ESADEgeo’s Daily Digest, 17/05/2017

Financial Times—Katrina Manson / Erdogan and Trump hail ‘new era’ of US-Turkey relations

  • Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hailed a new era in US-Turkey relations in yesterday’s meeting with Donald Trump.
  • Ankara has sought to dampen its criticism of the decision made by the Trump Administration to arm the Syrian Kurds, saying the US had “no choice” but to ally with the Kurds.
  • “We support Turkey in the fight against terror and terror groups like ISIS and the PKK, and ensure they have no safe quarter,” President Trump said.
  • Turkey hopes that the US will help in the extradition of cleric Fethullah Gülen, accused of instigating the July 2016 coup attempt.
  • James Jeffrey, former US ambassador to Turkey: “The administration does have a comprehensive strategy against ISIS although it’s one that disadvantages seriously Turkey [...] The problem is that the administration cannot offer the Turks a fully thought-out regional comprehensive strategy against Iran.”

Project Syndicate—Carl Bildt / Brexit or Breakup?

  • With the Conservative Party poised to win a solid majority in the general election on June 8, the UK will almost certainly stay on the path towards a hard Brexit.
  • Unless a separate agreement is reached on some kind of transitional arrangement, the UK could be heading for a brutal exit in March 2019 that would entail new tariffs, severed institutional relationships, and diplomatic tensions.
  • However, if there is good will on both sides, an agreement that would soften the impact of Brexit through a “deep and special partnership” (resembling the UK-Ukraine arrangement) may materialize by 2021.
  • Given that the UK’s top priority will be to maintain its economic relationship with the EU – no other relationship is as important – the new agencies that it will have to create will need to uphold the standards demanded by the EU.
  • On trade, a UK-USA agreement now seems unlikely, and there is talk that the UK may instead join a USA-EU deal.

ECFR—Mathieu Duchâtel & Mark Bromley / Influence by default: Europe’s impact on military security in East Asia

  • It would be an exaggeration to say that there is an “Asian arms race” going on. However, several Asian states are acquiring asymmetric capabilities to counter China, with the support of European countries and firms.
  • At neither EU or member state level is there a clearly formulated strategic vision to govern Europe’s impact on the military balance in East Asia.
  • Exports and export restrictions should be recognized as an important element of Europe’s influence. The EU can use existing policy coordination institutions to bridge differences between member states on the question.
  • The EU needs to ensure that Britain will remain aligned to European practices on arms transfers and intangible transfers.

The Guardian—P. Wintour / German oil firm accused of withholding $900m from Libya

  • Wintershall, a German oil producer, has been accused by the head of Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) of withholding more than $900m from the Libyan state and colluding with the Lybian government to take over the sale of the country’s oil contracts.
  • The power struggle between both corporations has wide implications, given that more than 80% of Libyan state revenues derive from oil.
  • An appeal court in Benghazi ruled on Monday that the presidency council (the name of the UN-backed government) over-reached when it took over control of decisions on the terms of oil contracts and investments from the NOC.
  • Sanalla, head of the NOC: “[Wintershall] tried to interfere with the Libyan internal politics and to take advantage of the fact that the state is so weak”.
  • Wintershall’s statement: “There is no [valid] claim over money allegedly owed by Wintershall. Wintershall has always met its obligations towards the Libyan state.”

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