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

Σάββατο, 4 Δεκεμβρίου 2010

Israel cannot have access to NATO capabilities, Turkish president says

NATO capabilities could not be used by Israel, the Turkish president said, reaffirming a condition of the country’s support for the alliance’s United States-led missile defense project.

“Israel is not a member of NATO and any cooperation is not a point in the issue. I explicitly say in principle this is not possible,” President Abdullah Gül told Euronews during an interview Friday.

During talks prior to a recent NATO summit, Turkey said it would only support the defense project if the alliance agreed to the condition it would not share intelligence with non-NATO members. This was a veiled reference to Israel, given the U.S.’ alleged ambition that the project protect that country against a possible attack from Iran. In these most recent comments, Gül has explicitly ruled out the possibility of Israel accessing NATO resources and capabilities.

Asked if Turkey still considers Israel a friend and ally, Gül said the relationship was still strained by the Mavi Marmara incident, when eight Turkish citizens and an American of Turkish origin were killed during an Israeli raid. “The Mavi Marmara has changed a lot of things. The Israeli army attacked a ship in the middle of the Mediterranean that was attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza and Israel unfortunately killed lots of people,” Gül said.

Gül said any country affiliated with international law could immediately address such a situation by implementing international law. “Israel is yet to compensate for this situation. Accordingly, we cannot forget it,” he said, adding that Israel had lost the friendship of both Turkey and the Turkish people.

Asked if there was a difference between Turkish and Western perceptions regarding Iran, Gül said it was normal for Turkey to be sensitive toward its neighbors, adding that the problems in Iraq were solved through war rather than diplomacy, and then the Iraqi people and neighboring countries paid the cost.

Gül dismissed suggestions that Turkey’s foreign policy has shifted axis. “Turkey has become a junction,” he said, adding that other neighboring countries, such as Germany and France, and the U.S. and Canada, maintained their highest international trade volumes with each other.

Source : Hurriyet

Turkey, Russia accelerate nuclear plant project

Turkish officials will meet their Russian counterparts later this month to push the button on the actual launch of a nuclear power plant project, Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yıldız told reporters Friday.

Yıldız is set to meet Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin on Dec. 13 or 14 to discuss details of works required to set up a project company.

In May, Turkey and Russia signed a deal detailing the construction of Turkey's first nuclear power plant on the southern coast.

"The nuclear power plant project is moving toward becoming an actual process. Once the project company is established we will be engaged in licensing the land in Akkuyu, delivery of the construction site and developing solutions to possible problems on the site," Yıldız told reporters at an energy conference in Istanbul.

"I believe our cooperation with the Russian Federation on this nuclear power plant project will boost mutual trade," he said.

Turkey is also set to initiate talks with Japan regarding the construction of a possible second nuclear power plant on the northern coast of the country, after talks with South Korea failed.

Turkish officials are preparing to meet Japanese officials next week to discuss the project, Yıldız said. "I think energy talks with Japan would bring an expansion in relations, especially in transportation and cultural cooperation."

Source : Hurriyet

" Levant Quatret" : New allies for Turkey

Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan signed Friday an agreement to form a “Levant Quartet” to develop stronger economic and cultural integration in what officials are hailing as an “EU of the Middle East.”

“The quartet will bring four seas together and be the base of a union, similar to the European Union, in the future,” a Syrian Transportation Minister Yaraub Badr told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

The signing took place during the International Cooperation Platform, or ICP, that is continuing in Istanbul.

“Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad aim to bring the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea and Basra together by forming the quartet,” Badr said.

Badr said the agreement would bring together all the countries of the Arab Peninsula and Egypt as members in the near future by taking the region’s economic integration to a higher level.

“This is not just a simple agreement, but a step taken toward a union in the Middle East,” he said.

“As we all know, everything started with economic cooperation in Europe,” he said, adding that Middle Eastern countries have a great potential to achieve the same.

In the official documents prepared by the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey, or DEİK, on the Levant Quartet, the agreement has a projection map including Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Oman and Bahrain as full members of the Levant Quartet by 2015. Israel has not been included in the plans.

“The leaders of these countries have already given signs of their will to become full members of the Levant in the future,” he said.

According to projections, the eventual members of the Levant will have a population of 270 million and represent a trade volume of nearly $1 trillion.

Common market and monetary union

In a meeting last month, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon were preparing to launch a visa-free zone and formally create a free-trade zone between the four countries.

“The regional economic integration model will include steps toward a free-trade zone, customs union, common market, common monetary union and economic union in the future,” Badr said.

Noting that the four countries signing the agreement have a total gross domestic product of $724 billion, Badr said success was assured for the project. “We have all the energy sources in the Middle East and the production facilities and know-how in Turkey.”

‘No evil axis’

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, head of Turkey’s Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges, said, “There is no evil axis in this region.”

He added that 20 years of conflict in the region had resulted in nearly $12 trillion in economic damages.

“The ones who stay out of the phase with the new conditions of the economy are bound to stay behind developed nations,” said President Abdullah Gül, speaking at the meeting.

He also said security-oriented inter-regional competition should leave its place to stability and growth-oriented regional cooperation in Middle East.

The Levant agreement has three main pillars – political, economic, and cultural integration – and addresses cooperation in mobility of goods and people, communications and logistics, entrepreneurship, financial activities, inter-regional investment activities, food security, energy security, tourism, infrastructure projects and project financing, cooperation in third countries, education and research and development, according to officials.

“The Turkish and Arab world has the world’s most important strategic zone, from Kars to Morocco and Mauritania, from Sinop to the southeast part of Sudan to the equator, from the Bosphorus to the Gulf of Aden and the Dardanelles. We want turn this into a zone of economic integration and a grand area of welfare,” Davutoğlu told the Fifth Turkish-Arab Economic Forum in Istanbul in June.

The ICP will continue until Sunday at the Swissotel the Bosphorus in Istanbul. Among those present are private-sector representatives, political leaders, academics and journalists from Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Source : Hurriyet

China says it will tighten monetary policy in 2011

The Associated Press
Friday, December 3, 2010; 7:34 AM

BEIJING -- China's leadership ordered a shift from easy credit to a "prudent monetary policy" on Friday as Beijing steps up its fight against inflation and tries to guide rapid growth to a sustainable level.

The announcement reinforces a change in direction charted this year of modest tightening after the government and banks flooded the economy with easy money to effectively ward off the global economic crisis in 2009.

The ruling Communist Party's top body, the Politburo, decided to "implement an active fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy" in 2011, said a Cabinet statement.

Beijing raised interest rates Oct. 19, highlighting its divergence from the United States and other major economies, which are trying to boost growth. The central bank said in its latest quarterly report it would "gradually return policy to a normal position," indicating interest rates would rise.

The government is trying to cool inflation that spiked to 4.4 percent in October - well above the official 3 percent target - driven by a 10.1 percent jump in food costs. Analysts say November inflation might rise still higher.

"Growth seems pretty solid and inflation is higher than expected," said Tom Orlik, an analyst in Beijing for Stone & McCarthy Research Associates. "Put that together and it makes sense to shift policy position."

Analysts expect more rate hikes in coming months. Chinese stocks have fallen amid investor concern that might slow growth or choke off credit that is helping to support stock prices.