BERLIN/ANKARA | | tuerkei

BERLIN/ANKARA (Own report) - The German government is negotiating new German Turkish arms deals, as was confirmed by the German Ministry of Economics. Brigitte Zypries (SPD), Minister of the Economy, spoke with the CEO of Rheinmetall weapons manufacturer about upgrading the Turkish Leopard battle tank. "In principle," such deals with NATO partners "can not to be restricted," according to Berlin. The German government is also seeking to re-invigorate German-Turkish economic cooperation, to strengthen bilateral relations. Germany does not want to loose Turkey as a "bridge" connecting Germany and the EU to the Middle East. Under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Ankara is not only strengthening the country's economy and, in the long run, make it one of the world's top ten economies ("Vision 2023"), he is also planning to transform the country into an independent regional power, forming alliances as it chooses - no longer dependent on the western states. The reorientation of its foreign policy is accompanied by the country's transformation into a presidential dictatorship. more…

BERLIN/ANKARA | | tuerkei

BERLIN/ANKARA (Own report) - In spite of the Turkish government's recent provocations, Berlin is steadfastly maintaining its cooperation with Ankara. Over the past few days, members of the Turkish government have affronted several EU countries as "fascist," thereby again provoking sharp protests. For some time, human rights organizations and other critics of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have been up in arms over Ankara's brutal violations of human and civil rights, its attempt to establish a presidential dictatorship and its arbitrary incarceration of citizens of foreign countries. Last week, Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that her objective was to prevent Turkey from "becoming even more alienated from us," which is why we must persist in our cooperation. Since some time, government advisors in Germany's capital have been warning that Ankara is seriously considering joining the Chinese-Russian Alliance (the Shanghai Cooperation Organization - SCO), and that, within the Turkish establishment, voices calling for Turkey to leave NATO are growing louder. That would be a serious setback for Berlin's ambitions to become a world power, which for geostrategic reasons, is dependent on its cooperation with Ankara. more…

Ankara's War

ANKARA/BERLIN | | tuerkei

ANKARA/BERLIN (Own report) - Berlin has reacted to Turkish air strikes on the "Islamic State" (IS) and the PKK, with both praise and sharp criticism. After several IS attacks on Turkish territory, Ankara halted its support for the IS last week and launched air strikes on the organization in northern Syria. For years, the West, including Berlin, had been benevolently observing how Ankara had been granting assistance to the IS - as an aspect of the war against the Bashar al Assad government in Syria. Ankara is now following the change of course, initiated last year by the West, when it declared war on IS. Berlin's sharp criticism of Turkish air strikes on PKK camps in northern Iraq must be seen in the context of Turkish plans to invade northern Syria, which would lead to a confrontation with Kurdish forces affiliated to the PKK. Germany clearly rejects such an invasion because either it would strengthen Ankara, which recently has been regularly opposing Berlin, or it would turn another EU-bordering country into a theater of armed conflict - between the Turkish armed forces and Kurdish units. more…

MOSCOW/BERLIN | | russische-foederationtuerkei

MOSCOW/BERLIN (Own report) - Berlin and Brussels must cope with a growing amount of damage from Moscow's cancellation of the South Stream pipeline project. For subcontractors, who had expected profitable business deals from this project, the cancellation also means losses in the millions. The BASF subsidiary, Wintershall has no hope of moving up "into in the major leagues of global gas producers," predict media reports, since its conceptual project linked to South Stream fell through. On December 1, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the South Stream pipeline project was being scrapped, due to the numerous obstructions imposed by Brussels. A pipeline crossing Turkish territory ("Turkish Stream") to the Greek border will now replace South Stream, which would have supplied gas from Russia, via the Black Sea, to Bulgaria and, from there, to several EU countries. Besides confronting the immediate economic damage, to secure its gas supply, in the future, the EU will be forced to negotiate also with Ankara, rather than solely with Russia. Efforts to pipe gas from the Caspian Basin, bypassing Russia, to Europe via Turkey, have also suffered a setback. more…

BERLIN | | russische-foederationtuerkei

BERLIN (Own report) - Since the Russian government's decision to scrap the "South Stream" pipeline project, Berlin and Brussels have been searching for an alternative supply of natural gas. In answer to the EU, Alexei Miller, Gazprom's chief executive, announced last Tuesday, that his company was no longer pursuing South Stream and would instead construct a pipeline to Turkey. Ukraine's role as transit country for supplying gas to the EU "will be reduced to zero." To meet the increasing demand of EU countries, the EU Commission is now seeking alternative supplies via the "Southern Corridor" - a route leading from Azerbaijan via the Southern Caucasus and Turkey to the EU. The EU's promised supply from Azerbaijan's natural gas reserves is but a drop in the bucket. The West's policies of war and sanctions hamper additional deliveries from Iraq or Iran via the "Southern Corridor." Only by 2016 will the USA export large quantities of shale gas, however, mainly to Asia where it can sell at a better price than in Europe. German politicians and experts are pleading to convince Moscow to continue the natural gas cooperation. more…

MOSCOW/BERLIN | | russische-foederationtuerkeibulgarien

MOSCOW/BERLIN (Own report) - Moscow's cancellation of the South Stream pipeline project is causing Berlin and Brussels headaches. EU bodies and government leaders of EU member states have expressed their wish to continue negotiations on the pipeline, which, in a few years, would annually have pumped 63 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Western Europe. They still see some possibilities for clarification. By delaying the project, Brussels had hoped to exert pressure on the Russian government. Moscow, however, got tired of banging on closed doors and announced South Stream's cancellation on Monday. Germany is one of the losers, because it would have been able to expand its influence on the European gas supply through its BASF subsidiary Wintershall participating in the pipeline project. Turkey is the winner, because the planned Russian South Stream gas will now probably transit through its territory. Turkey, a loyal transit country, could become an influential gas distribution hub for the EU - at a time when tensions between Berlin/Brussels and Ankara are rising. more…

BERLIN/ANKARA/RIYADH | | saudi-arabientuerkei

BERLIN/ANKARA/RIYADH (Own report) - The German Chancellor is raising strong accusations against Turkey. One should "be able to expect from a NATO member country" that it "will set the right priorities" and ultimately give precedence to the struggle against IS, Angela Merkel said yesterday (Wednesday), in reference to the catastrophic situation in the North Syrian border town of Kobani. Ankara is refusing any form of assistance to the Syrian-Kurdish combatants, trying to fend off the terrorist troops of the "Islamic State" (IS) storming the city. Observers are suspecting that an IS conquest of Kobani may even be to the Turkish government's geostrategic advantage. Merkel's accusations of Ankara are surprising - not solely, because Germany's Federal Intelligence Service (BND) has been systematically spying on Turkey. Therefore, Berlin had known of how Turkey has been supporting IS, without objecting. Likewise, Berlin had not intervened against the strategic measures being taken in Lebanon and Syria by the USA and Saudi Arabia, even though these also benefited the IS or other Salafist militias, that are today supporting the IS. Experts are warning that in the short-term, the strengthening of IS can no longer be halted. In the Turkish regions bordering on Syria, there could even be a similar development to the Afghan-Pakistan border. more…

ANKARA/BERLIN | | tuerkei

ANKARA/BERLIN (Own report) - Western interventions and the expansionist interests of NATO ally Turkey are responsible for the dramatic situation in the northern Syrian city of Kobane. The conquest of the city appears immanent, in spite of the desperate defensive battle against the "Islamic State" (IS) terrorist organization that was still being waged on Tuesday evening. There are already countless casualties. Western interventions in the Middle East are ultimately responsible for strengthening the IS, which is on the verge of conquering Kobane. Iraqi Kurdish militia - unlike the Syrian Kurds combating IS - are getting support, also from the Bundeswehr, thanks to Turkey's expansionist concepts. According to these concepts, which are being greeted with sympathy in the West, a "Kurdistan" state could be pried away from Iraq and linked to - or even integrated into - Turkey, in the hopes of weakening the area's pro-Iranian forces and pit Sunni forces against Iran. These strategic macro plans, which are in Western interests, have led to the terrible situation in Kobane. more…

BERLIN/ANKARA | | tuerkei

BERLIN/ANKARA (Own report) - The German government has sought to reach new agreements on strategies involving Syria and Ukraine in several meetings with the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Turkey. Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minster Steinmeier met with Prime Minister Erdoğan yesterday. Steinmeier had already received his counterpart Davutoğlu at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday. Because of rivalry with Moscow over influence on Kiev, one of the topics of discussion in Berlin is Ankara's possible "financial contributions" to the Ukraine. Turkey is holding talks with Iran on the war in Syria, obviously designed to complement the "P5+1" negotiations with Iran - which include Germany. Ankara is also intensifying its cooperation with the autonomous government of Kurdish Northern Iraq. Should Syria disintegrate, it could expedite the territorial reorganization of the region, particularly of the Kurdish speaking territories. To secure its influence on Turkey's foreign policy, Berlin had initiated a "strategic dialogue" with Ankara last year, which should now be put to the test in relationship to the Ukraine and Syria. more…

ERBIL/BERLIN | | iraktuerkei

ERBIL/BERLIN (Own report) - In light of the extensive transformations taking place in the Middle East, the German government is seeking to strengthen its influence in Northern Iraq. On the occasion of German Development Minister, Dirk Niebel's visit to Iraqi Kurdistan a few days ago, it was reported that the "strategic partnership" with "the Kurds" must be carefully cultivated. They are important "partners" even beyond the Iraqi context. Berlin has been intensifying its contacts to the Kurdish autonomous government in Erbil since 2005 and more intensively since 2008. At that time, the focus was primarily on obtaining access to Northern Iraqi natural gas, to supply the planned "Nabucco" pipeline. However following that project's collapse, German influence has focused on the regional reorganization of the nations. Foreign policy experts are currently discussing a tighter affiliation of the Kurdish-speaking regions in Northern Iraq, Syria and Turkey, with the possible perspective of forming a sort of "Kurdistan Province" integrated in a federally restructured Turkey. A "Kurdish National Conference" - due to be convened soon in Erbil to unite Kurdish associations from Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran - will probably also focus on these plans. more…