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Why Is Turkey In Afghanistan? – OpEd

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By Ihsan Bal

The death of twelve Turkish soldiers in a helicopter accident in Afghanistan in March provoked a fierce debate inside Turkey about the presence of Turkish forces in that country. There are those who say that Turkey should not be in Afghanistan at all; others claim that Turkey is just being dragged along in the wake of the U.S. and the Western world. Yet others try to list the grounds on why Turkish soldiers are there.

People who were only reminded of the presence of Turkish forces in Afghanistan by the deaths of the twelve soldiers and who then discussed it in a very restricted security framework have put up fierce opposition. However, there are three basic flaws in the argument that Turkey should pull out of Afghanistan.

The first flaw is that it ignores the fact that Turkey is in Afghanistan because it has responsibilities arising from its historical ties there. The second, it fails to notice that Turkey’s presence in Afghanistan arises from a comprehensive overall strategy involving infrastructure work, industrial plants, and setting up educational and democratic institutions. Third, Turkey’s international mission and responsibility are being subtly misrepresented as serving other states, giving rise to an accusation of just being their subcontractor.

First Reason: Historical Links

Let us start with the first set of arguments: Relations between Turkey and Afghanistan were among the closest in the history of the Turkish Republic. Afghan volunteers stood by the Turks during the War of Independence and the help given by the Afghan people amid difficult conditions forms the basis for the sense of friendship and brotherliness between our two peoples. Afghan King Amanullah Khan heads the list of the foreign heads of state whom Ataturk received as guests in Ankara, and this is one of the most important indicators of our political affinity.

Our historical relations are made deeper by the fact that contacts were not just confined to the political level and that Turkey then as now gave assistance to Afghanistan in order to help its development in fields such as health, education and military affairs. Certainly that assistance has to be considered in the context of its own time and has to be acknowledged that in terms of impact, it fell far short of achieving the great results that were desired. But it is worth recognizing, when asking why Turkey is in Afghanistan today, that the answer to it involves historical roots and a continuity of good will and intentions today that stretches back to the founders of the republic.

Second Reason: Afghanistan’s Stability

The second answer to the question of why Turkey is in Afghanistan enables us to grasp an important truth which separates Turkey from other countries. Since 2001, Turkey has unwaveringly insisted that it should not station an offensive force in Afghanistan. Just how right it was to have this attitude can be seen better than ever when one turns and reviews the past.

Another important aspect which deserves to be thought about is that Turkey’s soldiers there have not carried out a single attack in Afghanistan, and the Turkish soldiers that died lost their lives in a helicopter accident; because the reasons for the Turkish presence there differentiate it from the other countries and are focused on the reconstruction of Afghanistan. To this end, Turkey has trained more than one thousand Afghan soldiers over the last decade as well as several thousand Afghan police officers. It has attached special importance to creating the security infrastructure necessary to ensure that Afghanistan does not sink into chaos after 2014.

Turkey has also undertaken comprehensive work to allow Afghanistan to take charge of its future. The areas involved include the transfer of know-how in agriculture, vocational education and apprentice training, and educating a cadre of administrators.
In terms of a percentage of its national income, Turkey is the country providing the most financial aid to Afghanistan. Since 2006, more than two hundred projects have been in progress, worth a total of $27 million. The total value of projects and other works carried out since 2001 is known to be above $307 million. But what is more meaningful than the figures is the fact that the purpose of Turkey being in Afghanistan and the meaning of its presence there are very different from those of other countries.
The hospitals, schools, roads, bridges, and water channels built by Turkey have won the hearts of the Afghan people. They are a result of this different approach and arise within the framework of a belief that Afghanistan should be run by Afghans. The Afghanistan that Turkey strives for is the one that will come after 2014. It aims to ensure that there is no return to civil war and is designed to create a basis which ensures that the capacity of the Afghan state is great enough to ensure lasting stability.

Between 1979 and 2010, this country experienced disasters, massacres, tribal wars and foreign intervention, and that should be of major help in appreciating how significant and important Turkey’s approach is. The war against the Russians was won but after it came a great downfall.

The need to ensure that the war against the Westerners, which allegedly is being won today, does not become a tragedy afterward has to be regarded as the main problem.

Because of that, Turkey’s work there does not just enjoy the approval of the Afghan authorities, more than that, it appears very significant to the Afghan people.

It might be said that Turkey is a country which has a place in the hearts of Afghans, and at a time when the Afghans wanted everyone else to leave their country, many specialists believed that they would appeal to the Turks to stay. Mr. Hikmet Çetin, who was NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan between 2004 and 2006, says on the basis of his personal observation that this call has a very realistic base to it.

Third Reason: Turkey’s International Responsibility

Another reason which can be given in response to the question of why we are in Afghanistan is formed by international obligations and the responsibilities of Turkey as it grows. People who have never left their village may not know it, but Turkey is a regional power and it is a country which dispenses about $2 billion in aid and contributes to international peace and stability.

Turkey is an international player which helps ensure stability in the Balkans by fostering contacts between Serbs, Bosnians, Croats, and Albanians. Turkey’s return to the Balkans has been largely accepted by the different sides. It is engaged in comparable efforts in the Middle East and North Africa. Developments in Syria and the April 2 summit remind everyone that there cannot be a settlement in the region without Turkey.

Turkey is also at the forefront of attempts to solve the problems between India and Pakistan and Pakistan and Afghanistan. But it would be most misleading to suppose that a result could be obtained just by relying on easy rhetoric without becoming actively involved. It is certain that we in Turkey have to design policies appropriate for a state which is growing with great endeavors and for its vision, and we should accept our responsibility.

It may also be worth reminding readers that in his speech on March 23 this year to the Military Academy, Prime Minister Erdoğan stressed the fact that there are Turkish military cemeteries in 35 countries around the world. It sounds so easy to say that, but 35 countries shelter Turkish war dead in their soil.

In short, Turkey’s international commitments, its contributions to global peace and its will to resolve global problems are the essential reasons why it is in Afghanistan. When one adds historical responsibility, the principle of pacta sunt servanda and the reconstruction of Afghanistan to those reasons, then Turkey’s presence in that country ceases to be a matter of preference and becomes obligatory.

Author:
Ihsan Bal

Head of USAK Science Committee

JTW

JTW

JTW - the Journal of Turkish Weekly - is a respected Turkish news source in English language on international politics. Established in 2004, JTW is published by Ankara-based Turkish think tank International Strategic Research Organization (USAK).

15 thoughts on “Why Is Turkey In Afghanistan? – OpEd

  • Avatar
    May 28, 2012 at 7:52 pm
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    US may provoke escalation of situation around Iran – expert.
    Arayik Sargsyan, academician, President of geopolitical academy.– The U.S. may provoke escalation of situation around Iran, Vice-Chairman of the Russian Geopolitics Problems Academy Arayik Sargsyan said at a press conference on Tuesday.
    According to him, statements by the U.S. senior officials testify that information war is already in progress. Moreover, Iranian nuclear scientists and experts die, thus terrorist attacks are committed in the territory of the Islamic Republic. The expert believes there can be several scenarios of clashes: Saudi-Arabia-Iran, Turkey-Iran or Israel-Iran.
    “Will Israel attack Iran? Everyone expects provocations, not necessary in the Strait of Hormuz. It is possible to occur in the territory of the U.S. Something resembling 9/11, as a result Iranian special service will be blamed,” the expert said.
    As for the question if Azerbaijan will risk taking what it does not possess and launch the second Karabakh campaign, the expert did not rule out such possibility adding that Baku is openly speaking about Iranian territories.

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  • Avatar
    July 16, 2012 at 4:28 pm
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    The leader of Turkey’s Erdogan in Moscow together with President Putin will redeemed mythical North European gas pipeline NABUCCO “on Syria’s President Assad . ARAYIK SARGSYAN, academician, President of the Academy of geopolitics. http://gundem.bugun.com.tr

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    August 5, 2012 at 6:40 am
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    Syria: the collapse of Islam and the victory of Kurdistan. ARAYIK SARGSYAN, academician, President of the Academy of geopolitics. The so-called “Arab spring“, civil war, destruction and chaos in the Arab countries demonstrate the need for the reformation of Islam. Islam will not be able to protect their followers from the constant and endless civil wars and millions of deaths of civilians. The collapse of traditional capitalism in Western countries as a result of the decline of Christian values, destroyed the harmony and balance in relation to Christianity with the Islamic world.,. Evidence of this is the revival of the Kurds, the establishment and expansion of Kurdistan. After the external military intervention against a member of the UN of Syria, Turkey, U.S., France, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Lebanon began a civil war in Syria. As a result of the Kurds. Kurds today took total control all Northern and North-Eastern Syria. http://www.tetrebi.org/?p=29527&cpage=1#comment-3288

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    August 5, 2012 at 6:41 am
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    Eretz Israel and the future of Kurdistan. Diplomacy is the art of “justification for war and acts of dictators“. (The Author). ARAYIK SARGSYAN, academician, President of the Academy of geopolitics. Nowadays not only reviewing the results of the second world war, but also the alteration of boundaries of the countries that emerged after the first world war. But if you look beyond the first world has cross over the world hegemony of the British Empire and the second world war led to the throne of the present world dictator-U.S.A. These days, and especially after the explosion in a building in New York (there is even an organizer of these explosions) September 11, 2001, we are witnessing the decline of the United States as a global hegemon. And that can mean and rethinking world order that emerged from the second world war. United States military aggression by NATO against Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and now Syria is proof. http://www.irontimes.com/archives/23275#comment-11068

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    August 8, 2012 at 6:14 am
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    Neither Kissinger no Sargsyan can’t say when the war against Iran will begin .
    Interview with President of the Academy of Geopolitical Sciences,academician Arayik Sargsyan.
    Mardik.am-Mr. SARGSYAN, judging from the regional processes, it is likely that they will lead to a military aggression against Iran?
    Mardik.am-Mr. SARGSYAN, judging from the regional processes, it is likely that they will lead to a military aggression against Iran? Araik Sargsyan – this question not only I, but also Mr Kissinger and Brzezinski are unable to respond. In fact, the number one issue is an Iranian-Israeli conflict, which is philosophical, geopolitical significance. Secondly, within the countries of the Arab League is a struggle for leadership. Knowing the Arab mentality, taking place in the Arab world, I can say that once such a leader was Saddam Hussein and Muammar al-Gaddafi. Now there are none. The problem is this: who will replace them?
    http://www.dailysquib.co.uk/index.php?news=3089

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  • Avatar
    August 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm
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    About the public interest United States in Russia during the reign of Putin.
    Arayik Sargsyan, academician, President of the Geopolitical Academy.
    The challenges of the new United States Ambassador in Moscow, Mr. Mcfaul. Objectives of the new Ambassador of the United States in Moscow mr. Mcfauls is an attempt to connect with the opposition forces into a single managed the team. And the opposition “asset” to bargain with the Kremlin. The United States gain admission to the Russian monopolies, oil gas stocks in Russia. The United States is ready to allot more than FRS 2.0 trillion United States dollars. The FRS has printed money already! Left presses and will force the Kremlin accepted their terms. At the same time, the new Ambassador of the United States in Moscow is “understandable” explains Moscow’s for buy of American securities . We know that with the departure of Russia Kudrin did not maintain a policy of investing into the economy of the United States. He was a colleague of Surkov’s joint Russian-American project of the political reform of the Russian society. And as Mr. Surkov by making the Unitedhttp://pravoirk.ru/putin-stavlennik-ssha/

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    August 9, 2012 at 9:49 am
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    War scenarios? Arayik Sargsyan, academician, President of geopolitical academy. Aryaik Sargsyan discloses details of US, NATO’s war against Serbia During the US and NATO war against Serbia, Russia refused to support the Serbian side, bound by the Chernomyrdin-Gore contract, deputy chairman of the Russian Academy for Geopolitical Issues Araik Sargsyan stated. As he told a news conference in Yerevan, the contract forbade Russia from providing S-300 anti-missile systems, in exchange for a promise of a presidential post to then RF vice president Victor Chernomyrdin. On March 24, 1999, US and NATO forces began an attack on Serbia. The bombing went for 78 days. During 78 days of air strikes approximately 2,500 people died, including 557 civilians, while some 12,500 were wounded. The administration at that time estimated the material damage at USD 100 billion. A massive campaign of ethnic cleansing was cited as the reason for the intervention. The NATO bombing was conducted bypassing the United Nations. =========================== Stop NATOhttp://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato

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    August 9, 2012 at 5:38 pm
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    Americans need new enemy to divert people’s attention.
    Arayik Sargsyan, academician, President of geopolitical academy.
    – US, Israel, UK, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are engaged in propaganda war against Iran, said political analyst from Russian Geopolitic’s Problems Arayik Sargsyan. “It is too early to say whether the war will turn into hostilities. Iran is not Iraq or Libya, it is a powerful country with a mighty army. Super powers realize that war against Iran is fraught with serious consequences,” he told Armenian News. The expert stressed that in the long term perspective the final goal of U.S. is China. “The goal is to weaken China’s economy. It is a game. May Iran be the first link in a chain? I doubt, as there is Pakistan and Afghanistan. The withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan is being discussed. Americans are fleeing,” he added. The Americans are scared being at home, the expert said adding that the events in Oakland (California) were not widely spread by media outlets. “Power was seized and the flag burnt in the city. Police was firing at people, many were injured. The economic crisis is due. Americans need a new enemy, for instance Iran or Pakistan, to divert people’s attention from domestic problems,” he concluded.http://www.zvezda.ru/web/comments26020.htm

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    August 10, 2012 at 4:50 pm
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    War in Syria: Geopolitical benefits Russia.
    ARAYIK SARGSYAN, academician, President of the Academy of geopolitics.
    Exclusive interview with academician Arayik Sargsyan: newspaper “Yerkramas”, Russia.

    According to “Yerkramas”-you mentioned the war which Turkey launched against Syria. Please explain what you mean?

    Academician says-There in Syria, we had information that the Kurds were in part of the territory of Syria, began to create the so-called Western Kurdistan. In reality, the Kurds had a verbal agreement with Bashar Al-Assad that they will not demand the independence or separation from Syria until authorities establish order in the country. But last week, Turkey’s Foreign Minister flew to Irbil and Davitoglu agreed with Iraqi Kurdish leader Barzani Mahsudom on separate world, meaning that commissioning of the Kurds did not resist the Turkish army and air force in Syria.

    According to “Yerkramas”–As Syrian conflict could influence the situation around Iran?
    Academician says-regardless of the outcome of the situation in Syria, can guarantee that Israel’s military strikes on Iran. It comes from the real balance of power in the region. Israel has no real authority, neither the attacking military-strategic arsenal. we are well aware that their goals are in Syria and Russia, Iran and China. It is well understood and the Syrian leadership. Assad knows where ends the interests of Syria and Iran’s interests begin. Iran’s interest not to give reality to the so-called “big Sunni space” that can be created, if falls power Assad. This will mean that the Sunnis will have a long border and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf, which would be a great blocking geopolitical axis between Iran and the rest of the Shiite world. And if Iran realizes that won’t be able to until the end of the support of the Syrians, will explode, “or Saudi Arabia or Qatar Bahrain. We understand that the real enemy of Iran in the Middle East is not Israel, even though it may sound absurd! Public enemy No. 1 in Iran and Saudi Arabia is Sunni. There is an information field, where the war between Iran and Israel, and there are different, the actual field of war being waged between the House Sauditov and Iran. The reason for this war, that according to our data, oil reserves in Saudi Arabia oil reserves running out and remains up to the year 2025. That’s why they turned their face to the West, because it understands that when you are finished with the oil, they will do nothing, because all the technologies are in the West and the market is basically there.
    According to “Yerkramas”-Than to face Russia drop Asada?
    Academician says-you need to understand that any force that would come to replace the alawite in Syria, terminate all agreements with Russia and not only on the base at Tartus, but also all the economic agreement. If the Buyruks and Assad will be gone from the political arena, they will be replaced, or the Muslim Brotherhood, which are under the control of Britain, or radicals, controlled by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. If Russia will lose its last base in the Mediterranean region, it becomes a standard regional State, and by supporting the Asada, Russia will have a chance to restore its geopolitical assets and assets not only in the Middle East, but in the world as a whole. The country that will dare to openly help Syria today, now, will the geopolitical supremacy in the Middle East over the next decade. The ships of the NAVY of Britain and France have already sent to Syria. Time is very little.

    Interviewed By Tigran Tavadian
    http://www.yerkramas.org/2012/08/10/araik-sargsyan-u-rossii-eshhe-est-shansy-vosstanovit-svoi-geopoliticheskie-aktivy-i-strategicheskie-pozicii/

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  • Avatar
    August 15, 2012 at 7:41 am
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    Deputy Chief of staff of the Government of Russia Yuri Ushakov CIA agent with Putin.
    Arayik Sargsyan, academician, President of Geopolitical Academy.
    About the public interest United States in Russia during the reign of Putin.
    Deputy Chief of staff of the Government of Russia Yuri Ushakov CIA agent with Putin. The challenges of the Deputy Chief of staff Yuri Ushakov the Russian Government was trying to unity of opposition forces into a single managed the team. And the opposition “asset” started to bargain with the THE FEDERAL SECURITY SERVICE (FSS ) OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION. Objectives of the new Ambassador of the United States in Moscow mr. Mcfauls is an attempt to connect with the opposition forces into a single managed the team. And the opposition \”asset\” to bargain with the Kremlin. The United States gain admission to the Russian monopolies, oil gas stocks in Russia. The United States is ready to allot more than FRS 2.0 trillion United States dollars. The FRS has printed money already! Left presses and will force the Kremlin accepted their terms. At the same time, the new Ambassador of the United States in Moscow is “understandable” explains Moscow’s for buy of American securities . We know that with the departure of Russia Kudrin did not maintain a policy of investing into the economy of the United States. He was a colleague of Surkov’s joint Russian-American project of the political reform of the Russian society. And as Mr. Surkov by making the United States Department instruction failed the installation in parliament (State- Duma )elections, then his aid has landed a new Ambassador United States mr. Mcfaul. American project ” Putin-President” in the film. In the early days of Mr. Mcfaul realized that the situation got out of control of the United States. And in this regard He was godfather to Mr. Putin’s Kessindjers. Mr. Kessindjer together with his brother-partner Mr. Primakov met with Putin and it provided conditions for the re-election of United States (destination) Putin President of the Russian Federation. This will be the price that Russia must pay its owner-United States! Including: 1)the decision of Russia to NATO conduit at the airport “East” in Ulyanovsk,2) Russia (Putin in the person of “Rosneft”) donated oil Russia of 58 billion barrels of United States (represented by the “Exxon Moboil”). This is worth half a trillion dollars. And in addition, Putin vacated the United States from taxes and duties for the next 15 years. It eats up to the end of his presidential term. 15 June in Tuapse “Rosneft’’ and “ExxonMobil” signed agreements on the transfer of American company oil per billion one hundred thousand tons! (today it is around $ 700 billion dollars) in Western Siberia, at Vankore. The game is done! Whether still will.

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    August 16, 2012 at 10:15 am
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    US and NATO war against Russia. Arayik Sargsyan, academician, President of geopolitical academy. Arayik Sargsyan, academician, President of geopolitical academy, representative of candidate for Russian president Leonid Ivashov, said during a recent press conference that if they were allowed to take part in the elections on March 4, L. Ivashov would have great opportunities to be elected in the second phase. A. Sargsyan believes that in case of a revolution in Russia there will be a revolution in our region as well because according to him the “authorities in the region are fed from Moscow”. “There are scenarios of war in Iran, Nagorno Karabakh, Syria or other countries in the Middle East for the purpose of distraction attention from elections and results of elections,” announced the expert. He also assured that after the elections in Russia on March 4 there will be a different Russia, where the human rights will be protected. “The Russian muzhik is not an alcoholic, he wants justice. The people that gathered in the Bolotnaya square were fighting for justice,” said A. Sargsyan.http://readers.lenta.ru/news/2012/02/05/say/?95#c3765783

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  • Avatar
    August 25, 2012 at 12:54 pm
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    GEORGIA PANICS TO UNITED STATES GAVE MORE MONEY AND WEAPONS.
    ARAYIK SARGSYAN, academician, President of the Academy of geopolitics.

    “Russia has never concealed that her strategic goal is the complete control in the South Caucasus and is the dominant force in the region. If it can, it will attempt to resolve the issue by military means “South Caucasus”, – said the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia. The threat that Russia would try to use scheduled for September-October 2012, large-scale military exercises, to deny the independence and sovereignty of the State in the South Caucasus, is very real, and it is also clear that the target of attack by Russia primarily Bude, Georgia – Azerbaijan. Added to Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze in Tiflis. the Georgian authorities are waiting for assistance from the United States, podgadyvaâ Kreml′û, the Armenian authorities are waiting for assistance from the EU and as it turns out, the EU is not ready to give the Armenian authorities promised 1.5 mlrda euro.
    New Sud′uba now in the hands of President Vladimir V. Putin, Hillary Clinton and …The Emperor Of Japan.
    The European Union has postponed a meeting of donors who could support Armenia. Meeting to be held after the parliamentary elections, however, it appears that Europe was unhappy with the election and decided to postpone the meeting until the donor made positive signals before the presidential elections and not Armenia is intensifying efforts in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict resolution.
    During the last meeting in 2001, in Paris, according to liberty, 620 million were received. dollars in the form of loans and grants. For sure, Serge and Tigran Sarkisâny (President and Prime Minister) had hoped for the same, if not higher. But now have to look for other sources to cover the financial gap.
    What will happen if Europe does not give money? Will the financial crisis in the country, or simply not Serge SARGSYAN will receive enough money on the campaign trail in 2013? Most likely, the second option, because the necessary payment for State employees and retirees of International Monetary Fund directly to the Armenian budget. pours That is, this time, Europe could leave without Serzh Sarkisian campaign money.
    How much money was spent during the last parliamentary elections, you know, probably only Oviku Abrahamyan (Armenia, point guard with the Russian FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SERVICE).http://echomsk.gosdepusa.com/blog/rasmusen/908657-echo/#comments

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    August 25, 2012 at 12:54 pm
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    The leader of Turkey’s Erdogan in Moscow together with President Putin will redeemed mythical North European gas pipeline NABUCCO “on Syria’s President Assad . ARAYIK SARGSYAN, academician, President of the Academy of geopolitics. http://gundem.bugun.com.tr

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    August 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm
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    “The Chinese economy is Anglo-Saxon capitalism, without the bases and rules of Christianity.” Arayik Sargsyan, academician, President of the Geopolitical Academy.www.dal.by/news/79/22-08-12-38/

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