Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Turkish Military Enters Syrian Village, EU and U.S. Support A 'Savage Dictator', TTIP Tensions Escalate



'Turkish Military Enters Syrian Village' Amid Concerns of Invasion


Member of the Democratic Majlis of Syria and of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PDS), Ahmet Arac, spoke to Sputnik about how the Turkish Army is preparing to invade Syria.

Amid violent clashes between militants of Daesh and troops of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the town of Azaz in northern Aleppo district, reports are surfacing suggesting that the Turkish Army units have been seen located in the district of Azaz.

Earlier, the Democratic People's Movement stated that the Turkish military occupied the village of Hamam in Afrin region and called on the world community to condemn such acts.

One of the leaders of the Majlis of Democratic Syria, which is part of the Democratic Forces of Syria and the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party, Ahmet Arac, told Sputnik that the Turkish Armed Forces are preparing an offensive in the Azaz area.

“Yesterday the Turkish Army carried out rocket attacks on the positions of Democratic Forces of Syria.”

“Two days ago, the Turkish military entered the village of Hamam in Afrin area. We are ready to repel any attack. Meanwhile, FSA units are suffering serious defeat in clashes with Daesh. They have already lost control of 12 villages. If Daesh comes to Azaz, ‘Democratic Syrian Forces’ will repel the jihadists, and not allow them to enter the city,” Arac stressed.





On May 6 a court in Istanbul, acting on the orders of Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan, sentenced the editor of the Cumhuriyet newspaper to five years and ten months in prison for publishing a report about illegal provision of weapons to Islamist terrorists in Syria by Turkey’s secret service. His bureau chief got five years.

Two weeks later Istanbul was host to the World Humanitarian Summit, which was held «to stand up for our common humanity and take action to prevent and reduce human suffering». Attendance included 65 heads of state. It was the usual total waste of time (Oxfam called it «an expensive talking shop» and those who refused to be there included President Putin and the global medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières), but the point is that a humanitarian conference should never have been held in Turkey, which is being transformed into a dictatorship by a president who is well-described by Professor Alan Sked of the London School of Economics as «a volatile, unstable, highly authoritarian personality».

The professor went on to observe that Erdogan «has pursued a civil war in his own country and has clamped down on the opposition and social media at will. Thousands have been imprisoned for merely criticising him. He has ordered the shooting down of a Russian warplane, and his country has been accused by Russia of trafficking secretly in oil with Isis. He cannot be trusted...»

Erdogan is a bigoted thug, yet the international community rushed to his country to hold a humanitarian conference and foreign heads of state flock to press his hand in friendship. He is treated with deference around the world and there can be no public criticism of him in the many countries that have laws prohibiting disparagement of heads of state and holding defamation and insult of their leaders to be a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment.

In January over 1,100 Turkish academics signed a letter asking Erdogan to cease his merciless blitz on Kurdish centres in the south east of the country. Thousands of Kurds had been (and continue to be) killed and crippled by ground and air assaults of merciless savagery. Erdogan’s response to the petition was to declare that these compassionate scholars «spit out hatred of our nation’s values and history on every occasion. The petition has made this clearer... In a state of law like Turkey, so-called academics who target the unity of our nation have no right to commit crimes. They don’t have immunity for this».
Some thirty of the humanitarian signatories were arrested and fifteen were dismissed from their university posts. They live under constant threat, as do all who attempt to disagree with the imperial president.
Yet Erdogan’s Turkey is strongly supported by the United States and by the European Union, albeit for very different reasons.

The US backs him because he supports Washington’s efforts to destroy President Assad of Syria and is a strident and aggressive opponent of Russia, while the EU is behind him because if he chose he could control the influx of Syrian refugees to Europe.

So Erdogan can persecute and jail as many journalists and academics as he likes, while continuing to slaughter Kurds in Turkey, Syria and Iraq, and although there may be a few murmurs of disapproval in Brussels and Washington there will be no action whatever taken by either the US or the EU to stop the President of Turkey wielding absolute power over his people.
In spite of all the evidence, the United States refuses to acknowledge that Erdogan’s Turkey has sent massive quantities of weaponry to Islamic terrorist groups who are prepared to kill Kurds. It does not appear to matter to Washington that «Not only has Erdoğan done almost everything he can to cripple the forces actually fighting ISIS; there is considerable evidence that his government has been at least tacitly aiding ISIS itself».
Unless the US and the EU bring pressure to bear on Erdogan to restore democracy in his country, he will continue to suppress and persecute his critics and continue his killing spree. But he is too valuable to them for that to happen. All they will do is hold more humanitarian conferences.






 Iraqi forces entered the Islamic State group bastion of Fallujah from three directions on Monday in a new phase of the operation to recapture the city, commanders said.

“Iraqi forces entered Fallujah under air cover from the international coalition, the Iraqi air force and army aviation and supported by artillery and tanks, said Lieutenant General Abdelwahab al-Saadi, the commander in charge of the operation.

“Counter-terrorism service (CTS) forces, the Anbar police and the Iraqi army, at around 4 am (0100 GMT), started moving into Fallujah from three directions,” he said.

“There is resistance from Daesh,” he added, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

CTS spokesman Sabah al-Norman told AFP: “We started early this morning our operations to break into Fallujah.”
The involvement of the elite CTS marks the start of a phase of urban combat in a city where US forces in 2004 fought some of their toughest battles since the Vietnam War.
The week-old operation had previously focused on retaking villages and rural areas around Fallujah, which lies just 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of Baghdad.
Only a few hundred families managed to slip out of the Fallujah area ahead of the assault on the city, with an estimated 50,000 civilians still trapped inside, sparking fears the jihadists could try to use them as human shields.
Fallujah is one of just two major urban centers in Iraq still held by IS. They also hold a second city Mosul.





As the US and EU continue to secretly debate the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), talks aren’t only taking place behind closed doors. Frustrations are also being aired online, according to emails obtained by Politico.
An email sent on Friday and obtained by the website shows the European Commission warning the 28 EU ambassadors in Brussels that there will be no TTIP deal unless Washington changes its approach to negotiations.
The document focuses on agriculture, one of the most contentious of the 27 chapters currently under negotiation in TTIP talks.
The email expresses the Commission’s concern that “the EU has not seen substantial progress in areas of significant importance to EU agriculture, such as geographical indications, wine and non-tariff barriers.”
It goes on to state that “the US Administration does not yet seem to be in a place where it can reciprocate the EU’s efforts in TTIP and to start delivering on matters of EU interest.”
The email, written from the office of European Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, was agreed upon by several Commission departments, and President Jean-Claude Juncker’s office was aware of it being sent to the EU ambassadors, according to separate emails seen by Politico.

The TTIP has been controversial since it was first proposed. Backers, including US President Barack Obama, stress that it would create the world’s largest free-trade zone, claiming the more integrated marketplace would help small businesses by opening up markets and making customs processes easier. They also say it would reduce trade tariffs on products.

However, many Europeans say the TTIP would place corporate interest above national interest, stressing that international corporations would be given power at the expense of small and medium-sized businesses. The secrecy surrounding the talks has also come under fierce criticism.













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