May 2015

Turkish-Iranian Competition in the Middle East

By Orhan Gafarli

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid a formal visit to Iran on April 7, 2015. The trip was designed to try to repair bilateral relations after their severe breakdown linked to the crisis in Yemen. Indeed, the conservative wing of the ruling establishment in Tehran, including the head of Iran’s Parliamentary National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Huseyn Nakavi, demanded that Erdogan’s Iran visit should be delayed (BBC–Turkish service, April 7). Some even warned the government that if Erdogan did not cancel the visit, the issue would be brought before Iran’s Guardian Council. Despite this negative pressure, the Turkish president did end up traveling to Tehran to clarify Ankara’s position (Radikal, April 7).

NATO Foreign Ministers discuss boosting cooperation with EU, other partners

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Allies must build closer cooperation with partners and organisations like the European Union, to better address the security challenges to the east and south, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday (14 May 2015). “The challenges we all face demand a comprehensive response, so all of us need to work even closer together,” he said at the end of a two-day meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Antalya, Turkey.

“Money in the Morning — Chairs In The Evening” or “Eastern Partnership” before the Riga Summit

By Nikolay Mezhevich

Let us recall Ilf and Petrov’s immortal novel “The Twelve Chairs”, in which the Marxist formula “goods-money-goods” was set out by the authors from Odessa in the local version: “money in the morning – chairs in the evening”. In relation to the history of the “Eastern partnership”, we understand the term “chairs” as meaning political and economic reforms, while the interpretation of “money” remains unchanged.