Turkey – grabbing a chance for leverage

Turkey’s unpredictable and authoritarian president Recep Erdogan has thrown a spanner in the works of Finland and Sweden’s desire to join NATO which require a unanimous agreement from all 30 members before it can go ahead. He is aggrieved by what he sees as Sweden’s failure to crackdown on members of the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK), an armed militia that has fought the Turkish state since the 1980s and of harbouring exiled members of the Gulen movement, a secretive Islamic sect that Ankara blames for a violent coup attempt that rocked Turkey in 2016. He described Sweden and Finland as “incubators” for terrorist groups. He is struggling with a troubled economy ahead of elections due before June next year and has a record of playing hardball with the west.

  One of his officials said they may agree but only if their conditions are met including the return of terrorists and perhaps getting the go ahead to buy fighter jets from the USA.

  Having looked at various charts I’m not sure I am any the wiser.  The Nato chart, 24 August 1949 11.42am Washington, is certainly due for an upheaval and change of direction from tr Uranus square the 10th house Pluto from the 29th of this month to mid June and repeating in November and March 2023. Tr Neptune is also in a confused and indecisive opposition to the Mercury exactly now and repeating on and off till late 2023. 2023 looks downbeat with tr Saturn opposition the Sun, Moon, Saturn. There’s a jolt or shock of sort involving future direction from Solar Arc Sun square the Mars which might well be the result of an overly confident push.

  The Turkey country chart and all its relationship charts with Russia, Finland and Sweden are awash with Scorpio planets which are catching this year’s Eclipses and the tr Uranus oppositions in 2023. So nothing too settled.

  Turkey’s relationship with Nato is disappointing this year with a dashed-hope tr Neptune square Jupiter, raising intense emotional reactions with tr Pluto square Venus till this December; stressed in 2023/24 and not too happy in the three years following.

  Though neither Finland nor Sweden look exactly on an even keel vis a vis Nato either through 2023 to 2025. And the Nato/Russia connection looks most stressed around 2024/25 rather than now.

 Who’d know? It’s the problem with international cooperation when opportunistic politicians with an eye to the main chance use any leverage they can to get themselves attention and kudos from their domestic audience.

 Erdogan 26 February 1954, is a Mars in Sagittarius opposition Jupiter square Venus, Mercury, Sun in Pisces – aggressive in pursuit of his own self-importance, slippery, with a tendency to cosmeticize his motives – trying to sound moral when in reality being motivated by self-interest.

“One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.”

For Turkey previous post see: April 17 2022

19 thoughts on “Turkey – grabbing a chance for leverage

  1. Influential effects of Pisces Sun sign
    People with Pisces Sun sign seem to feature prominently in all sorts of fields, especially business, and I’d be very interested to know why, if you’ve got time sometime.

  2. *** Revised Post ***

    Thank you Marjorie for doing a write up about this – I noticed you posted a new questions and comments thread and I asked about this in the previous one, so wasn’t sure if you had seen my question about the Turkey vs Finland and Sweden vs NATO situation. Again, thank you for sharing your astrological insights about this.

    I’m a very strong supporter of NATO – especially now, given how Vladimir Putin has decided that he’s the reincarnation of Joseph Stalin (minus the Marxist-Leninist agenda) and wants to control all of Eastern Europe and Eurasia. It absolutely infuriates me that Turkey (the most controversial NATO member) has decided to create a disturbance by blocking more politically and socially humane nations like Finland and Sweden from joining NATO.

    No single country in NATO should be allowed to have that kind of influence – especially the likes of Turkey. In fact, Turkey probably shouldn’t even be allowed to be a NATO member in the first place given the country’s atrocious human rights record.

    Turkey has a long history of being a belligerent nation that refuses to accept responsibility for any shortcomings or wrongdoings. After all, in the early 20th century, the Ottoman Turks systematically and collectively murdered nearly 3 million INDIGENOUS (key word: Indigenous) ethnic Armenians, Assyrians, and Pontic Greeks. In fact, yesterday (May 19th) was even Pontian Greek Genocide Remembrance Day. The Turkish government still, to this day, has the arrogance to refuse that they ever committed such atrocities.

    To make matters worse, Turkey is STILL engaging in human rights abuses and genocidal activities. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who apparently thinks of himself as the reincarnation of “Mehmed the Conqueror,” is currently illegally carpet bombing Afrin, Syria in an effort to drive out the INDIGENOUS ethnic Kurdish population of that region. Afrin is also home to many ancient archaeological sites and Turkish bombing has resulted in the destruction of the region’s cultural heritage.

    The Yazidis, an ethno-religious subgroup of Kurds who practice their own unique esoteric religion that combines elements of Mithraism, Zoroastrianism, and various ancient Iranian and Mesopotamian beliefs, are another group suffering from Erdoğan’s policies. Many Yazidi refugees have been trapped in the various parts of Syria and Iraq (where Turkey is bombing) and still haven’t been able to return to their homes since 2014 – the year that ISIS ripped through their communities near Sinjar and murdered between 5,000 and 12,000 Yazidis and sold over 5,000 Yaizidi girls, women, and some boys into slavery. Turkey has even been turning a blind eye to the countless former ISIS fighters taking refuge in the southern provinces – basically providing a sanctuary for them.

    In other words, I see many dark parallels between Turkey and the Russian Federation. Both nations have seemingly polished “Western” veneers by all looks and appearances yet their mentalities resemble more of the Global South when it comes to politics and cultural sensibilities. And everything Vladimir Putin is doing to the people of Ukraine, Erdoğan is doing the same thing – but to the Kurds and the Yazidis in his own neck of the woods.

    Yet, despite everything I just mentioned, Turkey is allowed to be a NATO member (while blocking Finland and Sweden) and is still allowed to remain a viable candidate for European Union accession. Make that make sense to me.

    Many of the Kurdish activists I follow on Twitter had been warning Ukraine and Ukrainian people not to trust Turkey or Erdoğan. I admit, I was pleased with Turkey allowing over 70,000 Ukrainian refugees to settle in their country and I was also pleased with Turkey providing Ukraine with those much needed drones and other weaponry. However, it turns out the Kurdish activists were right along: Erdoğan isn’t doing all of this because he actually cares about the Ukrainian people; he’s doing it because he has to follow NATO protocol and to rack up brownie points and prove to the Western World that Turkey’s part of the club.

    The European Union, NATO, the United States, and the West in general really need to put Turkey in her place. We shouldn’t be allowing someone like Erdoğan to have this much power, influence, and leverage. That means, Turkey should be given an ultimatum: either they graciously allow Finland and Sweden to join NATO and quit being “two-faced” with regards to their dealings with Ukraine and the Russian Federation, or Turkey be KICKED OUT OF NATO altogether (I’m sure NATO could change their own rules if they wanted to). We need to quit pacifying Turkey and start holding that country accountable for their ongoing human rights abuses.

    The West (especially the European Union, NATO, and the United States) should also be working harder to reestablish better relations with the Kurdistan Region and the Kurdish people. After all, it was Kurdish forces and militias (NOT Turks) who helped SAVE parts of the Middle East AND Europe from a potential ISIS takeover.

    • Chris,
      I agree with most of your comments, but I think you are a little harsh towards Turkey. I remember when growing up in Turkey in the 1990s, there was a social democrat party in the coalition government. They did so much to get into EU. At that time, Christian Democrats in Germany called EU a Christian Club and did not even consider any efforts from Turkey. This was the very situation that brought in Erdogan and Islamists. Regarding NATO, it is a security alliance, not a human rights group. While Erdogan is a terrible dictator, most Turks fed up with him but due to a small far-right party, they cannot topple him. Turkey has little to do with the Yezidis. Historically they don’t even live near Turkish border. Finally, it was Turkey, who stopped millions of Syrian and Afghan refugees going into Europe. People terribly resent these refugees in Turkey giving the dire situation with the inflation.

      • @ Bette,

        I probably should have been more specific when commenting. I would like to clarify that my grievances are with strictly Turkish government and Erdogan, not with the Turkish people.

        I do have to disagree with you about the Yazidis – the Turkish government has indeed played a role in the plight of the Yazidis and Southern Turkey (especially Mardin, Diyarbakır Province, etc.) was once home to many ethnic Yazidis (they still have a few small communities and a lot of antiquity in the regions I mentioned).

        For example, many of the 200,000 plus ethnic Yazidis who live in Germany today are actually descended from Yazidis from Turkey (not Northern Iraq). Armenia is home to over 40,000 ethnic Yazidis and Georgia is home to over 12,000 or more. Virtually all of the ethnic Yazidis living in Armenia and Georgia are direct descendants of Yazidis who fled the Ottoman Empire in the late 19th and early 20th centuries due to persecution.

        The Turkish military and government are still playing a role in the plight of the Yazidis. For example, there are thousands of Yazidis still living in refugee camps in Northern Syria and Northern Iraq – many are living not too far from Afrin (where Erdogan is currently engaging in a series of bombings).

        I’ve read a number of news articles as well as reports from English-language Kurdish human rights groups where many Yazidi civilians have fallen victim to the relentless bombings. Also, Turkey has become somewhat of a sanctuary for former ISIS fighters and former ISIS brides who’ve escaped from Kurdish-controlled prison camps.

        As for NATO, yes, it is a security alliance and not a human rights group. But that doesn’t make a difference. Finland and Sweden should be able to join without any interference from Erdogan – they are two vulnerable nations that Vladimir Putin apparently holds a lot of resentment for. What Erdogan is doing is absolutely unethical.

        The Russian Federation may have a weak, unorganized, and dysfunctional military and their weaponry appears to be severely outdated. However, the country does have over 6,000 nuclear weapons – the Russian Federation still has more nukes than ANY other country on this planet. The U.S. comes in second place with roughly 5,400 nuclear weapons.

        So, I can only imagine how nerve wracking it must be for Finland and Sweden being in the sphere of a very hostile nuclear-armed neighbor that is prone to aggression and erratic foreign policy decisions. Perhaps joining NATO and having that security of Article 5 would give them some peace of mind.

        • Chris,

          You are right that many Yazidis left Turkey’s south eastern region during the Ottoman era and then in the 20th century. In the 21st century, their numbers are not significant in Turkey, maybe a couple of thousands. Like Kurdish people, they live in various countries in today’s Middle East, especially in Iraq and Syria. You are also right that Turkish government probably contributed to their pain during their fight against Kurdish separatists, but I am not aware of any special campaign against Yazidis in Turkey. ISIS, Syria, Iran, various Iraqi groups and even Saudis have more responsibility against Yazidis situation than Turkey.

          Regarding Finland and Sweden, I agree with you that they should be part of NATO -and they will. Russia needs to lose this war against Ukraine. Changing borders with force is not acceptable in today’s world.

      • Most of the Turkish people I know do not want Erdogan. However, there is a NATO base there which is important for the USA and kicking Turkey out NATO means that the most important base in Europe will no longer exist

  3. Finnish Foreign Minister, Pekka Haavisto, might have put it the best saying “Turkey may delay our membership by days or weeks.” Nobody besides some human right activists or their supporters remembers Al-Holy anymore. But he was able to get Finnish mothers and their underaged children out of there a year before many Western Nationa woke up, despite general pandemonium around the issue, with help of both Kurdish administration AND Turkish authorities.

    I think that a big part of why the Finnish process has been flawless is that he has proven to be an efficient, if not always well liked leader of our Foreign Ministry, from many insiders, a very dysfunctional and toxic environment to work at. Incidently, Ministry of Defense, where I know two people at very different parts of their career, seems to have fewer issues.

  4. Oligarks more than welcome with their “,boats” in Turkey.Both Erdogan and Foreign Minister ,declared.
    How come?
    A NATO member???
    Where is NATOS reaction on that?

    • @Leo, as of now, there’s Strait of Bospurus. Getting Ukrainian wheat shipments out is far more important in long run than anything else. Turkey can let all the oligarch yachts moor if these get through. And by the way, I really think Turkish people at least on Black Sea front is majorly with Ukrainians. Crimean Tatars are viewed as brothers and sisters. 2016 Ukrainian ESC winner Jamala flew to Istanbul when Russia attacked, because her sister is living there. Performances of “1944” on countless Ukraine charity events and some ESC National finals.

  5. There is nothing surprising here. Kurdish separatism is a very sensitive issue in Turkey. Erdogan is using this to get some concessions from NATO, while also cheering a domestic audience. I do not think that his remarks are anything more than that. Most Turks have very positive view of Finland, as they see Finland a neutral country. Sweden is a different matter, however, as Sweden is considered an ultra-liberal country, friendly towards Turkish leftists and Kurdish separatists. In the end, Sweden and Finland will be in NATO.

  6. This is what we Finns call “‘iltalypsy'”, ‘”evening milking”, thus attempt to get some further benefits after a deal has essentially been made. And if he thinks this surprises or fools either Finns or Swedes, he is mistaken. We might seem nice and honest, but let’s just say Finland didn’t build a World leading forest or cellphone industry by being wide eyed, and Swedes, a nation of 10 million, has built World’s leading consumer goods brands. We are not simpletons, our President Niinistö, pushing 74, and PM Marin have spent the last couple of months meeting everybody who is of any importance in NATO and beyond. Niinistö and Swedish PM Andersson are meeting President Biden as I type. (And BTW, may I add, it seems Niinistö and Biden have a good chemistry, they share a personal tragedy of having lost their first spouse in a car accident. In addition, Niinistö is a 2004 Tsunami survivor, and while faith is rarely a thing in Finnish politics, does often refer to God and prayer.)

    Si, I’m just wondering, who does Erdogan think he is fooling here? He has, in his hands, a chronically failing economy, and can’t expect to have any true leverage against the US or big EU countries.

    I think he might gain something ultimately “minor” here, such as lift of a ban to purchase F-36s from the US. This really wouldn’t matter in eyes of his electorate.

    • An article on CNN a few days ago laid it out nicely: simply ignore Turkey’s position and grant NATO membership to all interested countries. Easier to go around than keep milking the same cow for “more”.

      • @larryc, on the other hand, silence from Hungary has been deafening. I want to believe that despite the media spinning this however it does, the deep seated memory of Russian tanks is still there. Plus Finland (and Estonia) is still considered a “brotherly nation” by many due to sometimes disputed linguistic connection, despite genetically Hungarians would be obviously closest to their Slavic, Germanic and Romanic speaking neighbors.

  7. Turkey’s position seems impossible. Erdogan, if he’s to stay in power, needs all the distractions he can get, to play against Turkey’s already very high rates of inflation, now inflamed by the Ukraine war. There’s an election next year, so watch out world.
    Also the Russian presence in Turkey is far greater than I realised before holidaying in the Antalya region two years ago. Our hotel’s guests were predominantly Russian, with many Russian staff and local staff married to Russians. We were told that Russian girls moved to the area to acquire Turkish husbands. A young Russian guest asked me in flawless English, if it was true that in my country we talked to strangers, a question which explained its strange atmosphere.

    • Great,Solaia
      Erdogan is really fooling him self just like Putin.
      Turkey is certainly not a Democracy. He wants attention 100%.If you the list of his demands, it has really nothing to do with either Sweden or Finland.He wants power to himself.Well ,wi’ll see about that next year when Pluto steps in to Aquarius.
      Blackmailing in NATO???No way.
      Change will come.Interesting to see.Good or Bad?
      NATO is important for our Democracy.
      Niinistö is a very nice person.Can you see the glimps in his eyes? Down to earth person.
      Magdalena is/has become statesmanlike.
      Even more down to earth.She is tough ,straight in a subtile way.Just my point of view.
      Tough and rough times ahead.
      We will surely manage one way or the other.

      • @Leo, to be honest, Niinistö had a reputation for being quite harsh and crumpy in the 1990’s, when he was Minister of Finance. Crumpy side in professional circles hasn’t gone anywhere, but otherwise he has softened with age and near death experience at Asian 2014 Tsunami. Also, his second wife, who is 45 going 60, Jenni Haukio, is very caring (know some people who studied with her back in the day).

        But Niinistö is definitely VERY down-to-earth. There was a story on a memoir or another on how he’d refer to then PM Alexander Stubb and Defence Minister Carl Haglund as “pocket square guys” to then Labour Minister Antti Rinne (PM for a short time before Sanna Marin). They were know as flashy dressers, when Finnish tradition is white, discreet pocket square worn on very special occasions, such as weddings and funeral.

        He is a Virgo Sun and Mercury with tons of underlying Fire, including Aries Moon. Interestingly, Libra 23′ Mars, which might explain why he has always tried to use diplomacy first.

        And yes, I’ve learnt to like PM Andersson too. She is clearly a “doer” more than a “speaker”, not surprisingly she served as Director of Planning in Göran Persson’s Cabinet.

    • @Zita, yes, Turkey keeps pushing to get Russian tourists there, but even here, the joke is that the middle class who would vacation in Turkey, Thailand, and Egypt, won’t be going anywhere in near future, given ruble course and even the fact many of them are essentially jobless. So, good luck to Erdogan luring them in! Interestingly, in the early 2010’s Turkey was in their way to become the most popular Mediterranean destination for Finns, they’d already surpassed Greece, and were closing on Italy and even Continental Spain. Nordic people liked especially Alanya Southeast of Antalya, where they had new, Florida style apartment complexes with condos on maybe a half or even third of prices on Costa del Sol. But many people became reluctant to go to Turkey after 2013 demonstrations, and lates by 2016 attempted coup.

  8. I also wonder if he is not taking instructions to act on Russia’s behalf in blocking Nato expansion. He likes to play both sides against the middle to keep what he sees as the upper hand. Biden wants Finland and Sweden in Nato so if Turkey wants fighter jets from the US he may have to temper his objections. As you note, he is mostly just an opportunist with no scruples.
    I read an interesting piece recently which suggested that China may force Russia to the negotiating table given the latter’s miscalculation and now growing dependence on its former rival for income and China’s desire to avoid instability in its own region by restoring trade with the rest of the world. Also to secure mineral rights through offering a massive reconstruction programme. But here is not the place for that.

    • Yes, could be this, but then again, Russia doesn’t have much to offer to Turkey right now and I’d guess doubt in near future either. Instead, Turkey has a lot to gain from keeping in good terms with NATO allies, including a gas pipe line that would replace Northstream.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: