Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and presidential candidate of the Turkish opposition National Alliance (Millet), posted a video message on his Twitter account on May 6, captioned: “Neither West nor East, this is the Way of the Turk.”
Contrary to many expert assumptions, if the Turkish opposition emerged victorious in the elections, it is not guaranteed that Turkey would realign itself with the west. Instead, it is likely that Ankara would continue pursuing a foreign policy that maintains a balanced and nuanced approach.
In his video, which has been viewed over 20 million times, Kilicdaroglu rejected the claim that Millet is pro-western and revealed his “ambitious” project: Connecting Turkey with the Turkic states and China by revitalizing the historical Silk Road:
“We will open a fast, new trade and transport corridor, a highway. Along this corridor, we will create a high-capacity highway and double-track railway infrastructure.”
Connecting the Turkic world
According to Kilicdaroglu, this route will stretch over 5,500 km of terrain: Starting from Turkiey's frontier towns Gurbulak (Agri) and Kapikoy (Van), passing through Tabriz and Tehran in Iran, Ashgabat in Turkmenistan, Tashkent in Uzbekistan, and Almaty in Kazakhstan, with China as the final destination.
The project aims to provide China with a connection to the Black Sea and European ports via the Gurbulak route, as well as to the Mediterranean through the Kapikoy route, and encompassing the Mersin and Iskenderun ports.
The CHP leader’s proposal envisions linking the Turkic states to Turkish ports. “Turkiye will be the sea gateway of the Turkic world,” he said, noting that the ambitious project may raise concerns in the west. But he also issued a warning to China on the plight of its Muslim Uyghur population, stating:
“This is a project that is beneficial for China, therefore, the cessation of the oppression against Turkistan would be one of our prerequisites. We will not abandon our compatriots there to their fate.”
Kilicdaroglu has portrayed the railway as a “win-win” project, in which the US could conduct trade with this region via Turkish ports, while Turkey would facilitate easier trade between Asia and Europe. The project will resonate with domestic audiences too, especially ethno-nationalist Turks: Turkey is going to be more integrated with the Turkic world – aligning with the aspirations of pan-Turkism.
Erdogan’s ‘brother’ in Baku
However, Kilicdaroglu’s proposal notably omitted any mention of fellow Turkic nation Azerbaijan, which has caused a significant backlash. Azerbaijani news outlets, including prominent agency Report.az, published a harsh criticism against Kilicdaroglu:
“The idiosyncratic, nonsensical project serves to weaken the Turkic world by making it dependent on Iran and China, as well as destroying the Zangezur Corridor project.”
Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev openly supports Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his electoral race against Kilicdaroglu. Amid the ongoing election campaign, Aliyev attended TEKNOFEST Aerospace and Technology Festival in Istanbul and praised “his brother” Erdogan and his son-in-law Selcuk Bayraktar, the founder of TEKNOFEST and the chairman of Turkish drone manufacturer Baykar.
Rumblings were heard inside Turkey as well. Azerbaijani MP Hikmet Babaoglu, speaking to Turkish media outlet Anadolu, emphasized that the relationship between Ankara and Baku is built on the principle of “one nation, two states.” He also argued that “This would benefit neither the Turkic world nor Turkey.”
Another MP, Vugar Bayramov argued that it is not realistic to call Kilicdaroglu’s project the “Turkish road”:
“Because this project does not pass through Azerbaijan. It is not correct to call any transportation project that does not pass through Azerbaijan as a ‘Turkish road.’ It should also be taken into account that the project will pass through Iran, which is under European sanctions.”
MP Behruz Meherremov reacted on social media, accusing Kilicdaroglu and Millet of “representing the will of the west,” and claiming the opposition leader is going “to destroy the great ideals of the Turkic world.”
CHP’s new West Asia project
There are six political parties in the Millet Alliance, one of which is Gelecek (Future) led by Ahmet Davutoglu, a staunch opponent of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who previously served as Erdogan’s foreign minister during the early stages of the Syrian crisis.
Two ways of ending a campaign for #Turkey’s elections:— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) May 13, 2023
• Kilicdaroglu, on the left, visited Ataturk’s mausoleum in Ankara left flowers
• Erdogan, on the right, attended the evening prayers at Hagia Sophia pic.twitter.com/BwxGX5TqqK
However, the red-hot Turkish political debate over the country’s millions of Syrian refugees has led the CHP to promise to normalize ties with Damascus, so that these refugees can return home. Kilicdaroglu’s top foreign policy adviser Unal Cevikoz, told Swiss Neue Zürcher Zeitung that “there is no other way than dialog with President Assad.”
But Damascus has vowed to not give an inch until Ankara withdraws its troops from territories in Syrian’s north. Regarding this Turkish military presence in Syria, Çevikoz has said:
“Assad is demanding this (withdrawal of Turkish troops) because he does not trust Erdogan. We will not accept preconditions for talks. But if we are sure that Syrian territory no longer poses a threat to Turkiye and that border protection is working, then we can talk about the military presence.”
But Syria is not the only regional state in the CHP’s sights. Kilicdaroglu announced last month that he plans to establish a “Middle East Peace and Cooperation Organization” with three Turkey's three neighbors:
“Turkiye, Iran, Iraq and Syria, why don’t we come together? Why do we look at each other differently in the face of what is happening in the Middle East? The problem can be solved. We can come together and make a special effort to at least alleviate the suffering of the people. All of these things can happen.”
In one of his video messages, Kilicdaroglu said his government will establish a protocol with Syria, the EU, and the UN to solve the problem of Syrian refugees, and warned the EU that “they have to be part of it, otherwise there will be no Iraq, no Syria, everyone will be at the gates of Europe.”
Kilicdaroglu’s geopolitical vision
While Kilicdaroglu criticizes the EU’s refugee policy and readmission agreement, his vision involves “correcting” relations with the west. In terms of Russia, for example, Cevikoz said that if the CHP were to win the election, they would “remind Russia that Turkiye is a NATO member.” Kilicdaroglu emphasized that he would reorient Turkey and prioritize relations with the west over the Kremlin in an interview with a BBC correspondent. The CHP’s overall objective is to “reset” relations with the EU and the west.
However, it is evident that Russia will continue to be an important partner for Turkey after the elections. During his visit to Antalya, a popular vacation destination for Russian tourists and home to many expats, Kilicdaroglu dismissed claims that he would engage in a fight with Moscow. He stressed that his intention is not to alienate Russia, stating: “We will embrace everyone. We have nothing to do with fighting.”
In 2022, Turkey's tourism revenue reached a record $46.3 billion, with 5.23 million Russian tourists visiting the country. While the number of Russian tourists has decreased since 2019 and the number of European tourists increased, Russian tourism continues to hold significant revenue benefits for Turkey.
Similarly, although the share of Russian gas in Turkish imports has decreased while Azerbaijani gas has gradually increased, Russian natural gas still accounted for 45 percent of Turkiye’s total natural gas imports in 2022.
Fortifying the Europe-Asia bridge
If Kilicdaroglu were to win the polls, a dramatic shift in Turkiye’s foreign policy should not be expected. However, his “Silk Road” project serves several purposes.
First, the project aligns with the broader aim of repositioning Turkiye as a Eurasian trade corridor, particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and trade tensions between the US and China. Both Kilicdaroglu and Erdogan share the goal of reinventing Turkey as a key player in facilitating trade between these regions. Additionally, the transition towards a “green” economy is a common objective for both leaders.
Turkty's abundant low-wage labor market and well-developed industrial infrastructure further support the concept of creating a trade corridor. The prospect of connecting Europe to China is enticing for Turkish capitalists, as it could attract foreign investment and potentially alleviate Turkey's growing dependency on foreign currency, which may lead to a balance of payments crisis.
Second, this project reinforces Turkey's positioning as an “eastern orientation within the western world.” While the political movement of Eurasianism has not gained significant traction in the country, it is likely to resonate with the western world’s current interest in Eurasian integration.
Turkey aspires to become an indispensable player in bridging Asia and Europe, leveraging its strategic location at the crossroads of these continents. It even occasionally applauds western companies’ decisions to divest from China, in order to present itself as the potential “China of Europe.”
At other times, Turkey plays the role of mediator in conflicts such as the Ukraine-Russia war, and it seeks closer ties with Central Asia through the Caucasus, appealing to pan-Turkic sentiments. Importantly, Turkey's engagement with Central Asia through the Caucasus is unlikely to upset the west, as Ankara established ties with Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Central Asian countries soon after the dissolution of the Soviet Union with the blessing of western nations.
Essentially, Kilicdaroglu’s vision aims to position Turkey as a “western country” with a keen focus on the east. As Asia rises and the west’s influence recedes, regional powers, including Turkiye, seek to establish themselves as indispensable actors for both regions, capitalizing on their strategic advantages.
Rent Control Is A Disaster – Don’t Let It Spread Across The Nation
Rent Control Is A Disaster – Don’t Let It Spread Across The Nation
Authored by Betsy McCaughey via The Epoch Times,
America’s renters -…
America’s renters - more than one-third of the nation’s households - are in for trouble.
Left-wing politicians are demanding rent regulation from coast to coast. Wherever it is adopted, the result will be a disastrous reduction in the rental housing supply, leaving renters desperate for places to live.
New York is the poster child for the failures of rent regulation. The U.S. Supreme Court is currently mulling a challenge to the constitutionality of the city’s rent regime.
Whatever the justices decide, the public needs to consider less destructive, more targeted ways to help low-income people pay for housing. The court of public opinion needs to consider these facts.
Fact No. 1: Rent regulation isn’t targeted to the poor.
In New York, there’s no means test. What you need is luck or connections. The mean income of a rent-stabilized apartment dweller is $47,000, but census data show that tens of thousands of them earn more than $150,000 per year. Some occupants use what they’re saving on rent to pay for a weekend place in the Hamptons or New England.
The pols don’t object—a sure sign they’re calling for rent regulation to help themselves politically, not the poor.
In New York, 44 percent of rental apartments are regulated by the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB), established in 1969, which sets the maximum amount by which landlords are allowed to raise the rent. Those limits apply to all buildings of six or more units built before 1974.
In 2022, the RGB set the maximum rent hike at 3.25 percent on one-year leases and this year at 3 percent. Never mind that last year, fuel costs to heat the buildings soared by 19 percent and overall inflation hit 8.3 percent.
The decisions are political, not economic. Many Democratic politicians vilify building owners as “greedy landlords” and depict themselves as the champions of the downtrodden. It’s a scam.
Fact No. 2: Winners and losers.
The winners are the lucky few with rent-regulated apartments and the pols who count on an army of tenant activists to turn out at the polls. The losers are the 56 percent of renters who don’t score a regulated apartment and have to scour neighborhoods for an unregulated place that they can afford. They’re paying more.
Why? Because regulation causes some landlords to walk away, reducing the overall supply of apartments. The laws of supply and demand mean rents go up. New Yorkers in unregulated apartments are paying the highest rents in the United States for a one-bedroom apartment. They're the real victims, and they should be furious.
Yet the left-wing press pretends that rent control offers only benefits. The New Republic warns that the Supreme Court challenge threatens “laws that have benefitted the city’s tenants for generations.” Sorry, untrue—only some tenants, and not always the neediest.
It’s economic madness. The saner way to help those who need assistance paying rent is with a voucher. We offer the needy SNAP debit cards to help them pay for groceries. No one slaps price controls on grocery stores or designates certain stores as “regulated,” forcing them to sell at below cost.
Yet New York forces certain landlords to pay what should be a public cost shared by all, an argument made to the court.
Fact No. 3: The Marxist fantasy that rent regulation will help the poor is spreading across the United States and Europe as well.
Maine and Minnesota have enacted laws allowing municipalities to impose rent regulations. In November 2024, California voters will be asked to approve a proposition allowing local governments to add additional restrictions to the state’s existing rent caps.
The laws of supply and demand are international. Berlin froze rents in 2019, and the rental supply plummeted, according to the Ifo Institute, a think tank.
Yet London Mayor Sadiq Khan is calling for freezing rents for two years. London provides housing vouchers to the poor—a smarter approach—but when the city froze the voucher amounts during the COVID-19 pandemic, fewer apartments were available in the price range. The answer is to raise the voucher amount. Freezing rents will only make the shortage worse.
Ignore the demagogues. The evidence is in: Rent regulation is a political scam. There are better ways to help Americans afford a place to live.
‘No Regrets’: Former CIA Director Repeats Debunked Russian Disinfo Claims About Hunter’s Laptop
‘No Regrets’: Former CIA Director Repeats Debunked Russian Disinfo Claims About Hunter’s Laptop
In an interview last night with Fox’s Bret…
In an interview last night with Fox's Bret Baier, former CIA Director Leon Panetta humiliated himself as he defended the letter that he and 50 other so-called 'intelligence officials' signed suggesting that the Hunter Biden laptop was Russian disinformation.
Even more unsettling were his comments that he believes it could still be Russian disinformation.
“That letter was used in the debate, I haven’t asked you this but do you have regrets about that now looking back, knowing what you know now?” Baier asked.
Panetta explained that he was “extremely concerned about Russian interference” in the run up to the 2020 Presidential Election between then-former-Vice President Joe Biden and then-President Donald Trump.
He claimed that intelligence agencies discovered that “Russia had continued to push disinformation across the board.”
He said that he wanted to “alert the public” about the “disinformation efforts” to influence the election.
“And frankly, I haven’t seen any evidence from any intelligence agency that that was not the case,” Panetta said.
“You don’t think that it was real?” Baier asked.
“I think that disinformation is involved here. I think Russian disinformation is part of what we’re seeing everywhere,” Panetta responded.
“I don’t trust the Russians, and that’s exactly why I was concerned that the public not trust the Russians either.”
And finally, Baier asked if Panetta had any regrets over how he handled the story.
“No, I don’t have any regrets about not trusting the Russians,” Panetta said.
As Jonathan Turley pointed out,Panetta simply refused to acknowledge:
(1) American intelligence quickly debunked the claim and said that there was no evidence of Russian disinformation behind the laptop,
(2) the emails contained in the laptop were quickly authenticated by the other parties,
(3) the FBI authenticated the laptop,
(4) Hunter Biden has since sued over the use of his laptop, and
(5) the media has independently authenticated the laptop.
This was the man in charge of our CIA.
As a reminder, it has also been shown that the Biden campaign and associates coordinated the letter.
Watch the lying liar lie below...
Here's the clip of Leon Panetta telling Bret Baier he has no regrets about the MIS-information that the Hunter Biden laptop was a Russian disinformation operation. He wouldn't get this question on the lefty networks. pic.twitter.com/rHRDRsaS4H— Tim Graham (@TimJGraham) October 13, 2023
We give the last word back to Turley who summarized the former spook's self-immolation perfectly: "Panetta has become the personification of the economic theory of path dependence. No matter how much countervailing evidence is presented to Panetta, he still refuses to accept the authenticity of the laptop."
However, in order to admit to these facts, Panetta would have had to admit that he was a willing or unwitting dupe of the campaign. It is easier to simply continue to claim that this could all be the invention of the Russians.
Yet, as Turley exclaims, Panetta is still sought for his advice on other intelligence matters as he continues to repeat disproven claims because the truth is simply too costly on a personal level to acknowledge.
What do we call false claims that are repeated despite being repeatedly debunked and disproven? Oh, yea, disinformation.
Bibi & Khamenei Trade Social Media Threats As IDF Readies For Air, Ground, & Naval Offensive Against Gaza “Very Soon”
Bibi & Khamenei Trade Social Media Threats As IDF Readies For Air, Ground, & Naval Offensive Against Gaza "Very Soon"
Update (1330ET): The Israeli military has announced it is prepared for a coordinated air, ground and naval offensive in the Gaza Strip "very soon," according to reports from AP.
In a nationally broadcast address Saturday night, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari issued a new appeal to residents to move to the southern Gaza Strip.
“We are going to broadly attack Gaza City very soon,” he said.
He accused Hamas of trying to use civilians as human shields.
Meanwhile, the social media rhetoric between leaders has gone to '11'...
Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei expects a "complete victory"...
With God’s grace, this movement that has started in #Palestine will advance and result in a complete victory for the Palestinians.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) October 14, 2023
Calling on all Muslims to join the fight...
Everyone in the Muslim world has a duty to support the Palestinian people.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) October 14, 2023
Israeli PM Netanyahu made his views very clear:
Make no mistake, Israel will win. ???????? pic.twitter.com/QzOVxUJs6E— Benjamin Netanyahu - בנימין נתניהו (@netanyahu) October 14, 2023
Live feeds below on Gaza:
* * *
Israeli media is reporting a "greenlight" has been given for the expected major Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip as massive convoys of Palestinian civilians have been observed fleeing to the southern part of the densely populated strip. So far there has been limited ground incursions by the army into the strip, targeting Hamas operatives and reportedly to gain intelligence on the whereabouts of hostages.
The United Nations has issued a report saying at least 423,000 Palestinians have already been internally displaced within Gaza and this massive figure is expected to ratchet further. Likely it has surpassed a half-million as of Saturday, following the Israeli-issued evacuation order, which included dropping thousands of leaflets and warnings over Gaza City.
The UN said it "considers it impossible for such a movement to take place without devastating humanitarian consequences." Middle East Eye and other regional sources have said over 700 Palestinian children were killed in one week of fighting. As of Friday Israel authorities tallied that over 1,300 Israelis were killed by the Hamas terror attacks on the southern settlements and the music festival, and rocket fire, with at least 3,200 wounded. 27 among the dead were Americans.
Middle East Eye on Saturday reports the following of the mounting Palestinian death toll in both Gaza and the West bank as follows:
Israel has killed at least 2,215 people in Gaza over the past week, according to the Palestinian health ministry. Of those killed, 724 are children and 458 are women. Some 8,714 people have been wounded in the besieged enclave in that time, it added.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces have killed 54 people and wounded 1,100 others in the occupied West Bank.
According to a review of the last hours of developments, the population is about to run out of water as the remaining supply dwindles after Israel cut off external supply sources:
- UN agency for Palestinian refugees says its shelters in Gaza “are not safe anymore” as it warns water running our for besieged enclave’s residents.
- More than 320 Palestinians have been killed in the past 24 hours, including many women and children killed in Israeli air raids on convoys fleeing Gaza City, according to health officials.
- The rising toll comes as Israel continues bombing Gaza a day after telling 1.1 million residents to head south ahead of a looming ground offensive following Hamas’s attack inside Israel last week.
- At least 2,215 Palestinians have been killed and 8,714 wounded in Israeli air attacks on Gaza. The number of people killed in Israel has reached 1,300, with more than 3,400 wounded.
- In the occupied West Bank, the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli fire in the past week has topped 50. More than 1,000 have been wounded and hundreds arrested.
????A matter of life and death: water runs out for 2 million people in Gaza— UNRWA (@UNRWA) October 14, 2023
???? No humanitarian supplies have been allowed into Gaza for a week
“It is a must; fuel needs to be delivered now into????#Gaza to make water available for 2 million people”https://t.co/StJVfFn3Xh pic.twitter.com/T1IhCP9C2w
The fate of the estimated 100 to 200 hostages in Hamas captivity still remains largely unknown, but Hamas in statements which have been underreported in Western press has claimed that over two dozen of the hostages have been killed by the IDF's ongoing aerial bombardment of the Gaza Strip:
Hamas' Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades said nine more captives were killed in indiscriminate Israeli shelling in the last 24 hours, including a number of foreigners.
Qassam has previously announced the death of 17 captives in Israeli air stikes in Gaza over the past week.
Sky News and others are also reporting, based on Israeli sources, that bodies of hostages have been recovered after some of the initial IDF infantry cross-border raids which began Friday into Saturday:
Raids carried out on the Gaza Strip by Israeli forces discovered human remains of those who had been missing since Hamas's attack last weekend, local media is reporting.
According to Haaretz, armed forces entered an enclave where it is thought up to 200 people were being held hostage by Hamas, and retrieved the bodies of several people.
Items belonging to the missing people were also discovered.
The US said Friday it chartered its first successful evacuation flight, with talk of more to come.
There are Americans (many of them likely dual nationals) among the population of Gaza, which Washington says it is trying to facilitate safe exit for as Israeli airstrikes continue. Dangerously, the lone Raffah border crossing into Egypt has at this point been bombed several times.
But regional media is reporting there's been a diplomatic breakthrough on this front, as Israel, Egypt, and the United States have forged an agreement to let foreigners residing in Gaza pass through the Rafah border crossing into Egypt.
Scene from the frontlines as the IDF build-up outside Gaza continues:
???????? pic.twitter.com/4OCL2h3zLF— War Monitor (@WarMonitors) October 14, 2023
Huge civilian convoys have been witnessed fleeing to the southern half of Gaza, creating bottlenecks...
One of the main evacuation routes from northern Gaza, al-Rasheed street, is absolutely flooded with residents attempting to evacuate south.— OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) October 14, 2023
This footage was taken just south of the IDF-declared demarcation line of Wadi Gaza. pic.twitter.com/EaUZc2tScW
The Times of Israel cites a senior Egyptian official as follows:
The official says Israel has agreed to refrain from striking areas the foreigners would pass through on their way out of the besieged Palestinian territory. He adds that Qatar was involved in the negotiations and the participants received approval from the Palestinian terror groups, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
The agreement does not deal with hostages being held by Hamas.
A second official at the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing point says they received “instructions” to reopen it on Saturday afternoon for foreigners coming from Gaza.
But Egypt is by and large not letting Gazans exit, even erecting bigger concrete barriers of extra border protection, amid what's setting up to be a catastrophic humanitarian crisis as the Israeli pressure ratchets.
The IDF says it is about to attack the northern half of the Gaza Strip with "great force" - while the US and other countries are urging for caution regarding Palestinian civilians. Below is rare footage of an elite Israeli rescue squad in action (intentionally blurred by IDF sources):
Israeli operators from the Special Tactics Rescue Unit 669 conduct a combat casevac near Zikim beach.— OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) October 14, 2023
(Rough subtitle translation) pic.twitter.com/uQ8IGiBWpE
Washington has still all the while said it "stands with Israel" - and has not tried to actually halt the unrelenting IDF bombardment of civilian areas.
Meanwhile, things continue ratcheting in south Lebanon, with reports of new strikes being exchanged between Israel and Hezbollah, and other pro-Palestinian factions.
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