February 2016

Germany and Turkey Make New Plans to Ease the Refugee Crisis, Again

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By Ozgur Unluhisarcikli

 German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Turkey this week, the second in four months, is emblematic of how important the Syrian refugee crises has become for Merkel — for her power at home and the stability of the European Union. With the recent surge of the Syrian regime forces against the rebels in Aleppo under Russian air support, and tens of thousands of new refugees on Turkey’s borders, the situation has only worsened. During the visit, Merkel and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu clarified some of the outstanding issues in the previously agreed-upon action plan, and agreed on a new set of measures to deal with the crises. The initiatives are promising, and were welcomed in Ankara, but there is still little reason for Merkel to be optimistic. 

RUSSIA’S ENERGY TRUMP AND TURKEY’S ALTERNATIVES

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After the downing of a Russian Su-24M bomber by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet, Turkey’s energy policies have been brought to the table once again with the most crucial issue coming to the agenda being how to balance Turkey’s energy dependency on Russia. According to 2014 statistics, Russian gas accounts for 54.7 per cent of Turkey’s overall gas imports. Additionally, considering that Turkey commissioned the Russian company Rosatom with the construction of its first nuclear energy power plant, Turkey’s energy dependency on Russia could became more complex. Currently, however, the more immediate focus centers on the increasing risks entailed by Turkey’s dependency on Russian natural gas.

FM meets with UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP

The meeting focused on the intensification of cooperation between Kazakhstan and ESCAP. Thus, in order to strengthen regional sustainable development efforts of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in 2014 Kazakhstan with the assistance of ESCAP extended support to 12 countries in the Pacific region to promote biogas-based renewable energy. In addition, last year the Ministry of Energy of Kazakhstan and ESCAP signed a memorandum on the joint implementation of sustainable development priorities within the Green Bridge Partnership Programme.

Can China Get its Rebalancing Right?

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By Yukon Huang

Headlines about China’s economy have been uniformly alarming. Every time equity markets in the west plunge, Beijing’s woes are cited as a factor with its plunging equity indices, rising debt ratios and exchange rate under pressure. Even with more sensible interventions, or perhaps none at all, increased volatility in the country’s financial markets is becoming the norm as its economy becomes more globalised and subjected to the same market pressures as other nations.