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The presidents of the United States and Turkey are finding common ground where seemingly there is none. There could be many reasons why Donald Trump and Recep Tayyip Erdogan are not meant to be friends. For one, the U.S. is protecting Erdogan’s archnemesis, Fethullah Gulen. Another is that Washington and Ankara have fractured relations over Turkey’s purchase of a Russian missile defense system. Several other issues pit NATO allies Washington and Ankara against one another, though none larger at the moment than the matter of the Syrian Kurds. To Washington, the Syrian Kurds were the most trusted ally in the fight against the Islamic State. To Ankara, the Syrian Kurd military branch, the YPG, is one and the same with the PKK, which has long waged
Istanbul voters dealt Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a tremendous blow last Sunday when they resoundingly rejected the country’s former prime minister and close Erdogan ally, Binali Yildirim, in his bid to become mayor of Istanbul and maintain the quarter-century grip on Turkey’s largest city that Erdogan and his allies had held. New Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu defeated Yildirm 54 percent to 45 percent in the re-run of a vote in March that Imamoglu narrowly won. The loss amounted to Erdogan’s first major electoral defeat of his political career and a serious blow to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which Erdogan co-founded. The Turkish president and his allies had controlled Istanbul since Erdogan was elected mayor of the Turkish metropolis 25 years ago. A variety of
Next week’s elections for European parliament are likely to be treated as irrelevant by most European voters with considerably less than 50% expected to turn out at the polls. Nonetheless, they are watershed elections even though you wouldn’t know that by reading the European press. The reason for that is that both the press and most politicians strenuously avoid discussing what is really at stake in European politics. Instead, they conjure up doomsday predictions of the rise of supposedly anti-European “nationalists” and “populists.” In fact, the “nationalists” are anything but anti-European. Expected to win between a quarter and a third of the vote, few if any of them want to leave the European Union and in most ways they are much more representative of traditional European values than the
The ratification of the Macedonia name deal between Athens and Skopje on Friday capped a year in which the West renewed its focus on integrating the Western Balkans into the Euro-Atlantic community. Bulgaria factored into the renewed push to integrate the region into NATO and the EU because Sofia made Western Balkan integration a focal point of its European Council presidency that spanned the first half of 2018. Sofia capped its EU presidency by hosting the EU-Western Balkans summit last May. The summit was a high-level gathering of EU and Western Balkan leaders, the first of its kind in 15 years. Now that 2018 is complete and the Macedonia name dispute has been settled, one can have a clearer look at the fruits of Bulgaria’s push to
The article first published in americanthinker.com on 11/29/2018. When European 21st century history is written, the picture above will be considered as emblematic of its times as the one of Chamberlain waving his ‘peace in our time’ piece of paper in 1938. And it may be even more damning, because while they were a few isolated criticisms of the abject cow-towing of democratic politicians to the monstrous Hitler regime in 1938, not a voice of disapproval to the blatant pandering by Merkel and Macron to the evil dictatorships of Putin and Erdogan was heard from either Brussels or the mainstream press in Europe. Instead, Macron and Merkel called shortly after their late October meeting in Istanbul with Erdoğan and Putin for an E.U. army to defend Europe from the United States, while
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