Features

Re-conquest of Constantinople

Vehbi Kara is just another Islamist columnist who would not surprise you. He writes for this columnist’s favourite Islamist daily, Yeni Şafak. Burak Bekdil Sigma Insight Turkey His column on January 11th did not offer readers a revolutionary view –nor was it expected to– but was useful in trying to decipher the “conquest fetish” among conservative Muslims. Mr Kara wrote: “Devout people (Muslims) view Hagia Sophia as a symbol of Islam’s domination in these lands … It (as it is ... Read More »

Turkey’s threat to Kurds demands US protection

Responding to a Turkish military buildup on its border with northeastern Syria, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s threat of a new incursion into Syria, President Trump has warned Turkey not to attack the Syrian Kurds. Dov S. Zakheim The Hill Kurdish forces have been allied to America and the coalition it leads; have borne the brunt of the ground war with ISIS; have suffered heavy losses in doing so. On the other hand, Turkey considers both the Syrian Kurdish militia ... Read More »

Rahaf al Qunun pledges to use her freedom to campaign for others after being granted asylum in Canada

In a week, Rahaf al Qunun has gone from being barricaded inside a Bangkok airport hotel room to being the most recognised refugee on the planet. Sophie McNeill ABC After landing in Toronto on Saturday, she has spent the last 48 hours trying to come to terms with the incredible events of the past week. The 18-year-old fled her Saudi family while visiting Kuwait, before flying to Bangkok on January 5. She had a valid visa to Australia, but was… ... Read More »

Turkey’s Erdogan calls for revision of Bosnia peace accords

ANKARA, Turkey Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for a revision of the 1995 peace agreement that ended the Bosnian War, saying they failed to address the former Yugoslav republic’s future. Miami Herald The Associated Press Erdogan said the United Nations should take “a stronger step” in a possible revision of the international Dayton Accords that established a complex government system designed to heal an ethnic divide after the… The Turkish leader made the comments during a news conference ... Read More »

On Thin Ice: The Iran Nuclear Deal at Three

Remarkably, the Iran nuclear deal has survived the Trump administration’s withdrawal. ICG Now it must weather 2019, its year of greatest peril, as mounting U.S. pressure tests Iranian patience. With Europe’s help, Tehran must keep sticking to the agreement in anticipation of sunnier times ahead. What’s new? The Iran nuclear deal is entering its fourth year of implementation, with Iran remaining in full compliance with its obligations. Meanwhile, the Trump administration, which unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from the deal in ... Read More »

Comment: For Britain’s sake, Theresa May, just go

Video provided by Sky News Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft. So now we know. Joseph Harker The Guardian With the clock ticking rapidly towards 29 March, Theresa May’s Brexit has been defeated – and in devastating style. This was the worst government defeat in British history. The contradictions and dissembling the prime minister engaged in over the past ... Read More »

A performer’s life: ‘It’s like starting over and over and over on a zero-hour contract’

Ireland sends out its impoverished artists with a fanfare of glitter and we return home to poverty Deirdre Falvey The Irish Times Artists’ lives offer a glimpse of the reality behind Theatre Forum’s review of performers’ payscales. Liv O’Donoghue, a choreographer and dancer, has toured her own acclaimed work, and performed across Europe, Australia and the US. “I’ve been lucky to be in relatively regular employment and some would say that I’ve been at the top of my game. But ... Read More »

Five Steps to Save Yemen’s Stockholm Agreement

The Stockholm Agreement, though imprecise, offers a real shot at building a peace process for war-ravaged Yemen. Peter Salisbury ICG But the accord is faltering amid mutual recriminations. The UN, and the wider international community, should act now to make sure the combatants follow through on their commitments. In December 2018, representatives of Yemen’s internationally recognised government and the rebel Huthi movement did something unexpected: they agreed on something. At UN-mediated talks in Sweden, the two parties announced what is ... Read More »

Migrant caravans are making their way to the US border — but the journey is far from easy

Imagine you’re 13 years old. You don’t want to sell drugs for a gang, so one of their thugs tries to kill you. Foreign Correspondent By Eric Campbell ABC You have no family, so you flee for your life, crossing jungles and rivers on a dangerous 4,000-kilometre journey to find safety. When you finally arrive, you face American soldiers who’ve been authorised to kill you. We spent three days with that boy. His name is Daniel and he’s one of ... Read More »

How one German city developed – and then lost – generations of math geniuses

There are two things that connect the names Gauss, Riemann, Hilbert and Noether. David Gunderman The National Interest One is their outstanding breadth of contributions to the field of mathematics. The other is that each was a professor at the same university in Göttingen, Germany. Although relatively unknown today, Göttingen, a small German university town, was for a time one of the most productive centers of mathematics in history. Göttingen’s rise to mathematical primacy occurred over generations, but its fall ... Read More »

Vestager in hot seat as she moves to derail mega-merger

Alstom-Siemens deal looks set to be blocked in Brussels, but Paris and Berlin are exerting political pressure. Thibault Larger Politico EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager will face questions on Tuesday from her fellow commissioners over why she is opposing the French and German governments to thwart the creation of a… Vestager is on course to block a landmark merger between France’s Alstom and Germany’s Siemens even though Paris and Berlin insist that the tie-up is needed to build a European industrial heavyweight ... Read More »

Turkey accused of plundering olive oil from Syria to sell in the EU

Α Swiss MP has accused the Turkish government of passing off olive oil plundered from Syria as Turkish in order to sell it in European Union countries, including Spain. James Badcock The Telegraph Bernhard Guhl of Switzerland’s Conservative Democratic Party has alerted the Swiss government to the possibility of olive oil seized as loot from the conflict in Syria entering the European Union single market falsely labelled as Turkish, with the… “In Turkish-occupied Afrin, the olive groves are being pillaged by ... Read More »

Improving Prospects for a Peaceful Transition in Sudan

Popular protests are rumbling across Sudan, shaking President Omar al-Bashir’s 30-year grip on power. ICG The authorities have cracked down hard and, as the demonstrations intensify, they may ratchet up the repression. External powers should urge restraint and offer Bashir a way to the exit. What’s new? Protests across Sudan flared up as the government cut a vital bread subsidy. Economic grievances are fuelling demands for political change, with protesters calling on President Omar al-Bashir, in power since 1989, to ... Read More »

Ethiopia: Abiy Ahmed brings new hope, but faces some familiar, old problems

Many countries in Africa have suffered because of the gerontocratic nature of their politics, an issue I have often lamented. Stephen Chan The Conversation Some “elders”, such as Robert Mugabe, lost touch with modern statecraft and the changing conditions of life – and have been toppled. Others, such as Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari, are loathe to let go of power, and not only grow old but sick, too. Others still, like Gabon’s longstanding Bongo dynasty, are determined to be fixtures who ... Read More »

The Turkish president’s epic distortion of facts on Syria

On Jan. 7, the New York Times published an opinion piece by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that is a masterpiece in historical revisionism better suited to Turkey’s state-controlled media. Brian Glyn Williams The Hill Erdogan relies upon most Americans’ lack of awareness of the situation on the ground in Syria and makes bold claims with outright falsehoods. For example, Erdogan begins by stating: “In 2016, Turkey became the first country to deploy ground combat troops to fight the so-called Islamic State ... Read More »

Between the Millet System and EU Values: The Sunni Muslim Turkish State and Non-Muslim Minorities

The relationship between the state and non-Muslim communities[1] has been a sensitive issue since the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923. Dr. Özgür Kaymak MDC Although the principle of secularism has been stated in the constitution, wherein the state was ostensibly required to distance itself from all religious beliefs equally,  Islam had always played an important role in the formation of Turkish identity. The debates with regard to freedom of religion and conscience as well as the rights of ... Read More »