• Breaking News: Twenty-two migrants drowned off two Greek islands

    30/Oct/2015 // 719 Viewers

    Reports reaching our news desk say at least 22 migrants got drowned Thursday night off the Greek islands of Kalymnos and Rhodes in a desperate bid to make it to Europe.

    However about 144 migrants made it ashore following a rescue team was dispatched by the Greek  port authorities.

    Off Kalymnos,19 bodies of the drowned migrants, DailyGlobeWatch gathered, were washed ashore and recovered by the authorities and these include children and women while another boat also reportedly sank off the tiny Island of Rhodes. A woman and a child also  lost their lives in the boat mishap.


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  • Russia confirms first airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria

    30/Sep/2015 // 138 Viewers

    Russia said it launched air strikes against Islamic State group in Syria on Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin secured his parliament’s unanimous backing to intervene to prop up the Kremlin’s closest Middle East ally.

    Moscow gave Washington just an hour’s notice of the strikes, which set in train Russia’s biggest play in the region since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, a U.S. official said.

    Targets in the Homs area appeared to have been struck, but not areas held by Islamic State, the U.S. official said.

    The Russian Defence Ministry said however that its attacks were directed at Islamic State military targets.

    Putin said the only way to fight “terrorists” in Syria was to act preemptively. Russia’s military involvement in the Middle East would only involve its air force and would be temporary.

    The Homs area is crucial to President Bashar al-Assad’s control of western Syria. Insurgent control of that area would bisect the Assad-held west, separating Damascus from the coastal cities of Latakia and Tartous, where Russia operates a naval facility.

    A U.S.-led coalition has already been bombing Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, but Putin derided U.S. efforts to end the Syria war at the United Nations on Monday, suggesting a broader and more coordinated coalition was needed to defeat the militants.

    “The military aim of our operations will be exclusively to provide air support to Syrian government forces in their struggle against ISIS (Islamic State),” Sergei Ivanov, the Kremlin’s Chief-of-Staff, said before reports that the strikes had begun.

    Russia has been steadily dispatching more and more military aircraft to a base in Latakia, regarded as an Assad stronghold, after the Syrian government suffered a series of battlefield reverses.

    Military experts

    Moscow has already sent military experts to a recently established command centre in Baghdad which is coordinating air strikes and ground troops in Syria, a Russian official told Reuters.

    Ivanov, the Kremlin’s Chief of Staff, said Russia’s missions would be limited and not open-ended. He precluded the use of ground troops.

    “As our president has already said, the use of ground troops has been ruled out,” said Ivanov.

    Russia’s involvement in Syria will be a further challenge for Moscow, which is already intervening in Ukraine at a time when its own economy is suffering from low oil prices and Western sanctions.

    Opinion polls also show Russian voters have little appetite for a long campaign, with painful memories of the Soviet Union’s 1979-89 intervention in Afghanistan, in which thousands of Soviet troops were killed, still fresh.

    But as Russian real incomes fall for the first time since Putin came to power, the spectacle of the country flexing its military muscles overseas, could also be a useful distraction for the Kremlin.

    Ivanov said the upper house of parliament had backed military action by 162 votes to zero after Assad had asked for Russian military assistance.

    The Syrian presidency confirmed that in a statement, saying Assad had written to Putin and Russia was increasing its military support as a direct result of that appeal.

    Ivanov said Russia was only acting to protect its own interests in Syria, where it maintains a Soviet-era naval facility at Tartous, its only access to the Mediterranean.

    “We’re talking specifically about Syria and we are not talking about achieving foreign policy goals or about satisfying our ambitions ... but exclusively about the national interests of the Russian Federation,” said Ivanov.

    Military action

    Russian military action would not be open-ended, he added, declining to say which aircraft would be used and when.

    “The operations of the Russian air force can not of course go on indefinitely and will be subject to clearly prescribed time frames.”

    Russia’s decision to intervene in Syria was prompted by a panicky realisation that the Syrian government was being turned over on the battlefield, diplomats and analysts have told Reuters.

    When it saw several months ago that Syrian government forces were retreating on several fronts at a rate that threatened Assad, its closest Middle East ally, the Kremlin quietly decided to despatch more men, weaponry and armour.

    Putin’s spokesman said the vote by the Federation Council, Russia’s upper house of parliament, meant Moscow would be practically the only country in Syria to be conducting operations “on a legitimate basis” and at the request of “the legitimate president of Syria”.

    The last time the Russian parliament granted Putin the right to deploy troops abroad, a technical requirement under Russian law, Moscow seized Crimea from Ukraine last year.

    Putin needed to get parliament’s backing to ensure that any military operation was legal under the terms of the Russian constitution.

    (DailyGlobe Watch with REUTERS)


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  • World leaders bid farewell to 20th-century 'giant' Shimon Peres

    30/Sep/2016 // 436 Viewers

     

    Jerusalem (AFP) - World leaders bid farewell to Israeli elder statesman and Nobel Peace laureate Shimon Peres at his funeral in Jerusalem Friday, with US President Barack Obama hailing him as a giant of the 20th century.

    Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas was among the mourners at the city's Mount Herzl national cemetery and was seated in the front row, reportedly at the request of Peres's family.

    Abbas knew Peres well and negotiated with him. In an extremely rare move, he shook hands and spoke briefly with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu upon arrival.

    Security forces were on high alert, with roads closed and thousands of officers deployed.

    Some 70 countries were represented, with the range of leaders illustrating the respect Peres gained over the years in his transformation from hawk to committed peace advocate.

    "In many ways he reminded me of some other giants of the 20th century that I had the honour to meet: men like Nelson Mandela, women like Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth," said Obama, who wore a black Jewish skullcap.

    Peres's death on Wednesday at the age of 93 drew tributes from around the world for Israel's last remaining founding father.

    An estimated 50,000 people filed past his coffin as it lay in state outside parliament in Jerusalem throughout the day on Thursday.

    Former US president Bill Clinton was among those who paid their last respects there, appearing moved as he stood in silence before the coffin.

    Clinton had helped usher in the Oslo peace accords between Israel and the Palestinians in the 1990s, which resulted in the Nobel prize for Peres.

    He also spoke at the funeral, giving a warm eulogy in which he said Peres's "critics often claimed he was a naive, overly optimistic dreamer. They were only wrong about the naive part."

    Netanyahu, in his eulogy, called Peres a "great man of the world."

    The two men had been political rivals, and Netanyahu recalled a late-night discussion on Israel's future with Peres in which they discussed security and peace.

    "Be at peace, Shimon, dear man, exceptional leader," he said. "I tell you that from the bottom of my heart."

    Obama, who has had a testy personal relationship with Netanyahu, however made a point of mentioning Abbas at the start of his eulogy and said his "presence here is a gesture and a reminder of the unfinished business of peace."

    The funeral took place under a white canopy in the leafy national cemetery, where many Israeli dignitaries are buried.

    Around 8,000 police were deployed for the commemorations. Preventative arrests of both Jews and Palestinians were made ahead of the funeral to avoid potential disruptions, police said.

    The last time such an event was held in Israel was the 1995 funeral for Yitzhak Rabin, Peres's rival in the Labour party but partner in negotiating the Oslo accords.

    Eulogies were completed before midday and Peres's coffin was lowered into his grave next to Rabin, who was assassinated in 1995 by a Jewish extremist opposed to the accords.

    - Criticism from Arab nations -

    In a career spanning seven decades, Peres held nearly every major office, serving twice as prime minister and as president, a mainly ceremonial role, from 2007 to 2014.

    He won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for his role in negotiating the Oslo accords, which envisioned an independent Palestinian state.

    He was also an architect of Israel's nuclear programme, with the country now considered the Middle East's sole nuclear-armed nation, though it has never declared it.

    While Peres is hailed in the West as a peacemaker, many in the Arab world, including among the Palestinians, regard him a "war criminal".

    They have cited his involvement in successive Arab-Israeli wars, the occupation of Palestinian territory and his support for settlement building before his work on Oslo.

    He was also prime minister in 1996 when more than 100 civilians were killed while sheltering at a UN peacekeepers' base in the Lebanese village of Qana fired upon by Israel.

    Islamist movement Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, condemned Abbas for offering condolences to Peres's family, saying it "disregards the blood of the martyrs and the suffering of the Palestinian people".

    Abbas, who signed the Oslo accords along with Peres, however called him a "brave" partner for peace.

    There have been very few tributes from Arab nations, though Egypt was represented by Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Jordan too sent a minister.

    They are the only two Arab countries to have signed peace treaties with Israel.

    - Naomi Campbell, Joe Biden -

    Born in Poland in 1923, Peres emigrated to what was then British-mandated Palestine when he was 11.

    He joined the Zionist struggle and met David Ben-Gurion, who would become his mentor and Israel's first prime minister.

    Peres became director general of the nascent defence ministry at just 29.

    After leaving office as president, he had sought to maintain an active schedule, particularly through his Peres Center for Peace.

    He was hospitalised in January for heart trouble, but said he was eager to return to work upon leaving.

    In March, he met British supermodel Naomi Campbell at his Peres Center for Peace during an event linked to International Women's Day. On the same day, he met visiting US Vice President Joe Biden.

    Despite his reputation as a statesman, Peres never managed to outright win a national election. Many in Israel opposed to the Oslo accords also blamed him for what they saw as their failure.

    But in later life, especially during his time as president, he came to be widely embraced.


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  • Presidential pardon ‘last hope’ for woman who killed abusive husband

    31/Jan/2016 // 140 Viewers

     

    A French woman jailed for killing her abusive husband has become a cause célèbre whose only hope for freedom is a rare presidential pardon.

    On September 10, 2012, the day after her son hanged himself, Jacqueline Sauvage shot her husband Norbert Marot three times in the back with a hunting rifle.

    In her defence, Sauvage, 68, said Marot was a violent alcoholic who had raped and beaten her during their 47-year marriage. She also claimed he had abused their son.

    Her three daughters testified during the trial that they were “terrified” of their father, while one told the court he had raped her when she was 16, and described his death as a “relief”.

    Sauvage was convicted in October 2012 and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Her appeal on the grounds that she had acted in self defence was rejected the following year.

    Hollande takes time ‘for reflection’

    Public support has been mounting for Sauvage to be pardoned, and an online petition has gathered more than 400,000 signatures.

    Seven members of female activist group Femen staged a protest outside the prison where she is being held in Saran in north-central France last week, while on January 23, hundreds of demonstrators marched in Paris under the banner “Je Suis Jacqueline Sauvage” demanding her release.

    Politicians have also weighed in on the case to promote women’s rights, visiting Sauvage in prison and writing to French President Francois Hollande to demand the leniency that is in his power to bestow.

    Hollande, who met with Sauvage’s daughters on Friday, said this weekend he would take time “for reflection” before making a decision.

    His daughters are hopeful. “He didn’t say yes, but he didn’t say no either,” one of the women told reporters after the meeting. “He is conscious of the very real problem of marital violence.”

    Hollande, however, is wary of interfering with France’s criminal justice system. In 2012, he said that using his office to pardon convicted criminals belonged to “a different concept of power” from his own vision of leadership.

    He has only used this power once, in 2014, to secure the release of bank robber Philippe El Shennawy – who had served 38 years of a life sentence.

    Sauvage remains behind bars until Hollande announces his decision.

    Three shots ‘not proportional’

    Sauvage’s 2014 appeal hearing foundered on a point of French law, which states that an act of self-defence must be proportional and in direct response to the act of aggression.

    Judges also questioned her apparent passivity during her 47-year marriage, asking why it had taken her so long to act against the man who had abused her and her children.

    "She should have responded to her husband's violence with a proportional act [for the self-defence argument to be accepted]," the public prosecutor said at her appeal hearing. "Three shots fired in the back is not acceptable."

    This legal stipulation was challenged by Sauvage’s lawyer during her appeal, who asked for the courts to "push the limits of self-defence applied to situations of marital violence”.

    Feminist support group Osez le Feminisme (Dare To Be Feminist) called for the definition of self-defence to be expanded in cases of "female victims of violence".

    One French woman, Alexandra Lange, who killed her abusive husband by stabbing him in the throat as he tried to strangle her, was acquitted in 2012 after judges rules her response to his violence was “proportional”.

    But she also called for the legal justifications for self-defence to be relaxed, telling Radio Bleu Nord that the law "didn't recognise Jacqueline as a victim, but as a criminal".

    "She was only retaliating against 47 years of attacks. What would they have preferred? That she become one of the 118 women who die each year at the hands of their violent husbands?" she asked.

    The French press has also been widely supportive of a change to the law that would recognise the desperation of women who are genuine victims of abuse.

    “The law must absolutely be changed,” wrote editorialist Jean Levallois in regional daily La Presse de la Manche. “For the moment, the only hope for a woman who has lived through hell is for the head of state to come directly to her rescue.”

     

     

     

    France24


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  • Over 10,000 migrant children missing, says Europol

    31/Jan/2016 // 166 Viewers

     

    (AFP) - Over 10,000 unaccompanied migrant children have disappeared in Europe, the EU police agency Europol said on Sunday, adding that it fears many have been whisked away into sex trafficking rings.

    Europol's press office confirmed to AFP the figures published in British newspaper The Observer.

    The agency's chief of staff Brian Donald told the newspaper that the figures are for children who disappeared from the system after registering with state authorities following their arrival in Europe.

    "It's not unreasonable to say that we're looking at 10,000-plus children," Donald said, adding that 5,000 had disappeared in Italy alone.

    "Not all of them will be criminally exploited; some might have been passed on to family members. We just don't know where they are, what they're doing or whom they are with."

    Over one million migrants and refugees, many fleeing the conflict in Syria, crossed into Europe last year.

    Europol estimates that 27 percent of them are children, the Observer said.

    "Whether they are registered or not, we're talking about 270,000 children," Donald told the paper.

    "Not all of those are unaccompanied, but we also have evidence that a large proportion might be," he said, adding that the 10,000 is likely to be a conservative estimate.


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  • Why I conceded defeat to Buhari - Jonathan

    31/Jan/2016 // 276 Viewers

     

    PARIS, JANUARY 31, 2016: (DGW) - Former President Jonathan has given reasons why he conceded defeat to his main challenger President Muhammadu Buhari even before the announcement of the results in the 2015 presidential election in Nigeria.

    Speaking in Geneva Switzerland during a dinner held in his honour by Cercle Diplomatique Geneva, the former leader said he did not want his country to degenerate into a theatre of war as a result of power tussle between him and his main challenger adding that though  it was a most difficult decision for him to take but he had to take it to save Nigeria. 

    He pointed out that in the run up to the presidential election he has said his ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian which many people did not take seriously when he said it but within him he meant every word of it.

    Below is the full text of the speech he delivered which covered a wide range of issues about Nigeria and Africa:

    His words: “ As you can see, I have not come here with a prepared speech, since what I consider appropriate for this occasion is to just thank you all, members and everyone else in attendance, in a few words, for the dinner and the award, in order not to make the evening look boring. But having said that, I am still tempted to note that if I were to present a written speech, the title, would probably have been “Power Tussle in Africa: A Stumbling Block to Economic Growth.” When Mr. Robert Blum, your President, made his very interesting opening remarks, he introduced me as the former President of Nigeria. He was absolutely correct.

    My foray into politics

    “However, I believe that not many of you here know that the story of my foray into politics has a peculiar ring to it. I entered politics in 1998 and, barely one year after, I got elected as the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa, my state. I later became Governor, Vice President and eventually got elected as the President of my country. I remain the only leader in my country to have travelled that route.

    “As the President, I served out my first term but, as Mr. Blum had pointed out earlier, I lost the bid to be re-elected. I am encouraged by the fact that many of you here appreciated my decision not to reject or contest my loss at the polls, not even in the courts as many people had expected.

    The allure of power

    “Again, I have to agree with Blum that it was not an easy decision to take. This is because the allure of power and the worries about what would become of you after leaving office constitute an irresistible force. It has an attraction so controlling and powerful that it takes a man who has the fear of God and who loves his people and nation to relinquish power so easily in Africa.

    Alone in the valley

    “I was actually in that valley on March 28, 2015. I never knew that the human brain had the capacity for such enhanced rapid thinking. One hundred and one things were coursing through my mind every second. My country was at the verge of collapse. The tension in the land was abysmally high and palpable, in the months and days leading to the election. The country became more polarized more than ever before, such that the gap between the North and the South and between Christians and Muslims became quite pronounced.

    “In fact, it became so disturbing that some interest groups in the United States began to predict that Nigeria would disintegrate in 2015. And, indeed, many Nigerians did buy into this doomsday prophesy as they began to brace themselves for the worst. As the President, I reminded myself that the Government I led had invested so much effort into building our country. I worked hard with my top officials to encourage Nigerians and non-Nigerians to invest in our country to be able to provide jobs and improve the lives of our people. We worked hard to grow our economy and to improve and bring Nigeria up as the biggest economy in Africa, with a GDP of about half a trillion dollars.

    Posers I had to contend with

    “Should I then, for the love of power, watch Nigeria slide into a theatre of war, with my fellow country men and women dying, and many more pouring into other nations in Africa and beyond, as refugees?

    Should I hang on to power and tussle with my challengers, while the investments of hard working citizens of the world go down the drain? I then said to myself, NO!

    Resisting the lure of power

    “I promised my God that I will not let that fate befall Nigeria under my watch, hence the historic telephone call I put through to congratulate my challenger even when the results were still being tallied. I believe that for a country to be great, both the leaders and the led must be prepared to make sacrifices. This is why, everywhere I go, I always advise that the new generation of African leaders must think differently. We can no longer afford to wilfully sacrifice the blood of our citizens on the altar of dangerous partisan politics. It is not worth it. This reminds me of one of my campaign statements to the effect that my ambition was not worth the shedding of the blood of any Nigerian. Some people took it then as mere political slogan but I knew that I meant it when I said it.

    “We must all fight for the enthronement of political stability in Africa, for in it lies the panacea for sustainable growth and development. For Africa to record the kind of advancement that will be competitive and beneficial to our citizens, we must have stable states supported by strong institutions. That appears to be the irreducible minimum that is common to all developed societies. Africa’s political odyssey can distinctly be categorised into three eras, and probably another that would later signpost its classification as a developed continent”.

    Challenges

    “Some may doubt this, but it is no fluke that Africa is growing and rising. However I will admit before you here that we still have challenges. That is why people like us did all we could to ensure that Nigeria, the biggest black nation on earth, would not drift into anarchy because such a situation would have spelt doom for the rest of the continent. It would have affected not just Nigeria alone, but the GDP and economy of the entire West Africa. And if the economy of West Africa crashes, it would definitely affect the performance of the economy of the whole of Africa.

    “As you know, the GDP of Africa is less than three trillion dollars, with only six African countries able to boast of nominal GDP above $100 billion. Even for those in this ‘elite’ category, you can’t really say that they are rich countries. Apart from maybe South Africa that has an industrially competitive economy, the rest are still mainly commodity exporting countries. Even the case of that of South Africa is not very encouraging, because we have a situation which we could refer to as a first world economic performance, yet the ordinary people live the life of the people in the so called third world.

    “In the case of Nigeria which is even the biggest economy on the continent, the reality is that we have an unenviable per capita GDP of $3,203, which is the World Bank average for a period covering 2011-2015.

    Africa’s future is bright

    “Even then, I still believe that Africa has a bright future; a promising prognosis that is supported by the fact that the continent remains a very fertile and attractive territory that yields irresistible returns on investments. I believe that in the next few years many more big investors will be jostling to come to Africa, if only we will do the right thing. The process of getting it right has already started with a democratic and increasingly democratising Africa. But we have to deepen and strengthen our democratic credentials through regular, free and fair elections. This will in turn bring about the stability necessary to improve the infrastructure that promotes rapid economic growth. These are the guarantees that would lead us into the next period which I would like to call the era of a developed Africa. I have no doubt in my mind that we will get there some day.

    My future plans

    “I will be applying myself diligently to two key areas. First, is to work for good governance by promoting credible and transparent elections. This will bring about the strengthening of our institutions and the enthronement of stability. I also believe that there is the urgent need to create jobs for our teeming young population. This is another area that will be receiving my attention. I recall that the Vice President of your association made reference in his speech to my achievements in that regard through what we called Youth Enterprises with Innovation (YouWin) and the Nagropreneur programme which encouraged young people to go into agriculture. I believe more programmes like that should be established to promote youth entrepreneurship. That way, we reduce their reliance on paid employment.

    “We will not only teach them to become entrepreneurs, they will also acquire the capacity to employ other people. We will be paying special attention to this segment of our society, especially young people and women. We will develop programmes that will inculcate in them business skills to be able to set up micro, small and medium enterprises. We shall assist them to access take-off grants when they acquire the relevant skills and capacities. There are many areas that they can go into; food processing, light manufacturing and the services sector are just some of them. I can tell you from experience that this works.

    “As we speak, Our Nagropreneur programme, to promote youth involvement in agriculture value chain, is being scaled up by the African Development Bank presently. It is already being replicated in 19 African countries because of the success of the programme in Nigeria. I invite all of you here today, cabinet ministers, diplomats and private sector people to remain committed to the cause of improving lives, especially those lives in Africa, and making our world a better place. For those of you that will be sharing in this vision for Africa, I assure you that you will not be disappointed. I am very optimistic that if we encourage young men and women in this continent to develop businesses of their own, the story of Africa will change within 10 years”.

     

     

     


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  • French foreign minister’s son targeted by US arrest warrant

    31/Oct/2015 // 360 Viewers

    The son of France's foreign minister faces criminal charges in the United States over allegations that he passed bad cheques to casinos in Las Vegas, according to a report in French weekly Le Point.

    Thomas Fabius, eldest son of French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, is now a wanted man in the US, Le Point reported.

    According to his arrest warrant, Fabius wrote bad cheques totaling more than $3.5 million to cover gambling debts incurred on the night of May 15, 2012.

    On May 16, 2012, his father, Laurent Fabius, was officially appointed France's foreign minister.

    As a result of the warrant issued in May 2013, the younger Fabius risks arrest if he sets foot anywhere in the United States, a spokesman for Nevada's Clark County told AFP.

    Fabius, 33, who heads a financial consulting firm, has reportedly spent millions of dollars in casinos in the past and was investigated in 2013 for fraud and money laundering over a shady real estate deal.

    (FRANCE 24 with AFP)


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  • Security tops agenda as Turkey holds critical poll

    31/Oct/2015 // 449 Viewers

    The Islam Tea House in the southeastern Turkish town of Adiyaman is boarded up these days. But it remains a microcosm of Turkey's security fears in the lead up to Sunday's critical poll.

    A nondescript town around 150 kilometres north of the Turkey-Syria border, Adiyaman is the hometown of four suicide bombers who have been responsible for nearly 140 deaths over the past four months.

    The four men frequented the Islam Tea House, a fertile recruiting ground for jihadists, which has come to be known as the “Teahouse of Death”. The teahouse was eventually closed down, officially for operating without a license.

    But it was already too late.

     

    The men conducted three suicide bombings over the past four months -- which the government has attributed to the Islamic State (IS) group (also known as ISIS or ISIL) – including the October 10 attack in the heart of the Turkish capital. All three attacks targeted the pro-Kurdish HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party).

    These days, in the mainly Kurdish southeastern city of Diyarbakir, armoured cars and riot vehicles surround police stations, bullet holes pockmark buildings and burned-out cars cluster around some neighbourhoods. The symbolic capital of Turkey’s estimated 15 million Kurds, Diyarbakir today looks like a city sliding into civil war. The topic du jour at cafés and kebab stores is whether Turkey is witnessing a return to a decades-old conflict between the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) and Turkish security forces, which claimed around 40,000 lives.

    The war on Turkey’s southern border with Syria has seeped into Turkey’s ethnic fault lines. The battle against the IS group for Kobane, a Syrian Kurdish town, collapsed the peace process with the PKK and the government today is battling two terrorist groups, making security the top issue in Sunday’s general election.

    Barely five months after the ruling AKP (Justice and Development Party) failed to win an absolute majority in the June 7 vote and then failed to form a coalition, Turkey heads back to the polls on Sunday in one of the biggest tests of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s political career.

    The Turkish leader, whose autocratic style has earned him a derisive “Sultan” moniker, will not feature on the ballot papers on Sunday. The November 1 poll is a general – and not a presidential – election. But in Turkey today, politics is a deeply personalised business and Sunday’s vote could determine the extent of power Erdogan can wield in  Turkey’s future. It could, analysts fear, determine not just Turkey’s future government, but whether the country itself will be governable.

    And no issue underscores those concerns more than security, which has relegated the economy, corruption, EU accession and other concerns to the backburner.

    “It’s crucial,” said Jana Jabbour, associate researcher at the Paris-based CERI (Centre de Recherches Internationales) and a lecturer at Sciences-Po. “President Erdogan is trying to use the security card as a means to win the elections. His strategy has been to say either vote for me or there will be a collapse of national unity.”

    Turning a blind eye to IS group threat

    The irony of a figure as divisive as Erdogan positioning himself as a unifying figure is not wasted on his critics, who blame the Turkish president’s domestic and foreign policies for the country’s current security crisis.

    “We’ve seen a monumental failure of security in Turkey. The government couldn’t protect civilians,” said Emre Demir, editor of Zaman France, on FRANCE 24’s Debate show, referring to the spate of recent suicide attacks.

    In Adiyaman, family and friends of radicalised youths joining IS group ranks repeatedly complain that they alerted authorities who failed to act. Ramazan Gokay, an uncle of two brothers who joined the IS group’s Turkish branch, told FRANCE 24 the boys’ parents repeatedly warned officials about their sons. “The police told them that they could do nothing, that they had to control their own children, and that they would only intervene if they committed an offence,” said Gokay.
      
    Many Adiyaman residents accuse Erdogan of supporting the IS group, a charge the AKP government vehemently denies. But Erdogan’s critics claim there is a logic to Ankara turning a blind eye to IS group-inspired radicalism. The IS group, they note, opposes Erdogan’s arch foe, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The jihadist group also prevents Kurdish expansion along Turkey’s southern border with Syria.

    ‘Trapped by the Sevres syndrome’

    Turkey joined the US-led coalition air strikes against the IS group in late July. But Kurdish activists say Turkish airpower has concentrated on PKK targets, effectively killing a two-year-old PKK ceasefire and snuffing out any hopes for peace. In southeastern towns like Silvan and Cizre today, armed members of the YDG-H, the youth wing of the banned PKK, act as a paramilitary force in some neighbourhoods, creating no-go zones for Turkish security forces.

    Erdogan’s critics say the collapse of the peace process with the PKK was driven by the Turkish politician’s attempt to discredit the HDP, the pro-Kurdish party, which made history in the June 7 parliamentary election when it crossed the required 10 percent vote threshold to enter parliament for the first time.

    The results of Sunday’s vote will reveal whether Erdogan’s strategy has worked. Polls ahead of the election show AKP increasing its support among a nationalist vote base worried about a prolonged period of political instability.

     

    In the June 7 election, the AKP won 40.9% of the vote while the MHP (Nationalist Movement Party) got 16.8%. Analysts say the MHP carved into the AKP’s nationalist vote base that Erdogan is now trying to woo by playing the “tough on security” card.

    The dangerous cocktail of the IS group and PKK threat, far from hurting Erdogan, appears to be turning the public opinion tide in his party’s favour. “So far, from reading the papers, Turkish observers do not seem to be directly blaming Erdogan. Only the Kurdish electorate is accusing him of having pushed for a renewal of violence,” explained Jabbour. “But even the renewal of violence could be used as an argument by Erdogan that it’s either me or we’re facing the empowerment of the Kurds and the disintegration of Turkish territory.”

    The discourse, Jabbour notes, has a powerful resonance in the Turkish imagination that dates back to the World War I-era of colonial scheming to disintegrate and divide the Ottoman Empire. In Turkey, the belief that western forces are conspiring to weaken and carve up Turkish territory is called the “Sevres syndrome” after the 1920s Treaty of Sevres partitioning the Ottoman Empire. “The problem with the Turkish nation is that they have been trapped by the Sevres syndrome. They are really scared that the PKK will establish a separate state at the border,” explains Jabbour. “So, when Erdogan says it’s either me or Turkish disintegration, it speaks to the political subconscious.”

    The end of an era

    Meanwhile tensions have been rising in the lead-up to the vote, with a government crackdown on media groups critical of the AKP. The opposition HDP has also warned that the deteriorating security situation in southeastern Turkey could at best deter their Kurdish supporters from voting, at worst provide perfect conditions for voting irregularities.

    Nevertheless, Kerem Onen, an HDP official, told the FRANCE 24 Debate show he was confident his party would fare well in Sunday’s poll. “No, I do not have any fears of losing votes because the HDP is calling for peace,” said Onen.

    AKP officials however say they are confident that this time around, the party will get an absolute majority, a forecast most analysts discount. Jabbour, like many experts, predicts the AKP could fall short of a majority, triggering another season of coalition talks. “But no matter what the results are, they will mark the end of an era in the political system,” said Jabbour. “They will mark an end of single party rule in Turkey.”


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  • Germany restricts migrant entry to five points on Austrian border

    31/Oct/2015 // 192 Viewers

    Germany said Friday that asylum seekers would only be able to enter the country at five points along its border with Austria to better control a mass influx.

    "We would like to have a more orderly procedure," a spokeswoman for the interior ministry told AFP, saying Germany had reached agreement on the new policy with the Austrian government.

    "The rule will go into effect immediately," she added.

    Tempers flared between Berlin and Vienna this week when Germany's Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere on Wednesday hit out at Austria for sending asylum seekers to its 800-kilometre-long (500-mile-long) border without any warning.

    Authorities in the southern German state of Bavaria, already struggling to cope with the record numbers, complained that the lack of coordination was leaving them scrambling to find resources to assist the new arrivals.

    But Austrian authorities hit back, with a police spokesman calling it "a joke" that Bavaria was unable to process the new arrivals.

    (AFP)


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  • Confusion as British Jews desert United Kingdom!

    31/Oct/2016 // 569 Viewers

     

    About 400 British Jews whose family members fled the Nazis 70 years ago have applied for German citizenship in the wake of the Brexit vote, the German foreign ministry has confirmed.

    Berlin bureaucrats, who usually receive only 25 applications a year, have been swamped by the sudden twentyfold increase and say that another 100 inquiries will “very probably” lead to applications.

    Under Article 116 Paragraph 2 of Germany’s Basic Law, descendants of those persecuted by the Nazis are eligible for German citizenship.

    Among the applicants revealed by The Guardian is Michael Newman, head of the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR), who said his organisation was being asked to help British Jews do likewise.

    “It is somewhat ironic that we were founded partly to help people become naturalised British after the war and, 70 years on, we find ourselves in the position of assisting people who want to acquire German and Austrian citizenship because of the recent developments in Britain,” he said.

    World Jewish Relief, whose precursor was established to help bring German and Austrian Jews to the UK, now keeps an online archive of documents, many of which would help with applications.

    A spokesman said they had received 239 applications to view the archives in the four months since the Brexit vote, and that traffic to the website was “three times higher” post-Brexit than prior.

    WJR head of external affairs Richard Verber said: “We don’t know how many are researching their family history and how many are applying for another passport, but it is certainly interesting that the organisation responsible for saving the lives of so many people fleeing Germany and Austria might now be facilitating their families’ repatriation to those very countries.


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