Politics The State Department should rethink its Turkey policy
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It's Monday, welcome to Overnight Defense & National Security, your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.Former Secretary of State Colin Powell's unexpected death was greeted by an outpouring of grief from across the political spectrum, as Democrats and Republicans alike lauded the four-star general as a giant of public service and an African- American hero.We'll share the reactions from across the nation and globe, how the White House has responded, and Powell's long and distinguished legacy.For The Hill, I'm Ellen Mitchell.
The disparity between Congress and State Department on Turkey policy is the worst-kept secret in Washington foreign policy circles. While Congress has shown deep bipartisan concern for Turkey's role in many regional and international flashpoints, the State Department continues to turn a blind eye to many of the NATO stalwart's misdeeds.
On July 21, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee convened ato explore the State Department's Turkey policy through the testimony of Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland. Committee members pulled no punches in questioning Nuland on the American ally's growing antagonist role in contravening U.S. and NATO interests, its domestic war on democracy, and deteriorating human rights record.
Biden faces test as Turkey prepares new attack on Syrian Kurds
In January 2018, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch. It was designed to capture and ethnically cleanse the Afrin District of northern Syria. In October 2019, Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring to control, via Turkey’s Arab proxies, the population centers from around Tell Abyad to Ras al-Ayn. Get ready for incursion No. 3. © Provided by Washington Examiner President Recep Tayyip Erdogan justifies the looming offensive as a response to a rocket attack that killed two Turkish policemen. Those officers were acting as occupation authorities in Syria’s Azaz region, north of Aleppo.
To be sure, the hearing highlighted some laudable aspects of the Biden administration's Turkey policy. But the many examples of misguided perspectives, incongruent with reality on the ground, are cause for concern.
Nuland caveated her testimony by qualifying the U.S.-Turkey relationship as "multifaceted and complex" in an apparent attempt to grasp at a political fig leaf. While "multifaceted and complex" is, on its face, an accurate assessment of the relationship, its "complexity" can be credited to Turkey's duplicity as.
Committee Chair Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Ranking Member Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) pressed hard on Turkey's undeterred acquisition of the, despite Turkey having been offered numerous "off ramps." Nuland affirmed that the administration is against Turkey and continuing to exclude it from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. She said the administration would press for more sanctions should Turkey purchase additional Russian weapon systems.
'All of them': Tennessee health chief says children's hospitals will fill up as delta variant surges
The commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health says children's hospitals could be full by next week.The Tennessee Department of Health projects the state's children's hospitals are on pace to be completely full by the end of next week.
A day before the hearing, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited northern, illegally occupied by Turkey since 1974, to announce plans to - a symbolic Cypriot resort town, in the eastern buffer zone, shuttered since the Turkish invasion - in brazen disregard for United Nations Security Council Resolutions 550 and 789. The plan underscores Erdoğan's vision for a separate Turkish state on the island, as an apparent test of U.S. and international resolve.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken swiftlyTurkey's announcement. Nuland reaffirmed that the administration rejects the on Cyprus proposed by Erdoğan, stating that the only acceptable way forward is to reunify the island as a .
Menendez, however, expressed concern over reports of Turkey's establishment of ain northern Cyprus, on which Nuland declined to comment. Turkey has deployed drones against Christians in and , among others, and Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) have asked the State Department the development, deployment and proliferation of Turkish drones as an international menace.
Turkey's Erdoğan strategically backtracks threat to expel Western diplomats, political analyst explains
Soner Cagaptay, a senior fellow with The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, joined The World's host Carol Hills to discuss the details of Turkey's recent diplomatic spat and how it was averted.Members of a Turkish group hold a symbolic boarding pass for 10 foreign ambassadors as they stage a protest near the US Embassy to support Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in Ankara, Turkey, Oct. 25, 2021.
Among Nuland's most troubling statements was her assertion that Turkey's presence in northern Syria "protects Syrians from indiscriminate targeting by the Assad regime." While Bashar al-Assad's government is indeed responsible for, to classify Turkey as the savior of the Syrian people - particularly, Kurds, Syriacs and Yezidis in the north - is misguided and dangerously tone deaf. In May 2020, Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad "Turkish-backed militias are silently carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Yazidis in Afrin, Syria. They are kidnapping women, killing civilians, and destroying houses and shrines." And, Yazidi women kidnapped in northern Syria continue to surface in .
Since 2016, Turkey and Turkish-backed Islamist militias have been fixated on destroying the democratic(AANES), which is the region's only successful experiment in ethno-religious freedom. Amy Austin Holmes, writing for the , exposed more than 800 Turkish violations of the U.S.-brokered ceasefire in northeast Syria, through kinetic Turkish military strikes, in a one-year period.
Turkey's Lake Tuz dries up due to climate change, farming
KONYA, Turkey (AP) — For centuries, Lake Tuz in central Turkey has hosted huge colonies of flamingos that migrate and breed there when the weather is warm, feeding on algae in the lake’s shallow waters. This summer, however, a heart-wrenching scene replaced the usual splendid sunset images of the birds captured by wildlife photographer Fahri Tunc. Carcasses of flamingo hatchlings and adults scattered across the cracked, dried-up lake bed. TheThis summer, however, a heart-wrenching scene replaced the usual splendid sunset images of the birds captured by wildlife photographer Fahri Tunc. Carcasses of flamingo hatchlings and adults scattered across the cracked, dried-up lake bed.
Since October 2019, Turkey and its proxy militias reportedly havemore than 200 members of the Syrian Democratic Forces, including Christian Syriac Military Council soldiers - critical U.S. allies in the fight against ISIS. The captives were illegally transferred into Turkey, in violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, then reportedly tortured, illegally tried and .
Menendez challenged the administration to provide Congress with greater clarity on how it is addressing Turkey's role in the numerous human rights violations committed in northern Syria.
Senate committee members, however, failed to question Nuland on. Reports indicate that Turkey is capitalizing on Lebanon's influx of Syrian and Palestinian refugees by importing weapons and radical ideology in Sunni-concentrated areas in northwest Lebanon, as a counterweight to Hezbollah in the south and east. In light of Lebanon's tragic history of devastation by proxy actors, Turkish involvement in Lebanon could have disastrous effects.
In a pivot from Turkey's international provocation, Menendez and Van Hollen expressed deep concern for Turkey's domestic. This accelerating trend of illiberalization, they noted, can be witnessed through the against journalists, public thinkers, political opposition and ethno-religious minorities.
Turkey pressing US for F-16 fighters after F-35 plan killed
The United States is discussing Turkey's request to buy F-16 fighters after a deal for more advanced F-35s was scrapped due to Ankara's purchase of a Russian missile system, officials said. But one US official said that any possible F-16 order could be dogged by the same issue that forced the cancellation of the F-35s: Turkey's decision to buy an S-400 missile system from Russia. © Olivier Matthys US President Joe Biden (R) and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, seen here in June 2021, could discuss Turkey's request to buy US-made F-16 fighters on the sidelines of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow The S-400, used to track and s
"Erdoğan has made it clear that he doesn't care what we say. So, it's not enough to make statements," said Van Hollen. "Turkey is an unfaithful ally and will only respond when there's a price to be paid. So, what are we going to do in response to Erdoğan thumbing his nose to the international community?"
When pressed again by Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Nuland described the administration's approach to strategic dialogue with Turkey as "engage, engage, engage on every level - but be frank when we disagree." On its face, this seems to be a good approach, but the material concern exists in the details and definitions. What constitutes a "frank" response, and with which Turkish actions will the administration disagree?
The Senate hearing clearly underscored the need for Congress to continue to hold the Biden administration responsible for establishing and implementing a sober, less ambiguous - and, yes, tougher - approach to addressing the Erdoğan government's transgressions. If Turkey remains unchecked on its dangerous trajectory, U.S. regional interests will suffer.
Richard Ghazal is executive director at. He is a retired U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate and intelligence officer with Levant and Turkey subject matter expertise.
Greece and Turkey battle heatwave and fires in Europe's summer of extreme weather .
Extreme heat and wildfires continued to plague parts of southern Europe on Wednesday, a day after the top temperature in Greece reached 47.1 degrees Celsius (117 degrees Fahrenheit) -- just shy of the highest ever recorded in Europe. © YASIN AKGUL/AFP/Getty Images A man guides his livestock away from an advancing fire on August 2 in Mugla, Marmaris district, as the European Union sent help to Turkey and volunteers joined firefighters in battling days of violent blazes. Greece is facing one of its worst heatwaves in decades and the country remains on high alert as it continues to battle blazes across the country.