Another attempt to make some kind of sense of what's going on east of the Dniester. Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan come in for special attention.

Monday, March 26, 2007

"Confident Turkey Looks East, Not West"

From The Guardian, at,,2042846,00.html

The "money quote":

Turkey's increasingly important regional leadership role is also changing the way it views the EU. As a vital transit hub, it provides much of Europe's oil and gas from the Caspian basin, Russia and, prospectively, the Turkic republics of central Asia. This is leading to closer cooperation with Moscow and reviving ideas of a Turkic Commonwealth from Azerbaijan to Kazakhstan.

Now, I have to admit something of a bias, inasmuch as I've always liked the Turks, despite the danger of saying such a thing, in light of the continuing vicious debate over the Armenian genocide, Kurdish issues, Cyprus, etc. While these issues are clearly important and even painful for many, they have no real effect upon my basic affinity for all of the Turks I've ever met.

Apart from liking the people themselves, Istanbul has become one of my two favourite cities to visit in the world (the other being London.) Istanbul is simply staggering in the breadth of history a visitor feels just wandering around. I could happily spend a couple of weeks in a cheap and nasty Kumkapi hotel, just to have the opportunity to see more of this timeless city. Best of all, Aerosvit offers a superb rate from Kiev to Istanbul - $270, with all taxes included. Hard to beat that.

So, I'd like to see Turkey in the EU. And I do agree with the gist of the paragraph above: surely an EU largely dependent upon foreign oil and gas is not going to poke Turkey in the eye?

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Fisherman"s Blues

Fisherman"s Blues
Ice-Fishing near Astana (when it was still Akmola)