Election snapshot Late in a campaign dominated by typical ethnic divisions and nationalist rhetoric arose a rather touching story of Bosnians of different ethnicities uniting against abuse of power. But when the votes were counted, nationalist politics prevailed, with one notable exception. And in the case of the nationalist leader who lost, there may be an unintended consequence of even more divisiveness and gridlock in Bosnia. Meanwhile, with Bosnia’s Euro-Atlantic integration progressing at a snail’s pace, other geopolitical actors, including the Russian and Turkish governments, can exploit these tensions, leaving the country in a volatile situation. The drama and complexity At least several thousand and possibly tens of thousands of people gathered in the center of Banja Luka Friday night, the final night for rallies ahead
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On August 28, an event took place in Washington that few media covered at all. To the extent that they did at all, it was to report on Nicky Haley’s speech criticizing the United Nation’s organization (UNRWA) that has kept the Palestinians branded and supported as refugees ever since 1948. The event at the conservative Foundation for the Defense of the Democracies (FDD) main purpose was to give Haley, a star of the Trump Administration, another award, but there was another part of it that was more politically significant. That was awards given to 7 FBI and Department of Justice officials for their work in preventing Turkish government efforts to circumvent Iran sanctions. What was most unusual about the appearance of these officials, who are normally seen in
The article first published in americanthinker.com on 08/14/2018. And so by mid-2018, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has achieved virtually everything he sat out to achieve when he first came to power in 2003. Turkey is now in everything but the name an Islamist dictatorship with Erdogan as the unchallenged leader. Yet, instead of feeling supremely confident, Erdogan and his clique are beset by ineluctable problems and foreboding of disaster down the road. In many ways, this was inevitable and stems from the very nature of the radical transformation of an imperfect democracy into an oppressive tyranny. Disaster for Turkey may not be around the bend, it was thought, but it was inevitable sooner rather than later. The collapse of the Turkish lira last Friday may have signaled that ‘sooner’ is now. To
Istanbul’s Taksim Square has a new feel. A giant mosque — not yet completed — now towers over a monument to the Turkish Republic in the center of the square. The monument glorifies Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the secular Turkish Republic. On Sunday night, supporters of Erdogan celebrated the president’s election victory, gathering around the busts of Ataturk, screaming “Allahu akbar” (God is great), Palestine is for Arabs and other chants, including singing a song glorifying Erdogan. They paused their celebration briefly during the call to prayer. Down the street on Istiklal Avenue — a hub for bar and entertainment venues — the tourist contingent is dominated by people from the Middle East and the Muslim world. While tourism appears to be picking up in Turkey,
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The article first published in americanthinker.com on 03/03/2018. Milton Friedman once said open borders and the welfare state are incompatible. This is easy to prove in California, where, according to a recent essay by Victor Davis Hanson, half of all immigrant households are on welfare and the state accounts for a third of the nation’s welfare recipients with only 12% of its population, even as 20% of California’s population lives below the poverty line. Recent figures published in Europe’s economic powerhouse, Germany, indicate that following Angela Merkel’s disastrous open-borders experiment of two and a half years ago, that country is well on its way to joining California in proving the wisdom of Friedman’s admonition, to the huge detriment of the German people. Official figures of the German statistical office show that beginning
The news from Ankara these days ascertain an important segment in President Erdogan’s drive for global prominence as he is borrowing heavily from President Putin’s guide for autocratic leaders. Yet it is hard to see how he will be able to profit from the Kremlin’s recipes, lacking the tsar’s resources and insatiable pool of social patience. Russia has been seeking to build on the rifts within NATO and US-Turkish relations by enticing Erdogan into a pool of geopolitical tradeoffs and gambles. Putin’s attempts to undermine the EU and the US are persisting. The chance to help Turkey steer away from NATO’s mainstream and turn into its weakest element seems up for grabs. President Putin is visiting Turkey this week to talk over a new strategic framework
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cemented his control over Turkey Sunday, establishing a new political order out of the chaos that has gripped the country over the last couple of years. With a narrow victory in Turkey’s constitutional referendum, Erdogan will now become head of government, in addition to being head of state. He will have the legal ground to rule largely by executive decree, something he has already been doing under a state of emergency. Erdogan also said he plans to parlay Sunday’s victory into a referendum on bringing back the death penalty. Additionally, if twice reelected as president, Erdogan could serve as Turkey’s executive leader until 2029. On Sunday, Erdogan’s “yes” campaign received about 51.4% of the vote. The “no” campaign received
In a year that has begun with a bloody attack on Europe’s southeastern edge, the SEE region figures to again factor prominently in world events. What transpired in Southeastern Europe in 2016 and what lies ahead in 2017? 2016 was a very violent year in Turkey, where war, terror and mass arrests grabbed the headlines. In 2017, the bloodshed has already begun. More than three dozen New Year’s Eve partygoers were killed just minutes after the year began. Now, Turkish President Recep Erdogan will seek to exploit the chaos in order to transform Turkey’s system of governance and obtain the executive presidency he has long desired. While blood spilled in Turkey, the year 2016 in the Balkans was characterized by an uneasy peace. Following the Brexit vote