On the afternoon of June 29th, while Turkey’s Supreme Military Council held a meeting presided over by the President of the Republic, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish tanks deployed to the border with Oncupinar and Cilevgozu. The border’s airspace was constantly monitored and the army also placed on high alert. Just two days later the contingent on the border received reinforcements, significantly increasing the number of units. Two different army brigades were deployed to Urfa and Gaziantep, with air support taking off from Diyarbakir.
Surveil, Arrest, Dominate
The Waning of Egypt's Public Sphere
The Waning of Egypt's Public Sphere
The popular uprising against Hosni Mubarak’s regime opened the Egyptian public sphere up to various groups and movements, but the military intervention in July 2013 has allowed the government to take a number of measures aiming at regaining state control over the public sphere. Reset-DoC’s new articles offer an in-depth analysis of this ongoing process and its actors: four years after Tahrir, digital mass-surveillance, renewed pressure on civil society and on the media, as well as the “Egyptianization” of the war on terror, are rapidly restricting the country’s public space and threatening human rights.
What remains of the sovereignty of the people in next Sunday’s referendum in Greece? Something of course remains, something important. We are, however, far from what those words meant when nation-states defined with certainty the future of their political, economic, military and legal order. The Greeks will announce an apparently clear nai or oxi, a “yes” or a un “no”, addressed, however, at very different national, European and international orders of “sovereignty.”
A moment of sharing and gathering, a vehicle for traditions and a means of communication, food signifies far more than simply providing the body with the energy is requires to work. Food is also a religious symbol; it nourishes the soul and sharing it at the table is a moment of conviviality and intimacy with others. But what happens when we dine with someone only eating halal food? And what attitude should the authorities assume regarding school cafeterias when faced with families refusing to eat pork? And what answer should the state provide to those demanding to know how an animal was butchered before its meat is sold in supermarkets? - Read the special focus
On June 17th the Hungarian government decided to close its border with Serbia, securing it with metal fencing all along its 175 kilometres. Controversy is rampant. The Serbian government is outraged, with the press reporting on yet another wall in the European fortress. Associations active in the field of migrants’ human rights have, euphemistically speaking, expressed perplexity. According to the Hungarian government, closing the border will stop the flow of migrants that has affected the country in recent months. They almost all transit through Serbia, a fundamental part of the “Balkan route.” Migrants also travel to Europe by land. Frontex, the European agency responsible for monitoring and controlling borders, has reported that, in the first six months of 2015, the same number of people have arrived in Europe from the two Mediterranean routes (one leading to Sicily and the other to Greece) and from the Balkans, amounting to 50,000 migrants.
On the streets of Istanbul, it seems a typically democratic election season, with multicolored flags and posters of more than 6 parties, each hoping to pass a 10% -of-the-vote hurdle to obtain seats in the National Assembly. But when Turks go to the polls this Sunday, they will either accelerate or put the brakes on their 93-year old republic’s departure from its founder Kemal Ataturk’s vision of the secular, democratic, Western-facing polity toward a more authoritarian, neo-Ottoman regime that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK-Parti) have been engineering ambitiously for several years. This election is as fateful as the Gezi Park demonstrations that first alerted millions of Turks and roiled much of the rest of the country.
Tehran - One front page headline reads “Delegation of U.S. oil companies to visit Tehran.” Others instead announced that “Trade delegations follow one another.” There have even been headlines stating “Crowds of foreign investors prepare to invade Iran,” with English-language Iranian newspapers not holding back in their use of superlatives and one column saying that Iran is the “last frontier” for international investors. Expectations are high, extremely high.
When I arrived at the entrance of the Barbo Palace in Tunis to meet Samir Dilou, the acting Human Rights and Justice Minister and spokesman for Hamadi Jebali’s government, the building was besieged by groups of people waiting to enter. One man said that every day he goes to the high gates of the Palace (which in the days of Ben Ali’s regime was the headquarters of the Chamber of Councillors) simply to exercise his post-revolution rights. Like all the others, this man is angry, so visibly angry that the guards have placed a table in front of the door to avoid it being knocked down, a sign that tension in Tunisia still runs high although the atmosphere is lighter in the streets of Tunis and there is a new vitality.
In the last few years many international organizations have been implementing youth empowerment activities as a tool to achieve their own strategic objectives. One of most structured efforts in this field is represented by the Arab-European Young Leaders Forum (AEYLF), created in 2009 by the League of Arab States in cooperation with the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs of Austria. At the centre of this initiative are emerging leaders representing the civil society, the academia, the media as well as the social and creative economy, carefully selected on the basis of their remarkable achievements and their potential as “multipliers”.
The historic political framework agreement reached by Iran and the world powers last April 2 in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Tehran's nuclear program has the potential of changing the entire landscape in the Middle East and beyond. Iran and the group called 5+1 (the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) have indeed found a formula that would reassure the international community on the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program, while terminating all unilateral and multilateral economic sanctions imposed on Tehran. If they succeed in developing a comprehensive deal by the end of June, as it is expected, it will certainly mark a major geopolitical shift, as it will probably open the way for cooperation between Iran and the United States well beyond the nuclear file, on other areas of common interest.
Seventy years have gone by since the end of World War II and, since this marks another decade, in Moscow the commemorations will be grand. Fifteen thousand soldiers will march in the usual military parade in Red Square on May 9th, the day on which Russians commemorate victory in the “Great Patriotic War.” The ground of this great Muscovite square will not only reverberate to the sound of marching boots, but also to the passing artillery pieces, armoured vehicles, missiles and tanks, including the T-14 Armata Tank. This is a new and very modern tank that will be officially presented on May 9th. For the moment no photographs of the tank are in circulation, with the exception of one published on the Russian Defence Ministry’s website. The turret is not visible in this photograph and this has increased expectations regarding this display of grandeur. It is a shame that the most important Western leaders will not see it in real life as they are not travelling to Moscow. Turbulent times added to the great Ukrainian crisis have discouraged visits.
The result of the elections in Turkey was surprising for two main reasons, the downturn experienced by the governing Justice and Development Party – Erdoğan’s AKP – and the pro-Kurdish HDP’s arrival in parliament, also representing in a broader manner the Turkish democratic and pluralist left. The challenge was not an easy one due to the enormous disproportion of resources and the very loud and violent tone of the electoral campaign. Furthermore, there was the 10% threshold established following the 1980 coup d’état, which for decades altered real representation in parliament.
“The first to pay with their lives are those who profess this religion in a peaceful, calm and respectful manner.” With those words the Italian Speaker of the House Laura Boldrini commented on her meeting with the secretary of Italy’s Islamic Cultural Centre, Abdellah Redouane, and the faithful who were meeting for Friday prayers at Rome’s Great Mosque. This was an encounter that the Islamic community had wanted and requested and addressed at Italians and Muslims in order to say “no to terrorism” and reiterate that “Islam is a religion of peace.” Those words were part of the clear and explicit appeal read at a table at which the Italian state’s third highest ranking official sat next to authorities of the largest mosque in Europe.
While Bahrain’s government concentrated last weekend exclusively on organizing the Formula 1 GP, those who for over a year have been the victims of a repression shrouded in silence, took advantage of this event to attract the world’s attention to their cause. The winds of the Arab Spring had reached Manama on February 4th 2011, when protesters decided to take to the streets demanding political reform and the departure of the Al-Khalifas, the Sunni royal family that rules the country where there is a Shiite majority. The harshest repression began on March 14th when the government allowed troops into the country sent by the Cooperation Council for the Arab States in the Gulf. One thousand soldiers sent by Saudi King Abdallah arrived in Bahrain with a specific mandate; stop the protests and save King Hamad.
The centenary of the Armenian genocide will go down in history, if for no other reason that Pope Francis’ words will still echo powerfully over the days and years to come. Many things have been said and written about Jorge Bergoglio’s speech and there is no need to add anything. Here the issue of the genocide’s centenary starts from a different perspective, to be more specific from a location; Gallipoli.
Reset-Dialogues is pleased to publish this essay by Michael Walzer, Professor Emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, drawn from a lecture held during the series of conferences "For an inclusive citizenship", held in Milan at the Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli between autumn 2013 and spring 2014. Among other speakers, the conferences have hosted Giuliano Amato, Rainer Bauböck, Richard Bernstein, Anna Elisabetta Galeotti, Nilüfer Göle, Susan Mendus and Alain Touraine.