April 3, 2017 SnyderTalk: Turkey and the Trump Administration

“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says Yahweh Sabaoth. (Zechariah 4: 6)



Turkey and the Trump Administration

See “What You Need to Know about Turkey and the Trump Administration” by Ishaan Tharoor:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson heads to Ankara this week for a trip loaded with geopolitical significance. The two countries share an important, long-standing alliance — Turkey boasts NATO’s second-largest army after the United States — and the Trump administration needs Turkey onside in its quest to defeat the Islamic State.

But the U.S.-Turkey relationship has been on the rocks in recent years. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a powerful and polarizing figure, sparred with the Obama administration, and his allies in the Turkish media fumed over supposed American complicity in a failed coup attempt last July. The Turkish government blames the putsch on Fethullah Gulen, an aging Turkish cleric who has lived in exile in Pennsylvania for nearly two decades.

In the months since the coup attempt, Erdogan has presided over a vast purge of his country’s state institutions and civil society. The crackdown has led to condemnation from governments in Europe, which in turn has deepened Erdogan’s public animosity toward the West.

Here are the story lines to keep in mind as Tillerson meets with Erdogan and other key officials.

A web of conspiracies and proxies

On Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said he would bring up the question of Gulen’s extradition in his meeting with Tillerson. Turkish authorities are convinced of Gulen’s guilt, but officials in the West have cast doubt on the cleric’s direct involvement in the coup plot. They also fear he would not receive a fair trial in Turkey.

A report issued last week by the British Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee said that although “there is evidence to indicate that some individual Gulenists were involved, it is mostly anecdotal or circumstantial.” Germany’s intelligence chief, Bruno Kahl, concurred this month, much to Ankara’s irritation.

It’s not clear what the White House intends to do about Gulen’s presence in the United States, if anything. But the Trump administration has a number of curious connections to Erdogan and his lieutenants.

Ousted national security adviser Michael T. Flynn was being paid to lobby for Ankara even while he assisted the Trump campaign last year. According to former CIA director James Woolsey, Flynn held meetings with Turkish officials last year and discussed ways to remove Gulen from the United States — possibly outside the established extradition process. (A Flynn spokesman rejected the claim.)

Former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former U.S. attorney general Michael Mukasey, two staunch Trump supporters, are part of the defense team representing Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian gold dealer accused of illegally funneling millions of dollars to Iran in violation of sanctions. He was arrested last year while on a family trip to Disney World and has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

With Erdogan in charge, it’s not smart to think of Turkey as an ally even though the predominantly Muslim country is a member of NATO.  President Trump has access to all the facts.  They point in the direction of a Sultan wannabe who will do anything to achieve his goals.

U.S. complicity in the failed coup attempt in Turkey is ridiculous.  Shortly after it occurred, Erdogan started cozying up to Vladimir Putin.  That suggests he was looking for a pretext for shifting his alliances.

Putin regards NATO as a threat to Russia and his ambitions.  Some have argued and I agree that Putin’s efforts to involve himself in the U.S. presidential election had more to do with destabilizing NATO than anything else.  For the Russian strongman, making nice with Erdogan is an important step in that direction.

As long as Erdogan controls Turkey, I don’t think it’s wise to allow Turkey to remain a NATO member.  He can’t be trusted.  The NATO secrets that Erdogan has access to, that’s most of them if not all of them, can easily be transferred to Russia and Iran, and you can bet that they will be for a price.

Turkey, Russia, Iran, and China (the TRIC nations) are a very real threat to NATO, the U.S., the world, and especially to Israel.  To establish himself in the Arab world as a modern-day Saladin, for more than a decade Erdogan has been doing everything in his power to distance Turkey from Israel and to recreate something like the Ottoman Empire that controlled the Middle East for centuries.

When the TRIC countries finally do come together, it will be a marriage of convenience:

  • Ottomans (Turkey) and Persians (Iran) have a long history of not getting along.  See “Ottoman–Safavid War of 1623–1639”.  Animosity between the two countries is deeply embedded in their cultures.
  • Both countries have been vying for regional hegemony for centuries. Those ambitions remain.  There can’t be two winners.  Eventually, Iran or Turkey will dominate.
  • Both countries are led by Islamists, but they are Islamists of different stripes. Turkey is Sunni Muslim and Iran is Shia Muslim.  Hatred between Sunnis and Shias is an ever-present reality that can’t be swept aside.  Friendly surface relationships between the two countries will evaporate once their common “enemy” is dealt with.
  • Both countries fancy themselves as global powers on the rise. That could happen, but it won’t be in this century.

Enter Russia and China.  Russia has military might and China has economic strength and a very large population.  Neither Turkey nor Iran has a globally competitive military or global economic strength.

All four TRIC countries have global ambitions.  Thus, we have two warring Muslim factions coming together with “infidels” and with each other to advance their regional and global agendas.

As I said, it’s a marriage of convenience.  In the long-term, it’s destined to fail.

Although the American people elected President Trump, Yahweh put him in power.  From Yahweh’s perspective, protecting Israel is the most important issue that the president will face.

Healthcare, the economy, and reversing the march toward totalitarian socialism to name just a few are important, but they don’t compare with the president’s role in protecting Israel during difficult times like these.

Switching Gears

See “Londonistan: 423 New Mosques; 500 Closed Churches”.  That tells us all we need to know about Great Britain.  Continental Europe is worse.

“People get ready, there’s a train a comin’,” and it ain’t no freight train.



“If My people who are called by My Name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7: 14)

Change that Yahweh calls “good” begins in the hearts of believers—people who are recognizable because they are different.

We are different because we belong to Him and are called by His Name.  We are Yahweh’s people, His followers.


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SnyderTalk Comment:

To provoke an Israeli response, Erdogan orchestrated the incident about which he is speaking.

He got his wish.  It put him on the center stage in the Arab world.

Erdogan can’t be trusted.



“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17: 22-24)

See “His Name is Yahweh”.

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