Middle East

The Desperation to Keep Turkey Different

With an election looming, secularists are on the defensive to protect their way of life. Donna Abu-Nasr and Cagan Koc Bloomberg It’s the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, but in Istanbul smokers huddle outside offices, couples sip beer and sex workers call out to young men from balconies. The contrast with some Arab countries that penalize people for publicly breaking the dawn-to-dusk abstention from food and drink couldn’t be more striking in and around the city’s central Taksim Square. And supporters of that Turkish way ... Read More »

The U.S. to bar sale of fighter aircraft to Turkey

During the debates on the draft National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA), both chambers of the US Congress took parallel initiatives to bar the delivery of F-35 advanced fighter aircraft to Turkey. Yaşar Yakış Ahval In the Senate Armed Services Committee, Democrat Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Senator Thom Tillis submitted an amendment asking the secretary of defence to prepare a plan to exclude Turkey from the F-35 programme. Tillis said the amendment was proposed as a reaction to Turkey’s detention ... Read More »

The shriveling ally

Only yesterday, Turkey was considered a candidate for membership in the European Union, a reliable friend of the West. The Washington Times Turkey was reasonably modern, forward looking, and Western oriented. Turkey was already a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and membership in the EU would only cement its alliance with the West. Alas, over the past several years Turkey has devolved from something unique to something close to just another depressing redoubt of Middle Eastern despotism. Recep ... Read More »

Turkey-Israel Tension: What Does President Erdogan Want to Achieve?

Turkey’s relations with Israel are determined, in no small part, by Ankara’s relations with other power blocs, its domestic and broader foreign policy. Guney Yildiz Valdai The roots of Ankara’s May 14th decision to recall its ambassadors to Washington and Tel Aviv shouldn’t therefore solely be sought in US President Donald Trump’s decision to relocate the US Embassy to Jerusalem or alternatively the killing of dozens of Palestinian protesters by Israeli Defence Forces at the Gaza border. The Turkish government’s ... Read More »

Has the US conceded to Turkey in Manbij?

If one is to go by leaks to the media as well as official statements out of Ankara, Turkey and the United States have essentially worked out a “road map” for Washington-backed Kurdish fighters to leave the northern Syrian city of Manbij near the… Semih Idiz Al-Monitor Accordingly, once the People’s Protection Units (YPG) — which Turkey considers a terrorist organization and an existential threat to its security — evacuate Manbij, Turkish forces would move in and work with US forces already there to provide “stability and security” ... Read More »

Turkey blames ‘Jewish lobby’ for economic crisis

Turkish media have blamed the “Jewish lobby” for the sudden drop in the value of the country’s currency, based on a tweet from an Israeli academic. Hannah Lucinda Smith. Adam Sage, David Charter The Times The Turkish lira has fallen by 20 per cent against the dollar this year and President Erdogan has repeatedly blamed an unspecified “interest-rate lobby” for manipulating the currency. Turkey’s press is almost exclusively controlled by the state or pro-Erdogan businessmen after a crackdown on critical media. It seized ... Read More »

Cyprus History: Ignore at your own peril

Scratch the surface of the Cyprus Problem and what will you find? Anna Koukkides-Procopiou * The ever-popular answer to that question could probably be the post-modernist, constructivist explanation of differing historical narratives of a local power-sharing struggle between two ethnic communities, whose perceptions and misperceptions of each other and of their history of conflict supposedly matter more than realities on the ground-such attempts even taking at times the form of a self-imposed Jesuit flogging of shame, especially among Greek Cypriots. ... Read More »

Macron Defends Magazine That Labeled Erdogan a ‘Dictator’

French President Emmanuel Macron waded into a debate over a magazine cover that labeled Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a “dictator,” saying attacks on kiosks selling the latest issue were unacceptable. Helene Fouquet Bloomberg “Freedom of the press has no price: without it, it’s dictatorship,” Macron said on Twitter late on Monday. “It is totally unacceptable that Le Point posters are being ripped off kiosks on the grounds they displease the enemies of freedom of the press, in France ... Read More »

Flotilla carrying Gaza wounded breaks ‘unbearable’ siege

A boat carrying 25 Palestinians has set off from Gaza’s port with intention of reaching Cyprus, defying a 12-year siege. by Maram Humaid & Farah Najjar AlJazeera Gaza, Palestine – A flotilla carrying at least 25 patients, students and activists have broken Israel’s imposed boundary off the coast of the Gaza Strip, the first time in more than a decade. The group set sail on Tuesday morning from the besieged Gaza Strip, hoping to break Israel’s debilitating siege on the enclave that ... Read More »

The Syria connection to Iran, Afghanistan and China

Iranian academic spells out Iran’s position in the Middle East and questions US policy toward the region; amid reports that the Qods force is unlikely to disband, and that Daesh (ISIS) is being moved the… Pepe Escobar Asia Times A crucial question has been consuming policymakers in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon: Does the Trump administration have a strategic plan for the Middle East or not? Few are more apt to answer than Saadallah Zarei, dean of the Institute of Strategic Studies Andishe ... Read More »

Turkey and Israel: From Loveless to Fracas

How can there ever be a lasting peace between a Zionist state and another nation where the president thinks that Zionism is a crime against humanity? Burak Bekdil Gatestone Institute When Turkey and Israel decided to normalize their badly strained ties in December 2016, after more than six years of downgraded diplomatic relations, the first thing they did, as the protocol dictates, was to appoint ambassadors to each other’s capital. With a theoretical new chapter opening in troubled relations, Turkey ... Read More »

“Israel” Conspires to Sabotage the US-Turkey F-35 Deal as Ankara’s Relations With Tel Aviv Plunge to New Low

Reports have surfaced indicating that one of the main reasons that the US has been hesitant to deliver Turkey’s order for new F-35 fighter jets is because the “Israeli” regime has been putting pressure on Washington to either scrap the deal or otherwise deprive Turkey of the performance enchanting software upgrades to the… Adam Garrie EurasiaFuture Put plainly, “Israel” wants its already delivered F-35s to have a technical advantage over those that were supposed to be delivered to Turkey in ... Read More »

The Battle For Energy Dominance In The Mediterranean

The Eastern Mediterranean is easily one of the most important and hotly contested regions in the world due to several key factors: the Suez Canal is vital to international commerce, militaries of major powers are participating in the Syrian Civil War, and the region hosts two more unresolved conflicts in divided Cyprus and Israel/Palestine. By Vanand Meliksetian for OilPrice However, recent major gas discoveries may have permanently altered the energy map of the region. If they play their cards right, ... Read More »

Russia’s Gazprom Says Signs TurkStream Protocol With Ankara

Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom says it has signed a protocol with the Turkish government on the land-based part of the transit leg of the TurkStream gas pipeline. RFE/RL Gazprom on May 26 said it had also agreed with Turkish firm Botas to end an arbitration dispute over the terms of gas supplies related to the project, which will bring Russian natural gas to Europe on a… Gazprom said the dispute with Botas would be settled out of court, but ... Read More »

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

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?

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 »