Political Advisory Briefing: Egypt
By Claudia Nocente,
Research Associate Global Security
- Egypt’s new administration between international praise and domestic unrest
- Morsi assumes pharaonic powers in an attempt to rid Egypt of Mubarak judges
- The felool take another shot in Egyptian politics
- The generals remain silent
- The Egyptian economy sinks. READ MORE
- February 12, 2013 14:21PM
Regional Integration as a Conflict Management Strategy in the Balkans and South Caucasus
By Anna Ohanyan,
EGF Affiliated Expert on South Caucasus region building
There is much enthusiasm among researchers and policymakers alike concerning the pacifying effects of trade and broader interdependence among states. The European Union is an often cited example of greater regional integration as a way to enhance peace and security among neighboring states. This comparative regional study draws from the cases of the Balkans and South Caucasus in order (1) to offer a descriptive account of patterns and processes of regionalism in politically divided conflict areas, and (2) to examine the extent to which such regional engagement can positively affect ongoing conflict management efforts in a given conflict region. The study advocates promoting regional structures as a new and potentially effective approach to peace-building and security enhancement, toward managing the many 'frozen conflicts' both in the Balkans as well as in the South Caucasus. READ MORE
A Pragmatic Review of Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict Resolution: Could Economic Incentives Help Break The Current Stalemate?
In this research, we attempt to take a more pragmatic approach towards the topic of the conflict resolution process between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. We believe this process remains in a dangerous state of stalemate at the time of writing. More specifically, we ask whether economic incentives could help break the current deadlock. In order to do this, we posed a series of questions to a notable range of international experts familiar with the conflict, asking as to whether an approach towards conflict resolution where Armenia would return some land to Azerbaijan in return for the latter providing access to regional energy and infrastructure projects could contribute towards breaking the stalemate. The “return of land”, in the context of our research, refers primarily to the seven districts of Azerbaijan which Armenian forces took during the Karabakh war of the 1990s and which remains under Armenian control to this day. We do not assume the “return of land” to mean the return of the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave itself. At the outset of our research, we were optimistic that the “economic incentives” approach could offer a fresh dimension to conflict resolution in relation to the current stalemate over Nagorno-Karabakh. We felt that all parties could exercise a degree of “Caucasus pragmatism” if the right arguments were appropriately presented to governments and public, bearing in mind the widespread desire to see the region “take off” economically. Click here to read more.
China and the Iranian Nuclear Crisis: Between Ambiguities and Interests
EGF Affiliated Expert with focus on Insurgency and Trans-national radicalism in North Africa and Sahel-Sahara
This article analyses, the complex relationship between Tehran, Beijing and Washington on the Iranian nuclear issue. Indeed, China’ policy towards Iran has often been described an ambiguous, in supporting Washington, on the one hand, while protecting Tehran, on the other hand. In this article, we argue that, in fact, Beijing policy vis-a-vis Tehran depends on the state of its relationships with Washington. Indeed, a closer analysis shows that China is using Iran as a bargaining chip with the United States on, among others, two key security issues, i.e., Taiwan and the oil supply. e guarantee of a secured oil supply from the Middle-East in addition to a comprehensive policy of the US with regard to Chinese security interests in Taiwan as well as the use of smart sanctions against Tehran, which would thus take into account, to a certain extent, Beijing economic interests in Iran, are, indeed, the guarantee of Beijing’ support to the US policy towards Iran. Click here to read more.
North Africa after the Arab Spring
Political Outlook for Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt
- Morocco’s monarchy seems to have survived the wind of change blowing on Arab countries last year and is
currently trying to hold on to its power by allowing reforms that partly reduce its absolute authority.
- The adoption of a new constitution and the victory of moderate and nationalist Islamic parties are signs that
mark Morocco’s gradual progress towards the demands of protesters who have taken the streets last year.
- However, civil society is not yet a primary actor in Moroccan politics and a widespread sense of communalism
is still missing.
- Tensions are still present in Morocco, due to the unresponsiveness of the central government regarding the
high levels of unemployment, structural corruption and deficiencies in welfare and health systems.
- Morocco has been praised by the international community for its counter-terrorism efforts, although major
security risks stem from the unresolved situation of West Sahara. High unemployment and persisting poverty,
however, continue to ensure fertile grounds for terrorist recruiters.
- New economic deals with the EU are expected to have a positive impact on the Moroccan economy, which is
of great interest for foreign direct investors. READ MORE
Kofi Annan’s Syrian mission
Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan appears to have made some diplomatic strides in efforts to mediate the violent uprising in Syria. And Annan’s mission also has gained Russian support, which is a crucial key to an international consensus on how best to resolve the Syrian conflict. We are joined on the line with Mikhail Roshchin, a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences. READ MORE
EGF Middle East Briefing - Egypt’s New Political Landscape: between Democratization and Old Legacies
EGF Researcher, Global Security
Egypt’s Islamic state on the horizon
Egypt is once again in the headlines. The results of the first, allegedly, free elections after the ousting of Hosni Mubarak as the Egyptian president are causing widespread concern, especially in the West, about the country’s process towards democratization. Many fear that the legacy of the former political establishment will haunt the country for many years to come. Egyptians have been denied any aspect of a wealthy social and political life and are now concerned about the fruits of their courageous actions and the new seeds last year’s events have implanted. What will Egypt look like a year from now? Will it end up embracing a hardline Islamist direction in the administration of political power? READ MORE
Letter from Istanbul, by EGF International Expert on Energy Security, Mehmet Oguctu
by Mehmet Öğütçü
In his “Letter from Istanbul”, EGF International Expert on Energy Security, Mehmet Oguctu, argues that for the first time in several generations, there is a credible belief within Turkey that with the right policies, institutions and leadership, the country could well sit on the management board of the new world order by 2023, the centenary year of the founding of the modern Turkish state. Click here to read Mehmet Ogutcu’s letter
Muslim Brotherhood set to dominate Egypt's Parliament
In a recent interview for "The Voice of Russia", EGF Expert on Radical Islamic Movements, Mikhail Roshchin, explained the political dynamics emerging between Islamist and secular political parties in Egypt following recent parliamentary elections. His key message for all stakeholders engaged in the formation of new governance institutions in Egypt was that the Muslim Brotherhood, which now forms the largest political bloc in Egypt's new parliament, is more likely to broker political deals with secular parties rather than develop any sense of "ideological alliances" with other, more radical, Islamist factions. This will most likely remove the concerns over "new shades of green" emerging in the ensuing Egyptian political landscape and lead to further fragmentation of the political environment in advance of the country's looming presidential elections, which are currently scheduled for June 2012. Click HERE for the entire interview.
Armenia's choice in Nagorno-Karabakh: peaceful resolution or another war with Azerbaijan?
By George Niculescu,
EGF Affiliated Expert
In the aftermath of the failed summit hosted by the Russian president Dmitry Medvedev between his Azerbaijani and Armenian counterparts, held in Kazan (Russia) on 24 June 2011, with a view to agreeing on a peaceful settlement of the "frozen conflict" in Nagorno-Karabakh, it seems that the future of South Caucasus might be threatened by the specter of a new war. READ MORE
As Eastern Mediterranean’s Waters Heat Up, Turkey Should Lead An OSCE-Type Initiative In The Middle East
Expert in global energy security matters
The Turkish leadership has committed itself to a tough position on Israel, Cyprus and Syria, and any backtracking or sign of weakness will seriously affect its credibility at home, with regional partners, the “Arab Street” and other major global powers, as well as high stakes involved in the Eastern Mediterranean. This represents a policy of principle, consistent with the values and goals the government pursues, but is also a risky one, which if not well managed may lead to some undesirable hot confrontation. The power comes with responsibility if it will be effectively harnessed.READ MORE
A chance to get serious about EU-Russia relations
by Marat Terterov,
Although 2011 is still far from over, it is already likely to go down in history as the year of the so called ‘Arab Spring’. 2011 will be remembered as the year when Arab populations threw down the gauntlet to their stagnating regimes, revising their traditional authoritarian power model and at long last commencing the transition to democracy. So too it is time to consider revising the European Union’s relationship with Russia, which has stagnated rather badly in recent years. Since the “big bang” enlargement of the EU in 2004, Moscow’s relations with Brussels have been increasingly characterised by tension (if not crisis) in their energy ties and failure to reach agreement in many areas of common strategic interest. In June of this year, the bi-annual EU-Russia Summit, held in Nizhny Novgorod, was dubbed as the ‘Vegetable Summit’ in the international press as Moscow and Brussels exchanged blows over the Russian ban on vegetable imports from the EU following the E.coli health scare in Germany. READ MORE
Turkey’s European Path: A Fact Finding Tool Box
By Deniz Altinbas,
Assistant Professor, Ahi Evran University, Turkey,
EGF Affiliated Expert
A History of Turkey’s European Aspirations in Brief
Contrary to conventional opinion, Turkey’s interest in being part of the Western world did not start with its application to the European Economic Community (EEC). In fact, Turkey’s European orientation, diminishing as it is at present, began with the Rescript of Gulhane of 1839 (Tanzimat Fermani) and the Reform Edict of 1856 (Islahat Fermani). Among many other reasons, the major aim of the 19th century effort was the building of a Western model of state and society in wake of the declining power of the Ottoman Empire. READ MORE
EGF Turkey File
A snapshot of Turkey’s domestic and regional politics during May 2011
- Uprisings in the Middle East continue to make diplomacy a difficult game to master for leaders in Turkey, with Syria’s potential implosion being a matter of great concern for those in power in Ankara.
- With Parliamentary elections scheduled for June 12, and the AKP seeing stronger challenges across the political spectrum, tensions are on the rise in the country. It is unlikely, however, that the AKP will face electoral defeat.
- The Nabucco pipeline continues to be mired in uncertainty as Brussels has not been able to persuade suppliers to sign on to the project. READ MORE
Victory Day festivities in Lviv turn into clashes between nationalist groups, representatives of left- wing, pro-Russian organizations, veterans, police
The celebration of the victory in the 1941-45 Great Patriotic War in Lviv turned into disturbances and clashes. On 9 May 2011, in Lviv representatives of nationalist groups clashed with
individuals who were celebrating Victory Day – members of the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU), the pro-Russian Motherland and Russian Unity parties and veterans. In particular, members of nationalist parties attempted to prevent veterans and civilians from laying flowers at the tomb of soldiers who died in the war. For their part, the supporters of the Motherland and Russian Unity parties unfolded a 30-meter Soviet red flag, which they handed over to local veterans. Nearly 20 people were injured as a result of the clashes. A member of the Freedom nationwide organization was even shot in the leg. READ MORE
Ukraine counting on Russia to change gas price formula
Ukraine believes that the negotiations with Russia on revising the gas price formula will be successful, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has said. “We have started normal talks with Russia. We put very serious arguments on the negotiating table. Russia considered them and that is why the negotiations were really good,” he explained. At the same time, Azarov noted that Ukraine did not ask Russia for any preferential treatment or discounts. “We ask for a general European approach to price formation,” he explained. According to the prime minister, the
very fact that the negotiations have been launched signals “clear success.” Meanwhile, Gazprom's official representative, Sergey Kupriyanov, stated once again that the Russian gas monopolist was satisfied with the contract with Ukraine. READ MORE
EGF Turkey File
• In the Ergenekon case, arrests by the government on vague charges reappear, this time targeting journalists and authors. Recently two journalists were detained based on secret evidence that security officials say cannot be revealed at this time.
• Ankara continues to practice ‘Strategic Depth’ foreign policy but has largely been left behind in the Western intervention in Libya. As Syria is rocked by protests and consequent crackdowns, Turkey is largely silent, preaching stability as the top priority for the region.
• Turkey rebuffs Russian demands on a South Stream guarantee while the EU’s head of Energy, Günther Oettinger, warns Russia against intimidating Central Asian suppliers of Nabucco. READ MORE
Ukraine, EU continue talks on free trade area
Another round of the talks on setting up a free trade area (FTA) between Ukraine and the EU has been held in Brussels. During the negotiations, the parties continued their discussion of institutional, general and concluding articles of an agreement. They also exchanged opinions regarding the prospects for reaching a deal on unresolved issues. Additionally, both parties reaffirmed their intention to complete the talks on signing an EU-Ukraine association agreement in 2011 and agreed to conduct the next round of negotiations in June 2011. READ MORE
Europe’s Key Geopolitical Challenges 2011: Summary Document
Key Points for Policy Makers:
- The crisis in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is demonstrating that it is high time for Brussels to re- think its strategy towards the countries of the south bank of the Mediterranean
- EU political initiatives in MENA have often focused on democratisation capacity building, when most of the grievances which sparked this year’s revolts on the Arab street have been predominantly socio-economic in character
- Brussels needs to devise effective mechanisms to overcome divisiveness in the narrow priorities of individual member states if it is to become a credible force in the sphere of international crisis management. It also needs to improve its early warning crisis prevention and detection instruments – or develop such capacities
- MENA remains clouded by substantial uncertainty. There is no guarantee that democracy will emerge in the recently “liberated” MENA countries. However, Turkey might be able to offer such countries a credible model of democratic growth.
- Any major disruption in the supply of energy from the Middle East to international markets, as a result of the ongoing protests and civil conflict in the region, is unlikely
- A general realignment may be starting to take place in the Caspian and Central Asian energy markets: Russian may be losing its grip over the region
EGF Turkey File
• Former Turkish Prime Minister, Necmettin Erbakan, passed away Sunday 27 February. He was 84. Erbakan, the first Islamist prime minister of the Turkish Republic, was forced to resign after only a year into his reign by the military, in what is called the first ‘post-modern coup’.
• Under the guidance of current Prime Minister Erdogan, Turkey has stayed on the sidelines throughout much of the past weeks while protests raged throughout the Middle East. Ankara is finding its new position as a dominant regional actor as having less impact than previously thought, but has been forced to act pragmatically due to the proximity of its own citizens and financial interests in the affected nations.
• Prime Minister Erdogan recently spoke in Dusseldorf, Germany, telling Turks there that while they should learn the (German) language and participate in wider culture of their new homeland; assimilation would be an affront to their human rights. The prime minister also spoke positively about Turkey’s accession to the EU, surprising some for the positive manner in which the AKP leader addressed the issue after years of European rejection.
• The Nabucco gas pipeline still appears to be up in the air as none of the participating companies have yet signed any construction agreements, while a Russian delegation has put pressure on the Brussels-EU whilst addressing its own energy security concerns. READ MORE
Ukrainian business ready for work at Russian market – Experts
The Gorhenin Institute held a round table discussion - Prospects for Ukrainian Business in Russia - on 8 February. Experts and businessmen discussed the most promising areas of cooperation for Russian and Ukrainian business.
President of UPEC Industrial Group Anatoliy Girshfeld considers that Ukrainian business has prospects in Russia in the knowledge-based industry sector while operations in raw material sectors may hampered with strong government regulation. ‘The government actively regulates the raw materials and associated industry sectors and it won’t loose it’s hands on it. This is the main source of the budget income’, - O.Girshfeld said. ‘The state of the knowledge-based industry is a common problem to the entire post-Soviet space. That is why Russia has to allow entering its markets the companies developing in the knowledge-based industry, even in strategic sectors,’ – A.Girshfeld said. READ MORE
- February 17, 2011 09:50AM
Viktor Yanukovych: Ukrainian Corrupt Officials are hiring foreign lobbyists
The President of Ukraine does not agree with the statements that the fight against corruption in Ukraine only targets the people that are in opposition to the current Government.
The Head of State says the corrupt individuals, trying to avoid responsibility, are using various lobbying groups in the country as well as overseas with the purpose of discrediting the actions of the Ukrainian authorities. The President reminded that everybody should be held responsible for corrupt acts regardless of what political party they belong to. READ MORE
- February 17, 2011 09:45AM
Ukrainians are not afraid of terrorist attacks – survey
On January 24th through January 26th, 2011, Gorshenin Institute has conducted a phone survey "Explosions in Makeyevka". A total of 1000 respondents age 18 or older representing all 25 regional centers, Kiev and Sebastopol, were selected at random following a systematic procedure aimed at filling sex, age and community quotas. The margin of error is no higher then +/-3.2%. Results of the survey conducted among the residents of Makeyevka are presented separately. READ MORE
EGF Turkey File
• The Nabucco pipeline received several pieces of good news in January, but there is little sign of any movement towards commencement of construction works. Further, Italy’s ENI has rejected any possible suggestions that Nabucco could merge with Russia’s South Stream.
• Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Erdogan, has responded to criticisms that new laws advocating the restrictions of alcohol reflect an infringement on personal freedoms of Turkish citizens.
• The widely discussed “conspiracy” of the Sledgehammer coup plot is once again in the lime light, as prosecutors allege plans by the plotters to bomb two Istanbul mosques.
• Following the release of 5 members of the banned (Turkish) Hizbullah organisation in January, a fiery security- political debate has erupted as to whether there is a link between the AKP government and the outlawed group.
• While Istanbul hosts talks between the P5 +1 and Iran over the latter’s nuclear ambitions, Turkey sits out the meeting. A settlement on Cyprus appears impossible after Turkey and the EU sit out January talks in Geneva, with some critics saying this is the end for Turkey’s own EU accession negotiations.
• A day after Saudi Arabia halted its efforts in support of the formation of a new government in Lebanon, the joint Turkish/Qatari mission followed suit, claiming that the disputing Lebanese factions indicated reservations with external proposals to help broker a deal. READ MORE
Former Minister of Economy Bohdan Danylyshun has been granted a political asylum in the Czech Republic
On January 13-th, 2011, the Ministry of Foreign Affaires of the Czech republic has decided to grant political asylum to Bogdan Danylyshyn. As a reminder, the former Minister of Economy is accused of embezzlement in Ukraine. On October 2010, he was detained on the territory of the Czech Republic upon Interpol request. Later, Kiev demanded his extradition and the accused has asked for a political asylum in the Czech Republic.
EGF Turkey File
• In recent months Turkey has witnessed harsh prison sentences and threats of litigation by Turkish authorities in response to Kurdish protests and unfavourable press respectively in the past months. This is a worrying sign in that after nearly a decade in power, AKP authorities have become just as reactionary as the military backed governments of previous decades, only this time with an Islamic tinge.
• At the NATO Lisbon Summit on November 19-20, Ankara claimed victory for swaying its allies away from designating Iran as the main threat facing the alliance with regards to a proposed missile defence system which NATO is currently considering. While Turkish government officials indicated prior to the conference that they would demand command and control of the system if based on their territory, in Lisbon, that decision was put off for future discussion.
• Wikileaks’ release of American diplomatic cables have detailed the gossip and personalities of leading AKP politicians, but offered little else that could be described as damaging.
• In regional energy developments, Russia and its energy subsidiary, Gazprom, have been opting for pragmatism over threats in recent months by signing deals throughout the region with Bulgaria, Serbia, and Ukraine in order to strengthen prospects of realising the South Stream gas pipeline. Brussels and Sofia, for their part, have reached an agreement on bank guarantees for Nabucco (the EU’s rival to South Stream). READ MORE
- December 20, 2010 20:29PM
Viktor Yanukovych sees the possibility of Ukraine joining the Customs Union With Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan
On November 26th, 2010 in Moscow after the Ukrainian-Russian Intergovernmental Commission President of Ukraine announced that he did not rule out Ukraine entering the Customs Union (CU) with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. He added that, in order to achieve that goal certain amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine should be made, which according to him could be done either in the Parliament or by a National referendum. Earlier, in April, Viktor Yanukovych has expressed an opposite opinion regarding this matter. 'Ukraine has made a choice in favor of joining the World Trade Organization (WTO). Ukraine is already integrated in the WTO and today Ukraine entering the Customs Union would be impossible', -he said. th As a reminder, on November 25 European Parliament adopted a resolution on Ukraine. In this document European legislators are calling on Ukraine to make all effort to finish negotiation on an agreement as to the Association Treaty between the European Union (EU) and Ukraine in the first half of 2011. READ MORE
- December 15, 2010 10:21AM
The IMF is satisfied with Ukraine yet is bringing forward more demands to continue the cooperation
Head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission in Ukraine Thanos Arvanitis said that Ukraine had fulfilled all main obligations within the framework of the cooperation program with the IMF. Prime-Minister of Ukraine Nikolay Azarov predicts that by the end of 2010 the Board of Directors of the IMF would decide on granting Ukraine the second tranche of the loan in the amount of 1.6 billion dollars. READ MORE
- December 15, 2010 09:09AM
EGF Turkey File
• David Cameron’s forceful remarks over the summer on Turkey’s stagnant accession talks have hit a nerve in some circles in Brussels. Criticism of fellow German and French members of the EU by the prime minister on bias and playing to xenophobic political moods has addressed the elephant in the room over Turkey’s much debated membership application. Brussels is predicted to endorse the recent referendum results from Turkey as a positive step in its long standing bid to join the EU.
• A Turkish court struck down the headscarf ban in public universities recently, but no major social disturbances have been reported. The lack of social unrest over such a divisive issue seems to further demonstrate that Turkey is enshrining the values of a law based democratic society where sensitive political issues are settled in the courts and at the ballot box rather than in the streets. Meanwhile the Ergenekon trial (Turkey’s new national coup plot) has faded from national attention as the Istanbul prosecutor’s office has declined to pursue the case citing lack of verifiable evidence.
• The Turkish National Petroleum Corporation has recently won two major contracts in developing the two largest Iraqi gas fields, further increasing Turkey’s interests in its neighbour. This has not alleviated some concern in the business sector that warns a ballooning trade deficit over the past year has dire consequences for the long-term future of business growth.
- November 30, 2010 05:57AM
EGF Turkey File
- The 12 September referendum was seen as a vote of confidence for the ruling AKP, with several constitutional changes ratified by majority. However, a large opposition-voting bloc has emerged and appears to highlight the presence of a vibrant democratic atmosphere in the Republic.
- Kurdish-Turkish reconciliation has faltered in recent weeks, with large portions of the country’s Kurdish areas boycotting the 12 September vote.
- Rumours of a Gulenist-AKP split did not deter cooperation between these two leading Turkish political forces in the run up to the vote. However, with criticism of the AKP increasingly evident within Gulenist circles, there are signs that all is not well in the Islamist camp in Turkey.
- Turkey and Russia’s Gazprom are attempting to negotiate the sharing of burdens and profits from the Samsun-Ceyan oil pipeline with Italy’s ENI. The American ambassador to Turkey has endorsed the Southern Energy Corridor project, but with the caveat that no Iranian gas runs through the Nabucco gas pipeline. READ MORE
EGF Turkey File
John Van Pool
EGF Turkey Geopolitics Analyst
- British Prime Minster David Cameron’s recent speech to the Turkish Parliament, which gave strong support for Ankara’s EU membership bid, is likely to have caused more reaction from European national leaders had it been delivered in Brussels
- Last month’s agreement between Chevron and Turkish Petroleum to explore two deep-water wells in the Black Sea is a reflection of the Turkish government’s efforts to make the country self sufficient in oil and gas production by 2023
- Italian energy company ENI has attempted to reach a compromise for its role in the competing Nabucco and South Stream pipelines by reaching an agreement with Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan in which compressed natural gas reserves will be transported by ship across the Caspian Sea, which will provide supplies to both pipelines without alienating either project’s backers.
- Turkey’s National Security Policy Document (also known as the ‘Secret Constitution’), which is due to be reviewed shortly, will identify energy security as the country’s most pressing strategic issue, and will remove Russia, amongst other neighbours, from the countries it would consider as potential enemies. READ MORE
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation: The Tashkent Summit Generates More Questions than Answers
On June 11-12 2010 the member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) held their annual Summit in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, under the auspices of the (rotational) Uzbek presidency. The previous SCO Summit was held in 2009 in Yekaterinburg, Russia, where the agenda of the member states was dominated by the search for the right exit strategies out of the global economic-financial crisis, particularly those that would serve to minimise its nefarious consequences upon SCO members. In Tashkent, the agenda of SCO member country leaders was dominated by the following issues:
• Enhancement of regional stability and security
• Coordination of the intergovernmental struggle with international terrorism, extremism and separatism
• Contemporary problems relating to the above, including ongoing crisis in Afghanistan (a regional thorn for all of the SCO members) and the fallout of the political-security crisis in Kyrgyzstan
• Coordination of national and intergovernmental efforts to counter organised crime and narco-trafficking. READ MORE
EGF Turkey File
John Van Pool
EGF Turkey Geopolitics Analyst
• Terrorism-related acts of sabotage, linked to the outlawed Kurdish-separatist group, the PKK, took place on the Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline on 10 August, disrupting production
• The Moscow-backed South Stream gas pipeline has been losing support amongst influential stakeholders in the region (the Italian Energy company, ENI, has raised concerns that the project will not be commercially viable)
• Turkey appears to be slowly correcting its energy policy shortcomings of the past with Russia, and Ankara now seeks a more balanced energy partnership with Moscow
• Conciliatory gestures towards Turkey’s Kurds by the present Ankara government appear to have done little to ease tensions in the country’s south east, which is heavily populated by Kurdish minorities. READ MORE
Geopolitical Challenges 2010
At the end of December 1999, as the world prepared to usher in a new Millennium, in Europe and other parts of the planet, there was widespread concern that the so called “Millennium Bug” would strike, causing unforeseen disruption and havoc. Ten years on, in December of last year, for many in Europe, the Millennium Bug was just a shade in the memory as a far more ominous concern was pressing home – the prospect of another gas crisis. Although the fact that the Russia-Ukraine gas dispute of January 2009 – and its knock-on effect of leaving much of Europe without natural gas in the peak of winter – did not repeat itself during the record cold European temperatures of January this year, the very fact that European attention has become so focused on this theme demonstrates how geopolitical developments in the European hinterlands have come to impact the day-to-day livelihood of all Europeans.
Leading experts have shared their views on how such geopolitical challenges are likely to pan out during 2010 and beyond in an online session. Click here to go into the discussions or here to view forum summary
The EU-Russia Energy Partnership: Overcoming the Challenges
The energy trade between Russia and the countries of the European Union (EU) is of fundamental significance for the energy security of each party. Despite the close proximity of the EU-Russia energy relationship, however, the legal and political basis underpinning this relationship, particularly with regards to the gas trade, has proven itself inadequate in guaranteeing the energy security of both parties. Russia's recent announcement of its intention "of not becoming a member" of the Energy Charter Treaty, and new proposal for global energy security has created further uncertainty. While it is hoped that a new government in Kiev will lead to an improvement of Russian relations with Ukraine, Ukraine's national gas transportation operator remains in a difficult financial position and another gas crisis embroiling Ukraine, Russia and the EU, whilst hardly imminent, cannot be entirely ruled out.
Leading Russian and international energy professionals have shared their views on these energy policy challenges in an online session. Click here to go into the discussions or here to view forum summary