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Council on Foreign Relations Daily News Brief
June 3, 2013

Top of the Agenda

Top of the Agenda: Turkey Enters Seventh Day of Protests

Umit Bektas/Courtesy Reuters  

Umit Bektas/Courtesy Reuters

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday suggested that the anti-government protestors rioting for the seventh day in the capital of Istanbul were extremists with foreign links, appealing for calm as the country's stock market tumbled after a weekend of violent clashes (FT) centered around Taksim Square. Protestors say the Turkish government is becoming increasingly authoritarian (BBC), and fear Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) is attempting to impose conservative Islamic values on the officially secular country. The White House called for parties in Turkey to "calm the situation," and called on security forces in Turkey to exercise restraint (AP). Nearly two thousand people have been detained.

Analysis

"Turkey's anti-democratic turn has all taken place without much notice from the outside world. It was not just coercive measures -- arrests, investigations, tax fines, and imprisonments -- that Washington willfully overlooked in favor of a sunnier narrative about the 'Turkish miracle,'" write CFR's Steven Cook and Michael Koplow for Foreign Policy.

"If any, the protests that began in Istanbul, and spread to other cities, is a loud manifestation of a desire to see an end to any social engineering, or a lifestyle format created in hierarchical order — a social identity, a majority, acting in a superior manner over the others in daily life," writes Yavuz Baydar for Al-Monitor.

"That will have consequences in politics as Turkey is getting prepared for the Presidential elections in 2014 and Erdogan has been eyeing to get elected, but with more powers and less checks and balances over the executive powers of presidency," writes Murat Yetkin for Hurriyet.

 

PACIFIC RIM

Defense Chief Hagel Reassures Asian Allies

At the Shangri-la security summit in Singapore this past weekend, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sought to reassure Asian allies (VOA) that U.S. plans to concentrate more military assets in the region would not be undermined by Pentagon budget cuts. Hagel also publicly chided China for alleged cyber espionage (WaPo).

CHINA: China urged the United States to "stop interfering in its affairs " (BBC) after the United States called for a full accounting of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown days ahead of the June 4 anniversary.

 

SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA

Pakistan's Parliament Sworn In

Pakistan's new parliament was sworn in in the country's first ever democratic transition of power (RFE/RL), weeks after Nawaz Sharif and his Pakistan Muslim League-N party won May elections. President Asif Ali Zardari was credited with sustaining the fractious coalition government led by his PPP party for a five-year term.

CFR's Daniel Markey highlights three things to know about Pakistan's elections in this video.

AFGHANISTAN: A suicide bomber killed at least thirteen people (al-Jazeera), including ten school children, in Afghanistan's eastern Paktia province in an attack targeting a passing U.S. military patrol.

 

MIDDLE EAST

Palestinian Authority Appoints New PM

Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas appointed Rami Hamdallah, a political independent, as new prime minister (BBC) following the resignation of Salam Fayyad, who stepped down in April after a long-running dispute with the president.

 

AFRICA

Ethiopians Demonstrate Against Government

Thousands of Ethiopians demonstrated Sunday in the capital of Addis Ababa, marking the first protest (VOA) against the country's ruling party since 2005. Protestors demonstrated for greater assurance of human rights and called for the release of political and religious prisoners, accusing state television of propaganda.

AFRICA: Japan pledged 3.2 trillion yen to Africa (Bloomberg), which has lured Japanese exporters and poses as a source of natural gas and oil resources after the 2011 Fukushima disaster closed many of Japan's nuclear plants.

Expert Owen Cylke discusses agriculture, structural change, and the urban imperative in African development in this CFR blog post.

 

EUROPE

U.S. Lawmakers Meet Russian Officials

The head of a U.S. congressional delegation said Sunday that its meetings in Moscow yielded no evidence (RFE/RL) that U.S. agents could have helped prevent the Boston Marathon bombings, but underscored the need for the two countries to work more closely on joint security threats in the future.

GREECE: The debt-ridden country, under the leadership of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, has eased the path for foreigners to purchase private islands (LAT) and is also considering leasing out those it owns.

 

AMERICAS

China's Xi Jinping to Visit Mexico

Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Mexico on Tuesday in a two-day state trip (MercoPress), marking the second meeting between the two countries in two months. The two are expected to sign ten agreements in trade, investment, infrastructure, science, and education.

CFR's Shannon O'Neill debunks five myths about Mexico in this op-ed.

URUGUAY: Uruguayan president Jose Mujica on Sunday urged Spain to ensure that negotiations between the European Union and Mercosur could render an agreement that includes free trade (LAHT).

 

 

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