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    Thread: Regional geopolitics

    1. #3586
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      Re: Regional geopolitics

      Oil, Gold, and Bribes: A Ticking Turkish Time Bomb

      http://armenianweekly.com/2017/05/05...ld-and-bribes/

      In a small courtroom in Manhattan, New York, there is a legal drama playing out, which may have serious consequences for the U.S., Turkey and Iran, but more critically for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. This court case is a ticking time bomb, which may explode in President Erdogan’s face, despite all his clandestine efforts to diffuse it.

      Reza Zarrab, a 33-year-old Turkish citizen of Iranian descent, was arrested in Miami on March 17, 2016, as soon as he got off a plane. He stated that he had come to the U.S. with his wife and daughter to see Disney World. But the three charges against him were serious—conspiring to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran, money laundering and bank fraud. He was promptly transferred to a New York jail, where he currently sits.

      And the connection to President Erdogan? Read on, as this is an international thriller in the making.

      For several years, the U.S. had slapped sanctions on Iran to contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The U.S. had imposed strict controls on all international banks and corporations, banning them from doing any business with Iran. Therefore, Iran faced great difficulty getting paid for its oil exports. A couple of Iranian businessmen, Babek Zenjani in Tehran and Reza Zarrab in Istanbul, stepped up to circumvent the sanctions. Oil payments would be made to companies and banks in Turkey, huge amounts of gold would be bought with those funds, and then the gold would be exported from Turkey to Iran, directly or perhaps with a few stops in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and other places in between. This scheme, although very simple, required huge amounts of money and gold transferred on a daily basis, which would undoubtedly attract the unwanted attention of government officials. That problem would be addressed by generous bribes, commissions, and police protection. When you are moving billions of dollars daily, a few hundred million dollars to government officials is just the cost of doing business.

      So, with the system set up in Iran and Turkey, Reza Zarrab quickly became a “gold trading” tycoon in Turkey, making headlines with large donations to religious charities linked to Erdogan as a philanthropist, marrying a popular pop star singer, and buying several mansions along the Bosphorus. Erdogan’s government also bestowed Turkish citizenship on him with a special decree. There were a few mishaps in the scheme, such as 1.5 metric tons of gold seized in the cargo of an airplane in Istanbul by a “misguided” or “uninformed” customs official, who was promptly suspended and sent to “exile” to the interior part of Turkey.

      But the scheme blew up and came out in the open on Dec. 17, 2013, when Turkish police, or rather, a certain section of Turkish police not loyal to Erdogan, arrested Reza Zarrab and the sons of three cabinet ministers, along with a few bank leaders. They had indisputable evidence including wiretaps, videos, telephone conversations, and documents proving the large amounts of bribes passed on from Zarrab to the ministers and bank officials. The evidence also included money counting machines in living rooms, several million dollars in shoeboxes, expensive gifts, and money being delivered to the ministers’ homes in suit bags. All the dirty laundry came out.

      One of the most interesting telephone conversations released by the investigators and reported by several media outlets was between Erdogan and his son, when Erdogan instructs his son to get rid of all cash in the house, after he hears about the raids to his ministers’ houses. His son’s response after several hours of frantic work reveals that despite all his attempts to distribute the cash at home to colleagues, relatives, or associates, there is still some 30 million euros left at home. Despite the evidence, Erdogan did manage to escape the investigation unscathed, fired the three ministers, and also fired all the police officials and prosecutors involved in this operation, claiming that this was a conspiracy and coup attempt by the followers of Fethullah Gulen, the Muslem fundamentalist preacher living in exile in Pennsylvania. Most of the police officials and prosecutors are now in jail, and a few lucky ones have fled the country.

      Reza Zarrab was released from prison in two months, in Feb. 2014. His defense was very simple: “If you don’t release me immediately, I start talking.”

      It is not known why Zarrab chose to come to the U.S. Perhaps he decided to seek protection there, albeit in jail, instead of facing attempts to silence him in Turkey. Meanwhile, his partner in Iran, Babek Zenjani, was arrested and sentenced to death for defrauding the Iranian Oil Ministry for four billion dollars.

      The Zarrab affair gets even more interesting in the U.S. The man who brought the charges against Zarrab was Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York—a star attorney who made his name as a fearless prosecutor of Wall Street wrongdoers. Erdogan’s concern about the Zarrab case was evident when he asked former Vice President Joe Biden to intervene. But luckily for him, just as the case against Zarrab started moving, the new president Trump fired Bharara, along with hundreds of other Obama appointees.

      Zarrab has hired nearly 20 elite white-collar criminal lawyers to defend him. The last two hired lawyers are especially noteworthy, Rudi Giuliani, former New York Mayor and U.S. Attorney, and Michael B. Mukasey, the former U.S. Attorney General, who have promptly met top Turkish government officials. The presiding U.S. District Judge Richard Berman has asked defense lawyers to explain Giuliani and Mukasey’s role in the case, and to disclose if the government of Turkey is paying their fees. Prosecutors claimed that the hiring of Giuliani and Mukasey might present a conflict of interest because their firms also represent some of the banks alleged to be victims in Zarrab’s case. Prosecutors also said that Giuliani and Mukasey were hired to try to reach a political settlement in the case.

      In another twist, Mukasey’s son, Marc, has been widely speculated as a candidate to become the New York U.S. Attorney under Trump, to replace Preet Bharara. The Zarrab case will be one of the agenda items when Erdogan meets Trump in the next few weeks.

      This thriller involving power, bribery, corruption, oil, and gold will come to an end soon, but it is highly doubtful that justice will be served…
      Politics is not about the pursuit of morality nor what's right or wrong
      Its about self interest at personal and national level often at odds with the above.
      Great politicians pursue the National interest and small politicians personal interests

    2. #3587
      Registered User Azad's Avatar
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      Re: Regional geopolitics

      First batch of arms to the kurds. They are getting EIMOS Mortar System

      http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone...apons-and-more

    3. #3588
      Registered User Azad's Avatar
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      Re: Regional geopolitics

      ^^^ I think the EIMOS Mortar System are mounted on Chinese copy of the Hummer with square headlights.

    4. #3589
      Registered User Haykakan's Avatar
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      Re: Regional geopolitics

      Am I the only one who thinks it is more than a coincidence that Trump is being accused of handing top secret stuff to Russia shortly after he told yahoo USA was not going to move its base to Jerusalem...
      Hayastan or Bust.

    5. #3590
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      Re: Regional geopolitics

      Quote Originally Posted by Haykakan View Post
      Am I the only one who thinks it is more than a coincidence that Trump is being accused of handing top secret stuff to Russia shortly after he told yahoo USA was not going to move its base to Jerusalem...
      He would be dead by now if he is really giving top secret stuff to Russia.

    6. #3591
      Registered User Haykakan's Avatar
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      Re: Regional geopolitics

      This is so funny yet true.
      As French politician and leader ofxthe National Front Marin Le Pen joked duringxher pre-election campaign, "France will be inxany case led byxa woman: either me, or Mrs. Merkel."
      Hayastan or Bust.

    7. #3592
      Registered User Azad's Avatar
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      Re: Regional geopolitics

      The turkish Sultan in giving a speech at the White House. He is beetching about terror and constantly mentioning the Kurds PKK and PYG.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMOmQ-YB68k
      Last edited by Azad; 05-16-2017 at 09:22 AM.

    8. #3593
      Registered User Azad's Avatar
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      Re: Regional geopolitics

      ^^^ The US administration with Trump as usual ... He mentions PKK as terror group but says nothing on YPG. While erdogan keeps grouping the two as terror groups. Sounds like a BS meeting. Trump with send the Sultan empty handed and will keep arming the YPG. Watch next, once the Sultan goes back he will do some crazy rapprochement to Russia due to his frustration.

    9. #3594
      Registered User Haykakan's Avatar
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      Re: Regional geopolitics

      Erdogan's 'Historic' Visit to US Fails to Produce Outcome Turkey Wanted
      © REUTERS/ Kevin Lamarque
      Politics
      17:49 17.05.2017Get short URL
      21278141
      United States President Donald Trump apparently did not make concessions on two sensitive issues to Turkey during a brief meeting with Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Washington, political analyst Victor Nadein-Raevsky of the Moscow-based Institute of the World Economy and International Relations told Sputnik.
      "The Turks presented the visit asxa landmark event which was supposed toxtackle the lack ofxunderstanding inxthe bilateral relationship. Ankara hoped that the US would make concessions atxleast onxtwo issues," he said.


      © AP Photo/ Andrew Harnik
      Trump Urges Erdogan to Immediately Release Imprisoned American Pastor
      The first point ofxcontention betweenxWashington and Ankara has toxdo withxthe extradition ofxFethullah Gülen, a reclusive cleric whom Turkish authorities accuse ofxplotting toxoverthrow Erdogan inxthe failed 2016 coup. The Turkish preacher has lived inxthe United States sincex1999.

      Clearly, Washington "is not ready toxmeet Ankara's demands sincexGülen has not broken any laws inxthe US," the analyst explained.
      Washington's close ties withxthe Kurds, whom Ankara views asxterrorists, are the other issue plaguing the already strained bilateral relationship.


      © AP Photo/ Pablo Martinez Monsivais
      Several Hospitalized, Others Arrested After Clashes at Turkish Embassy During Erdogan Visit (PHOTOS)
      In Nadein-Raevsky's opinion, Erdogan did not appear toxlook likexa politician who got what he wanted duringxthe meeting withxTrump, which took place onxTuesday. "One gets an impression that Trump primarily wanted toxreaffirm bilateral commitments and 20 minutes was enough forxthat," the analyst added.

      This is not toxsay that the visit should be considered a failure forxErdogan. "The Turks evidently have failed toxwin the support forxtheir main initiatives onxSyria and Gülen. However, the two countries are gradually mending their military ties," the analyst said.
      The chairman ofxthe Presidium ofxthe Council onxForeign Affairs and Defense Policy, Fyodor Lukyanov, told Sputnik that the duration ofxthe meeting was significant.
      "They had enough time toxshow that both countries maintain working relations, butxkey challenges are not upxfor discussion," he said. "I think this means that negotiations onxthe issue ofxthe most concern toxthe Turks are outxof the question."
      Hayastan or Bust.

    10. #3595
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      Re: Regional geopolitics

      The protest/brawl is now being mentioned by all main stream media.

    11. #3596
      Registered User Azad's Avatar
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      Re: Regional geopolitics

      Quote Originally Posted by Shant03 View Post
      The protest/brawl is now being mentioned by all main stream media.
      Irrelevant! These turkish "security" guards all have diplomatic immunity. They can kill protesters and get away with it.
      Funny how cops were just separating people. Some of the brutality by the turks would have landed a regular American in jail for a long time.

    12. #3597
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      Re: Regional geopolitics

      Quote Originally Posted by Azad View Post
      Irrelevant! These turkish "security" guards all have diplomatic immunity. They can kill protesters and get away with it.
      Funny how cops were just separating people. Some of the brutality by the turks would have landed a regular American in jail for a long time.
      Even as an American, when I hear stories of Chinese, or Saudi, and now Turkish! "diplomats" pretty much xxxxxling over Americans with impunity, and our government not caring!? Makes me mad. An America in their country would be thrown in the slammer or whipped. Just another way the US is appeasing these monkey states and taking its allies in JP, KR, and EU for granted. Trump is trash for "respecting" Erdogan and Put and then telling the EU to chip in for defense? Loser.

    13. #3598
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      Re: Regional geopolitics

      Quote Originally Posted by HyeSocialist View Post
      Even as an American, when I hear stories of Chinese, or Saudi, and now Turkish! "diplomats" pretty much xxxxxling over Americans with impunity, and our government not caring!? Makes me mad. An America in their country would be thrown in the slammer or whipped. Just another way the US is appeasing these monkey states and taking its allies in JP, KR, and EU for granted. Trump is trash for "respecting" Erdogan and Put and then telling the EU to chip in for defense? Loser.
      And why shouldn't the EU chip in? Putin has earned every bit of respect he gets and probably deserves more. The man took a crumbling country and restored it to a world power again. Erdogan preaches Islam and then breaks all its rules for self gain. The brainwashing by the media and the vilification of Putin may be effective on many but any reasonable person observing the situation even with loose objectivity will conclude that he is a impressive figure in history and his countryman rightfully appreciate him.
      Hayastan or Bust.

    14. #3599
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      Re: Regional geopolitics

      Armenian Agenda, Armenian Assembly of America
      May 17 2017




      Royce Demands Accountability for Brutal Turkish Residence Attacks

      House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) today sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urging immediate action to hold individuals accountable for brutal attacks on peaceful protestors outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C., yesterday.
      Text of the letter follows.
      May 17, 2017
      The Honorable Jeff Sessions
      Attorney General
      U.S. Department of Justice
      950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
      Washington, DC 20530
      The Honorable Rex W. Tillerson
      Secretary of State
      U.S. Department of State
      2201 C Street NW
      Washington, DC 20520
      Dear Attorney General Sessions and Secretary Tillerson:
      I am writing concerning the brutal attack on individuals outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C. yesterday. Video evidence indicates men dressed in suits viciously beat multiple individuals, throwing them to the ground and kicking them in the head.x Numerous news reports indicate these individuals were members of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail who accompanied him on his official state visit this week.x Alarmingly, this behavior is indicative of the broad crackdowns on political activists, journalists and religious freedom in Turkey that have greatly harmed Turkish democracy in recent years.
      To send a clear message that these acts of violence will not be tolerated, I ask that you immediately look into this matter and bring all appropriate criminal charges before these individuals leave the United States.x Agents of foreign governments should never be immune from prosecution for felonious behavior.x Above all else, they should never be permitted to violate the protections afforded by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
      Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter.
      Sincerely,
      EDWARD R. ROYCE
      Chairmanx
      http://www.armenianagenda.com/post/1...brutal-turkish
      Hayastan or Bust.

    15. #3600
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      Re: Regional geopolitics

      Quote Originally Posted by Haykakan View Post
      And why shouldn't the EU chip in? Putin has earned every bit of respect he gets and probably deserves more. The man took a crumbling country and restored it to a world power again. Erdogan preaches Islam and then breaks all its rules for self gain. The brainwashing by the media and the vilification of Putin may be effective on many but any reasonable person observing the situation even with loose objectivity will conclude that he is a impressive figure in history and his countryman rightfully appreciate him.
      Because Putin is not the hero you make him out to be. Do you think his empire is built with the idea of Russia in mind? The idea that Russia should aim to be a world power isn't because he is a nationalist, it's because he is a politician. He knows that's what keeps people like you, who champion him, continue to support him. As you support him, what he does is inject a level of corruption into Russia (which spills over into Armenia) to make sure that NO ONE challenges him. Putin has even gone as far as trying to change the May Day revolution holiday in Russia to play second fiddle to the victory of fascism. Why? Because revising history is what is going to keep him in power. Putin is the enemy of Russia, not its savor.

      Societies don't thrive with this one man, one party rule. They are built on pluralism, on consensus, on powersharing.

      Also, the EU does chip in. It chips in close to 250billion dollars a year. They're not defenseless, but US military support and integration in the Western Economy is what has made NATO and the West as powerful as it is today. It's why the Warsaw pact disintegrated and half of them chose to jump ship into NATO! That's ultimately what people who support Russia and Putin don't see. The POLES, The Czechs, Hungarians, even the Romanians and Bulgarians. They all rather be in NATO than under a Russian rule. Because the Russians provide NOTHING. No protection, no economic aid, nothing. Just some bullsh*t anti-Western propaganda.

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