Europe

Turkey Wipes Out the Christian Culture of Occupied Cyprus

A sixth-century mosaic of Saint Mark, stolen from a church after Turkey’s military invaded Cyprus in 1974, was recently recovered in a Monaco apartment and returned to Cypriot officials. Uzay Bulut Gatestone Institute The ancient masterpiece was described by Arthur Brand, the Dutch investigator who located it, as “one of the last and most beautiful examples of art from the early Byzantine era.” Many other cultural Cypriot relics, from churches and other sites, were stolen from Cyprus by Turkish invaders and ... Read More »

EU leaders have endorsed Brexit deal at summit in Brussels

Leaders met to agree text of UK Brexit deal and political declaration on the future relationship between the EU and UK Patrick Smyth The Irish Times European Union leaders formally agreed a Brexit deal at a Brussels summit on Sunday morning, urging Britons to back British Prime Minister Theresa May’s package, which faces furious opposition in the… The 27 leaders took barely half an hour to rubber-stamp a 600-page treaty setting terms for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union on March 29th and a 26-page ... Read More »

E.U. Leaders and U.K. Agree on Brexit Divorce Terms

BRUSSELS — More than four decades after Britain tied itself to its Continental neighbors, Prime Minister Theresa May obtained the approval of the other 27 European Union members on a… By Stephen Castle and Steven Erlanger The New York Times The journey has been long and tortuous for both sides, and the drama is hardly over. Mrs. May must still get approval for the deal — a dense, legally binding divorce settlement and a… Since Britons voted in 2016 to ... Read More »

Brexit: Emmanuel Macron in EU customs union threat to Scottish fishing

Emmanuel Macron has put fishing at the heart of a fresh row over the future trade with the EU by threatening to keep the UK inside the customs union unless European fishermen keep the same rights in British waters after Brexit. Paris Gourtsoyiannis The Scotsman The French President said that unless a new fishing agreement is agreed by the end of 2020, maintaining reciprocal access to waters and imposing the same quotas as today, he would seek to trigger the ... Read More »

The anti-Brexiters can get by without a leader. But not without a plan

As the chances of securing a people’s vote increase, the campaign needs to address the discontents of those who voted to leave the first time Andrew Rawnsley The Guardian If there were another Brexit referendum, who should lead the campaign to stay within the European Union? Pop this question to a prominent politician on the Remain side and you sometimes get the response, usually after a faux modest pause, that maybe the best face of the cause would be the person ... Read More »

Switzerland votes against putting ‘Swiss Law First’

Swiss voters have rejected a plan to put Swiss court rulings ahead of international ones. However, they approved of allowing insurers to spy on customers and against a ban on the dehorning of cows. DW Some 66 percent of voters and all of the country’s 26 cantons voted on Sunday against the “Swiss law, not foreign judges” measure. The measure, backed by rightwing groups, called for domestic law to be placed above international law, a move that opponents claim would damage the ... Read More »

Tensions Flare as Ukraine Says Russia Fired on Its Ships

Tensions escalated late Sunday as Ukraine accused Russia of attacking its navy near Crimea. By Aliaksandr Kudrytski , Daryna Krasnolutska , and Ilya Arkhipov Bloomberg Russian warships opened fire on a group of Ukrainian military vessels that had previously tried to enter the Kerch Strait near the disputed peninsula, Ukraine’s Navy said on Facebook. Two men were wounded as the Russians “fired to kill,” according to the statement. Ukraine said three of its ships were captured. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called an emergency cabinet meeting ... Read More »

Khashoggi murder: Storm clouds gather over Turkish-Saudi ties

Turkey’s determination to go all the way to force Saudi Arabia to come clean over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is pointing to a serious crisis in the making between the two countries. Semih Idiz Al-Monitor This crisis, which could have regional implications for Turkey, seems unavoidable since Ankara’s accusations ultimately target Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, commonly referred to by his initials, MBS. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government have no affection for the crown prince, who ... Read More »

Will Erdogan Risk Turkey’s COE Membership?

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that the ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding the incarceration of Selahattin Demirtas, of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), is… Semih Idiz Sigma Insight Turkey The Court ruled that Demirtas, a former presidential candidate who has been in prison since November 2016 on terrorism charges, should be released immediately because he had been detained for… The ruling puts Ankara in a bind, because, contrary to what Erdogan is arguing, ECHR ... Read More »

How an EU citizens’ assembly could help to renew European democracy

There’s an urgent need to reduce the distance between citizens of EU member states and the EU’s political institutions, to challenge the rise of populism and to renew citizen engagement in the way those institutions make decisions. James Organ The Conversation An EU citizens’ assembly – a representative group of randomly selected citizens, brought together to learn about and deliberate upon an issue, and then make a policy recommendation – would be a major step towards achieving… That’s the recommendation ... Read More »

Former Turkish PM’s son resurrects his father’s Welfare Party

Fatih Erbakan, the son of former Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, has resurrected his father’s Welfare Party (RP), which was closed by Turkey’s top court in 1998. TM The New Welfare Party was announced by the younger Erbakan in a tweet on Friday. Abdülhamid Kayıhan Osmanoğlu, a grandchild of Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamit II, who died in exile in 1918, was among the founders of the party. Necmettin Erbakan, a leading figure of Turkey’s Islamist movement, had formed the old RP ... Read More »

Hillary Clinton urges Europe to curb migration to stop populists

Former US presidential candidate says leaders must show they can no longer ‘provide refuge and support.’ Eline Schaart Politico Europe needs a tougher approach on immigration in order to curb the growing threat of right-wing populists, Hillary Clinton said, calling on EU leaders to show their electorates that they can no longer “provide refuge and support.” “I think Europe needs to get a handle on migration because that is what lit the flame,” Clinton said in an interview with the Guardian published ... Read More »

Why I’m sick of Turkey

Washington continues to claim Ankara as ‘strategic partner.’ Let’s stop pretending it is. Steven A. Cook Politico I am already sick of Turkey. I suspect that many Americans feel this way, about the bird and the country. Yet a small group of Washington foreign policy hands — at the State Department, at the Pentagon and in congressional offices — continue to make the case for Turkey as a “strategically important” partner to the… On paper, the country looks good: It ... Read More »

George Papadopoulos spreading disinformation to Australia

George Papadopoulos, a one-time adviser to the Donald Trump campaign, is promoting disinformation aimed at Australia, using tactics “in the same vein” as other public figures linked to… Chris Zappone WAtoday Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty in a US court to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian intermediary in September, has since initiated a public relations war against Australia’s former… After Papadopoulos told Downer in 2016 that Russia possessed damaging material about then-US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, ... Read More »

Scotland is Free to join EU, says Spain: Spanish Infuriate UK with goading on Brexit deal

Brexit will lead to the breakup of the UK, according to Spanish foreign minister Josep Borrell, as Spain drops its historic opposition to Scotland rejoining the EU as an independent country. Abbie Llewelyn Express Spain has faced its own independence claim from the region of Catalonia, which voted to separate in a referendum dubbed illegal by Madrid. The Spanish government has always opposed Scotland being allowed to join the EU, apparently worried that it would start a precedent for newly ... Read More »

Britain must ditch post-imperial fantasies for a shot of sober realism – just as it did in 1975

God forbid that a leading Brexiteer should have to own the mess he has helped create. Fintan O’Toole NewStatesman As Robert Saunders reports in his fine book Yes to Europe!, the popular mood in 1974, a year after Britain joined the Common Market, was nicely captured by an official at the Department of Trade and Industry. He likened the British public, in its attitude to its European adventure, to “a crowd of holidaymakers who, after much doubt and expense, have made ... Read More »