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Why cant the US and Russia Reach an Agreement in Syria?

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Why cant the US and Russia Reach an Agreement in Syria?

Interview conducted by Antoinette Kiselincheva with Boyan Chukov, former adviser on Foreign Policy and National Security in two governments of the Republic of Bulgaria, former diplomat in Paris and Madrid, foreign intelligence officer. Originally appeared at A-specto, translated by Borislav exclusively for SouthFront

Mr. Chukov why is the battle for the liberation of the Iraqi city of Mosul from DAESH so important? Some analysts argue that the expulsion of jihadists from the city is part of the plan for transferring them to Syria.

The events surrounding the city of Mosul (the capital of the “caliphate” in Iraq) can be viewed from different perspectives. First, from the background of the US presidential election. Washington needs a spectacular military victory against DAESH by the end of 2016. The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Barack Obama, would like to complete his term with a “victory” over global terrorism. It is indispensable, mostly from a propaganda point of view. A US success against DAESH would raise the rating of the Democrats and Hillary Clinton respectively. (In case she wins the election, it will provide her with an initial boost.)

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced in Paris (after a visit to Iraq) the fall of other capital “Caliphate” – Rakka, before the real assault on Mosul began. He said this should happen after a few weeks. Apparently he is trying to remain a defense minister even after the newly elected master of the Oval Office is sworn in. Ashton Carter just forgot to say which army will invade Syria to banish the jihadists in Rakka. This will hardly be the Iraqi army or the Kurds. Americans have in Iraq and the region about 5,000 military advisers and instructors involved in attack on Mosul, but on the second line.

The French do not share Ashton Carter’s forecast. The Defense Minister of France, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said on October 25 that it is too early to comment on the fate of Rakka. During his visit to France, the US defense minister failed to explain clearly enough, how the Yankees are involved in the liberation of Mosul.

The US may have instructors, but they are not officially there with their own army, although on the field there are probably some private mercenaries. So who is actually fighting in this proxy war?

The very atmosphere around the city is not very clear. The coalition, which is supposed to liberate Mosul, began to fall apart for irrational reasons. The Assyrian militia (99% Christians) took several populated places where they primarily live, during their advance towards the city. The Assyrians then stopped their forward movement. The Assyrians have no more motivation to continue, as they took the places that interest them. The Assyrian fighters showed the maximum combat capability. It turned out that they are the best fighters. It is they who paved the way for the 9th Armored Division of the Iraqi army toward Mosul.

Besides that, Baghdad and Ankara came into conflict. When the Turks confirmed that their troops are attacking Mosul from the north, a sharp reaction followed from the Iraqis. Baghdad said that Turkey can not wage war on the territory of a sovereign Iraq. Ashton Carter, with his revelations about the offensive against Rakka, caused a sharp reaction from Ankara. The reaction was immediate. Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister in charge of national security, Numan Kurtulmuş, said that Turkey will not allow the emergence of Kurds around Rakka. And without the Kurds, there can not be an offensive against the second capital of DAESH. Another essential detail is that the Kurds do not leave their territorial environment. They only fight on the territory in which they live. On the other hand, the fighting capacity of the Kurdish Peshmerga was quite overstated. Their military skills were overblown by a natural sympathy for the Kurdish revolutionaries and fighters for independence. For example, the left-wing European press (such as the French “Liberation”) loves stories about the women’s battalions of Peshmerga (which are so photogenic!). That coverage was copied by Bulgarian media. The reality is different. When it comes to fighting, the Peshmerga sometimes lose. They are not interested in defeating the enemy. Their leaders such as Barzani, seek only to win new political and economic positions on the territory of Iraqi Kurdistan and nothing more.

In general, if there is any specific plan for Mosul, then for Rakka the alleged scenarios are extremely suspicious from a military point of view, and from a political point of view are not realizable. There is already information that 900 jihadists have left Mosul and fled toward Syria. They intermingled with civilians leaving the city. In Mosul only the second and third tier DAESH commanders are left. The big problem with the storming of the city, besides the many civilian casualties, will be a large refugee wave that can reach Bulgaria. Generally, the battle for Mosul is formed as a military and political show, but the main players on the field have intentions with long-term consequences – it is about redrawing the entire region.

Does the US seriously they want to deal with DAESH or is it just a show? Because it is funny to observe how a country which claims to have the most powerful army in the world, lost so much time in a hopeless effort to chase away a handful of jihadis.

The attack on Mosul can be seen through the prism of globalization. There is another hypothesis. Do not forget that in June 2014, the city was handed over to the jihadists without a fight. The special forces of the United States left to the terrorists heavy military equipment, armor, ammunition, some very badly guarded bases for supply, and half a billion dollars in cash in several banks in Mosul. So DAESH procured modern weapons and considerable financial resources. Now they are looking for a decorative victory in Mosul to maintain globalism and Pan-Americanism in the face of Hillary Clinton. This is the reason to believe information that about 1.2 billion dollars is offered to bribe the leaders of the jihadists to leave Mosul.

Why cant the US and Russia Reach an Agreement in Syria?

Boyan Chukov

Analysts believe that the goal is not primarily to transfer jihadists from Mosul to Aleppo and Rakka, but for DAESH fighters to be transferred to northern Afghanistan, where weapons are stored in seven (again) poorly protected US bases. There are serious suspicions that the US special forces will once more try to play in Afghanistan, the elegant scheme of June 2014 in Mosul, with the transfer of weapons in a theatrical way. The placement of DAESH in Afghanistan will allow the jihadists to deploy an offensive line on Herat-Mara with the task to reaching the port of Turkmenbashi (Krasnovodsk) in Turkmenistan and to continue their offensive along the Caspian Sea toward Kazakhstan and the Russian Volga region.

What tasks would DAESH jihadists aim to accomplish in the region of the former Soviet Union?

They can destroy the plans of Ashgabat and Beijing for energy and transport infrastructure in Central Asia. They can destroy the not favorable to the US, Qatar and China, gas pipeline project Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI), whose implementation was launched in 2015 and which is expected to be commissioned in 2019. A strategic goal of China is to receive Turkmenistani gas only for their needs, to benefit the construction of the Economic belt of the New Silk road.

For its part the US are trying to deprive Beijing of oil and gas from Central Asia, and for India to be held in check with natural gas from Qatar. DAESH advancement in Turkmenistan will solve this strategic task for Washington. Remember that this year jihadists performed intelligence missions on the border of Afghanistan with Turkmenistan, then in the Kazakh city of Aktyubinsk. A DAESH tactical force chased away all available forces meant for the protection of the Turkmenistan border. They found that in the depth of 80 km, resistance was absent. And then the terrorists went back into northern Afghanistan. In Aktyubinsk, local jihadists illegal eliminated the security of military equipment to the Kazakh Spetsnaz Regiment. They did not continue the attack. They retreated and hid.

Generally, it should be clear that terrorism and jihadists are a means to achieve geostrategic objectives. Ever since the days when the Red Army was in Afghanistan, Islamists have shown that with the procurement of modern weapons, they can be an excellent tool for achieving specific political and economic goals. DAESH is like an irregular army of those who “cultivated” and directed them toward the “correct” direction. Note that some jihadists are called the “Islamic State”. This is meant to influence public opinion that they are a quasi-state entity. This is a thesis that serves those who created Islamic radicals. Remember that the former CIA General Petraeus, appealed for working with al-Qaeda in Syria. And not just him. There were exotic ideas to invite DAESH to the UN. On the other hand, Russia, China and other countries against which “Islamic terrorism” is used, methodically call DAESH a “banned terrorist organization”. As they say, by their name you will know them!

In the operation in Mosul participate extremely diverse powers including Turkey, which has a historical sentiment towards the regions of the former Ottoman Empire. What are the goals of Erdogan in this battle? Is he waging a real war vs DAESH, or is Turkish military operations simply meant to restructure the region?

I would like to draw attention to the fact that in Syria and Iraq, Turkey acts primarily in the rigorously pursuit of its national interests. Turkey is a NATO member but does not synchronize its actions with the coalition led by the United States. This gives reason to the world’s mainstream media and some of our analysts, to argue that Ankara is almost an ally of Moscow. An absolutely manipulative thesis. Moscow and Ankara are only situational partners. On some issues, yes. In others, however, Turkey is a partner of the United States, Saudi Arabia or Qatar. Nothing more. Ankara plays its uncompromising geostrategic game and is not a vassal of anyone, including the Americans. Who wants to present Turkey in what way in the Great Game is another matter. A question of propaganda. Washington continues trying to overthrow Recep Erdogan.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan formally highlights the Turkish priorities in Syrian territory. The fact that Russia, Iran and Syria turn a blind eye to the “Euphrates shield” once again confirms the temporary arrangements between them and Turkey. Moscow, Tehran and Damascus do not interfere with Ankara when it conduct its operation. Turkey’s officially stated objectives in northern Syria, ie cities and Bab Al manbij, are real goals, not declarative. The conquest of the Turkish army in these two cities can liquidate the chances of the Syrian Kurds to unite the territories of Rozhava and Afrin. Thus averting the threat to the territorial integrity of Turkey by Kurds, backed by the United States. It is also obvious that before Recep Tayyip Erdogan a “red line” is drawn that he must not cross. Ankara should not pose a front, north of Aleppo, or interfere with the final assault to capture the city.

And so there is no doubt, the Syrians threatened to shoot down Turkey’s planes, if they continue intensive bombing south of the town of El Mar. In practice, the Turkish president was forced to publicly guarantee the Russian-Iranian-Syrian coalition, that he has not forgotten about his duties, and that the Turkish army should not approach Aleppo, despite periodic attempts.

Since Turkey largely complies with Russia and the US, is there ever an opportunity for its own moves?

I think that the analysis of Turkish foreign policy should always bear in mind that our southeastern neighbor moves in its desired direction. Turkey is “armed” with the ideology of neo-Ottomanism. It varies between moderate and radical Islamization in the confessional plan. If Recep Erdogan came out of this framework, he ​​will be removed from those forces in Turkey who gave him power in the country. As the French say, the Turkish President does not cause neither the “rain or nice weather” in Ankara. His demonization is a matter of information-psychological war, led by his opponents who are unhappy with the too autonomous conduct of Ankara within NATO. To demonize Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and to not see the ruling clique in Riyadh is supreme hypocrisy and cynicism. This indicates only a certain geopolitical preferences. Nothing more.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan is looking near Mosul, to position Ankara around the oil fields in the area. He wants to position Turkey there, before Iraq fragments into individual new state or quasi-state formations. In Turkey came out a map, on which part of Iraqi territory is included within the Turkish state. Mosul, Kirkuk and other smaller Iraqi cities. Is this the “big Neo-Ottoman heart” or a pragmatic and aggressive Turkish foreign policy is a matter of preference. The essence is the same.

In recent weeks we see the return of US policy in major Turkish institutions in Ankara. NATO decided to transfer planes, AWACS radars in Turkey. Turkish military operation in Syria after the fall of Bab El will be continued in the direction of Manbij and Rakka. Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: “After the capture of El Bab we will go to Manbij and Rakka. These actions I discussed with US President Barack Obama during a telephone conversation yesterday evening.” Our informational-analytical field misses an extraordinary fact. Recently the Russian Federation deployed “Iskander” missiles in Armenia. This dramatically changes the situation in the Middle East. This is a warning to Ankara. “Iskander” are tactical nuclear weapons. So much for the “tandem” Putin-Erdogan.

Neighbors of Ankara should think about this. The Greeks are taking it into account, but our goverment in Sofia is behaving like a Turkish Sanjak from the times of the Ottoman Empire. Bulgaria should seek maximum neighborly relations with Turkey, but not at the expense of the Bulgarian national interests. What’s needed is more dignity and less “servitude” by Sofia. Bulgaria needs a critical revision of its Balkan policy, if it intends to defend its national interests. With the goverment we have at the moment, the Foreign Ministry can only be a function of divergent foreign interests. Bulgarian foreign policy is illogical and chaotic. Sofia can’t please everyone in Washington, Brussels, Ankara and others. Whomever wants to understand the strategy of Bulgarian foreign policy will find it very difficult. There is simply no such!

Parallel to this there is bombings in Aleppo. The West criticizes Russia, even speaking of new sanctions. What really is the difference between what is happening in Aleppo and Mosul?

The situations in Aleppo and Mosul are not alike. They are radically different. In Aleppo, the Syrians, together with the Russians and Iranians are cleansing the city from jihadists mainly from “Nusra” whose predecessor in the genesis is Osama bin Laden and his followers, launched and trained by the CIA. It is noteworthy that the global media raised a huge noise. There was an avalanche of unproven allegations of multiple civilians killed. There are civilian casualties. War is war. But the truth is in the comparison. Nobody says that victims among the civilian population in the west of Aleppo, are more than the eastern part of the city, where jihadists are holed up. The thugs from “Nusra” regularly shoot gas tanks in the direction of west Aleppo, filled with small metal objects. Most often nails. Victims are entirely civilians. But this fact does not excite the “world democratic community.”

The dispute continues of which militants in eastern Aleppo are “moderate opposition” and which are not. There’s constantly serious charges against Russians and Syrians for carrying out “war crimes,” “genocide,” “barbaric acts” against civilians. You could make an interesting parallel between the events in Syria and in Ukraine. The media’s behavior to what is happening in the Donbass, in the fighting in Debaltseve and the airport in Donetsk are very similar to those in Aleppo. The reason is that inside the “cauldrons” in Aleppo and in Donbass, there’s not only American special forces, but also special forces from Western Europe, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and others. In all three cases Polish special forces are present. This is the reason for the hypocrisy in the coverage of events in Aleppo and Mosul.

During the bombing of the Iraqi city of Ramadi earlier this year, 80% of residents were killed, and 15,000 buildings were destroyed. But this somehow passed quietly. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, etc. Not to mention the numerous killed “by mistake” by the Americans, Saudis or anyone else – weddings, funeral processions, schools and hospitals. God forbid we go back a little further back in history during the division of India and Pakistan. 25 million refugees and 5 million dead. Did you hear talk of genocide, war crimes, barbarism? No! Currently, the global media is informing that around Mosul, Shiite militias backed by Iran, carrie out pogroms on civilians and other armed formations fighting DAESH. Again, a selective approach, purely on a geopolitical basis, but “wrapped” in the shell of conflict between Shiites and Sunnis.

Why cant the US and Russia reach an agreement in Syria?

This is the fundamental question. There’s a philosophical, theological and geopolitical aspects. Everyone understands that in Syria, the masks were removed. The confusing picture in Syria, in which were embroiled DAESH, Peshmerga, Shiite militias, Sunni tribal militias, Turkmen, Assyrians, Sunnis, Shiites, Yazidi, Uighurs and what not, is finally clear. The US and the jihadists are ready to jointly fight against the legitimate government in Damascus, and respectively against Russia. The true goals are revealed. The world press openly writes about the risk of direct confrontation between Russians and Americans. Authoritative “experts”, who were previously publicly saying that terrorists are independent of Washington, today are explaining how Americans are supplying jihadists with arms against Assad and are threatening to incite them to be used against Russian cities. It became obvious that there is no coalitions against DAESH. There is the Russian army and its Syrian, Iranian, Chinese and other allies. They fight real international terrorism, which is used as a tool to solve geostrategic goals by those who cultivate, arm, fund and treat wounded jihadists.

The structure of the world conflict in Syria crystallized. But the reasons for it are not fully comprehended. The explanation that the global hegemon is once again “exporting democracy” is not very convincing. Why the confrontation in Syria? It is not the most important country in the world. Egypt, which is a key country in the Muslim world, missed the bearded “fighters for democracy.” The USA failed there. The “Arab Spring” failed in the land of the pharaohs. In Cairo, to power came a strong but not a pro-American government. But the US swallowed this bitter pill.

By 2010, Syria was almost the most pro-Western country in the Middle East except for Israel. US Vice President Joe Biden dined selected fine dishes in restaurants, with the family of Bashar Assad. But then suddenly something happened. Americans announced in 2011, that Bashar Assad is the spawn of hell, and send to Syria bearded “fighters for democracy.” Many experts on the Middle East list various reasons for this abrupt change in US policy towards Damascus. On closer analysis it becomes clear that the reasons are only an annex to something far more important. Initially, I was also buried in the “details” of the Syrian conflict. The most basic argument is the oil and gas factor. Syria’s proven oil reserves are 2.5 billion barrels, which is 0.1% of the world reserves. Indeed, several years before the war, Norwegian companies found in Syria four large oil fields in the town of Banias, which can make Syrian yield close to that of Kuwait, but the real yield stayed the same. Intervention of this type is more reasonable in a country such as Venezuela which has 17.5 percent of the world’s oil reserves. And the Middle East has far better “bites” such as Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE. They have an abundance of oil and unstable state formations. Remove the sheikhs from power and start pumping “black gold”!

Experts point out another reason for the aggression against Syria. Damascus refused to let through its territory, a pipeline from Qatar to Europe in 2009. They signed an agreement with Tehran to build a gas pipeline from Iran through Syrian territory to Europe. That can be a serious motive for Doha. But not a fundamental reason for the United States. The Qatari gas pipeline project could serve as a bluff or pretext, but it can’t be a major cause for a years long terrorist campaign against the legitimate government in Damascus. In the last 10-15 years it has become fashionable to label all conflicts with an oil and gas trace. However, this is a one-dimensional approach. Like the monetarist approach to the economy, in world politics, oil matters only as a tool. Same with terrorism. During World War II, Hitler wanted to quickly put his hands on Azerbaijani oil. But not for the oil itself, but to cut off Moscow from oil and to destroy the USSR. Calling the tool a “purpose” is a manipulative replacement because its apart from the heart of the matter.

Less significant as an explanation of the conflict in Syria, are the arguments for the internal contradictions, conflicts in the region, the spread of Islamism and the collapse of Iraq as a state. The same can be said of the antagonism between Sunnis and Shiites. There are many examples that refute this thesis. Suffice it to point to the key Sunni country Egypt, to significantly lighten the argument that chaos in the Middle East is primarily a result of the battle between Sunni and Shia. Cairo along with Iran, supports Bashar Assad’s Alawites and builds serious military-political relations with Moscow. Other reasons pointed out as reasons for the war in Syria are the overcrowding of the region, the deficiency of drinking water and so on.

So far you reject the most popular perceptions as the causes for the war in Syria. Is there something deeper or less known to explain this war that took so many lives?

There is a serious, but not obvious explanation which is avoided by many analysts because of their ignorance of the working methods of the special security services. It is no coincidence that the great figures in American and Western European have gone through the academic community, then big business and not least through the special services. This career allows you to accumulate knowledge that enables you to make “holographic” analyzes of the situation in the world. And to prepare geostrategy for 50-100 years ahead.

The collapse of the Syrian state is required by the US to finally trigger chaos in the Middle East, which the Caliphate will then bring across Eurasia and Europe. This will allow Washington to eliminate alternative military, political and economic centers, primarily Russia and China. Consequently by wreaking havoc in Asia and Africa, and as a result of structures organized by Soros, Europe fell into a very difficult migrant situation (because of the betrayal of European elites). Further terrorist acts by jihadists in major European countries, worsened the economic attractiveness of the European economy. The dollar system in the world, is in critical condition and can not withstand the debt overload. A war in Syria is a handy tool to destabilize the American competitors in the economic race. This is why Beijing out of the role of a neutral observer in the Syrian crisis. In Syria there are 1000 fighters of the Chinese special forces, pursuing and destroying jihadists of Uighur origin. An agreement was signed between Damascus and Beijing. Chinese presence on Syrian territory like that of the Russians and Iranians is in line with international law.

The economic explanation is not good enough as Russia could’t threaten the US in this regard?

The conflict between Russia and the US is radically different. It is not economic. There is no way the Russian economy, even with all its successes in the past 15 years, is threatening the US economy into which is substantially included the Chinese economy. Geopolitical alliances such as the BRICS could potentially collapse the Jamaican system and the Washington consensus, but this is pure economics. This is a financial projection of military and political confrontation.

Then why is Russia at the epicenter of the global conflict that could turn into a global war?

Some time ago Russia blocked the path of the global projects of Napoleon and Hitler. Today Moscow is a huge barrier to Pax Americana. There are destroying international terrorism created to accomplish US geostrategic goals. To comprehend what is happening in the world, we should disregard the employees in the White House. Presidents, secretaries of state and the like are not the real managers of the global project Pax Americana. At first, we tend to see those who actually make the decisions as pragmatic human beings. They are people who have ideals and higher goals. Messianism in US foreign policy is recorded in documents, and regularly declared by American public figures. Talk of the exceptionalism of America as an ideal free society, a projector for democracy and the last hope of the Earth are not empty words, beautiful slogans, or advertising appeals, but a feeling of some special force on the planet. Many Hollywood movies, have for years hammered into people’s heads the idea that only Americans can save the world from evil aliens, terrible Russians, the vile Chinese, the brutal Serbs or some other miscellaneous semi-mystical monsters in fantasy movies that have crept into peoples heads. Already in the XVIII century, the Protestant preacher Jonathan Edwards preached that the status of God’s chosen people, passed from the Jews to the Americans. Americans proclaim, in essence, to be a chosen people and their opponents receive the status of “absolute evil”. US national interest automatically receive a soteriological status (Soteriology – the notion of salvation through Christ), US universality and value system becomes a sacred and religious complex,”spiritual obviousness” and a “moral imperative.” In the twentieth century Ronald Reagan called the USSR an “empire of evil” and one unambiguously defines the United States as an “empire of good”. Note! Bush, Clinton and Obama in this regard have not invented anything new, they just use different words during their public appearances to express the same American messianism. The whole foreign policy of the United States as an “exporter of democracy” and world gendarme is a natural expression of ideology described. The seizure of resources, oil, gas and financial benefits are only an additional “bonus” to this instrument for the realization of the declared ideals. In 2003, US President George Bush Jr. explained that his decision to invade Iraq was because “God told him to”. Understanding of American messianism is a long conversation.

It can not be denied that the United States until recently were carriers of a genuine democratic values. And human freedoms. Sorry for the cliches. But compared to communism, all the shortcomings of the US look like roses …

The problem for humanity lies in the way Americans interpret the concept of “freedom.” What the Yankees refer to as “freedom” is the absolute arbitrariness of the economic man in all possible directions. In general, the whole world should become an ideal market for goods and services, where man himself is both one and the other. Money is the equivalent of all acts of humanity and its main essence. There is no need to be smart to realize that this concept of “freedom” and “progress” is absolutely contrary to the Christian way of development. This is deadly to mankind. On Syrian territory we have a giant battle between “freedom of capital” and “freedom of spirit.” The events are loaded with extraordinary symbolism. Christianity was conceived in the Middle East Mediterranean, and after hundreds of years they want to bury it on the same land. This is necessary to comprehend the conflict between Russia and the United States.

The war in Syria has shown that Russia can fight for a long time. Russian military spending to protect the legitimate government in Damascus, is about 10 times smaller than the US and are 5 times more effective. New weapons systems of the Russian Federation were shown in Syria. It turned out that Russian military technology in many cases is better than those of the US. This means that right now there will be no war between Russia and NATO.

An agreement was reached with Syria to provide for permanent use the Russia Air Force Base and Naval Hmeymim in Tartus. How does this change the balance of power in the region?

I think Syria unfortunately can no longer exist in the form that it was in 2011. There is a process of fragmenting Syrian territory, and Iraqi one. Each of the major global and regional players is trying to take advantage of the situation created. Russia apparently has a military-political position in this part of Syria, where over 70% of the population lives. This is the Syrian Mediterranean coastline, which has huge geopolitical value. With Tartus and Hmeymim, the Russians are gaining power in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Well, Moscow is far behind the Americans who have over 760 military bases worldwide. But if Russia wants to restore its role as a global player, something should be initiated … Syria for starters is an excellent place!

What caused the imbalance in the reaction of the Bulgarian government, to the scandalous territorial claims by Erdogan for Western Thrace, compared the statement by Russian MP Tolstoy? Moreover, the statements don’t have equal weight.

This question has a simple explanation. Overall, most Bulgarian media totally relays the news mainstream of global media such as CNN, NBC, Fox news, Euronews and others. Currently running is a powerful propaganda campaign of demonization of Russia and Vladimir Putin. There is hardly a more dependent vassal within the EU than Bulgaria. The medical case “Rosen Plevneliev”, the tragicomic vaudeville “Kristalina Georgieva”, the slapstick of a person holding the post of Foreign Minister of Bulgaria, and the deafening silence in all cases in which Bulgarian national interests are damaged by the Prime Minister … what does it say to you? The Bulgarian government is heavily dependent on external factors and should be seen as a “hollow resonator” of CNN. If you want to know what the Bulgarian official position is on an international issue, then watch CNN, NBC, Fox news, Euronews, etc. and learn the position of the Bulgarian Government and the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry. How can the world respect us? I begin to think that the key figures of the Bulgarian government are on their posts because “outside forces” have serious compromises on them, mostly from a financial and economic nature.

Can we assume that the words of President Erdogan verbalize a trend in the attitude and behavior of Turkey toward Bulgaria?

I do not think Ankara has some specific foreign policy toward Bulgaria. Bulgaria is just a territory for the application of the Neo-Ottoman policy of present-day Turkey. The attitude towards us is the same as it is to other countries that were part of the Ottoman Empire. Some time ago the behavior of the Turkish ambassador in Sofia, Suleiman Gokcen commented on, during the scandal and the expulsion of Lutfi Mestan from DPS. There was even a proposal that he should be declared “persona non grata”. If the Bulgarian ambassador in Ankara worked like the Turkish one in Sofia, then I would be very pleased. If the Turks expel him, I would reward him when he returned to Sofia. But what is happening now? The Bulgarian Ambassador to Ankara pretends to be Bulgarian, and at critical moments when she has to take a public position … she organizes a fashion shows at our embassy in Ankara. Because the Bulgarian Ambassador in Ankara was appointed by the same factor, that appointed the person in the Foreign Ministry in Sofia.

Instead of dealing with serious problems in our foreign policy institution, we are dealing with Maya Dobreva’s hat, our Bulgarian Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg. Previously, she was an ambassador to Montenegro. Why did’t anyone think of commenting on her clothing then? She has always had this style. A simple trick to distract public attention from important issues for the Bulgarian nation. Does anyone know personally the specific skills of Mrs. Maya Dobreva? I’ve worked with her as a counselor to two Bulgarian premieres. I can most responsibly say that she loves her job, does it very well, and is a prepared diplomat and always rigorously and professionally performs her duties.

As to the Bulgarian-Turkish bilateral relations, I think we need to have excellent relations with all of our neighbors, including Turkey. But all bilateral relations should have a “red line” that must not be crossed. Behind that line are Bulgarian national interests.

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