Puppet Masters

Bad Guys

Columbia U. Research Paper: Is Turkey collaborating with the Islamic State (ISIS)?

© Unknown

Is Turkey collaborating with the Islamic State (ISIS)? Allegations range from military cooperation and weapons transfers to logistical support, financial assistance, and the provision of medical services. It is also alleged that Turkey turned a blind eye to ISIS attacks against Kobani.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu strongly deny complicity with ISIS. Erdogan visited the Council on Foreign Relations on September 22, 2014. He criticized "smear campaigns [and] attempts to distort perception about us." Erdogan decried, "A systematic attack on Turkey's international reputation, "complaining that "Turkey has been subject to very unjust and ill-intentioned news items from media organizations." Erdogan posited: "My request from our friends in the United States is to make your assessment about Turkey by basing your information on objective sources."

Columbia University's Program on Peace-building and Rights assigned a team of researchers in the United States, Europe, and Turkey to examine Turkish and international media, assessing the credibility of allegations. This report draws on a variety of international sources -- The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, BBC, Sky News, as well as Turkish sources, CNN Turk, Hurriyet Daily News, Taraf, Cumhuriyet, and Radikal among others.

Comment: The recent shoot-down of a Russian Su-24 jet in Syria and subsequent events have exposed Turkey's role in supporting ISIS to the world community. There's no longer any excuse for ignoring it.

Gold Seal

Senator Richard Black: War in Syria would end if US stopped supporting terrorists


Virginia State Senator and decorated Vietnam veteran Richard Black says it like it is.
The United States continues to supply terrorists in Syria with weapons, making them a grave threat to global security as well as deepening the conflict in the country, the Virginia State Senator said.

The United States and its allies can promptly end the conflict in Syria if they decide to stop providing assistance to terrorist groups in the country, Virginia State Senator Richard Black told Sputnik.

"People need to understand that if the United States, France and Britain stopped supporting terrorists, the war would end," Black said on Wednesday. "We caused the war, and we can end it whenever we wish."


EU politicians rip Turkey's links to ISIS, label Erdogan dangerous

Turkey's attack on the Russian bomber is the first such incident between a NATO country and Moscow in half a century. Across the media, there are concerns that relations between the Alliance and Russia could worsen and see a return to Cold War times.

Stock Up

Russia's investment appeal rising again amid high returns

Russia's bonds retuned over 26% per dollar invested in 2015, with the overall financial situation improving after the late 2014 shocks.
© Sputnik/ Vladimir Astapkovich
Russia has recovered some of its investment appeal as returns per dollar invested have turned out to be among the world's best this outgoing year, despite the still-intact international sanctions, low oil prices, and structural economic inefficiency.

While all these issues are expected to persist well into the next year, investment capital is attracted to Russia by a gradual loosening of the central bank's monetary policy.

Moreover, next year's scheduled payments on external debt are light in volume, and base effect is improving expansion prospects, even though recession still lingers. Subsequently, Russia might be heading for a massive expansion in the financial sector under otherwise equal conditions.


Who benefits from Turkey's aggression against Russia?: United States

© Unknown
"Regime change" in Ukraine engineered by the US State Department was largely responsible for the collapse of the "South Stream" gas pipeline project. Washington's intent was to establish a de facto blockade which would prevent the flow of Russian gas to the European Union.

"The South Stream gas pipeline worth €15.5 billion was intended to pump 67 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas to Europe annually.

The pipeline's underwater section 900 km (559 miles) long was intended to run along the bed of the Black Sea from the Russkaya compressor station on the Russian shore to the Bulgarian coast." (TASS, January 14, 2015)

On December 1, 2014, President Vladimir Putin announced that the project to build the South Stream gas pipeline "was closed due to the European Union's unconstructive approach to cooperation, including Bulgaria's decision [pressured by the US] to stop the construction of the pipeline's stretch on its territory."

Comment: Also, see...Always the last to know: Did Turkish government find out about shoot-down of Russian jet after the fact?


France should leave NATO if Turkey stays in alliance - French Party Head

© AFP 2015/ Bertran Langlois
France should leave NATO if Turkey preserves its membership in the alliance after the downing of a Russian Su-24 aircraft, head of the French Solidarity and Progress party told Sputnik France on Friday.

"Either France should leave NATO at this stage, or to demand suspension or exclusion of Turkey [from the alliance members] as part of NATO," Jacques Cheminade said.

On Tuesday, the Su-24 bomber crashed in Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the plane was downed by an air-to-air missile launched by a Turkish F-16 jet over Syrian territory, falling 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the Turkish border. Putin described the Turkish attack as a "stab in the back" carried out by "accomplices of terrorists."


Russia adds Chinese yuan as currency reserve

© Str / Reuters
The Central Bank of Russia has included the Chinese yuan in its reserve currency basket, TASS reports. The move is expected to boost the yuan's presence in the Russian financial market.

As of December 31, 2014, the latest data available, the US dollar was still dominating Russia's forex basket at 44 percent. The second most-used foreign currency was the euro with 42 percent. The British pound made up 9.5 percent.

According to Vesti.Finance, the Central Bank made the decision in November, but hasn't bought the yuan yet.

Pocket Knife

Pepe Escobar: 'Why did Turkey stab Russia in the back?'

Russia's and Turkey's objectives in fighting the Islamic State group are diametrically opposed.

It's absolutely impossible to understand why the Turkish government would engage in the suicidal strategy of downing a Russian Su-24 over Syrian territory - technically a NATO declaration of war on Russia - without putting in context the Turkish power play in northern Syria.

President Vladmir Putin said the downing of the Russian fighter jet was a "stab in the back." So let's see how facts on the ground allowed it to happen.


NYU Professor: Turkey ambushed Russian Su-24 to protect its proxies in Syria

© Sputnik
The shooting down of the Russian Su-24 bomber was a planned attack and a trap set by the Turkish Air Force, Dr. Mark Galeotti, the Professor of Global Affairs at the New York University, told Radio Sputnik.

"What it in fact seems to be, as many are saying, it was more of an ambush than anything else," Galeotti told Sputnik.

By downing the Russian plane, Turkey had two things in mind. First of all, Ankara wants to assert itself as a powerful regional actor, especially considering Russia's active participation in Syria. The Turkish government thought that by shooting down its plane Turkey would make Russia take Ankara more seriously in the future.

Secondly, the Turkish government wanted to protect its allies, whom Russia's currently bombing in Syria, Galeotti, an expert in Russo-Turkish relations, explained.

Comment: The professor could be half right. The Russians fighter jet was definitely ambushed, as the pilot himself said no warning was given. But it may not have been Turkey behind the ambush: Always the last to know: Did Turkish government find out about shoot-down of Russian jet after the fact?. It's not just Turkey who has a vested interest in protecting the terrorists in Syria.

War Whore

Syria rebel commander who bragged about killing Russian pilot is really Turkish ultra-nationalist and son of Turkish provincial mayor

© RT / DHA
A Syrian rebel commander who boasted of killing a Russian pilot after Turkey downed Russian jet on Tuesday appeared to be Turkish ultranationalist and a son of former mayor in one of Turkish provinces.

Alparslan Celik, deputy commander of a Syrian Turkmen brigade turned out to be the son of a mayor of a Keban municipality in Turkey's Elazig province.

He also turned out to be the member of The Grey Wolves ultranationalist group, members of which have carried out scores of political murders since 1970s.

Celik came under spotlight after he announced that as the two Russian pilots descended by parachute after the Su-24 jet was downed by Turkish military, both were shot dead by Turkmen forces on Tuesday.

A graphic video posted earlier on social media purported to show a Russian pilot lying on the ground surrounded by a group of armed militants.

For more watch RT's William Whiteman's report.