Middle East

Cyprus escalation could drill hole in Irish sacred cow of neutrality

Europe Letter: Danger of war of words escalating into military conflict remains real Patrick Smyth The Irish Times The publication by the Institute of International and European Affairs of a new analysis of Irish neutrality by Prof Patrick Keatinge is timely. It comes just as fellow EU member Cyprus looks to its partners for solidarity – at this stage just political – over the illegal incursion by Turkish drilling ships into its Aegean territorial waters or Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The move, which has ... Read More »

Letter to Sir Alan Duncan – Cyprus

Sir Alan Duncan MP, Minister for Europe and the Americas, Foreign and Commonwealth Office King Charles St, Whitehall, Westminster, London SW1A 2AH                                            London 16 May 2019 Dear Minister, TURKISH LATEST INVASION OF THE REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS (EEZ) I refer to your latest reply to (Labour) Rt. Hon  Bambos Charalambous’ question in the House of Commons on 14 May 2019 regarding the latest aggressive Turkish action in invading this time the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus. Cyprus “Bambos Charalambous Will ... Read More »

Let’s put Turkey’s EU membership back on track

Brussels needs Ankara as much as Ankara needs Brussels. By MEVLÜT ÇAVUŞOĞLU Politico ANKARA — Some 30 years ago, on the occasion of Turkey’s formal membership application to the EU, then Prime Minister Turgut Özal likened the process of joining the bloc to “a long and narrow road,” referring to a famous verse by the folk-poet Aşık Veysel. Time has proven that the road has, indeed, been not just long and narrow, but also bumpy. Turkey-EU relations were overshadowed in the ... Read More »

Turkey on collision course with Egypt over drilling off Cyprus

Cairo’s reaction also shows anger at the destabilising role that Turkey has been playing in the region and its interference in Egypt’s affairs and those of other countries in the region. Amr Emam The Arab Weekly CAIRO – Relations between Egypt and Turkey are expected to deteriorate after Cairo warned Ankara against drilling off Cyprus. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said May 4 that it followed “with concern Turkish plans to drill off the western coast of Cyprus,” warning of ramifications ... Read More »

Missile deal between Russia and Turkey stopped

No S-400 For Erdogan Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (65) changes his mind. von: SINAN SENYURT Bild The Turkish military was originally supposed to receive the first delivery of Russian S-400 missile defense systems this summer – against the will of US President Donald Trump (72). The lira crisis has obviously caused Erdogan to change his mind, however. As BILD has learned from diplomatic circles in Ankara, the missile deal between Moscow and Ankara will apparently no… Background: The relationship ... Read More »

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 »

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 »

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 »