Could the SPIEF boost the TurkStream flows?

Putin and Erdogan open TurkStream gas pipeline

The Saint Petersburg Economic Forum to be held in Russia on June 2-5 is the first post pandemic global event that is focused to gather international delegations from the U.S., Germany, Italy, China, South Asia and the Middle East.

With the Forum’s main focus on energy and sustainable development, Russia aims to boost international trade ties and attract investments to its economy. And Turkey could be among most prospective partners for Russia following the SPIEF ambitions. Today Ankara’s major interest is to provide permanent gas flows through the Turkish Stream. On the other side, Turkey, a NATO’s member, has been manipulated by the United States for years following Washington’ efforts to sign a deal with Ankara on U.S. natural compress gas (GNC).

However, the recent tensions between Biden and Erdogan on Ankara’s recognition of the atrocities committed against the Armenian people in 1915 as genocide as well as the recent criticism of Erdogan towards the U.S. on the Gaza-Israeli conflict have been a sore spot between the countries placing their further economic and political cooperation in question.

This explains why Turkey has been seeking a closer cooperation with Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan to support the Turkish Stream supplies. The pipeline, which transits the Black Sea, took five years to complete and is one of two major new natural-gas export routes totaling nearly $20 billion. Russia on its parts also expects to go on line this year and the SPIEF is likely to become a platform for developing further economic cooperation and trade ties between Turkey and Russia.

Turkey’s Rice Imports May Be 150,000 Tons in 2011-12, Union Says

Turkey may import 150,000 metric tons of rice this marketing season with its own production seen at 800,000 tons, the country’s Rice Millers Association said.

In the season from September through June, Turkey imported 334,480 tons of paddy rice, Turgay Yetis, the association’s president, said today at an international grains conference in Rostov-on-Don, southwesternRussia. The U.S. was the largest supplier, with 178,420 tons, followed by Russia, which shipped 111,579 tons, he said.

Turkey accounted for 70 percent of Russia’s rice exports in 2010 and 90 percent in the first seven months of 2011, according to the Moscow-based Institute for Agricultural Market Studies.



U.S. and UK raise terrorism threat level in Europe

(Reuters) – The United States and Britain warned their citizens on Sunday of an increased risk of terrorist attacks in Europe, with Washington saying al Qaeda might target transport infrastructure.

Picture from Daily Mail

The U.S. State Department issued a warning directed at American citizens travelling in Europe, without singling out any specific countries.

Britain raised the terrorism threat level in its advice for citizens travelling to Germany and France to “high” from “general.” It left the threat level at home unchanged at “severe,” meaning an attack is highly likely, and said it agreed with the U.S. assessment for the continent as a whole.

The moves came after a week in which a number of European officials had broadly confirmed media reports that new intelligence indicated possible attacks on the continent.

Western intelligence sources said militants in hideouts in northwest Pakistan had been plotting coordinated attacks on European cities, the plans apparently surviving setbacks from a September surge in drone strikes and an arrest.

The plot involved al Qaeda and allied militants, possibly including European citizens or residents, the sources said. In Washington, U.S. officials said Osama bin Laden and the top al Qaeda leadership were likely behind the plot.

Some security officials have drawn comparisons to the brazen Mumbai attacks in 2008, which targeted city landmarks including luxury hotels and a cafe and killed 166 people.

The U.S. State Department travel alert said public transportation systems and other tourism-related facilities could be targets, noting that past attacks had struck rail, airline and boat services.

“The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to the potential for terrorist attacks in Europe. Current information suggests that al Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks,” it said.

“European governments have taken action to guard against a terrorist attack and some have spoken publicly about the heightened threat conditions,” it added.

“You should take these threats seriously, but right now I feel very safe in Paris,” U.S. tourist Tom Steier said.

The alert was posted on its website here

“A growing body of information on terrorist plotting — gathered over time — factored into the decision to issue the alert,” the U.S. official said.

CONSTANT REVIEW French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said France had taken the US warning into account: “The terrorist threat remains high in France … the alert level remains unchanged at red,” he said. That is the second highest level.

A spokesman for Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) declined to detail why the travel advice for France and Germany had been updated.


Armada Of U.S. And Israeli Warships Head For Iran

Kurt Nimmo
June 19, 2010


More than twelve U.S. and Israeli warships, including an aircraft carrier, passed through the Suez Canal on Friday and are headed for the Red Sea. “According to eyewitnesses, the U.S. battleships were the largest to have crossed the Canal in many years,” reported the London-based newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi on Saturday.

The Israeli newspaperHaaretz reported Egyptian opposition members criticized the government for cooperating with the U.S. and Israeli forces and allowing the passage of the ships through Egyptian territorial waters. The Red Sea is the most direct route to the Persian Gulf from the Mediterranean.

Retired Egyptian General Amin Radi, chairman of the national security affairs committee, told the paper that “the decision to declare war on Iran is not easy, and Israel, due to its wild nature, may start a war just to remain the sole nuclear power in the region,” according to Yedioth Internet, an Israeli news site.

The passage of a warship armada through the Suez Canal and headed for the Persian Gulf and Iran is apparently not deemed important enough to be reported by the corporate media in the United States.

Egypt recently rejected an Israeli request to prevent Gaza aid ships from passing through the Suez Canal. According to a report by al-Jazeera, Israel appealed to Egyptians asking them to prevent the passage of Iranian ships through the Suez Canal. The Egyptians responded that due to international agreements on movement through the Suez Canal, Egypt cannot prevent ships from passing through the canal unless a ship belongs to a state that is at war with Egypt. Iran and Egypt are not at war.

The United States and Israel, the sole nuclear-armed power in the Middle East, have not ruled out a military strike to destroy Iran’s nuclear program.

A number of Israeli politicians and scholars have admitted Israel has used its nuclear weapons for “compellent purposes,” in short forcing others to accept Israeli political demands.

Israel’s threats to use nuclear weapons have increased significantly since it was discovered in 2002 that Iran was building uranium enrichment facilities. Israel’s former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon “called on the international community to target Iran as soon as the imminent conflict with Iraq is complete,” the Sunday Times reported on November 5, 2002. The United States invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003.

Earlier this month Israel leaked to the press that they had permission from Saudi Arabia to use their air space to attack Iran. “In the week that the UN Security Council imposed a new round of sanctions on Tehran, defence sources in the Gulf say that Riyadh has agreed to allow Israel to use a narrow corridor of its airspace in the north of the country to shorten the distance for a bombing run on Iran,” the Sunday Times reported on June 12. On June 14, the ambassador of Saudi Arabia to UK Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf issued a categorical denial of the report.

On June 17, Iran’s parliament warned it will respond in kind to inspection of its ships under a fourth round of sanctions imposed on the country by the UN Security Council. “Even if one Iranian ship is stopped for security-check, we will act likewise and thoroughly inspect any (western) ship passing through the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz,” member of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Hossein Ebrahimi said.

Also on Saturday, Iran accused the United States of “deception” and insisted its missile program is for self-defense after a top U.S. official claimed that Iran had the capacity to attack Europe. “The Islamic Republic’s missile capability has been designed and implemented to defend against any military aggression and it does not threaten any nation,” Defense MinisterAhmad Vahidi said in a statement carried by state media.

Vahidi announced on April 10 that Iran will use all available options to defend itself if the country comes under a military attack. “Americans have said they will use all options against Iran, we announce that we will use all options to defend ourselves,” Vahidi told the Tehran Times.

Info Wars

Jewish lobby behind U.S. Armenia genocide vote

Pro-Israel activists manipulated Congress to damage Turkey, says London daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi.

Jewish lobbyists contrived a U.S. congressional vote that labeled the World War One-era massacre of Armenians by Turkish forces as genocide, a London-based Arabic-language newspaper claimed on Saturday.

Pro-Israel lobbyists had previously backed Turkey on the issue ? but changed tack in retaliation for Turkish condemnation of Israel’s policies in the Gaza Strip, the Al-Quds Al-Arabi daily said in an editorial, according to Israel Radio reports.

Israel and Turkey are traditional allies but ties took a downturn in 2009 when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned Israel’s offensive in Gaza, in which some 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed.

A crisis in diplomatic relations came to a head in January when when Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon publicly humiliated Turkey’s ambassador in front of press cameras.

In his leading article, Al-Quds Al-Arabi editor Abd al-Bari Atwan curged Erdogan not to give in to the Jewish lobby’s “extortion” tactics.

Erdogan on Thursday recalled Turkey’s ambassador to Washington after the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee voted 23-22 to approve the non-binding resolution, clearing it for consideration by the full House.

“The decision of the Foreign Affairs Committee will not hurt Turkey, but it will greatly harm bilateral relations, interests and vision. Turkey will not be the one who loses,” said Erdogan, speaking at a summit of Turkish businessmen.

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said the vote was a boost for human rights.

The vote calls on President Barack Obama to ensure U.S. policy formally refers to the massacre as genocide, putting him in a tight spot.

In a telephone call with Turkish President Abdullah Gul on Wednesday, Obama emphasized his administration had urged lawmakers to consider the potential damage to efforts to normalize Armenian-Turkish ties, a senior administration official said.

At a news conference in Costa Rica on Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she and Obama, who both supported proposed Armenia genocide resolutions as presidential candidates, had changed their minds because they believed the drive to normalize relations between Turkey and Armenia was bearing fruit.

Turkey, a Muslim secular democracy that plays a vital role for U.S. interests from Iraq to Iran and in Afghanistan and the Middle East, accepts that many Armenians were killed by Ottoman forces but denies that up to 1.5 million died and that it amounted to genocide – a term employed by many Western historians and some foreign parliaments.

Turkey regards such accusations as an affront to its national honor.