Diplomacy

Brexit: Tusk statement raises fears UK could crash out of EU with no deal next week

May will address British public tonight to explain delay of Brexit until June 30th A short Brexit extension is possible but only if the UK approves the withdrawal agreement next week, according to Donald Tusk, president of the European Council. The Irish Times In a move which puts pressure back on British prime minister Theresa May, Mr Tusk’s brief statement ahead of Thursday’s EU Council meeting explicitly ties an extension of the Article 50 process to the passage through the House of Commons ... Read More »

Vestager faces brutal obstacle course to succeed Juncker

The EU’s high-profile antitrust chief will struggle to secure Denmark’s nomination to remain in the commission. By CHARLIE DUXBURY AND MAÏA DE LA BAUME Politico Margrethe Vestager’s quest to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as European Commission president kicks off on Thursday, but the EU’s high-profile competition chief risks falling at the first hurdle. While Vestager’s battles against U.S. tech giants such as Google and Apple have won her wide support in Brussels — and make her the female superstar candidate in Europe’s liberal camp — ... Read More »

Anzac travel under review as Scott Morrison slams ‘insult’ by Turkish President Recep Erdogan

National security agencies are reviewing whether it is safe for Australians to travel to Gallipoli for Anzac Day services, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison considers expelling Turkey’s ambassador over “highly offensive and highly reckless” comments by Turkish President Recep… Max Koslowski The Sydney Morning Herald Mr Morrison met the ambassador, Korhan Karakoc, at Parliament House on Wednesday morning and asked for Mr Erdogan to withdraw his remarks. Mr Morrison was wary of heightening tensions just one month out from Anzac Day, ... Read More »

Bridging the Gap in the Nile Waters Dispute

Ethiopia is building a mighty dam on the Blue Nile, promising economic benefits for both itself and Sudan. ICG But Egypt fears for its freshwater supply. The parties should agree on how fast to fill the dam’s reservoir and how to share river waters going forward. What’s new?  Ethiopia is moving ahead with construction of Africa’s largest dam, despite Egypt’s worry that it will reduce the downstream flow of the Nile, the source of around 90 per cent of its ... Read More »

Italy’s Risky Silk Road

The Italian government is keen to join China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” and plans to sign an agreement to this effect during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s upcoming visit to Italy. Paola Subacchi Project Syndicate But although deeper trade and investment ties with China could boost its sluggish economy, Italy should pursue them through the EU, not bilaterally. VENICE – Is China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) “a train that Italy cannot afford to miss,” as Italian Finance Minister Giovanni Tria ... Read More »

The Guardian view on the Brexit crisis: take back control by giving it up

The prime minister will only a get a grip on the Brexit crisis by learning to loosen hers on the terms of departure from the EU Editorial The Guardian Almost two years after Theresa May triggered article 50 it is still unclear when, in what form and how Brexit will occur – even to the prime minister. Any country invoking the Lisbon treaty’s clause of departure leaves the European Union after two years. It is a mark of failure that Mrs May ... Read More »

Recep Tayyip Erdogan: The New Zealand killer and the Islamic State are cut from the same cloth

Fifty innocent people lost their lives in last week’s terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand. By Recep Tayyip Erdogan The Washington Post March 19 Recep Tayyip Erdogan is president of Turkey. Dozens of other Muslims, who had gathered at local mosques to perform the Friday prayer, survived the assault with injuries. There were many historical references on the murder weapons and in a manifesto that the suspected terrorist published online. The number of times he mentioned both Turkey and myself was both curious and worth ... Read More »

Nazarbayev Is Giving Up Presidency, Not Power, in Kazakhstan

The long-time autocrat’s shock resignation kicks off an opaque succession process. By Reid Standish FP ASTANA, Kazakhstan—Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s first and only president, resigned on Tuesday, ending his nearly 30-year reign and setting the stage for an opaque succession process in the oil-rich Central Asian country of 18 million people.   In a lengthy speech that Nazarbayev delivered in a prerecorded televised address to the country that reflected on his lengthy tenure in office, the 78-year-old president said that the ... Read More »

Turkey’s terror sponsorship is worse than imagined

I have written much over the years about Turkey’s complicity with terrorism over the past decade. by Michael Rubin Washington Examiner Interviews with a captured Islamic State prisoner, however, make clear that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s terror complicity is worse than many imagined, and not just because his son-in-law was dealing in Islamic State oil. Consider this piece from Homeland Security Today based on prison interviews with Abu Mansour al Maghrebi, the Islamic State’s liaison with Turkey’s intelligence service: ‘My ... Read More »

In the aftermath of the Christchurch massacre hatemongers are having a field day

As there were Turkish victims of the attack, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu travelled to Christchurch to emphasize Turkey’s common resolve against Islamophobia and xenophobia. Samuel Huntington and the Christchurch Massacre Posted by Robert Ellis Furthermore, Fuat Oktay called on the entire world to stop promoting some kind of provocative language. Back home, Fuat Oktay’s call fell on deaf ears. The day after the attack, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is not known to mince ... Read More »

Turkey: Putin’s Ally in NATO?

On September 17, 1950, more than 68 years ago, the first Turkish brigade left the port of Mersin on the Mediterranean coast, arriving, 26 days later, at Busan in Korea. Burak Bekdil Gatestone Institute Turkey was the first country, after the United States, to answer the United Nations’ call for military aid to South Korea after the North attacked that year. Turkey sent four brigades (a total of 21,212 soldiers) to a country that is 7,785 km away. By the ... Read More »

Third time lucky for Theresa May’s Brexit vote?

(CNN) – UK Prime Minister Theresa May will be hoping the third time’s the charm when she tries to get the House of Commons to back her Brexit deal this week after two previous defeats — but she’ll need more than just luck to get lawmakers to change their minds. By Jane Merrick, for CNN The question being posed in Downing Street this week is: What will it take for more than 70 lawmakers to back her and get her deal ... Read More »

No Choice and No Exit for the UK

The outcome of the simple binary choice given to UK voters in the June 2016 Brexit referendum has proved almost impossible to implement. Robert Skidelsky Project Syndicate The main obstacle is not the complications of negotiating new treaties, but rather the judgment by those in charge of Britain’s political life that the costs of an emphatic withdrawal are too great. LONDON – The United Kingdom’s protracted attempt to leave the European Union has upended the two illusions by which the ... Read More »

Bolton slams Turkey over refusal to abandon S-400 deal with Russia

Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton has blasted the S-400 deal as one of several major stumbling blocks in US-Turkish relations. AMNnews “We’re concerned about their purchase of the Russian air defence system called the S-400 – that’s a big problem,” Bolton said, speaking to AM 970 radio host John Catsimatidis on Sunday morning. Asked directly by Catsimatidis whether Turkey was a “friend or foe” to the United States, the top Trump foreign policy adviser cited a host of other problems affecting relations. “Well you know they’re still a NATO ally; ... Read More »

The Brief – Replacing Turkey in NATO

A global geopolitical shift has taken place without the wider audience noticing. Turkey has drifted apart from the US and NATO, it has got much closer to Russia, and… By Georgi Gotev with Sam Morgan | EURACTIV.com Turkey is still a NATO member. But it has repeatedly said it is committed to buying Russian missile defence system, despite warnings from the United States that the S-400s cannot be integrated into the NATO air defence system. Missile defence is not a… ... Read More »

Why Emmanuel Macron’s plan for a European agency to fend off fake news makes sense

When French president Emmanuel Macron sent an open letter to the people of Europe, he said their first freedom is democratic – “the freedom to choose our leaders as foreign powers seek to influence our vote at each election”. Alexi Drew The Conversation He went on to propose establishing a European agency to protect this right. The idea would be to provide European states with experts to help them fend off cyberattacks and other kinds of threats to their elections. ... Read More »