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Zelensky Urges Biden To Impose No-Fly Zone Over Ukraine; Turkey Shuts Straits To All Warships

Zelensky Urges Biden To Impose No-Fly Zone Over Ukraine; Turkey Shuts Straits To All Warships

Update(1845ET)Ukraine’s President Zelensky has urged the West to consider imposing a no-fly zone against Russian aircraft. Zelensky on Monday appealed directly to Joe Biden to consider a no-fly zone for “significant parts” of Ukraine. The Ukrainian leader issued the statement in an exclusive Axios report. He told Axios that there’s a chance for Ukraine’s armed forces to “beat the aggressor” if the Western allies are willing to “do their part.”

He also suggested that this would result in less total bloodshed, and spare civilians: “If the West does this, Ukraine will defeat the aggressor with much less blood,” Zelensky conveyed through an advisor.

However, not only did Biden rule out sending American troops to Ukraine in a Monday statement, but press secretary Jen Psaki also stressed that a no-fly zone is also ruled out, given that either scenario would bring Washington into direct war with Russia, and likely lead to WW3.

“Here’s what’s important for everybody to know about a no-fly zone: What that would require is implementation by the U.S. military. It would essentially mean the U.S. military would be shooting down Russian planes,” Psaki told MSNBC on Monday.

Zelensky had described additionally of current measures, “The sanctions are heading in the right direction. In addition to disconnecting the Russian Central Bank from SWIFT and providing more Stingers and anti-tank weapons, we need the West to impose a no-fly zone over significant parts of Ukraine.”

An additional major development Monday is that Turkey as expected has invoked the Montreux Convention and has now closed the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits to all Russian warship traffic. This means Russian vessels cannot enter the Black Sea from the vicinity of the Mediterranean. But this also applies to all warships at this time

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Turkey Hit By Unprecedented Power Outages As Iran Halts Gas Flows

Turkey Hit By Unprecedented Power Outages As Iran Halts Gas Flows

  • A disruption to natural gas imports from Iran has caused an unprecedented level of power cuts in Turkey.
  • The power cuts have largely impacted major industrial zones, with some companies forced to halt production as a result.
  • Iran claims that its natural gas flows have been restored but Turkey has said its supplies and gas pressure remain very low.

Turkey is undergoing massive power cuts to industrial customers this week at an unprecedented level never seen before after the country’s natural gas supplies dipped following a disruption of imports from Iran. Major industrial zones and clusters and major production sites, including those of foreign car manufacturers, are being hit by power outages after Iran said at the end of last week it would halt natural gas exports to Turkey for ten days, due to technical issues.

On Friday, Iran announced that gas flows were restored, but Turkey said supplies were very low and at low pressure.

“The system is being disrupted due to the low amount and pressure. The compressor stations on the Turkey side are ready, operational, and there are no technical issues on the Turkish side,” a Turkish official told Reuters on Friday.

Gas supply from Iran to Turkey has yet to fully resume, which puts major industries under power cuts this week, according to Turkey’s main electricity distribution company TEIAS, cited by Bloomberg.

As of Monday, Turkey’s industrial production will stop completely for at least three days, Daily Sabah reported on Sunday.

Gas accounts for more than half of the country’s electricity generation, and Iran’s halting of flows comes at a time of surging gas imports for Turkey, which have become much more expensive due to the crumbling Turkish currency, the lira.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Oil Spikes To Fresh 7-Year High After Key Iraq-Turkey Pipeline Explosion

Oil Spikes To Fresh 7-Year High After Key Iraq-Turkey Pipeline Explosion

Despite dollar strength today (and more worrisome ZeroCOVID actions from China), oil prices continued to rise but news after-hours that an explosion knocked out a major pipeline sparked more upside.

Little is known about the cause, but the explosion at a pipeline connecting Northern Iraq and the port of Ceyhan in the Mediterranean has taken 450kb/d of supply offline in an already very tight crude oil market.

The pipelines have been halted before: Back in 2012 blasts blamed on saboteurs halted the link for several months.

The headlines sent oil prices spiking with WTI topping $86 for the first time since Oct 2014 (Brent neared $89)…

This news follows a ballistic missile attack over the weekend, where Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen targeted oil infrastructure in the UAE.

Pipeline operator Botas said the fire has been brought under control and cooling operations were under way.

Botas said the it would reopen once the “necessary measures” had been taken, but gave no indication of timing.

The Criminalization of Preppers in Turkey: Will Our Country Be Next?

The Criminalization of Preppers in Turkey: Will Our Country Be Next?

History has shown us that collectivism detests the individual. The man who can exist independent of the system, who thinks for himself, who is not easily swayed, and who has values rooted in absolute truth which he refuses to give up – this is the enemy of collectivism.

But if we take a closer look at one aspect of the individual – his ability to exist independent of the system – is it not clear this is an end goal of prepping?

Is that not what a prepper strives for – the ability to exist independent of the world around them so that disaster does not affect them in the way that it affects others?

It is, and this is why collectivism criminalizes preppers over and over again.

We’ve seen it before and we’re seeing it right now, most notably in Turkey.

Turkey is cooked, and we all know it.

For those who keep a fairly accurate pulse of world events, you know that the fiat currency of Turkey – the lira – is collapsing.

As of this year the lira has lost approximately 40% of its value, and from all appearances, it shows no signs of stopping its downward spiral anytime soon.

Inflation is rapidly leading to hyperinflation within Turkey and the Turkish citizens have recognized this. People began attempting to step away from the lira and delving into cryptocurrency in an attempt to protect themselves.

And then the Turkish government made crypto illegal as a form of payment on April 30, 2021. This was done to prevent “irreparable damage.” What’s ironic about this is that the Turks said this was because cryptocurrencies were “neither subject to any regulation and supervision mechanisms nor a central regulatory authority.” [source]

That’s a fun train of logic from the people that are in the process of destroying their own currency.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Turkey Halts All Stock Trading As Currency Disintegrates, Central Bank Powerless To Halt Collapse

Turkey Halts All Stock Trading As Currency Disintegrates, Central Bank Powerless To Halt Collapse

Another day, another collapse in the Turkish lira, only this time there was a twist: as the hyperinflating currency implodes, Erdogan has finally had enough of the relentless pummeling, and is starting to shut down its markets.

But first, let’s back up: heading into Friday, the lira accelerated its historic descent, weakening past the 16 per-dollar mark as a central bank pledge to end a four-month cycle of interest rate cuts on Thursday fails to convince investors that inflation can be brought to heel. That was just the start however, and the currency plunge only accelerated crashing as low as 17.14 bringing declines this week to 17%.

As a reminder, the central bank yesterday cut its benchmark one-week repo rate by a further 100 basis points to 14%, its fourth reduction since September spurred by demands from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to lower borrowing costs in the face of surging consumer prices.  The resulting sell-off accelerated a 54% plunge in the currency so far this year as real rates fall further below zero with inflation now standing at an annual 21.3%.

Erdogan then responded to the economic pain caused by rising prices by ordering a 50% increase in the minimum wage next year, guaranteeing even more inflation as it will increase production costs that will see inflation accelerate by a further 2% to 8% next year, Erkin Isik, chief economist at QNB Finansbank, wrote in a note to clients.

In any case, once the lira plunged to 17, the central bank spent another billion or so intervening, its 5th intervention just in December. Needless to say, this intervention like all those preceding it, had a halflife of just a few minutes, and shortly after the USDTRY was trading just shy of all time highs.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Geopolitical Game That Could Transform Gas Markets

The Geopolitical Game That Could Transform Gas Markets

  • An apparent detente between the UAE and Turkey could be one of the most significant geopolitical developments in the region for decades
  • If Mohammed bin Zayed can succeed in exploiting Turkey’s economic crisis, the East Mediterranean natural gas fields could finally be exploited and sent to market
  • While this is a win-win situation for the UAE, it is unclear whether Erdogan will be willing to do what is necessary to ensure progress in the region

At a time when media and financial analysts are fully focused on oil futures, natural gas markets are moving again. East Mediterranean gas futures, in particular, seem to be looking up due to some ongoing regional developments. The unexpected but very successful visit of Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed to Turkey and Egypt may well have long-lasting consequences in the region. The multibillion agreements signed between Turkey and the UAE, especially the long-term investment agreements between the Turkish sovereign wealth fund and UAE corporations, such as Abu Dhabi Ports, seem to be an opening to a new era of cooperation in the region.

The overall optimism shown in Turkish and Abu Dhabi-based media sources, however, should be taken with a grain of salt as financial deals may not counter the ongoing power struggle between Turkey’s president Erdogan and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. Both nations are supporting political, military, and economic power projects in the East Mediterranean and MENA regions designed to increase their influence. Turkey’s president Erdogan will see the first visit of MBZ in 12 years as a major triumph. His regional power plays are still a bone of contention in Abu Dhabi, Cairo, and Athens. While Turkish media sources are very optimistic about the perceived thaw in relations, other regional players have been watching with anticipation to understand the real outcome of the meetings.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Turkey On Verge Of Currency Collapse As Lira Implodes, Crashes 4% In Minutes

Turkey On Verge Of Currency Collapse As Lira Implodes, Crashes 4% In Minutes

In recent weeks we have had our share of humorous hot takes on the current state of Turkey’s currency, which thanks to the “sage” economic despotism of the country’s authoritarian ruler has been in freefall for much of the past decade.

Well, this morning the most profitable FX short this year of all expanded major FX pairs…

… continued to be the gift that keeps on giving, and collapsed as much as 4% in minutes, in an episode right out of hyperinflationary Argentina or Venezuela.

While there was no immediate catalyst for today’s drop – the lira only dropped below below 10 vs the dollar for the first time ever last Friday – traders are dreading this Thursday’s central bank meeting at which policymakers are expected to cut interest rates further even as Turkish inflation tops 20%.

Citing two local traders, Bloomberg said that the recent move of the lira “is the result of a surge in local demand for the dollar” which, of course, is obvious… even more so since it is extremely difficult if not impossible to buy bitcoin or other cryptos as a hyperinflation/currency collapse hedge.

The central bank is expected to cut its benchmark one-week repo rate by a further 100 basis points this week to 15%, according to a Bloomberg survey of 21 participants. Meanwhile, inflation is at or above 20%.

And while conventional economists claim there is no way that Turkey can be the next locus of hyperinflation, all we can say there is give Erdoganomics another five years (because Erdo isn’t going anywhere) and check back then.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

NATO Sliding Towards War Against Russia in Ukraine

As far as Ukraine goes, Ankara seems to be setting the pace for NATO’s deepening involvement in the country’s war.

Russia is investigating reports of Turkish attack drones being deployed for the first time in Ukraine’s eight-year civil war. The Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) under the command of the Kiev regime claimed that the drones were used earlier this week in combat against ethnic Russian rebels.

This is a potentially dramatic escalation in the smoldering war. For it marks the direct involvement of NATO member Turkey in the conflict. Up to now, the United States and other NATO states have been supplying lethal weaponry to the Kiev regime to prosecute its war against the breakaway self-declared republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.

American, British and Canadian military advisors are also known to have carried out training missions with UAF combat units. Britain is in negotiations to sell Brimstone missiles to the Ukrainian navy.

But the apparent deployment of Turkish attack drones is a potential game-changer. Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov hinted at the graveness when he announced Wednesday that Moscow was carrying out urgent investigations about the purported participation of Turk-made Bayraktar TB2 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

Previously, Lavrov rebuked Turkey to stay out of the conflict and to not feed Ukrainian hostilities.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that NATO’s support to the Kiev regime was posing a direct threat to Russia’s national security. The Kremlin’s assessment can only be more alarmed on the back of NATO member Turkey being now implicated as one of the war’s protagonists. In all likelihood, Turkish military personnel would be required to assist in operating the drone flights.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Erdogan Declares 10 Western Ambassadors ‘Persona Non Grata’

Erdogan Declares 10 Western Ambassadors ‘Persona Non Grata’

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday he’s now given the orders to declare 10 Western ambassadors persona non grata “as soon as possible” – however it’s unclear whether this means they’ll be forced to leave the country.

“I told my foreign minister to declare these 10 ambassadors as persona non grata as soon as possible,” Erdogan said in fresh statements. The day prior he had lashed out at the United States and European countries for their joint statement Monday demanding the immediate release of billionaire philanthropist and businessman Osman Kavala, who has been in Turkish custody since 2017.

The persona non grata designation is against the ambassadors of US, Germany, France, Canada, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, and New Zealand.

According to Germany’s Deutsche Welle:

The Turkish president did not clarify whether his order meant that the diplomats — who he accused of “indecency” — would be ordered to leave the country.

However, he added that: “They must leave here the day they no longer know Turkey.”

The prior joint statement the countries had signed lambasted Turkey over human rights violations connected with the Kavala case, and further charged Turkey with backsliding in democracy and the legal rights of citizens. On Friday Erdogan lambasted the demand, saying “Those who defend this Soros leftover are trying to get him released. I told our foreign minister that we cannot afford to host them in our country.” He questioned, “Why would the 10 ambassadors make such a statement?”

He said as cited in Anadolu Agency: “How dare you teach such a lesson to Turkey? Who are you? What do they say? ‘Release Kavala.’ Do you leave the bandits, murderers, terrorists in your own countries?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Apocalyptic Scenes” – Wildfires Consume Turkey 

“Apocalyptic Scenes” – Wildfires Consume Turkey 

Wildfires have been ravaging Turkey’s Mediterranean coast for the past few days, killing four, burning thousands of building structures, and affecting more than a dozen provinces.

Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin called the wildfires a national disaster.

According to Reuters, at least 60 wildfires have broken out across the country’s Mediterranean and southern Aegean region.

Forestry Minister Pakdemirli said 4,000 firefighters, 680 firefighting vehicles, 38 helicopters, nine drones, and three planes battle the wildfires.

“We were hoping to contain some of the fires as of this morning but while we say cautiously that they are improving, we still cannot say they are under control,” Pakdemirli said.

DW correspondent Julia Hahn tweeted scenes from Manavgat in Antalya province showing “apocalyptic scenes” of one wildfire.

Social media is full of horrifying videos of the wildfires.

Senior scientist of Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service Mark Parrington used satellite data to determine the “deadly scale” of the wildfires and shows which coastal areas are most affected.

Another view of the wildfires from space.

There’s still no word how the destructive fires began, but one government says “sabotage” cannot be ruled out.

Fahrettin Altun, the Turkish presidential communications director, said “comprehensive investigations” are being launched into the origins of the wildfires.

“Those responsible will have to account for the attacks against nature and forests,” Altun tweeted.

Turkey has been plagued with a heat wave like much of southeast Europe.

In neighboring Greece, authorities warned the public against the heightened risk of wildfires during the latest heat wave.

“A difficult weather phenomenon is coming in the next days with extremely high temperatures and several days of heat wave,” Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis said. “I call on – I urge – everyone to show the highest degree of responsibility and cooperation.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Russian Warplanes Pounding Turkish Proxies in Greater Idlib

RUSSIAN WARPLANES POUNDING TURKISH PROXIES IN GREATER IDLIB

On December 24 and 25, warplanes of the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out a series of airstrikes on positions of Turkish-backed militant groups in northern Lattakia.

A large part of the airstrikes targeted the outskirts of the town of Kabani. Photos shared by opposition activists show smoke rising from several hills in the town’s vicinity, where a complex network of tunnels, trenches and fortifications were built over the last two years. Kabani is a well-known stronghold of al-Qaeda-affiliated groups – Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, the Turkistan Islamic Army and Ajnad al-Kavkaz.

The new wave of Russian airstrikes on Kabani coincided with intense shelling by the Syrian Army on the southern Idlib countryside. Syrian troops also targeted a vehicle of militants in western Idlib with an anti-tank guided missile.

This is not the first round of air and artillery strikes on positions of militants in the southern part of the Idlib de-escalation zone. Last week, Syrian forces and Russian warplanes delivered over 100 strikes on different targets.

Pro-militant sources link these developments with the recent deployment of the Syrian Army reinforcements in the al-Ghab Plains claiming that this is a part of the preparations for an offensive operation there.

Meanwhile, reports appeared that following the successful cases in Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh, Turkey is considering to use its Syrian proxies in northern Iraq. Members of Turkish-backed militant groups proved themselves as useful cannon fodder taking the main casualties as Turkish special forces, artillery and air power deal with their opponents. This time, Turkish proxies will get a chance to sacrifice their lives in the battle against the PKK.

Natural gas

Natural gas

In the eastern Mediterranean it smells of powder. Fighter jets from various countries fly over the Levantine Basin and frigates are on a collision course. These are not exercises. It is a crisis reminiscent of the conflict between Ankara and Athens in the 1970s or even the beginning of the First World War. This time it is not just about the ambitions of Greece or Turkey, small islands or a dead prince, but about the struggle for energy. In the Levantine Basin, ever larger deposits of natural gas are being discovered and there are many who would like a piece of the cake.

Back in 2010, the American company Noble Energy and its Israeli exploration partner Derrick Drilling discovered the largest gas field only 130 km from Haifa. A year later, French Total confirmed another deposit with a volume of 127 billion m3. The researchers suspect a total of 3.5 trillion cubic metres of natural gas and 1.7 billion barrels of crude oil deep in the rock beneath the seabed. How much is that actually? Certainly enough to fill the coffers of the states bordering the Mediterranean and make a solid contribution to Western Europe’s energy supply. By way of comparison, the total natural gas consumption in the European Union in 2019 was around 470 billion cubic metres. No wonder, then, that the areas between Cyprus, Turkey, the Greek islands, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and Libya became the scene of a conflict that could well turn into a war. It would not be a local war because the conflict and possible gains also involve other actors whose interests could be disrupted by the gas from the eastern Mediterranean, even though their geopolitical interests appear to lie elsewhere.


The natural gas alliances in the Eastern Mediterranean or who with whom against whom?

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Cheap Mediterranean Natural Gas Could Spell the End for the NATO Alliance

Turkey NATO Natural Gas Feature photo

Cheap Mediterranean Natural Gas Could Spell the End for the NATO Alliance

It’s a strange and unprecedented spectacle when countries like Israel, Greece, Egypt, Libya, Turkey, and others lay claims over the Mediterranean, while NATO scrambles to stave off an outright war, among its own members.

An appropriate European Union response to tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean

An appropriate European Union response to tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean

If the European Union can mediate effectively to resolve current Greek-Turkish tensions over energy in the Eastern Mediterranean, it could also provide an opportunity to tackle more deep-rooted problems.

The European Union is seeking to mediate in a naval confrontation on its doorstep, in the Eastern Mediterranean, which involves NATO partners Greece and Turkey, as well as EU member Cyprus. EU foreign ministers are discussing the issue and, without de-escalation, sanctions against Turkey could be implemented. But so far, the two most powerful EU nations have adopted a ‘good cop, bad cop’ approach that conveys different and confusing messages – and has not prevented escalation. Chancellor Angela Merkel, with the added authority of holding the EU’s six-month revolving presidency, has launched a German initiative to prevent escalation, reduce tensions and overcome longstanding conflicts. But French President Emmanuel Macron, while not eschewing mediation, has opted for a show of force, sending French naval vessels into disputed waters to counter the presence of Turkish warships.

Deep-rooted dispute

The dispute is ostensibly over ownership of offshore gas deposits and the delimitation of 200-mile exclusive economic zones (EEZs).

Turkey has sent exploration vessels and warships into waters claimed by Greece and Cyprus and begun drilling for gas. Despite its 1,600 kilometre Mediterranean coastline, Turkey is the only Eastern Mediterranean state without internationally recognised rights to offshore resources in the area because nearby Greek islands and Cyprus have secured the right to generate EEZs under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Turkey is one of fifteen UN members that is not a party to UNCLOS, and Ankara insists that Turkey’s continental shelf gives it ownership rights that take priority over the UNCLOS-backed claims of Cyprus and Greece.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Turkey’s 2nd Financial & Currency Crisis in 2 Years Blossoms. Heavily Invested European Banks Look for Exit. But Not the Most Exposed Bank

Turkey’s 2nd Financial & Currency Crisis in 2 Years Blossoms. Heavily Invested European Banks Look for Exit. But Not the Most Exposed Bank

Big Gamble that was hot for years has gone sour after Turkish lira’s plunge and surge of defaults on bank debts denominated in foreign currency.

As the Turkish lira logged fresh record lows against both the dollar and the euro on Friday, and is now down 19% this year against the dollar, attention is turning once again to the potential risks facing lenders. They include a handful of very big Eurozone banks that are heavily exposed to Turkey’s economy via large amounts in loans — much of it in euros — through banks they acquired in Turkey. And the strains are beginning to replay those of the last currency/financial crisis in 2018.

When the Money Runs Out…

Subordinate bonds of Turkiye Garanti Bankasi AS, which is majority owned by Spanish lender BBVA, together with two other local banks — Turkiye Is Bankasi AS and Akbank TAS — are trading at distressed levels (yields of over 10 percentage points above U.S. Treasuries), even though the banks are still profitable and said to be highly capitalized. This is an indication of the amount of confidence investors have in the ability of these companies to repay their obligations.

Three weeks ago, when the lira was trading within a tight band against the dollar — the result of the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) pegging the lira to the dollar by burning through billions of dollars of already depleted foreign-exchange reserves and dollars borrowed from Turkish banks — no corporate bonds in Turkey were trading at these levels. Now that the CBRT has stopped propping up the lira, which has since fallen 7% against the dollar, the average risk premium demanded by investors to hold dollar-denominated notes of Turkish businesses has soared.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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