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By John Helmer, Moscow 

Here’s a serious question:  how should the European Union (EU) address the challenges posed by the Russian-Turkish partnership?

Who better to answer this than a Romanian paid for by one of George Soros’s Open Society units, the NATO Defence College, Freedom House of Washington,  and the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) in Warsaw; in short, sworn enemies of Russia. And who better to assist in the answer than a woman from the Finnish Foreign Ministry; and a Bulgarian whose paychecks come from a Soros-funded think-tank in Sofia, the Atlantic Council in Washington,  and an EU-funded council led by Carl Bildt, whose pockets have also been lined by the sworn Ukrainian enemy of Russia and robber of the Rossiya Insurance Company, Victor Pinchuk.  

In warfighting it’s always prudent to anticipate surprise attack, in order to deter or combat it. But this triplet of Russia warfighting enemies are entirely predictable. There is no deterring them, however.  All into the Valley of Death, they rode – as the last allied charge against Russian guns was poetically described:

Someone had blundered.
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.*

Admit blunder is not what Euro-American propagandists do, nor do they die in their charge against Russia’s defences. Their take-home pay inures them to the ignominy of defeat.  

The European Union (EU) paid for this new report, released a few days ago, to advise on the best new policy measures for dealing with Russia and Turkey. The report entitled “Fire and Ice: The Russian-Turkish Partnership” implies that Russia is the “fire” — a military enemy constantly planning fresh invasions, illegal territorial occupations, annexations, and the like.  

Turkey, on the other hand, is the “ice”. By omitting entirely mention of Cyprus, the Greek Aegean Sea, Kosovo, and Yugoslavia, the report protects the reputations for blamelessness and legality of the Turkish attack on Cyprus in 1974 and the NATO wars in Serbia and Kosovo since 1999.   According to this EU report, Turkey doesn’t invade or occupy northern Cyprus, the Greek Aegean, northern Iraq, northern Syria.

It may be naivety or simple-mindedness of the Romanian, Finn and Bulgarian to believe there was a genuine coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July 2016; but theirs is calculated prejudice in Turkey’s favour. Accordingly, the EU should “pursue a ‘customised’ strategy towards Ankara,” the report recommends, “with which it has a stronger chance of developing productive relations.” “Customised” means accommodating Erdogan, openly and in secret, to attack Russia.

The authors of this idea are Stanislav Secrieru of Romania (lead image, left); Sinikukka Saari of Finland (centre); and Dimitar Bechev of Bulgaria (right). Follow their credentials to the money source at page 65 of the report.

Left: read the report in full at:  https://www.iss.europa.eu/ 
Right: NATO headquarters at Chaillot, Paris, in the 1950s.

The official paymaster for the report is the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS), which describes itself as an intelligence “agency dealing with the analysis of foreign, security and defence policy issues. Its core mission is to assist the EU and its member states in the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), including the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) as well as other external action of the Union.”  Subtitled Chaillot paper number 168, the report provides a reminder that it was composed on the same Chaillot hill in Paris where NATO’s headquarters were based in the 1950s. The mindset hasn’t moved.

This produces claims by Secrieru, Saari and Bechev which are fact-stunning in their blindness to the evidence of EU and NATO operations. For instance:

  • In the Russian context, the Kremlin opponents’ chances are much bleaker and repression methods harsher [than Erdogan’s repression methods in Turkey].”
  • In regional wars “Turkey’s policy…deployed Russian-style [sic] tactics – such as use of mercenaries”.
  • “Turkey’s and Russia’s [sic] resort to murky hybrid tactics – for in stance, unofficial campaigns to encourage migrants to head towards a specific EU border.”
  • “Both regimes make extensive use of anti-Western nationalist rhetoric, scapegoating the US [sic] and to a lesser degree Europe, to mobilise grassroots support.”
  • “In August 2008… Russia went to war with Georgia.”
  • “The dispute over Kosovo’s independence, the internal divisions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and polarised politics in Montenegro and North Macedonia have all provided opportunities [sic] for Russia to assert itself as a geopolitical competitor of both the EU and the United States.”
  • “The two powers’ [Russia, Turkey] preference for unilateralism is at odds with the EU’s strong commitment to multilateralism.”
  • “This [“Turkey…as an independent regional power with global aspirations”] in turn allows the Kremlin to forge common cause with Turkey in sharing the spoils [sic]  in the region as the United States and Europe watch from the sidelines [sic].”

Neither evidence nor references are cited for this one-sidedness; it is taken for granted as the foundation of EU strategy; everything else is tactics.  No Russian analyses are cited in evidence of how Russian policy deals with the Turks or as balance for the authors’ selectiveness from US, British and European newspaper and think-tank sources. That Russian military and security experts keep their assessments of Erdogan and the Turks to themselves, semi-secretively,   is in part their response to the efforts recommended by Secrieru, Saari and Bechev to magnify the differences between Moscow and Ankara, and split the two.

But splitting is only one of the recommendations the report proposes for the intensification of EU operations against Russia. They are to employ Erdogan and the Turks in “a smart combination of pushback, leveraging and engagement [to] widen cracks in the Russo-Turkish partnership, and in time place the EU in a more advantageous position than it is now vis-à-vis Moscow and Ankara.”

This means more, not less EU money, military and intelligence operations, and arms trade with Ankara; more covert backing for Erdogan’s involvement in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and the Balkans, in opposition to Russia’s allies and interests.

The big recommendation — the fundamental point of the report — is closer coordination with the Biden Administration, now that Donald Trump is out of the way.

Deutsche Welle’s headline on the eve of the July 15 meeting between President Biden and Chancellor Merkel.

“If Europe and the United States are to avoid being played off against each other there is need for greater intra-EU and transatlantic coordination on military-technical cooperation with Turkey…. The challenge [in the Balkans] is to identify domestic allies, whether in civil society or in the political sphere, and empower their efforts to demand more transparent and accountable government. This transformational endeavour will certainly benefit from tighter and better-coordinated transatlantic action. The advent of the Biden administration provides an opportunity to re-establish the lines of communication and find synergy between the EU and the US in the Balkans…It is in the interests of the EU to coordinate and act together with the US. For example, greater coordination on arms sales to Turkey is one area which requires more focus and attention. Unity and an enhanced transatlantic partnership will increase the chances of Turkey gradually altering its calculations.”

With feigned discretion, Erdogan also repeats the same point,  confident it doesn’t matter to the Kremlin.  

[*] The Charge of the Light Brigade was a catastrophic military action involving the British light cavalry led by Lord Cardigan against Russian forces during the Battle of Balaclava on October 25, 1854, in the Crimean War. Lord Raglan, the British commander, had intended to send the Light Brigade to prevent the Russians from removing captured guns from overrun Turkish positions.  However, there was miscommunication in the chain of command and the Light Brigade was instead sent on a frontal assault against a different Russian battery, well-prepared with excellent fields of defensive fire. In fact, the gunners weren't Russian at all, but the Greeks of Crimea which at the time they called by its ancient name, Tavrida (Ταυρίδα). The Light Brigade reached the battery under withering direct fire but they were forced to retreat with very high casualties and no gains. Turning the military defeat into propaganda victory was the purpose of Alfred Tennyson's poem The Charge of the Light Brigade, published just six weeks after the event.

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