During Vice President Joe Biden’s trip to Turkey to meet with that country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, protesters from the same group that assaulted U.S. sailors in Istanbul earlier this month assembled to denounce Biden’s visit.
According to the AP:
…about 300 people protested Biden’s visit to Turkey, chanting: “Biden get out. This country is ours.” The demonstration occurred on the European side of Istanbul, as Biden was on his way to a meeting with Erdogan on the Asian side of the city.
Biden didn’t see the protest, which was organized by the Youth Association of Turkey, the same group that roughed up three U.S. Navy sailors while chanting “Yankee, go home!” a week ago in Istanbul. The protesters threw red paint at the sailors and briefly succeeded in putting white sacks over their heads. The servicemen, who were not hurt, were from the USS Ross, a guided-missile destroyer then docked on an inlet of the Bosphorus Strait in the Black Sea.
The stated purpose for Biden’s visit had to do in part, with ISIS and Syria:
Biden announced $135 million in new U.S. aid for Syrian civilians, including some for Turkey, which is hosting 1.6 million refugees, but the two leaders didn’t offer details about how they were working together to ramp up Ankara’s role in the international coalition’s fight against IS fighters in neighboring Syria and Iraq.
The setting to achieve common ground on their separate strategies for Syria could not have been better: Erdogan’s elegant residence in Istanbul, overlooking the Bosphorus Bridge that connects Europe and Asia. But if they made any deals, they did it privately.
In statements to reporters after their meeting, each lauded the six-decade relationship between the two NATO allies.
But there was no mention of Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base, which the U.S. wants to use to launch strikes against IS militants in Syria and Iraq. Biden only briefly mentioned Turkey’s plans to train and equip moderate Syrian opposition fighters, but no details were disclosed. Neither mentioned Turkey’s call for a no-fly zone, or safe zone, in northern Syria, where Western-backed opposition fighters would be safe from Assad’s air force.
Biden said the two spoke at considerable detail about Iraq and Syria, and that he believes the U.S.-Turkey relationship is “as strong as it has ever been.”
“We need Turkey, and I think that Turkey believes that it needs us as well,” he said.
Erdogan said he and Biden talked about Iraq, Syria as well as other global issues, and that they plan to continue to hold such discussions.
“We gladly saw that we have the same opinion with the United States on most of the issues we discussed. We confirmed our decision to improve our cooperation. Most importantly, as being two NATO allies, we confirmed once more our commitment to each other’s defense and security,” said Erdogan.
A senior administration official said the meeting was not void of progress and that both leaders achieved better clarity about the needs of both countries. The official said the U.S. and Turkey agree that IS needs to be defeated, that moderate Syrian forces need to be trained, including at one base in Turkey, and that a political transition is needed in Syria that does not include Assad. The official was not authorized to publicly disclose details of the meeting and spoke on condition of anonymity.
There’s quite a bit to unpack there. For starters, until enough political will to reject Turkey and demand its exit from NATO is generated, true progress will not be made.
As for the notion that Turkey wants to defeat ISIS, it’s poppycock. Turkey wants to use ISIS to help overthrow Assad. That part about the U.S. working with Turkey to help the ‘moderate’ rebels in Syria is nothing more than a reference to helping the Muslim Brotherhood. Among the most prominent lobbying arms for those rebels is the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF), headed by Mouaz Moustafa. Two powerful men with connections to the Muslim Brotherhood sit on the Board of the SETF as Shoebat.com has reported on extensively.
The idea that the U.S. is going to help overthrow Assad in a way similar to how it helped overthrow Gadhafi in Libya is particularly absurd, especially in light of the fact that ISIS is currently in the process of taking over Libya. In fact, as Shoebat.com reported, the Libyan Emergency Task Force (LETF) was headed by Moustafa before Gadhafi fell. Now Moustafa heads the SETF.
As to all the talk about from Biden about helping Turkey in Syria, it’s belied by what Biden said at Harvard just last month: