Europe

Erdogan and Turkey’s Elections

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When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a presidential and parliamentary election June 24—jumping the gun by more than a year—the outcome seemed foreordained: the country is under a state of emergency, Erdogan has imprisoned more than 50,000 of… Conn Hallinan CounterPunch But Erdogan’s seemingly overwhelming strength is not as solid as it appears, and the moves the President is making to insure a victory next month may come back to haunt him in the long run. There is ... Read More »

EU court upholds insecticide ban to protect bees

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An EU court upheld on May 17 a partial ban on three insecticides known as neonicotinoids, saying that the European Commission had been right in 2013 to restrict their use to protect bees. LUXEMBOURG – Reuters Hurriyet The ruling covers three active substances – imidacloprid developed by Bayer CropScience, clothianidin developed by Takeda Chemical Industries and Bayer CropScience, as well as Syngenta’s thiamethoxam. The court said the European Union’s “precautionary principle” meant that the EU could take measures if there was scientific ... Read More »

5 takeaways from EU’s big Balkan get-together

Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama (C) speaks with France's President Emmanuel Macron (2ndR) and Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite (2ndL) as they pose for a family photo during an EU-Western Balkans Summit in Sofia on May 17, 2018. - European Union leaders meet their Balkan counterparts to hold out the promise of closer links to counter Russian influence, while steering clear of openly offering them membership. (Photo by Darko Vojinovic / POOL / AFP)        (Photo credit should read DARKO VOJINOVIC/AFP/Getty Images)

Macron plays party-pooper at leaders’ gathering in Sofia. Andrew Gray Politico SOFIA — It wasn’t a renewal of the wedding vows because the big ceremony never happened. It was two partners declaring they still want to be engaged — even though one is now playing hard to get. Fifteen years ago, EU leaders told their western Balkan counterparts at a summit in Thessaloniki they belonged together — and their countries could one day join the European Union. But only one of those ... Read More »

At a crossroads, Part II: No more shadows: The future of intelligence oversight in Congress

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In the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall, M (Judi Dench) and Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes) debate how to respond to a leak that has led to the assassination of several MI6 intelligence agents. Tommy Ross War On The Rocks They are torn between a desire to ensure that MI6, Britain’s premier spy agency, remains a credible part of British democratic institutions and the need to avoid antiquation in the face of rapidly changing technology and… At one point, Mallory laments, “We ... Read More »

Israeli lawmakers move to recognize Armenian genocide amid Turkey row

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Zionist Union MK Itzik Shmuly and Likud MK Amir Ohana stated they would submit legislation to make Israel the 30th country to recognize the Armenian genocide. Lahav Harkov JPost Bills to recognize the Armenian Genocide by the Turks were back on the Knesset’s agenda on Wednesday, after Turkey and Israel expelled each other’s envoys. Zionist Union MK Itzik Shmuly and Likud MK Amir Ohana both said they would submit legislation to make Israel the 30th country to recognize the genocide ... Read More »

Tessa Jowell’s farsighted vision for media literacy was ahead of its time

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The untimely death from cancer of former UK Labour cabinet minister, Dame Tessa Jowell, has triggered a wave of tributes from across the political spectrum. Richard Wallis The Conversation Her vision for securing the 2012 Olympics for London, her formative role in New Labour’s flagship Sure Start scheme, and most recently, her campaign for cancer research, have all been given many column inches. By contrast, Jowell’s less certain legacy as principal advocate for media literacy is barely given a mention. ... Read More »

Italy’s populists seek collision course with Brussels

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‘Italexit is back’ as League and 5Stars prep for government. By JACOPO BARIGAZZI AND GIULIA PARAVICINI Politico Promise the sky during the campaign. Come back down to earth when it’s time to actually govern. That’s the timeless political strategy adopted by office-seekers across the globe. Not this week in Italy. The two populist parties seeking to form a government spent the months before the March election sanding down their rhetoric against the euro. But as they get ready to take charge, their… Italy’s populists ... Read More »

Can Turkey’s opposition finally unite and challenge Erdoğan?

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June 24, 2018 instead of late 2019: that’s the date decided for Turkey’s “snap presidential and parliamentary elections”, called by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s political partner from Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahçeli. Authors: The Conversation The elections are needed by the incumbent president, who wants to maintain his position and stay in power. AKP’s weaknesses Erdoğan has to deal with several issues that have recently weakened his party and leadership both domestically and abroad. Turkey’s military intervention in Syria has ... Read More »

The “Israel”-Hellenic Alliance That May Push Turkey to Cut Ties With Tel Aviv

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The Turkish government has just announced the effective expulsion of Eitan Na’eh, “Israel’s” Ambassador to Ankara. According to the Daily Sabah, Adam Garrie EurasiaFuture “Na’eh was asked to leave Turkey indefinitely by the Turkish ministry of foreign affairs following the Israeli bloodshed and his tweets”. The move comes as Erdogan has openly challenged other nations that have formal relations with the occupier entity to question whether such relations are beneficial to the Muslim world. The clear targets of… The “Israel”-Hellenic… Read More »

In squats by the Serbian border, young men trying to enter the EU live in dangerous limbo

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Just 300 metres from the border crossing between Serbia and Hungary, a gateway to the European Union, around 30 men are standing in the middle of a field. Karolina Augustova The Conversation It’s late January and the temperature is near zero. Nearby are several abandoned buildings where they are temporarily living. An open fire, made of wood, tires, and plastic, serves as the only source of warmth, but it creates heavy and poisonous air inside the squat. They are waiting ... Read More »

Turkey’s long, slow pivot to the dark side

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Some hardline conservatives in America are already over Turkey. “Turkey is effectively an ally no more,” argues Frank Gaffney, president and CEO of the right wing Center for Security Policy. “I think we have been divorced by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who seeks to become the leader of a new Ottoman caliphate.” Jamie McIntyre Washington Examiner It’s a harsh assessment for a country that has been a NATO member for 66 years, and which had been considered a model ... Read More »

Submarines are increasingly lurking in seas around the world, and the US Navy’s high-tech Poseidon is there to hunt them

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The US Navy announced this month that it was restarting the 2nd Fleet to oversee the western Atlantic Ocean, including the North Atlantic and the US East Coast. Christopher Woody Business Insider The decision comes after several years of tensions between NATO members and Russia — and several warnings from Western officials about growing Russian naval activity, including more sophisticated and more active submarines. NATO has responded in kind, with a special focus on antisubmarine warfare — a capability that ... Read More »

‘Walk away!’ City of London chief urges Theresa May to issue EU Brexit ultimatum

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A LEADING financial advisor in the City of London has urged Theresa May to get tough and “walk away” from Brexit negotiations until financial services are back on the negotiating table. David Dawkins Express Barney Reynolds, one of the UK’s leading voices on law and the City of London, has championed the need for the financial services to be the keystone feature of the final Brexit trade deal between the EU and the… With EU leaders increasingly reluctant to discuss the ‘Enhanced ... Read More »

Fishy Brexit dilemma: Want out of EU but need the market

Skipper Lewis MacMillan rows out to his boat the Guess Again in Loch Fyne where he catches prawns | Kait Bolongaro/POLITICO

Fishermen make up some of the most enthusiastic Brexiteers, but many in the industry fear a hard Brexit. Kait Bolongaro Politico FURNACE, Scotland — The Brussels-hating fisherman has become a staple Brexit stereotype, but the U.K.’s fishing industry is in reality profoundly split over Britain’s impending EU departure. Think of an ardent Brexit supporter and you may well conjure up a fisherman dumping dead fish into the Thames or steering a trawler with Nigel Farage at its bow.  Enthusiastic Leavers shout loudly about ... Read More »

Are dictators on the way out – or on the way up?

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All around the world, democracy is looking shaky. While consolidated democracies are struggling to stay healthy, many flawed ones have turned into outright authoritarian regimes – most notably Russia under Vladimir Putin and Turkey under… Natasha Ezrow The Conversation But the news isn’t all bad: on several continents over the last decade, longstanding dictators have resigned, lost elections, or been deposed. As the table below indicates, the number of dictators who’ve fallen in recent years for all sorts of reasons ... Read More »

‘Flagrant’ Kremlin breaches international rules: UK intel chief

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Russia is committing “flagrant breaches of international rules,” the head of Britain’s security service claimed May 14 in which he will also stress the importance of post-Brexit security ties. LONDON – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet MI5 chief Andrew Parker said in a landmark speech in Berlin that a March nerve agent attack on Russian nationals Sergei and Yulia Skripal, which also injured a police officer, was a “deliberate and… Parker, who has a 35-year career in intelligence will say the attack is evidence of Russia pursuing an agenda through “aggressive ... Read More »