Asia

Russia’s Gazprom signs protocol with Turkey on TurkStream gas pipeline

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Russian state gas giant Gazprom said on May 26 it had signed a protocol with the Turkish government on a planned gas pipeline and agreed with Turkish firm Botaş to end an arbitration dispute over the terms of gas supplies. MOSCOW – Reuters Hurriyet The protocol concerned the land-based part of the transit leg of the TurkStream gaspipeline, which Gazprom said meant that work to implement it could now begin. Turkey had delayed issuing a permit for the Russian company to start building the land-based parts of the pipeline which, if completed, would allow ... Read More »

Do you even know what apartheid means?

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Op-ed: A state with complete academic freedom, with Arab ministers and MKs, a state that fosters Arab professors, doctors, pharmacists and teachers, can’t be called an ‘apartheid state,’ unless it’s by ignorant or evil people. Noah Klieger y net news And the last person who can throw this accusation at Israel is a dictator like Erdoğan who has been cracking down on freedom of speech and the free press in his own country. In the late 1950s, on a flight ... Read More »

Turkey, US Reach Accord for Security of Kurdish-Held Manbij in Syria

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Turkish and U.S. officials on Friday reached an accord on a “roadmap” to widen cooperation to provide the security of Manbij, a Kurdish-held city that lies at the heart of the ongoing dispute between two NATO allies in northern Syria.  The Globe Post The northern city of Manbij is held by the People’s Protection Units (YPG) Kurdish militia, a group which Ankara says is the “terrorist” offshoot of Kurdish hardliners in Turkey. The U.S. has a military presence in Manbij ... Read More »

Wikipedia publishes open letter to Turkey urging end to access ban

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Wikipedia is open for improvement by anyone around the world and should be open to editors in Turkey, the Wikimedia Foundation has stated in a letter addressed to the government of Turkey, where the website has been banned for over one year. SAN FRANSISCO Hurriyet “The Wikimedia Foundation is deeply concerned about recent statements attributed to the Turkish Minister of Transport, Maritime, and Communications Ahmet Arslan from [May 18] regarding the blockage of Wikipedia in Turkey,” Wikimedia Foundation General Counsel member Eileen B. Hershenov wrote in ... Read More »

Pompeo Says US Offered Alternatives to Turkey for Russia’s S-400 System

2602991 04/09/2015 An S-400 "Triumf" antiaircraft missile system is among other Defense Ministry's air defense missile battalions put on combat alert in the Moscow Region. Kirill Kallinikov/Sputnik

The U.S. has offered Turkey alternatives to Russia’s S-400s in a bid to prevent Ankara from completing the purchase of the missile defense system, an issue that significantly strained Ankara’s ties with its Western allies. The Globe Post “We continue to work to keep the Turks in a place where they don’t actually acquire the S-400,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a testimony before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday. “I believe that they have not ... Read More »

Cyprus: tensions grow as contested waters yield promising results

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Tensions over natural gas and oil deposits in the sea off Cyprus threatened to boil over this March after Turkey sent a drill ship to the contested region just days after US based ExxonMobil dispatched its own survey vessels. Patrick Kingsland offshore technology Turkish president Erdogan has gone so far as to say he won’t tolerate the reserves being exploited by Greek Cypriots. So what is at stake here and how likely is it that oil will begin flowing anytime ... Read More »

Australia’s deal with Timor-Leste in peril again over oil and gas

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In April, Australia and Timor-Leste reached agreement on their maritime boundaries in the Timor Sea. Rebecca Strating and Clive Schofield The Conversation This resolved a longstanding source of contention between them. The potential benefits of this historic breakthrough are now in peril, because the critical issue of how the shared oil and gas of the Timor Sea are to be developed remains in dispute. Breakthrough on maritime boundaries Australia and Timor-Leste’s boundary agreement was achieved thanks to a… Australia’s deal ... Read More »

North Korea slams ‘ignorant and stupid’ Pence

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North Korea called U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence “ignorant and stupid” for his warnings over a planned summit with Donald Trump, renewing a threat to cancel as the U.S. president said the fate of the historic talks will be decided next week. SEOUL – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Trump is due to meet his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12 for high stakes talks aimed at ridding the reclusive state of its newly acquired nuclear weapons and improving ties after decades of ... Read More »

Abkhazia and South Ossetia: Time to Talk Trade

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Informal trade is increasing between Georgia and the breakaway territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and between Abkhazia and countries outside the region. Trade alone cannot transform the parties’ core political differences. But talks among them on mutually beneficial commerce could open lines of communication long cemented shut. ICG What’s happening?  Informal trade is increasing between Georgia and the breakaway territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and between Abkhazia and countries outside the region. Formalising aspects of this trade is ... Read More »

The Contested Iraqi Parliamentary Elections in Kirkuk

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Widespread perceptions of fraud in May 2018 elections to Iraq’s Council of Representatives have triggered demonstrations in Kirkuk and fears of inter-ethnic violence. Crisis Group is calling for a vote recount in Kirkuk to restore confidence in the institutions vital to manage deeper divisions over the contested, oil-rich area. The International Crisis Group is deeply concerned about developments in Kirkuk, a multi-ethnic governorate in northern Iraq. Contested election results, and the widespread perception that ballot boxes were tampered with, have ... Read More »

Uzbekistan’s President Goes to Washington

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Policymakers in Washington have begun to wake up to the changes taking place in Uzbekistan. Ilan Berman The National Interest In official Washington, which is routinely awash in foreign dignitaries, it’s all too easy to miss the comings and goings of world leaders. But even by the rather selective standards of the Beltway, last week’s state visit of Uzbekistan’s president, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, was noteworthy because it provided policymakers with an authoritative glimpse into the… Uzbekistan’s President Goes… Read More »

View from The Hill: Hastie and Turnbull – what you don’t know, you can’t stop

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There’s one logical reason why ambitious young Liberal backbencher Andrew Hastie didn’t tell Malcolm Turnbull he was about to drop a bombshell, with a parliamentary speech accusing a Chinese-Australian figure of involvement in the bribery of a… Michelle Grattan The Conversation If he had forewarned Turnbull, Hastie – who is head of the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security – would have been firmly ordered to button his lips. Remember, Turnbull was angry when a backbencher defiantly produced a… ... Read More »

Does the Philippines have limited options on the South China Sea issue?

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MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte keeps on insisting that taking a stronger stance on against China’s militarization in the South China Sea would mean going to war. Patricia Lourdes Viray phil.starGlobal Justifying his administration’s soft stance on the maritime dispute, Duterte said that he would have taken a stronger and more “violent” position on the matter but that would “probably be a great loss to the nation and probably end up losing a war.” As opposed to the president’s ... Read More »

The Israel-Turkey crisis and the need for containment

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Op-ed: Israel’s frustration with Erdogan’s behavior is great, but it is worthy to remember the strategic, economic and diplomatic importance of the relations between the two countries. Dr. Nimrod Goren y net news It is not self-evident for Israel to have full, even if problematic, diplomatic relations with a key regional state that has a large Muslim population, and these relations should not be casually waived. The evolving crisis between Israel and Turkey has yet to lead to an official ... Read More »

Eight Days in Aden – a Forgotten City in Yemen’s Forgotten War

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Two and a half years after the last major fighting in the southern port city of Aden, officially Yemen’s “temporary capital”, our Arabian Peninsula Project Director April Longley Alley finds a patchwork of rival armed forces, buildings in ruins and political groups’ effective steps toward autonomy, if… April Longley Alley ICG ADEN, Yemen – For now, there is little fighting in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden. But it takes me more than a year to arrange my journey. Everything ... Read More »

Iran’s stance affects the energy balance in East Med

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A new condition is expected to be formed in the Eastern Mediterranean region due to the Iran-centred crisis in the Middle East, incited by the new U.S. leadership. Nefeli Tzanetakou ibna Total’s decision to leave Iran due to Washington’s sanctions at the expense of the country seems to favour Cyprus at the moment. A senior executive told the Associated Press that Total intends to expand its operations in the Republic of Cyprus’s EEZ by proceeding with new gas exploration surveys. In ... Read More »