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EXCLUSIVE: Ex-Turkish intelligence chiefs and Russian specialist discuss Russian-Turkish rapprochement

Ex-Turkish intelligence chiefs point to centrality of Kurdish issue for Turkey in its relations with both the US and Russia, but are generally positive about the prospects of Russian-Turkish relations.

Efe Tanay

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Former Head of Turkish Military Intelligence Service, Ismail Hakki Pekin, and the Former Chief of Intelligence of the Turkish Navy, Soner Polat, shared outstanding views about the ongoing Turkish military operation in Syria and reviewed Russian Turkish relations on that matter.

Vladimir Avatkov, an associate professor at the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, also contributed.

How will the Turkish Euphrates Shield military operation in Syria affect Turkish Russian relations; and what does it mean for Russia in term of its position in Syria?

Retired Lieutenant General Ismail Hakki Pekin: Turkey’s Euphrates Shield military operation of Turkey protects both the unity of Syria and Turkey’s border. As has been stressed by the Turkish side, Turkey – just like the Syrian regime and Russia – supports a united Syria. Thus Turkey has a parallel policy in Syria to Russia’s.

If we consider the fact that the operation (NB: Euphrates Shield) aims to thwart PKK/PYD (ie. Kurdish) aims to create an autonomous area for itself, we can state that the Turkish military operation is consistent with the policies of Russia.

The recent operation of Turkey will develop closer relations between Russia and Turkey. This operation is also strengthening the hand of Russia in Syria.

While the Turkish army is eliminating the threats along its border, they are also decreasing the number of enemies of the Syrian regime. Even though there are different aspects and controversial points to the conflict when it is considered from different sides, it would be fair to say that the Syrian regime has gained an ally.

In other words, Russian and Turkish policies are broadly matching.

Retired Rear Admiral Soner Polat (Former Chief of Intelligence in the Turkish Navy and a Former Head of Foreign Intelligence Department in the Turkish General Staff):

The Turkish operation will have a positive though indirect impact on Russian – Turkish relations, since the operations [Euphrates Shield) is very likely to lead to the further disruption of the US – Turkish relationship, which is pretty problematic anyway.  There is no chance whatsoever of an agreement between Turkey and the US on Syria policies, particularly on the PYD/YPG issue.

How comprehensively can NATO ally Turkey cooperate with Russia?

Ismail Hakki Pekin (Former NATO strategy development army officer):

Turkey can cooperate with Russia. If NATO countries continue to follow a strategy of disregarding  Turkey’s interests, putting its position at risk, there wouldn’t be anything more natural than for Turkey to forge stronger cooperation with Russia.

If the aim of the West is to divide Syria and it is against the Turkish interests, Russia can be an important partner, and that partnership has the potential to bring the two countries together in a joint military operation in Syria.

It shouldn’t be forgotten that it is not NATO that is involved in the conflict against ISIS, but the coalition forces lead by the U.S.

Soner Polat (graduate of NATO Defence College in Rome and a Former Rear Admiral, worked at the NATO Intelligence Section in the Turkish General Stuff)

The issue standing in the way of joint Turkish – Russian joint action in Syria is not NATO but the policies of the Turkish government.

The main stumbling block is Turkey’s attitude towards the Syrian regime. Due to Turkey’s Sunni-oriented policies, Turkey looks on the Syrian regime unfavourably, particularly with regard to Mr. Assad.  Turkey enjoys friendly relations with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which are also very strongly opposed to Mr. Assad.

In my opinion it is Turkish national sensitivities, not Turkey’s membership of NATO, which is the main stumbling block in the way of further cooperation and coordination between Russia and Turkey.

Vladimir Avatkov (an associate professor at the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation)

Turkish–Russian cooperation in Syria is necessary and can be very beneficial for both countries. Turkish policies are drifting closer to Russia.  As long as there is mutual understanding and respect from both sides in terms of their interests in the region, cooperation is possible even though Turkey is a member of NATO.

Where are Russian and Turkish relations heading?

The main cause of conflict between the US and Turkey is the US’s direct support for the PYD/YPG Kurdish forces. It has been acknowledged that the (Syrian Kurdish) PYD/YPG is connected to the (Turkish Kurdish) PKK, which is considered a terrorist organisation by Ankara, Brussels, and Washington.

US support for the PYD/YPG is the main cause of conflict between the US and Turkey.

Soner Polat: Russia is playing a very dangerous game with the PYD/YPG, acting against both Turkish and Syrian interests. This is the most critical issue standing in the way of a working agreement between Turkey and Russia. In due course Syria too is likely to oppose Russia on this issue.

Ismail Hakki Pekin Disagreement with the US on this matter might lead Turkey to forge closer relations with Russia. The Turkish government has shown how sensitively they react to this issue.   So long as Russia follows a different line a Turkish – Russian rapprochement in Syria is inevitable.

Turkey is moving closer to the East, though it may be too early for this to come to a conclusion. After the G20 meeting in China signs of Turkey moving away from the West can be observed.

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EU leaders dictate Brexit terms to Theresa May (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 115.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss how EU leaders have agreed on a plan to delay the the Article 50 process which effectively postpones Brexit beyond the 29 March deadline.

The UK will now be offered a delay until the 22nd of May, only if MPs approve Theresa May’s withdrawal deal next week. If MPs do not approve May’s negotiated deal, then the EU will support a short delay until the 12th of April, allowing the UK extra time to get the deal passed or to “indicate a way forward”.

UK PM Theresa May said there was now a “clear choice” facing MPs, who could vote for a third time on her deal next week.

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Theresa May outlines four Brexit options, via Politico

In a letter to MPs, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May set out the four options she believes the country has in light of Thursday’s decision by EU leaders to extend the Brexit deadline beyond next Friday.

The U.K. is faced with a four-way choice, May wrote late Friday.

The government could revoke Article 50 — which May called a betrayal of the Brexit vote; leave without a deal on April 12; pass her deal in a vote next week; or, “if it appears that there is not sufficient support” for a vote on her deal in parliament next week or if it is rejected for a third time, she could ask for an extension beyond April 12.

But this would require for the U.K. taking part in European elections in May, which the prime minister said “would be wrong.”

May wrote that she’s hoping for the deal to pass, allowing the U.K. to leave the EU “in an orderly way,” adding “I still believe there is a majority in the House for that course of action.”

“I hope we can all agree that we are now at the moment of decision,” she wrote.

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US media suffers panic attack after Mueller fails to deliver on much-anticipated Trump indictment

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

RT

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Via RT


Important pundits and news networks have served up an impressive display of denials, evasions and on-air strokes after learning that Robert Mueller has ended his probe without issuing a single collusion-related indictment.

The Special Counsel delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr for review on Friday, with the Justice Department confirming that there will be no further indictments related to the probe. The news dealt a devastating blow to the sensational prophesies of journalists, analysts and entire news networks, who for nearly two years reported ad nauseam that President Donald Trump and his inner circle were just days away from being carted off to prison for conspiring with the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Showing true integrity, journalists and television anchors took to Twitter and the airwaves on Friday night to acknowledge that the media severely misreported Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, as well as what Mueller’s probe was likely to find. They are, after all, true professionals.

“How could they let Trump off the hook?” an inconsolable Chris Matthews asked NBC reporter Ken Dilanian during a segment on CNN’s ‘Hardball’.

Dilanian tried to comfort the CNN host with some of his signature NBC punditry.

“My only conclusion is that the president transmitted to Mueller that he would take the Fifth. He would never talk to him and therefore, Mueller decided it wasn’t worth the subpoena fight,” he expertly mused.

Actually, there were several Serious Journalists who used their unsurpassed analytical abilities to conjure up a reason why Mueller didn’t throw the book at Trump, even though the president is clearly a Putin puppet.

“It’s certainly possible that Trump may emerge from this better than many anticipated. However! Consensus has been that Mueller would follow DOJ rules and not indict a sitting president. I.e. it’s also possible his report could be very bad for Trump, despite ‘no more indictments,'” concluded Mark Follman, national affairs editor at Mother Jones, who presumably, and very sadly, was not being facetious.

Revered news organs were quick to artfully modify their expectations regarding Mueller’s findings.

“What is collusion and why is Robert Mueller unlikely to mention it in his report on Trump and Russia?” a Newsweek headline asked following Friday’s tragic announcement.

Three months earlier, Newsweek had meticulously documented all the terrible “collusion” committed by Donald Trump and his inner circle.

But perhaps the most sobering reactions to the no-indictment news came from those who seemed completely unfazed by the fact that Mueller’s investigation, aimed at uncovering a criminal conspiracy between Trump and the Kremlin, ended without digging up a single case of “collusion.”

The denials, evasions and bizarre hot takes are made even more poignant by the fact that just days ago, there was still serious talk about Trump’s entire family being hauled off to prison.

“You can’t blame MSNBC viewers for being confused. They largely kept dissenters from their Trump/Russia spy tale off the air for 2 years. As recently as 2 weeks ago, they had @JohnBrennan strongly suggesting Mueller would indict Trump family members on collusion as his last act,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted.

While the Mueller report has yet to be released to the public, the lack of indictments makes it clear that whatever was found, nothing came close to the vast criminal conspiracy alleged by virtually the entire American media establishment.

“You have been lied to for 2 years by the MSM. No Russian collusion by Trump or anyone else. Who lied? Head of the CIA, NSA,FBI,DOJ, every pundit every anchor. All lies,” wrote conservative activist Chuck Woolery.

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom was more blunt, but said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

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Canadian Lawmaker Accuses Trudeau Of Being A “Fake Feminist” (Video)

Rempel segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career

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Via Zerohedge

Canada’s feminist-in-chief Justin Trudeau wants to support and empower women…but his support stops at the point where said women start creating problems for his political agenda.

That was the criticism levied against the prime minister on Friday by a conservative lawmaker, who took the PM to task for “muzzling strong, principled women” during a debate in the House of Commons.

“He asked for strong women, and this is what they look like!” said conservative MP Michelle Rempel, referring to the former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who has accused Trudeau and his cronies of pushing her out of the cabinet after she refused to grant a deferred prosecution agreement to a Quebec-based engineering firm.

She then accused Trudeau of being a “fake feminist”.

“That’s not what a feminist looks like…Every day that he refuses to allow the attorney general to testify and tell her story is another day he’s a fake feminist!”

Trudeau was so taken aback by Rempel’s tirade, that he apparently forgot which language he should respond in.

But Rempel wasn’t finished. She then segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career. This from a man who once objected to the continued use of the word “mankind” (suggesting we use “peoplekind” instead).

The conservative opposition then tried to summon Wilson-Raybould to appear before the Commons for another hearing (during her last appearance, she shared her account of how the PM and employees in the PM’s office and privy council barraged her with demands that she quash the government’s pursuit of SNC-Lavalin over charges that the firm bribed Libyan government officials). Wilson-Raybould left the Trudeau cabinet after she was abruptly moved to a different ministerial post – a move that was widely seen as a demotion.

Trudeau has acknowledged that he put in a good word on the firm’s behalf with Wilson-Raybould, but insists that he always maintained the final decision on the case was hers and hers alone.

Fortunately for Canadians who agree with Rempel, it’s very possible that Trudeau – who has so far resisted calls to resign – won’t be in power much longer, as the scandal has cost Trudeau’s liberals the lead in the polls for the October election.

 

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