January 2012

AROUND THE EVENTS OF ZHANAOZGEN

By Tom Taylor

Today, a real information war has been waged around the events in the Kazakhstan city of Zhanaozen. The strike of oilers that turned into clashes with the police and resulted in casualties is attracting the attention of the world, because instability in this region may be unpredictable. As a consequence – real "armed clashes" in pages of electronic media, where facts and fiction intersect with versions: one is more fantastic than the other. Without claiming to be the final truth, we still try below to clear up this heap of scattered facts in order to answer the main question: who is behind the turmoil, staged in this oil city?

Turkey’s Balancing Act

By Mohammed Ayoob

Turkey has over the past few weeks become the spearhead of a joint Western-Arab-Turkish policy aimed at forcing President Bashar al-Assad to cede power in Syria. This is quite a turnaround in Turkish policy, because over the past two years the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had gone out of its way to cultivate good relations with neighboring Syria, with whom it shares a long land border.

Direct Road to Europe: Azerbaijan’s Trans-Anatolia Gas Pipeline

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By Vladimir Socor

On December 26 in Ankara, the Energy Ministers of Azerbaijan and Turkey signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to build a Trans-Anatolia Gas Pipeline to Europe. Crucially, Azerbaijan would be the main owner of this line in Turkish territory. Azerbaijan regards this gas project’s significance as equal to that of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline for Azerbaijan’s national development. The Europe-bound gas pipeline, if built, would mark Azerbaijan’s emergence as a significant gas exporter in its own right, adding to the country’s oil-exporter role.