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July 22, 2016

Daily News Brief

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TOP OF THE AGENDA

Erdogan Promises 'Fresh Blood' in Armed Forces Restructuring

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said there were "significant gaps and deficiencies" in the country's intelligence leading up to last week's attempted coup and that the armed forces would be restructured to bring in "fresh blood" (Reuters). More than sixty thousand soldiers, public servants, and law enforcement officials have been suspended, detained, or investigated following the coup attempt, which Erdogan blamed on U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. EU ministers issued a statement expressing concern over Turkey's passage of a state of emergency (Middle East Eye), saying the decree came in the wake of "recent unacceptable decisions" involving the education system, judiciary, and media. EU officials urged Turkey to respect the rule of law and the rights of individuals to fair trials. A German government spokesman said several people detained following the coup attempt have shown visible signs of mistreatment (AP).

ANALYSIS

"The current government itself is the product of an election that had to be rerun last November because Erdogan was not satisfied with the party’s results the previous June, when elections had taken away the AKP’s parliamentary majority. Erdogan’s widening purge and crackdown are just the logical conclusion of a story that has been unfolding for the better part of a decade. Turkey’s democracy has not been lost—there was no democracy for it to lose," writes CFR's Steven A. Cook in the Atlantic.

"[Erdogan] is obsessed with consolidating his own power, rather than strengthening Turkey’s government and rule of law as he set out to do. He has proposed rewriting Turkey’s constitution, thereby overhauling its current parliamentary system and transforming it into a presidential one, in which he would have unprecedented and unchecked powers. This is a tragedy," Elmira Bayrasli writes for Quartz.

"A better theory is that Friday was a last-ditch attempt by factions of the army desperate to remove Erdogan before he pushed forward plans to change the constitution to establish an executive presidency for himself, and – more urgently – to prevent the purge of army personnel that was probably in the works before this weekend," Alev Scott writes for the Guardian.

Weekly Podcast

Weekly Podcast

James M. Lindsay and Robert McMahon discuss the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Turkey after a failed coup, and the upcoming Olympics. Listen and subscribe.

 

PACIFIC RIM

Indonesia Rejects Hague Ruling on 1960s Crimes Against Humanity

Indonesia rejected a ruling from a seven-judge panel at the Hague which declared that the government had committed genocide in 1960s anti-communist purges that left an estimated half a million people dead (Jakarta Post). The international panel has no powers to enforce the ruling, which Indonesia's security minister (AFP) said was "none of their business." The tribunal also accused the United States of complicity in the massacres.

NORTH KOREA: South Korea's central bank estimated the North Korean economy shrank at its sharpest rate in eight years (BBC) as low commodity prices hit its coal and iron ore exports.

SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA

Indian Oil Minister Makes U.S. Investment Pitch

Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan touted India's high growth and rising resource demand to U.S. energy companies this week (FT). India is expected to overtake Japan as the world's largest oil consumer behind the United States and China.

CFR's Alyssa Ayres discusses India's expected economic growth and the future of its relationship with the United States in this testimony for the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

PAKISTAN: A parliamentary committee unanimously approved a bill to close a loophole that allows family members to forgive perpetrators of so-called "honor killings" (WSJ) and avoid punishment. Over one-thousand women were killed in such cases last year, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Iraq Negotiates Role of Factions Participating in Mosul Offensive

Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obaidi said officials need to reach a political agreement before military operations in an offensive against the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Mosul begin (WSJ). Recapturing the city is expected to involve Sunni fighters, Shiite militias, and Kurdish peshmerga forces who seek assurances on how the city will be governed afterward.

YEMEN: Kuwait's assistant foreign minister said he had given warring parties in Yemen who are meeting in Kuwait for peace talks fifteen days (National) to reach a settlement. Three months of UN-brokered negotiations have failed to reach a conclusion.

This CFR's Global Conflict Tracker looks at the war between Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led, pro-government coalition in Yemen. 

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Zimbabwe Veterans Withdraw Support for Mugabe

An association of war veterans issued a statement accusing President Robert Mugabe of dictatorial tendencies and withdrew their support for him (BBC). Ninety-two year-old Mugabe, in power for thirty-six years, is facing a currency shortage and a protest movement that is shutting down businesses and government offices (VOA).

EUROPE

French Prosecutor: Nice Attacker Planned for Months, Had Accomplices

A Paris prosecutor said that a Tunisian attacker who killed eighty-four people when he drove a truck through crowds on Bastille Day had help from accomplices and planned the assault months in advance (France 24). The prosecutor also said there is no evidence the assailant had any direct contact with the self-proclaimed Islamic State (NYT).

AMERICAS

Venezuelan Government, Opposition Accept Vatican Mediator

The Venezuelan government and opposition had accepted the presence of a mediator from the Vatican to establish conditions for dialogue (LAHT), according to a Union of South American Nations official. The country's opposition lawmakers are pushing a recall vote to remove President Nicolas Maduro from office amid severe food and energy shortages.

This CFR Backgrounder looks at Venezuela's economic and political crises.

BRAZIL: Federal authorities arrested ten Brazilians who expressed support for attacks in Orlando, Florida, and Nice, France, (NYT) and discussed attacks with unspecified targets. Brazil's justice minister called the widely dispersed group (WSJ), whose members only knew each other through online messaging, an "amateur cell without any planned preparation." Brazil will host the Summer Olympics beginning Aug. 5.

This CFR Backgrounder looks at the costs and benefits of hosting the Olympic Games. 

GLOBAL

Report: 2016 Average Temperatures 1.3 Degrees Celcius Higher than Pre-Industrial Levels

This year is on track to become the hottest year on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization, as the average temperature of the first six months of the year was 1.3 degrees celcius higher than nineteenth-century pre-industrial levels (Guardian).

CAMPAIGN 2016

Trump Accepts Nomination and Reiterates Promises on Trade, Immigration, Foreign Policy

Donald Trump accepted the Republican Party's presidential nomination in Cleveland Thursday and repeated (NYT) his campaign pledges on trade, immigration, and foreign policy. Trump said he would build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to keep out undocumented immigrants; renegotiate or end multilateral trade deals; and, scale back U.S. intervention in global crises.  

Track and compare Trump's policy positions with those of his rival Hillary Clinton using CFR's interactive, The Candidates and the World.