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Erdogan falls short of outright majority in first round of Turkey presidential election
Turkey's highly anticipated presidential election held yesterday (14 May) has left incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan falling short of securing the necessary votes for a first-round victory.  Despite polls having predicted an initial first round victory for Erdogan’s challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the outcome sets the stage for a runoff between the two, the outcome of which may have huge implications for Turkey's political landscape and its role on the international stage. The second round will take place on 28 May.  Erdogan, who has been either Prime Minister or President for 20 years, failed to reach the required 50% of votes in the first round to declare outright victory. With 97.95% of votes counted, Erdogan secured 49.34%, while Kilicdaroglu garnered 44.99%, according to state-run Anadolu news agency. The third candidate, Sinan Ogan, received 5.28% of votes This election marks a significant test for Erdogan, who has faced economic challenges and criticism regarding the government's handling of the earthquake on 6 February. Kilicdaroglu on the other hand fronts a coalition of six parties who are seeking to oust Erdogan with promises to address economic issues and restore democratic institutions.
patrickn97 Mon, 05/15/2023 - 13:33
Georgia insists that no sanctioned Russian airlines will enter its airspace

A number of Georgian officials have insisted that no sanctioned Russian airlines will be allowed to enter its airspace. This follows news last week that Russian President Vladimir Putin reversed a 2019 ban on Russian airlines flying to Georgia on Wednesday (10 May).

patrickn97 Mon, 05/15/2023 - 09:40
Kazakhstan's oil exports to Azerbaijan increase by 75% in April

On Wednesday (10 May), KazTransOil, the national oil transporter of Kazakhstan, announced a substantial increase in oil exports via Aktau Port to Baku, Azerbaijan.

According to the company's press service, the export volume surged by 75% in April, reaching 152,400 tons, compared to the previous month's 87,000 tons. In April, KazTransOil also shipped 160,200 tons of oil from Aktau Port to Makhachkala Port, in Russia.

The overall volume of Kazakh oil transported for export from Aktau Port increased by 24%, totaling 600,500 tons.

patrickn97 Mon, 05/15/2023 - 07:55
Zelensky visits Germany and France over the weekend, allies pledge more support

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Germany and France on Sunday (14 May) to meet with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron.

patrickn97 Mon, 05/15/2023 - 07:29
Press statement issued at the end of the meeting of the core JOLIG team in Tbilisi on 12 May 2023
The core team of the Joint Armenian-Azerbaijani Liaison Group on confidence-building measures in support of lasting peace in the South Caucasus (JOLIG) met in Tbilisi on Friday 12 May 2023 to discuss ongoing regional processes and plan its work for the rest of the year. The Group reviewed the current state of Armenia-Azerbaijan relations and the process to normalise them. It welcomed the resumption of face to face negotiations between the two countries held at Foreign Minister level in Washington DC in the first week of May and hoped that the process will continue and be brought to a successful conclusion. It looked forward to the next meeting of the leaders of the two countries in Brussels on 14 May and subsequently, and the planned meetings in Chisinau in June and in Granada in October, and also noted that a meeting of the foreign ministers was also planned to be held in Moscow later this month. The Group noted that this intensive diplomatic activity is necessary and instrumental for the early and successful completion of the negotiations.
patrickn97 Fri, 05/12/2023 - 15:19
Ukraine claims advances near Bakhmut as shaping operations begin

Ukraine's Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar has said on Friday (12 May) that Ukrainian forces have made advances in the embattled town of Bakhmut in the country's east. This follows statements from Russian military bloggers on the evening of Thursday (11 May) claiming that Ukraine had indeed made gains.

Speaking on Friday, Maliar said that Russian troops had "failed to implement their plans" and "suffered heavy losses of manpower" on the front line.

patrickn97 Fri, 05/12/2023 - 11:29
Kazakhstan to host EU-Central Asia Economic Forum on 18-19 May
The Kazakh capital of Almaty will be hosting the 2nd European Union-Central Asia Economic Forum next week on 18-19 May. Building on the 1st EU-Central Asia Economic Forum that took place in Bishkek in 2021, next week's forum will "take stock of progress made so far and discuss ways forward on policy, programmes, and investment needed to develop a more integrated and interconnected regional market engagement". "The Forum will allow to strengthen sustainable connectivity and promote regulatory approximation in the economic area between the EU and Central Asia countries, which is so vital for a better business environment and a safe investment climate," a statement from the EU Central Asia Invest Programme says. "The Forum will gather high-level government officials, the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, other bilateral and international financial institutions, representatives of the private sector and members of civil society. It is organised in partnership with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development," the statement adds. The forum will focus on three priority areas: a green and digital transition, a better business environment, and trade and connectivity. Next week's forum follows the 4th EU-Central Asia civil society forum that took place in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent in March.
patrickn97 Fri, 05/12/2023 - 11:10
Editor's choice
Editorial: Armenia-Azerbaijan talks are down to the nitty-gritty

Editorial: Armenia-Azerbaijan talks are down to the nitty-gritty

After months of diplomacy by e-mail, Armenia and Azerbaijan met in Washington DC in the first week of May for negotiations led by the foreign ministers of the two countries, with the United States providing facilitation and support, writes in this editorial. The presence of US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, at the opening of the talks, raised expectations that the talks may be conclusive. They were not, but enough progress was made for Blinken to return for the closing session, telling his guests that the US appreciated that the last bit of any negotiating process was going to be the most difficult. "The temptation to draw out the ongoing situation for many more months, with the hope that time is on their side, has big risks. Unplanned incidents still have the capacity to escalate quickly and spiral out of control, feeding on the existing level of mistrust. The violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan reported this morning (11 May) is a case in point. So in many ways this is the moment of truth, even if some would argue that we have been here before. Somehow however this time it feels different, even if the nitty-gritty problems have not gone away," they add.