Region

Turkey and the Levant

Stories under this heading cover Turkey as well as the Levant – a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia, consisting of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Palestine.

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Opinion
Opinion: Israel and Lebanon move towards resolving a long standing dispute on their maritime border

Opinion: Israel and Lebanon move towards resolving a long standing dispute on their maritime border

There are reports that the US may be about to broker a deal between Israel and Lebanon, resolving a long-standing dispute about their maritime border and the exploitation of two large oil and gas fields in the Levantine Basin. Amos Hochstein, the US Senior Advisor for Energy Security, this month mediated indirect talks between the two countries, who technically are still at war with each other, and have no formal diplomatic relations in an attempt to resolve the issue. After his meetings in Lebanon last week, it seemed that a breakthrough had finally been reached, when the Lebanese president, Michel Aoun, reportedly presented a unified position on behalf of the government, which offered the prospect for a compromise This new proposal would create an S shaped maritime border, granting Lebanon access to the whole of the Qana field, while leaving Israel the entirety of Karish. In the past, the lack of agreement within the Lebanese government, and its unwillingness to compromise had been the key factors holding back negotiations, and this new approach led Hochstein to strike an optimistic note, saying that Lebanon had taken “a very strong step forward”. The US Energy advisor will now relay the offer to Israel and await a response. Both countries stand to gain from a swift and peaceful resolution to this decade long problem which has prevented them from extracting any value out of the fields. 
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News
The great Saudi-Turkish restart

The great Saudi-Turkish restart

After years of dispute during which relations fell to a historical low, Turkey and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday sealed a restart in their relations during a state visit to Turkey by the Kingdom's Crown Prince, Mohamed bin Salman. The turquoise carpet was laid out at the presidential palace in Ankara as the Crown prince arrived to be greeted by Turkey's president, Recip Tayip Erdogan. The two men held discussions on bilateral relations and regional and international issues. But this visit was mainly about symbolism. The substance had already been sorted over weeks and months of discussions involving senior officials from the two countries. President Erdogan was himself in Saudi Arabia only a month ago. But the visit of Mohammad bin Salman to Ankara had huge symbolic significance and it marked the final act in a process that saw the two countries draw back from years of animosity, rooted mainly in different perspectives on the future of the Middle East and the broader Islamic world. Both countries see themselves as leaders in the region, as well as a beacon for Muslims worldwide. Prior to visiting Turkey, the Saudi Crown Prince also visited Egypt and Jordan. In a few weeks time he will welcome in Riyadh US President Joe Biden, in a final act that will see the complete rehabilitation of the heir to the Saudi throne who had been caught in international controversy.

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News
Hariri in Egypt to seek support for a solution to the Lebanese crisis

Hariri in Egypt to seek support for a solution to the Lebanese crisis

Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad al Hariri arrived in Egypt in a bid to help form a new government and end Lebanon's multifaceted crisis. In Cairo, Al Hariri met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, and General Intelligence Chief Abbas Kamel.
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News
Iranian foreign minister concludes regional tour with a meeting with the Turkish president

Iranian foreign minister concludes regional tour with a meeting with the Turkish president

Zarif is trying to carve a role for Iran in the region following the changed circumstances following the 44 day war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The war ended with a victory for Azerbaijan and with the west, particularly the EU and the US appearing excluded and marginalised by the processes that have ensued since. For Iran the new situation offers both risks and opportunities, and the trip was meant to ensure that it has a role in the region in the future
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News
Intensive diplomatic activity as Turkey and EU seek ways to restart relationship

Intensive diplomatic activity as Turkey and EU seek ways to restart relationship

After meeting Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Brussels on Friday (22 January) European Council president Charles Michel tweeted that dialogue needs to produce tangible outcomes. Michel and Commission president Ursula von der Leyen are expected to visit Ankara soon at the invitation of president Erdogan.
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News
EU extends humanitarian support for refugees in Turkey

EU extends humanitarian support for refugees in Turkey

The EU has now allocated €485 million to support refugees in Turkey via the two programs delivered through Turkish partners, such as the Turkish Red Crescent Society. These programmes help over 1.8 million refugees meet their basic needs and will help over 700,000 children to continue their education, and will now be funded under the EU budget. The EU is now allocating €485 million ($591.6 million) to support refugees in Turkey via the two programs.