Tag: Near East

Turkey Launches Offensive to Protect al Qaeda

Turkey has initiated major military operations (an invasion) of Idlib province in Syria.

Turkey has a number of justifications, including concerns about an additional influx of refugees, but any any realistic assessment would strongly suggest that this is about installing client mini-states along the Turkish border as a part of Erdogan’s desire for greater sway in the area, along with his desire to enforce Sunni hegemony in Syria.

It should be noted that the rebels are al Nusra/al Qaeda in the Levant/Jabhat Fatah al-Sham/ Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, and as such are al Qaeda.

Turkey is looking for Nato support, because ……… Everything is f%$#ed up and sh%$.

In related news, Turkey is aggressively moving refugees to the the Greek border in an attempt to coerce the EU into supporting his adventure.

This will not end well.

Burying the Lede

In a story about the rapidly unfolding debacle in northern Syria, they weight until the 9th paragraph to note that the US is looking at evacuating the nuclear weapons stored at Incirlik Air Base in response to the instability and chaos in the region:


And over the weekend, State and Energy Department officials were quietly reviewing plans for evacuating roughly 50 tactical nuclear weapons that the United States had long stored, under American control, at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, about 250 miles from the Syrian border, according to two American officials.

Those weapons, one senior official said, were now essentially Erdogan’s hostages. To fly them out of Incirlik would be to mark the de facto end of the Turkish-American alliance. To keep them there, though, is to perpetuate a nuclear vulnerability that should have been eliminated years ago.

“I think this is a first — a country with U.S. nuclear weapons stationed in it literally firing artillery at US forces,” Jeffrey Lewis of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies wrote last week.

For his part, Mr. Erdogan claims nuclear ambitions of his own: Only a month ago, speaking to supporters, he said he “cannot accept” rules that keep Turkey from possessing nuclear weapons of its own.

“There is no developed nation in the world that doesn’t have them,” he said. (In fact, most do not.)

This is unbelievably dangerous.

Also, given the nature of the potential nuclear exchanges these days, the forward deployment of nuclear weapons, particularly in a country run by a delusional megalomaniac, seems to be a profoundly unfortunate decision.

I Can’t Even………

Trump is defending his abandonment of our Kurdish allies in northern Syria because they did not hit the beaches with us at Normandy.

This is amazingly stupid and ahistorical. (Turkey was neutral in the war, and Syria, Iran, and Iraq were under the control of the UK by the time that America entered the war)

I’m not surprised about the betrayal of the Kurds, this has been a bipartisan standard operating procedure for the United States since (at least) the early 1970s, but this justification is mind-bogglingly stupid.

S-400 Begins to Arrive in Turkey

There are a number of reasons for Turkey to prefer the S-400 to the US Patriot system: It’s more capable, it’s about half the price, and it gives Erdoğan yet another opportunity to play the Turkish nationalism card to his advangage.

The US defense establishment has completely lost their sh%$ over this, claiming that it is a security issue, though there is nothing about the F-35 that an S-400 in Istambul could get that an S-400 in Kaliningrad would not.

My conclusion has always been that the Pentagon and its web of contractors are upset because they cannot get their fingers into these pies.

It’s not even the first NATO nation to use a Russian SAM system, Greece has been operating the S-300 for over a decade.

So the US has been threatening sanctions, including withdrawal of F-35 sales to Turkey, while Turkey has insisted that it would take shipment of the systems.

Well, Turkey has now begun to receive the shipments of the system, so, as the saying goes, “It is on.”

I do not see either side backing down:

Turkey has begun taking delivery of Russia’s S-400 air defense system, the Turkish Defense Ministry said Friday, completing a deal that has threatened its standing in NATO and is likely to trigger sanctions from the United States.

The first components for the system arrived Friday at Murted Air Base in Ankara, the Turkish capital, the ministry said in a statement. Turkish television stations broadcast footage of the delivery throughout the morning as Russian cargo planes arrived at the base and equipment was off­loaded.

The purchase underscored President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s increasing willingness to coordinate with Russia and risked a new crisis in relations between Turkey and the United States. Although U.S. law mandates sanctions against countries making “significant” deals with the Russian defense industry, the Trump administration has given mixed signals about how exactly it might respond if Turkey went through with the purchase.

A basket of measures listed under legislation passed in 2017 — from which the administration is required to select at least five — includes economic sanctions, revocation of visas and prohibition of all Turkish procurement of U.S. defense equipment.

It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out.

Good News From Istanbul

In March, Turkey’s Islamist AKP suffered major setbacks. 

Most significantly was that, for the first time in over a decade, they narrowly lost the election for Mayor, which did not just a political earthquake, but would eliminate the party’s control over patronage in Turkey’s largest city.

 Faced with this treat, Erdoğan petitioned electoral commission to invalidate and re-run the elections, and the commission, being largely a tool of Erdoğan did so.

Well, in the new elections, Ekrem İmamoğlu defeated the AKP candidate in a land slide:

Turkey’s opposition has won a high-stakes rerun of the Istanbul mayoral election, a serious blow to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and a landmark victory in a country where many feared democracy was failing.

Shortly after initial results pointing to a landslide win for the opposition coalition candidate, Ekrem İmamoğlu, emerged on Sunday evening, the candidate of the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP), Binali Yıldırım, conceded and congratulated his rival.

The repeat election, designed to undo İmamoğlu’s narrow surprise win in the 31 March contest, was an unprecedented test for both Turkey’s fragile democratic institutions and Erdoğan’s political future.


The president issued his congratulations to İmamoğlu on Twitter after initial results showed that with 99% of ballots counted the People’s Republican party (CHP) candidate had increased his lead in March, of 13,000 votes, to an astonishing 777,000, or 54%.

Crowded parties broke out on Istanbul’s main shopping streets and in liberal neighbourhoods.

I rather hope that this is the beginning the end for Erdoğan, btu I rather imagine that the this is the point where the opposition begins fighting with each other.

Well, This is a Big Old F%$# You

I have been writing for some time about how Turkey’s purchase of the top of the line Russian S-400 surface to air missile (SAM) system has the US military industrial complex freaking out over the loss of sales.

The US claims that Turkey operating the system would allow the Russians unique insights into the characteristics of the F-35, but this is complete crap.

The Russians would be able to determing things like radar cross section from installations in Syria and Russia. (It is an extraordinarily long range system)

In response to threats to cancel F-35 sales to Turkey, Turkey is not in negotiations with Russia to set up a production line for the S-500, the even more capable system due to succeed the S-400:

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that the purchase of S-400 defense systems from Russia was a done deal, adding that Ankara would also jointly produce S-500 defense systems with Moscow.

U.S. officials have called Turkey’s planned purchase of the S-400 missile defense system “deeply problematic,” saying it would risk Ankara’s partnership in the joint strike fighter F-35 program because it would compromise the jets, made by Lockheed Martin Corp.

I don’t speak Turkish, but I’m pretty sure that this is an invitation for the Pentagon, and Lockheed Martin, to go Cheney themselves.

Nope. No Attempt to Overturn the Will of the Voters Here

Turkey’s election board announced Monday that it was invalidating the results of Istanbul’s mayoral race, which had dealt President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party a stinging defeat. A new election will be held late next month, the board said.

Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, or AKP, had appealed for the cancellation of the March 31 vote over what it deemed irregularities. The election board ruled Monday that some polling officials overseeing that race were not civil servants, in violation of the law, according to Turkey’s state-run news ­agency.

Results last month showed that an opposition challenger, Ekrem Imamoglu, had narrowly defeated Binali Yildirim, the AKP mayoral candidate, in the Istanbul race. Erdogan’s party also suffered rare losses in local elections in several other cities, including Ankara, Turkey’s capital.

The AKP’s extraordinary appeal to redo the Istanbul election immediately drew criticism that Erdogan and his party were willing to undermine confidence in Turkey’s democracy to serve a narrow goal: retaining control of Turkey’s largest city, along with the financial and patronage networks that have benefited the AKP over decades.

Let’s be clear here:  We are going to see all the powers of the state trying to tilt this election in favor of the AKP candidate.

They cannot afford to lose the patronage in Istanbul city government.

There Were Elections in (Sort of) Europe………

It looks like corruption of political elites on both sides of the aisle are a major issue in European elections.

In Slovakia, a neophyte environmental activist defeated a European Commission Vice President in an election that was largely about corruption among the existing elites.

The assassination of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak brought festering discontent out into the open, resulting in protests that forced the PM’s resignation a year ago.

In related news, massive discontent in the Ukraine over elite corruption has had a comedian who plays an accidental President on TV won the first round of Presidential elections, and will face the incumbent President, Petro Poroshenko, in a runoff in 3 weeks.

Are you noticing a pattern yet?

In the last election, corruption was less of a factor, though, to be fair, 95% of the country is not in Europe, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Islamist AKP suffered major defeats in local elections, with his party losing the Mayoral races in both Ankara and Istanbul, which is significant not only because it provides opportunities for political party building, and political patronage, for his opponents, but also because Istanbul has been his political base for his entire political career.

If the opposition can keep fratricidal idiocy to minimum, and that is a very big if, it looks like he may face a meaningful challenge at the next national elections.

What You’ve Just Said Was One of the Most Insanely Idiotic Things I Have Ever Heard

and May God Have Mercy on Your Soul

The above Billy Madison quote is directed at Katie Wheelbarger, acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs.

She is a part of the Pentagon freakout over Turkey buying S-400 SAMs from Russia.

As I have noted before, this butt-hurt is about US defense contractors not geting their vigorish, and then not distributing a cut to Pentagon Generals through post-retirement sinecures.

There are claims of security issues, but given that US allies in NATO are currently operating the nearly as capable S-300 system, Bulgaria, Greece, and Slovakia, I’m calling bullsh%$.

Katie, however, turned the knobs on stupidity and hypocrisy up to eleven with when she said this:

“The S-400 is a computer. The F-35 is a computer. You don’t hook your computer to your adversary’s computer and that’s basically what we would be doing,” Katie Wheelbarger, acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, told Reuters.

Undoubtedly the S-400 has ESM capabilities, and as such it could read emissions from the F-35 (as could more extensive installations in Russia) but the idea that somehow, because they both have chips in them, the S-400 could hack into the F-35 is beyond brain dead.

I have it on good authority that you can tell when Katie Wheelbarger has been using your computer, because there is Wite-Out® on the screen.

Turkey Feels Left Out, so Trump Wants to Send Someone to Ankara for the Turks to Murder

It appears that Trump is in the thrall of the House of Saud just as much as his 3-4 predecessors:

The White House is looking for ways to remove an enemy of Turkish President Recep Erdogan from the U.S. in order to placate Turkey over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to two senior U.S. officials and two other people briefed on the requests.

Trump administration officials last month asked federal law enforcement agencies to examine legal ways of removing exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen in an attempt to persuade Erdogan to ease pressure on the Saudi government, the four sources said.

The effort includes directives to the Justice Department and FBI that officials reopen Turkey’s case for his extradition, as well as a request to the Homeland Security Department for information about his legal status, the four people said.


“At first there were eye rolls, but once they realized it was a serious request, the career guys were furious,” said a senior U.S. official involved in the process.


The secret effort to resolve one of the leading tensions in U.S.-Turkey relations — Gulen’s residency in the U.S. — provides a window into how President Donald Trump is trying to navigate hostility between two key allies after Saudi officials murdered Khashoggi on Oct. 2 at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.

It suggests the White House could be looking for ways to contain Erdogan’s ire over the murder while preserving Trump’s close alliance with Saudi Arabia’s controversial de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.


Erdogan, meanwhile, has kept the pressure up by leaking pieces of evidence and repeatedly speaking out to accuse Prince Mohammed of orchestrating the murder of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and outspoken critic of the Saudi leadership.


Erdogan has for years demanded the U.S. send Gulen back to Turkey. The Turkish leader accuses the elderly cleric of being a terrorist who was behind a failed coup against Erdogan’s government in 2016. After the coup attempt, Ankara made a formal request to the U.S. for Gulen’s extradition.


Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the U.S. for almost two decades, denies any involvement in the failed coup in Turkey in 2016. A one-time ally of Erdogan, he’s become an influential cleric with a wide network of followers known as “Gulenistas.” His movement includes a host of nonprofit organizations, businesses and schools, in the U.S., as well as South Africa.

So, Erdogon is using the US’s desperation to make the uproar about Saudi misdeeds go away to secury policy concessions.

So not a surprise, and it is not a deviation from prior US foreign policy, but it does show that the US policy with regard to both Turkey and the House of Saud are miserable failures.

Our Friends in Riyadh

It appears that agents of the House of Saud murded dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in their consulate in Istanbul, dismembered him, and took him out of the country in diplomatic pouches:

Top Turkish security officials have concluded that the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on orders from the highest levels of the royal court, a senior official said Tuesday.

The official described a quick and complex operation in which Mr. Khashoggi was killed within two hours of his arrival at the consulate by a team of Saudi agents, who dismembered his body with a bone saw they brought for the purpose.

“It is like ‘Pulp Fiction,’” the official said.

Saudi officials, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have denied the allegations, insisting that Mr. Khashoggi left the consulate freely shortly after he arrived. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has demanded that the Saudis provide evidence proving their claim.


The security establishment concluded that Mr. Khashoggi’s killing was directed from the top because only the most senior Saudi leaders could order an operation of such scale and complexity, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to disclose confidential briefings.

Fifteen Saudi agents had arrived on two charter flights last Tuesday, the day Mr. Khashoggi disappeared, the official said.

All 15 left just a few hours later, and Turkey has now identified the roles that most or all of them held in the Saudi government or security services, the official said. One was an autopsy expert, presumably there to help dismember the body, the official said.


Security camera footage showed Mr. Khashoggi entering the consulate shortly after 1 p.m. that day. Ms. Cengiz, his fiancée, waited outside, and she has said he never emerged.

Two and a half hours after he entered the facility, six vehicles with diplomatic license plates pulled out, carrying 15 Saudi officials and intelligence officers, Sabah reported.

Two other vehicles, including a black Mercedes Vito van with darkened windows, went from the consulate to the consul’s residence about 200 yards away. Turkish employees of the residence had unexpectedly been told not to report for work that day, the newspaper said.

This is completely nuts, but it’s par for the course for Mohammad bin Salman.

The 33-year-old boy king-in-all-but-name has clearly never ever had anyone ever say, “No” to him, and he is off the deep end in a way that would have Czar Nicholas II saying, “Dude, you are letting this whole absolute monarch thing go to your head.”

We are in for a bumpy ride on the Arabian peninsula.

The Term is, “Pear Shaped”

Transfers to Turkey of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 would be barred temporarily under a compromise defense policy measure agreed to on Monday, according to House and Senate aides.

Turkish receipt of the fighter jets would be held back until the Pentagon submitted an assessment within 90 days of the measure’s enactment on U.S.-Turkish relations, the impact of Turkey’s planned acquisition of Russia’s advanced S-400 missile defense system and the ramifications for the U.S. industrial base if Turkey is dropped from the international F-35 program.


Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had warned Congress against cutting off transfers of the F-35. In a letter to lawmakers this month, Mattis said he agreed “with congressional concerns about the authoritarian drift in Turkey and its impact on human rights and rule of law.” But he said an F-35 cutoff would risk triggering an international “supply chain disruption” that would drive up costs and delay deliveries of the fighter.

Under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey plans to buy about 100 F-35s, joining the U.K. and Australia as the top international customers. At least 10 Turkish companies are building parts and components, such as the cockpit displays, for other partners, according to Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed.

The compromise measure crafted by the House and Senate Armed Services Committees also would let the president waive a requirement to impose sanctions on countries and entities doing business with Russia for as long as 180 days if the party involved is taking steps to distance itself from a commercial relationship with the Russian defense and intelligence sectors, according to committee aides and a Democratic summary of the bill.

There is a lot of talk about how this is because of Erdogan is an authoritarian who is destroying the democratic structures in Turkey, and because security issues over the the S-400 purchase.

I call bullsh%$ on this.

It’s really about how the buying a Russian SAM system, means that western defense contractors, (Particularly US ones) are not getting a cut of the business.

More Defense Contractor Butthurt

I think that there are any number of good reasons, most of them having to do with Erdoğan increasingly erratic and autocratic rule, not to have Turkey deeply involved in the F-35 program.

That being said, the current defense contractor driven hysteria over Turkey buying the S-400 SAM system from Russia is not one of those reasons:

The most sophisticated fighter jet in the world, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, will play a smaller role in the future of European security than originally conceived. On Monday, the Senate amended its version of the 2019 defense authorization act to block the sale of the fifth-generation fighter jet to Turkey. The reason: the NATO ally’s purchase of the Russian S-400, a radar and missile battery with a lethal range of 250 km. In routine operation, the sensor- and transmitter-packed jet exchanges electronic data with friendly anti-air systems and sensors, and if Turkey were to do this, data collected by the Russian-built weapon might find its way back to Moscow.

The House version of the bill also expresses concerns about the S-400 and Turkey and requires a report 60 days after the bill’s enactment to assess Turkey’s purchase of the system and possible consequences to U.S. aircraft.

Turkey inked the S-400 deal last year, over strenuous objections from the U.S. and other NATO-member governments concerned about an ally using Russian air defense systems. “A NATO-interoperable missile defense system remains the best option to defend Turkey from the full range of threats in the region,” Pentagon spokesperson Johnny Michael told CNBC last fall.

Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim called Monday’s decision “lamentable.” It’s also very inconvenient for Turkey’s political elite, coming just days before Turkish elections.

The U.S. military has gotten up close and personal with the S-400 over Syria, where the Russian military has deployed to aid the Assad regime. Its deadly presence reshaped how the U.S.-led coalition flies air ops, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigan told reporters in September. “‘We are consistently monitoring them to see if something changes their intent because we have to manage that and respond quickly…We look at it every day. It’s an everyday discussion to make sure our force can manage that risk.”

The S-400 is arguably the best SAM system currently deployed, and as noted above, it scares the crap out of the US military.

Its detection range, which almost certainly exceeds 500 km, means that installations in Kaliningrad will be getting all the data that the Russians could ever want on the F-35.

It would cover all of Poland and the Baltics, going as far west as Berlin and Copenhagen, and that doesn’t include coverage from installations in Belarus.

This is about defense contractors not getting their vigorish from a NATO ally, nothing more.

Alexander Was Not Greek, He Conquered Greece

Their alleged causus belli was that Macedonia’s name implied a claim to a Greek province.

In reality, the Greeks want to imagine that the foreigner who conquered Greece 2500 years ago was actually Greek, and their feelings were hurt.

Those delicate snowflakes:

The leaders of Macedonia and Greece reached an agreement on Tuesday to end a 27-year feud surrounding the Balkan country’s name.

The prime ministers Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev have agreed to refer to Macedonia as the Republic of Northern Macedonia, or Severna Makedonija in the Macedonian language. The name change is an effort to prevent territorial claims to Greece’s northern region of Macedonia.

Greece’s Macedonia includes the major port city of Thessaloniki, and tensions have existed between Greece and its neighbor for over two decades following the breakup of Yugoslavia.

The capital of Skopje adopted the name of Macedonia in 1991, following its independence, and Greece vetoed the country’s bid to join NATO and the European Union over the name dispute.

Bummer of a Birthmark, Recep

It appears that even Cypriot Turks, for whom Turkey is a shield against ethnic cleansing by the Greek Cybriots, are taking to the streets against Recep Tayyip Erdoğan:

Thousands of Turkish Cypriots chanting “we want our country back” have taken to the streets of Nicosia despite heavy rain, after calls for a mass demonstration against Ankara’s heavy-handed policies towards the breakaway republic.

Tensions with the Turkish government mounted this week after a mob of hardliners attacked the office of the Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika for running a front-page article critical of the country’s military offensive against Kurdish militants in Syria.

Led by the nationalist Grey Wolves, they went on the rampage after the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, criticised the newspaper’s stance as “immoral” and “shameless”.

Beneath the headline “one more occupation from Turkey”, Afrika drew parallels with Ankara’s 1974 military operation in Cyprus when Turkey seized the island’s northern third.

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe condemned the attack as an assault on free press and freedom of speech.

Ahead of the protest on Friday, Sener Elcil, a trade unionist, told the Guardian: “The attack was very violent and very humiliating for Turkish Cypriots, who no longer feel secure in their own country.” At least 5,000 people were believed to have taken part.

“In Turkey, all the intellectuals, journalists and writers have been imprisoned. There is no opposition, but in Cyprus there are people who believe in democracy and peace,” he said.

If history is any indication, an overreaction in Cyprus by Turkish troops might very will go pear shaped in a hurry, and if Turkish troops are expelled from Cyprus, that would be the end of Erdoğan.

One can only hope.

Missile Deal is Signed

Turkey has officially signed a deal with Russia to buy S-400 Triumf surface to air missiles:

Turkey has finalized a deal with Russia to purchase the S-400 Triumph (SA-21 Growler) missile defense system, in a move that is likely to irritate NATO allies. The deal was signed by Ankara on Friday, Dec. 29. ………

NATO in general, and the US military in particular are freaking out over this, because, as I have noted before, the Pentagon sees NATO as a sales vehicle for American weapons.

The Russian system is more capable, and cheaper, and given its origin, it is probably easier to maintain, but none of this matters to NATO leadership, because it doesn’t support the western arms manufacturers.

So basically, you have the military industrial complex on one side, and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the other.

I’m just hoping that there is a way that they can both lose.

Erdoğan Wants to Return to the Ottoman Empire. That Appears to Include the Genocides.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan just issued a decree that grants immunity for extra-judicial violence against anyone deemed to have participated in the coup, or its “continuation”.

The term “continuation” appears to be defined as, “Anyone and anything that Erdoğan considers a threat to his power”, which bodes ill for opposition parties, and the Kurds, and other ethnic minorities in Turkey.

How to deal with the transformation of a NATO ally to this is profoundly unsettling.

Just When I Thought That It Could Not Get Any Weirder………

We now have allegations that Michael Flynn, Trump’s former NSC Advisor, tried to cut a deal with representatives of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to kidnap dissident cleric Fethullah Gülen and transport him to Turkey:

Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, is under investigation for involvement in an alleged plot to kidnap a Turkish dissident cleric living in the US and fly him to an island prison in Turkey in return for $15m, it was reported on Friday.


The new allegation, that Flynn and his son engaged in a conspiracy to arrange the rendition of Fethullah Gülen to the Erdoğan government – which accuses the cleric of plotting an abortive coup in July 2016 – could if confirmed result in even more serious charges.

In September, the Wall Street Journal reported a meeting about the plan, in which former CIA director James Woolsey is said to have participated. Friday’s report describes a second meeting involving both Flynns at the 21 Club restaurant, a prohibition-era New York speakeasy patronised by Trump, in mid-December. According to “people familiar with the investigation”, it was at this encounter that the $15m payment was discussed.

Even if this were legal, and it might be under a legal precedent from the late 1800s, this is SERIOUSLY f%$#ed up.

Even for Flynn, a man who typifies the flying monkey faction of modern conservatism, this is off the charts.

Once again, reality outstrips the most outlandish products of my imagination.

Not Again………

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s goons just beat more protesters in the United States again:

Violence erupted at a New York hotel after protesters heckled a speech by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with chants of “terrorist”.

Mr Erdogan was addressing supporters in Turkish at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square when he was interrupted by several demonstrators.

“You’re a terrorist, get out of my country,” one protester shouted before he was punched and dragged away.

Mr Erdogan is in New York for the UN General Assembly.

In footage from the speech on Thursday, protesters are seen being pushed and punched in the head as they are ejected from the venue by suited men.

It is not clear at this stage if they were pro-Erdogan attendees, presidential bodyguards, or guards providing security at the hotel.

It’s pretty clear what they were.

We saw this in DC as well. It’s his goons.

We need to declare his entire security detail personae non grata, and let some more responsible entity, say for example Blackwater, manage his security.