The Russia-West Propaganda War

October 3, 2022

More than four years ago I said:

“The Ukraine conflict dealt a blow to Russia-West relations, more severe than the one dealt by the Russia-Georgia war of 2008. It has led to greater turbulence. Because, while Georgia is located at the eastern end of the Black Sea, Ukraine is a European country, and four NATO nations, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania are Ukraine’s neighbors. Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia border Russia. All three are dependent on Russian natural gas and the last two are home to a substantial number of ethnic Russians. In other words, they have reasons to worry.

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Moscow Declares Partial Mobilization

September 23, 2022

With the opening of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, world attention turned to New York. But what made the headlines during the past two days was the September 21 Kremlin address by President Putin announcing the partial mobilization of the Russian Federation and emphasizing that only military reservists, primarily those who served in the armed forces and have specific military occupational specialties and corresponding experience, will be called up.”  Moreover, Mr. Putin declared, “I would like to remind those who make such statements regarding Russia that our country has different types of weapons as well, and some of them are more modern than the weapons NATO countries have. In the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our people, we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us. This is not a bluff. [i]

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A Brief Overview of Türkiye’s Foreign Relations

September 19, 2022

The Middle East:

In December 2009, the communique issued at the end of the Damascus meeting of the “Turkish-Syrian High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council” referred to a “strategic partnership”, at the time a fashionable label for Türkiye’s relationships with other nations. It mentioned common threats and challenges confronting the two countries. A year later, Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu, in remarks to the press with his Syrian counterpart in Latakia, underlined that the exemplary relations between Syria and Türkiye were serving as a model for regional partnerships and that the two countries were aiming at total economic integration with neighbors.

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Time to End the War of Words between Greece and Turkey (*)

September 12, 2022

For decades, since the days of Atatürk and Venizelos, Greek-Turkish relations have been characterized by a roller coaster pattern. Between the years 1997 and 2001, I was the Turkish ambassador in Athens. For a Turkish diplomat serving in Greece has always been a privilege. As I said in an interview before my departure, I not only enjoyed my stay there but I also happened to be the lucky one. Because, after a brief storm, my years there turned out to be a long sunny season.

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Water Disputes Reaching the Cloud

September 5, 2022

Clouds have always fascinated people. White clouds turning dark remind people of the coming rain or storm, sometimes inspiring hope, at other times fear. Cloud colors at sunrise or sunset captivate them. Regardless of one’s vantage point, be it on the ground or high up from a plane window, clouds are nature’s constantly changing work of art, untouchable by man. Without clouds, the sky is an empty canvas.

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “You cannot step into the same river twice, for other waters are continually flowing on.” He was referring to a constantly changing world. Perhaps, this is even more true for clouds because as we bitterly see now, water can stop flowing in rivers, but clouds never stop moving and they decide whether rivers would resume flowing, if at all.

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World Happiness Report 2022, Türkiye

August 29, 2022

The “World Happiness Report 2022” was published on March 18, 2022, by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative of the United Nations.[i] This was three weeks after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and nearly three years after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The first report was issued in 2012. These reports are written by a group of independent experts and the views expressed in the reports do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization, agency, or program of the UN.

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“Retreat” or “Normalization of Relations”?

August 25, 2022

In the military context, the word “retreat” means “the usually forced withdrawal of troops from an enemy or from an advanced position”. In a broader context, it is defined as “an act or process of withdrawing especially from what is difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable”. [i] For obvious reasons, the word is anathema to politicians. They prefer expressions like “revision” or “updating” of policy. But in Türkiye, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) avoids even using such expressions as they might be conceived as an admission of error. It prefers to refer to its foreign policy reversals as “normalization of relations”. How we ended up having an abnormal state of relations with others is not an issue.

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The West Needs to Write a Success Story

August 22, 2022

With the war in Ukraine, “the emerging world order” has become a current topic with conflicting opening gambits.

The West argues for the rules-based international order, the body of rules, norms, and institutions that govern relations. Among those are treaties, international law, formal structures, institutions, and values at the center of which are democracy and respect for human rights.

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The Rising Cost of the Lack of Strategic Dialogue

August 15, 2022

In another ten days, it will be six months since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The news of the war no longer makes the headlines. Because it only takes time for the most unexpected, for the worst to become the new normal, like in Syria, Libya, and Yemen.

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Pelosi’s Visit: A Costly Political Show

August 8, 2022

Last Monday, National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby told reporters that nothing about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s possible trip changed US policy toward Taiwan. He said, “We have been clear from the very beginning that she will make her own decisions and that Congress is an independent branch of government.  Our Constitution embeds a separation of powers.  This is well known to the PRC, given our more than four decades of diplomatic relations.  The Speaker has the right to visit Taiwan, and a Speaker of the House has visited Taiwan before without incident, as have many members of Congress, including this year.” He was referring to House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s visit to Taiwan in 1997.

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