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.

Editor's choice
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. 
Editor's choice
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.

Filter archive

Editor's choice
News
Rumi goes virtual

Rumi goes virtual

The 747th anniversary of the death of the most important Sufi mystic and poet in the world, Jalal al-Din Rumi was commemorated during the “Seb-i Arus” ceremony held on December 17 at the Mevlana Cultural Centre in Konya, in Turkey. This annual commemoration was this year held in virtual format because of the coronavirus pandemic
Editor's choice
News
Michel and Erdogan discuss EU-Turkey relations

Michel and Erdogan discuss EU-Turkey relations

European Council president Charles Michel and Turkish president Recip Tayip Erdogan on Tuesday (15 December) held a telephone conversation to discuss EU-Turkey relations in view of recent decisions by EU leaders to maintain pressure on Ankara over its energy exploration policy in the East Mediterranean.
Editor's choice
News
New round of Syrian peace talks in Geneva this week

New round of Syrian peace talks in Geneva this week

A new round of UN-mediated Syrian peace talks are starting this week in Geneva to agree on national principles before drafting a new constitution. Geir Pedersen, the United Nations special envoy for Syria, has been pushing towards revising Syria's constitution as a step towards ending the country's nine-year-old civil war.
Editor's choice
News
Turkish and Saudi foreign ministers hold "sincere meeting"

Turkish and Saudi foreign ministers hold "sincere meeting"

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said he held a meeting with his Saudi counterpart to discuss bilateral relations and regional issues. Cavusoglu said in a tweet that the “sincere” meeting with Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud was held on the occasion of the 47th session of Organization of Islamic Cooperation's (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers.
Editor's choice
News
Sheikh Tamim goes on a shopping spree in Turkey, acquiring 10% of the Turkish Stock Exchange, and other assets

Sheikh Tamim goes on a shopping spree in Turkey, acquiring 10% of the Turkish Stock Exchange, and other assets

Memorandums of Understanding about the transfer of shares were signed on Thursday (26 November) during the visit of the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani to Ankara to participate in the 6th meeting of the Qatar-Turkey High Strategic Council
Editor's choice
News
Erdogan loses another of the AK party grandees

Erdogan loses another of the AK party grandees

In recent days Bulent Arinc, during a TV interview, appeared to be advocating the release from prison of Kurdish political leader Selahattin Demirtas who is accused of supporting Kurdish PKK terrorist activity, and businessman philantropist Osman Kavala, who is accused of being involved in a coup attempt in 2016