region:southeast europe

  • Turkey’s Policy in the Balkans: More than Neo-Ottomanism

    There is a fundamental misperception with regard to Turkey’s relationship with the Balkans. Turkey is not external to the region, the way Russia is for instance. Its history and geographic location make it a part of southeast Europe. Millions of Turks have their family roots in what was once known as ‘Turkey-in-Europe.’ This includes the founder of the republic, the Salonika-born Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Ties run deep at the political, economic, and societal levels.

    All those connections have drawn Turkey to the Balkans, especially after the end of the Cold War. The notion that Turks are now coming back does not hold. Closer engagement in the region started under President Turgut Özal in the early 1990s. But back then, Turkey balanced between bilateralism and multilateralism. It invested in economic and security ties with friendly countries such as Albania, Macedonia, Romania and Bulgaria while adhering to NATO as its response to the wars in ex-Yugoslavia. What changed under the Justice and Development (AK) Party, notably over the past decade, is the switch to bilateralism. That is understandable given the cracks in relations between Ankara and the West. All the same, it is concerning since it is coinciding with the push against the EU and NATO by Russia, which leverages history, religious identity and anti-Western rhetoric to legitimize its actions.

    Pundits and politicians often use ‘Neo-Ottomanism’ to describe Turkey’s forays. The label can be often misleading. Yes, Turkish President Recep Erdogan praises the Ottoman Empire and its legacy, domestically and beyond Turkey’s borders. But so did his predecessors in office. Within the country, liberals and Islamist conservatives alike all rediscovered the Ottomans from the 1980s onwards in questioning the Kemalist political order. The government has been reaching out to Balkan Muslims through TIKA, the Turkish developmental agency, and the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) for decades.

    Neo-Ottomanism is therefore the packaging, not the substance. Turkey’s objective is not to recreate the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans. That is far beyond the country’s resources and capacity. The region is gravitating in economic, social, institutional and political terms to the West. What we have instead is Erdogan using the Balkans to make a case that he is the leader of the wider (Sunni) Muslim community in Europe and the Middle East. The main audience is his electorate in Turkey and only secondly Muslims abroad. The pre-election rally he held in Sarajevo in the run-up to last year’s presidential and parliamentary elections is a case in point.

    But Turkish policy in the Balkans cannot be reduced to the promotion of Islamic solidarity. Erdogan’s main achievement is the fact that he has built relations with leaders from countries that are majority non-Muslim. In October 2017, for instance, he was welcomed in Serbia by President Aleksandar Vucic. The visit gave some credence to complaints by Bosniaks (Slavic Muslims) that Turkey loves to talk brotherhood in Bosnia but when it comes to investing money it goes for Serbia. Similarly, Erdogan has strong links to Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, who hosted the EU-Turkey summit a year ago. Bulgaria and Serbia are interested in hosting an extension of the TurkStream gas pipeline, a joint Russo-Turkish venture. Greece’s Alexis Tsipras also received the red carpet treatment during his latest visit to Turkey where he discussed ideas on decreasing tensions in the Aegean.

    Despite its quest for strategic autonomy, Turkey is still partnering with Western institutions. In addition, Ankara has been supportive of the Prespa Agreement and newly renamed North Macedonia’s accession to NATO, its quarrels with the U.S. and other key members of the Alliance notwithstanding. Collectively, EU members Romania, Bulgaria and Greece account for the bulk of Turkish trade with southeast Europe, with the Western Balkans trailing far behind. Greece and Bulgaria see Turkey as key to stemming the flow of asylum seekers from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and further afield. They are highly supportive of the EU-Turkey deal on migration from March 2016, renewed last year.

    Does the authoritarian system built by Erdogan pose an ideological challenge in the Balkans? Perhaps yes. For instance, pressure on governments to close educational institutions and surrender, without due process, members of the Fethullah Gülen community, which is implicated in the coup attempt in July 2016, undermine the rule of law. At the same time, the authoritarian drift observed in the Balkans is an indigenous product. It is not imported from Vladimir Putin’s Russia nor from Turkey under its new ‘sultan’.

    #néo-ottomanisme #Turquie #Balkans

  • Prehistoric Females Were Strong As Hell - D-brief

    Compared to hunting and gathering, farming can seem like pretty easy work. But the skeletons of Central European women who lived during agriculture’s earliest days would like to tell you otherwise.

    An analysis of prehistoric women’s upper arm bones shows they took on formidable tasks of manual labor, likely during the course of tilling, harvesting and otherwise managing farm fields.

    And the hard work left them pretty beasty — it was enough to make them stronger even than modern female competitive athletes today, researchers say.
    Bad to the Bone

    Cambridge archaeologist Alison Macintosh led a team of scientists who published a study Wednesday in Science Advances comparing the bone structure of modern female athletes to female farmers in the Neolithic period and Bronze and Iron Ages.

    Not only is this the first study to compare the bones of ancient women to those of women today, but the research is also notable for not using male skeletons as a comparison point.

    Previous bioarchaeological studies of prehistoric behavior compared the skeletons of women directly to the skeletons of men. Because men’s bones bulk up more noticeably in response to strain, these studies made it appear as though women weren’t doing a lot of the heavy lifting — both literally and figuratively.

    The researchers say these unequal male-to-female skeletal comparisons have resulted in an underestimation of the physical tasks women took on in ancient times. It’s also obscured some of the differences in how men and women worked.

    • Intéressante cette étude mais elle sous entend que le dimorphisme femmes-hommes était quand même présent au début du néolithique puisqu’il faut passé par une comparaison femmes néolithique-femmes contemporaine pour voire que les femmes néolithiques étaient musclées. La comparaison femmes néolithique - hommes néolithique faisant croire que les femmes étaient faibles c’est donc qu’elles apparaissaient nettement moins musclées....

    • Sujet déjà pas mal traité ici :

      Early Life Conditions and Physiological Stress following the Transition to Farming in Central/Southeast Europe : Skeletal Growth Impairment and 6000 Years of Gradual Recovery
      Alison A. Macintosh, Ron Pinhasi, Jay T. Stock
      PLoS ONE 11:e0148468, 2016

      Prehistoric women’s manual labor exceeded that of athletes through the first 5500 years of farming in Central Europe
      Alison A. Macintosh, Ron Pinhasi and Jay T. Stock
      Science Advances 3:eaao3893, 29 Nov 2017

      Prehistoric Women Had Stronger Arms Than Modern Athletes
      Nadia Drake, National Geographic, le 29 novembre 2017

      Ajoutés à la compilation #archéologie et #sexisme :

      Sujet chaud en ce moment. En témoigne l’offre de poste au #CNRS sur le thème « Genre, corps, sexualités dans l’Antiquité »

    • Annonce dans un style sexiste à l’image du CNRS. Il me semble que les annonces d’emploi utilisent depuis longtemps des tournures plus neutre et en plus l’annonce utilise largement une forme compressée avec la marque de singulier(s) et pluriel(s).

      Détail de l’offre : concours n°32/02

      Section n°32 : Mondes anciens et médiévaux

      Le concours

      N°32/02 - 8 Chargés de recherche de classe normale. dont 4 prioritairement sur les thèmes :
      – « Genre, corps, sexualités dans l’Antiquité »
      – « Orient chrétien : textes et manuscrits »
      – « Histoire et archéologie du monde phénico-punique »
      – « Paysages, environnement et ressources naturelles au Moyen Âge »

      Descriptif du poste

      Le candidat doit présenter le projet de programme de recherche de son choix dans la limite des thèmes et des sous-thèmes scientifiques de la Section n° 32 ou du/des thème(s) prioritaire(s) mentionné(s) dans l’intitulé du concours.


      Le candidat présentera son ou ses projet(s) en se référant à un ou plusieurs laboratoire(s) dans le(s)quel(s) son activité pourrait s’inscrire.

    • A propos de sexisme et du CNRS :

      1) Le sociologue Mathieu Arbogast, chargé de projet à la Mission pour la place des femmes au CNRS...

      2) Je fais partie du CNRS. Tous les ans, on reçoit un rapport qui évalue la place des femmes au CNRS. C’est à peu près la seule publication du CNRS qu’on ne retrouve pas sur le site web du CNRS. Et le pire, c’est que je ne pense même pas que c’est parce qu’ils le cachent, mais parce qu’ils ont oublié, parce qu’ils s’en foutent !

  • Prehistoric Women Had Stronger Arms Than Modern Athletes

    A new study looked at remains from Neolithic, Bronze Age, and Iron Age cemeteries and compared them with bones from modern female athletes. The results show that prehistoric women were positively brawny—their arms were almost uniformly stronger than those of today’s champion rowers.

    “This is the first paper that compares the bones of prehistoric women to those of living women, and it has allowed us to identify a hidden history of consistent and rigorous manual labor among women across thousands of years of farming,” says study coauthor Alison Macintosh of the University of Cambridge.

    The study, published today in Science Advances, suggests that women were a driving force behind the development of agriculture during its earliest 6,000 years in Central Europe.

    #femmes #préhistoire #corps #agriculture #sédentarisation #os

  • Pentagon’s top Russia official resigns - POLITICO

    The Pentagon’s top official overseeing military relations with Russia and Ukraine is resigning amid the ongoing debate within the Obama administration over how to respond to Russian moves in Ukraine and Syria.

    Evelyn Farkas, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, is leaving her post at the end of next month after five years with the Defense Department, a senior defense official confirmed to POLITICO.

    She has advised three secretaries of defense on Russia policy, providing steady counsel on how the U.S. should respond to Russia’s aggressive actions and has been deeply involved in securing $244 million in support for Ukraine,” the official said. “In addition, Evelyn has brought fresh thinking to Southeast Europe policies — supporting Montenegro’s interest in joining NATO, expanding defense cooperation with Georgia, and increasing multilateral cooperation with the three Caucasus nations.

    Another senior defense official said the administration would likely have a hard time finding a replacement.
    There are not a lot of Europe experts in this administration who have a long record of accomplishment,” the official said. “There’s no doubt this leaves the Pentagon weaker in terms of its policy-making on European issues.

    • Foreign Policy - Situation Report This could be a problem

      Bye Bye Moscow. This could be a problem. Evelyn Farkas, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia says she’s leaving the Defense Department at the end of October. Her departure will leave a huge gap in the department’s policy making team, as her years of policymaking experience and deep ties to the region will be hard to replace as President Barack Obama continues to struggle with the persistent escalation of tensions with Russia over Ukraine, Syria, the Arctic, and Moscow’s cozying up to Baghdad. Word of Farkas’ resignation drops just days after word that Gen. John Allen — the White House’s point man for holding together the 60-nation coalition to fight the Islamic State — is also leaving his post.

  • Le point sur les projets de gazoducs par le Ministre de l’énergie russe, Alexandre Novak
    (en deuxième partie, après les considérations sur les « négociations » entre l’Ukraine et la Russie…)

    Russia may ease Ukraine’s gas terms, but Kiev must settle its bills | Reuters

    Russia has a long-term goal of bypassing Ukraine as a transit country. It ships around 40 percent of its gas to Europe via Ukraine, while the rest goes via Belarus, Moldova, the Nord Stream subsea pipeline to Germany and the Blue Stream subsea pipeline to Turkey.

    In December last year it canceled plans to build the South Stream gas pipeline under the Black Sea to Bulgaria and onwards into southeast Europe.

    It is now planning an alternative export route, unofficially called Turkish Stream, with a capacity of 63 bcm per year.

    Instead of extending the pipeline further to Europe, Gazprom now plans to sell its gas at a hub on the Turkish-Greek border, requiring those European countries who want access to the gas to build links to the hub.

    Now counties should be building (onshore links) on their own. The routes could be different - they may come to Italy if they want. This is not our business anymore,” he said.

    Novak added that the costs of the offshore parts of Turkish Stream would be “comparable” to those of the South Stream project. The budget to build the offshore section of South Stream was previously estimated at up to 17 billion euros ($18.3 billion).

    Russia is also planning to ramp up gas exports to Asia to reduce its reliance on sales to Europe.

    Russia plans to ship gas to China via two yet-to-be-built pipelines: Power of Siberia, supplied exclusively by two Siberian gas fields, and Altai, which is to connect the Russian gas pipeline system from West to East.

    Russia and China reached agreement on the Power of Siberia pipeline last May. Novak said he hoped for a firm contract for Altai in the first half of this year.

    These (two) projects are not linked to each other... (The contract signed last May) will be implemented irrespective of whether Altai happens or not,” Novak said.

    He added that Russia was sticking to plans to deliver its first gas to China via Power of Siberia at the end of 2018 or start of 2019. Russia and China are not discussing a pre-payment or loan for the Power of Siberia project anymore, he said.

    Donc, Gazprom laisse l’Europe se débrouiller à partir de la frontière turque : le « troisième paquet » sera respecté.