20 December 2011 Volume 6, Issue 9
The Weekly Newspaper of Foreign Policy and International Relations Club
US flag ceremony ends Iraq operation The flag of American forces in Iraq has been lowered in Baghdad, bringing nearly nine years of US military operations in Iraq to a formal end. The US Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, told troops the mission had been worth the cost in blood and dollars. He said the years of war in Iraq had yielded to an era of opportunity in which the US was a committed partner. Only about 4,000 US soldiers now remain in Iraq, but they are due to leave in the next two weeks. At the peak of the operation, US forces there numbered 170,000. The symbolic ceremony in Baghdad officially "cased" (retired) the US forces flag, according to army tradition. It will now be taken back to the USA. Mr. Panetta told US soldiers they could leave Iraq with great pride. "After a lot of blood spilled by Iraqis and Americans, the mission of an Iraq that could govern and secure itself has become real," he said. Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said Iraqis were glad the US troops were leaving. Continues on page 3
Visa-free travel and financial aid to top EU-Russia summit Financial aid and visa-free travel will dominate talks when EU and Russian leaders meet in Brussels later this week. Moscow has said it may provide cash, via the I M F , to ease Europe‘s debt crisis. An open border deal between the EU and Russia‘s Baltic territory of Kalingrad, and possibly Russia itself, is also expected but Russia‘s recently disputed poll will not feature, officials said.―I don‘t see any time to discuss the elections, they are already in the past,‖ said Vladimir Chizhov, Russia‘s Ambassador to the EU. ―We‘ll talk about the current issues affecting the strategic partnership between Russia and the EU. Firstly, that means negotiation on a new framework agreement and secondly progress on visafree travel,‘‗he added. Continues on page 2
MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA
ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
EUROPE Visa-free travel and financial aid to top EURussia summit Financial aid and visa-free travel will dominate talks when EU and Russian leaders meet in Brussels later this week. The summit comes at a time of unprecedented opposition to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin after accusations of vote rigging. Tens of thousands of people demanded his ouster in Moscow last weekend. Despite that, many who oppose the current occupants of the Kremlin do not believe Europe is in a position to push for reform. Leading opposition figure, and former World chess champion Garry Kasparov said: ―The decisions taken at this summit won‘t really matter historically speaking. Today Europe is in such a financial mess it is ready to make concessions. Putin will no doubt take full advantage of this.‘ ‗Last month Putin criticised the eurozone‘s emergency bailout fund — the E F S F — saying Russia would prefer to channel any support through the I M F . Euronews/ December 14, 2011
Sarkozy: There are now clearly two Europes
The Dutch Senate is set to reject next week a proposed law banning ritual slaughter of animals, which The French president has said that there are now clearly "two Euhas drawn fierce opposition ropes", following last week's summit in which the UK vetoed EU treaty from Muslim and Jewish changes. groups. Mr Sarkozy said that there is one Europe "which wants more solidarity beEuronews/ December 15, tween its members and regulation, the other [is] attached solely to the logic 2011 of the single market". However, Mr Cameron said it was possible to be a full, committed and influential member of the EU, but to stay out of arrangements where they do not protect British interests. European leaders agreed in Brussels to plans for deeper economic integration among the countries that use the euro, and in particular to impose sanctions on states that go over an agreed budget deficit limit. Mr Sarkozy said that the imporFormer French President tance of this agreement with Germany did not mean that France could not Jacques Chirac was found work with Britain. He said David Cameron had been "courageous" over guilty Thursday on Libya and that Britain and France shared a commitment to nuclear energy corruption charges and to defence co-operation. BBC News/ December 12, 2011 stemming from his time as mayor of Paris and given a two-year suspended sentence, a court in the French capital announced. CNN/ December 15, 2011
Croatia signs accession treaty to become EU member in 2013
Croatia on Friday signed a treaty to join the European Union in 2013, a bittersweet milestone as the bloc prepares to take on a sluggish economy it will have to drag along at the time of its worst crisis ever. A grenade and gun attack in eastern Belgian city left five people dead, including the attacker, and 119 wounded, authorities said. Officials were not yet able to explain the motive for the attack. CNN/ December 13, 2011
But, the Croatian government‘s decade-long effort could turn out to have been a giant waste of time if the union‘s 27 countries fail to solve a financial crisis that threatens to unravel the 53-year-old project to integrate the continent. It has been hoping EU membership will help boost its economy in Croatia. EU president Van Rompuy said Croatia will be an ―active observer‖ in all EU forums until it becomes a full member 18 months from now. Croatia‘s entry talks were held up repeatedly due to territorial disputes with neighbouring Slovenia and demands that it arrest remaining war crimes suspects.―Today Croatia is entering Europe, but more importantly Europe is entering Croatia.‖ Croatian President told the heads of EU governments. The Washington Post/ December 9, 2011
US flag ceremony ends Iraq operation The flag of American forces in Iraq has been lowered in Baghdad, bringing nearly nine years of US military operations in Iraq to a formal end.
The conflict, launched by the Bush administration in March 2003, soon became hugely unpopular as claims that Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction and supporting al-Qaeda militants turned out to be untrue. The war has cost the US some $1tr. President Barack Obama, who came to office pledging to bring troops home, said on Wednesday that the US left behind a "sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq". In a speech in North Carolina to troops who have just returned, Mr. Obama hailed the "extraordinary achievement" of the military and said they were leaving with "heads held high". And he added that the war had been "a source of great controversy" but that they had helped to build "a sovereign, stable and selfreliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people". BBC News/ December 15, 2011
Canada pulls out of Kyoto protocol Ministers argue process does not cover US and China – the two biggest emitters – and that Canada cannot meet targets.
Two students are dead after a confrontation between police and rural teaching students in the southern state of Guerrero, Mexico and their deaths are called as acts of "repression" and "murder" and said they would hold protest demonstrations. Los Angeles Times/ December 13, 2011
Canada has pulled out of the Kyoto protocol on climate change, one day after an update was agreed on, saying the accord won't work. The Canadian environment minister, Peter Kent, said Canada was invoking its legal right to withdraw. "The Kyoto protocol does not cover the world's largest two emitters, the United States and China, and therefore cannot work," Kent said. "It's now clear that Kyoto is not the path forward to a global solution to climate change. If anything it's an impediment." Kent's announcement came a day after marathon climate talks wrapped up in the South African port city of Durban. Canada had been expected to pull out and as a result faced international criticism at the Durban talks. The Guardian/ December 13, The United States and its allies are winning in 2011 Afghanistan, the U.S. defense chief said on Wednesday, despite spreading violence, a resilient insurgency and uncertain prospects for a Iran has rejected a request by President Obama to return an American peace deal the West had surveillance drone that the Iranians say they captured on Dec. 4., state hoped might end a decade media in Tehran reported Tuesday. of war. Reuters/ December 11, 2011 ―We have asked for it back — we‘ll see how the Iranians respond,‖ Mr. Obama said of the drone on Monday in a short session with reporters at the White House. The semi-official Fars News Agency quoted Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi as U.S. officials have arrived telling reporters on Tuesday that the drone in Beijing to meet with ―will remain in the country‘s possession as North Korean leaders part of its assets.‖ Press TV, a stateabout whether and how to financed Iranian satellite broadcaster, resume food aid to the said the drone was ―brought down with minimal damage by the Iranian isolated and impoverished Army‘s electronic warfare unit on December 4 when flying over the north- country, according to State eastern Iran city of Kashmar‖. The president‘s request was his first public Department officials. The comment about the drone in a case that has raised American tensions with W a s h i n g t o n Post/ Iran. American officials have attributed the loss of the drone to a technical December 14, 2011 malfunction. The New York Times/ December 13, 2011
Iran Rejects U.S. Request for Return of Drone
ASIA Pakistan to impose Nato transit tax following 'friendly fire' troop deaths Plan to tax all supplies sent through Pakistan territory is latest retaliation for soldiers shelled by US helicopter. Pakistan is drawing up plans to tax Nato for using its territory to supply troops in Afghanistan, in retaliation for the recent death of its soldiers in a "friendly fire" incident on the border. Under the proposal, a transit tax or fee will be imposed on every shipping container sent through Pakistan, senior military and civilian officials have told the Guardian. The move follows the death of 24 soldiers shelled by a US helicopter at a checkpoint last month. The tax is likely to add tens of millions of dollars a year to the cost of the decade-long war. It is thought that the government would levy around $1,500 (£970) per shipping container sent through Pakistan, along with separate charges for each fuel tanker that goes through to Afghanistan. The tax on Nato supplies would provide Pakistan with a facesaving way of reopening the route. The Guardian/ December 14, 2011
China's president promises to increase trade imports
A US satellite company says it has taken a photograph of China's first aircraft carrier during trials China's President Hu Jintao has promised to increase imports, in an effort to boost global trade. in the Yellow Sea. The Guardian/ December 15, 2011 Speaking on the 10th anniversary of China's entry into the World Trade Organization, Mr Hu said "imports may exceed $8 trillion (£5.1tn) over the next five years". Last year, China bought only $1.39tn worth of products from overseas. Global trade has slowed this year as business with Europe, China's largest business partner, moderated. Customs data from Saturday showed the country's exports rose by 14% in November, while imports rose Afghanistan has withdrawn by 22%. "We will view expansion of imports as an important way to change its ambassador to Qatar for the development mode of foreign trade," he said at a speech at the Great consultations after the Gulf Hall of the People. "We will work hard to promote a balanced international state began talking to the balance of payments. We will not deliberately pursue a trade surplus." BBC Afghan Taliban about News/ December 12, 2011 setting up a representative office there, a senior Afghan official said Wednesday.CNN/ DecemRussian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said he is ready to leave ber 14, 2011 office if he loses support.
Putin ‘ready to leave’ if no support
China has sent its largest patrol ship to the East China Sea to guard the country's territorial rights, state media said Wednesday, in a move likely to fuel tensions over the disputed waters. The Telegraph/ December 14, 2011
“I can tell you: if I don’t feel support, I will not stay a single day in my office,” Putin said in a televised chat show with the nation on Thursday. “Whether that support is there is established not on some website or city square but by the results of a vote,” he added. He also said that he was ready to take criticism. Putin faces an unprecedented show of discontent on the back of anti-government protests over the December 4 parliamentary election. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets across Russia last Saturday to condemn alleged ballot-stuffing in favor of Putin’s United Russia party and to demand a rerun. RIA Novosti/ December 15,2011
MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA
Islamists pursue gains in Egypt's phased election Rival Islamist groups sought more gains in the second round of Egypt's parliamentary election on Wednesday, with liberals also fighting for a voice in an army-led transition that began with the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak. Egypt's first free election in six decades is unfolding in three stages until January. Even then, the generals who stepped in when an uprising toppled Mubarak in February will not hand power to civilians until after a presidential vote in mid-2012. The pragmatic Muslim Brotherhood, its hardline Salafi rivals and a moderate faction won about two thirds of party-list votes in the first round. But the Brotherhood has signaled it wants a broad coalition, not a narrow Islamist front, in an assembly whose main task is to choose a body to draft a new constitution.As in the first round, voting in the second round was largely peaceful, but a gunfight between supporters of rival candidates closed a polling station on Cairo's outskirts, a security source said. Reuters/ December 14, 2011
Palestine flag raised at UNESCO headquarters UN cultural agency holds flag raising ceremony in Paris to welcome Palestine as member despite controversy.
Congo's supreme court has upheld President Joseph Kabila's victory following a contested election, raising fears of more violence in sub-Saharan Africa's largest nation because the main opposition candidate has already rejected the results.
Palestinians have raised their flag at the headquarters of the UN cultural agency in Paris in a historic move and symbolic boost for their push for an independent state.Cheers rose alongside the red, black, white and green flag during a ceremony held in the rain on Tuesday."This is truly a historic moment," Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said at the ceremony, his speech punctuated by rousing applause and standing ovations."We hope this will be a good auspice for Palestine to become a member of other The Guardian/ December organisations," he said. The Palestinians also are seeking full-fledged UN 17, 2011 membership, but Washington has threatened to veto that move, saying a negotiated settlement with Israel should come first. Al Jazeera/December 13, 2011
Jewish 'terrorists' attack Israeli base on the West Bank
Morocco has ordered foreign fishing boats In an attack Tuesday -- which an Israeli official termed an act of Jewish terrorism -- around 50 right-wing Israeli extremists infiltrated and operating in its waters attacked the Ephraim Regional Division Headquarters, an Israel Defense under an EU deal to leave immediately. BBC News/ Forces military base in the West Bank. December 14, 2011 The activists entered the base, damaged property, set tires on fire, threw stones and damaged vehicles acco rding to a statement released by the IDF. The right-wing extremists also tried to attack the commander of the area, Col. Ran Kahana, by throwing stones at his vehicle. Israel police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told CNN that two people were arrested. He said police will continue to investigate the incident and further arrests will be made. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the security forces to act forcefully against the what he called rioters. In a statement released by his office Netnayahu said, "This incident deserves full Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri condemnation. The security forces need to concentrate on defending its al-Maliki, has called on US citizens and not on outrageous law breaking incidents." According to business leaders to invest reports in the Israeli press, the attack came in response to rumors that in his country to help it Israeli security forces were about to demolish two illegal outposts in the recover from years of war. West Bank -- Mitzpe Yitzhar and Ramat Gilad. CNN/ December 14, 2011 BBC News/ December 14, 2011
ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
Liberty, equality, but not impunity THE conviction of Jacques Chirac has stunned even the political opponents of the former president of France. This morning a Paris court found Mr Chirac guilty of the misuse of public funds during his time as mayor of Paris in the 1990s, and handed him a two-year suspended prison sentence. He is the first former president under the Fifth Republic to have been tried, let alone convicted, in a criminal court. The case concerns what is known as the "fake jobs" affair. While Mr Chirac was mayor of Paris, a powerful job that he used as a springboard to win the French presidency in 1995, various employees paid by the town hall were in reality working for his Gaullist party. Alain Juppé, currently France's foreign minister and then Mr Chirac's right-hand man, was convicted in connection with the same affair back in 2004. Seven of the nine co-defendants in the case were also found guilty this week. For those who had given up hope of ever seeing Mr Chirac held to account, this is an extraordinary decision. For years investigating judges have crawled all over various cases linked to the former president, from inflated grocery bills to public-housing contracts. But almost all of them were shelved. During his time as president, from 1995-2007, Mr Chirac was protected from prosecution. After he left office, several cases expired under the statute of limitations. Even the current case did not look as if it would get anywhere. There have been endless procedural delays. Last year Mr Chirac and the ruling UMP party, successor to the party he founded and ran, paid back the Paris town hall €2.2m ($2.9m) in connection with the fake-jobs case; in return the town hall, now held by the Socialists, pulled out as civil plaintiff. Even the public prosecutor had pleaded for Mr Chirac's acquittal. For his part Mr Chirac, despite reimbursing the town hall, insisted that he had done nothing criminally, or morally, wrong. This autumn his lawyers managed to excuse the 79-year-old former president from attending court on the grounds of mental frailty. They had pleaded to the presiding judge to consider how the decision would weigh on Mr Chirac's place in history. The paradox is that Mr Chirac has finally been found guilty at a time when public sympathy for him is at a remarkable high. He was not a popular figure when he left office. But in retirement he has become a sort of grandfather figure, looked upon fondly, and he regularly tops popularity polls. He suffers from memory loss, and even some of his detractors have had qualms about the criminal trial. So the French are likely to treat his conviction with mixed feelings, even some regret. But for the political class, Mr Chirac's conviction sends a powerful message. It may even presage the end of a culture of impunity in French public office. Besides the convictions of Messrs Chirac and Juppé, there is an ongoing investigation into sexual abuse by a former minister, another into illegal partyfinancing linked to Lilian Bettencourt, billionaire heiress to the L'Oréal cosmetics empire, and yet another into illegal eavesdropping on journalists. For the first time, there is a sense that French politicians are being held to the same standards as ordinary mortals. The Economist / December 15, 2011
AH, SERVA ITALIA…
We can‘t help. Dante Alighieri‘s Address to Italy is always on our minds, recalled from the days we had to learn it by heart in high school and mercilessly applied to the current political situation, whatever the ruler, whatever the issues. ―Ahi, enslaved Italy, place of sorrow\ ship without a guidance through a tough storm \ not mistress of lands, but brothel‖. I remember I used it to complain about Mr. Berlusconi‘s whore-cratic regime: and at least for the brothel part, it perfectly fitted. When he was finally kicked out of his throne, more by the pressure of the international markets than by the internal opposition, Il Cavaliere left the country in a quite sorrowful state, to be recovered by his successor – but by no means heir – Mario Monti. And here‘s where we come to the ―enslaved part‖. World-class economist, European commissioner, president of Milan‘s most renown Business School, Professor Monti has one huge fault, in the eyes of many Italians: he‘s in charge because he was highly ―recommended‖ by the other European executives. His mandate is not actually a mandate, but a rule, since nobody ever cast a vote for him. It tastes like another failure of Italy‘s popular sovereign, a failure harshly judged by those who are supposed to be its peers: ―you – your people – failed to elect an effective government, so now we‘ll have to take care of it‖. On the bright side, Monti promptly formed a dream-team executive made by professors, attorneys, bankers and chiefs of staff, struggling with the many small lobbies within the parliament to impose deregulations and liberalizations aimed at unlocking the Italian potential growth, constrained within an entangled and corporative welfare system. Still, the key word for the new budget law was ―cuts‖, following the lead of Tremonti, Berlusconi‘s chancellor of the Exchequer. Cuts to the local budgets, cuts to the retirements budget (and a new, stricter and harsher law). New taxes on fuel and an increase of VAT, new measures to fight tax evasion, and much more. The minister of Work herself, Elsa Fornero, cried as she was explaining the Retirement Budget reform plan: the best possible explanation for the many people who couldn‘t follow her volley of political buzzwords. And here‘s probably why this government is probably going to fare better than its predecessors in reassessing the state finances: because this budget law is a political suicide. No elected politician can afford to impose such hardships on his constituency, and hope to be elected again. The paradox of an unelected government, supported by an uncertain and unlikely majority made by the left-of-the-center AND the right-of-the-center main parties, and opposed by the radicals both to the left and to the right, an unelected government striving to impose unpopular measures to save the world‘s 10th economy from its likely financial collapse, makes it difficult to have a clear opinion on the matter. Should we favor legitimacy over efficiency, or the other way round? The situation is somehow reminiscent of Turkey‘s coalition governments in the late ‗90s, ―recommended‖ by TGK to implement the IMF recovery measures. But there is an important difference: Italy doesn‘t have a strong EU to rely on as Turkey did in 1997, and the Union itself is struggling for its own survival. We only know that Dante‘s address is now only partially true: Italy is not her own mistress anymore, yes, and although we seem to have a capable guide the storm is as strong as ever.
OPINIONS AMERICA The US Withdrawal from Iraq before the Election The US President Barack Obama announced the withdrawal from Iraq. The 2003 invasion of Iraq was the start of a conflict in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland had invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations. The invasion consisted of a conventionally fought war which ended with the capture of the capital, Baghdad, by United States forces. The general US justification for launching the Iraq War was that Saddam Hussein's alleged development of nuclear and biological weapons and purported ties to al-Qaeda made his regime a "grave and growing" threat to the United States and the world community. However, although remnants of abandoned chemical weapons since earlier than 1991 were found, they were not the weapons which had been the main argument to justify the invasion and no evidence of a meaningful connection was also ever found. There were protests both from the societies of the US and from other countries against the US President George Bush at that time. In the late February 2009, newly elected US President Barack Obama announced an 18-month withdrawal window for combat forces. Most recently, in November 23, 2011, Iraqi and U.S. officials say that about 700 US mostly civilian trainers will help Iraqi security forces when American troops leave. After that the US forces have completely ended combat operations in December 15, 2011. In accordance with these developments, whether this withdrawal is related to election campaign plan or not has become a key question. Recently, the US has had serious budget constraint from Obama administration and the public support has considerably decreased for the government. The withdrawal of Iraq could be considered as a way to increase the public support because there were serious protests against Bush from public in 2003. All in all, it could be said that this is an attempt for drawing the attention from the decreasing effect of Obama administration to Iraq whose invasion has gotten reaction from the public. It could not be stated that if Obama is reelected, he would not increase the amount of trainers in Iraq, as well. Gizem ÖZTEN
MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA ISRAEL IN A TIGHT SITUATION We got used to hearing news on attacks and armed conflicts between Israel and Palestine for decades. Since the clashes have been going on for many years, sad stories of both Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighters started to sound normal. However, an attack that occurred on last Tuesday was a bit different than what we have been hearing for a long time. Around 50 right-wing Israeli extremists attacked the Ephraim Regional Division Headquarters, an Israel Defense Forces military base in the West Bank. These activists damaged properties, set tires on fire, threw stones and damaged vehicles after entering the base. They also tried to attack the commander of the area, Col. Ran Kahana, by throwing stones at his vehicle. The incident has surprised authorities both from the military and the government including Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyahu. According to reports, the attack came in response to rumors that Israeli security forces were about to demolish two illegal outposts in the West Bank -- Mitzpe Yitzhar and Ramat Gilad, which were built on private land after the petition of Peace Now on Israeli High Court. This recent incident shows that the Netanyahu government is apparently in a troubled situation. On the one hand, the pressure from outside to stabilize relations with the Palestinian authorities and to freeze the illegal settlements is mounting. On the other hand, some extremist right-wing groups within Israel are trying hard to keep Israeli government to maintain its aggressive foreign policy on the settlement issue. It seems like even if Israeli government decides to cede its policies about its West Bank settlements and to take peaceful steps to normalize relations with Palestine, some orthodox-right wing Jewish groups will oppose this policy change and won‘t be hesitant to show their resentment to the Israeli authorities as obvious from this last attack. Therefore, if Israel ever wills to change its policies toward Palestinian issue, it will then face another challenge from inside. This challenge is an effective one so far. Taking these groups‘ consent on any possible policy change is crucial. To conclude, for a peace between Israel and Palestine foreign pressure or sanctions are not sufficient. Opinions and political stances of the peoples within the borders are also factors that can‘t be overlooked during the peace bargains and negotiations. Talya YÜZÜCÜ
OPINIONS EUROPE EU moves towards fiscal deal without Britain All countries in the deal aiming at signing pose enforceable caps the finances of heavily
27-nation European Union except Britain agreed Friday to a summit a new accord by March. Among other measures, the new treaty would imon government borrowing and spending to bolster investor confidence in indebted European countries.
This 'fiscal compact' is meant to allow closer scrutiny of countries' spending to stop a similar debt crisis recurring and potentially making it more palatable for the European Central Bank to step up its purchases of distressed euro zone debt to hold down borrowing costs. However, there may be some problems with the enforcement of this agreement. First of all, in addition to Britain, which opted out of the accord, the Czech Republic and Sweden — two countries that almost rejected a deal Friday — warned this week that it was still too early to tell whether they would sign on. In other countries, including Denmark and even France, emerging political opposition to the accord could complicate attempts to ratify it. Ireland, where polls have shown strong public opposition, may need to hold a national referendum. This raised doubts among some economists and politicians about the extent to which the EU community institutions -- the executive European Commission and the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the EU's highest court -- could police and enforce a fiscal treaty that does not include all the EU countries. Even if the agreement can be enforced successfully, it largely addresses long-term solutions to prevent a new crisis rather than tackling the immediate problem of a loss of confidence in nations such as Greece and Italy. Moreover, the ECB has refrained from directly signalling how much further it is willing to go. Merkel on Wednesday sought to play down the building scepticism over the treaty‘s workability. She said she was ―convinced‖ that a binding treaty would be created ―if we have the necessary patience and endurance‖ and ―if we do not let reversals get us down.‖ But it may yet be hard for the European governments to surrender more control over their budgets to regional authorities. As the European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said, this formula has some handicaps, but the European countries will try to overcome them. Sibel DÜZ
TURKEY Turkey to site Nato missile shield radar in its south-east As the Turkish foreign ministry has said an early-warning radar will be stationed in Turkey’s south -east part of NATO’s missile defense system. The system is aimed at countering ballistic missile threats from Turkey's neighbor Iran, which last week warned Turkey that deployment of the radar at the military installation would escalate regional tensions. Turkey insists the shield is not targeting a particular country and the ministry statement on Wednesday made no mention of Iran. Turkey agreed earlier this month to host the radar in the framework of the NATO missile defense architecture, saying it would strengthen both its own and NATO's defense capacities. In September, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan said the US hoped to have the radar deployed there by the end of the year. In that case, Turkey‘s position is important as a neighboring country of Iran and a member country of NATO. Whether the system protects the member countries of NATO against middle-range missile attack functions properly or not is a controversial issue. Because, there were both the examples that it functioned properly and did not. Turkey who has friendly relations with Iran especially in terms of the terrorist cleaning in its border will miss that opportunity and would not have good relations with its neighbor anymore. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said that they reject those views completely because the Islamic Republic of Iran‘s official stance on Turkey is based on deep brotherhood and friendship. He also added that Turkey and Iran favor peace, stability and security in the region. As a response to that statement Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said that Turkish-Iranian friendship is forever. However it is important to realize that such a mistake would destroy the relations at best level with a friendly neighboring country. Fulya YETİŞ
Turkish Border Businesses Miss the Syrian Neighbors In the old bazaar of Gaziantep, long entwined with Syria, the loud chatter of Syrians’ bartering in Arabic has given way to unfamiliar silence. “We miss the Syrians,” said Ercan Nacaroglu, surveying his empty jewelry store, and adding, “We hope the crisis will stop, because it is killing the local economy.” Only a year ago, Turkey and Syria were close allies, as Turkey’s governing Muslim-inspired Justice and Development Party sought to expand the country’s economic influence and grow into a regional power. Turkish officials tried for months to persuade President Bashar alAssad to halt the violent crackdown against a civilian uprising that began in March, but finally, and emphatically, turned against the Syrian government. In combination with sanctions imposed by the Arab League, the European Union and the United States, Turkey’s own tough measures — including freezing the Syrian government’s assets — are slowly beginning to choke Mr. Assad’s rule. But businesspeople here The Ara b Spri ng was complain that the rupture cuts both ways. The New York Times/ inevitable and the only way to December 12, 2011 keep power in this region from now on would be to share it, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said. Davutoğlu said Turkey will support the people of this region and as a source of inspiration, would A delegation led by Volkan Bozkır, the head of Parliament’s foreign affairs commission, will pay a visit to Paris to lobby for disapproval of a ‘genocide’ do its best to lead stability, bill. p ea c e a nd tr a nq u i l i t y . Hurriyet Daily News/ Turkey will recall its ambassador and freeze ties with Paris if French December 18, 2011 lawmakers approve a bill punishing the denial of the “Armenian genocide” next week, the Turkish ambassador’s spokesperson, Engin Solakoğlu, told yesterday. France’s National Assembly is discussing whether to pass a law banning the denial of the 1915 incidents as genocide. “Turkey considers Construction of the first unit this a hostile act by the French executive,” he said. France's move would of Turkey's first nuclear power "create a new dogma about understanding history, to forbid alternative plant is expected to be completed in mid-2019, and thoughts. This is the mentality of the Middle Ages. The adoption of this the global financial crisis will mindset in France is the greatest danger for Europe," Davutoğlu said. not hit costs of the project, Hurriyet Daily News/ December 17, 2011 the Russian contractor company said on Friday. Preconstruction work will start in the second half of 2012, and will take two years," Akkuyu NGS Power Production general Following Ankara's demand from Tehran for an explanation over manager Alexander Superfin threatening remarks by Iranian officials on Tuesday, Iranian Foreign told. Reuters/ December 16, Minister Salehi has reaffirmed deep ties of friendship and fraternity 2011 between countries.
Turkey to freeze Paris ties if ‘genocide’ bill passes
Salehi comforts Ankara over NATO shield threats
“Our relations with Turkey are currently at their best on a political and economic level, as well as the relations between our people,” Salehi said in an interview with the Anatolia on Wednesday, as he assured that, despite differences in views, he was in constant contact with Davutoğlu on bilateral and regional issues. “Some people, knowingly or not, express views without much knowledge and by stepping beyond their responsibilities, and it causes misunderstandings. We reject those views entirely,” Salehi further said to explain that the words of a number of Iranian politicians, who vehemently expressed their disapproval over a NATO early-warning system, did not match the official perspective in his country. Today’s Zaman/ December 14, 2011
What is this…OIC The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) (formerly Organization of the Islamic Conference) is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations which has membership of 57 states spread over four continents. The Organization is the collective voice of the Muslim world and ensuring to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world. The Organization was established upon a decision of the historical summit which took place in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco on 12th Rajab 1389 Hijra (25 September 1969) as a result of criminal arson of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem. In 1970 the first ever meeting of Islamic Conference of Foreign Minister (ICFM) was held in Jeddah which decided to establish a permanent secretariat in Jeddah headed by the organization’s secretary general. Prof Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu is the 9th Secretary General who assumed the office in January 2005 after being elected by the 31st ICFM.
19 December 2011
B1R Fotoğraf Sergisi -Açılış (Photography Exhibition), 16:30, Modern Arts Center
Deprem: Van-Erciş Toplumsal Artçılar (Photography Exhibition), 18:30, Modern Arts Center
20 December 2011
Bir Delinin Hatıra Defteri (Play), 20:00, Stüdyo Sahne
Genç Osman (Play), 20:00, Ankara Opera House
Gizler Çarşısı (Play), 20:00, Akün Stage 21 December 2011
M. Milli Piyango – Belediye Plevne (Volleyball Match), 18:00, Başkent Sports Hall
Elma Hırsızları (Play), 20:00, Şinasi Stage
Üstü Kalsın (Play), 20:00, METU KKM 22 December 2011
ODDLY ENOUGH Indonesian police shave rockers' hair to 'spiritually cleanse' them Police in Indonesia's most conservative province raided a punk-rock concert and detained 65 fans, shaving off their spiky mohawks and stripping away body piercings because of the perceived threat to Islamic values. Police shave the hair of detained Indonesian punks.
Fiktion Okzident (Art Exhibition), CerModern
Zakkum (Concert), 22:00, If Performance Hall
Sönmüş Yıldızlar (Play), 20:00, Altındağ Theatre 23 December 2011
Nazif Topçuoğlu – GO-SEES (Art Exhibition), Gallery Nev
Hakiki Gala (Play), 20:00, Tyatro Tempo
Kutular (Play), 20:00, 75. Yıl Sahnesi 24 December 2011
Sezen Aksu (Concert), 21:00, ATO Congresium
Zübük (Play),18:30, Ankara Sanat Tiyatrosu AST
Sol Şerit (Concert), 22:00, If Performance Hall
Woman Leaves $13M Fortune to Pet Cat A 4-year-old stray cat that was rescued from the streets of Rome has inherited a $13 million fortune from its owner, the wealthy widow of an Italian property tycoon.
25 December 2011 Kadın Hakları (Caricature Exhibition), Union of Turkish Bar Associations Hareket Halinde Oda (Art Exhibition), Modern Art Center
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