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Turkey faces « tough times » in foreign relations – think tank 29 janvier 2007

Posted by Acturca in Caucasus / Caucase, Middle East / Moyen Orient, South East Europe / Europe du Sud-Est, Turkey / Turquie, Turkey-EU / Turquie-UE, USA / Etats-Unis.
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BBC Monitoring Europe – Political, January 26, 2007 Friday

Source: Anatolia news agency, Ankara, in English 1540 gmt 26 Jan 07

Turkey faces tough times ahead in its foreign relations, particularly in the context of recent developments regarding Iraq, Iran and the European Union, the Centre for Eurasian Strategic Studies (ASAM), an Ankara-based Turkish think tank, said on Friday [26 January].

As hard as it may get, 2007 could also be a year of opportunities « to devise sound policies in those matters that could closely concern and affect Turkey », an ASAM report said.
The report outlined a number of possible developments Turkey may come along in such areas as Turkish-American relations, EU affairs, the Middle East, the Caucasus.

Relations with the USA

« The most tense situation in relations with the USA would be the approval of Armenian allegations by the Senate, in which case Turkish-US relations will suffer a serious and a permanent damage, » the report argued.

« The USA may green-light a Turkish cross-border operation into northern Iraq against the terrorist organization PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] provided that Ankara pushed Washington hardly enough. »

The report also cited an increased US interest in the Black Sea region, which may in return force Turkey to maintain a « delicate balance » between Washington and Moscow.

European Union and Cyprus

The report saw a narrowing EU concentration in 2007 on Turkey’s membership process: « It is likely that the EU will focus more on solving its internal problems and be less occupied with Turkey issue. »

The report qualified the Cyprus issue as a hurdle before Turkey’s EU accession which it said may slow down the negotiations process due to « threat of Greek Cypriot veto ».

The Middle East

« A referendum in Kirkuk, which is expected by the end of 2007, is quite unlikely to happen, » the report said and added the civil war between Iraq’s Shi’i and Sunni elements might bring the country to a critical turning point.

The report also made a warning on Iran’s nuclear programme, saying that Turkey may face problems vis-a-vis Tehran if Ankara subscribed to possible sanctions against this country but also may come at odds with Washington if it refused to contribute to coercions.

The Caucasus

The report also predicted a stronger Armenian tone against Turkey and Azerbaijan due to both general and presidential elections this year in Yerevan.

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