Middle East

Turkey’s Erdoğan sticks with Putin, defies U.S.

Another month, another meeting between Erdoğan and Putin. Dimitar Bechev Ahval We have grown accustomed to this double act. From Syria, to Europe’s energy geopolitics, to what pundits label “the rise of illiberalism”, the two strongmen roll on and on, to the consternation of European Union and U.S. policymakers. Monday’s summit in Moscow gave Erdoğan an opportunity to strike a defiant pose vis-à-vis America. He declared, for the umpteenth time, that Turkey’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile defence system was ... Read More »

Israel election: Netanyahu and Gantz on course for dead heat

Israel’s general election is on course for a dead heat with nearly all votes counted, local media report. BBC Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and the centrist Blue and White alliance are projected to win 35 seats each with most votes counted. The outcome puts Mr Netanyahu in a strong position to form a right-wing coalition government. No party has ever won a majority in Israel’s parliament and the country has always had coalition governments. Exit polls had predicted ... Read More »

It Is Time to Revise Russia–Turkey Relations for a More Stable Future

With ongoing debates on Russian-made S-400 deliveries to Turkey, fate of continuing cooperation of Russia, Turkey and Iran in Syria and future of Ankara’s relations with the European Union and NATO, it is high time to make an honest review of Russian-Turkish relations, define weaknesses of bilateral cooperation and try to sketch a framework for a… Timur Akhmetov ModernDiplomacy Inspection of historical legacy and nature of current ties may be of big value for those who want to grasp contours ... Read More »

The oil and gas of Lebanon tempts the appetite of its neighbours

With three fronts potentially encroaching on its oil and gas-rich waters, Lebanon has few options for international arbitration. TRTworld Lebanon has 95.9 trillion cubic feet of gas and 865 million barrels of oil in just 45 percent of its economic waters; enough to ignite the closed Mediterranean region. To the south, its neighbour Israel claims ownership of 860km of the exclusive economic zone of Lebanon, to the north Syria is drowning in war, then there is Cyprus, which is lost ... Read More »

Israel’s Upcoming Elections and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Israel’s parliamentary elections on 9 April seem set to see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu return to lead a fragile, more right-wing coalition, an outcome unlikely to prompt a dramatic change in the country’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza. Ofer Zalzberg ICG Who will win the upcoming parliamentary election? Current polls project that the governing Likud party will secure enough seats in the Knesset for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to put together a new right-wing governing coalition, similar to ... Read More »

Crisis Group Yemen Update #8

This is the eighth briefing note in Crisis Group’s Yemen Campaign. ICG This week, we explain why ending the internal conflict in Taiz should be a priority step toward national-level peacebuilding efforts. Trendline: Trouble in Taiz Taiz, Yemen’s largest pre-war manufacturing hub and cultural capital nestled in the country’s central highlands, is widely regarded by its inhabitants as a forgotten city. Any future political settlement will have to include a mechanism to end the struggle for Taiz, but internal wrangling ... Read More »

‘We can and must push back against the tide of fascism,’ says Arab-Israeli MK Tibi

As Israel’s General Election approaches on 9 April, MEMO interviews candidates, current and former, about their hopes for the future of Israeli politics. Rebecca Stead The Middle East Monitor Ahmad Tibi is, in many ways, the face of Palestinian politics within Israel. Boasting 20 years’ service as a Knesset Member (MK), he sees no reason why he shouldn’t one day become Israel’s Prime Minister. Yet with only days to go until the General Election, Tibi must battle anti-Palestinian rhetoric, an ... Read More »

Wiesenthal Center Urges Removal Of Anne Frank’s Name From NGO Due To Antisemitism

Alleged Anti-Jewish conspiracy theorist and Israel-hater Daniel Bax is slated to speak at the Anne Frank Educational Center. Benjamin Weinthal JPost The Simon Wiesenthal Center called on the Frankfurt-based Anne Frank Educational Center to remove the Holocaust victim’s name from its organization after it invited an alleged anti-Jewish conspiracy theorist who loathes Israel to speak at its conference on antisemitism. The latest antisemitism scandal at the center is roiling Frankfurt’s city government. Frankfurt’s deputy mayor and city treasurer, Uwe Becker, ... Read More »

Pompeo: There will be ‘devastating’ consequences if Turkey attacks Syria

April 4 (UPI) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Turkey of “devastating” consequences if it attacks Syria. Darryl Coote Pompeo gave the warning to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu Wednesday in Washington during the first day of the two-day NATO Ministerial, State Department Spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement. “Secretary Pompeo expressed support for ongoing negotiations regarding northeast Syria, while warning of the potentially devastating consequences of unilateral Turkish military action in the region,” Palladino said in ... Read More »

Erdoğan’s Four Challenges

Turkey’s president suffered a frustrating setback in local government elections as democratic resilience prevailed. Marc Pierini Carnegie Europe Watch out for the impact on the economy, the rule of law, defense, and Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s campaigning was vintage AKP electioneering: playing a nationalist fiddle; hiding economic realities with creative accounting and cosmetic measures; equating low interest rates (again) with low inflation; accusing foreigners of weakening the currency; threatening the opposition; continuing the crackdown on free speech and ... Read More »

Turkey’s marriage of F-35 and S-400 ‘absolutely unsustainable,’ says EUCOM nominee

WASHINGTON — The U.S. general nominated to lead American forces in Europe said Tuesday that if Turkey buys the Russian S-400 air defense system, it “should not get” the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter from the United States. Joe Gould DefenseNews At his Senate Armed Services Committee nomination hearing to lead U.S. European Command, Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters called the co-location of the F-35 and the S-400 “absolutely unsustainable.” “I concur with this committee’s belief that the S-400 and the ... Read More »

Turkish democracy is the winner in these momentous local elections

By toppling the AKP in Ankara and Istanbul, the opposition has shown that Erdoğan’s ruling party is not an invincible force Sinan Ülgen The Guardian Sunday’s local elections in Turkey resulted in a major setback for the president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and his ruling alliance. The ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) and nationalist MHP coalition lost Turkey’s major cities to an opposition ushering in an era of change at the local level. The political transitions in Istanbul and Ankara ... Read More »

Defusing the Crisis at Jerusalem’s Gate of Mercy

A standoff looms between Palestinian worshippers and Israeli police over a shuttered building at Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade. ICG Israel and Muslim religious authorities should reopen the building to lessen tensions at the sacred site, where small incidents have blown up into prolonged violence before. What’s new? At Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade (Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount), Israeli authorities and Palestinian worshippers are struggling over control of a building next to the Gate of Mercy. Shut by Israeli authorities since 2003, Palestinians forcibly regained ... Read More »

A Turning Point for Turkey’s Opposition?

The AKP’s losses in key major cities in Turkey’s local elections provide opposition parties the opportunity to hold the ruling party accountable. A.Kadir Yildirim Carnegie After an unusually quiet campaign season in Turkey, the March 31, 2019 local elections delivered one of the most stunning results in recent memory. While securing a majority of the votes nationwide, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost major ground. Interestingly, from a historical perspective, the AKP outperformed ... Read More »

Understanding Israel’s Role in The F-35 Dispute Between the US and Turkey

The United States has just cut off its nose to spite its face by announcing that Washington will halt delivery of equipment related to the F-35 fighter jet to Turkey. Adam Garrie EurasiaFuture This makes life more difficult for both Turkey and the US as Turkey played a key role in the development of the F-35. Is this about Russia or is it about Israel?  Throughout 2018, the US threatened to halt delivery of the F-35s to Turkey due to ... Read More »

Brexit, the Republic of Cyprus and the Sovereign Base Areas

An Open Letter addressed to the President of the Republic of Cyprus and the President of the European Commission Klearchos A. Kyriakides Assistant Professor, Cyprus Campus, University of Central Lancashire (UCLan Cyprus) 2 April 2019 Brexit, the Republic of Cyprus and the Sovereign Base Areas Published by Agora Dialogue on 2 April 2019 Read More »