Erdogan backs off oil row with Trump

Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Reuters file photo)
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Updated 02 August 2020

Erdogan backs off oil row with Trump

  • The surprise deal last week will allow Delta Crescent Energy, a US company based in Delaware, to develop oil fields under the control of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is staying silent over an oil deal in northeast Syria to avoid a confrontation with Donald Trump, analysts told Arab News on Saturday.

The surprise deal last week will allow Delta Crescent Energy, a US company based in Delaware, to develop oil fields under the control of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The agreement is thought to have the support of the White House, and follows talks between US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and SDF leader Mazlum Kobani.

Ankara regards the SDF as a terror group, a political extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and Erdogan was expected to react with anger.

But Joe Macaron, a Middle East foreign policy analyst at the Arab Center in Washington, said Erdogan would not jeopardize his relationship with Trump for an inevitable US oil contract in SDF-controlled areas in Syria when he knows how important oil is for Trump.

“Ankara has made clear strategic gains in Syria and Libya thanks to US support and has managed to push Kurdish forces away from its border while altering the dynamics in Libya and the Eastern Mediterranean,” he told Arab News.

Military analyst Navvar Saban said: “The Americans have a plan for this area but we don’t know any detail about the contract. That is why Ankara did not react strongly.”


Beirut port blast crater 43 meters deep: security official

Updated 5 min 25 sec ago

Beirut port blast crater 43 meters deep: security official

  • Crater is much larger than the one left by the enormous blast in 2005 that killed former prime minister Rafic Hariri

BEIRUT: The huge chemical explosion that hit Beirut’s port, devastating large parts of the Lebanese capital and claiming over 150 lives, left a 43-meter (141 foot) deep crater, a security official said Sunday.
The blast Tuesday, which was felt across the county and as far as the island of Cyprus, was recorded by the sensors of the American Institute of Geophysics (USGS) as having the power of a magnitude 3.3 earthquake.
It was triggered by a fire in a port warehouse, where a huge shipment of hazardous ammonium nitrate, a chemical that can be used as a fertilizer or as an explosive, had languished for years, according to authorities.
The huge blast also wounded at least 6,000 people and displaced more than 300,000 from their destroyed or damaged homes.
The revelation that the chemicals had languished for years like a ticking time-bomb in the heart of the capital has served as shocking proof to many Lebanese of the rot at the core of the state apparatus.
Demonstrators on Sunday called for renewed anti-government rallies after a night of angry protests saw them storm several ministries before they were expelled by the army.
It was a new tactic for a protest movement that emerged last October to demand the removal of a political class long accused of being inept and corrupt.
“The explosion in the port left a crater 43 meters deep,” the Lebanese security official said, citing assessments by French experts working in the disaster area.
The crater is much larger than the one left by the enormous blast in 2005 that killed former prime minister Rafic Hariri, which measured 10 meters across and two meters deep, according to an international tribunal investigating his murder.
French rescue and police teams are among a much larger group of international emergency response specialists that has flooded into Lebanon to ease pressure on local authorities unable to cope with the disaster relief on their own.
Qatari, Russian and German rescuers are also working at the port blast site.