By Yiannis Charalambous*
For those who follow developments in northern Cyprus, the results of the first round of the unrecognized ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ elections confirmed what had more or less been predicted. Notably, that these elections are unpredictable and will definitely be decided in a two-round election.
19th of April saw incumbent Dervis Eroglu supported by the UBP and DP-UG coalition garnering 28.18%. He was followed by Mustafa Akinci, who was supported by the TDP and BKP and managed to receive 26.92%. CTP-BG candidate, Sibel Siber received 22.54% while former negotiator in the Cyprus peace process and independent candidate, Kudret Ozersay, garnered an astonishing 21.23%. Continue reading
By Marianna Karakoulaki
Almost a month before the US Midterm Elections which are to be held on November 4, and the US public is called to decide their next representatives at the House of Representatives as well as the Senate. Just two years after Obama’s re-election, things are looking rather tough for the Democrats as polls seem to favor the Republican Party for both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
by Haifa Peerzada
Kashmir encountered its worst floods in the last 60 years, in which the exact toll of disaster still remains to be accounted for. Though the relief operations are still going on, there does not seem to be any coordinated effort on the part of the state government or that at the Centre for easing the magnitude of the disaster that engulfed Indian administered Kashmir and the Pakistan administered Kashmir. Though the mainstream Indian media have reportedly been glorifying the efforts of army and other para military troops in Kashmir but they have completely discredited the efforts of local Kashmiri volunteers whose rules were more instrumental in providing rescue and relief operations to the flood victims in the inundated areas. Besides, very less or no analysis has been done on the direct causal link between this catastrophic disaster and the Kashmir dispute.
By Haifa Peerzada
As the elections are underway for a much awaited change of political leadership in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, some of the basic essentials of good governance have not been given much attention or they have been ignored. With the killing of a Sarpanch associated with PDP, the issue of fragile self-governance at local levels in Jammu and Kashmir has again come to fore. This issue cuts right at the core of a larger issue which seeks to devolve more powers to the local authorities which may in turn lead to better development and good governance, free of corruption. But even this seems to be co-opted by the power politics in which various political parties religiously indulge.
By Irina Savchenko
NB: This is an updated version of the article posted earlier on March 13th, 2014
A referendum is to take place in Crimea on the 16th of March, 2014, about whether or not the Crimean peninsula will join Russia. This was announced a mere ten days before the referendum date. The timing is of the essence obviously; the question is, why now? Why suddenly Ukraine became a physical play-ground between the West and Russia? Is it due to the long tensions building up between the USA and Russia or due to the recent overthrow of Mr. Yanukovich? These and many other questions need to be answered, as Ukrainian future is being shaped.
by Haifa Peerzada
The BBC Hard talk with Omar Abdullah was quite intriguing, interesting and definitely elicits some reflection. In the first instance, what caught my attention was that the host, Stephen Sackur attributed the talk to the Prospects for Peace in Kashmir after introducing Mr. Omar Abdullah, the Chief Minister of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. So the impression that it gave me in the first place was that there would be an objective analysis of this long standing dispute with its chief minister. I was in fact hoping for it to be one of the milestone talks by Omar Abdullah that would create ripples in India and the world. Another thing that made it interesting was the location of the talk. This talk was held in front of an audience at Delhi. Though everyone told me not to expect much of objectivity from a politician speaking in New Delhi about “Kashmir”, yet I thought I must still watch it and without holding any pre-conceived notions I watched it. Following are some of my observations about the talk, which I thought I could share with everyone.
By Zenonas Tziarras
It was June, 2013. I arrived in Ankara, Turkey, right on time to witness the development of the protests that began at Istanbul’s Gezi Park and spread throughout the country’s urban centers, as well as to experience and participate in the social and political discussion that was taking place at that time. The purpose of my visit included the participation in a conference on Turkish foreign policy and some field research. That gave me the opportunity to speak and exchange views with students of International Relations, academics, experts, and diplomats. Continue reading
by Nikos Moudouros
Ali Bulaç, a Turkish Islamist intellectual, cited in a characteristic way the traditional perception of the way political Islam faces Cyprus, through his own column in ZAMAN newspaper, by mentioning the following: “The reason why the Turkish intervention in Cyprus caused a huge wave of enthusiasm would be explained to me a little later by an elder uncle from Halepi…the most important of all was that for the first time after 300 years the Muslim world would manage to grab a piece of land, even a small one, from the hands of the Christians”.
According to the above, conquering a small part of land “taken from the hands of the Christians” constituted a matter of honor to the rivalry of these two completely different worlds, as these were formed in the perception of the Turkish political Islam. However, in order to better understand today’s strategy of the Justice and Development Party concerning Cyprus, this strategy should be placed in a right historical context. The de-coding of the policy followed in the northern part of Cyprus, demands an even at least brief de-coding of the AKP’s worldview as this has been affected and formed by the end of the Cold War, the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001 and the neoliberal restructuring.
On July 21, the ruling coalition consisting of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the Komei party collectively won more than 70 seats, making them become a dominant power in both lower and upper houses. However, I was scared of smiles of both Prime Minister Abe and Secretary-General of LDP Ishiba during the interview because one of their main goals is to amend Article 9 of the constitution, and as a result of this election, the ruling coalition succeeded in creating a better environment conducive for their policies to get passed at both houses. Article 9 states, “…the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.” The article is well known in the international community and has kept Japan away from armed conflicts since WWII.
By Dana Terry*
Since the Dayton Peace Accords put an end to the bloody ethnic war in 1995, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has been a transitional economy wrought with unemployment, stagnation, and corruption. The Dayton Peace Accords ended in an agreement to divide the country into two, self-governing entities with a weak centralized government. Though the Agreement ended the bloodshed, the economy has greatly suffered. The state’s largely decentralized government has hampered economic policy coordination and reform. There has been little done to reform the country’s segmented markets, and the excessive bureaucracy has discouraged foreign investment. It is apparent that the economic system of BiH is in dire need of reform, but the answer to how to initiate reform is not as clear. Arguably, the best solution is to unify the state through fostering a common Bosnian identity, reallocate the funds saved from cutting government to industries in the private sector, and then employ Keynesian Shovel Ready Projects in the short term to spark enough economic growth to attract foreign investment.