Asia

PH, US Balikatan exercises open with fewer troops

Bule 1a

The annual military exercises between the United States and the Philippines, called “Balikatan [shoulder-to-shoulder],” opened in Quezon City on Monday, but on a smaller scale, amid the government’s declared pivot to China and Russia. Philip C. Tubeza Inquirer  WITH A REPORT FROM AFP Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana led the opening ceremonies of the 33rd Philippine-US Balikatan military exercises at… Exercise Balikatan 2017, which… PH, US Balikatan… Read More »

Wikipedia appeals to Turkey’s constitutional court over website’s blocking

Wikipedia 1a AP LLLL

Ankara: Online encyclopedia Wikipedia has appealed to Turkey’s constitutional court against a government decision to block access to its website, broadcaster CNN Turk said on Tuesday, a case that has heightened concerns about censorship in Turkey. Brisbane Times Reuters Turkey’s telecommunications watchdog said two weeks ago that access to Wikipedia had been blocked, citing a… The block on the… Wikipedia appeals to… Read More »

The End of Turkey’s Jews?

Seyf 2b

Can Jewry in Turkey survive? Much has been written about Turkey’s turn toward Islamism and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s growing autocracy. Michael Rubin Commentary Turkish officials and their proxies argue, however, that Turkey remains both tolerant and democratic. The problem, they say, is limited to the followers of Islamic theologian Fethullah Gülen and… The End of… Read More »

Israel’s Delek group seeks to conduct natural gas exploration in Turkey

Gas platform 2b LLLL

After discovering the Tamar and Leviathan natural gas reserves, the largest ever discovered, Israel’s Delek group hopes to conduct exploration work for Turkey, as the country starts its activities in the Mediterranean. Daily Sabah with Anadolu Agency Citing the likely presence of significant oil and natural gas resources in the eastern Mediterranean, Israeli oil and gas exploration firm Delek Drilling and… The CEO of Delek Group Yossi Abu said that they… Israel’s Delek group… Read More »

South Korean Elections Sidestep Rising Peninsula Tensions

Saut 3c

North Korea’s nuclear grandstanding and inflammatory missile tests, President Trump’s anti-Pyongyang rhetoric and U.S. missile deployments have raised tensions in North East Asia. Christopher Green ICG Our Senior Advisor for the Korean Peninsula Christopher Green looks at where South Korea’s 9 May presidential election fits into these newly complex dynamics. Why have tensions risen on the… South Korean Elections… Read More »

Police in Turkey raid publisher’s offices, confiscate 2,000 books

Books 3c Turkish LLLL

Police in Turkey raided the offices of Belge Publishing in Istanbul and confiscated 2,000 books, reported Turkish language media. KOMNEWS The prominent independent publisher, set up 40 years ago by writer-journalist Ragip Zarakolu and his late wife human rights advocate Aysenur Zarakolu, and known for publishing controversial and critical books, was raided by a team of anti… According to reports, the… Police in Turkey… Read More »

Will the South China Sea Become the New Crimea?

Paulem 7g

Xi Jinping has successfully avoided maritime overreach—but that might be about to change. Nicholas Lyall The National Interest The burgeoning friendship between President Xi Jinping and President Vladimir Putin in recent times reflects the similarities in their personal leadership styles. Both regimes are defined by an… Will the South… Read More »

José Ramos-Horta calls on Australia to abandon ‘unsubstantiated’ claim in Timor Sea

JRH 1a Dean Lewins EPA

Former Timor-Leste president warns government not to harm relations by pushing to extend borders to control the Greater Sunrise oil field Naaman Zhou The Guardian The former Timor-Leste president José Ramos-Horta has told the Australian government to abandon its “unsubstantiated” legal case to extend its borders into the… Speaking at a Labor party-hosted event in… José Ramos-Horta… Read More »

Syria’s Kurds march on to Raqqa and the sea

Kurdish REUTERS fighters in northern Syria fly the flag  1a

Kurdish expansion plans putting the group on a collision course with neighbouring Turkey Mark Townsend The Guardian Syria’s Kurds have revealed plans to redraw the northern part of the country by linking the Kurdish region of Rojava with the Mediterranean Sea, in a move that will infuriate neighbouring Turkey. In a further sign of growing Kurdish confidence in Syria’s north, officials say that… Syria’s Kurds march… Read More »

Saudi king orders that women no longer need a man’s permission to travel, study or make police complaints

Maure 1a

Saudi Arabia to give women more control over their life choices by relaxing male guardian system is welcomed as another small step for women in the kingdom. GulfInsider Saudi Arabia is well known to be one of the world’s most gender-segregated nations, where women live under the supervision of a male guardian, cannot drive, and must wear head-to… Women need approval from a… Saudi king orders… Read More »

Carpio book on sea row challenges China

Urd 1a

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio has launched a book that says China’s claims to virtually the entire South China Sea are baseless and… Jeannette I. Andrade Inquirer Carpio said public opinion, including in China, could pressure Beijing to comply with last year’s arbitral ruling that invalidated China’s historic… With Carpio’s help, Manila filed a case challenging Beijing’s nine-dash-line… * Carpio book on… Read More »

Wikipedia Is Latest Victim of Turkey’s Frenzy Over ISIS Reporting

LaptopW 1a

Any report or hint that links Turkey to jihadi operatives in Syria is certainly bound to draw ire of Ankara. And the world’s biggest online encyclopedia Wikipedia is no exception. Abdullah Ayasun The Global Post It has become the latest victim of Turkey’s frenzy over the matter. When Turkey blocked access to interactive online encyclopedia Wikipedia last week, it… Wikipedia Is Latest… Read More »

Jose Ramos-Horta warns gas dispute with Australia risks pushing East Timor closer to China

JRH 10a

East Timor’s former president Jose Ramos-Horta has issued a blunt warning to Australia that the gas dispute between the two countries risks pushing Timor closer to China. ABC Australia and East Timor have been locked in a messy dispute that has included allegations of Australia spying on its poorer neighbour during negotiations for an oil field in the Timor Sea, worth an estimated $40… Jose Ramos-Horta… Read More »

Report: Turkey Is Preparing To Arrest 215,000 More In Crackdown

Katapie 2b

Turkey’s sweeping purge is set to further expand as the pro-government media is sending signals of a new, larger wave with a new list of 215,000 individuals sent to 81 provinces for police… Abdullah Ayasun The Global Post The media rumor mill has been on overdrive about the biggest purge campaign, which, reports said, has yet… Majority of them are believed to be members of the… Report: Turkey Is… Read More »

The PKK’s Fateful Choice in Northern Syria

Agon 1a

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its Syrian affiliates face a stark choice: risk their gains in northern Syria through continued prioritisation of the PKK’s fight against Turkey, or pursue local self-rule in the area they have carved out of the… ICG After the PKK deployed cadres in Syria in July 2012, it cooperated with the West in fighting the… The PKK’s Fateful… Read More »

A Brewing Crisis in the Aegean?

Paulem 6f

Is a new Greek-Turkish crisis brewing in the Aegean? In a year of resurfacing tensions, the latest decision by a Greek court is unlikely to help matters. Reuters: The American Interest A Greek court on Wednesday blocked a second request by Turkey for the extradition of soldiers who fled to Greece in July after a… The ruling applied to three of eight soldiers who… A Brewing Crisis… Read More »