In his articles, published in many Turkish as well as in international newspapers, Mustafa Akyol argues against Islamic extremism and terrorism, as well as gives his international readers some precious analyses and insights on the political and social situation of contemporary Turkey. Akyol’s book, “Islam without extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty” (W.W.Norton, 2011) was long-listed in 2012 for the Lionel Gelber Prize and was praised by The Financial Times as “a forthright and elegant Muslim defense of freedom”. Akyol is a well-known Turkish intellectual whose ideas shape the Turkish, as well as the wider Muslim, debate. These are some of the reasons that convinced ResetDoc to invite him, once again, to Rome, where, on September the 14th he spoke about “Turkey After the failed Military Coup”, in a conference organized by the ResetDoc, in collaboration with Istituto di Affari Internazionali (IAI).
Ashis Nandy sees vendors of nationalism inflicting damage all over the world, including in his own country, India. In India, the modern ideologies dominant during the liberation struggle against British rule were anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism. These then gave way to secular nationalism after Independence in 1947, under the first Prime Minister of free India, Jawaharlal Nehru (d. 1964). But less than seven decades later, what dominates Indian politics today is Hindu nationalism or “Hindutva”, and this is now being aggressively promoted by the 'strongman' currently leading the government in Delhi, Narendra Modi. Nandy, 79, a clinical psychologist by training, an analyst of culture and society, an astute political commentator and today India's most significant living public intellectual, has embraced the view of one of India’s founding fathers, Rabindranath Tagore, who thought that the idea of Indian nationalism was as absurd as Switzerland having a navy. In this interview below, Nandy will explain why.
According to data published on September 6th 2016 by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are almost five million Syrian citizens living in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and North Africa, comprising a total of 4,799,677 people who have fled the war, among them at least 1.5 million children. While Turkey is the country that hosts the most in proportion to its citizens with 2,726,980, it is Lebanon that has the most in total with 1,033,513, which amounts to about 25% of the country’s inhabitants.
Two years after the publication of An Uncertain Glory: India and Its Contradictions, Indian economist and philosopher Amartya Sen of Harvard University returns to focus on the relationship between identity and violence. The Country of First Boys appeared a few months ago in bookstores as a collection of Sen’s essays made available with the contribution of Antara Dev Sen and Pratik Kanjilal. In it, the Bangladeshi-born economist updates his earlier reflections on ‘identity politics’ and its relationship with extremism and violence, both at the inter-ethnic as well as at the international level.
The Turkish police has detained, since early Saturday, Ahmet Altan, prominent Turkish journalist and author, editor-in-chief of Taraf, a daily newspaper, until 2012, and his brother, Mehmet Altan, a distinguished academic, economic and writer. They were detained with the allegations of spreading “subliminal messages announcing a military coup” in a TV interview on 14th of July, the day before the failed coup. Both Taraf, the newspaper, and the channel – Can Erzincan TV – that aired the interview hosted by Mehmet Altan, have been shut down by the Turkish authorities since the botched putsch for having close links with the network of Fethullah Gülen. Also Nazlı Ilıcak, a well-known journalist, that participated in the programme was arrested on terrorism charges on 29 July.
Christianity has been part of the essential fabric of the Middle East for two thousand years. Far from being a Western import as some, incredibly, now seem to suggest, it was born here and exported as a gift to the rest of the world. Christian communities have been intrinsic to the development of Arab culture and civilisation.
Erdogan’s proclaimed state of emergency under Article 120 of the Turkish Constitution following the failed military putsch on the night between July 15th and 16th has further heightened concerns about Turkey’s internal and external direction of travel. There is an obvious mismatch between the cross-party rejection of the coup and the reality of an ongoing one-sided dismantling of significant sectors of the military, the judiciary, academia, and the media. What began as a legitimate response from the government aimed to restore law and order is increasingly turning into an awkward wide-ranging purge of long-time political opponents some believe may have already been in the making.
Turkey: after a failed coup a new authoritarian grip, what comes next?
After the coup, the two principal actors in Turkey have been the current President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the multi-billionaire and Islamic ideologue, Fetullah Gülen, who has been in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1998. Much of what one has to know about Gülen's media empire is in this monograph from 2015. Reset DoC's articles try to analyze this ongoing process and its actors: Erdogan with his new authoritarian tendencies and Gülen with his global media network. The international academic, intellectual community ask the US government and the European Union to stop Erdogan's authoritarian and violent grip on the country.
Egyptian President al-Sisi’s absence at the Arab League’s 27th summit – where he was replaced by Prime Minister Sherif Ismail – led the daily newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm to speculate on a violent attempt, discovered at a later date, to remove from power the field marshal who has become president. The usual denials that followed from the Egyptian government’s spokesman had certainly not managed to dispel doubts surrounding these events. It does, however, seem sensible to hypothesise that al-Sisi’s decision to not attend the summit does not in any way provide a strong argument for fuelling suspicion of a foiled internal plot.
Once upon a time, not that long ago, it was a crime to go to the beach wearing skimpy clothes. Nowadays, at least in France, it is crime to appear on a beach if excessively overdressed. Bikinis and topless swimsuits were forbidden in the name of rules governing public morals and behaviour that forbade women from showing off too much of their bodies. According to Prime Minister Manuel Valls, burkinis are not compatible with new French public morals established by the republic’s values and women’s emancipation. An excessively covered-up woman is not sufficiently secular and independent.
In the torrid heat of the summer of 2016 there has been unrest in President Abdel Aziz Bouteflika’s Algeria. Three new laws, either passed or drafted, reflect the country’s identity debate amidst independence-linked demands and political rivalry. Algeria is passionately debating identity, with emphasis ranging from the affirmation of exclusive nationality, to the recognition of multilinguism, from religious issues to electoral reform.
Sexual harassment allegations by female employees have proved to be the downfall of Roger Ailes, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Fox News. They have resulted in his resignation after 20 years. Sexual harassment had been going on for a long time and, until now, kept under wraps.
Based on the book:
Spin.Trucchi e tele-imbrogli della politica
by Giancarlo Bosetti, published by Marsilio Editore, 2007.
We publish the review that Jim Sleeper wrote in 2013 for the Columbia Journalism Review on Zev Chafets's book Roger Ailes Off Camera.
When I published Liberal Racism in 1997 (with a chapter on how The New York Times was misrepresenting racial politics under editorial-page editor Howell Raines), I was interviewed on Fox News, which I’d barely heard of, by Bill O’Reilly, whom I hadn’t heard of at all. The encounter was anodyne, but before long I noticed that the network was not. Under its president Roger Ailes, who had pitched his vision of Fox to a receptive Rupert Murdoch only a year before I met O’Reilly, it was rapidly becoming what Zev Chafets calls “transformational” in American media and political culture. By treating journalism as if it’s all about ratings and show, Fox actually makes a profoundly political statement by eviscerating what democratic politics really stands for.
The Brexit vote makes it all too clear that supporters of greater European integration must bring more to the debate than open borders and Europe’s success as a project for peace. For those of us who support the European project, it is a bitter irony that this vote of no confidence is aimed at a Europe that we never wanted: a Europe of business tycoons, of bureaucratic busybodies and over-regulation, of elites and the punishing austerity of the troika. The failure of this Europe is now being used as a means to crush any enthusiasm for the federalist ideal. It may well be, however, that there has been too much “business as usual” in our camp and that we made our case for Europe in a language devoid of passion. The Europe of tomorrow needs a fresh narrative and more opportunities for participation. Establishing a Future Council composed of a sample of European citizens could support the development of a new politics.
Only twice has Bangladesh made headline news in recent years: three years ago, when a complex of clothes factories collapsed in the suburbs of Dhaka killing over 1,200 people, and again last Friday when a group of armed men attacked a place patronised by Westerners killing 20 people, eighteen of them Westeners. The attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery, a café-restaurant in Dhaka’s most exclusive district, was not totally unexpected. There had been many signs indicating that Bangladesh, one of the poorest and most unstable countries in south Asia with 150 million inhabitants, of which the majority are Muslims, had sunk into a political crisis in which Islamist extremism is a destabilising force.
Once upon a time there was a prince called Muhammad Dara Sikoh who belonged to the Moghul dynasty. In 1655, before embracing the Sufi confraternity of the Qadiriyya, Dara Sikoh wrote a treatise comparing Hinduism and Sufism, the beautiful Majma‘ al-bahrayn (The Confluence of the Two Seas); he wrote it in Persian, at the time the official and cultured language of the Indian administration. Nowadays everything has changed. Iran, however, still has great potential in its cultural and political influence over Asia. With the end of international sanctions, Iranians have returned to the centre of geopolitics, and not only Middle Eastern geopolitics.
Dynamic and yet conservative, increasingly turning to the East and yet still attracted by the European option, fascinated by presidentialism but not by the Iranian totalitarian model, Turkish society – and its leadership – escapes all Western categories for which it remains a complex puzzle. Reset discussed the matter with Valeria Giannotta, a professor of International Relations at the University of the Turkish Aeronautical Association in Ankara, while attending the conference entitled “Betting on Iran”, organised by CIPMO (Italian Centre for Peace in the Middle East) in Milan, Italy..
Over the past week newspapers in Turkey have reported alternating events one in apparent contradiction with the other. On December 14th the chapter involving negotiations concerning economic and monetary policies linked to Turkey’s EU membership was reopened. The integration process was resumed with unexpected speediness as part of the agreement on the management of Syrian refugees that will fill Ankara’s coffers with $3 billion to be used to build camps to keep Syrians far from the EU. With perfect timing, a court in Istanbul rejected the request presented by lawyers representing Can Dundar and Erdem Gul, respectively editor and editor-in-chief of the historical daily newspaper Cumhuriyet, for their release from prison.
The European Safe Country of Origin List:
Challenging the Geneva Convention’s Definition of Refugee?
Over the last years, we witnessed the worst refugee crisis since World War II (1); starting from 2011, when level stood at 42.5 million, the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide has steadily increased, reaching up to 59.5 millions individuals at the end of 2014. As the number of refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons (IDPs) continued to grow, it is likely that the total number of forced migrants have far surpassed 60 million (2) in 2015. The rapid acceleration in the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide characterize the current situation in a way that lead politicians, journalists and public opinion to consider it as a migration or refugee crisis. This is fiercely affecting the European Union, as a growing number of migrants are reaching its boarders seeking protection. While the EU is facing this challenge, a debate has been going on at both media and political level concerning the differences between refugees, asylum seekers and economic migrants.
There have been 17 terrorist attacks in 12 months, in which 300 people died and about 1,000 were wounded. The suicide bombers who attacked Ankara’s airport carried out the sixth attack of 2016, a trail of blood and death that decreed the profoundly comatose state of Turkey’s tourism. The words spoken by the Minister for Tourism, guaranteeing that “all security measures to prevent further attacks have been implemented”, will not be enough to bring tourists back to Turkey. Among the elements that President Erdogan will not be able to underestimate anymore when drafting a “list of priorities” that Ankara intends to pursue to ensure a future without terrorism and relaunch Turkey’s image there is the resumption of negotiations with the Kurds and a zero tolerance policy as far as jihadists are concerned. This would mark a change of direction essential for the pacification of a country that, over the past years, has all too often found itself counting the victims of massacres that could (maybe) have been avoided.
Deputy Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli is the Italian government’s delegate for the Middle East and in the past was a professor and OSCE representative as well as being a former member of the Italian and European parliaments’ Foreign Affairs Committees. Pistelli’s long summer started when he returned to Italy with the last flight out of Erbil before U.S. air strikes on ISIS jihadists began. There he saw first-hand Iraq’s wounded image in refugee camps, filled with those who had already abandoned everything to flee the men led by “Caliph” al-Baghdadi, and were now preparing to flee once again. Today, he believes, such an international crisis or the decision-making system in place called upon to remedy matters, are no longer issues to be addressed by desk-strategists, because when events are this harsh, a backlash can only be prevented by the United Nations’ centrality and the flexible of politics and diplomacy.
Dust, ruins and entire districts burned to the ground; that is today’s Ramadi, the Sunni city that is the capital of the very turbulent Anbar Province. Freed by the Iraqi army at the end of last year, it now looks like a ghost city. Satellite photographs published in recent days by the Associated Press show the extent of the devastation, with over three thousand buildings destroyed, 400 roads seriously damaged, bridges reduced to dust and collapsing infrastructure. About 800 civilians have died in Ramadi and the challenge faced is now a political one.