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Warning 1: Splitting this off since the subject is actually different from the Middle East Meltdowns and in fact involves different players.

Warning 2: This is my theory, only peripherally backed by obscure sites -- welcome to demolish it. I think better than even chance I am correct.

Warning 3: I'll be as terse as I can (in the middle of something else), hopefully, still comprehensible.

Premise: Turkey's policy is currently unexplainable. We either have to accept that Erdogan is completely irrational, a fruitcake worse than Ahmadinejad or that there is another explanation. I find it difficult to believe that the chap went ballistic over mistreating of poor Gazans in 2008 OR over the flotilla incident; this is because the Gazan operation inflicted fewer losses on the Arabs than say a recent Turkey operation against Kurds in the Northern Iraq... very similar responses to similar threats, and historically Turkey ignored such operations by Israel and vice versa since neither front is of much interest to the other country. (Israel actually assisted in anti-PKK operations). No reason for a moral indignation here. The flotilla incident does not work either since it is pretty clear that it was manufactured with Erdogan's assistance to start with and intended to pressure the Israelis... this brings it down to still unanswered "Why Turkey needed/wanted to pressure the Israelis".

There is no explanation at the moment. I do not buy "irrational anti-semite" or "insane Islamist" stuff --- it is quite possible that Erdogan is either or both, but not sufficient to explain the irrationality of his actions and efforts and risks being taken. I do not buy the Stratfor's explanation of Emerging Power Turkey feeling its way around, emerging powers generally do not behave like teenagers on a hormone overdose. I would like to see a real reason somewhere to explain at least some of the irrationality away.

Well, let me do it.

Let's recall the classic "war is a continuation of policy" and "policy is determined by economy" and look in this direction.... there is a leviathan right there, hard to miss.... S6

Factoids (all needs to be rechecked and sourced):

Israel discovers Leviathan (and other fields). Check the dates: this is when problems with Turkey begin. The find is enormous and capable of making Israel (or Turkey!) energy self-sufficient. Ownership, even partial, in these fields would considerably help Turkish economy development for years to come (and this is a big national interest).
Reaction of other countries: Lebanon (Hizbollah) makes a claim (ugly rhetoric), no claims from Syria, Egypt or Turkey (all too far).
The only legitimate claim in fact can be made by Cyprus (the fields are between Israel and Cyprus).
To resolve this issue, Israel and Cyprus sign a demarcation treaty (end of 2010); this in effect divides the fields between the two countries.
Now, Cyprus is an interesting country. Technically it is an independent state, closely linked to Greece, and a member of the EU... otoh, 40% of the Island are Turkey-occupied (since 1973?). The Turkish quasi-state happens to be in the North, so if these were independent states, the fields would belong to Southern State and the Turks will have no claim.. but with unclear international status of Northern Cyprus, Erdogan is capable of making a claim on behalf of Cyprus Turks...and he did.
In fact, Erdogan is trying to pressure the government of Cyprus right now... we just do not hear much about it, but notice as one example.

More: notice that the government of Cyprus is Greek, close to Athens, and this brings the Geeks into the play too. And as we saw deterioration of the Israeli-Turkey relations, we also saw progressive improvement in the Israeli-Greek relations... and perhaps one reason for this is that the Geeks like oil and gas too....

Now, check Deb(IL)ka today for some updates in this direction.

Let me finalize by some conjectures:

1. Pressuring Israel may be about the division of Leviathan rather than anything else.
2. Turkey, given the weakness of their claim, cannot go open on this.
3. At some point (early 2010?) they attempted to pressure Israel, failed, and went with all-out effort *on other items*.
4. Turkey is pressuring Cyprus and Athens too, but given their membership in EU, and -- for Greece -- in NATO, this is done quietly.
5. Knowing the companies involved on both ends may allow us to understand the situation better.
6. Whatever they are, they made a great job of keeping the real story off the news. The *only* geopolitical analysis I could find that deals with the current Turkey-Greece relations came from a Serbian site!
7. The flotilla incident was deliberately engineered by the Turks to be able to interfere with the fields development.
8. The entire crisis may go away if sufficiently large blackmail (share in the fields) is given to the Northern Cyprus turkeys.
.... may add more later .... gotta run.

Have fun.

If you disagree, your own conspiracy theory would be welcome.

Greece and Israel have both been working very close together, which is historically not the case. Military co operation, etc. Cyprus is a big Greek concern as it is with Turkey and all that oil....

This makes more sense to me than all the rhetorical nonsense as you noted.

Old fashioned self interests and the rhetoric is pap for the masses.

I believe this is indeed the real, yet undeclared, problem. There is more here: Erdogan: no one is allowed to walk all over our honour. Who controls the sea lanes, can control the oil fields that are going to come on line in the near future.

And if there is oil/natural gas in one place, there is bound to be more in others. My guess is that the entire area is full of oil/gas fields, but deep. Abiotic oil is still the way to look at this thing. And the more oil/gas discovered, the more the 'fossil fuel' theory sinks into disrepute.

He who drills deep enough will harvest the most reward. Oh, and who controls the sea lanes will control the surface, where it all will come out of the ground.

I wonder if Israel will be buying US warships in the near future, especially when the Boy Wonder is out of office? We have a whole bunch of them sitting around, consigned to be stricken from the rolls, and eventually sunk, or harvested. Any country that is able to receive a few, or even more than a few, stands to have a commanding presence in the Med.

Personally, I believe there will be an open war over all this.
Yes, this link is relevant. In particular, notice the term "exclusive economic zones"... anyone here can translate this from Turkish?

It so happens that the Serbian article I mentioned above (now @home I have link) explains just this from the Geeky Point of View:

Quote:I wonder if Israel will be buying US warships in the near future, especially when the Boy Wonder is out of office?

the Iranian brand of Islam may hit the fan long before this... part of Er-dog's rush may be because the Cypriots are about to drill.

I do not see it as given that US will support Israel, especially under the current administration.

Palladin Wrote:Greece and Israel have both been working very close together, which is historically not the case.

Historically (==just 2-3 years ago) Greece was considered as the most anti-Israel country, because of its leftism and also ties to Arabs.

I should have put this into the original post:

Greece should be very motivated now with all the deficit troubles.... if this works, they may be able to fix their budget.

Turkey interfering with two EU members prove that their EU dream is dead and buried.
Well, well, well.... apparently I'm not the only one who thought about this, so did UPI. Darn, here goes the monopoly S4

Erdogan eyes blocking east Med gas boom

Rather explicitly:

Quote:Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's unprecedented threat to send the Turkish navy into the eastern Mediterranean to challenge Israel is primarily aimed at torpedoing efforts by the Jewish state and Greek Cypriots to develop rich offshore natural gas fields.
If Israel does not purchase destroyers, or frigates from the US, it will almost certainly purchase them from the Brits. the Brits currently have 13 Type 23 frigates, and are going to downsize to 6. All three Type 42 destroyers are getting the axe as well. All will be up for sale to someone, and I will bet you Israel will be in the market for some of them.

My guess is that Israel will at least double its navy as a result of needing to protect its interests in the oil/gas fields.

Turkey has a larger navy at present, but the real question will be quality vs quantity in the end. The more I read this the more I am sure things will come down to a shooting war, if Erdogen refuses to stop rattling his sabre. I wonder if he has tried using honey instead of vinegar in order to attract bees? Or even considered it?
if you (or anyone else who understands naval warfare) wants to write about the possibilities this would be interesting -- I don't see MSM writing this up any time soon (and I'm seriously disappointed with Stratfor's blindness)

I have to plead ignorance here. I simply don't understand if oil/gas fields out in the ocean can be protected even if the defending size has a naval superiority; I'm also unsure if the best defense may be ignoring the Navy altogether and beefing up the Air Force instead.

As for the war possibility: this depends on the US greatly, I'd think. My understanding is that the Turkish Army is equipped with mostly US weapon systems (and some Israeli's); in such setups a firm threat to refuse service or resupply tends to be a powerful deterrent.

Quote:I wonder if he has tried using honey instead of vinegar in order to attract bees? Or even considered it?

Arghh... I should have put a disclaimer in the first post... I did not try to show that Er-dog is not a nutcase... even if he is acting in national interests his way demonstrates him to be one... or, as I've seen in a Greek article today, just a typical Turk.

Lemme go feed the fish and if I have energy I'll add some more data/thinking...
OK, a bit more. Per Turkish sources, they are pressuring the US too (to make the US company involved withdraw):
and likely tried to pressure the EU (to have them pressure Cyprus)
neither apparently succeeded so far.... but do we see very versatile turkeys here? Er-dog is on a freaking (is this word allowed?) rampage.

Now, let me go wild a little... we are in unstable period with alliances being made and broken (see Palladin's article -- where was it?)... so I want to speculate a bit about the layout here.

US: support for Israel is not certain, since on another front we are seeing an alignment with the turkeys. There was an article by Stratfor yesterday titled "Russia and Iran Improve Relations as U.S.-Turkish Alignment Grows".
Armenia: remember the Armenian chap here a few years ago? I wonder what they say on Armenian forums readers comments after articles in Israeli papers (Jpost, Ynet) I saw the readers calling for recognition of the Armenian holocaust... so I would not be surprised seeing Armenians suddenly less anti-semitic than usual. Besides, Armenia is close with the Geeks.
Kurds: other thing that was called for by the Israeli readers was support for PKK... IMHO, stupid. Here is one better (screams expected): consider a feeler to Iran.

No, I'm not joking here. Iran is just as democratic as Turkey... and there is in reality no real geopolitical issues between Israel and Iran.. no fields to divide. A peace is possible. And if the Israelis are smart, it is the time to give it a try. It may or may not work, but what is to lose? Recall Kissinger's detente with China, or the Israeli peace with Egypt... strange things happen.

And if this happens to work (no, I'm not saying this is likely!) Junior will become known as the shrewdest politician in the US history, one who managed to foresee that giving Iraq to Iran will provide the latter with the much-needed foothold to attack the true enemy... S6

The Bush part was a joke, perhaps, but trying to create problems between Iran and Turkey in any way possible should be the priority task for Mossad.
Turkey is taking the chance of being on the outs with NATO over this I would think. Russia is still up there, too. I guess I don't know much cause I can't see a Turk leader being willing to get his country kicked out of NATO.

IF that were to happen, might not Russia be invited in? If Turkey appeared to become a beliegrent towards western interests?
(09-16-2011, 03:54 PM)Palladin Wrote: [ -> ]Turkey is taking the chance of being on the outs with NATO over this I would think. Russia is still up there, too. I guess I don't know much cause I can't see a Turk leader being willing to get his country kicked out of NATO.

IF that were to happen, might not Russia be invited in? If Turkey appeared to become a beliegrent towards western interests?

Just last week Turkey agreed to the establishment of a site for NATO Radars as an important part of the Nuclear Shield. Also, having the largest military after USA in the NATO will prevent any NATO country in trying to kick Turkey out of NATO.

So far USA is one of the countries who have not agreed on the XI article of the International oil drilling agreement, so in principle USA agrees with Turkey's stand on the drilling rights of Greeks and Israelis in the Mediterranean.
If USA accepts the XI article, it will open opportunity for many foreign nations to start drilling for oil close to the USA shores.

Yep, there's a lot more to this than just Israel, Cyprus, Greece and Turkey.

That radar thing Stratfor felt might get dropped if Turkey gets too belligerent.

Maybe Erdogan has it all figured out, from afar he seems to me overly aggressive at this stage of things.
According to Wikipedia, the Leviathan gas field was discovered in June, 2010. The Turkish sponsored flotilla to Gaza arrived at May 31, 2010. So there is a problem with assuming Turkey did the Gaza trip as a part of a power play on the gas field.

I will offer a simpler explanation. Turkey wishes to be an Islamic power broker. Ergodan, like Putin, is willing to be a spoiler just to destabilize things and "play the game of chess" so to speak. So, if he can stick his finger in the gas field development, he will do so any way he can. He may get a cut, he may get some "credibility" among the Islamics or he may simply annoy the West. Annoying Israel any way he can is bound to boost his Islamic relationships. Just like Putin, you can expect Ergodan to throw sand in all kinds of gears, just to prove he can.

Tamar was discovered in 2009. I don't think that flotilla was a response to Tamar (in fact we don't know if Er-dog instigated it or merely allowed it to happen), but two story lines got merged along the way and *now* the flotilla incident is used as a cover for gas fields.

I don't see in which way Putin is a spoiler and just what he is trying to destabilize, he did nothing even remotely comparable.
The latest threat.
Here is something to check:


is yet another piece on the Turkish threats to Cyprus. Not much new there, but in one of the comments (#9) I see
Quote:Russia has sent two nuclear subs to prevent Turkey from interfering in Cyprus waters. NATO will be forced to respond as well.

If true, this is interesting.

(Not impossible: Russia is fairly close with Greece now, and S300's meant for Iran originally were sold to Greece.)
Possibly true,

In re Putin-Er-dog analogy (abbreviating Er-dog, I recall that dog is a sacred animal in Turkish, so to show respect here... "Er" can be translated as "Mad"):

Actually a good one after some thinking... both are resurrecting the empires, Russian (USSR) after 20 years, and Turkish (Ottoman) after 100. Here is where the analogy ends.

The setup is different:
In case of Russia, the desired components are still quite linked to the core, and contain large russian or russified population. In case of Turkey, 100 years is a long term, and with the exception of Northern Cyprus, Turks are not present anywhere... Azeris were not a part of the Ottoman empire for a long time, and Central Asia never was.

The methods are different:
Putin operates by signing numerous treaties that slowly reestablish the common space (of course, quite a lot is happening behind the scene to influence the signers, but everyone does this.). The latest two events are a coup-prevention treaty (anti-Soros) and join military maneuvers that just started, there was a new custom agreement before this. All this is typical business that does not make anyone excited and most of it has little chance of causing any international conflicts or provoking anyone. Now, Er-dog is different, as we see now. And notice if Er-dog followed his initial method of building trade/confidence links with neighbors, we probably would have not seen his Ottoman idea is as dangerous as it looks now.
One of the reasons Russia had so much problem in Afghanistan was the high ratio of Moslem soldiers vs Ethnic Russians in the Russian Military.

After Soviet Union break up the ratio improved for the Russian Ethnicity soldiers, but now it is reported that due to very low birth rates in ethnic Russians and high birth rates among Moslem members of the Russian Federation, the Moslem Soldiers ratio is approaching 50% and shortly Moslems will become majority of Russian Soldiers.

I think Russia will stay away from any conflicts with Moslem Nations.
Actually Russia joined the World Islamic Congress Organization as a member about two years ago.

There's that demographic suicide thing rearing it's head again. Yet, Turkey is part of that dilemma:
Holy Cow!, Spengler is now on Pajamas media. And his work there is different than on Asia Times, from what I can see. I could overdose on Goldman, one of the few American Jews with any common sense.

Yes, there really is a G-d in heaven!

He is still saying what nobody else is saying: that Egypt is starving to death, and nobody seems to notice.

I'm racking my brain, attempting to come up with how the Muslim Brotherhood is going to survive there, when they cannot feed the citizenry. The Brotherhood is part of the Islamic Socialism crazies, and only free enterprise can bring Egypt out of it's troubles.

Note: on second thought there is also the starvation route, which could rid itself of the excess mouths requiring feeding. Knowing Islam, this will most likely be the preferred method.

Are they going to have one of those Little Ice Age traditions, where someone walks through the neighborhood, ringing a bell, shouting "Bring out your Dead", while the Plague worked its way through the terrorized populace?

And what is Erdogan going to do for Turkey, short of more inflamed rhetoric? Perhaps Israel is really not the ultimate loser, as most Muslims and self-hating Jews wish.
Very interesting stuff... but let's not get carried away with potentialities. Demographic trends can change a lot in twenty years, this is not what is driving Er-dog.

I'd rather take the economics rationale that Spencer touches upon too: if Turkey is a bubble economy bounded to collapse any time, then Er-dog is fighting for his own survival; he was voted in on economics and corruption, and he would be voted out once the going gets hard. Launching a big external crisis to preserve the rule... not even very original. Perhaps, declare the state of siege at some point and cancel the elections...
The sole original component is that if he manages to grab the deposits he might be able to solve the economic issues.

Good job, Palladin, undigging this.
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