Posts Tagged ‘The Economist’

What in the world is going on in Turkey?

June 24, 2013

Turkey demosFour weeks ago a small group of environmentally-minded Turks staged a demonstration, or an occupation, of tiny Gezi park in Istanbul, where the government had stated its intent to build a replica of an Ottoman-era barracks to house a shopping mall.

The government responded by attacking the protesters violently with water cannon and tear gas. The disproportionate attack on the peaceful protesters crystallized widespread hostility to the government of Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdoğan (pronounced ER-duh-wan). The protests grew and spread all over Turkey, and everywhere the protesters were met by violent police action. So far five have died, and the protests have died down.

Erdoğan blames the trouble on outsiders, including CNN and the “interest lobby,” and has called out his supporters into massive counter demonstrations.

Erdoğan was first elected to head the government in 2002, with 34% of the vote. He was reelected in 2007 with 46%, and again in 2011 with just under 50% of the votes cast. He is a practicing Muslim—rare for a Turkish leader—and has steadily moved to make Turkish society more congenial to pious Muslims. He wants to amend the Constitution to allow women to wear headscarves in public buildings (now forbidden), and has had laws passed that allow early religious instruction in elementary school, limit the sale of alcohol, and has proposed bans on abortion and even on kissing in public.

Some fear Erdoğan’s goal is to introduce Sharia law, a la Iran or Saudi Arabia, while others (including The Economist) call him a “moderate Islamist” and believe his intent is simply to (more…)

Republicans defy ethics, duty, and the Constitution as they bargain over raising the debt ceiling

July 4, 2011

Republican opposition to raising the national debt ceiling calls for a stronger word than just ‘unethical.’ Irresponsible? Ugly? Dishonest? Maybe even unconstitutional, since the Fourteenth Amendment states, in Section 4,

“The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”

The Republicans are trying to frame the argument as one of big government vs small government. But that’s false. The question is, does the government meet its obligations, all of which were authorized by law, that is, by Congress, in accordance with the Constitution. Every dollar of obligation was accrued in accordance with Congress’s direction; every government bond, every social security payment, every soldier’s pay, every bullet purchased…you get the idea.

House Speaker John Boehner has said that of course the debt ceiling would be raised, but now seems to be going back on that position to accommodate some in his caucus who have no sense off duty, no responsibility to govern.

If the Republicans continue questioning the public debt they’re inviting, in the words of The Economist, “ incalculable consequences for the world economy as well as America’s…That strikes some Americans as nothing less than blackmail.”

If the President continues to play their game he’ll be giving in to their blackmail and will have abandoned his responsibility to govern.

Both Turkey and the Armenian diaspora should look for ways of rewriting a familiar script

March 13, 2010

That’s the headline in this week’s sensible editorial in The Economist about the controversy over what to name the events that led to the deaths of so many Armenians in 1915.

Their conclusion: “There is room for scholarly inquiry into the working of the murky state machinery that led to that outcome—to determine whether the tragedy was principally the result of murderous design or culpable neglect. By inviting all scholars to peruse its archives (something it has done only patchily), Turkey could disarm its critics.

Highly recommended reading.


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