Finally an official EU center in Istanbul, Fitch increases Turkey's ratings, Dutch MPs cancel trip

The new EU Center in Beşiktaş. DHA photo
The new EU Center in Beşiktaş. DHA photo.
The EU Center will be jointly facilitated by the Turkish Ministry of State?s EU General Secretariat and the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality?s EU Affairs Department. VIA


Istanbul Metro Station, Taksim: Turkish Conquest of Constantinople. Photo by Jenny White

(click here for the full NY Times article). FOUND IN: Ottomania: The Empire Strikes Back
Dutch MPs cancel trip to Turkey | Radio Netherlands Worldwide

Disappointment in Turkey over cancelled trip

Turkish MPs are disappointed the Dutch parliament has cancelled a fact-finding mission about the country’s wishes to join the European Union, the NRC reports on Thursday.

Wilders and Turkey?s anti-democratization camp


Foresight analysis measures the potential impacts of foreign and domestic policy actions. For the purpose of writing this column I have chosen a number of Dutch and Turkish actors as part of a simulation exercise, and without meaning it to be derogatory in any way, have put them into a grid system of four adjacent boxes.

BB+ for Turkey

from Mavi Boncuk by M.A.M

* Thanks to economic growth and tight fiscal policy, since the 2001 financial crisis, public sector debt has come down to manageable levels..
* Reforms and restructuring have strengthened the banking sector.
* Economic growth rests on more solid foundations, driven by a dynamic private sector, productivity gains, and higher value-added production.
* The prospect of economic convergence with the European Union, demographic dynamism, and the country’s pivotal regional position tend to enhance the Turkish market’s attractiveness.
* With its extensive external financing needs, the highest of all emerging countries, Turkey remains very dependent on capital markets.
* The sharp rise of foreign currency debt in the private sector has increased its exposure to exchange rate risk.
* The antagonism between the government and militant Kemalists remains a recurring source of instability.

Turkey’s Transformers The AKP Sees Big (Foreign Relations)

from Yahoo news
Turkey hopes to be a global power, but it has not yet become even the regional player that the ruling AKP declares it to be. Can the AKP do better, or will it be held back by its Islamist past and the conservative inclinations of its core constituents?

Soaring ambitions

from BBC News | Europe | World Edition
Turkey’s foreign minister optimistic on regional stability

Turkey warns on EU sanctions over Cyprus

from – World, Europe
Turkey warns that its EU membership talks could suffer irreparable damage if EU leaders impose sanctions next week in retaliation for Ankara’s refusal to open ports and airports to Greek Cypriot traffic

Thank you Mr. Rehn, good luck Mr. Füle


There should be overwhelming agreement that the outgoing EU enlargement commissioner, Mr. Olli Rehn, did stand for quite a bit of brinkmanship in order to keep Turkey on the right track to accession to the EU.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu ...

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu arrives at the two-day NATO foreign minister meeting in Brussels, Thursday Dec. 3, 2009. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

Greek Prime Minister and acting Foreign Minister George Papandreou ...

Greek Prime Minister and acting Foreign Minister George Papandreou (R) welcomes Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu during their meeting at the 17th Ministerial Council of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Athens December 2, 2009. Foreign ministers from Europe’s main security organisation will try to work out a response to Russia’s proposal for a new Euro-Atlantic security pact at a meeting in Athens on Tuesday and Wednesday.REUTERS/John Kolesidis

The new European Commission — goodbye Olli, hello Stefan

Following the surprising appointments of Herman Van Rompuy as EU president and Baroness Ashton as foreign policy chief, the winds of change continue to sweep through Brussels.

Jordan's King Abdullah and Turkey's President Abdullah ...

Jordan’s King Abdullah and Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul (L) talk during a welcoming ceremony at the Royal Palace in Amman, December 1, 2009.

REUTERS/Ali Jarekji

Peace Abroad, Polarization at Home

from Istanbul Calling by Yigal Schleifer

I have an opinion piece in the new edition of The Majalla magazine looking at how’s Turkey’s mostly successful “zero problems with neighbors” foreign policy stands in stark contrast to the country’s deeply polarized domestic political scene. You can read the piece here. The article is part of a package that looks at Turkey after seven years of Justice and Development Party (AKP) rule. You can take a look at the rest of the articles on the magazine’s home page.

Possible Implications of the EU Presidency Elections on Turkey-EU Relations

from U.S.A.K. Blog

by Assoc. Prof. Mehmet OZCAN

Following long-standing debates and previsions, the EU leaders elected the first President of the European Council. Known as a low-profile politician on the international political arena and an unknown personality except by those from his own country, Belgium Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy was elected for the position of European Council Presidency. In addition, British center-leftist politician, who is also the commissioner responsible for external trade, Catherine Ashton was elected for the position of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, a new post established by the Lisbon Treaty.

Old Europe vs. the European Union

by Assoc. Prof. Sedat LACINER

Europe has was always been dream, an ideal. Throughout history, this peculiar Asian peninsula was never able to set its own boundaries. At times it designated even the Caucasus as Europe, at other times it could not even call the Balkans Europe. This ideal, drawing its roots from the Mediterranean and the Middle Eastern civilizations, developed a certain dislike towards its past. With the Explorations, the Reformation, the Renaissance, the French and Industrial revolutions, charging himself the role of the ?leader’ and ?pioneer’ of the world, the European failed to address the questions “What is Europe?? and “Who is a European??

Suat Kiniklioglu: ?Neo-Ottoman? Turkey?

from Project Syndicate

Nowadays, many observers are obsessing over the supposed “loss” of Turkey and what it means for Europe and the West, with some commentators going so far as to liken Turkey?s neighborhood policy to a revival of Ottoman imperialism. In fact, Turkey has no choice but to engage with the many regions of which it is a part, and its acting on that necessity should worry no one.

Frustrated With West, Turks Revel in Empire Lost

from NYT > Turkey by By DAN BILEFSKY
?Ottomania,? nostalgia for the glorious history of the Ottoman empire, has seized Turkey, partly in reaction to the European Union?s seeming cold shoulder.

Is Turkey Abandoning The West For The Islamic East? No.

from Kamil Pasha by Jenny White

?[Is Turkey] abandoning the West in favour of a neo-Ottoman dominion in the East? Is it loosening its half-century-old security anchor in NATO? Where is Erdogan?s rough-tongued criticism of Israel leading? Is the innovating prime minister?s feud with the Kemalist establishment turning him into a dictator? Do grandiose Turkish stands alongside authoritarian anti-Western regimes in the Middle East make Turkey ?Islamist?? And is Turkey turning away from its U.S.-backed ambition of membership of the European Union?

Full-Text of Turkish President Abdullah Gul’s Lecture on ‘Turkish Foreign Policy in the New Era’ at USAK

Turkish President Abdullah Gul delivered a speech on “Turkish Foreign Policy in the New Era” at International Strategic Research Organization (USAK). The full-text of the speech is available:

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