Europe eyeing referendum results from potential energy partner Turkey

18 Apr 2017   Turkey

European leaders called on authorities in Turkey, a potential energy partner, to seek unity after a weekend referendum consolidated power around the president. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan barely won the plurality in a national referendum he said was a response to an attempted coup last year. “The fact that the outcome of the referendum is ‘yes’ shows that our people accept the presidential system of government,” he said in a statement . “For first time in the history of the republic, we have changed our governmental system through civilian politics, which is of paramount importance.” The country’s geographical position as a bridge between Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe is indicative of its diplomatic fluidity and Turkish […]

Gazprom offers loan for Turkish gas pipeline

31 Dec 2016   Russia, Turkey

Russian energy company Gazprom said it approved financing of up to $320 million to help build a natural gas pipeline planned through Turkey. Russian news agency Tass reported that Gazprom approved a 3.5-year loan to aid the construction of the planned Turkish Stream pipeline. Funds target construction, purchase contracts and general administrative expenses. Gazprom is looking at Turkey as an alternative to Ukraine, through which most of the Russian gas pipelines run. Geopolitical issues associated with Ukraine make legacy routes risky and Turkey’s geographic position makes it desirable as a bridge to transport energy resources from Central Asian suppliers to the European market Turkish Stream, which mirrors the route for the now-abandoned South Stream project, would run under the Black Sea to Turkey and then to the European market. South Stream was scrapped because of concerns about Russian business practices expressed by some European […]

Seeking financial rescue, KRG offered Turkey major oil assets

23 Dec 2016   Iraq, Turkey

Emails published by Wikileaks reveal a proposal for Turkey to take equity stakes in Kurdistan’s biggest oil fields, in exchange for nearly $5 billion of immediate financial assistance. Turkey’s then-Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (R) and President of Iraqi Kurdistan Massoud Barzani in Diyarbakir on Nov. 16, 2013. (Reuters) With his government drowning in debt, Kurdistan’s oil minister earlier this year laid out a bold offer to his counterpart in Turkey: take substantial stakes in the region’s main oil and gas fields in exchange for nearly $5 billion in debt forgiveness and cash.In a March 19, 2016 memo, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Minister of Natural Resources Ashti Hawrami acknowledges over a billion dollars that Turkey has already sunk into Kurdistan and its energy sector. Then, he effectively asks T… This content is for registered users. Please login to continue. If you are not a registered user, you may purchase a […]

Saudi Aramco Said Among Second-Round Bidders for OMV Turkey Unit

11 Nov 2016   Saudi Arabia, Turkey

Aramco said to have hired HSBC to advise on potential deal Azerbaijan’s Socar and Opet Petrolculuk also said to bid Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the world’s largest crude exporter, is among second-round bidders for a Turkish fuel retailer owned by OMV AG, central Europe’s biggest oil and gas company, according to three people with direct knowledge of the matter. HSBC Holdings Plc is advising the Saudi company on the potential acquisition of Istanbul-based OMV Petrol Ofisi AS, Turkey’s largest seller of petroleum products, two of the people said, asking not to be named because the talks are private. State Oil Company of Azerbaijan, or Socar, is also bidding, two of the people said. Opet Petrolculuk AS, a joint venture of Koc Holding and Turkey’s Ozturk family is bidding as well, one person said. OMV, which bought Petrol Ofisi for more than $2.5 billion in a series of transactions between […]

Gazprom could spend half a billion dollars on Turkey

8 Nov 2016   Russia, Turkey

Russian natural gas company Gazprom could spend more than a half billion dollars on its latest pipeline efforts in Turkey, media reported Monday Russian news agency Tass reports Gazprom aims to spend more than $595 million in Turkey this year. Gazprom is looking at Turkey as an alternative to Ukraine, through which most of the Russian gas pipelines run. Geopolitical issues associated with Ukraine make legacy routes risky and Turkey’s geographic position makes it desirable as a bridge to transport energy resources from Central Asian suppliers to the European market. Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his Turkish counterpart during a special session of the 23rd World Energy Congress last month . Alongside geopolitical issues related to the civil war in Syria, where both […]

Turkey’s Push to Join Battle for Mosul Inflames Tension With Iraq

24 Oct 2016   Iraq, Turkey

A dispute between Iraq and Turkey has emerged as a dramatic geopolitical sideshow to the complicated military campaign to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, from the Islamic State. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has insisted on a role in the battle for Mosul, trying to ramp up an involvement in Iraq that has already alarmed the Iraqi government. “We have a historical responsibility in the region,” Mr. Erdogan said in a recent speech, drawing on his country’s history of empire and defeat, from Ottoman rule of the Middle East to its loss in World War I. “If we want to be both at the table and in the field, there is a reason.” In response, the normally mild-mannered Iraqi prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, warned last week of a military confrontation between Turkey and Iraq. If Turkish forces intervene in Mosul, he said, they will not […]

Israel, Turkey Discuss Energy After Years Of Diplomatic Silence

14 Oct 2016   Israel, Turkey

Erdogan Netanyahu Israel and Turkey discussed building a gas pipeline between the two nations, according to the Israeli energy minister, who made the announcement during the country’s first ministerial visit to Turkey in six years. The two countries’ ministers agreed to “establish immediately dialogue between our two governments” to determine the project’s feasibility, according to Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, who stood next to his Turkish counterpart at the press conference. Steinitz is Israel’s most senior official to visit Turkey since they agreed to renormalize ties this past June. The talks included the possibility of constructing a natural gas pipeline, and Turkey providing electricity and other energy to Palestinians. “We discussed energy in general and particularly the issue of natural gas and the possibility of building a natural gas pipeline from Israel to Turkey in order to deliver natural gas to Turkey and to Europe,” Steinitz said. Diplomatic relations […]

Turkey will be an energy hub, Putin says

12 Oct 2016   Turkey

Turkey will become a major energy hub for the European market with assistance from the Russian government, President Vladimir Putin said. Putin met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a special session of the 23rd World Energy Congress. Alongside geopolitical issues related to the civil war in Syria, where both sides have varying allegiances, the two leaders discussed new life for the Turkish Stream pipeline, a revision to a much larger project meant to carry Russian natural gas to Europe. Turkey’s geographic position makes it desirable as a bridge to transport energy resources from Central Asian suppliers to the European market. “Please note that we are moving towards […]

Russia and Turkey sign gas deal, seek common ground on Syria as ties warm

11 Oct 2016   Russia, Turkey

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan arrive for a news conference following their meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, October 10, 2016. Turkey and Russia signed an agreement on Monday for the construction of a major undersea gas pipeline and vowed to seek common ground on the war in Syria, accelerating a normalization in ties nearly a year after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan hosted Russia’s Vladimir Putin at an Ottoman-era villa in Istanbul for talks which touched on energy deals, trade and tourism ties, defense and the conflict in Syria, where the two leaders back opposing sides. “Today has been a full day with President Putin of discussing Russia-Turkish relations … I have full confidence that the normalization of Turkish-Russian ties will continue at a fast pace,” Erdogan told a joint news conference. The warming relations between NATO member Turkey […]

Russia and Turkey agree gas pipeline deal

11 Oct 2016   Russia, Turkey

Russia and Turkey have put tensions over Syria behind them to agree a gas pipeline deal which would open a new route for Russian energy to western Europe.  The TurkStream agreement between Russian president Vladimir Putin and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul on Monday would, if implemented, redraw the energy map of Europe by allowing Russia to bypass some of its gas around Ukraine.  It would also strengthen ties between Moscow and Ankara at a time of growing mistrust between Turkey and the west in the wake of the coup attempt that plunged the country into turmoil three months ago and killed 270 people.  Monday’s agreement committed the pair to construction of two lines of pipes beneath Turkish waters on the bed of the Black Sea, with a combined capacity of 30bn cubic metres of gas. One would serve the Turkish market and the other the rest of Europe.  TurkStream, to be operated by Gazprom, the Russian state-owned gas monopoly, was proposed by Mr Putin two years ago as a replacement for theabandoned South Stream pipeline which had involved co-operation between Russia and several EU countries.

Russia’s Gazprom expects agreement on Turkish Stream pipeline in October

16 Sep 2016   Pipelines, Russia, Turkey

Gazprom Deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev speaks during an interview at the Reuters Russia Investment Summit in Moscow, Russia, September 15, 2016. Russia’s Gazprom expects Russia and Turkey to sign an agreement next month that will allow construction of the offshore section of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline to start in late 2017, Deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev said. “We expect that, not later than the World Energy Forum in Istanbul at the start of October, these documents will be ready and … Russia and Turkey can sign the intergovernmental agreement on Turkish Stream,” Medvedev told the Reuters Russia Investment Summit. “If the intergovernmental agreement is signed in October it would allow us to start construction at the end of 2017, with an aim to complete it by 2019 – as scheduled.” Talks on the project were halted last year after Turkey shot down a Russian air force jet and Russia […]

Gazprom gets permits for Turkish gas pipeline

9 Sep 2016   Russia, Turkey

Russian energy company Gazprom said it received the first permits from the Turkish government to start implementing a new natural gas pipeline project. Through “diplomatic channels,” the Russian company said it received the first official permits for a project now dubbed TurkStream. “The issuance of first permits is good news for Gazprom,” Gazprom Chairman Alexei Miller said in a statement. “This move of the Turkish side reflects the interest of Turkey’s government in the TurkStream project and marks the transition to its practical implementation.” According to Gazprom, agreements were reached last week to launch the project following negotiations between Miller and Turkish Energy Minister Berat Albayrak. The project’s forward momentum was thwarted several times because of simmering acrimony between […]

Russia’s Putin, Turkey’s Erdogan support increased oil trade: Kremlin

5 Sep 2016   Russia, Turkey

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan expressed joint support for Russian oil major Rosneft increasing oil supplies to Turkey, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday. The two leaders met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou. “There was support for the possibility of further developments of Russian oil supplies by Rosneft,” Peskov said. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Writing by Jack Stubbs; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Russia: Turkish gas pipeline progress continues

2 Sep 2016   Russia, Turkey

 A Russian energy official met in Istanbul with Turkish leaders to review options for moving ahead with a gas pipeline project, Russia’s Gazprom said. Turkish Energy Minister Berat Albayrak hosted Alexei Miller , the chairman of Russian energy company Gazprom, to review options for a pipeline project dubbed Turkish Stream. “The parties reached an agreement on the earliest possible completion of the procedure for issuing authorizations required to launch the Turkish Stream project,” a Gazprom statement read. Political ties between Russia and Turkey have soured in recent years, though both sides have continued sporadic reviews for the potential for energy cooperation. Russian military intervention in Syria frustrated the Turkish government and its allies in the NATO alliance and last year’s downing of a Russian military […]

Turkey-backed Syrian rebels aim for Manbij city, commander says

29 Aug 2016   Syria, Turkey

A rebel fighter carries a boy as civilians and rebels who were evacuated from the besieged Damascus suburb of Daraya, after an agreement reached on Thursday between rebels and Syria’s army, arrive in the rebel-controlled city of Idlib August 27, 2016. A Syrian rebel commander said that Turkish-backed rebels aim to capture Manbij city from Kurdish-allied forces as conflict between the sides escalated in northern Syria on Sunday. Manbij on the west bank of the Euphrates River was captured this month from Islamic State by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance, including the powerful Kurdish YPG militia, in a United States-backed offensive. Colonel Ahmed Osman, head of the Sultan Murad rebel group, told Reuters that the Turkey-backed rebel force was “certainly heading in the direction Manbij” since YPG forces had fortified their positions rather than evacuate. The United States and Turkey have both demanded that the Kurdish forces withdraw […]

Turkish warplanes, artillery hit targets in north Syria: sources

29 Aug 2016   Syria, Turkey

Turkish warplanes and artillery struck targets held by the Kurdish YPG militia in north Syria on Sunday, security sources said, as Turkey pressed on with a cross-border campaign launched last week with its Syrian rebel allies. There was no immediate comment from the YPG militia, but forces aligned with the Kurdish group had said on Saturday that no Kurdish militia had been in areas being targeted by Turkish troops or its allies. Turkey has said its campaign is against Islamic State and also aims at stopping Kurdish forces extending territory they control. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday Turkish warplanes had struck areas north of Manbij, a city south of Jarablus captured by Kurdish-aligned Syrian Democratic Forces this month in a U.S.-backed operation. (Reporting by Umit Bektas in Karkamis, Ece Toksabay in Ankara and Tom Perry in Beirut; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Louise Ireland) […]

Turkish Military Begins Major Offensive Into Syria in Fight Against ISIS

24 Aug 2016   Syria, Turkey

Turkey mounted on Wednesday its largest military effort yet in the Syrian conflict, sending tanks, warplanes and special operations forces over the border in a United States-backed drive to capture an Islamic State stronghold in Syria . The offensive on the city of Jarabulus began hours before Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was set to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara to discuss tensions raised by the failed coup in Turkey last month. The joint operation in Syria seemed intended to send a message that the countries are still cooperating in the fight against the militant group. Turkish officials said the operation started at 4 a.m. with Turkish and United States warplanes pounding Islamic State positions in Jarabulus. The special operations troops entered Syria to clear a passage for a ground operation by Turkish-backed rebel groups, the state broadcaster TRT reported. The assault comes […]

Russia-Iran-Turkey Alliance Could Change Energy Dynamics For Good

23 Aug 2016   Iran, Russia, Turkey

Turkey, Russia, Iran A new strategic axis is forming in the Middle East, and this axis could play a transformative role in the region, upsetting the longstanding balance of power. Ankara has apologized to Moscow for the shooting down of a fighter plane last year. Iran and Russia have both condemned the July coup attempt in Turkey. The three countries are now negotiating a joint involvement in Syria. That’s a powerful alliance of two major oil nations, and one country that sees itself as a major energy hub. Turkey’s turn to Moscow in the wake of the 15 July coup attempt by the military was taken by many to be an emotional or at least demonstrative gesture prompted by allegations that the U.S. was involved in the event. Ankara claimed the coup was organized by Fethullah Gulen, an exiled scholar living in the U.S. Some Turkey experts, however, argue […]

Turkey wants to buy more gas from Iran, resolve price dispute: foreign minister

12 Aug 2016   Iran, Turkey

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu smiles as he attends a news conference with the Adviser to Pakistan’s Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz (unseen) at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, Pakistan, August 2, 2016. Turkey wants to buy more natural gas from Iran and has discussed pricing issues, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday, adding that Ankara and Tehran should resolve a dispute on gas prices without arbitration. Cavusoglu made the comment at a joint news conference with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif in Ankara. Zarif is on an official visit to Turkey. (Reporting by Tulay Karadeniz and Humeyra Pamuk; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Daren Butler)

Turkey, Russia pursue gas pipe dream as EU frets

2 Aug 2016   Russia, Turkey

Declarations by Russia and Turkey last week reviving plans for the TurkStream natural gas pipeline linking the two have worried EU diplomats who see it strengthening Moscow’s hand – but analysts say the project is more rhetoric than reality. EU officials fear that TurkStream will be expanded to bypass Ukraine as a transit route for supplies to Europe, increasing dependence on Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom and shutting in alternative supplies from the Caspian region. “Turkey’s new friendship with Russia might become an issue if Russia tries to replace Turkey for Ukraine,” a senior EU official said. “It makes sense for Turkey to get cheap gas from Russia, but it will come with strings attached: That is likely to be a problem for us.” However, the entente, almost a year after Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane, remains fragile, analysts say, particularly amid turmoil caused by the failed coup […]

What Will Happen To Turkey’s Energy Security Following The Failed Coup?

27 Jul 2016   Turkey

On July 15, 2016, a new chapter opened in Turkish political history. A group of military officers attempted a coup to overthrow the Erdogan regime in Turkey. Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected as President of Turkey in August 2014, and since then Turkish politics has been experiencing turbulence. The most common criticisms of the Erdogan regime include allegations of corruption, restrictions of freedom, and foreign policy crises, such as with Syria and Russia. It is expected that the post-coup attempt period will also be unsteady. According to some experts, Erdogan may take advantage of the coup attempt to set up a more authoritarian system. As a matter of fact, experts consider it likely that there will be another coup in the months or years to come . The question is, while Turkish politics is in upheaval, what will happen to Turkey’s energy security? The waves created by the coup […]

Turkish Stream Back On The Agenda After Ankara Apology

29 Jun 2016   Russia, Turkey

Russia has indicated that it is ready to restart negotiations on the Turkish Stream gas transport project, after the Turkish president sent an official apology for the downing of a Russian military plane. The incident happened last year amid growing tensions with regard to Syria and provoked Russia to slam Turkey with economic sanctions. Now, it seems, the road is once again clear for the two countries’ newest energy project. Turkish Stream has been largely seen as an alternative to South Stream, which was to pass through Bulgaria but faced major opposition from the European Commission, so it was more or less shelved indefinitely. Still, earlier this month, President Vladimir Putin told media that Russia is not giving up either of these. Talks on Turkish Stream started two years ago. The pipeline was to have a capacity of 63 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year, of which […]

Iran And Turkey Court The KRG For Oil

31 May 2016   Iran, Iraq, Turkey

Oil pipeline Two years ago, while Kurdish oil was flowing to Turkey’s port of Ceyhan, Iran and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) signed a natural gas-for-oil agreement that included the construction of two pipelines between the territories. According to the agreement, the regional government would receive between 3 million and 4 million liters of refined oil fuel and natural gas in return for crude oil. The first pipeline would carry oil from Kurdish territory to Iran and Iran would refine and then return the oil. Moreover, Iran would send natural gas to KRG cities such as Sulaymaniyah and Erbil. At the time of the agreement, ISIS was attacking Iraqi territory and threatening Iraqi oil resources; Iran was under international sanctions, and Bagdad was opposing the export of stored Kurdish oil from Turkey’s port of Ceyhan, claiming that the KRG was violating Iraq’s constitution. Shortly after the ISIS invasion of […]

Turkish-Russian Relations Worsen As Turkish Helicopter Is Downed

23 May 2016   Russia, Turkey

Kurdish Militant The “game-changing” downing of a Turkish attack helicopter by Kurdish rebels with a Russian-made missile could further intensify still simmering hostilities between Ankara and Moscow. Coming nearly six months after a Turkish jets downed a Russian bomber operating from a Syrian airbase, the May 13 incident made front-page news in Turkey. “It was a message to [the] government and public,” commented Metehan Demir, an independent defense analyst and former Turkish military pilot. The missile featured in a Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) video of the attack “is a Russian-made SA18 or SA24,” he noted, using the North Atlantic Treaty Organization codenames for the shoulder-held, anti-aircraft missiles 9K38 Igla (“Needle”) and 9K338 Igla, manufactured since Soviet times in the Russian town of Kolomna. Two pilots died in the crash, which Ankara initially attributed to a technical malfunction. On May 19, the Turkish military stated that the helicopter “was hit […]

Russia Remains Determined To Stop Israel-Turkey Pipeline Deal

18 May 2016   Israel, Russia, Turkey

It has been six years since the Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara ship that was aiming to reach the Gaza coast in May 2010. In the wake of the Mavi Marmara crisis, Turkey and Israel relations rapidly worsened; both countries withdrew their ambassadors and cut diplomatic ties. Turkey’s downing of a Russian jet along the Syrian border on November 24, 2015 has forced Ankara to adjust its foreign policy and address its energy security issues. The crisis between Turkey and Russia firmly highlighted the dependence of Turkey on Russian energy resources. To reduce that dependence, Ankara began to seek alternative energy suppliers and new routes. Turkey turned to Israel, hoping to once again normalize relations between the two states. Erdogan now aims to build an East Mediterranean natural gas pipeline, which could transport natural gas supplies from Israel to Cyprus. In January 2016 he stated that “Israel is […]

Statoil to help tap Turkish gas

17 May 2016   Turkey

Norwegian energy company Statoil said Monday it signed an agreement with a Canadian exploration company to help explore the shale gas potential in Turkey. According to the terms of an agreement , Statoil takes a 50 percent stake in the Barnali license in northwestern part of Turkey, while Toronto-listed Valeura Energy keeps the remaining shares and stays on as the operator in an area known to produce gas for nearly 100 years. Statoil agrees to help finance the exploration in an area that Valeuera said has a “significant upside potential” using hydraulic fracturing technology. Formations in northwestern Turkey, while strong for conventional natural gas production, have seen minimal develop in the past. Valeura said unlocking the shale potential in the area has […]

Iraq: Kurdish Oil Flows To Turkey Resume

12 Mar 2016   Iraq, Turkey

Oil flows from Iraqi Kurdistan to Turkey’s port of Ceyhan have resumed after a three-week outage, Reuters reported March 11. According to the Kurdish Ministry of Natural Resources, the disruption cut the region’s February oil exports in half. Oil exports fell to an average of just over 350,000 barrels per day, generating about $304 million for the month — not even half of the $760 million the Kurdistan Regional Government needs to cover its swollen public sector . Stratfor provides global awareness and guidance to individuals, governments and businesses around the world. We use a unique, intel-based approach to analyze world affairs. Copyright © 2016 Stratfor Global Intelligence, All rights reserved. Our mailing address is: P.O. Box 92529 – Austin, Texas 78709-2529, USA unsubscribe from this list update subscription preferences | forward email

Oil exports to Turkey resume

12 Mar 2016   Iraq, Turkey

Turkey’s security authorities allow the Iraq-Turkey Pipeline to reopen after 23 days. Oil tanks at Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, which is run by state-owned Petroleum Pipeline Corporation (BOTAS), where oil exports from the Iraqi central government and, separately, from the KRG, are sent. (UMIT BEKTAS/Reuters) Oil is flowing again through the Iraq-Turkey Pipeline (ITP), more than three weeks after Turkey shut it down due to security problems. The restart, confirmed by two oil industry officials who monitor the line, is a welcome relief for both the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which is already stretched thin by a financial crisis, and Kirkuk province, which recently began receiving petrodollar payments from the KRG that are proportional to the amount of oil exported from Kirkuk fields. T… This content is for registered users. Please login to continue. If you are not a registered user, you may purchase a subscription or sign […]

Turkey: Saudi Jets Join Coalition Forces In Incirlik

Four Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) Boeing F-15S fighter aircraft arrived Feb. 26 at Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base to support the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in Syria, soon before a cease-fire is set to begin, AFP reported. Two RSAF Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules transport aircraft carrying about 30 RSAF personnel and equipment previously arrived at Incirlik on Feb. 23. Saudi Arabia joins Germany, Qatar, the United Kingdom and the United States as one of five nations to deploy aircraft to the base for the anti-Islamic State mission. Nearly 100 rebel groups agreed Feb. 26 to abide by the U.N.-brokered cease-fire beginning Feb. 27, but fighting in the troubled region is unlikely to halt entirely.

Death toll rises to 28 in Turkey blast, 61 injured: government spokesman

18 Feb 2016   Turkey

Twenty-eight people were killed and 61 injured in a bomb attack in the Turkish capital Ankara on Wednesday, government spokesman Numan Kurtulmus said, adding the government has no information yet on who was responsible for the blast. Kurtulmus, who is also a deputy prime minister, said it was clear the attack was well planned. A car laden with explosives detonated next to military buses near the armed forces’ headquarters, parliament and other government buildings. (Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Melih Aslan; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Nick Tattersall)

Turkey Says Ground Operation in Syria Is Only Way to Stop War

17 Feb 2016   Syria, Turkey

Turkey amplified the big-power tensions over the increasingly chaotic war in Syria on Tuesday, saying it is in discussions with allies, including the United States, over collaborating on a military ground operation into northern Syrian territory. A Turkish official who spoke to reporters in Istanbul about the Syrian situation said it was now impossible to halt the war without a ground operation in northern Syria, and that the Turks would not undertake such an operation on their own. “We are asking coalition partners that there should be a ground operation,” said the official, who was authorized to speak on the condition that he not be identified by name. “We are discussing this with allies.” While it was unclear how far the discussions have progressed, it appeared unlikely that a […]

Turkish artillery returns fire ‘in kind’ into Syria: military sources

17 Feb 2016   Syria, Turkey

Turkish artillery has returned fire “in kind” into Syria, military sources said on Tuesday, marking its fourth straight day of shelling across the border. Turkey on Monday warned Kurdish militia fighters in northern Syria they would face the “harshest reaction” if they tried to capture a town near the border, and accused Russia of a missile attack there that killed at least 14 civilians. Further information about Tuesday’s shelling was not immediately available. An offensive by the Syrian army, supported by Russian bombing and Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias, has brought it to within 25 km (15 miles) of Turkey’s frontier. The Kurdish YPG militia, which Turkey regards as a hostile insurgent force, has exploited the situation, seizing ground from Syrian rebels to […]

Turkey denies soldiers entered Syria, says has no such plans

16 Feb 2016   Syria, Turkey

Turkish Defence Minister Ismet Yilmaz denied a report that some Turkish soldiers had entered Syria at the weekend and said Ankara was not considering sending troops into its neighbor, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Monday. Syria’s government had said Turkish forces were believed to be among 100 gunmen who entered Syria on Saturday with 12 pick-up trucks mounted with heavy machine guns, in an operation to supply insurgents fighting Damascus. “It is not true … There is no thought of Turkish soldiers entering Syria,” Yilmaz told a Turkish parliamentary commission when asked about the allegation by the Syrian foreign ministry, made in a letter to the U.N. Security Council. Turkey’s […]

Turkey denies soldiers entered Syria, says has no such plans

15 Feb 2016   Syria, Turkey

Turkish Defence Minister Ismet Yilmaz denied a report that some Turkish soldiers had entered Syria at the weekend and said Ankara was not considering sending troops into its neighbor, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Monday. Syria’s government had said Turkish forces were believed to be among 100 gunmen who entered Syria on Saturday with 12 pick-up trucks mounted with heavy machine guns, in an operation to supply insurgents fighting Damascus. “It is not true … There is no thought of Turkish soldiers entering Syria,” Yilmaz told a Turkish parliamentary commission when asked about the allegation by the Syrian foreign ministry, made in a letter to the U.N. Security Council. Turkey’s […]

Syria refugee camps set up as Turkey limits entries

8 Feb 2016   Syria, Turkey

Turkish aid workers have been setting up tents and distributing supplies for thousands of new Syrian refugees kept from entering Turkey at the border. Some 35,000 people fled a Syrian government offensive in the Aleppo area last week, trying to enter Turkey’s Kilis border region. But Turkey has so far closed the border to most of them despite appeals by EU leaders to let them cross. The country already shelters more than 2.5 million refugees from Syria’s war. Many Syrians have gone on to seek asylum in the EU and made up the largest group among more than one million refugees and other migrants who entered illegally last year, mainly by sea from Turkey. Analysis: Mark Lowen, BBC News, near Turkey-Syria border Turkey is trying a balancing act between providing sanctuary to those fleeing Syria’s war and reducing the numbers of refugees travelling to Europe. You hear it in […]

Source: Turkey isn’t preparing to invade Syria

5 Feb 2016   Syria, Turkey

Istanbul (CNN)Turkish forces aren’t preparing to invade northern Syria and Russia’s allegation that they are is an attempt to hide Moscow’s crimes in the war-ravaged nation, a source within the Turkish Prime Minister’s office told CNN on Thursday. “Simply they are diverting attention from their attacks on civilians as a country already invading Syria,” the source told CNN. “Turkey has all the rights to take any measures to protect its own security.” The comments come after Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov was quoted by Russian state news agency Ria Novosti as saying Moscow believes some activity on the Turkish side of the border with Syria indicates preparations for an incursion. “The signs of hidden preparation of Turkish armed forces for activities in the territory of Syria we notice more and more,” the general said. When asked about the Russian claim at a media briefing, John Kirby, a spokesman for the […]

Civilians flee violence in southeast Turkey as curfew lifted

4 Feb 2016   Turkey

Hundreds of people fled a conflict-hit area of southeast Turkey’s largest city of Diyarbakir on Wednesday, taking advantage of the lifting of a curfew to escape any further clashes between security forces and Kurdish fighters. A witness said people left the city’s Sur district with suitcases, televisions and carpets loaded onto pick-up trucks and handcarts, deserting an area damaged heavily in fighting since a curfew was declared there a month ago. “It’s always the ordinary people who suffer,” said Mehmet Ceylan, 45, carrying a bundle on his back. “I’ve lived in Sur for years, and I’ve never witnessed a scene like this.” Hundreds of Kurdish fighters and security force members have been killed since July when a ceasefire collapsed, triggering the worst violence in two decades and wrecking hopes for a peace deal in a conflict that has killed more than 40,000 since 1984. The chief district administrator’s office […]

Walls and watchtowers rise as Turkey tries to seal border against Islamic State

4 Feb 2016   Syria, Turkey

Slabs of concrete wall have sprung up and military patrols have intensified, but local people say this stretch of Turkey’s border facing Syrian territory under Islamic State control is still far from water-tight. Ankara is under intense pressure from its NATO allies to seal off the 70 km (40 mile) strip that stretches from just east of the Turkish town of Kilis to Karkamis, long a conduit for fighters, smuggled goods and war materiel. Beyond a string of tiny villages nestled in undulating fig and olive groves lies the last stretch of Syrian territory on Turkey’s southern frontier that Islamic State militants still hold, following advances by rival Kurdish rebels. European governments fear that […]

Turkey a vital energy partner, EU says

26 Jan 2016   Europe, Turkey

Turkey is a fundamental partner in the drive to ensure the European energy sector is well supplied and free from dominance, the European Commission said. Members of the European Commission met in Ankara to discuss shared strategic and economic agendas moving into 2016. “Energy is a topic of key interest in EU-Turkey relations,” the commission said. “Turkey stands out as a crucial partner for EU’s energy security and energy diversification.” Turkey holds a key geopolitical position between key producers in the Middle East and Central Asia, and Europe. Europe is looking to Azerbaijan as a source of diversity for an energy market dominated by Russian natural gas supplier Gazprom. The Trans-Adriatic pipeline will start delivering gas from the Shah […]

Ibrahim Khalil crossing to Turkey reopens

7 Jan 2016   Iraq, Turkey

Iraq’s main crossing with Turkey reopened yesterday after 22 days of closures that choked off commerce and left thousands of trucks and people stranded at both sides of the border.So far, the border remains closed to people, and has been opened only for a restricted number of cargo trucks, after a visit to the border on Monday by Turkey’s Minister for Trade and Customs.“The border is now open but only for commercial traffic. It remains closed to individuals,” said Khalil Mahmoud… This content is for registered users. Please login to continue. If you are not a registered user, you may purchase a subscription or sign up for a free trial .

Turkey’s Campaign Against Kurdish Militants Takes Toll on Civilians

1 Jan 2016   Turkey

A major Turkish military operation to eradicate Kurdish militants in Turkey ’s restive southeast has turned dozens of urban districts into bloody battlefields, displacing hundreds of thousands of civilians and shattering hopes of reviving peace as an old war reaches its deadliest level in two decades. Over the past week, Turkish tanks and artillery have pounded Kurdish targets across several southeast cities, killing at least 200 militants and more than 150 civilians, according to human rights groups and local officials. Their descriptions of the fighting and mass destruction in populated areas, which are off-limits to journalists, depict war zones not unlike the scenes in neighboring Syria to the south. The Kurds are a geographically dispersed minority whose aspirations for autonomy date back decades. The flaring of their conflict with Turkey represents a dangerous complication in a region already convulsed by the upheavals in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. […]

Turkey Moves to Clamp Down on Border, Long a Revolving Door

22 Dec 2015   Turkey

The Turkish Coast Guard has stepped up nighttime patrols on the choppy, wintry waters of the Aegean Sea, seizing rafts full of refugees fleeing war for Europe and sending them back to Turkey . Down south, at the border with Syria , Turkey is building a concrete wall, digging trenches, laying razor wire and at night illuminating vast stretches of land in an effort to cut off the flow of supplies and foreign fighters to the Islamic State. On land and at sea, Turkey’s borders, long a revolving door of refugees, foreign fighters and the smugglers who enable them, are at the center of two separate yet interlinked global […]

Israel, Turkey reach preliminary agreement to restore diplomatic ties

18 Dec 2015   Nigeria, Turkey

Israel and Turkey have reached a preliminary agreement to normalize relations, including the return of one another’s ambassadors to both countries, an Israeli official said Thursday. The deal comes five years after relations reached a low point for the two countries over a deadly Israeli raid on a ship carrying Turkish activists attempting to break Israel’s blockade on Gaza. The deal was reached during a recent meeting in Switzerland between Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu and the incoming head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, Yossi Cohen, as well as Israeli envoy Joseph Ciechanover, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined comment, and there was no immediate comment from the Turkish Foreign Ministry. A U.S. official familiar with the agreement confirmed the details. He also spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t allowed to talk to the media […]

Turkey shuts key Kurdistan border crossing

17 Dec 2015   Kurdistan, Turkey

The main border crossing between Turkey and the Iraqi Kurdistan region remains closed for a second day, as Turkey ramps up a military offensive apparently aimed at Kurdish militants in the country’s southeast.“The Ibrahim Khalil border crossing point is still closed and we don’t have any clue when the Turkish officials will decide to re-open it,” said Khalil Mahmoud, the mayor of Zakho district in Dohuk province, where the border is located.As the only official crossing point bet… This content is for registered users. Please login to continue. If you are not a registered user, you may purchase a subscription or sign up for a free trial .

Iraq Demands Withdrawal of Additional Turkish Troops

7 Dec 2015   Iraq, Turkey

Iraq’s government on Saturday demanded that Turkey immediately withdraw additional military personnel deployed to train Iraqi Kurdish fighters near the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul . “This is considered as a grave violation to Iraq’s sovereignty and does not respect good neighborly relations between Iraq and Turkey,” Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said. “Iraqi authorities call upon Turkey to withdraw immediately from Iraqi lands.” Iraq previously said it rejected any military operation on its soil that isn’t coordinated with the government. A spokesman for the Kurdish Regional Government said Saturday that the Turkish personnel were at Bashiqa camp on the northern outskirts of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, to train Kurdish forces known as the Peshmerga. Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported Friday that about 150 soldiers and some 20 to 25 tanks had arrived in the region, stationed at military camps both near Mosul and close to the Iranian border. More than 2,500 Peshmerga including […]

Turkey row leaves Russia stuck with abandoned gas pipes worth billions

Gas pipes worth 1.8 billion euros ($1.95 billion) are to be left stranded on the shores of the Black Sea after Russia’s decision to suspend work on the Turkish Stream pipeline, a potent symbol of Moscow’s falling out with Ankara. Russia has set out to punish Turkey after it shot down a Russian warplane in Syria last week, imposing trade sanctions and releasing data it claims proves Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is involved in illegal oil deals with Islamic State. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told reporters on Thursday work on Turkish Stream, a pipeline intended to pump Russian gas into southeastern Europe via Turkey while bypassing Ukraine, had been suspended. Shortly afterwards, the head of Italian oil […]

Russian pipeline through Turkey on hold

Talks between Moscow and Ankara on building a natural gas pipeline through Turkey to Europe are suspended, Russia’s energy minister said. Russian energy company Gazprom proposed the so-called Turkish Stream gas pipeline as an alternative to a broader South Stream pipeline network meant to feed European markets. Bulgaria’s decision in 2014 to back away from South Stream led in part to a derailment of the project. Gazprom Chief Executive Officer Alexei Miller said Thursday there was little communication from Ankara on the proposal to build the pipeline. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told news agency Itar-TASS the pursuit was now on hold . “The negotiations have been suspended,” he said. Miller in […]

Exclusive: Russia may freeze Turkish Stream gas project – Gazprom sources

2 Dec 2015   Russia, Turkey

Russia may freeze work on the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project for several years in retaliation against Ankara for the shooting down of a Russian air force jet, two sources at Russian gas giant Gazprom ( GAZP.MM ) told Reuters. The Kremlin has imposed trade sanctions on Turkey over last week’s jet incident although so far the measures have not affected the Russian energy exports to Turkey that are the core of their economic relationship. Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said on Tuesday that no decisions had been made on the project and on a nuclear power station that Russia is building in Turkey. Freezing work on the pipeline – intended to pump Russian gas, via Turkey, into southeastern Europe while bypassing Ukraine – would have a […]

How Turkey Exports ISIS Oil To The World: The Scientific Evidence

28 Nov 2015   Syria, Turkey

Over the course of the last four or so weeks, the media has paid quite a bit of attention to Islamic State’s lucrative trade in “stolen” crude. On November 16, in a highly publicized effort, US warplanes destroyed 116 ISIS oil trucks in Syria. 45 minutes prior, leaflets were dropped advising drivers (who Washington is absolutely sure are not ISIS members themselves) to “get out of [their] trucks and run away.” The peculiar thing about the US strikes is that it took The Pentagon nearly 14 months to figure out that the most effective way to cripple Islamic State’s oil trade is to bomb… the oil . Prior to November, the US “strategy” revolved around bombing the group’s oil infrastructure. As it turns out, that strategy was minimally effective at best and it’s not entirely clear that an effort was made to inform The White House, Congress, and/or the […]

Kremlin Cutting Economic Links With the Turks

27 Nov 2015   Russia, Turkey

The downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey threatened to lead to a wholesale breach in the countries’ relations on Thursday, with the Kremlin preparing to sever economic ties and Turkish officials saying they had no reason to apologize. Prime Minister Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia gave government officials two days to draw up a list of ways to curb economic links and investment projects. That included the possible shelving of a multibillion-dollar deal to build a gas pipeline through Turkey that President Vladimir V. Putin had trumpeted as a welcome alternative route for Russian gas exports to Europe. Mr. Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan , stoked the confrontation by hurling insults at each other and demanding redress. […]