The Russia-Turkish-Iran Axis
Less Than Meets the Eye

If an alliance is forming between Ankara, Moscow, and Tehran, it’s a flimsy one at best.

Published on: April 9, 2018
Dimitar Bechev is a research fellow at the Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. His new book, Rival Power: Russia in Southeast Europe, is published by Yale University Press.
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  • FriendlyGoat

    Flimsy or not, who else would these three look to but each other?

  • D4x

    Interesting choice of photo for Dimitar Bechev’s analysis of what was The Great Handshake Riddle of Ankara on April 4, 2018, with most reports using this caption: “Presidents Hassan Rouhani of Iran, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Vladimir Putin of Russia perform a three-way handshake before their meeting in Ankara, Turkey” No one used this photo by Getty’s Tolga Bozoglu; my favorite:

    Bechev should read Abdullah Bozkurt’s translations of the many speeches by Erdogan and his ‘team’.
    In 2018, they have been quite open about “seeking to establish “an Islamic caliphate”. ” As for “the recent mini-summit […] in Varna, Bulgaria,” on March 26? It was specifically NOT called a ‘mini-summit’, but the diplo-speak lesser ‘EU-Turkey leaders’ meeting’ after a strong protest by Cyprus, and perhaps the other fifteen+EU member-states who have been insulted or threatened recently. President Tusk was quite emphatic on this issue, and specific request:
    “We also expressed our concern with Turkey’s actions in Syria, in particular the situation in Afrin. Escalating violence and displacement in an already tragic and volatile situation must be avoided. And we recalled Turkey’s responsibility to ensure the protection of civilians and the delivery of humanitarian assistance to all those in need.”

    Human Rights Watch released this report on the Afrinis who stayed:
    April 8, 2018 12:57AM EDT Languages Available In العربية English Kurdî Türkçe
    “Syria: Afrin Residents Blocked from Fleeing, Aid; Turkish-Allied Groups Loot, Destroy People’s Property”

    04 08 2018 ‘Peaceful, compassionate ppl of #Afrin opened their doors to tens of thousands IDPs from all #Syria. Since March 20, Tens of thousands Afrinis, without food & shelter, prevented by ‘Olive Branch’ to return home’ Source:
    Report from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs published on 29 Mar 2018 was about those Afrinis in the photo above:
    “Following a prolonged period of military operations in the Afrin district of Aleppo governorate since 20 January 2018, some 137,070 individuals from Afrin district are estimated to have been displaced to Tall Refaat, Nabul, Zahraa and surrounding villages, and to Kafr Naseh and Fafin, east of the Tall Refaat area.[…]”

    04 07 2018 FOURTEEN MILLION Olive trees in Afrin in danger Due to the displacement of the population and the looting of agricultural vehicles by the [pro-Ankara] militia, no agricultural work can be carried out in Afrin this spring. ANF

    14:26 09.04.2018 “MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Moscow hopes Turkey will return Afrin under the Syrian government control,
    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.
    “[Turkish] President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan has never said that Turkey wants to occupy Afrin.
    We always proceed from the fact that the easiest way to normalize the situation in Afrin now that Turkish representatives
    say that the main goals they set there have been achieved would be to return
    the territory under the control of the Syrian government,” Lavrov said.[…]”

    Real fracture in the Astana/Ankara trio over Afrin. Iran’s Rouhani said same on April 5. Erdogan said no way. Now he has to say no to Lavrov. The humanitarian crisis is real, of the displaced, and the Afrinis who stayed.

    Bechev needs a bottle of reality pills, clear vision, and a spine before he writes another word about Turkey in 2018.

    • Uri

      I’m still reading the Dimitar Bechev’s analysis but man, the picture is just AMAZING, I also analysis, it worth an article.

      In the midtime
      This picture is of a child that got for Santa Claus what he requested.

      • D4x

        Wonder what China’s President Xi thinks about this:
        6:18 AM – 10 Apr 2018 “One day we’ll see a Turkish flag
        flying in East Turkistan [#China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous region], declares
        former lawmaker Celal Erbay of #Turkey’s governing party AKP while addressing Uyghur diaspora in #Istanbul.”

        source: @abdgozkurt
        for translations, to keep track of which nation is being insulted or threatened by someone from the AKP or Erdogan’s government, every day.

        • Uri

          Have you seen that concentration of forces on Incirlik Air Base ?

          That is best way to destroy Turkish ambivalent game, if NATO attacks from Incirlik it would send message to Russia that the Turks would not like send.

          If they refuse then NATO can expel them on same day [They have blocked usage by US too many times in past ]

          • D4x

   April 11, 2018, 7:00 am: “How Turkey’s Campaign in Afrin Is Stoking Syrian Hatreds” by Molly Crabapple New York Review of Books […] To be a Kurd in Afrin, once a majority Kurdish city, Mohammed says, is now to find oneself a member of a despised group, suspected of disloyalty, and liable to be robbed, beaten, put to flight, or worse. In its seventh year, the Syrian civil war has
            seen the warring parties and their foreign sponsors foster and exploit ethnic and sectarian divisions in order to realize their strategic ends. The looting and ethnic cleansing of Afrin by Turkish-backed militias is the latest ugly episode of this grim and cynical logic. […]
            […] “Afrin,” he said, “has nothing but its olive trees.” ”
   Gripping report, in NYRB, which will get echo, but maybe not to the WH. NYRB gets read by the media, and ‘left’. I cancelled years ago because of their Israel bias, but, it is an otherwise serious ‘thought’ journal, not just book reviews.

            Am not following what happens elsewhere in Syria. Turkey reserves the right to cancel USA in Incirlik with three days notice. The USA relies on Turkish military airports for in-air refueling & AWACS. Maybe the UK made a call – not sure if they are based in Incirlik, or use Cyprus. Too much data, spin at this point.
            Erdogan trapped Turkey between Russia&Iran, his Astana bffs; and the USA+NATO+EU. Must be getting hard to keep track of what to do, where, next..

          • Uri

            To see that totally injustices towards Kurds makes me realize that world did change much from WW2 and how lucky we (Israelis) were to gain a state and to defend it.
            Israel lost 6,373 soldiers 1% of the population on independence war.

            You may hear alt-left or alt-right trolls, Kremlin’s trolls and most Arabs that will tell you that Israel was created by US or West. But that was not the case, in fact, the US assume that we will be defeated in a month.
            I came to realize also the importance to a country pathos to be forced to fight for its independence instead of just the colonial power deciding it’s not cost effective anymore like it happened in all the Arab world except Algeria

            Who did what for Israel in 1948? America Did Nothing

            Uncovered: U.K. Intel Encouraged Arab Armies to Invade Israel in 1948

            Regarding Incirlik I wish the Turks would dare to cancel it, but Erdogan is not that stupid, otherwise, that would mean the end of his dual game.

            The US can use Cyprus and Israel as much they want including top-notch refueling and arming air bases. They are used but it’s being kept a secret.

            The UK is based in Cyprus.
            We are playing other game with Russia-Iran, the fact that we hit IRGC hanger but the Russians mysteriously left one hour before is more valuable that Iranian IRGC colonel and his 13 friends caskets.

          • D4x

            2:48 AM – 11 Apr 2018 #Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut
            Cavusoglu rules out ceding the control of #Afrin to #Syria regime, says Damscus works with #YPG & #PKK.
            3:11 AM – 11 Apr 2018 #Assad killed one million people and
            must go away to start a political settlement, says #Turkey’s foreign minter Mevlut Cavusoglu.
            04 11 2018 Norwegian @oterhaug Replying to @abdbozkurt “How many did #Turkey kill?”

            3:16 AM – 11 Apr 2018 We have to show that we stand by
            European Muslims as the Europe maybe heading towards WWII era conditions with
            Islamophobia and racism, says Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

            3:45 AM – 11 Apr 2018 #Turkey made an incursion into Syria
            like a sword sticking between the two super powers [the United States and
            Russia] that try to shape the region and succeeded despite the whole world was
            coming hard on Turkey, says Turkish PM Binali Yildirim.

            5:17 AM – 11 Apr 2018 #Erdogan claims #Turkey’s economy is under attack and vows to thwart
            this attack. (As usual, he is trying to scapegoat his own gov’t failures to
            outside powers instead of accountability and owning up to the problems)

            6:12 AM – 11 Apr 2018 #Turkey’s Prime Minister says the US
            & Russia are fighting like bullies in the street, slams @realDonaldTrump
            for threatening Syria with missiles over a Twitter message.

            I have been personally boycotting Turkey since the 2010 Mavi Marmara provocation. Since I do not post personal details online, let’s leave it at my high level of awareness of both Israeli history, and the scourge of so many lies that never die. While I do have a keen interest in the Kurds, my focus on Afrin only came because I was visiting liveuamap to check on the Golan & al Tanf, SW Syria since May 2017. In October, saw the early Turkish artillery tests in the NW, and, well, quite a learning experience about Turkey. since January. So much for trying to ignore the rest of the world 🙂

            You can read any of my posts at my profile. TAI used to be the rare USA site that was civil about Israel, but not since they re-launched Oct. 18, 2017. I only comment now to challenge their motive, because they are so linked to almost every foreign policy think tank in the USA. Whoever is behind those cybertags disguised as googlespam really likes this website, moderator asleep at the keyboard. You should flag them in disqus, still do not know which country wants to cybertag commenters like me. or you.
            Signoff for real tonight.
            It’s good that Israel can talk with Russia.

    • Uri

      The fact that Kurds that opened their doors to tens of thousands IDPs from Syria are sleeping on fields I find terribly painful to me personally.

      If we wouldn’t be locked in this stupid vendetta with the Iranians, it would be us the one to give Turkey refreshing reality assessment.

      But sadly we not that big or powerful to take on Syria/Iranians/Russia/Turkey alone.

      Europe should be ashamed and embarrassed about what a NATO country did, such injustice to a truly peaceful and enlighten people and all that they could do is speak and speak.

      It reminds me old Europe 70 years ago, Evil thrives when good men do nothing

      • D4x

        7:27 AM – 10 Apr 2018:
        92 Retweets 56 Likes

        • Uri

          Just sad and unjust!!

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  • Doesn’t Putin and Rouhani support Assad, while Erdogan has consistently sided against him though?

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