Press reports, especially in North America, suggested that a deal between Ankara and Washington was just a question of money, using the metaphor of the bazaar to explain Turkish negotiating behavior. In the end, this description was shown to be ill-conceived and inaccurate. More was at stake than just the amount of money. Turkish leaders consistently said so, but no one in Washington seemed to hear them. The American administration also appeared to assume that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara could make its parliamentary deputies fall into line as easily as the Republican Party in the US can whip its congressmen and senators into supporting administration policy.
Continue reading "The Turkish Parliament's Double-Fisted Knockout" »
The Turkish Grand National Assembly, in failing to approve the economic assistance package to be provided to Turkey by the US in return for American troops using Turkish soil for an attack on Iraq, also failed to authorize Turkey's army to enter northern Iraq. The Turkish constitution requires a parliamentary vote to send the country's armed forces outside its own borders. With this not being approved, the dynamics of the impending war have changed.
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Iran has been seeking since the mid-1990s to undertake oil swaps with Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan as a way to increase its own exports. Such swaps involve Iran’s importing oil in the north on its Caspian Sea coast for domestic refining and consumption, while exporting compensatory quantities to the world market from its southern ports on the Persian Gulf. This has been part and parcel of Iran’s strategy not only for developing its own energy sector but also for situating itself as an important transit country for international trade flows in general.
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