Middle East

Turkey’s snap election yields surprises on all sides – what next?

It was another surreal night in Turkish politics. That the elections were suddenly brought forward by more than a year was a surprise in itself – but the standout surprise of the campaign was the sudden rise of opposition candidate Muharrem Ince. Alpaslan Ozerdem The Conversation To everybody’s amazement, during a campaign lasting only 50 days, Ince transformed himself from an also-ran into a serious contender. He managed to pull support from all sections of society to his large rallies ... Read More »

Saudi Arabia’s $121 billion reason to allow women to drive

Allowing Saudi women to drive could help the kingdom reap as much income as selling shares in Saudi Aramco. Bloomberg The Sydney Morning Herald The move, which went into effect on Sunday, could add as much as $US90 billion ($121 billion) to economic output by 2030, with the benefits extending beyond that date, according to Bloomberg Economics. Selling as much as 5 percent stake in Saudi Arabian Oil Co. — at the most optimistic valuation — could generate about $US100 ... Read More »

Turks Have Voted Away Their Democracy

Erdoğan’s election victory advances his vision of absolute control. Diego Cupolo The Atlantic First they ignored him. Then they laughed at him. Then they jailed him. Then he became perhaps Turkey’s most powerful leader in 80 years. Last night, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan extended his 16-year dominance over Turkey with a victory in the first round of the country’s snap elections, winning 52.5 percent of the vote. In the eyes of his roughly 26 million supporters, it was a resounding victory ... Read More »

Corbyn: Labour Government Will Recognize State Of Palestine

“The next Labour government will recognise Palestine as a state as one step towards a genuine two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict,” Corbyn wrote on Twitter during a visit to Jordan. Samuel Thrope JPost Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, said Saturday that a UK government under his leadership would recognize the state of Palestine. “The next Labour government will recognise Palestine as a state as one step towards a genuine two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict,” Corbyn ... Read More »

The Fate of Turkey’s Democracy Lies With the Kurds

Ahead of tomorrow’s elections, Ankara is expected to tamper with the vote and make life difficult for members of the embattled minority group. Diego Cupolo The Atlantic DIYARBAKIR, Turkey—This past Sunday, four Kurdish candidates running for office in Turkey’s June 24 elections rolled into the rural town of Hani to rally their supporters. The candidates, along with their campaign team, had been speaking from atop their bus to a crowd of some 150 people for about 10 minutes before a ... Read More »

Refugee crisis: the immediate and lasting impacts of powerful images

Recent images and footage of migrant children housed in wire cages near the United States’ southern border have fuelled global outrage. Authors: The Conversation President Donald Trump has now signed an executive order to end the separation of immigrant families at the US-Mexico border. Trump apparently bent to public pressure from many sides, including the feelings of his wife Melania Trump. But apart from driving policy in the short term, do confronting images create change in public perception and willingness ... Read More »

An island nation in the Mediterranean Sea is running dry

Countries in the eastern Mediterranean are increasingly vulnerable to drought as the changing climate brings higher temperatures and less precipitation. NBC2 MARONI, Cyprus — The salty water of the Mediterranean in plain view from Charis Christoforou’s olive farm is no help to the cracked, white earth suffering from a third year of drought. A shortage of rain combined with clouds of dust carried over from the water-starved Middle East has slashed Christoforou’s olive production to a quarter of what it ... Read More »

The real reason Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on women driving: economic necessity

After years of campaigning by women activists, on June 24 the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia will be lifted. Martin Hvidt The Conversation It is the most visible of a bundle of recent initiatives taken by the Saudi king and the crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, to strengthen the role of women in Saudi society. These include more public sector job openings for women, an apparent relaxation of women’s strict dress code, the extension of suffrage to women ... Read More »

Fighter Sale to Turkey Could Pit Trump Against Congress

A battle is brewing over the transfer of F-35 fighter jets. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are threatening to block Turkey from obtaining its promised fleet of 100 F-35 fighter jets over Ankara’s human rights violations and planned purchase of a… By Lara Seligman, Robbie Gramer FP But it’s not clear that President Donald Trump’s administration will back them up. Turkey, the third-largest planned operator of the F-35 after the United States and United Kingdom, just received its first aircraft during ... Read More »

Yemen Conflict Alert: Last Chance to Prevent a Destructive Hodeida Battle

The fate of Hodeida hangs in the balance as UAE-backed Yemeni forces poise for what will be a prolonged and destructive battle to expel Huthi rebels. ICG A real but fleeting opportunity exists to avert catastrophe through a UN-mediated solution that safeguards all sides’ interests. The battle for Hodeida is reaching the point of no return. UAE-backed Yemeni forces are poised to begin operations to take this Red Sea port and city of 600,000 from Huthi rebels. This is the ... Read More »

Erdogan Is Making the Ottoman Empire Great Again

Turkey is leveraging tradition to expand its power in Europe — but the history cuts both ways. Michael Colborne, Maxim Edwards FP SARAJEVO — Not every Turkish president can come to Sarajevo and get an endorsement from both heaven and earth, but Recep Tayyip Erdogan has managed to pull it off. At a pre-election rally for Erdogan in the Bosnian capital last month, Bakir Izetbegovic, the Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) chairman of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency and son of the country’s first ... Read More »

Keeping the Calm in Southern Syria

As the Syrian regime masses its forces to recapture the country’s south west from the opposition, another humanitarian disaster looms. ICG The U.S., Russia and Jordan, which brokered a south-western ceasefire in 2017, should urgently extend that truce in preparation for a broader settlement. What’s new? Having retaken the last rebel-held areas in Syria’s western interior, the Syrian regime is turning southward. Regime forces are massing in preparation for a reconquest of the “de… Why does it matter? The south ... Read More »

Turkey to get F-35 jets Thursday despite opposition from Congress

Washington (CNN) – Despite opposition from the US Congress, Turkey is set to receive its first F-35 Joint Strike Fighters on Thursday during a ceremony in Fort Worth, Texas, the Pentagon said Tuesday. Ryan Browne “Lockheed Martin will hold a rollout ceremony for Turkey this Thursday in Fort Worth, and the two jets will follow-on to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona at a later date,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Andrews told CNN. “Turkish F-35 pilots and maintainers have arrived ... Read More »

It’s 34,361 and rising: how the List tallies Europe’s migrant bodycount

The deaths do not just occur at sea – but in detention blocks, asylum units and even town centres. Here’s how the List is put together The boat capsized in rough seas in March close to Italian territorial waters. by Niamh McIntyre and Mark Rice-Oxley, graphics by Niko Kommenda and Pablo Gutiérrez The Guardian A search and rescue operation fished bodies from the sea, dead and alive. Many of the ship’s passengers remained unaccounted for. No one knew quite how many. It’s a grimly familiar tale ... Read More »

Could Erdogan lose? What to know about Turkey’s elections

Everything to know about Turkey’s elections… Istanbul, Turkey (CNN)Turkish voters head to the polls Sunday in transformative elections that will usher in a new system of government, giving sweeping new powers to whoever wins the presidency. By Gul Tuysuz, CNN Recep Tayyip Erdogan is used to winning elections — he served as Turkey’s prime minister for three terms from 2003 and then as president since 2014. He narrowly won a referendum last year that will scrap the role of prime ... Read More »

Noon Forum Examines “Turkey’s Claims to the Eastern Mediterranean: Myth & Reality”

WASHINGTON, DC —The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) hosted a Noon Forum on the topic, “Turkey’s Claims to the Eastern Mediterranean: Myth & Reality” featuring Professor Theodore Kariotis on May 30, 2018. “Professor Kariotis is an expert on maritime law and the issues of Exclusive Economic Zones,” AHI President Nick Larigakis said. “His insight into the Turkey’s mythical claims to Cyprus’ EEZ and Greek islands once again proves the real and substantial threat to territorial sovereignty that U.S. allies face every ... Read More »