Tag Archives: Turks

This Means War: How the Kurds Could Fight the Turks with American Weapons

This Means War: How the Kurds Could Fight the Turks with American WeaponsThey won't go down without a fight.



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U.S. ‘Withdraws’ Forces to Let Turks Advance on America's Allies

U.S. ‘Withdraws’ Forces to Let Turks Advance on America's AlliesKhalil Ashawi/ReutersIn the latest surge of anti-war rhetoric from the Trump administration, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the U.S. is launching a “deliberate withdrawal” of American forces from northern Syria, but refused to say how long it will take.“We want to conduct it safely and quickly as possible,” Esper told CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday morning, adding, “I’m not prepared to put a timeline on it, but that’s our general game plan.” Two knowledgeable U.S. officials told The Daily Beast that the troops are just withdrawing further away from the advance of Turkish forces massacring the Syrian Kurds whom America relied upon to destroy the so-called Islamic State’s caliphate.There are currently 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria. A knowledgeable U.S. official said hundreds of those troops, without further specificity, will leave Syria for elsewhere in the Mideast. Following a pullout from two northern Syrian observation posts last week, the U.S. will now retreat further away from the area Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has invaded.Esper said that President Donald Trump gave the withdrawal order because Turkish forces are pushing further south into Syria and Kurdish forces are trying to cut a deal with Syria and Russia to counter-attack.“We have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing armies and it’s a very untenable situation,” he said.But as Esper made clear, the order affects only the north and there will still be American forces in the rest of Syria even as Trump—who separately has ordered about 14,000 U.S. troops to the Persian Gulf region over the past six months—rails against the disastrous, bloody and interminable U.S. misadventure in the Middle East over the past generation.A U.S. official told CNN that U.S. policy “has failed” and that the campaign in Syria to defeat ISIS is “over for now,” giving the terrorist group “a second lease on life with nearly 100,000 [people] who will re-join their jihad.” The mixed messaging by the Trump administration is making it difficult for even his most ardent supporters to help unravel his foreign policy on Syria as it spins out of control. Just days after Trump announced the withdrawal of American troops from northern Syria where they have been providing weapons and cover to allied Kurdish fighters on the border between Turkey and Syria, Turkey began a military incursion that has sent the region into a level of chaos it has not seen in recent years.The Daily Beast first reported Friday that claims made by the Trump administration that U.S. troops had been withdrawn were false. “We are out of there. We’ve been out of there for a while,” Trump said Wednesday. “No soldiers whatsoever.” Two officials told The Daily Beast that in fact the U.S. military had only pulled back–not completely out–of northern Syria. They had simply abandoned two small observation posts from which they supported Kurdish allies in the fight against Islamic State fighters. Trump Says U.S. Troops Have Quit Syria. It’s Not True.Trump then tweeted that he had been talking with Senator Lindsey Graham (R–SC), who had been highly critical of Trump’s decision to remove troops. “Pray for our Kurdish allies who have been shamelessly abandoned by the Trump administration. This move ensures the reemergence of ISIS,” Graham warned Wednesday. “I urge President Trump to change course while there is still time by going back to the safe zone concept that was working.” Graham later tweeted that any sanctions had to be serious. “The conditional sanctions announced today will be viewed by Turkey as a tepid response and will embolden Erdogan even more,” Graham tweeted Friday. “The Turkish government needs to know Congress will take a different path–passing crippling sanctions in a bipartisan fashion.”But in a Sunday morning tweet, the president wrote that he was working with Graham “and many members of Congress, including Democrats, about imposing powerful Sanctions on Turkey.”He then added: “Treasury is ready to go, additional legislation may be sought. There is great consensus on this. Turkey has asked that it not be done. Stay tuned!”Turkey has warned that any threats of sanctions would be met with the release of millions of refugees along the border between Turkey and Syria into Europe. Trump told reporters at the White House earlier this week that it did not concern him. “Well they're going to be escaping to Europe,” he said. “That’s where they want to go, they want to go back to their homes.”On Sunday, the Associated Press reported that up to 700 ISIS sympathizers did escape the Ain Eissa camp, which holds up 12,000 people caught up in years of unrest. Most of those who escaped are ISIS brides and children, but officials warn that they could be part of a resurgence of the so-called Islamic state. Several known ISIS fighters were also spotted fighting in the current conflict, according to CNN which said at least five fighters had escaped the notorious Ghuwairan prison due to heavy shelling in the area. During an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)—who has been one of the president’s most vocal defenders regarding the Syria decision—called it a “messy, complicated situation” while saying the president was right to move soldiers out of the way because “Turkey was coming in one way or another.” When host Chuck Todd noted that U.S. soldiers near the Turkish border were serving as a deterrent to an Erdogan invasion, Paul retorted “they were until they weren’t.”Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin repeated Paul’s line that this is a “complicated situation” when asked on ABC’s This Week why the administration hasn’t imposed sanctions on Turkey yet.“We are ready to go on a moment’s notice to put on sanctions,” Mnuchin said. “As I said, these sanctions could be starting small. They could be maximum pressure which would destroy the Turkish economy. The president is very focused on this. He’s offered to mediate the situation.”Mnunchin also pushed back on criticism from those within the president’s own party. In response to Graham and others saying sanctions would be a tepid reaction to Turkey, Mnuchin stated that this is a “multi-step process” and the administration needs to make sure “we have the proper authorizations.” The treasury chief, meanwhile, was asked what the president was talking about when he criticized the Kurds for not storming the beaches at Normandy alongside America. Mnuchin asserted Trump’s analogy was that he was pushing back on everyone “saying the Kurds are these long-standing allies” and that our role in Syria “was not to defend the Kurds.”On CNN’s State of the Union, Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said that while he wished the president’s decision had “been different,” he feels that we tend to “oversimplify the complicated relationships” in the region. He went on to say this wasn’t a “binary choice” as both the Turks and Kurds are considered allies. As for whether the U.S. was retreating from the area and allowing the Turks to invade northern Syria, Cramer said “we can’t be in the middle of every skirmish in the neighborhood.”House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel (D-NY), meanwhile, told Meet the Press that while he is working on a bipartisan bill that will slap sanctions on Turkey and condemn the president’s policy as it relates to the Kurds, he acknowledges that “it’s not going to stop” the Turks now. Asked whether it’s too late to do anything at this point, Engel seemed to resign himself to that notion.“We could mitigate the damage,” he told Todd. “Of course, it’s spiraling quickly. And what’s happened, of course, is a lot of ISIS prisoners, we’ve gotten reports that they have been released or they’ve escaped and so this is just the tip of the iceberg. And if we think this is terrible, I predict we will have many, many more days, weeks and months of terrible things like this.”Elsewhere on Meet the Press, former Secretary of Defense James Mattis warned that we could see the revival of ISIS in the area, noting the Syrian Democratic Forces were the ones who largely fought the Islamic State in Syria. If we don’t keep pressure on, ISIS will resurge,” Mattis said. “It’s absolutely a given that they will come back.”We also heard from one of the Democratic presidential candidates. During his State of the Union interview, South Bend Mayor and Afghanistan War veteran Pete Buttigieg insisted Trump was “systematically destroying American allies and American values.”“What’s even more disturbing to me as a veteran is hearing from soldiers who feel they have lost their honor over this, who feel they are unable to look in the eye [of] allies who put their lives on line to fight with us,” he added. “If you take away a soldier’s honor, you might as well go after their body armor next, that is what the commander-in-chief is doing right now.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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3 Americans, including married couple, drown while vacationing with children in Turks and Caicos

3 Americans, including married couple, drown while vacationing with children in Turks and CaicosThree American tourists, a Texas couple and their family friend, died in a tragic accident while vacationing with their kids in Turks and Caicos.



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Turks vote in local polls, Erdogan's party could lose in big cities

Turks vote in local polls, Erdogan's party could lose in big citiesErdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for more than 16 years thanks in part to strong economic growth, has become the country’s most popular, yet also most divisive, modern leader. With the economy contracting following a currency crisis last year in which the lira lost more than 30 percent of its value, some voters appeared ready to punish Erdogan, who has ruled with an increasingly uncompromising stance. Everyone is struggling,” said 47-year-old Hakan after voting in Ankara.



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New York Attorney Killed While Vacationing In Turks And Caicos

New York Attorney Killed While Vacationing In Turks And CaicosThe Royal Turks and Caicos Islands police are investigating the murder of an



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France's Macron says Khashoggi affair worrying, will speak with Turks, Saudis

France's Macron says Khashoggi affair worrying, will speak with Turks, SaudisFrench President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday that he was “extremely worried” by the disappearance of veteran Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and would speak on the issue with Saudi and Turkish leaders in the coming days. “I am waiting for the truth and complete clarity to be established “, Macron said in an interview with France 24 television. “What’s been mentioned is serious, very serious (…) France wants everything to be done so that we have all the truth on this case of which the first elements are extremely worrying.” He said he would take a stance on the issue once the facts were clear and that he would discuss the matter with the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.



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On Istanbul streets, defiant Turks see U.S. hand behind lira crisis

On Istanbul streets, defiant Turks see U.S. hand behind lira crisis“This crisis is created by America,” she said. The lira has lost more than 35 percent against the dollar this year and hit a fresh low on Friday, its biggest one day fall since Turkey’s 2001 financial crisis. Food, rents and fuel prices in Turkey have all surged.



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Erdogan asks Turks to help prop up plunging lira

Erdogan asks Turks to help prop up plunging liraTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday urged compatriots to change their foreign currency to the lira to help prop up the embattled currency. The lira has lost 16 percent of its value against the greenback in a month as markets became jittery after Erdogan indicated he wanted a greater say in monetary policy if he won legislative and presidential elections on June 24. The lira hit 4.92 against the dollar on Wednesday before paring back some of its losses later this week after an emergency central bank rate hike.



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Turks propose joint deployment with U.S. in Syria as allies aim to mend ties

Turks propose joint deployment with U.S. in Syria as allies aim to mend tiesBy Yara Bayoumy, Orhan Coskun and Ece Toksabay ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey proposed on Friday staging a joint deployment with U.S. troops in Syria, as the two NATO allies sought to rescue a rapidly deteriorating strategic relationship that Washington acknowledged had reached a “crisis point”. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met President Tayyip Erdogan during a two-day visit that followed weeks of escalating anti-American rhetoric from the Turkish government. Relations between Washington and its main Muslim ally in NATO have been strained to the breaking point by several issues, above all Turkey’s anger over U.S. support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which Turkey sees as terrorists.



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Turks flock to social media for gold trader sanctions case

Turks flock to social media for gold trader sanctions caseBy Ece Toksabay and Tuvan Gumrukcu ANKARA (Reuters) – Allegations of wrongdoing by Turkey’s political and financial leaders have transfixed the country this week, but with some newspapers focusing instead on courtroom conspiracies and clothes, many Turks have been left hungry for news. “Casual chic on the 2nd day”, read HaberTurk newspaper’s front page story after main witness Reza Zarrab told a New York court that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan authorized a transaction in a scheme to help Iran evade U.S. sanctions. “On the second day of the trial, Reza Zarrab was not wearing a prison uniform and was casual chic in his white shirt and dark blazer,” HaberTurk said.



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