The first order of business should be a negotiated cease-fire and a transition in Syria that recognizes the role of Iran and other regional parties, not arming the rebels or launching military attacks, writes Seyed Hossein Mousavian.
Turkey has approximately two trillion cubic meters of shale gas reserves that can meet national demands for 40-50 years. Taking its cue from US shale gas production, the Turkish Petroleum Corporation is Gazdas is planning to invest $300 million in infrastructure to extract the natural gas.
Turkey once dreamed of creating a new Ottoman empire. However, these dreams were shattered with the bankruptcy of Turkish foreign policy, writes Dogan Heper. Now, Israel is able to insult Turkey and be protected by a NATO radar shield from within its borders, he says, and this shows how pathetic Ankara has become.
Diplomatic efforts regarding the Syrian crisis are gaining momentum, writes Semih Idiz, pointing out that the Turkish Prime Minister’s visit to Tehran coincides with the Arab League summit in Baghdad. He is surely to meet resistance after having previously accused Tehran of supporting Bashar al-Assad, with whom Turkey has broken all ties.
Semih Idiz argues that although currently marginalized, Turkey may regain its role as a mediator for the Middle East. Arab countries facing battles along religious-secular, ethnic-national and military-civilian lines will eventually look to Turkey for guidance. However, the ability to play this role depends on Turkey’s continued regional neutrality.
Turkey has been on a US blacklist of countries still importing Iranian oil despite sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program. Food exports to Iran are not banned, but Turkey’s exports to the country depend on its imports of Iranian oil. The US is trying to expand its own food exports to Iran, which has left Turks angry about what they perceive as a double standard.
In two recent Turkish stock operations, Citibank reduced its 20% stake in Turkey’s AKbank to 10%, and ArcelorMittal sold 12.5% of its 25% stake in Erdemir, the steel giant. While the simultaneous timing of these sales may seem suspicious, Abdurrahman Yildirim rejects conspiracy theories and sees these developments as positive in the long run.
Critics of the ruling Justice and Development Party’s policy of managing the Turkish economy without the IMF were proven wrong as Turkey experienced relatively high economic growth in 2011, argues Suleyman Yasar. However, despite a fall in unemployment and an increase in exports, Turkey still faces unfavorable foreign trade terms.
The Turkish government plans to privatize a large portion of the nation's defense industry and increase efficiency through new competitive bidding processes. Lale Kemal reports that the plan, which could force liquidation of firms that fail to compete, faces certain opposition from the military.
Turkey must pursue increased cooperation between the state and the private sector to expand its markets in the Arab world. While Turkish-Arab economic relations were not at desired levels before, political and economic instability in the region is hampering the relationship, argues Hasan Ersel.
China's Chery Automotive Group said it will invest in Turkey over the next five years, after a Turkish investment incentive plan attracted the company's attention. The partnership will provide thousands of jobs for Turks and could lead to the first Turkish-made car.
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