia”, makes clear that China sides with Russia over the handling of the Skripal case

This new round of “bullying” of Russia by the US and its European allies is quite abrupt and acute. London ignored usual diplomatic procedures to issue an ultimatum to Moscow and began sanctions. It feels like racing against time.

(bold italics added)

The second editorial, published on 19th March 2018 under the title “Western sanctions boost support for Putin”, makes the same point, though rather more trenchantly

Before the just-concluded election, the UK issued an ultimatum to the Kremlin to account for the poisoning of a former Russian agent on British soil, without solid proof. It was a humiliation for Moscow.

(bold italics added)

Both editorials see the Skripal case as a continuation of the Western campaign to undermine President Putin in order to disrupt Russia’s independent course.

Both editorials link the Skripal case to Russia’s Presidential election which took place on 18th March 2018.

The first editorial – published before Russia’s Presidential election – puts it this way

It makes people think of the upcoming Russian presidential election on March 18. The West wrestling with Russia at this particular moment has become a major factor for Russia’s elections. It is hard to distinguish how much of the antagonism reflect its true severity and how much is designed to target Russia’s elections.

The past couple of years has witnessed the most strenuous period of Russia’s relations with the West. The improvement in their relations since the end of the Cold War has almost run out. However, today’s Russia, without satellite states, is incomparable with the strength of the former Soviet Union when dealing with the strategic pressure from the West……

Analysts believe Putin will win the election without a doubt, and that the West’s sanctions will likely provide new momentum for Putin’s supporters. But maybe some Western elite think the other way and wish to drain Putin’s votes or undermine his authority via a new round of sanctions that may pressure the Russian public.

(bold italics added)

The second editorial – published after President Putin’s overwhelming victory in the Presidential election – makes the same point, whilst noting that the plan to undermine public support for President Putin in Russia has failed, with the West’s ongoing anti-Russian and anti-Putin campaign instead consolidating Russian society behind him

The past six years have seen the most intense conflicts between Russia and the West since the end of the Cold War and Western countries have imposed severe sanctions against Moscow. During the same period, the price of oil stayed low. The Russian economy was hence facing a double blow. With the increasing cost of its national defense, the Russian government found available funds diminished to invest in improving people’s living standards. The Western political logic was like this: Even if Putin remains in his post, his support will decline. 

But the election showed the opposite. It seems that Russian people generally attributed the nation’s current difficulties to pressure and sanctions piled on them by the West. Meanwhile, they believe that Putin is the one defending their interests and without him, their situation would be even worse.

(bold italics added)

Both editorials note that Russia’s economy has proved highly resistant to the West’s sanctions, and both explain why.

The first editorial says “Russia’s rich natural resources make it highly self-sufficient to counter sanctions”.

The second editorial goes into more detail

Sanctions against Russia……economically….will…have little effect. The Russian economy returned to modest growth in 2017. Russia enjoys rich resources, high-level intellectuals and in the Soviet era, abundant technological breakthroughs. It is not a nation that can be besieged to death.

Global Times then proceeds to draw lessons from this for China, which is itself now starting to come under economic pressure from the US.

Firstly, as the first editorial points out, the West is as capable of applying sanctions pressure on China as it is against Russia

Western countries have been quite freewheeling in imposing sanctions on Russia, as they don’t see much cost in doing so.

The harsh attitude of Western countries toward Russia resembles their unity in the face of major geopolitical and value challenges despite problems in their own camp. Any non-Western competitor could become their shared target, which is part of the current world order.

Independent forces, including China, all face such risks.

(bold italics added)

Secondly, Russia has managed to resist the West’s pressure in part because of its “rich natural resources” – ie. its economic self-sufficiency – but also because of the strong national spirit of its people

The Western powers should reflect on the fact that they are not setting themselves against Putin alone, but against the entire Russian nation which defeated Napoleon and Hitler and is not afraid of anyone. Patriotism and self-esteem as citizens of a major power are pervasive in the Russian people. When the West fights these sentiments, its efforts amount to nothing….

Sanctions against Russia have failed politically because they have only promoted the unity of Russian society….

Discussions about how Russia will transition toward a post-Putin era have already started in Western nations, but they do not understand Russia in believing that Putin’s emergence was an accident. The truth is Putin represents the country’s national interest. The support he won reflects the support Russian people have for their national interest.

The implication is clear enough: in order for China to be able to resist Western pressure – the application of which I suspect the Chinese leadership believes is only a matter of time – China needs the same two things that have enabled Russia to resist Western pressure so successfully: a spirit of national unity and economic self-sufficiency.

Following my visit to China last August I have no doubt about the Chinese people’s spirit of national unity.  However these words in the second editorial are no doubt in part intended to remind China’s people of the cost they will pay if they ever lose it and succumb to the allure of the West

Moscow once tried to integrate with the West. Losing the Soviet Union was the price it paid for that. But in the end, its enthusiasm encountered the cold shoulder of the West. NATO’s expansion into Eastern Europe was widely considered by Russian people as Western treachery following the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Today Russian society is filled with desire to see their country rise again.

As to economic self-sufficiency, China though possessing an economy many orders of magnitude larger than Russia’s, unlike Russia is not economically fully self-sufficient.

However Global Times points to the solution, which it turns out is an ever-closer relationship with Russia

The China-Russia comprehensive strategic collaborative partnership also made sure that the West would fail to contain either Beijing or Moscow.

(bold italics added)

In other words the Russian-Chinese alliance guarantees each country’s security from pressure by the West.

Russia can to look to China to supplement its financial resources.  China can look to Russia for the food, energy and raw materials it needs.

Though the two editorials don’t say so, and the point is never publicly spoken about, the main purpose of President Xi Jinping’s One Belt, One Road Initiative is to tie the economic resources of the China and Russia together, with Russian President Vladimir Putin being President Xi Jinping’s essential partner in the whole enterprise.

President Putin alluded to this fact in his message of congratulation to President Xi Jinping following the latter’s recent re-election as President of China

This decision by the National People’s Congress of China has become another proof of your great authority, a recognition of your efforts in ensuring dynamic socioeconomic development of the country and protecting its interests on the global stage,” the Russian President stressed.

Vladimir Putin noted the unprecedented high level of relations between Russia and China achieved recently to a large extent due to the personal efforts of Xi Jinping. These relations have become a true example of equal and mutually beneficial cooperation between leading powers.

The President of Russia conveyed to his Chinese counterpart that he would be happy to have new meetings with him, and expressed confidence in further strengthening, through reciprocal efforts, the Russia-China comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation, in filling it with new content which will contribute to the prosperity of the two friendly peoples and to greater security and stability on the Eurasian continent and in the whole world.

President Xi Jinping then reciprocated in his message of congratulation to President Putin following the latter’s re-election as President of Russia a day after

In the message, Xi said that over recent years, the Russian people have united as one in firmly advancing on the path of strengthening the nation, realizing rejuvenation and development, achieving remarkable success in economic and social development, and playing an important constructive role in international affairs.

Xi expressed the belief that Russia will definitely be able to keep creating new glories in national development.

Currently, the China-Russia comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership is at the best level in history, which sets an example for building a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness and justice, cooperation and all-win results, and a community with a shared future for mankind, Xi said.

China is willing to work with Russia to keep promoting China-Russia relations to a higher level, provide driving force for respective national development in both countries, and promote regional and global peace and tranquility, Xi said.

I would finish by referring to the remarkably fulsome language Global Times uses to describe the current relationship between China and Russia.

What was once referred to as a ‘strategic partnership’ became a few years ago a ‘grand strategic partnership’.

Now Global Times calls it “the China-Russia comprehensive strategic collaborative partnership”.  Note that both President Putin and President Xi Jinping referred to it as a “comprehensive strategic cooperation partnership” in their respective telegrams to each other.  It appears that this is now the agreed formula used to describe the relationship.

I wonder for how much longer the Chinese and the Russians will go on pretending that their relationship is anything other than what it obviously is, something which can be summed up altogether more simply, with one word: alliance.

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Judicial Watch Calls for Re-Opening of Hillary Email Investigation After More Classified Info Found

Judicial Watching is calling for a re-opening of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails after finding more classified information on the former Secretary of State’s non-“state.gov” email system.

The Duran

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Authored by Joseph Jankowski via PlanetFreeWill.com,


On Thursday, the watchdog revealed that it had received two batches, 184 pages and 45 pagesof newly uncovered emails belonging to Hillary Clinton from the U.S. Department of State sent and received over her unsecured server.

The emails were uncovered by a FOIA lawsuit filed on May 6, 2015, after the State Department failed to respond to a March 4, 2015 FOIA request seeking all emails sent or received by Clinton in her official capacity as Secretary of State, as well as all emails by other State Department employees to Clinton regarding her non-“state.gov” email address.

Judicial Watch broke down what they found:

  • On June 7, 2011, Clinton received classified information on her non-secure email account from former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, which Blair also forwarded to Jake Sullivan, about Blair’s Middle East negotiations with Israel, the Palestinians and the French
  • On January 26, 2010, Clinton’s Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan sent classified information via his unsecure Blackberry to Huma Abedin’s State Department email account that he’d earlier sent to Clinton’s and Abedin’s non-secure @clintonemail.com email accounts about U.K. negotiations with Northern Ireland.
  • On October 28, 2010, Clinton exchanges information with her friend Marty Torrey – a congressional aide – who asks Clinton in an email if she would advise that Torrey meet with former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. Clinton responds through her non-secure email account approving the meeting and notes that she is emailing him from Hanoi, Vietnam.
  • An email chain dated April 8, 2010, which contains a memo from Sid Blumenthal to Hillary Clinton related to the change of government in Kyrgyzstan, contains information classified “confidential” and is redacted as “foreign government information” and “foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States, including confidential sources.” Blumenthal urges Clinton to “develop relations” with the new government in Kyrgyzstan.

These emails caused Judicial Watch founder Tom Fitton to call for the Department of Justice to re-open the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time in office.

“These emails were undercovered from the emails that Hillary Clinton tried to delete or otherwise hide from the American people,” Fitton said in a video posted Thursday. “These new emails once again show why the Clinton email investigation needs to be re-opened by the Justice Department.”

The batch of emails also disclosed a January 26, 2010, email to Hillary Clinton’s private server from her deputy chief of staff, Jake Sullivan, that is classified “confidential” and contains a “call sheet” that Clinton received prior to a call with Northern Ireland political leaders.

Interesting, but not surprising, is also an email that shows a meeting scheduled between Hillary Clinton and leftwing billionaire George Soros.

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Doug Casey on Social Media: “Facebook enshrines stupidity”

“Just as Myspace was displaced by Facebook, I predict Facebook 2.0 will come along and replace Facebook.”

The Duran

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Authored by Joel Bowman via InternationalMan.com:


Joel Bowman: G’day, Doug. Thanks for speaking with us today.

Doug Casey: No problem, Joel. It’s a pleasure to hear your Australian accent come across the ether from Mexico.

Joel: Let’s dive right in. A week or two ago, Facebook registered the largest single day loss for any one company in stock market history – roughly $122 billion. CEO Mark Zuckerberg lost around $15 billion himself, as much as the annual GDP of several resource-rich, West African nations.

Looking back to 2000, during the go-go days of the dot.com boom, Intel and Microsoft both registered staggering single-day losses, too… $90 billion and $80 billion, respectively. And we know what happened next in that case…

So, investors want to know… is past prologue? What’s next for Silicon Valley’s tech darlings?

Doug: Talking about losing multiple billions in a single day, it’s really a sign of the times. I remember when the only billionaires in the world were Howard Hughes, John Paul Getty and John Beresford Tipton– the mythical billionaire on a 1950’s-era show called “The Millionaire.”

These days, however, it seems everyone’s a billionaire. In fact, there are several thousand billionaires roaming the planet today, with new ones being minted almost every day.

Of course, much of this so-called wealth is just paper. It’s not real. In fact, it’s pretty clear to me that we’re in a stock market bubble. Which is being driven by the bond market hyper-bubble. And that, in turn, is fueling a real estate bubble, which I believe is just now beginning to deflate in major cities around the world.

None of this augurs well for the stock market. You’ve got bubbles all over the place. Except in the resource market. That’s the one place that hasn’t inflated. In fact, it’s been going down since it’s last peak in 2011.

Getting back to Facebook, I hope it goes bankrupt. I hate it as an institution. I hate what it does. I don’t like its policies. I don’t like its management. I don’t like the fact that it’s causing people to destroy whatever privacy they have left. While turning their brains to mush sending out selfies all day.

Joel: You’ve put a lot on the table there, Doug. Let’s unpack a bit of that, starting with the general tendency toward cerebral rot…

Many younger readers may not remember this, but there actually existed a time before everybody knew everything, when people had to read books and discuss them, engage in healthy debate and rigorous dialectic in order to learn and develop intellectually.

Now that everyone apparently has plenty of time to Instagram their kale salads and “like” one and other’s cat pictures, are we to assume mankind has finally reached the End of Learning…some new Age of Enlightenment?

Or might Facebook and its (anti)social media cousins represent – in addition to the potential fallout for investors – another, hidden cost to society?

Doug: Perhaps humanity is bifurcating into the Morlocks and the Eloi at this point. It’s true that people used to go to libraries. But even the Library of Congress has only a tiny fraction the world’s data available; libraries are quaint and delightful, but they’re dinosaurs.

All the knowledge in the world is now at our fingertips on the Internet. The Internet is one of the greatest inventions in history, on a par with moveable type and the Gutenburg printing press. A few people are using it to educate and better themselves—but relatively few.

Most people just use it for trivial amusement, as you mentioned. Facebook adds very little value to the equation. In fact, I can’t see that it does much that’s productive. It’s basically a vehicle for gossip and watching cat videos.

Joel: And it’s less than that. Aside from the general degradation of public discourse, social media also represents a kind of unalterable historical record of bad jokes and regrettable moments, accessible to anyone who may wish to besmirch one’s character or skittle one’s reputation.

We’ve all said things we wish we hadn’t. To err is to be human, after all. What do you make of a world in which everyone’s worst moments are readily available to everyone else – including potential enemies – at the click of a mouse?

Doug: Facebook enshrines stupidity. A heavy Facebook user is, in effect, saying: “Look at me! I’m a thoughtless person who doesn’t have anything better to do with his time”. That’s on top of the fact that users are exposing their thoughts, actions, and whereabouts to the NSA, the FBI, the CIA and any of a hundred other nefarious agencies. In fact, there are credible allegations that Facebook, along with Google and Amazon, are willing tools of these intelligence agencies. No good can come of being a Facebookista.

But that’s about whether you should use Facebook. Whether you should own Facebook stock is a different question. Even after the recent selloff, Facebook still has a market cap of about $500 billion, which impresses me as a lot for a chat site cum advertising vehicle. Especially one where most of its growth is behind it. A lot of users are getting hip to the fact they’re not customers, they’re the product.

Facebook was a clever innovation ten years ago. But you know, there’s an old saying in the stock market: High Tech, Big Wreck!

Just as Myspace was displaced by Facebook, I predict Facebook 2.0 will come along and replace Facebook. My understanding is that kids now see Facebook as something used by old people– people over 21 years of age. So if it’s going nowhere with the younger generation, where’s it’s future? Maybe it picks up a billion new users in the Third World. Ultimately, what’s that worth?

Facebook may not be a terminal short sale, but I certainly won’t be putting any of my own money into the stock.

Joel: Assuming you’re correct and Facebook 2.0 does displace the current market leader, are you hopeful that such a platform may serve to promote a heightened level of discourse? Perhaps people might find their way into “phyles,” that is, subgroups based on commonly shared values that actually have real world meaning?

Doug: I hope that, in a year or two, International Man itself grows into a community of likeminded people with above average I.Q.s, libertarian values, and real world experience. IM might, itself, even branch off to become its own kind of Facebook. A private version.

I know there’s a lot of talk about regulating FB, or breaking it up. That’s a bad idea; the government should have zero to do with business in general—and areas related to free speech in particular. I’m disgusted by the fact FB has kicked Alex Jones and others off their platform. But they have a right to do so, as a private company. Although, on the other hand, they’re almost a creature of the State.

But that’s not an excuse for the government to “step in”. What will happen is that a newer, better Facebook lookalike—or a dozen of them—will replace them. FB will self-destruct. It’s a non-problem.

To be frank, you and I don’t really have that much in common with most of the 7.3 billion people on this planet. In fact, while I like many individual humans, I despise humanity in general. The more people you put together in a group, the more they act like chimpanzees. Big groups force down the lowest common denominator.

There’s some cause for optimism, but only on a person-to-person basis. I prefer the company of people who value free minds and free markets—and I suspect most people who are reading this now feel the same way.

Joel: That’s probably a very good note to end this conversation on, Doug. Thanks, as always, for taking the time.

Doug: Meanwhile, we’ll look for something with the potential of Facebook in 2008… and stay away from Facebook today.

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Why did Erdogan free two Greek soldiers after six months in a Turkish prison?

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 83.

Alex Christoforou

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Two Greek soldiers freed after months in a Turkish prison returned to Greece by government jet after their unexpected release by a Turkish provincial court.

Greece’s Defense Minister Panos Kammenos said he phoned his Turkish counterpart to express his satisfaction with the soldiers’ release and invite him to visit Greece.

Kammenos told reporters, referring to the Feast of the Dormation, which falls on August 15 and to the Italian torpedoing on a Greek warship on this day in 1940…

“This is a great day for our motherland, the day of Our Lady, the day of Tinos in 1940.”

“I hope that their release…will herald a new day in Greek-Turkish relations. We can live together peacefully, for the benefit of both our peoples.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine the reasons behind Erdogan’s unexpected overture to Greece, with the sudden release of two Greek soldiers held in a Turkish prison for nearly 6 months.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Via Ekathimerini

The soldiers – 2nd Lieutenant Angelos Mitretodis and Sergeant Dimitris Kouklatzis – were met by Kammenos, the army chief of staff and an honor guard after their arrival at 3 a.m. at the airport in the northern city of Thessaloniki.

“All I want to say is thank you,” Mitretodis told reporters.

The men were arrested on March 1 for illegally entering Turkey after crossing the heavily militarized land border. Greece strongly protested their long detention in the western town of Edirne, arguing that they had strayed across during a patrol of a trail of suspected illegal immigration amid poor visibility due to bad weather.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras welcomed their release as “an act of justice,” and provided the jet he uses on official foreign journeys to bring them back.

Their release “will contribute to strengthening friendship, good neighborly relations and stability in the region,” Tsipras said in a statement. “I want to congratulate and thank (the two men) and their families for their fortitude, patience and trust in our efforts, which were finally justified.”

In Athens, the Foreign Ministry said: “We welcome the release of the two members of the Greek armed forces … following more than five months of unjustified custody in Edirne prison. This decision by the Turkish authorities is positive and will contribute to the improvement of Greek-Turkish relations and the friendship between our people.

“The constant efforts exerted by the Prime Minister, the Foreign Ministry and the diplomatic and consular missions of Greece in Turkey have borne fruit. Once again diplomacy is the biggest winner.”

The men’s arrest had considerably strained Greek-Turkish relations. Kammenos had claimed that they were being held “hostage” by Turkey, which is trying to secure the extradition of eight Turkish servicemen who fled to Greece after the 2016 failed military coup in Turkey.

Ankara accuses its servicemen of involvement in the coup, but Greek courts have refused to extradite them, arguing they would not get a fair trial in Turkey and their lives would be in danger there.

The two Greeks were released Tuesday pending the outcome of their trial by a Turkish court. Turkey’s state Anadolu Agency said that in a court hearing to review a request for their release the two said in their defense that they had crossed the border by mistake.

Mitretodis’ father told the AP that his son had shown great strength in prison.

“My wife phoned and told me the news, and at once I called the Greek consul (in Edirne) and confirmed that the lads have been set free,” Nikos Mitretodis said. “They didn’t do anything wrong, and they spent a long time in prison. But they were strong during all that time, and remain strong, they have to be.”

“I want to thank everyone for their solidarity – the media, our political leadership, the Church and anonymous people who stood by us,” he added.

Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos said the release of the two soldiers “on the one hand constitutes a basic act of justice on the part of the Turkish authorities. On the other hand, it shows how Turkey can and should continue to fully reestablish the climate of friendship and good neighborliness with Greece”.

Main opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said: “The release of the two Greek officers is happy news amid the gloomy summer that our country is experiencing. All Greeks await their return with joy and emotion.”

In Brussels, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he was delighted by news of the Greek soldiers’ imminent release. “As I said (before) … Turkey has nothing to fear from its European neighbors. We want to see a democratic, stable and prosperous Turkey,” he posted on Twitter.

Authored by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth blog:

On August 15, Greeks celebrate the “Dormition (or the Assumption) of the Virgin Mary (in Greek: Koimisis tis Theotokou). The holiday commemorates the “falling asleep” or death of the Theotokos (Mary, translated as “God-bearer”). August 15, one of the most important holidays in the Orthodox calendar, is celebrated across the country, and is a date when many Greeks leave the towns and cities where they live and work to return to their home villages.”

Stole that bit from the local Kathimerini paper. And I would add: while most Athenians leave for the islands, along with about 2 billion tourists. Thought I’d bring up the national holiday because in Turkey, they celebrate the same. The orthodox church is still going strong in both countries. Even if Turkey is leaning increasingly towards Islam. And even then: the House of the Virgin Mary shrine in Turkey, which the Apostle John is supposed to have built for her, on a mountain overlooking the Aegean, the place where Mary is said to have spent her last years, sees both Christian and Muslim pilgrims.

All this can’t be seen apart from some recent developments between the two countries. Turkey had been holding two Greek servicemen in jail after they crossed a border in bad weather early March.

Athens got a phone call from Ankara, probably to Kammenos, not Tsipras, that said: you come get them. Whether that call was before or after the court decision we’ll probably never know. A bit of a shame, because it could tell us a lot of where the decisions are made in Turkey. Then again, we do have an idea. A mere provincial court that could make decisions that go completely against what Erdogan desires? What are the odds? But stick around.

Here’s what’s interesting about this: the two soldiers, who had been in detention for almost half a year, were released by a provincial court, and got back home on a joint Turkish/Greek national holiday. What’s not to like?

But then this: a few hours after they arrive home on PM Tsipras’ own government jet at 3pm, another Turkish court decides that an appeal for American pastor Brunson to be released, is denied. Brunson is the guy Trump wants freed. John Bolton has said there’ll be no more talks until that is done. But if one court takes a decision that at least on the face of it goes against supreme ruler Erdogan’s demands, and another decides differently, Erdogan can claim the pastor’s fate is out of his hands: it’s the court system that decides.

That victory over Trump, concerning not freeing the pastor, is apparently worth more to him than the defeat of not exchanging the soldiers for the 8 Turkish servicemen who have gotten asylum in Greece. Something Erdogan is allegedly very angry about, because he accuses them of being party to the 2016 ‘coup’. He’s trying to play chess with Trump.

*****

And then Reuters has this just now:

Erdogan Spokesman Says Problems With US Will Be Resolved

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman said on Wednesday he expected problems with the United States, which helped drive the lira to record lows, to be resolved but Washington must stop trying to influence Turkey’s judiciary. Ibrahim Kalin also told a news conference that Turkey would exercise its rights if the U.S. does not deliver F-35 jets to Ankara. The lira, which has rallied after hitting a record low of 7.24 to the dollar, would continue to recover, he said.

Via The Automatic Earth blog:

A masterstroke? Did Erdogan just succeed in making everyone, including Trump, believe the Turkish judiciary system is impartial, and he’s not the one keeping Brunson from leaving the country? Sure looks like he tried. “Sorry, Mr. Trump, it’s out of my hands.. A judge let the Greek soldiers go, and I didn’t want that either..”

Problem is, everyone knows Erdogan fired half the judiciary system and 90% or so of the press, accusing them of being part of the same coup plot as Gülen and the pastor Brunson. It’s almost amusing. Almost, because innocent people’s lives are being played out on some primitive chess board and sacrificed against dreams of ever more power. Only a pawn in their game.

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