Erdogan got a letter of advice from Trump — and threw it in the trash!

❝ It is hard to imagine language like it in many letters between presidents.

Donald Trump’s mixture of threats and locker-room banter infuriated Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. His staff told the BBC that he threw the letter into the bin and launched the Syrian operation the same day. That could be proof there was no Trumpian green light. [or Trump uses it to cover his butt]

❝ Presidents Erdogan and Trump discussed military action last December. Diplomatic sources here in Ankara suggest that Turkey’s broader strategic objective was to detach the Kurds and the Americans.

That, at any rate, has happened.

No need to say more than that. Just a fact, Jack!

First Minister of Scotland rips Johnson and Trump, Turkish invasion

It is truly delightful to hear a nationalist leader strengthen her position as a vote-getter by condemning the populist politics of Brexiteers and Trumpublicans.

Erdoğan, Turkey’s ruling party lose votes to pro-Kurdish, progressive HDP

HDP Co-Chairman Selahattin Demirtas voting

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has suffered his biggest setback in 13 years of amassing power as voters denied his ruling party a parliamentary majority for the first time since 2002 and gave the country’s large Kurdish minority its biggest voice ever in national politics.

The election result on Sunday, with almost all votes counted, appeared to wreck Erdoğan’s ambition of rewriting the constitution to establish himself as an all-powerful executive president. Erdoğan’s governing Justice and Development party, or AKP, won the election comfortably for the fourth time in a row, with around 41% of the vote, but that represented a steep fall in support from 49% in 2011, throwing the government of the country into great uncertainty.

The vote was the first time in four general elections that support for Erdoğan decreased. The fall coupled with an election triumph for a new pro-Kurdish party meant it was unlikely that the AKP would be able to form a majority government, forcing it to negotiate a coalition, probably with extreme nationalists, or to call a fresh election if no parliamentary majority can be secured within six weeks.

The new party, the HDP or Peoples’ Democratic party, largely representing the Kurds but also encompassing leftwing liberals, surpassed the steep 10% threshold for entering parliament to take more than 12% of the vote and around 80 seats in the 550-strong chamber.

The HDP victory denied Erdoğan’s party its majority.

RTFA for a long, detailed description and discussion of all the main factors in the election. Unlike, many journalists, many politicians outside of Turkey, I am not confident in continued democratic progress. I think there is a possibility of a power-hungry opportunist like Erdoğan forming a fascist alliance with the military and throwing out elections altogether.

I think he would count upon promises to wreck what’s left of the original secular constitution of Turkey, to install something he’d characterize as an Islamist state to pacify conservative rural voters. I think the United States would continue to treat him as their ace player in the Muslim Middle East.

I ain’t alone.

Has Obama brought us to a new beginning for Iraq?

Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and President Barack Obama
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Iraq is today a shattered society, shaped by two major international wars, bombings, debilitating sanctions, civil war, emigration of millions of its best-educated people, deadly insurgency and counterinsurgency and foreign occupation over 20 years.

While Iraq never achieved full unity after it was cobbled together by the British in 1920 from three large and mutually alien communities — the Sunni Muslim Kurds in the northern highlands, the Sunni Muslim Arabs in the central plains and the partly Farsi-speaking Shia Muslim Arabs in the southern lowlands — Iraq had made great social and economic progress. By 1990, it was the most advanced of the Arab countries. Now that is all gone.

Yet, even today, there is a memory of collective statehood, or Iraqiyah. Some of us who have lived among the Iraqis believe they have a chance to invigorate a new beginning of Iraqiyah but that the return to something like the state that existed before will take years.

How is the American withdrawal regarded? My hunch, from having known Iraq and Iraqis of all persuasions for more than half a century, is that most will be happy to see us leave. But, at the same time, they have learned to fear one another, so their politically effective attitudes will vary from one community to the next.

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Ankara favors human rights bill, homecoming, for Kurds

Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Measures under consideration in the Turkish government deal with discrimination and human rights for the Kurdish minority community, the interior minister said. Ankara is considering a series of provisions aimed at finding a political solution to lingering issues with Kurdish minorities and guerrilla separatists.

Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, called recently for PKK rebels in Iraq to form so-called peace groups who would surrender to Turkish authorities. Ankara, for its part, is considering a series of amnesty offers and cultural considerations as part of a broader reconciliation plan.

Turkish Interior Minister Besir Atalay said the government was preparing a human rights bill and anti-discriminatory measures to send to lawmakers for their approval, Turkey’s leading English-language daily newspaper Today’s Zaman reports.

Atalay added there were plans for a trilateral committee of U.S., Iraqi and Turkish officials to discuss the resettlement of PKK members from camps in northern Iraq to compounds inside his country.

The interior minister estimated that there were around 11,000 members of the PKK in Iraq. “I think more than 50 percent of them would return to Turkey,” he said.

Surely, Cheney and his brown shirts teabaggers will find some reason to whine about this bit of diplomacy in the Middle East.

Kurds returning home? Declarations of peace? Civil rights? Not the kind of change Republicans favor.