Located between Europe and the Middle East, Cyprus has historically been of strategic significance to powers on either side of the Mediterranean Sea. The discovery of natural gas off its shores has raised the island’s geopolitical profile — and might help it overcome communal tensions.
Cypriot waters are estimated to contain between 140 and 220 billion cubic meters of gas with an approximate value of €38 billion.
As Donald Trump returns from his first international tour as American president, one thing that stands out is, as usual, the difference between his and Barack Obama’s approach to diplomacy. Whereas Obama’s first Mideast destinations were Turkey and Iraq, Trump’s were Saudi Arabia and Israel, a country Obama did not even visit until his second term in office.
Trump’s trip also included stops in Brussels, Sicily and the Vatican in Rome. Along with Saudi Arabia and Israel, these represent four of the five most significant allies of the United States within the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean region: Italy, Israel, the Saudis and the EU.
The fifth ally, which appears to have been snubbed, is Turkey. The Turks were not honored with a stop during Trump’s first trip to the region, as they were during Obama’s.
Turkey failing to make it onto Trump’s travel itinerary might seem to be of little significance, if it were not for the flurry of unpleasant events involving the Turks and Americans that have occured this same month. Read more “Trump and the Turks”
On the eve of a leaders summit in Brussels, NATO has found a way to salvage its partnership program with 41 nations in Europe and the Middle East which Turkey had threatened to suspend.
A last-minute compromise sees Austria withdrawing from NATO peacekeeping operations in the Balkans and Turkey holding back from severing ties with other non-allied partner states.
The Turks were outraged when Austria called on the EU to end accession talks in the wake of last year’s failed military coup against Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. His government has since purged tens of thousands of soldiers and civil servants on the pretext of disloyalty. Erdoğan has given himself broad powers and imprisoned opposition leaders. Read more “NATO Throws Austria Under the Bus to Appease Turks”
And “to” seems the right word, because this was done to Turkey by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his political machine. International electoral monitors cite fraud; so too does the powerful Republican People’s Party. That hardly matters, it seems. Turkish election officials will not allow a recount.
Turks will be asked on Sunday if they trust Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to run the country on his own or want to preserve at least a pretense of democracy.
Of course, that’s not how it’s put on the ballot paper. Nominally, Turks will be asked to approve or reject constitutional changes that would transform the country from a parliamentary into a presidential republic.
With the compliance of his party men in the cabinet and parliament, Erdoğan has already turned what what used to be a ceremonial post into a de facto executive presidency.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has lashed out at his Dutch allies, calling them “Nazi remnants” and “fascists” after they refused to allow two of his ministers to campaign in the small country on the North Sea.
Erdoğan earlier called the Germans “fascists” as well when they canceled a demonstration in support of his plans to expand the Turkish presidency.
Dutch officials had asked Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya, the Turkish ministers for foreign and family affairs, respectively, not to appear at a pro-Erdoğan rally in Rotterdam this weekend. (A city that was almost razed to the ground by the Nazis in 1940.)
When Çavuşoğlu threatened sanctions if the Dutch would not allow him to come, the government of Mark Rutte denied his plane landing rights.
It may not seem it, what with the Islamic State’s suicide bombers lashing out, Israeli soldiers shooting wounded Palestinians and the war in Yemen grinding on, but the Middle East’s broad new outlines are starting to show.
They appear in front of the Turkish tanks on their way to Raqqa; in the brightly-lit press conferences of the White House; in the ballot printing factories of Tehran and in the banks of Dubai.