Thought for the day

"The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin." -- Mark Twain
"When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing - When you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors - When you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you - When you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice - You may know that your society is doomed." -- Ayn Rand, 'Atlas Shrugged', 1957

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Iran, Russia, and Turkey have held a trilateral summit on the Syria peace process, condemning foreign meddling and emphasizing Syrians’ right to determine their country’s fate.

The seventh summit of the Astana process was held on Tuesday in Tehran and attended by Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Addressing the event, Raeisi said Syria's fate had to be decided by its own people and that military intervention will only aggravate the situation there. 

On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan renewed his threat to block Sweden and Finland from joining NATO, warning that Ankara could “freeze” their NATO bids if Turkey’s demands are not met.

Turkey agreed to lift its objection to Sweden and Finland joining NATO last month after signing a 10-part memorandum with the Nordic nations. Under the deal, Sweden and Finland agreed not to support Kurdish militant groups and to respond to Turkey’s extradition requests.

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Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia may join the BRICS International Forum “very soon”, President, BRICS International Forum, Purnima Anand, said in an interview with the “Izvestia” newspaper.

Anand said that China, Russia and India discussed this issue during the 14th BRICS Leaders Summit, which was held virtually from June 23 to 24, according to RIA Novosti agency.

Russia's foreign ministry said on Wednesday that reports the Russian-flagged cargo ship Zhibek Zholy was detained in the Turkish port of Karasu on suspicion of carrying stolen Ukrainian grain are false.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexei Zaitsev said the 7,146 dwt Zhibek Zholy, which Ukrainian authorities have said is carrying grain from the occupied port of Berdyansk, was "undergoing standard procedures".

Moscow has denied reports of Turkish customs seizing or arresting a Russian dry-cargo ship carrying grain near Karasu Port, as Ukrainian officials have claimed.

During a briefing on Wednesday, the deputy director of the Information and Press Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Aleksey Zaitsev, stated that the vessel, the Zhibek Zholy, was merely going through all the standard procedures before entering a port.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) returned from a visit to Turkey over the weekend, stating he will do everything in his power to close a sale of F-16 fighter jets to Ankara.

President Biden signaled his backing for the weaponry sale to Turkey in an announcement on Thursday, expressing optimism that Congress will pass this measure.

Biden had met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the day prior, but shut down the idea that the suggested deal was a “quid pro quo” for Turkey backing Finland and Sweden’s applications to join the NATO military alliance.

The world order is likely going to be rewritten as a result of the ongoing multidimensional conflict between Russia and the West over Ukraine, the reactivation of direct military tensions involving great powers, increasing strategic competition between the US and China, the reconfiguration of alliances, and a sharp global economic downturn reflected in phenomena like inflation, the disruption of transnational supply chains, financial volatility, and a scarcity of critical goods.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shakes hands with NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg during the NATO Conference in Madrid on 28 June 2022. A handshake of betrayal, as Turkey accepted Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership.

One wonders, what forces have influenced Erdogan to distance himself from Russia in particular and the East in general when accepting NATO membership of the two Nordic countries against the interests of Russia.