but many critical thresholds were NOT ONE, crossed in global relations last weekend.
The most critical development was Russia’s statement to deploy tactical nuclear weapons to its ally Belarus. Russian leader Putin announced that Russian-made Iskander missile systems have started to be sent to Belarus, while the Belarussian army is being trained to use these systems.
It also means the de facto end of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which the U.S. and Russia officially terminated in 2019. Russia currently has nuclear weapons in Kaliningrad on the Baltic coast. The European continent has thoroughly entered among Moscow’s ‘possible targets’ with the shipment of medium-range nuclear missiles to Belarus. In other words, the ‘cold war’ between the two fronts is emerging after a long time again.
IRAN̞U.S. TENSION SLOWLY TURNS INTO CONFLICT
Hot conflict steps were added in the south of Turkey to this cold war tendency in the north of the country at the weekend.
The U.S. took its revenge by striking the bases of Iran-backed militias in northern Syria after a drone attack killed one American citizen and injured five American soldiers in the region. It was stated that 19 pro-Iran militias were killed by the attack of the U.S. It is possible to describe these mutual attacks as the most comprehensive conflict steps between the U.S. and Iran since the beginning of the civil war in Syria. Iran directly responded to the strike of pro-Iran militias in Syria. The Tehran administration stated that revenge for the U.S. attack would be taken.
DOES THE CEASEFIRE END IN NAGORNO̞KARABAKH?
There was another development on March 25, at the weekend again, regarding the Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia, which was reached in Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020. Azerbaijan made statements in the last few days and criticized Russia’s support for Armenian troops to enter Nagorno-Karabakh through the Lachin corridor contrary to the ceasefire agreement. When Azerbaijan put its army into play to prevent this, Moscow stated this time that “Azeri troops started to advance in Shusha in a way to violate the ceasefire agreement.” These mutual moves seem to be the Messenger that the Azerbaijan-Armenia ceasefire can be broken at any moment.
FIRE IN FRANCE, COUP D’ÉTAT RUMORS IN ISRAEL
There were demonstrations in France at the weekend against the fact that President Macron enacted the law, which raises the pension age, under the name of ‘reform’ without the approval of the French Parliament. When demonstrators in Paris began to set public buildings on fire, the streets almost turned into fireplaces. The situation is so critical that Britain’s King Charles had to postpone his visit to France.
Streets protests against the move to control the judiciary, which the far-right coalition government led by Prime Minister Netanyahu tried to bring under the name of ‘reform’, continued throughout the weekend in Israel. The new development was that the new judicial law draft signed by Netanyahu was criticized by the Israeli government itself. Rumors about coup d’état have even begun to appear in Israel, one of the rare democracies in the Middle East after Israeli Defense Minister Gallant, who made that criticism, stated that there was great disapproval against the new law in the army.
BAD NEWS FOR TURKEY: USD 1.4BN PENALTY, HALTED IRAQ OIL
The critical development which directly concerns Turkey was the Iraqi oil issue. The oil agreement, which was made by Turkey with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Northern Iraq in 2014, was brought to international arbitration by the Baghdad government. The Arbitration Court ordered Turkey to pay the Iraqi government USD 1.4bn in compensation. Oil flow through pipelines from Iraq to Turkey has also been halted along with the decision.
The oil agreement signed by the AK Party government with Iraqi Kurds in 2014, was described as defrauding the law and was heavily criticized. The international court decision has also revealed this.
The only gratifying point is that the court ordered USD 1.4bn compensation instead of the USD 33bn compensation that Iraq demanded.
But it should not be forgotten that the Halkbank case in the U.S. comes up next.