Asia

Presidency comms director Altun refutes Bild report claiming Turkey scrapped S-400 deal

Presidency Communications Director Fahrettin Altun on Friday refuted a report by a German daily claiming Turkey has decided against the purchase of the Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems. Daily Sabah Bild’s foreign policy editor Julian Röpcke on Friday tweeted a “scoop,” saying, “Diplomatic sources tell @BILD, Erdogan will not buy the S-400 from Russia.” The German journalist added a link to Bild’s report titled “Erdoğan makes a surprising missile back-out.” Responding to Röpcke, Altun told him that their sources “are ... Read More »

Strains Emerge in North Macedonia’s Alliance With Turkey

People walk by the flag of North Macedonia in Skopje, North Macedonia. Closer ties to Greece and the EU – and disputes over the activities of so-called Gulenists – are putting Skopje’s old friendship with Ankara to the test. Ivan Nikolovski BalkanInsight On April 3, just one day after the historic visit of Alexis Tsipras to Skopje, the first-ever official visit by a Greek prime minister to North Macedonia, Skopje also hosted Turkish Defence Minister General… During his visit, Akar ... Read More »

Europeans struggle to preserve Iran nuclear accord

he world powers struggling to preserve a nuclear deal with Iran are facing an increasingly uphill battle, with a new deadline from Tehran on finding a solution to make up for last year’s unilateral U.S… BRUSSELS-The Associated Press Hurriyet After Iran notified Britain, Russia, China, the European Union, France and Germany of its intentions in a letter, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised address on May 8 that the… Trump issued an executive order announcing new sanctions targeting Iran’s steel, aluminum, copper and ... Read More »

It’s time to lift the arms embargo on Cyprus

The United States has a prime opportunity to thwart the designs of Russia, China, and Turkey in the Middle East. Jonathan Schanzer and Bradley Bowman The Hill At the same time, it can strengthen a bilateral relationship with a democratic, European ally and enhance our defense supply base, as well. This can all be accomplished by taking one relatively simple step: Lift the arms embargo on the Republic of Cyprus. That Cyprus is under embargo is a head-scratcher in the ... Read More »

Iran Challenges Remaining Partners to Save Nuclear Deal

Responding to the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure”, Iran has announced it will no longer respect all the limits placed on its nuclear research activities by its 2015 deal with world powers. ICG With Washington having renounced the deal, the remaining signatories should hasten to save it. One year ago today, President Donald Trump announced that he was withdrawing the U.S. from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Until now, Iran, as repeatedly confirmed by the… That status quo was increasingly ... Read More »

North East Asia Can Enter Golden Era of Peace And Prosperity

North East Asia is one of the most prosperous, most highly literate and most technologically advanced regions on the planet. Adam Garrie Eurasia Future But although North East Asia is known collectively as a place of innovation and quality production techniques, in the 21st century it should also become a place of peace and understanding. At present, the biggest challenges facing the region are the Korean peace process, forging modern China-Japan and Korea-Japan ties and finally, ending any attempts at ... Read More »

Italy opposes Poseidon gas pipeline landfall

Italy will not allow the Poseidon gas pipeline being developed by Italy’s Edison and Greece’s DEPA to make landfall as planned in southern Italy, the Italian prime minister said on… Reuters ekathimerini The Poseidon, which has permits to run from Greece to the southern Italian town of Otranto, is the final section of the EastMed pipeline that aims to bring gas reserves from the… “The government is certainly not interested at present in building the final tract of Poseidon as ... Read More »

Secret probe shows Erdoğan planned purge of Turkey’s military long ago

The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan secretly launched an investigation to build a case for a purge in Turkey’s military as early as 2014 and enlisted the help of unsavory characters who… Abdullah Bozkurt Nordic Monitor According to secret documents obtained by Nordic Monitor, a number of former officers who were dismissed from the military in recent years for sexual misconduct were called in to give a statement by a… In exchange for filing criminal complaints against critics of ... Read More »

Crisis Group Yemen Update #10

This is Crisis Group’s tenth update on recent developments in Yemen, focusing on al-Dhale in the south. ICG A ceasefire in Hodeida notwithstanding, violence is on the rise on other key front lines and could undermine prospects for a future peace process. Fighting between Huthi (Ansar Allah) and United Arab Emirates (UAE)-backed forces is intensifying in the southern governorate of al-Dhale. Battles have cut off key transit routes connecting the southern port city of Aden, the Huthi-held capital of Sanaa ... Read More »

Turkey is playing both Russia and US

During the past week the Western press has reported Russian and Syrian bombing of north-western Idlib province and the flight of thousands of civilians from targeted villages. Michael Jansen Gulf Today Writers complain that Moscow and Damascus have been violating the “de-confliction” deal reached last year between Russia and Turkey with the aim of halting an all-out military operation against… Those who have reported the situation in this way are indulging in promulgating “fake news.” Russian and Syrian government forces ... Read More »

After Intense Fighting in Gaza, Israel and Palestinians Observe Ceasefire

JERUSALEM — Fighting between Israel and Gaza escalated rapidly on Sunday in the worst combat since the last full-blown war in 2014, with Palestinian rocket and missile attacks killing four Israeli civilians and… By David M. Halbfinger and Isabel Kershner The New York Times Gaza officials said the two-day death toll for Palestinians had reached 22. At least nine militants and as many civilians were killed on Sunday alone. The civilians included a pregnant woman, a 12-year-old boy and 4-month-old ... Read More »

Thai King Vajiralongkorn to be crowned in three-day ceremony

Thailand has begun three days of coronation ceremonies for King Maha Vajiralongkorn. BBC King Vajiralongkorn inherited the throne in 2016 when his long-reigning father Bhumibol Adulyadej died. Days ago in a surprise announcement the palace said the king had married his long-term partner and royal consort who would now be Queen Suthida. Thailand has a constitutional monarchy, but the royal family is highly revered by Thais and wields considerable power. Thailand also has strict laws, called lese majeste, which ban ... Read More »

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un need the European Union

Much ink has been spilled analyzing the surprising turn of events at the US-North Korea Hanoi summit in late February. Tereza Novotná and Alessandro Ford Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Accounts differ as to what happened, or which side overstepped first with its demands. At a late-night post-summit press briefing, North Korea sought to make its position abundantly clear: It would give up the nuclear production facilities in the Yongbyon complex in… The United States, on the other hand, has ... Read More »

Turkey’s deal with Sudan on intelligence and military affairs in limbo

Cooperation between Turkey and Sudan in intelligence and military affairs, spearheaded by ousted Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir, was thrown into limbo when Islamist Turkish… Abdullah Bozkurt Nordic Monitor Having invested so much stock in al-Bashir, Erdoğan was frustrated to see that his credit may not be as good with the transitional government. Speaking at a ruling Justice and… He nonetheless vowed to continue supporting his brothers in Sudan. Erdoğan and his people point fingers at Egypt and Saudi Arabia in ... Read More »

Might China Withdraw From the UN Law Of The Sea Treaty?

The move would come with serious costs – but Beijing might come to think the gains are worth it. Mark J. Valencia The Diplomat The early April passage of the French frigate Vendémiaire through the Taiwan Strait, amid a significant increase of such passages by U.S. warships despite China’s objections, gives Beijing one more reason to… Withdrawing would have serious costs as well as benefits and both need to be considered. The idea of withdrawing from UNCLOS (“denouncing it” in ... Read More »

The Western Allies Need More Eyes on the World

The “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing alliance should expand, starting with Israel and Japan. James Stavridis Bloomberg Every challenge the U.S. faces today — the rise of China, a resurgent Russia, the North Korean nuclear weapons program, Iranian adventurism throughout the Middle East, cyberthreats and… And as any intelligence expert will tell you, an accurate picture is not a sweeping oil painting, it is a mosaic. You build up that picture one small stone at a time until you can step back ... Read More »