Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

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somnath
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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby somnath » 10 Feb 2010 14:25

^^about Hagia Sophia, it is preserved as a national monument in Istanbul..And there is absolutely no attempt to hide or denigrtae its Christian heritage, in fact it is celebrated...Its preservation can actually be a lesson for ASI for a lot of our own historical treasures...

Ditto with the GReek Christian village of Shirinche near Izmir..

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby Suppiah » 10 Feb 2010 15:12

As per wikipedia, they even 'restored' it in Ataturk era, which meant removing some of the plaster that was applied over Christian murals (to cover them up) during Islamist era. Shows you how far they went though 98% Muslim...hats off to them..

Any TV interview of Gul? I see media coverage (printed) quite muted...

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby Suppiah » 10 Feb 2010 15:27

http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/news- ... pital.html

More on headscarf - PM Erdogan's wife was refused entry to military hospital for WEARING one...and 60% ONLY disapprove that...

Imagine this in Pakbarian animalistan..firstly the ban would be on NOT wearing one...secondly 400% would approve it..

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby svinayak » 10 Feb 2010 17:43

Carl_T wrote:
S**t he's a good speaker. I was comparing him to ABV/Advani through the prism of their reactions against a secularist status quo. I think the resemblance with Vajpayee is even more apt, they were both fiery orators.

Dont bring Indian politicians into this. And dont compare ABV with any of these countries. None of them are democracy in true sense.

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby somnath » 10 Feb 2010 18:21

Suppiah wrote:http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/news-201128-majority-disapproves-of-treatment-of-pms-wife-at-gata-hospital.html

More on headscarf - PM Erdogan's wife was refused entry to military hospital for WEARING one...and 60% ONLY disapprove that...

Imagine this in Pakbarian animalistan..firstly the ban would be on NOT wearing one...secondly 400% would approve it..


The head scarf is not a trivial thing in Turkey..It has more symbolism than (say) the burqa ban in France..It is symptomatic of the fierce separation of the church (or mullah/mosque) and civil society (not just the state)...Stretching it to India, it would be to suggest that people wearing their sacred threads or tiika will not be allowed in universities, govt jobs, and if its the PM's wife with a sindur she would be accorded second class treatment by the COAS!

Our engagement with turkey will have to be a bedrock of economic relations..And there are lots of things that we can cooperate on, including defence, where Turkey has a reasonably efficient MIC...

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby Suppiah » 10 Feb 2010 18:28

They wisely recognise it as a first step on the slippery slope that leads to pakistan..

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby somnath » 10 Feb 2010 19:04

Re Erdogan, Abdullah Gul and the AK Party..If the Turkish in general (and the Army as well) were not so enthusiastic about joining EU, the Army would have mounted a coup many years back..A democratic polity is one of the necessary conditions for EU membership, and therefore the Army's hands are tied, otherwise Turkey is no stranger to coups in response to electoral victory of Islamist parties...In fact it is this very fact that has also forced Erdogan and his AK Party to really be "Islamism lite" in many senses of the term...

There arent a lot of "agreeable" countries in that part of the world that one would like to engage with - Turkey is one...IMHO we should walk that extra mile if required to build upon this relationship...

PS: Its also an utterly beautiful place, and Turkish women are hot!! :)

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby vavinash » 10 Feb 2010 19:54

DELETED.
Last edited by Rahul M on 10 Feb 2010 19:59, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: the point could easily have been made without the attendant abusive comments and flaming.

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby Manny » 10 Feb 2010 20:04

Masaru wrote:
“Turkey fully supports Pakistan on Kashmir. This problem should be tackled as soon as possible.

Time and again Turks have sided with the Pakis and helped them out in times of need. This 'great nation' also has a brilliant history of denial when it comes to owning up to its violent past. Ref: Armenian genocide. No wonder why Pakis seek to claim ancestry from Turks, and get inspired to repeat the same in 1971.


1) India has neglected Turkey...so it cannot blame Turkey when Turkey sides with Pakistan. The People of Turkey would have no problem siding with India if it wants. It does not necessarily side with Islamic nations. It is not like many of the ME countries we suck up inspite of thje ME countries funding porkies. When Rajive Gandhi was the PM, he visited Turkey with Sonia (I was there then). Ozal was the PM of Turkey then, They hit it off so well, they became family friends. Thought bilateral relationship would take off from there but for some reason never got off... it was an opportunity missed.

2) As far as Armenian issue is concerned, First, let the christians admit that the christianity and Martin Luther's anti semitism was the impetus for the Holocaust. Then we can ask Turkey about the Armenians which for the most part was negligence of the Armenians when there was famine rather than shipping loads of Armenians in a rail car to be gassed like how German christians did it.

You want pictures.. here you go.

http://www.nobeliefs.com/nazis.htm

http://www.nobeliefs.com/mementoes.htm

Martin Luther's dirty little nook.

http://www.nobeliefs.com/luther.htm

Christians around the world for the most part have denied that Holocaust had anything to do with christianity.
Last edited by Manny on 10 Feb 2010 20:46, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby Manny » 10 Feb 2010 20:08

Suppiah,

Your knowledge of Turkey and its people are right on the money. I couldn't disagree with anything you have posted so far.

Manny

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby svinayak » 10 Feb 2010 20:09

DELETED.
Last edited by Rahul M on 11 Feb 2010 08:55, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Irrelevant.

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby Manny » 10 Feb 2010 20:11

Acharya wrote:DELETED


Actually yes. I have dated Turkish women and they usually take you home and introduce you to their family and then they go out with you. Religion rarely is an issue. If you speak the language, they perceive you like another Turk. They are family tight just like desies. Men and women in Turkey do things together all the time and they are very comfortable with one another. No sexual tensions.

When I first visited Turkey on a short assignment, within the first 10 days there, A couple of elderly gentlemen at work who wanted to introduce me to young Turkish women they know since they all felt that I was a single eligible bachelor who should not remain single. This was their genuine perception and outlook in life. They didn't care that I was Indian or that I was a Hindu.

I can't tell you how impressed I was with Turkey. Turkey is an amazing country. The friendliest, open culture and people in the world. The best three years of my life was in Turkey. I was clueless when I first went there. I had no idea what Turkey was..I thought it was a ME country and resisted going there when my boss tried to send me over.

Istanbul Tech Univ is full of Porki students. Although they don't speak the language they go there to study. Too bad Indian students don't go to Istanbul to study...ITU and the Bosporus Univ are English medium and extremely good universities to study Allthough Bosporus is one of their elite school and difficult to get admission.
Last edited by Rahul M on 11 Feb 2010 08:59, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: deleted irrelevant comment in quoted part. replies to this topic should be in L&M nukkad, not here.

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby Suppiah » 10 Feb 2010 20:49

Would love to visit the country though I should say I am more used to the smaller dimensions of the E.Asian cuties.. :D

There are two ways to look at the AKP regime and what it is doing with Turkey and with its intl relations. One is the Islamist agenda which has so far been quite mild and in any case restoring some semblance of neutrality (not hostility as was past) as re religion. Gross hostility to own religion imposed by whatever means, however long has little chance of success in long term. So in a way, relaxing a bit ensures their overall secular character survives longer. But there is a big IF

Islamic societies in a way are ALL on a slippery slope with destination being KSA, so if AKP/Gul & Co are not careful, they can destroy the Army's role as a speed breaker, and end up sliding faster than they wanted. Already Mustafa Kemals' own party is asking for ban on veils to be lifted, something that would make Ataturk turn in his grave. Populist politics...dont know where it will take Turkey, or anyone for that matter.

Be that as it may, it will take years, or perhaps decades for the slide to happen, and who knows AKP may botch up on economy, like the mullas in Iran have done and may head for exit.

The other aspect is Turkeys' attempt to become more friendly with 'Arab' and less 'European' (not by intent, it is automatic corollary) something like TSP's move to be more ME and less SA. This is also with all good intentions, here again they are restoring an old out of balance relation - Gul mentioned in one speech that it was so bad, Arab in Turkish slang stood for street dog - so much was the hatred for Arabs for historic reasons. But the world is not short of Arab style conduct of internal and external affairs, it needs more of old Turkeys...

An unrelated comment - Arab in old English (Sherlock Holmes time) stood for street kids who are rough and dirty. tells you how popular they were across cultures.

MKB and other lefties see this as a natural assertion of old Turkey's image and a desire to be respected, not taken for granted. I personally dont buy that argument. You dont have to befriend Syria or Iranian mullahs and issue certificates of innocence to Sudans' Bashir to be seen as 'independent'...that is being seen as yet another ME regime.

But all this does not concern India. We need friends in that zone and in the Islamic world. Malaysia is a washout they are becoming more and more KSA by the day, Indonesia is too weak and problem ridden, so that leaves Turkey (and post-mulla Iran)

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby Carl_T » 10 Feb 2010 21:35

Acharya wrote:
Carl_T wrote:
S**t he's a good speaker. I was comparing him to ABV/Advani through the prism of their reactions against a secularist status quo. I think the resemblance with Vajpayee is even more apt, they were both fiery orators.

Dont bring Indian politicians into this. And dont compare ABV with any of these countries. None of them are democracy in true sense.

It's a perfectly legitimate comparison. How is Turkey not a democracy?

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby svinayak » 10 Feb 2010 21:44

Carl_T wrote:
It's a perfectly legitimate comparison. How is Turkey not a democracy?

Do you know the History of Turkey. Why is the military the guarantee of the constitution. Do you have any idea what that means.
Also dont compare Indian religions with Islamic ones.

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby Carl_T » 10 Feb 2010 22:00

Suppiah wrote:There are two ways to look at the AKP regime and what it is doing with Turkey and with its intl relations. One is the Islamist agenda which has so far been quite mild and in any case restoring some semblance of neutrality (not hostility as was past) as re religion. Gross hostility to own religion imposed by whatever means, however long has little chance of success in long term. So in a way, relaxing a bit ensures their overall secular character survives longer. But there is a big IF
I don't think the move to "neutrality" should be characterized as conscious, but it may be a byproduct of Islamisation which was necessary at some point, Turkey like all other Islamic countries has had its share of revivalism since the late 80s onwards, and it has to be recognized at the voting booth. It will IMO engender a more moderate opposition the next time around.



Suppiah wrote:The other aspect is Turkeys' attempt to become more friendly with 'Arab' and less 'European' (not by intent, it is automatic corollary) something like TSP's move to be more ME and less SA. This is also with all good intentions, here again they are restoring an old out of balance relation - Gul mentioned in one speech that it was so bad, Arab in Turkish slang stood for street dog - so much was the hatred for Arabs for historic reasons. But the world is not short of Arab style conduct of internal and external affairs, it needs more of old Turkeys...

MKB and other lefties see this as a natural assertion of old Turkey's image and a desire to be respected, not taken for granted. I personally dont buy that argument. You dont have to befriend Syria or Iranian mullahs and issue certificates of innocence to Sudans' Bashir to be seen as 'independent'...that is being seen as yet another ME regime.

I think that is normal just as well. Who else can they really partner with? Turks are respected in many Muslim countries, especially TSP/Afgh. They've been begging to enter Europe for decades, and at some point you have to take your dignity and move on. Their cultural identity is essentially Islamic and Turkic, so IMO this move Eastwards to increase relations with places like Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in addition to Arab states is normal.


I think good relations with Turkey will give us a better chance to get a foothold in Central Asia.

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby Carl_T » 10 Feb 2010 22:07

Acharya wrote:
Carl_T wrote:
It's a perfectly legitimate comparison. How is Turkey not a democracy?

Do you know the History of Turkey. Why is the military the guarantee of the constitution. Do you have any idea what that means.
Also dont compare Indian religions with Islamic ones.

I do know the history of Turkey, never been there, but one of my best friends was from Istanbul- had a good number of discussions on this topic. If you've realized, the point has nothing to do with "Indian religions and Islamic ones", it was a comparison of political climes in different countries.

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby svinayak » 10 Feb 2010 22:09

Carl_T wrote: If you've realized, the point has nothing to do with "Indian religions and Islamic ones", it was a comparison of political climes in different countries.

Comparing Apples and Oranges

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby Carl_T » 10 Feb 2010 22:12

oh...

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby Prem » 10 Feb 2010 22:40

Amit , feel great to hear 1.4 T$ number for Indian GNP and good to know Indians of all hue recognise it right away about its relevance in Indian context. Folks, how true is it that Turk helped Pukes in rewiring the US donated F-16 to make them Nuke delivery capable? IMHO, if Turks have done this beside providing diplomatic cover for Khan network then India must be cautious in dealing with them and elevating the relation to kind of half strategic level.

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby Gerard » 11 Feb 2010 03:46

Acharya wrote:
Carl_T wrote:
It's a perfectly legitimate comparison. How is Turkey not a democracy?

Do you know the History of Turkey. Why is the military the guarantee of the constitution. Do you have any idea what that means.
Also dont compare Indian religions with Islamic ones.


Acharya, please stop trying to police this thread. It is disrupting the smooth flow of the thread and stifling to other posters. Surely you can provide your own perspective without this aggressive response to other posters?

Thank you for your cooperation.

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby Gerard » 11 Feb 2010 04:03

Turkey jails Kurdish newspaper editor
A Turkish court has sentenced the editor of a Kurdish newspaper to 21 years in prison for publishing material sympathetic to the outlawed PKK.

The editor, Ozan Kilinc, allowed 12 editions of the paper to go out with references to the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers' Party.

Comments or acts judged supportive of the PKK are a serious crime in Turkey.


Last month, a 15-year-old Kurdish girl was jailed for nearly eight years for throwing stones at police during a demonstration.

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby RamaY » 11 Feb 2010 04:24

I found these thought-streams in this thread very interesting. Appreciate some insight.

- Are we seeing ME thru TSP-lens only? How much of India’s relationship with ME is India centric, instead of IM centric or TSP centric?
- If we write-off ME as Islamic Ummah and accept Islamic domination on these societies for time immemorial, how could we question Islamism’s hold on TSP or even BD?

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby svinayak » 11 Feb 2010 04:28

Gerard wrote:
Acharya, please stop trying to police this thread. It is disrupting the smooth flow of the thread and stifling to other posters. Surely you can provide your own perspective without this aggressive response to other posters?

Thank you for your cooperation.

Apologize if it felt that way. It was not my intention.

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby somnath » 11 Feb 2010 07:22

Suppiah wrote:The other aspect is Turkeys' attempt to become more friendly with 'Arab' and less 'European' (not by intent, it is automatic corollary) something like TSP's move to be more ME and less SA. This is also with all good intentions, here again they are restoring an old out of balance relation - Gul mentioned in one speech that it was so bad, Arab in Turkish slang stood for street dog - so much was the hatred for Arabs for historic reasons. But the world is not short of Arab style conduct of internal and external affairs, it needs more of old Turkeys...


Suppiah, actually it is not a "given", not yet anyways..Its all a part of the struggle between the "white Istanbul elite" and the new conservative Anatolyan middle class represented by the AK Party..Culturally, Turkey is farther from the Arab world than mother Earth is from Mars...

Its a classic dilemma - the Army represents a social class that thinks and feels European, and therefore yearns for that EU membership. But a democratic polity is a sine qua non condition for membership..The powers thrown up today by "vox populi" today are the conservative AK PArty, who want the EU membership for the economic gains but are far less European in their midset..The Army cannot intervene as in the past as it still wants the EU membership (not to speak of a knocks it has been taking - special forces officers caught conspiring against the PM and so on)..

Ironically, in case the EU membership becomes more and mroe remote, the reactions will be even more complicated..One, in case the EU prize is not on the table, the Army will have less compunctions about taking over..On the other hand, there would be less incentive for Erdogan and the AKP crowd not to harden their "Islamism lite"...

One has to just walk through Istanbul and talk to an average Istanbulian to realise how deep rooted Kemalist liberalism is..On the other hand, there are distinct signs of conservatism outside Istanbul, though it is much more muted compared to (say) even Dubai..

But Turkey will keep seeking to up their "profile" by asserting independence...One way to do that would be to bring their positions somewhat closer to the Arab street in some ways..As I said in an earlier post, Turkey is the only country with leverage in both Israel and the Arab world, something that only the US has...IMO Turkey's strategic vision is to position itself as the tilt player as well as the prime interlocutor in the ME..

Acharya, yes Turkish women are quite friendly to Indian men, though I haven't had the fortune that Manny had of dating them! :) (Was alrady married when I visited Turkey!!)

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby somnath » 11 Feb 2010 07:25

RamaY wrote:I found these thought-streams in this thread very interesting. Appreciate some insight.

- Are we seeing ME thru TSP-lens only? How much of India’s relationship with ME is India centric, instead of IM centric or TSP centric?
- If we write-off ME as Islamic Ummah and accept Islamic domination on these societies for time immemorial, how could we question Islamism’s hold on TSP or even BD?


Well, not so much PAk centric, but it would be natural in any democracy for foreign policy to be influenced by domestic opinion..For some time till the '80s, countering Pak influence in the Arab world was a key policy objective, but now no one really has the "hyphen", barring the Indian media and some of us! It is however natural for any govt to be sensitive to shades of domestic opinion, eg, shias wrt Iran, the broader muslim community wrt Palestine and so on...I see nothing wrong in that per se..

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby RamaY » 11 Feb 2010 22:44

somnath wrote:
Well, not so much PAk centric, but it would be natural in any democracy for foreign policy to be influenced by domestic opinion..For some time till the '80s, countering Pak influence in the Arab world was a key policy objective, but now no one really has the "hyphen", barring the Indian media and some of us! It is however natural for any govt to be sensitive to shades of domestic opinion, eg, shias wrt Iran, the broader muslim community wrt Palestine and so on...I see nothing wrong in that per se..


Who is "Public Opinion" here?

So you DO associate Indian Shia Muslims with Indo-Iranian relationship, and Indian Sunni Muslims with Indo-Pak/KSA relationship. A corollary to that is YOU DO view Indian Muslims to influence or be influenced by how India conducts business with rest of Islamic world.

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby Carl_T » 11 Feb 2010 23:11

IMO it really depends on what kind of relationship Turkey wants. I think increasing trade ties is most likely, as Turkey has been doing with China. However, in increasing ties with India, it perhaps doesn't have the same stigma as with China due to Turkish support for the Uyghurs.

We need to stay proactive in our relations and seek to bolster ties with strong Muslim nations who will support us. If we do as vavinash said, we are viewing the world through Paki eyes.


The Turk-Pak relationship may not be a huge stumbling block, as those two countries, while friendly, don't have the same ethnic connections that say, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have with Turkey, so it may not be set in stone. Furthermore we are a growing nation that is earning respect, while Pakistan is the angry crybaby of the world.

I know Pakis and Afghans respect and look up to the Turks, but what I'm curious is do Turks have the same respect for Pakis?

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby Prem » 12 Feb 2010 04:56

Its not about Turkey but about Russia, Eurasia and CAR. Turkey do play importanmt role in the game. May be they should all come under a new Eurasia Thread as huge game being played from Afg, Iran,Kazakh, Russia to Turkey and its will have impact on India's economic-political-security enviorenment. With every TDH making claims and stakes on their narutal resources , are we ready?

http://usa.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/71444
Eurasia's energy wars: the US, China and Muslims in Pipelineistan
We can also see Pipelineistan as a romance, with characters competing for Eurasia’s virgin wealth. For the US to maintain its dominance over world markets, global energy flows, and its network of alliances, it has placed all its bets on the pipeline linking Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI). TAPI is widely believed to be the raison d-etre of the Afghanistan and Pakistan conflicts. Piping oil from gas rich Turkmenistan, where Chevron has won a lucrative contract, to the hungry markets of Pakistan and India ensures that Pakistan remains a subservient American satellite and India remains within the US sphere of influence. TAPI will deliver American controlled gas to the world via Karachi and Surat, Pakistan and India’s warm water ports on the Indian Ocean. IPI and TAPI are then dueling pipelines mapping two global geographies: one drawn by US visions for maintaining its vertical influence over key geostrategic regions, while the other represents Anglo-Israeli nightmare of bilateral relationships growing between and integrating Iran, Central and South Asia into a power-house unit. TAPI’s price tag announces as much. The project is valued at $3.5 billion, a number covering development and construction but not the auxiliary costs of politically destabilizing Afghanistan and Pakistan. Regional self-sufficiency appears to contradict every tenet of the US foreign policy bible.
US desperation in securing its pipeline in the shifting terrain of the Eurasian Game can be seen in the change of its war strategies in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Paralleling its strategy of paying off shaikhs in Iraq’s Anbar province, the economically distressed nation

http://georgiandaily.com/index.php?opti ... Itemid=132
Russia Finds Itself Passed its Security Prime
Pavel K. Baev
At the annual Munich security conference last weekend, Russia received as little attention as it had attracted at the Davos World Economic Forum in the previous week. The star presenter this year was the Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, and hardly anyone reflected upon the sensational speech delivered at this venue by the then President Vladimir Putin just three years ago. Political vogue tends to swing, but Russia’s eclipse is caused by a profound loss of international influence accentuated rather than camouflaged by President Dmitry Medvedev’s efforts to build his profile. Russia has turned out to be one of the worst losers in the global recession, and while China’s model of “market communism” has proven its strength, Putin’s petro-state is struggling on a slow recovery track (Ekho Moskvy, February 5).

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby somnath » 12 Feb 2010 07:50

RamaY wrote:Who is "Public Opinion" here?

So you DO associate Indian Shia Muslims with Indo-Iranian relationship, and Indian Sunni Muslims with Indo-Pak/KSA relationship. A corollary to that is YOU DO view Indian Muslims to influence or be influenced by how India conducts business with rest of Islamic world.


Well yes, and there is quite frankly nothing to be overly squeamish about it. Doesnt US pay attention to its (ever increasing) Hispanic population while dealing with MExico? OR its hugely powerful Jewish lobby in its policy responses to Israel? It does not mean that Jews or Hispanics are "unpatriotic"...

Similarly, there is no problem if India is sensitive to domestic Shia opinion in its dealings with Iran - at the same time, nothing has stopped us from voting with everyone else in the IAEA against Iran, or not signing up on the IPI project..These things are far more nuanced than what can be understood by most people, and the complexities are far greater than an internet blog!

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby Suppiah » 12 Feb 2010 08:12

India's own Shia pop. can be a source of strength in dealing with Iran - to convince Iran that even if we vote against them in certain cases, it is not out of permanent enmity but out of strategic calculations and compulsions, whether right or wrong...just as Iran sides with TSP on some issues. That way Iran can figure out if it needs to do something to change our calculations.

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby somnath » 12 Feb 2010 14:29

Usual stuff

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home ... 561370.cms

But this is interesting:
Displaying welcome assertiveness, New Delhi was candid in expressing its displeasure on being left out of the regional conference on Afghanistan hosted by Istanbul in the run up to the London conference last month a move Turkey has admitted was the outcome of Pakistan's insistence in keeping India out. Turkey seems to have got the message and has committed to invite India to the next conference it will host later this year, the focus of which will be economic assistance to Afghanistan.


Very often, engagement is key. Soemtimes for key interlocutors, in Africa for example, we lose the plot to others (like China) because we did not put our view across in time! I think the same is true for Turkey - we probably have not paid as much attention to this key player as we should be..

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby Suppiah » 12 Feb 2010 14:56

The DH archival system is abysmal and I could not find it, but in yesterday's paper, MKB poohpooh's this assurance. He thinks (not this article you quoted, but a general remark obviously aimed at this) such remarks have been "planted" in media by establishment after their all round failure to play the Afghan game. Hit pet peeve is that India voted with US againstIran on IAEA and hence lost friends.

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby Atri » 12 Feb 2010 15:43

There is different lens through which we look at Islam, pakis and rest of Muslims, IMO. I have had many Turkish and arab friends, I have visited one of them who studies in Istanbul technical university. There was a stark difference between my interaction with them and with pakis..

Few of the most intense discussions I had about Islam (theoretical and practical versions) were with Arabs (from Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon and Iraq). I have had similar discussions with Persians as well. And somehow, they were always cordial. They never suspected by questionings and criticisms with as much venom as they would have if I were a white american or westerner. Damn, I even befriended a Afghan (A hazara) fast-food wala, even he respected me and talked with me extremely nicely and inquisitively when I told him I am from Hindostan (funnily, his first question was whether I were from Pakistan OR Hindostan?)

The more I interacted with non Paki Muslims, the more I experienced the soft-power of Bhaarat. Arabs (excluding KSA) are totally "Kaayal" of India's cultural aspects. Turkish exchange studends think themselves as TFTAs and prefer to mingle more with white Europeans than with SDREs. But even that interaction is not capricious and malevolent. They respond honestly about Islam, Islamism, Kemalism etc.

I guess, the problem is more with Muslims from subcontinent. I have known many Muslims from Mumbai who start mingling with Pakis after few days, and stop mingling with rest of us. Their group therapy sessions begin with prayers on every friday, which most of the times go on increasing in frequency. Of course, there are many notable exceptions to this, but so far I have not encountered these exceptions personally.

Turkish people (from whatever I understood from their friendship and a weekend in Istanbul) are one of the most unimaginative people I have encountered with. Those students who actually study for post graduation, are mostly devout kemalists. In fact, I was listening to a group of Turkish students with one of them using the phrase "Insha Allah" too frequently. As his emphasis on words increased, I could sense a clear discomfort on the faces of other Turks, although I did not understand a word of their conversation.

Turks somehow try too hard to detach themselves from their biraders in pious lands and try to hard to show their association with Europe, perhaps the subconscious effects of keeping them from formally entering EU. They are sensitive to talk about Kurds, but talk very warmly about Greeks.

I am slowly beginning to differentiate between Subcontinental Muslim and extra-subcontinental Muslim. There is peculiar case of Bangladeshis, which I have unable to agree with this generalisation of mine. Most of the Bangladeshis are cool and vehemently agree with my opinions on TSP. Of course, not on my opinions on Islam. But, while looking at Non-Subcontinental Muslims, Indians should not wear the TSP glasses. I guess, this is the case with the babus in Delhi. The Muslim world beyond Khyber and Bolan, is mostly sympathetic towards India (since they do not see us as infidel Hindu-India, for them Al-Hind is the land of music, dreams, rivers and bollywood).

I am yet to encounter an arab from KSA, and Palestine, though.. That will be an interesting learning experience.

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby Philip » 12 Feb 2010 16:05

The reason for EU reluctance to take on Turkey as a full EU member is that Turkey straddles two continents,Europe and Asia and Anatolia,which is in Asia is a different cup of tea from Istanbul/Constantinople/Byzantium.

Pak was suposed to be envisaged by its founder and cronies as a modern Islamic state like Turkey.For a long time,there was a close relationship between the Turkish and Paki military leaderships,especially during the CENTO days,With Pak however getting extremist in nature,and the Turkish military wanting that plague kept away from Turkey,there is an opportunity for Indai to develop a good working relationship with Turkey,where Turkey will think twice before getting into too close a military relationship with Pak.

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby JE Menon » 12 Feb 2010 16:51

As a frequent visitor to Turkey, have to say I love the place. Istanbul, basically their main city though not the capital is a truly fantastic city in every aspect - location (on the Bosphorus Strait), geography, climate. The people are nationalistic, fiercely so, and have a very strong self-identity. They are secular in their outlook, and in terms of dress sense, etc., are more "Westernised" than those in Indian metros (notably the women). Of course, you do find hijabs and so on, but not more so than in any of the Indian metros.

They are not uncomfortable in their European or Islamic identity, although there is a latent tension between the two which does seep out of the ethnic, linguistic or religious fissures now and then (but in which country does it not?). The civil and foreign services and the military are thoroughly secularised. I recall an incident some years ago, when some Islamist raised the issue of headcovering for women. I think it was the military which came out with a statment that since the Koran does not specify the nature of the headcovering, a wig should suffice :D - you got to hand it to the Turks. No shortage of focus.

Regarding our relations, this is not something we should either overlook or overplay. The Turks have a very clear perception of their interests, and they have a laser focus along those lines. We should have the same. There will be many areas of convergence, which we should exploit to the maximum. There will be points of divergence which we should seek to minimise, or limit the negative impacts therefrom - the Paki albatross (around the necks of both countries in some senses BTW) is a case in point.

Turkey is savvy enough to exploit its advantages across the board, whether it be Turkic oriented (Central Asia), or religion oriented (West Asia and North Africa), or secularism oriented (Israel). It has substantially sophisticated foreign, intelligence and defence services bureaucracies, honed by decades of interaction with the West via NATO, and at the same time they have a confident self-identity to rest upon (and from which to build upon) based on their Ottoman imperial heritage.

Certainly, like all significant powers (the second largest military in NATO thank you very much), they have a few exposed nerve endings (Kurds, Armenians), where they tend to get super sensitive - but then again, which country is not touchy about this or that?

I cannot, however, speak enough about the beauty and welcoming nature of Istanbul, and the food which is just superfine. Not to mention the outstanding nightlife, where you have all kinds of clubs, and pubs and trendy outdoors cafes, circling the Bosphorus as well as inside the city. Truly awesome. I have spent many a wonderful evening in Istanbul in the company of Turks and others.

There are numerous sites to see, ranging from Top Kapi Palace (a must see Museum) to the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia (BTW, not sure who mentioned no worshipping there, but in fact there is an adjoining mosque, and the internal itself there are clear indications of Islamic take over including four huge circular signs with the names of the four Caliphs IIRC). But this does not take away from the fact that its Christian linkages are also maintained (go upstairs for example and you can have a close up view of the Orthodox icons). And there are of course numerous other non-Turkic heritage sites that have been kept intact. And don't be surprised, if you are walking down Istanbul streets, to hear Greek music blaring out of one cafe or another. Self-confidence, boys and girls, self-confidence.

The Turks are proud of their country and their heritage. Simple as that. And rightly so.

There, I've finished my tour-guide to Istanbul. Visit the place. Well worth it. From there it's a short flight to Athens.

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby Klaus » 12 Feb 2010 17:50

I've posted this in the Strategic leadership for the future of India thread and I'd like to expand upon that a bit further here (as this is the appropriate thread for doing so).

The tale of what the Bush Administration is up to in the Caucasus is slowly filtering out, although the U.S. press has largely deep-sixed the story. The recent Georgia-Russia war was just one move in a chess game aimed at cornering the energy reserves of Central Asia, extending the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to Moscow’s vulnerable southern border, and ending Russia’s control of the Black Sea. Georgia was just a pawn—an expendable one at that— in a high stakes game.

While the White House and some in the European Union (EU) represent the recent war as one between an increasingly powerful Russia reasserting itself in its former empire versus a small, democratic nation trying to recover two of its former provinces, that story is fraying a bit. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was recently condemned by the EU’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights for undemocratic practices, and a recent NATO analysis of the war supports the Russian charge that Tbilisi started the whole affair. The maneuvers that led to the war, however, have gone largely unreported.

Shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the U.S. moved into Kazakhstan, Central Asia’s richest energy producer. U.S. oil companies, including Chevron, showed up in an effort to pry Kazakhstan away from its leading partners, China and Russia. Kazakh President Nurusultan Nazabayev was wined and dined, campaigning to get his country to send its oil through the trans-Caucasus Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, thus bypassing Russia and putting China’s energy jugular in Western hands.

The U.S. put a full-court press on oil-rich Azerbaijan as well.

Georgia was on the chess board because the BTC runs thorough that country’s south. The U.S. cemented control over the pipeline by helping to sponsor the “Rose Revolution” that brought Saakashvili to power in 2003.

But there was more than oil at stake in all this.

Starting almost a decade ago, the U.S. began pressuring fellow NATO member Turkey to modify or abrogate a rather obscure treaty called the Montreux Convention, a 1936 agreement that gives Turkey the right to restrict the passage of warships through the Bosporus Straits and the Dardanelles. The Convention has allowed Turkey and Russia to control the Black Sea and to prevent any foreign power from establishing a major presence there.

The U.S., which was not a party to the original treaty, has pressed Turkey to let it turn the Black Sea into a NATO lake. Turkey is a NATO member, as are Bulgaria and Rumania. The U.S. already has military bases in Romania. If the Bush Administration had succeeded in bringing the Ukraine and Georgia into the Alliance, NATO would have checkmated the Russian fleet at Sevastopol, restricting its access to the Mediterranean and isolating it from the Middle East.

However, the Americans play a lousy game of chess, particularly if some of the pieces on its side of the board have different agendas.

Take Turkey, for instance.

Ankara has not only shown no inclination to dump the Montreux Convention, it has proposed a “Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Pact” that would sideline NATO in favor of a settlement by regional powers. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan presented the proposal to Moscow shortly after the war.

“The chief value in the Turkish initiative,” said Russian Foreign Minster Sergei Lavrov, is that it is “common sense” and assumes that “countries belonging to the region themselves should decide how to conduct affairs there.”

Lavrov went on to add two other “regional” issues that could be dealt with using a similar framework: Iraq and Iran.

That the Turkish proposal caught the Americans by surprise is an indication of how the U.S. failed to understand how complex the game of chess is in that region of the world. Turkey is indeed a member of NATO, but it also has its own national interests to consider.

While Turkish trade with Georgia is $1 billion a year, it’s almost $40 billion with Russia. Turkey also gets 70 per cent of its natural gas from Russia. Turkey and Russia have long dominated the Black Sea, and both see it as central to their economic and security interests. If the U.S. moves large numbers of warships into the area, it won’t just be the Russians who lose control of that body of water.

Neither are the Turks eager to modify international treaties like the Montreux Convention. Doing so, writes M.K. Bhadrakumar, a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service and a former ambassador in the region, “would open a Pandora’s Box. It might well turn out to be a step towards reopening the Lausanne Treaty of 1923, the cornerstone which erected the modern Turkish state out of the debris of the Ottoman Empire.”

According to Bhadrakumar, the U.S. plan was to bring Kazakhstan into NATO as well. The Kazakh-Russian border is the longest land border shared by any two nations in the world. “It would be a nightmare for Russian security if NATO were to gain a foothold in Kazakhstan,” he says.

In short, what the U.S. is up to is the 21st century’s version of the “Great Game,” the competition that pitted 19th century imperial powers against one another in a bid to control Central Asia and the Middle East.

The move to surround Russia and hinder China’s access to energy is part of the Bush Administration’s 2002 “West Point Doctrine,” a strategic posture aimed at preventing the rise of any economic or military competitors.

When U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently said that Russia was facing international isolation over the Georgia war, she was whistling past the graveyard. Rather than being isolated, the Russians have been lining up allies among the very states the U.S. had hoped would join it in ringing the Russians with newly recruited NATO allies.

Conn Hallinan says he’s a “foreign policy analyst” but don’t hold that against him. Co-editor Cockburn has known Conn, aka Ringo, since they went on Aldermaston peace marches together in the late 1950s, together with Conn’s brother Terrence, later the two-term D.A. of San Francisco. Hallinan can be reached at ringoanne@sbcglobal.net





I know this article is kind of dated now but it shows that Russia and Turkey are on the same page atleast on a few aspects, however this is a "window of opportunity" which may not remain open for a long time. GoI should use this opportunity to talk to Turkey via Russia and break the ice. In fact India could also get close to Turkey through Israel, since I find Tel Aviv to be not that different from Istanbul (as far as cosmopolitan nature and "westernisation") is concerned. However the concerns with Turkey which come to the fore are as follows:

1. If Russia supports and finances the Kurdistan movement by providing it with arms as a means to contain or expose Turkey's underbelly (Anatolia) then we might have gradual Islamisation creeping in Turkey's civilian pop'ln. This may shut the door in GoI's face or worse still step on its toes! This is what I was referring to as the window of opportunity. GoI must act before the Kurdistan situation heats up (IOW before Russia brings the hammer down on the hot iron again) Moreover Kurdistan being armed by Russia will also have impact on Iran and Iraq.
2. The Turkish support to E.Turkestan movement, this ethnic oneness has got Islamisation written all over it (even if lite). The question is: how far will GoI be ready to venture in this arena before attracting the unwanted attention of the lizard. If this area wasnt a problem we would have had thousands of Uighurs taking up residence in desh much like HHDL and organizing mass protests (on a much larger scale than the Tibetans) and IA training Uighur divisions or special forces (in line with SFF)

Hence Islamisation is the common factor in both areas which seems to deter GoI to seek active coupling with Turkey. In that sense we are viewing Islamisation through TSP lenses onlee! Typical case of "burnt child dreads the fire" syndrome. In any case any relations with Turkey will span the entire Eurasian landmass and will tilt the balance in GoI's favour, bringing both the ME and Central Asia into our sphere of influence!

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby Klaus » 12 Feb 2010 18:30

Suppiah wrote: mullahs screaming their heads off like Barkha Dutt and so on..amazing


I'm not a mullah admirer of any sort but almost all the types I've seen on TV or utube are the beard stroking, loony and contemplative types. The first time I read your post I thought you were calling Burkha Dutt a mullah :) , anyway my bad.

RamaY wrote:I found these thought-streams in this thread very interesting. Appreciate some insight.

- Are we seeing ME thru TSP-lens only? How much of India’s relationship with ME is India centric, instead of IM centric or TSP centric?
- If we write-off ME as Islamic Ummah and accept Islamic domination on these societies for time immemorial, how could we question Islamism’s hold on TSP or even BD?


With regard to your first point, it seems to be 100% true from GoI's current stance on Turkey. We fear to tread and any baby steps toward making any serious headway with Turkey (either through Russia or Israel or both) seems to be wraught with hesitation. The strategic relationship with Turkey has a China as well as an Islamisation angle to it.

The benefits of an India-Turkey relationship would be that Russia and Turkey could end (I'm just speculating here) their swipes at each other and Russia might officially cease support to the Kurdistan movement, this could pave way for a trilateral alliance (GoI-Russia-Turkey) with military cooperation coming first and foremost, this could further expand to become a quadrilateral relationship with Israel joining the fray. This could be a real alternative to NATO and a real force to reckon on the world stage. Gurus and experts are invited to comment and elaborate/deride this point (or call it a wet dream also :P )

However, here comes the interesting scenario. With the possible withering of support for Kurdistan, the Islamic lite elements within Turkey will shift their focus to E.Turkestan and force the GoI to take a credible stance with regard to the issue. This might result in GoI having to openly support the Uighur movement and consequently lot of Uighurs will be spotted in desh. Note that Turkestan movement is active even within Russia and Kazakhstan, however E.Turkestan is a sore wound and any bold moves from GoI will certainly result in lizard browning its pants and crying big bad wolf (with our A3 and soon to come Paanchvi they may not be in a position to do anything else).

Now with regard to your second question, we in India are not deluded like the RAPE and Deobandis (who like to believe that they descended from turks and arabs), their culture and ethos is going the Arab way with Allah-Hafiz replacing Khuda-Hafiz etc. We very well know that Pakjabis and Sindhis were very much in the Indian fold and the in the Indic culture (we only have to show them the ruins which lie below their feet in Mohenjodoro and Harappa). So there is no question at all, same goes with BD.

Actually I feel that BD might go the Malaysia way in about 25 years time, they already feel more SE Asian than South Asian, I'm not saying they will go out of our hands or anything like that, I'm just saying that based on projecting their economy forward, Malaysia is the best country they can hope to emulate (economically and culturally) rather than KSA or Egypt.

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby somnath » 12 Feb 2010 18:39

JE Menon,

Great tour guidance of Istanbul! :) If I may, a couple of additions - The Dolma Bahce palace, which I thought was more beautiful than the Top Kapi, though the latter is more "touristy"..And the Grand Bazaar, where you can get the most exquisite turkish carpets imagineable, and if you are savvy at very good prices..going away from Istanbul, the Greek Christian village of Shirinche and the Ephesus ruins near Izmir - no attempt to hide the Greco-Christian heritage at all, its quite celebrated..and of course, the food of Istanbul is ummmm, washed down with delectable apple tea!

Philip wrote:The reason for EU reluctance to take on Turkey as a full EU member is that Turkey straddles two continents,Europe and Asia and Anatolia,which is in Asia is a different cup of tea from Istanbul/Constantinople/Byzantium.



Well not really..The Europeans, especially the French (starting with D'estaing to Sarkozy now) do not want 70 million muslims integrating with Europe...They are struggling to assimilate even the existing few million muslilms in their soceities, they just dont want more...

Hence Islamisation is the common factor in both areas which seems to deter GoI to seek active coupling with Turkey. In that sense we are viewing Islamisation through TSP lenses onlee! Typical case of "burnt child dreads the fire" syndrome. In any case any relations with Turkey will span the entire Eurasian landmass and will tilt the balance in GoI's favour, bringing both the ME and Central Asia into our sphere of influence


Not sure that is the case.GOI has over the lst few years tried to build extra closeness even with Saudi Arabia, with its ever increasing WAhabism...Islamism in Turkey is a huge social issue currently for the Turkish themselves, and the elite remain fiercely secular..The main reason why our relations have been "cold" IMO is because there were less touchpoints of common interests...Our economic muscle should create that tipping point in the days to come..

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Re: Turkey News, discussions, India Turkey Relations

Postby somnath » 12 Feb 2010 18:45

Klaus wrote:Actually I feel that BD might go the Malaysia way in about 25 years time, they already feel more SE Asian than South Asian, I'm not saying they will go out of our hands or anything like that, I'm just saying that based on projecting their economy forward, Malaysia is the best country they can hope to emulate (economically and culturally) rather than KSA or Egypt.


OT here, but B'desh like M'sia?! And they feel SEAsian? Bengalis from both sides of the border are fiercely "bengali" first, everything else later...B'desh need not, and cannot emulate any of the East Asian countries..the geoeconomics are very different...If anyting, their development model will follow a similar path to that of India...


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