Ali Cinar

Ali Cinar

Recent Developments in Ukraine

Ali Cinar interviewed three distinguished experts on Russian aggression in the region. US forces in Europe are on higher alert, citing "escalations of Russian aggression" in the area. President Biden spoke with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky last week  and  "affirmed the United States’ unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s aggression in the Donbas and Crimea,”

H.E. Dan Herbst, Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine and Director,Atlantic Council:

Moscow has pursued an aggressive policy in eastern europe and the Caucasus since at least its cyber attack on estonia in 2007. Western response to the Kremlin War on Georgia and seizure of Crimea was late and weak, which only encouraged further aggression in donbas and provocations elsewhere.   Finally, after the shootdown of mh17 in the summer of 2914, the EU joined the  U.S. in placing punishing sanctions on Russia for its  aggression in Ukraine. And by the fall of 2015, the U.S. began to provide significant military aid to Ukraine and in late 2017, javelins, tank killers.  In other words, it took years for the west to develop a sensible,  strong policy to thwart kremlin revisionism. 

President Biden understands this and that is why he mentioned Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine in his first call with Putin. His administration moved smartly this past week with phone calls from the whole national security team to Kyiv expressing support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s military buildup in northern Crimea and along Ukraine’s eastern border.  This was a timely warning to Moscow not to escalate its aggression against Ukraine.  

Regarding Crimea, the U.S. has a sound policy in place, the Pompeo doctrine.  That is a policy of non-recognition of Moscow’s illegal control there, and sanctions for firms operating there. The point is to raise the price on the kremlin for its aggression. 

To contain the kremlin in Ukraine and the broader black sea region, the U.S. should work to enhance cooperation among its NATO  allies and friendly countries such as Ukraine,Georgia and perhaps Moldova.  Washington should promote joint exercises and eventually contingency planning.  

Andrij Dobriansky, Ukrainian Congress Committee of America,Director of Communications;

I am looking to Putin’s actions in Georgia in 2008 as a guide: Russian media and social media in occupied Donbas has been telling those citizens that Ukraine is about to “invade” Russia’s occupied territories. This is what Russia said about Georgia in 2008 as an excuse to invade them. Also in 2008 the world was focused on the Olympics, while this time the west is focused on Easter (Ukraine and Russia celebrate in May)

The US is already in a different position: US advisors are on the ground in Ukraine and are able to travel wherever they need to (President Obama prevented them from traveling east of Kyiv) Also, the flyover and naval deployments to the Black Sea are a regular part of the US schedule now. U.S. will be able to report themselves what they see happening and be able to counter Russian disinformation narratives, In the next 3-5 months we expect a US ambassador on the ground in Kyiv and a special negotiator from the US appointed to replace a Volker

We’re at a critical point this week with Russia’s bulldup. If nothing escalates in the next 2 weeks, we go back to the status quo. Putin is trying to gain leverage in international negotiations: Nordstream, sanctions relief, Ukraine getting closer to NATO

Ayla Bakkalli, Representative of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar and Advisor, Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations on Indigenous Matters Member of the World Congress of Crimean Tatars,

Ukraine’s historical nemesis Russian Federation has resurrected its familiar post-soviet aggression once again with the increase of military build up on its border. What are the grounds for this unprovoked action as Russia is flooding Crimea trains full of tanks and military build up in Eastern Ukraine and the increase in the militarization of the Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine has prompted Ukrainian to meet up with the meet up 

Sec of State Antony Blinken and Ukrainian FM Dmityr Kuleba, US Chiefs of Staff Mark Millie speaking with his Ukrainian counterpart Mr. Ruslan Khomchak . I believe Mr. Mark Millley also speak with first deputy Minister of Defense of Russia, Valery Gersimov and , between US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Head of the President of Ukraine’s office , Andrew Ermak.Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby brought it up the topic on the military build up with its NATO allies. 

General Wesley Clark, former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO was the feature speaker alongside with the Defense Attache of Ukraine, Major Volodymyr Havrylov  at a virtual panel hosted by Manor College several weeks ago on March 18, discussed the systematic aggression of Ukrainian sovereign lands.  

A human face to the militarization with the continual persecution of Ukraine’s indigenous people the Crimean Tatars and Ukrainian activists have become the occupiers target. Again, Russia continues its hybrid occupation with a hybrid deportation strategy. To date, based on Ukrainian statistics 50,000 have left Crimea to the Crimean mainland.

They are imprisoned on the basis: freedom of religion,freedom of speech ,freedom of association and freedom of conscience .

Crimean Tatars remain locked down fearful that their father, brother, son, husband will be the next target.  Most of the people who are imprisoned for political reasons in Crimea are innocent Crimean Tatars and Ukrainian activists.  International community should rethink:  

  • I suppose it is high time to reassess that the Normandy format is not working and a new form of diplomacy which will develop organically given the continual changes on the ground in occupied Ukrainian territories. 
  • Time has made the decision on behalf of Ukraine a need for national security strategy involving use of its national power and at the same time Ukraine is committed to resolving this issue through peaceful and diplomatic means given the risk 
  • It is important for the international community to hear the many voices in occupied lands of Ukraine and take seriously that Ukraine’s civil society is at the front lines both nationally and internationally. 

Secretary of State Blinken: Open the borders

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke at the United Nations Security Council and called for the opening of the Turkey-Syria border gates that are currently closed.

Secretary Blinken, who has made critical statements by emphasizing the change in the US administration's approach regarding Syria in the United Nations Security Council, stated that it is mandatory to find a way to help people and said, "This is our responsibility."

Stating that the United Nations Security Council is working on many complex issues, Secretary Blinken pointed out that what is happening in Syria is not one of those "complex issues" and is based on fundamental humanitarian foundations."

Secretary Blinken:"This is a Disaster!"

Blinken urged the authorities to reopen the Öncüpinar/Bab al-Salam border crossing between Turkey and Syria, which couldn't be opened due to the vetoes of China and Russia in 2020 and the Al-Ya'rubiyah border crossing between Iraq and Syria, and said, "There is no good reason the crossing remains closed today. Members of this council have a job to do: Reauthorize all three border crossings for humanitarian assistance."

Mark Lowcock, Secretary-General of United Nations Humanitarian Affairs, reminded that millions of Syrians need humanitarian aid and said, "It has been ten years of despair and disaster for Syrians.".

Secretary Blinken held a meeting with UNGA President Bozkir 


Secretary of State Blinken also had a meeting with Volkan Bozkır, the 75th President of the UN General Assembly. During the press briefing of the meeting, which was held virtually due to COVID-19, Bozkır emphasized the importance of the U.S. for the United Nations and expressed his contentment regarding the new US administration's global policy changes and also the fact that they are working more closely with international organizations.

On the other hand, Secretary Blinken stated that the world's ongoing problems would not be able to be solved by a single country, and the United Nations is one of the best institutions for cooperation and producing solutions.
 
Secretary Blinken's Full Speech at UNSC:

President Biden's $2.3 Trillion Infrastructure Plan

President Biden announced the first stage of the plan at an event held at a union training center in Pittsburgh. President Biden defined the massive program that will restructure the American infrastructure over the next eight years as a "once-in-a-generation investment."

According to the details announced by the White House, within the scope of this plan, hundreds of billions of dollars are allocated for the modernization and construction of roads, bridges, public transportation systems, schools, and other infrastructure fields.

The plan can both fix some of the damage caused to the economy by the Coronavirus epidemic and benefit primarily low-income employees.
It is stated that President Joe Biden's choice of Pittsburgh to announce the infrastructure plan has economic and political repercussions. 

It is stated that the infrastructure projects will be financed by the higher taxes that will be obtained from the companies and establishments. It is indicated that this situation may cause repercussions in the business circles and disrupt the attempts of the Biden administration to work with the Republican Congress members.

 President Joe Biden said, "91 companies on the Fortune 500 list, including Amazon, do not pay a single solitary penny in federal income tax." During his speech in which he unveiled the infrastructure plan, he said, "Wall Street didn't build this country. The middle class built this country. And unions built the middle class."

President Biden hopes that the infrastructure plan will be passed by Congress by the summer, which means he will rely on the fact that Democrats narrowly control both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
 
Package Details:
 
$621 billion for transportation infrastructure and resilience:
$580 billion for manufacturing; research and development; and job training:
$400 billion for the care economy:
$313 billion for schools and housing:
$111 billion for clean water:$100 billion for digital infrastructure
 
 
 
 

Is there any Positive EU-Turkey Agenda?

Last week, European Union leaders offered new incentives to Turkey to improve cooperation on migration and trade despite democratic backsliding in the country and lingering concerns about its energy ambitions in the Mediterranean Sea.

European Commission’s Ursula von der Leyen and EU Council’s Charles Michel are expected to discuss new steps to revive EU-Turkey ties, by relaunching high-level political dialogue, starting negotiations on the modernization of the 25-year-old Customs Union, and by renewing the 2016 EU-Turkey refugee deal.

Turk of America Senior Diplomat Correspondent Ali Cinar asked two Distinguished Experts regarding the recent developments between Turkey-EU

George Tzogopoulos,CIFE

Following months of tensions , Greece and Turkey have relaunched exploratory talks. This cannot guarantee a solution to the problem of maritime zones, but is an encouraging development. In parallel with this the UN has scheduled a new meeting on the Cyprus question. The EU remains hopeful that progress will continue and has thus proposed a positive agenda to possibly shape its relations with Turkey. The next three months (until the June EU council) will define whether the new approach will work. Also, the EU is continuing its work on the so-called multilateral conference for the Eastern Mediterranean but needs to clarify the agenda as well as to elaborate on desired results of such a conference


Laura Batalla Adam, Secretary General EU-Turkey Forum:

Diplomacy should always be prioritized over imposing sanctions. The use of sanctions is not likely to achieve a behavior change from Turkey and will only make dialogue more difficult. The outcome of the Council meeting is positive news for EU-Turkey relations. It offers renewed avenues for cooperation on longstanding demands by Turkey, like the modernization of the Customs Union or the reestablishment of high-level dialogue with the EU on areas of common interest. However, the activation of this positive agenda is dependent on a continued easing of tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkey is encouraged to continue its constructive dialogue to find solutions to the disputes.
On the domestic front, the EU has expressed its concerns over the recent actions undermining democracy and rule of law in the country. A further backsliding in these areas can also derail plans to reenergize the relationship.

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