Geopolitical Research Institute(GRI)/Εταιρεία Γεωπολιτικών Ερευνών(ΕΓΕ)

Παρασκευή, 5 Νοεμβρίου 2010

Turkish-Italian forum to be held in Rome

The 7th Turkish-Italian Forum, which is being jointly organized by the Turkish Foreign Ministry and the Italian bank Unicredit, will take place in Rome on Monday and Tuesday.

On the second day of the forum, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and his Italian counterpart, Franco Frattini, will deliver speeches, according to Turkish diplomatic sources.

Cooperation opportunities within the scope of research and development activities carried out by Turkey and Italy on sustainable energy and IT technologies will also be discussed during the first day of the forum.

"Relations between Turkey, Italy and the EU under the conditions of the global political and economic crisis" will be on the agenda of a panel discussion to be held on the second day, sources added.

The Turkish-Italian Forum has been held in Istanbul and Rome on a rotating basis since 2004.

The foreign ministers of Turkey and Italy, as well as politicians, academics, journalists, civil society representatives and opinion leaders from both countries will be among the participants at the forum

US midterm elections reset lobby dynamics for Turkey

A more Republican-leaning Congress brought by Tuesday's midterm elections in the United States is a mixed blessing for the future of the U.S.-Turkish relationship, diplomats and analysts said Thursday.

"We eventually got rid of the Californian gang, and it's good," said one Turkish diplomat privately, referring to campaign losses for both Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrat Howard Berman, who were known to be hostile to Turkey. California has a large Armenian community.

Pelosi will cede her post to the present Republican minority leader, John Boehner, with whom Turkish diplomats have good working relations.

Berman, the pro-Armenian chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, will also be replaced by a Republican, likely Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.



Ethnic Turks win office
Two Turkish-Americans were victorious on Nov. 2 in their campaigns for office, according to the Turkish Coalition USA Political Action Committee, or TC-USA PAC.

The winners, Jay Karahan and John Alpay, two of five Turkish-Americans running for office in the 2010 elections, represent a young but growing interest among the Turkish-American community in civic activism, TC-USA PAC said.

Karahan was re-elected by a wide margin to his position as Presiding Judge of the Harris County Criminal Court 8 in Houston, Texas. Alpay, an attorney and community activist in San Clemente, California, was elected as Area 3 Trustee for the Capistrano Unified School District, one of the largest districts in the state.

"We are extraordinarily proud that Judge Karahan and John Alpay were judged by their constituents yesterday and found to have the qualities necessary to be a public servant," said Lincoln McCurdy, treasurer of the TC-USA PAC.

"But we are just as proud of all five candidates for investing time and money on campaigns to help bolster the Turkish-American community’s presence in American civic life. They represent the first significant step in a long journey for Turkish-American activism, setting the stage for the eventual election of a Turkish-American to national office," McCurdy said.


The changes affecting Turkey mirrored the trend across the country, as Tuesday's midterm elections dealt a massive upset to Democratic President Barack Obama, with the opposition Republicans regaining the control of the House of Representatives, Congress' lower chamber. The Democrats managed to keep their control in the Senate, Congress' upper chamber, but their formerly comfortable majority diminished.

For Turkey, however, the so-called Armenian lobby remains strong in both houses of Congress. For example, Republican Representative Mark Kirk of Illinois, a leading sponsor of the "Armenian Genocide" resolution in the House, won his election bid to the U.S. Senate in Illinois, filling the seat once held by Obama.

Also in a hotly contested race, Senate majority leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, an "Armenian Genocide" resolution co-sponsor, won re-election, as did the same bill's other co-sponsors, Senators Barbara Boxer, a Democrat from California, and Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York.

In the House, all major pro-Armenian lawmakers were re-elected, with the exception of George Radanovich, a Republican from California, who previously announced his decision not to run again.

In the 1990s, Turkish diplomats dealing with the United States had a motto: "Democratic presidents and Republican Congresses,” since Republicans were less concerned about Turkey’s human rights history.

The situation in Turkey, however, has changed in the last 15 years or so. Whereas Turkey was once a loyal ally of the United States, it now has its own independent foreign policies and initiatives, particularly in the Middle East, including rapidly improving ties with Iran and Syria and a worsening relationship with Israel. As such, many U.S. conservatives, especially in the Republican Party, are upset with Turkey.

Lame-duck sessions

The new Congress to be elected Tuesday will take office Jan. 3, and any congressional sessions between now and the New Year are called "lame duck" sessions. There is a slight chance two important things could happen for Turkey during the lame-duck sessions. First, there has been no U.S. ambassador in Ankara for more than three months. Obama's ambassadorial nominee for Ankara, Frank Ricciardone, has so far failed to win Senate confirmation as prominent Republican Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas has effectively blocked Ricciardone’s nomination.

Ricciardone can at best be confirmed in the Senate's lame-duck sessions beginning in mid-November on the condition that Brownback lifts his veto. Brownback was elected governor of Kansas on Tuesday and will leave his Senate job at the end of the year.

If Brownback were to lift his hold on Ricciardone – despite there being no sign of such intent – and the Senate confirmed Ricciardone, the latter could take his job in Ankara. However, if Brownsback does not lift his veto and the Congress does not vote for Ricciardone, the Ankara envoy’s seat will remain vacant at least until the new Congress is convened in January.

Secondly, Turkey is also concerned about a vote on the "Armenian genocide" resolution pending in the House of Representatives during the lame-duck season.

The House Committee on Foreign Affairs narrowly approved the "genocide" bill in March, and the resolution is awaiting a possible vote on the House floor. U.S. Armenians are seeking a vote on the resolution in one of the lame-duck sessions, but Obama's administration is standing resolutely against this bill.

Many Republicans are ultimately angry about Ankara's rapprochement with Iran and the new hostile relationship between Turkey and Israel; if this situation continues, they could take hostile action against Turkey.

Moreover, if pro-Armenian deputies do not bring forth a “genocide” resolution bill during the lame-duck sessions, they could conceivably reintroduce such a bill after Jan. 3. Many Republicans, angry with Turkey, could back these bills

Japanese firm interested in nuclear plant construction in Turkey

A major Japanese firm expressed interest in constructing Turkey's second nuclear power plant during Minister of State for Foreign Trade Mehmet Zafer Çağlayan’s recent visit to Tokyo.

During the last stop of his tour of the Far East on Thursday, Çağlayan told the Japanese Business Federation that Toshiba had expressed interest in becoming involved in the development of Turkey’s energy sector. “Toshiba officials told me that they wanted to participate in nuclear power plant projects (in Turkey),” he said.

During the talks he called on Japanese businessmen to invest in Turkey. "We have started cooperation with Russia for Turkey's first nuclear power plant. Many companies are interested in the construction of the second plant. We previously held talks on the issue with businessmen in the U.S., Canada and China," he said.

Following the talks, the minister told a press conference that Turkey is currently diversifying its energy policy. "Turkey was unable to carry out its energy policies accurately in the past. Today, we are diversifying our energy resources and we are starting to use hydroelectric, wind, geothermal and solar energy," he said.

During the talks the business leaders discussed nuclear energy, sustainable energy and satellite issues. He also spoke about the construction of a third bridge spanning the Bosphorus in Istanbul, railway projects and cooperation opportunities in contracting business with the Japanese minister.

Çağlayan said the investment environment and new incentive system had also been on the agenda of his talks with Toshiba executives and the Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Akihiro Ohata.

"Japan, especially its foodstuff sector, is a big market for Turkey. We are neglecting this country and our businessmen do not extend the necessary support to Japan,” he said.

"We want to work together with you. Most of you are owners of the world's leading companies. Let us increase the number of our areas of cooperation," Çağlayan told the Japanese businessmen’s group.

During his trip the minister has so far met officials from Toshiba Corporation, members of the Japanese Business Federation, Minister Ohata and Prince Tomohito of Mikasa, Japan.

Αμυνα ρεφενέ

Προτάσεις από Ιταλία, Γαλλία, Πολωνία και Βουλγαρία στο υπουργείο
Στη λογική τού «ρεφενέ άμυνα», κάτι σαν τα ρεφενέ πάρτι, φαίνεται να στρέφεται και η Ελλάδα, μετά τις Γαλλία, Αγγλία και Ελβετία που αποφάσισαν να ενώσουν τις δυνάμεις τους για να εξοικονομήσουν πόρους.

«Η οικονομική κρίση επιβάλλει ευελιξία», είπε χθες ανώτατος αξιωματούχος του υπουργείου Αμυνας, όταν του ζητήθηκε να σχολιάσει την αμυντική συνεργασία ευρωπαϊκών χωρών και συνέδεσε τις σχετικές συζητήσεις με τη μείωση των εξοπλισμών, καθώς τα οπλικά συστήματα της μιας χώρας θα συμπληρώνουν αυτά της άλλης.

Η ερώτηση του δημοσιογράφου προς το ανώτατο στέλεχος έγινε και με λίγη δόση χιούμορ, καθώς κανείς δεν περίμενε τη συγκεκριμένη απάντηση. Ναι, έχουν υποβληθεί και μελετώνται από επιτελείς προτάσεις από Γαλλία, Ιταλία, Βουλγαρία και Πολωνία για συνεργασία σε τομείς όπως αυτοί της εκπαίδευσης, των υποδομών, των μεταφορών ή ακόμη και κοινή χρήση υλικών και οπλικών συστημάτων.

Σύμφωνα με τον ίδιο αξιωματούχο, η μείωση του κόστους της άμυνας μπορεί να επιτευχθεί με συνεργασίες και έφερε σαν παραδείγματα: Η Ιταλία ενδιαφερόταν να πουλήσει στην Ελλάδα εκπαιδευτικά αεροσκάφη. Αντ' αυτού, η χώρα μας μπορεί να καταβάλει ένα ποσό και να εκπαιδεύονται οι Ελληνες χειριστές σε ιταλικά εκπαιδευτικά αεροσκάφη. Η Πολωνία διαθέτει μαχητικά F-16, τα οποία μπορούν να συντηρούνται στην ΕΑΒ.