Europe

Helping the Burundian People Cope with the Economic Crisis

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Burundi’s worsening economy threatens to incite further violence in an already unstable country. ICG The European Union and its member states, who have suspended direct aid to the government, must redouble efforts to ensure that their support benefits the Burundian people. What’s happening?  In the wake of the political and security crisis ongoing in Burundi since 2015, the economy has suffered a sharp decline. The economic and social progress achieved since the end of the civil war in the 2000s ... Read More »

Turkey calls on country’s religious authority in struggle to keep prices down

BURSA, TURKEY - JUNE 10: An imam leads the first Friday Prayer during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan at Fatih Sultan Mehmet Mosque in Bursa, Turkey on June 10, 2016. Ali Atmaca / Anadolu Agency

As the Turkish lira continues to be hit by losses in value against foreign currencies, the government has been struggling to keep prices down, even going to the extent of using the… TM “[Islam] certainly forbids unlawful profits such as bribery, usury, speculation, black marketing and rigging prices, which challenge moral values and disrupt the peace in the society,” the weekly sermon said, according to the… Earlier this week one of Turkey’s biggest retailers, BİM, known for its cheap prices ... Read More »

Trump, Erdogan and the New Global Order

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The Trump administration must not choose drastic and destabilizing steps to put further pressure on Turkey or strong-arm allies into playing along with its decisions. Nick Danforth The New York Times The current crisis between Ankara and Washington over the fate of the imprisoned American pastor Andrew Brunson is the culmination of a long-simmering dispute over the fundamental nature of the relationship between the United States and Turkey. Both sides want the relationship to continue but have irreconcilable expectations about ... Read More »

Turkey might not like the West, but needs it

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When President Trump sanctioned two Turkish ministers—an unprecedented measure involving a NATO ally—and announced the doubling of trade tariffs early in August, he further aggravated the steadily deteriorating U.S.-Turkish relationship. Kemal Kirişci Brookings The moves came after the Turkish government refused to allow Pastor Andrew Brunson, who is facing spurious espionage and terrorism charges, to return to the United States. Turkey’s currency, already fragile, went into a tailspin, and has lost nearly half its value compared to the beginning of ... Read More »

Europe struggles to atone for its colonial evils

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At a handover ceremony held in a Berlin church on Wednesday, Namibian officials received the remains of indigenous people killed in their country by German forces more than a century ago. Edited by Max J. Rosenthal and Ruby Mellen By Ishaan Tharoor The Washington Post The grisly contents included 19 skulls, a scalp and bones belonging to five skeletons, all of which had been been housed for decades on dusty shelves in German universities and museums. The remains are a ... Read More »

Labyrinthine investigation concludes the Minotaur’s lair never existed

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Long held to be a known archaeological site, the Labyrinth of Crete was never built, says a new study. Fotis Kapetopoulos reports. Since the late nineteenth century, archaeologists, documentary-makers and novelists have asserted that the Cretan Labyrinth – the lair of the terrifying Minotaur – was a real place. But now a major paper suggests that the legendary maze was just that – legend, a figment of collective imagination. The labyrinth is popularly held to have been in the Palace ... Read More »

The Sick Man of Europe Returns

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When the Republic of Turkey emerged from the wreckage of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, its national ambition was to join Europe as a modern, secular state. Joschka Fischer * Project Syndicate But after much progress, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has now all but squandered his country’s chance of realizing its founders’ vision. BERLIN – One of the great geopolitical issues in nineteenth-century Europe was the so-called Eastern Question. The Ottoman Empire, then known as the “sick ... Read More »

MAPPED: Where can the British and French fish for scallops? Where are the boundaries?

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A SCALLOPS war has broken out over the English Channel, with British and French vessels clashing in angry exchanges over capture of the valuable shellfish. Where can they fish for scallops and what are the boundaries? Paul Withers Express This map from the Government shows the territorial sea limits of the UK, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. In particular in the latest outbreak with fishermen from across the channel, it illustrates a clear red line there the UK-France ... Read More »

Greece and the Balkans: opportunities across borders

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Greece’s recent exit from its economic adjustment programme last week has generated some long overdue welcome headlines for the country. Peter Sanfey EBRD But how can the country generate sustainable growth in the coming years? And what would a lasting Greek recovery mean for its neighbours throughout the Balkan region? One way to promote growth in Greece is to foster trade and investment linkages and develop interconnections with neighbouring countries, a fact recognised by the Greek government in their recently ... Read More »

Greece returns to the Balkans

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TIRANA, Aug. 28 – Greece’s Alternate Foreign Minister Georgios Katrougalos represented Greece at the informal summit of the Prime Ministers of the Western Balkan Countries (WB6) in Durres on Monday. Tirana Times The main topic of the meeting was to promote regional economic integration. In his speech, Katrougalos referred to the unwavering Greek stance in favor of the European perspective of the Balkan countries, highlighting recent initiatives to support political stability and economic co-operation in the region. A significant example ... Read More »

Russia: Chechen Leader Threatens Human Rights Defenders

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International Rights Groups Urge Putin to Curb Kadyrov (Moscow) – Russian President Vladimir Putin should condemn recent statements by Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya’s leader, threatening human rights defenders, Human Rights Watch said today. HRW Kadyrov vowed to carry out collective punishment against families of alleged insurgents. In a joint open letter, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Front Line Defenders urged Putin to ensure that Kadyrov is not permitted to carry out his unlawful threats against human rights defenders and suspects’ ... Read More »

The Erdogan Question: Is It Time To Shrink NATO?

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The Turkish president’s thuggish autocracy and reflexive anti-Americanism make him very popular in his country. Philip Terzian Weekly Standard There was once a country in what used to be called the Near East that was much admired in the United States and often regarded as America’s most valuable asset in the region. Although the country was predominantly Muslim, its government was resolutely secular in outlook and committed to “modernizing” its deeply traditional culture: Women enjoyed unprecedented equality, for example, and ... Read More »

Turkish currency isn’t the real problem for Erdoğan, it’s democracy

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is presiding over the damaging loss of value of the Turkish currency, the lira, against foreign currencies. Gary M. Grossman The Conversation It’s the most severe economic crisis the country has faced since he assumed power. Erdoğan has been the dominant figure in Turkish politics for almost two decades. Can he and his party maintain political control through this moment? As an American scholar, I began my engagement in Turkey in 1990, working with various ... Read More »

Time for President Donald Trump to Bury the U.S.-Turkey Alliance

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The alliance was already dead—just not everyone realizes it yet. The U.S.-Turkey alliance is dead. Certainly, as long as Tayyip Recep Erdoğan is Turkey’s president. Doug Bandow The National Interest And probably well beyond that. The current dispute over the imprisonment of evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson dominates the news. But more important is an increasing divergence in the two nations’ geopolitical interests. The traditional claim that Ankara was a “vital” partner long reflected the triumph of hope over experience. During ... Read More »

A Preview of Donald Trump’s Next Speech on Erdogan’s Turkey

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Reflections on how to Make Turkey Great Again. When Recep Tayyip Erdogan jailed an American pastor, Andrew Brunson, and held him as a hostage, Donald Trump tried to get the fellow released. Ira Straus the Globalist This effort failing, he chose to respond with sanctions. Erdogan struck back with demagogic speeches about this being an attack on Turkey. The man in the Oval Office is unlikely to back down. He is not one to let go if someone locks horns ... Read More »

Al Gore, missionary man

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For someone warning of dangers of climate apocalypse, former US vice president is surprisingly upbeat. By MATTHEW KARNITSCHNIG Politico BERLIN — Al Gore spent a year in divinity school as a young man, but he was well into middle age by the time he found his calling as a climate preacher. Now 70, and both grayer and portlier than when he was a full-time politician, America’s almost-president travels the world to raise awareness about climate change and what mankind can do ... Read More »