Turkey expands its influence in the Middle East. Ankara has signed a series of economic and cooperation agreements with Azerbaijan and has expressed interest in improving ties with Armenia – provided the latter pulls its troops from the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Turkey also has plans to build naval bases in Trabzon, along the Black Sea, and in Northern Cyprus. Its navy is currently deployed as part of Operation Mediterranean Shield in the eastern Mediterranean, and it’s facing increased tension with Greece over offshore oil drilling.
The grim economic outlook spreads to Asia. In the third quarter, Japan’s economy posted a 0.6 percent contraction compared to the previous quarter. The poor performance has been blamed on earthquakes and weather events, and analysts expect the economy to rebound. South Korea’s Hyundai Research Institute and state-run Korea Development Institute both warned of decelerating economic performance after a mere 0.6 percent growth in the third quarter.