Twin billion dollar tenders in 2017 showcase Turkey’s renewable energy potential

In 2017 Turkey has made tremendous strides in the development of its renewable energy sector, notably the allocation of over two billion dollars for the production of wind and solar energy. These sources of funding, or tenders, are part of Ankara’s ambitious plans for the future of renewables, outlined and set forth in the context of its 2023 goals—a holistic set of economic growth targets to commemorate the Republic of Turkey’s centennial.

To analyze Turkey’s plans for increasing its renewable energy sources, it is necessary to understand its motives in the context of the larger energy strategy. Ankara primarily aims to achieve greater energy independence and security and decrease the economic burden of energy imports which make up around half of Turkey’s total trade deficit. The increased sustainability and environmental benefits of using renewable resources are secondary bonuses.

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US National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster and his team deserve credit for clear expression of the threat to the United States from autocratic, revisionist powers, especially Russia. Outlining the new National Security Strategy (NSS) to be released on December 18, McMaster earlier this week publicly cited Russia’s “sophisticated campaign of subversion and disinformation and propaganda,” noting that the NSS would spell out this threat, and that the United States would respond accordingly.  

Good for him, especially so given the complexities of Russia policy in the administration of US President Donald J. Trump.  

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French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision not to invite the United States to a recent climate action summit in Paris sends a clear message that other countries will happily step into the void the United States has created.

Two years after the signing of the Paris Agreement, Macron once again convened climate leaders in France’s capital to call for global climate action at the One Planet Summit on December 12. In a nod to 2015, heads of state and ministers from countries around the world, along with representatives from multilateral development banks, international organizations, and the private sector gathered in Paris to focus on challenges related to climate adaption, mitigation, and mobilization.  

However, unlike 2015, one country was noticeably absent—the United States. As a result of US President Donald J. Trump’s decision to withdraw from the climate agreement, the administration did not receive an invitation. Further, it has expressed little interest in participating in the growing global conversation—and action—on climate change.

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Diplomatic negotiations with "no preconditions" will be the US approach to solving the problem of North Korea, while working in concert with friends and allies, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said at the Atlantic Council on December 12.

“We’re ready to talk any time North Korea would like to talk,” said Tillerson, “and we’re ready to have the first meeting without preconditions.”

“Let’s just meet and let’s – we can talk about the weather if you want. We can talk about whether it’s going to be a square table or a round table if that’s what you’re excited about. But can we at least sit down and see each other face to face?” he added.

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The attack on United Nations peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by lesser-known violent extremists called the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) indicates that the group poses a more serious threat than previously believed as it continues to ratchet up its activity in region, capitalizing on the persistent political instability in the DRC, according to an Atlantic Council analyst.

“If this attack was indeed carried out by the so-called Allied Democratic Forces, it is signals an escalation in the group’s violence that is not surprising given that it has, over the course of the last year or two, been ratcheting up its activity, fueled not only by possible links with other jihadist organizations, but also the failure of governance in the Congo,” said J. Peter Pham, vice president for regional initiatives and director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center.

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The promise of foreign reconstruction aid will not induce cooperation from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which is why international efforts to rebuild the war-ravaged country should focus on local solutions, removed from the regime’s sphere of influence, according to an Atlantic Council analyst.

“A regime that would rather have gone through what it had to go through over the past six years… than [share] political power… is not going to do so if we offer them money,” said Faysal Itani, a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.

Among others, Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, has deemed reconstruction funding the last bit of leverage Western nations still hold over the Assad regime. However, Itani said: “I don’t see it.” He said Assad would disrupt and manipulate any effort to rebuild in territories controlled by the regime.

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Recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital does not advance the interests of the United States or the region, said James Cunningham, a former US ambassador to Israel

US President Donald J. Trump’s decision to reverse almost seven decades of US policy and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is “potentially, a pretty serious mistake,” said James B. Cunningham, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.

If you’re going to upend decades of US policy, it ought to be for a good reason and for a significant political and diplomatic gain. I don’t see that either of those two are attained here,” said Cunningham, who served as the United States' ambassador to Israel from 2008-2011.

Trump’s announcement will boost the Israeli position, “but it doesn’t change the reality that the status of Jerusalem as a capital for Israel and the Palestinians is a core issue for negotiations that will need to be addressed no matter what we say,” he added.

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The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed by the US Congress in November prioritizes investments in homeland missile defense. US President Donald J. Trump has called for a “state-of-the-art” missile defense system and this new defense budget begins to take steps in that direction.

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s historic decision to ban Russia’s Olympic team from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, is a welcome action on the part of the committee, according to Atlantic Council analysts.

“Whether it’s violating arms control treaties, breaching peace agreements, or cheating in sports competitions, Russia’s leadership must start facing the consequences of its systematic abuse of international norms,” said Michael Carpenter, a nonresident fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center.

“Such behavior cannot be tolerated in any arena, and this decision sends a clear message in that regard,” he added.

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The death of Yemen’s former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, at the hands of his former Houthi allies will weaken the Iranian-backed rebels, according to Nabeel Khoury, a nonresident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.

“The demise of Saleh now actually weakens the Houthis' military and makes them less acceptable politically inside Yemen,” said Khoury, adding, “it was not a very wise move on [the Houthis’] part.” Khoury served as deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Yemen from 2004 to 2007.

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