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SnapshotsJan 15, 2021 | 18:53 GMT
A Turkish-backed fighter guards the rebel-held province of Aleppo in northern Syria on Nov. 17, 2020.
Turkey Tests the Limits of the Cease-Fire in Northeastern Syria
Turkey’s gambit to undermine the U.S.-brokered 2019 cease-fire in northeastern Syria could strengthen its position on the battlefield, while increasing the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)’s reliance on Russia and the Syrian government. For weeks, the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) has been shelling the SDF-held strategic town of Ain Issa in northeastern Syria. Some nearby villages have fallen to Turkish-backed forces -- paving the way for a possible full offensive to take control of Ain Issa. The U.S.-backed SDF has called on Russia to set up observation posts west of Ain Issa to deter further Turkish-backed attacks, while the United States has stepped up diplomatic activity to negotiate a settlement between the SDF and Turkey to avoid further escalation in the area.
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SnapshotsJan 7, 2021 | 18:13 GMT
An aerial view shows the ruins of a village on Jan. 5, 2021, in an area of Nagorno-Karabakh that was recaptured by Azerbaijan in October 2020.
Despite Violations, the Azeri-Armenian Cease-Fire Will Hold -- For Now
The Azeri-Armenian cease-fire will be undermined by both sides on the ground and in their capitals. But for now, Turkish-Russian cooperation and domestic problems in Armenia seem poised to prevent more large, state-on-state clashes. On Dec. 28, Azerbaijan said one soldier was killed by an Armenian armed unit in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, violating the Nov. 10 truce. The clash followed several earlier incidents in December. Nagorno-Karabakh authorities accused Azeri troops of capturing some of their soldiers following clashes between Azeri and Armenian-backed forces between Dec. 11-13 that killed several soldiers on both sides. Azeri and Armenian authorities have begun regularly accusing one another of violating the truce that ended weeks of fighting and resulted in reported casualties on both sides.
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Annual ForecastsJan 3, 2021 | 21:37 GMT
An image of the COVID-19 vaccine, President-elect Joe Biden, the Huawei logo, and a stock market sign
2021 Annual Forecast
The geopolitical environment in 2021 will be shaped by two global developments: the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic and the efforts by U.S. President-elect Joe Biden's administration to restore collaborative relationships across the globe.
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SnapshotsDec 16, 2020 | 22:22 GMT
A picture taken on Dec. 16, 2020, shows a partial view of the King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia’s Lean 2021 Budget Reflects Its Grim Economic Reality
The Saudi government’s 2021 budget shows it remains committed to trimming government spending and establishing long-term financial sustainability through reforms. But the uptick in private sector activity needed to offset cuts to public spending, as well as shore up the kingdom’s long-term financial prospects, is not guaranteed, creating the potential for economically driven social unrest. The Saudi finance ministry released its 2021 budget statement on Dec. 15. The budget allots $264 billion for government spending, with an expected revenue of $226 billion. The kingdom’s budget deficit in 20201 anticipated is to narrow to 4.9% of GDP from its 12% deficit in 2020. The budget note also foresees a 7.3% cut in state spending and includes numerous references to Riyadh’s continued commitment to its Vision 2030 goals. 
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SnapshotsDec 15, 2020 | 19:11 GMT
A blacksmith crafts metal in a village mansion in Ankara, Turkey, on Nov. 18, 2020.
S-400 Sanctions Risk Further Deteriorating U.S.-Turkey Relations
New U.S. sanctions will stymie Turkey’s strategy to develop an indigenous defense sector, prompting Ankara to continue exploring alternative security ties while intensifying bilateral tensions for U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration. On Dec. 14, the United States announced a series of defense sector-aimed sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), fulfilling long-term threats that Washington would impose penalties on its fellow NATO ally for the purchase of the Russian S-400 missile system. The sanctions target Turkey’s Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB), including its chief Ismail Demir and three other senior officials, and come as the U.S. Congress was poised to mandate CAATSA sanctions through the annual National Defense Authorization Act.  
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On StratforDec 11, 2020 | 11:00 GMT
Grading Our 2020 Annual Forecast as 2021 Approaches
Every December here at Stratfor, we sit down and do the critical work of self-assessment, taking the forecast we made the previous December and seeing how it stacked up against actual world events. Even with the pandemic throwing the world a little askew, we still had a strong 2020 forecast with quite a few hits and just a handful of misses. Without further ado, we present the Stratfor 2020 Annual Forecast Scorecard.
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