The King versus the Kaiser: Royal rift that meant George V and Tsar Nicholas lined up against their German cousin in World War I
The First World War saw millions of men separated from their families and sent to the front line but very few were pitted against their relations.
For the royal family, however, World War I truly was a family affair.
A new documentary has revealed how the roots of the Great War lay partly in the tangled web of Royal family relationships - in particular that of the British-hating Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and his cousins, George V and Tsar Nicholas of Russia.
Best of enemies: Kaiser Wilhelm II (L) and King Edward VII loathed each other despite being nephew and uncle
Wilhelm, the eldest of the three and with a 'withered arm' - the result of a traumatic birth, was notoriously difficult and had a strained relationship with his English mother, Victoria - 'Vicky'.
A BBC documentary, Royal Cousins at War, tells how the young Wilhelm's hatred of his parents, and all things Biritsh, in part brought about the beginning of the First World War.
Vicky was only 17 when she married Prussia’s dashing Crown Prince Friedrich, known as Fritz, in 1858.
It was a passionate love match that also fulfilled the dynastic dreams of her German father Prince Albert.
After becoming pregnant only three months later, she underwent a traumatic breech delivery.
A Caesarean – too dangerous at the time – was out of the question and the future Kaiser Wilhelm II had to be wrenched forcefully into the world. Three days later, a nursemaid noticed that his damaged left arm hung limply at his side - much to his mother's horror.
'It cuts me to the heart when I see all other children with the use of all their limbs and that mine is denied that,' she wrote in an anguished letter to her mother.
'The thought of him remaining a cripple haunts me. I long to have a child where everything is perfect about it just like everybody else.'
Family feud: George V (pictured front centre) was no more keen on Kaiser Wilhelm than his father had been
Mothers: Princess Victoria, mother of Kaiser Wilhelm (L) and Tsarina Dagmar and Queen Alexandra (R)
'This is the story of a proud mother who reacts really badly to her son's handicap,' explains Dr Karina Urbach of the University of London.
'She tries to love him and tries to be a good mother but at the end of the day, she looks at him and sees a failure.'
By contrast, Wilhelm's cousins, the future Tsar Nicholas and George V, were adored by their mothers, Alexandra and Dagmar - a pair of Danish royal sisters who married into two of Europe's most powerful dynasties.
Theirs was a shared childhood with summers spent enjoying family breaks in Denmark at the home of their grandfather, Christian IX.
Both were taught to mistrust the Prussians - later Germans - by their mothers, furious at Germany's annexation of Schleswig-Holstein, formerly a Danish possession, in 1864.
Both were also in awe of their fathers, Edward VII and Tsar Alexander III, and became fast friends as a result.
Childhood: Tsar Nicholas II and George V met during family holidays in Denmark and remained close friends
Firm friends: Tsar Nicholas II and King George V were cousins and close friends thanks to their mothers
Alexandra, pictured with Edward VII and their son Albert, hated Germany after its conquest of parts of Denmark
Peacemaker: Queen Victoria, pictured with Kaiser Wilhelm, his mother and Edward VII kept the family united
Wilhelm, however, proved less than popular with his British and Russian extended family; not least because of the treatment he meted out to his mother.
As a teenager, he wrote strange - almost sexually charged - letters to his mother Princess Victoria in which he described dreams of kissing her hands and caressing her.
'Promise to do to me as I did in my dream to you. I love you so much,' the future German monarch wrote in one epistle.
But when she replied speaking only of art and politics, the already tortured relationship continued to worsen.
And when his father died in March 1888, his behaviour towards his mother was so shocking, it damaged relations with his uncle Edward VII forever.
Upon becoming Kaiser, Wilhelm's first act was to have troops to surround the palace where his father died on the pretext of searching for for papers relating to his father's reign.
But his ire was really directed at his mother, as her furious brother was only too well aware.
At odds: In contrast to his close relationship with George V, Nicholas II found Kaiser Wilhelm difficult
Troubled: Kaiser Wilhelm (pictured aged 4 at Balmoral and later in Berlin) had an unhappy childhood
Not close: Although related twice over, Tsar Nicholas II and Kaiser Wilhelm were not close friends
In a letter written to his sister Victoria shortly after her husband's death, Edward wrote: 'His conduct towards you is simply revolting. His manners are not those of a gentleman.'
But the family feuding came at a price: as relationships between the royal cousins waxed and waned, so did the relationships between their countries.
Aware of the dangerous possibilities, one woman did attempt to broker peace: Queen Victoria, the family matriarch.
Respected and listened to by all, even by her notoriously unstable grandson Wilhelm, the British Empress played peacemaker and ensured her family - and their respective nations - maintained good relationships.
Family: Like George V, Nicholas II was devoted to his wife, a favourite grandchild of Queen Victoria
Tragedy: George V and Nicholas II remained close after their respective enthronements and until the end
Wilhelm, in particular, adored her. But it couldn't last.
In 1901, when it became clear she was dying, the Kaiser rushed to be with her.
When she died, it was in his arms and he helped to lay out her body. At her funeral, he rode behind her casket alongside his uncle Edward VII.
But with Victoria gone, peace between the Russian, British and German branches of the family dissipated and Europe edged closer to war: George V and Tsar Nicholas on one side, and their estranged cousin, Wilhelm, on the other.
Inside Queen Victoria's family
Intimate snaps of the monarch's husband and children among 200 images to appear in new exhibition
From the invention of the telephone to the bicycle and even the steam ship, the Victorian period saw a mini revolution in the field of science and technology.
But of all the new gadgets invented during her reign, it was the camera that delighted Queen Victoria the most.
By the time she died in 1901, the UK's first modern monarch had amassed a huge collection of more than 20,000 images that included everything from favourite landscapes to early war photography and touching snaps of pets, friends and children.
Family portrait: Queen Victoria and five of her children in an intimate snap taken by Roger Fenton in 1854
The Royal Family at home: An 1857 portrait of the Royal Family taken by Leonida Caldesi in 1857
Now some of the rarely seen photos from her archive are to be included in a fascinating new exhibition that documents Queen Victoria's passion for photography and offers a glimpse of the Royals' family photo album. Although most of the photos remain in the Windsor Castle archive, 200 royal photos will appear at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, including many by early greats such as Roger Fenton, Leonida Caldesi and William Edward Kilburn.
Among them is a touching family portrait featuring Queen Victoria and five of her nine children; the Princess Royal, the Prince of Wales, Princess Alice, Princess Helena and Prince Alfred, taken in January 1852.
More show the Queen relaxing at Balmoral, spending time with her husband, Prince Albert, or posing for formal portraits during her widowhood.
Carefree childhood: Princesses Helena and Louise pictured playing in the garden by Roger Fenton in 1856
A Queen remembered: Victoria with Prince Albert in 1841 (left) and the Diamond Jubilee portrait of 1893
Not amused: Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught seems less than thrilled to be starring in this Caldesi photo
Other members of the Royal family also appear, among them Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, Queen Victoria's seventh child, and her consort, Prince Albert, both of whom appear in official photos.
Another, more intimate snap shows Princesses Helena and Louise in matching tartan ensembles in the garden at Balmoral during a summer jaunt.
But although family photos dominate, the Queen's interest in photography wasn't limited to pictures of her husband and children.
Photos of some of the Royal palaces, among them Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, appear as do snaps documenting some of the most important events of the Victorian period.
One, by William Henry Fox Talbot, shows Nelson's Column under construction in Trafalgar Square in 1844, while another chronicles the launch of the pioneering steamship, the Great Eastern, under the watchful eye of its designer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Favourite palace: This photo, dating from the 1880s, shows the Round Tower at Windsor Castle
Pioneer: This shot of Nelson's Column was taken by William Henry Fox Talbot, the inventor of the camera
Poignantly, another, snapped by court favourite Roger Fenton, shows the aftermath of the Charge of the Light Brigade during the Crimean War.
Considered one of the first war photographers, Fenton travelled to the Crimea under the patronage of Prince Albert and returned with 350 images, among them harrowing shots showing the carnage created by the Siege of Sevastopol and the Battle of Balaclava.
His famous photo, The Valley of Death, depicting the spot where the Light Brigade met its end is part of Victoria's collection, along with others documenting events such as the Indian Mutiny from around the Empire.
Although a keen collector, Queen Victoria never took any photographs of her own, although her children all embraced the medium.
But although she chose not to get involved in creating her own images, her penchant for collecting photos, as the new exhibition makes plain, helped preserve some of the most striking depictions of the Victorian period for future generations to enjoy.
A Royal Passion: Queen Victoria and Photography opens at the Getty Center in Los Angeles on 4th February. See getty.edu for more information
Innovation: Isambard Kingdom Brunel watching the launch of the steamship, Great Eastern, in 1857
Valley of the Shadow of Death: The cannonball littered aftermath of the Charge of the Light Brigade, 1855
ROGER FENTON: THE WORLD'S FIRST WAR PHOTOGRAPHER
From the Siege of Sevastopol to the Charge of the Light Brigade, Roger Fenton's striking shots taken in the Crimea are among the first war photographs ever taken.
So who was the world's first war photographer? Born into a wealthy Lancashire family, Fenton was the fourth of seven children.
He graduated with a degree in English, maths, Greek and Latin from Oxford University in 1840 and planned to study law before giving it up in favour of fine art.
After stints in Paris, in the studio of Paul Delaroche and at the Louvre, he returned to London just in time for the Great Exhibition of 1851 where he discovered photography.
Taught by early pioneer, Gustave Le Grey, within a year, Fenton was exhibiting his work nationwide and across Europe, and in 1853, helped found what would become the Royal Photographic Society under the patronage of Prince Albert.
But it wasn't until war broke out in October 1853 between the British, Ottoman and French Empires on one side, and the Russian Empire on the other, that the photos that would define him in later years were taken.
Encouraged by Prince Albert, he travelled to the Crimea, ostensibly to create photographs that would swing public opinion in favour of the unpopular war and counteract the critical reports being sent home by The Times' William Howard Russell.
Based in the Crimea for just under 18 months, the 350 images he took are among the most enduring portraits of the Crimean War but did little to counter the negative public reaction.
Much to his annoyance, when they went on sale following his return, the prints proved just as unpopular as the war itself with the paying public.
His later career was spent travelling the length and breadth of the UK, creating stunning landscape photographs that proved far more commercially successful.
In 1859, at his home in Potter's Bar in Hertfordshire, Fenton died after a week-long illness. He was just 50 years old.
The Russian Sukhoi Su-24 jet was shot down by Turkish F-16 fighter planes on Tuesday morning after violating the country's air space and ignoring 'ten warnings in the space of five minutes', army officials said. However, Russia's Ministry of Defence claims the jet was in Syrian airspace, and was shot down from the ground. Footage reportedly filmed by rebels in Syria's Turkomen Mountains, an area which has been the cause of recent tensions between Turkey and Russia, shows local fighters cheer as they uncover the body of one of the Russian pilots. The men can be seen surrounding the corpse of the pilot, wearing Russian military fatigues, shouting 'Allahu Akbar' - 'God is great'. The area is mainly populated by Turkmens - Syrians citizens, but ethnic Turks - and it has been the target of a Syrian government offensive over the past week, where President Bashar al-Assad's ground troops have been supported by Russian airstrikes. Both pilots ejected themselves from the jet and could be seen parachuting down to the ground, where one has been reported as captured by Syrian Turkmen rebels who are hunting for the second pilot.
Putin warns Turkey there will be 'serious consequences' for 'stabbing Russia in the back' by shooting down one of its jets… as video emerges of rebels chanting 'Allahu Akbar' over the body of dead pilot
President Vladimir Putin has accused Turkey of funding ISIS, and using its military to protect the terrorist organisation, after a Russian fighter jet was shot down near the Syrian border on Tuesday morning.
The two-pilot Sukhoi Su-24 jet was shot down by F-16 fighter planes just after 9am this morning, after it violated Turkish airspace and ignored nearly a dozen warnings by the military, Ankara officials said.
President Putin called Turkey's decision to down the plane a 'stab in the back' by the accomplices of ISIS, as his Defence Ministry still claims the jet was flying over Syria and never entered Turkish airspace.
This image shows the moment the Russian Sukhoi Su-24 jet was shot down by Turkish F-16 fighter planes near the Turkish-Syrian border, in Hatay, which has seen NATO call an 'extraordinary' meeting and Russian President Putin warn of 'serious consequences'
Conflicting stories: Turkey claims they shot the plane down as it was violating the country's airspace after the pilots ignored 'ten warnings in the space of five minutes', but Russia says the jet was in Syrian airspace
'Proof'? This image, left, accompanied by a video, right, claims to show one of the Russian pilots found dead by Turkmen rebels
'The loss we suffered today came from a stab in the back delivered by accomplices of the terrorists,' President Putin said, speaking at a meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan in Sochi, Russia, on Thursday afternoon.
'We will never tolerate such atrocities as happened today and we hope that the international community will find the strength to join forces and fight this evil,' Putin said.
The president warned that 'today's tragic event will have serious consequences for Russian-Turkish relations', shortly before Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov cancelled tomorrow's visit to Turkey, where the two nations were due to discuss Syria.
Putin boldly claimed that Turkey has been buying oil from ISIS, funding the terrorist group, and accused Ankara of protecting the jihadists with the country's military, Moscow-funded RT.com reports.
The Russian president's warning came as Syrian insurgents reportedly shot down rescue helicopter as it was searching for the pilots from the downed warplane.
An insurgent group in Syria's Latakia province hit the helicopter with an anti-tank missile, forcing it to make an emergency landing, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called Turkey's decision to down the plane a 'stab in the back by the accomplices of terrorists'
Flight: This map shows the route of the Russian jet (shown in red), based on data released by the Turkish government, including where it violated Turkish airspace, and the area in the Turkomen Mountains where it crashed
Footage reportedly filmed by rebels in Syria's Turkomen Mountains, an area which has been the cause of recent tensions between Turkey and Russia, emerged showing local fighters cheer as they discover the body of one of the Russian pilots.
The video, posted on Twitter by a man believed to be a Syrian-Turkmen rebel soldier, shows at least a dozen men surrounding the corpse of the pilot, dressed in Russian military fatigues, and some are heard shouting 'Allahu Akbar' – 'God is great'.
Local rebels said the pilot, who can be seen covered in bruises and burns in the video, was already deceased when he landed, and that none of the Russian pilots had been killed by Syrian fighters.
The area is mainly populated by Turkmens - Syrians citizens, but ethnic Turks - and is the target of a current Syrian government offensive, where President Bashar al-Assad's ground troops are supported by Russian airstrikes.
The Turkish army said the pilots of the Russian jet had been warned 'ten times in the space of five minutes' before the plane was shot down.
Both pilots ejected themselves from the jet and could be seen parachuting down to the ground, where one has been reported dead and the other captured by Syrian Turkmen rebels.
The Turkomen Mountains is controlled by several insurgent groups, who are not allied with ISIS, including al-Qaida's branch in Syria, the Nusra Front, and the 2nd Coastal Division that consists of local Turkmen fighters.
Footage reportedly filmed in Syria's Turkomen Mountains shows local fighters cheer as they discover the body of one of the Russian pilots
At least a dozen men surround the corpse of the pilot, dressed in Russian military fatigues, and some are heard shouting 'Allahu Akbar'
Hit: Video footage shows the plane coming down engulfed in flames after being shot by Turkish fighter jets
Filmed: The incident was caught on camera and has been broadcast on Turkish local TV and online
Just hours before the Russian jet was shot down, Ankara called for a U.N Security Council meeting to discuss attacks on Turkmen areas in Syria, which have forced some 1,700 civilians to flee their homes in the last three days, according to Turkish officials.
It followed a summoning of Moscow's ambassador on Friday, when Ankara demanded an immediate end to the Russian military operation near the Syrian border saying the Russian actions did not 'constitute a fight against terrorism' but the bombing of civilians.
Ambassador Andrey Karlov was warned during the meeting that the Russian operations could lead to serious consequences, the ministry said.
Turkish officials said the Russian plane was first warned that it was within ten miles of the Turkish border, and the aircraft then crossed over Turkish territory, adding that a second plane had also approached the border and been warned.
'The data we have is very clear. There were two planes approaching our border, we warned them as they were getting too close,' a senior Turkish official said.
'We warned them to avoid entering Turkish airspace before they did, and we warned them many times. Our findings show clearly that Turkish airspace was violated multiple times. And they violated it knowingly,' the official said.
NATO allies will hold an 'extraordinary' meeting later today at Ankara's request to discuss Tuesday morning's incident, an alliance official said.
'At the request of Turkey, the North Atlantic Council will hold an extraordinary meeting at 4pm. The aim of this extraordinary NAC is for Turkey to inform Allies about the downing of a Russian airplane,' the official said.
The North Atlantic Council consists of ambassadors from the 28 NATO member states.
One of the pilots can be seen parachuting down after ejecting from the plane, as the wreckage burns
This image released by the Turkish Army reportedly shows the flight radar tracking the movement of the downed Russian Sukhoi Su-24 jet, showing where it entered Turkish air space and where it went down
A Turkish military statement, issued before it was confirmed that the jet was Russian, said the plane entered Turkish airspace over the town of Yayladagi, in Hatay province.
'On Nov. 24, 2015 at around 09.20am, a plane whose nationality is not known violated the Turkish airspace despite several warnings (ten times within five minutes) in the area of Yayladagi, Hatary.
'Two F-16 planes on aerial patrol duty in the area intervened against the plane in question in accordance with the rules of engagement at 09.24am.'
The Turkish Army later released a radar analysis image which they say tracks the movement of the Russian Sukhoi Su-24 jet, showing where it entered Turkish air space, and where it went down.
'This isn't an action against any specific country. Our F-16s took the necessary steps to defend Turkey's sovereign territory,' a Turkish official told news agencies on condition of anonymity.
Russia's Defence Ministry said in a statement that they are looking into the circumstances of the crash of the Russian jet.
'The Ministry of Defence would like to stress that the plane was over the Syrian territory throughout the flight.'
The statement also claimed that the Sukhoi-24 had been shot down from the ground at the altitude of 6,000metres(3.73m).
DOWNING OF RUSSIAN JET ADDS TO 'TOXIC COCKTAIL' IN THE REGION, EXPERTS SAY
Turkey shooting down a Russian jet on Tuesday morning is just proof of the 'toxic cocktail' of dangers in the region which could erupt into crisis with devastating effect, an expert has warned.
Middle East expert Shashank Joshi, from the Royal United Services Institute, said the skies over Syria and Turkey are an 'incredibly crowded airspace', with planes from both nations and members of the US-led coalition against IS - including the UK - operating.
Turkey, a Nato member, has already complained about Russian incursions into its skies and last month the alliance condemned the 'unacceptable violations of Turkish airspace by Russian combat aircraft'.
Mr Joshi said: 'The situation is dangerous because Russia is quite probably deliberately probing Turkish airspace both for military reasons and political reasons.'
The Russians will be testing the military responses of the Nato member, but also carrying out the same 'psychological intimidation' tactics used in the Baltic and North Atlantic, he suggested.
The combination of the crowded airspace, Russian probing tactics and the diplomatic tensions create a 'real toxic cocktail that can easily erupt into crisis', he warned.
Ankara will be 'furious' at the incursion and Russia can expect Nato to strike a 'tough' note, but behind the scenes there will be intense diplomatic efforts to calm tensions.
But if Moscow responds in a provocative way, there is a risk of the crisis escalating.
Mr Joshi warned: 'These things always proceed in a very unpredictable fashion. We have seen how conflicts can begin when there are large alliances.'
Ejected: The two pilots of the Russian Sukhoi-24 jet can be seen parachuting down after the plane was hit
Russia's Ministry of Defence claims the jet was in Syrian airspace, and was shot down from the ground
Vladimir Putin's spokesman called the downing of the Su-24 warplane a 'very serious incident' but declined to comment further until more facts emerged.
'It is just impossible to say something without having full information,' said Dmitry Peskov.
Russia's government-run TV Zvezda claimed the warplane had been in Syrian airspace the entire time, which allegedly could be proven by 'control systems', a ministry spokesman said.
'It's the kind of thing we're been warning about,' said Ian Kearns, director of the European Leadership Network think-tank in London.
'And it's a direct military engagement between a NATO country and Russia, so I think it's a serious incident in anybody's book.'
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has spoken with the chief of military staff and the foreign minister about the developments on the Syrian border, the prime minister's office said in a statement, without mentioning the downed jet.
He has ordered the foreign ministry to consult with NATO, the United Nations and related countries on the latest developments, his office said.
Last month, Turkish jets shot down an unidentified drone that had also violated Turkey's airspace.
Turkey and Russia have long been at loggerheads over the Syrian conflict, with Ankara seeking Assad's overthrow while Moscow does everything to keep him in power.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is due to visit Turkey on Wednesday to discuss Syria, in a trip arranged before this incident.Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is meanwhile expected to visit Russia for talks with Putin in late December.
Russia's participation in the Syrian peace process talks in Vienna, the co-operation on the UN Security Council resolution and meetings between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Nato leaders provided signs of a renewed diplomatic engagement between Moscow and the West in recent weeks.
French President Francois Hollande will meet Mr Putin on Thursday and Russia has offered co-operation in the fight against IS following the atrocities in Paris and the downing of a Russian passenger jet in Egypt.
Russian pilots operating out of the Latakia air base in Syria have a small escape kit to help them on the ground if they are forced to eject from their jet.
In the Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer, the escape kit is located in a small compartment underneath the ejector seat.
The escape kit contains an inflatable raft, in case the aircraft is brought down over water. There is also a radio beacon which will relay the pilot's location to any potential rescue aircraft.
The pilot also has a radio, signal flares, a machete and a knife. It is likely the pilot will have a sidearm to defend himself.
Russian pilots are equipped with a small escape kit in a compartment underneath their ejector seat
Among the basic equipment in the escape kit is a machette, pictured, and a small supply of water
Moscow to Deploy the Most Advanced Missile Defense System to Syria:
Moscow to deploy S-400 defense missile system to Khmeimim airbase in Syria
An S-400 “Triumf” antiaircraft missile system.
The Russian Air Force base in Latakia will be reinforced with S-400 SAM system, which will soon be deployed there, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Wednesday.
“S-400 will be deployed on Khmeimim airbase in Syria,” Shoigu said at a Defense Ministry meeting.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Russian Su-24 was shot down by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet near the Turkish-Syrian border. One pilot died in the incident. The second one was rescued and brought to the Russian airbase in Latakia.
Moscow maintains the jet did not violate Turkey’s airspace. It ditched on Syria’s territory four kilometers from the border.
Shortly afterwards, the MoD announced three steps to be taken following the attack on the Russian Su-24 bomber, including providing aerial cover by fighter jets for every airstrike, boosting air defense by deploying guided missile cruisers off the Latakia coast, and suspending all military-to-military contacts with Turkey.
The S-400 is Russia’s most advanced anti-aircraft defense system. It is as an upgrade of the S-300 Growler family, designed and developed by Almaz Antei. The S-400 is employed to ensure air defense using long- and medium-range missiles that can hit aerial targets at ranges up to 400 kilometers.
The S-400 is capable of hitting tactical and strategic aircraft as well as ballistic and cruise missiles. The system includes a set of radars, missile launchers and command posts, and is operated solely by the Russian military.
Khmeimim airbase in Latakia, Syria, accommodates Russian Air Force squadrons of Su-27SM and Su-30 fighter jets, Su-34 and Su-24 tactical bombers, which are all taking part in airstrikes on Islamic State positions. The airbase is protected by state-of-the-art air defense systems and radars. Khmeimim also has a fully operational unit for maintaining fixed- and rotor-wing aircraft and providing logistical assistance to pilots.
“Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide”
in the wake of his insane decision to shoot down a Russian plane for a trivial, most likely nonexistent, border violation, Erdogan has finished tearing his own legacy to shreds. He may also have set the stage for the carving-up of Turkey, in accordance with Israel’s ongoing Oded Yinon plan to balkanize the Middle East.
Erdogan’s decision to join the war on Syria ended his “no problems with neighbors” policy with a vengeance. Today, there is no country on earth with more problems with its neighbors than Turkey. Russia is furious and planning revenge. Ditto Assad. Ditto Iran. Iraq too. And the Kurds are literally up in arms battling Erdogan’s ISIS proxies and setting the stage for the dismemberment of Turkey.
Meanwhile, the Turkish economy is sinking, Turkish society is fragmenting, and the Ergenekon heroin-smuggling neocon creeps and Grey Wolf weirdos are howling for blood.
How in the world did Erdogan blunder into this mess?
Apparently NATO’s high command informed Erdogan in 2011 that regime change in Syria was a done deal. They were going to do to Assad what they just did to Qaddafi. Nobody could stop them. Erdogan could either join the bandwagon and play the lead role running post-regime-change Syria, or he would be left behind.
It was a trap. Like Saddam Hussein, who was lured into invading Kuwait by US-ordered slant drilling, loan-calling-in, and Bush’s agent April Glaspie, Erdogan was suckered into waging a disastrous war designed to destroy not only Syria, but Turkey as well.
Had Erdogan told NATO to go stuff it, as he did in 2003, Turkey would still be enjoying near-double-digit growth, and its President would be the most popular leader in Turkish history, right up there with Suleiman the Magnificent, and far ahead of scumbag Attaturk – whose legacy he could have finished shredding.
But once again, a Middle Eastern leader believed what the imperialists told him. Like Qaddafi, who thought cooperating with the West and abandoning his WMD would be appreciated, and like Saddam Hussein, who thought that if he only waged wars the West told him to wage he would be fine, Erdogan believed NATO when they told him, in early 2011, that he would get to run Syria very very soon, just as soon as they got rid of Assad…on the condition that he join the regime change operation.
Now Russia is going to declare covert war on Turkey. They are going to smash Turkey’s anti-Assad proxies, not just ISIS but all the others as well, into tiny pieces. And they are going to ratchet up support to the PKK, which is now in a position to achieve its decades-old aspirations for the dismemberment of Turkey and the establishment of an independent Kurdistan.
This Thanksgiving, Turkey’s total turkey of a president has set up Turkey to get stuffed, carved up, and devoured.