Briton drafts ‘Brexit’ blueprint: UK can join EFTA

Britain’s economy could grow by 1.3 billion pounds if it left the European Union due to less regulation and more trade with emerging economies, acccording to a British diplomat who dreamt up a blueprint for the country’s EU exit.

Britain’s free market Institute of Economic Affairs on Tuesday awarded a 100,000-euro prize to Iain Mansfield, a British diplomat based in the Philippines, who it decided had come up with the best proposal for a ‘Brexit,’ a British departure from the EU. Continue reading

Can Turkey Use Water to Exert Power Across the Middle East?

ISTANBUL — Turkey hopes to take a first step this year towards long-held ambitions to be a supplier of fresh water across the Middle East.

The first phase of a project to pump fresh water from the Anamur River in southern Turkey to the drought-stricken northern part of Cyprus is slated to be completed this year, according to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Turkish government in Ankara.

The 1.2 billion lira (Dh2bn) pipeline, which runs under the Mediterranean, is to bring 75 million cubic metres of water a year to Northern Cyprus, an isolated self-declared republic recognised only by Ankara.

The Turkish ministry for forests and water said in a statement that work will be finished by July 20, the 40th anniversary of Turkey’s 1974 military intervention in Cyprus. Several experts in Turkey said the Cyprus water project could be a first step for Ankara to boost its role as a regional power by providing water to Middle East countries.

“It is technically feasible,” Ibrahim Gurer, a hydrologist at Gazi University in Ankara, said. “And it’s possible not only for Cyprus, but also for other countries like Israel or even Libya. It is not a distant dream.” Continue reading

Sparks fly over US plan to shift Internet role

It could be a difficult breakup between the US government and the Internet.

A plan unveiled last month would see the US relinquish its key oversight role for the Internet, handing that over to “the global multistakeholder community.”

US officials say the move is part of a longstanding effort to privatize the technical oversight of the Internet. Continue reading

‘An Historic Opportunity’: Turkish Cypriot Minister Says Reunification Deal Pending

Negotiations to end the division of Cyprus have been ongoing for years. Now, Northern Cyprus Foreign Minister Özdil Nami tells SPIEGEL that a deal is close. And he wants Germany to help with reunification.

SPIEGEL: You have recently been part of talks in the Chancellery in Berlin regarding the future of Cyprus. Why? Continue reading

Russia Raises Gold Holdings By 7.247 Tonnes To Over 1,040 Tonnes In February

Yesterday U.S. President Barack Obama warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia would face more sanctions if it moved further into eastern Ukraine after its annexation of Crimea. Worryingly for residents of New York and for financial markets, Obama also warned that he was more worried about the risk of a nuclear bomb going off in Manhattan then he was about Russia.

Geopolitical risk in the form of terrorism, financial and economic war and actual war remains high and should support gold.

Russia has increased its gold holdings by 7.247 tonnes to 1,042 tonnes in February. Turkey and Kazakhstan also raised their bullion reserves, data from the International Monetary Fund showed today. Turkey’s gold holdings rose 9.292 tonnes to 497.869 tonnes, the data showed.

Many analysts are ignoring the important context of today’s new geopolitical backdrop. Russia alone has some $400 billion in foreign exchange reserves – mostly in U.S. dollars. If they were to diversify just 5%, worth some $20 billion, of those reserves into gold – it would be equal to nearly 500 tonnes of gold or nearly 25% of global annual production.

Russia bought another 7.247 tonnes of gold in February. It will be interesting to see what Russian demand is in March and indeed in the coming months. Sanctions could lead to materially higher demand from the Russian central bank, Bank Rossii.

Continue reading

Turkey Warns Russia it Will Blockade Bosphorus if Violence Occurs

According to diplomatic sources, Turkey has threatened Russia with a blockade of the Bosphorus Strait

The threat to close the Bosphorus to Russia comes from a report by Hvylya, citing a Turkish diplomatic source. According to the source, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan yesterday spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone and warned of the consequences for conflict with Ukraine. The Hvylya source was also reported on by UNIAN. Continue reading

BBC makes report about Nazi militants in Kiev

The support given to Neo Nazi militants by the West isn’t a myth. It’s only now becoming mainstream knowledge. Just as other terrorist groups were previously (or still are) supported, such as al Qaeda or the Muslim Brotherhood, it’s important to know that any of these will be used as a means to an end. Just as ‘allies’ are thought to be allies in a traditional sense, they too, are only strategic interests and not really allies in today’s world. Any two countries can be seperated or have a rift formed between them no matter the bond.

The British Broadcasting Corporation – BBC – said the radical association The Right Sector was the organizer of the most vehement protest rallies in Ukraine. On Saturday, March 1st, it posted a video report from the center of Kiev, where the streets are being patrolled by the militants in the military uniform with the SS symbols, on its website.

According to the BBC correspondent, thousands of students and workers took to the streets in the Ukrainian capital Kiev with a demand for reforms. However militants of the ultra-right organization, The Right Sector, who wear clothes with Nazi symbols without any fear today and like to pose with the arms in their hands near the government buildings, were spotted among the ordinary people. Continue reading

The EU’s Second Ring

BERLIN/KIEV/BERN (Own report) – In the aftermath of the Western-oriented putsch in Kiev, German politicians are preparing German public opinion for the disastrous deterioration of the Ukraine economic situation. Even though it was most recently suggested that the country could only expect a thriving development by linking up to the EU, it is now – truthfully – being announced that Ukraine is practically bankrupt. The CDU European parliamentarian, Elmar Brok, predicts “difficult times” ahead: “It has never rained gold coins, except in fairy tales.” In fact back in the fall, experts had already indicated that, because of its out-dated industry, the Ukraine would have to expect dramatic economic slumps if it signs the EU Association Agreements – unemployment and poverty would dramatically rise. In a position paper, the Berlin-based German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) is now proposing the introduction of a special status in EU ties for the Ukraine as well as other countries, such as Turkey. This sort of EU “second ring” would also permit the economic integration of such countries as Switzerland, which politically resists joining the EU. The SWP contends that these plans could also be used for Catalonia, should it secede from Spain and Scotland, from Britain. Continue reading

Obama’s ‘Big Breakthrough’ Coming by End of Year

TEL AVIV – The Palestinian Authority received a pledge from the U.S. that by the end of 2014, the Obama administration will issue an official written declaration presenting general highlights of a future Palestinian state, a senior Palestinian negotiator told WND.

The negotiator further said the goal is to have the general framework for a deal ironed out by April. Continue reading

Russian Gazprom Provided 29.9% of Gas Supplies to Europe in 2013

Russian energy giant Gazprom provided a record share of 29.9% of gas supplies to the European and Turkish markets in 2013.

Gazprom broke a record set in 2011 of 150 billion cubic meters of gas, or a share of 27%, according to reports of Interfax, as cited by dnevnik.bg. Continue reading

Saudi Arabia May Go Nuclear Because of Obama’s Iran Deal

Last month, America’s top Iran negotiator Wendy Sherman had some bad news for ambassadors from America’s Arab allies. In a meeting with envoys from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other Gulf states, Sherman said that any bargain with Iran would likely leave Tehran, the Gulf states long-time enemy, with the capacity to enrich uranium, according to U.S. officials briefed on the encounter.

Sherman regularly briefs these allies after diplomatic talks with Iran, but in recent weeks those conversations have been different. While most of America’s Middle East allies—with the exception of Israel—have publicly supported the current Iran negotiations, behind the scenes, envoys from the region have expressed grave concerns that Iran could be left with a break out capacity to make the fuel for a nuclear weapon at a time of their choosing. Continue reading

Geostrategically Very Prominent

BERLIN/ANKARA (Own report) – The German government has sought to reach new agreements on strategies involving Syria and Ukraine in several meetings with the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Turkey. Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minster Steinmeier met with Prime Minister Erdoğan yesterday. Steinmeier had already received his counterpart Davutoğlu at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday. Because of rivalry with Moscow over influence on Kiev, one of the topics of discussion in Berlin is Ankara’s possible “financial contributions” to the Ukraine. Turkey is holding talks with Iran on the war in Syria, obviously designed to complement the “P5+1″ negotiations with Iran – which include Germany. Ankara is also intensifying its cooperation with the autonomous government of Kurdish Northern Iraq. Should Syria disintegrate, it could expedite the territorial reorganization of the region, particularly of the Kurdish speaking territories. To secure its influence on Turkey’s foreign policy, Berlin had initiated a “strategic dialogue” with Ankara last year, which should now be put to the test in relationship to the Ukraine and Syria. Continue reading