US and Turkey Pretend to Resolve Differences

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February 16, 2018
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February 17, 2018

US and Turkey Pretend to Resolve Differences

by Stephen Lendman

Tillerson’s Friday press conference with his Turkish counterpart Melvut Cavusoglu was long on rhetoric, short of substantive change in bilateral relations.

Washington and Turkey “share the same objectives,” Tillerson falsely claimed, saying it’s to defeat ISIS America supports.

So did Turkey earlier. Both officials agreed to “establish mechanisms” to address issues harming bilateral relations, Tillerson’s meeting with Erdogan and Cavusoglu achieving nothing else.

“Consensus” reached was rhetorically alone, the agenda of both countries world’s apart on Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters – supported by Washington against Damascus. Ankara calls them terrorists.

Tillerson saying “(w)e take it seriously when our NATO ally says it has security concerns” about YPG fighters was a hollow gesture, adding:

“We have always been clear with Turkey that the weapons provided to the Syrian Democratic Forces would be limited, mission specific, and provided on the incremental basis to achieve military objectives only.”

In Beirut before heading to Ankara, Tillerson lied saying Washington “never” supplied YPG Kurdish fighters with heavy weapons.

Its tanks, US-made anti-tank missiles, artillery, mortars and other heavy weapons didn’t materialize out of thin air.

Turkey wants Kurdish fighters removed from the ranks of so-called Syrian Democratic Forces, anti-Syrian terrorists infesting them.

In slamming US support for Kurdish fighters, Erdogan and Cavusoglu failed to address Pentagon forces occupying northern Syrian territory, its warplanes terror-bombing civilian targets, massacring many thousands.

Nor did they say anything about Washington’s regime change objective, Ankara supporting it.

Turkey invaded northern Syria lawlessly – briefly in 2015, protracted aggression in 2016-17, its current operation in Idlib province, along with its Afrin mission.

Syria denounced Turkey’s invasion as “aggression.” It continues with no signs of ending.

Separately, Turkey’s Anadolu news agency reported six journalists sentenced to life in prison for alleged involvement in the attempted July 2016 coup.

Turkey is notoriously hostile to media freedom. Criticizing Erdogan’s policies risks arrest, prosecution, imprisonment or assassination. Dissent is a criminal offense.

Independent journalists, academics, public figures, human rights activists, even young children opposing repressive regime policies face charges ranging from insulting the president to terrorism, espionage or treason.

Turkey imprisons more journalists than any other country – truth-telling in the country hazardous to their welfare.

Erdogan is a world-class thug. If I said that in Turkey, I could be imprisoned for life. The six convicted journalists were accused of links to exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, living in Pennsylvania.

Erdogan blamed him for the failed coup. He denied it. No evidence suggested his involvement.

For doing their jobs as journalists, they were charged with anti-constitutional acts and membership in a terrorist organization.

Turkey operates like Israel against Palestinians and other rogue states.

Prosecutorial injustice is longstanding practice. Targeted individuals are automatically guilty by accusation – denied their fundamental rights.

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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.