Putin and Erdogan Cook up Three Anti-US Steps at St. Petersburg

The effusive greetings exchanged by yesterday’s enemies, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s President Tayiip Erdogan, when they shook hands at St. Petersburg on Aug. 9, cemented a new partnership based on the ruthless pursuit of their common interests, chiefly at the expense of the West.
The ground was well prepared, when the Turkish leader began pivoting away from Europe and NATO (See DEBKA Weekly 718 of July 29: Erdogan Puts One Foot out of NATO).
But, according to DEBKA Weekly’s sources in Moscow and Ankara, the two new friends gave the finishing touches to three further momentous plans:
1. Refugees: Erdogan was not talking idly when he threatened to revoke the Turkish-European accord limiting the flow of Muslim refugee to Europe, if EU countries continued to shirk their commitment to forego passport checks for Turkish visitors.
That threat was just a foretaste of his plans to send a flood of Middle East migrants swarming across the borders into EU members’ countries if they annoy him, while also strong-arming the United States into accepting large numbers of refugees from Syria and other countries.
In short, say DEBKA Weekly’s sources, the Turkish ruler has no inhibitions about using the refugee issue as a bludgeon against the US or any European country venturing to challenge him or his collaboration with Putin.
This would be the first time in NATO history that a member had behaved like the enemy within to the benefit of its main adversary – Vladimir Putin.
In Washington, the National Security Council and the Pentagon are immersed in evaluations of the deals struck in St. Petersburg and preparing to cut deeply into the intelligence and high-value information on Russia passed to Turkish military and intelligence agencies.
According to our Moscow sources, Putin has no objections to the massive flow of Muslim migrants to the NATO countries of Central and West Europe, because, in the first place, that would distance them from Russia’s borders and, in the second, the Europeans would get their comeuppance for their anti-Russian policies on Ukraine and the Baltic
2. War on ISIS: Putin and Erdogan have agreed to work together in Syria and Iraq to deprive the United States of outright victory in the war against the Islamic State. That is because a military triumph would empower America to lay down the law in those countries, a role which Moscow covets for itself.
Erdogan is ready to go along with Putin’s game, after receiving Russia’s pledge to look after Turkish interests in Syria and Iraq.
(See a separate article in this issue on its effect on the Kurds’ situation.)
DEBKA Weekly military and counterterrorism sources say that the Russian-Turkish concord will change the face of the war on ISIS and the prospects of its success.
Since US strategy against the jihadist terrorist group has been geared to a partnership with the Turks and Russians, the Putin-Erdogan deal will compel the next US president to spend his first day in the White House in January 2017 carving out with his military and strategic planners a new plan of action for defeating ISIS.
Many of the US-backed local forces Syria and Iraq will have by then switched sides and ditched their ties with Washington in favor of Moscow.
3. Inviting Iran to join: Putin and Erdogan are expanding their partnership into a bloc by inviting other Middle East regimes to join. Iran, Iraq and Syria are their first natural candidates. This alliance would take Baghdad and Damascus out of the American orbit and into the Russian-Turkish military sphere.
And so, our sources reveal, shortly after St. Petersburg, the Turkish president plans to travel to Tehran for a meeting with President Hassan Rouhani.
DEBKA Weekly’s sources note Putin’s unusual indulgence of Erdogan’s over-the-top demands. He believes that the partnership will take him to his overarching objective, which is for Russia to displace American influence in the region and take over US bases in Turkey and Iraq, in addition to Syria.

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