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Home / Press review / Archive / Press review | 02/04/2015

 

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Attacks in Istanbul

The far-left organisation DHKP-C took responsibility for the hostage taking, while nothing is known about the attackers of the police headquarters. (© picture-alliance/dpa)

 

A day after the fatal hostage taking in Istanbul, armed assailants attacked the city's police headquarters on Wednesday. One attacker was killed, while her accomplice gave himself up. Some commentators put the blame for the supposed far-left terrorism on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his authoritarian style of governing. For others it's less clear just who pulled the strings behind the attacks.

La Stampa - Italy

Erdoğan has created his country's problems

In the wake of the attacks in Istanbul Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Wednesday that the country would resist such terrorist assaults. But Erdoğan himself created the system that is producing the terror, the liberal daily La Stampa harshly concludes: "It seems an eternity since Turkey was considered a concrete possibility for political Islam. An Islam that was not only compatible with the principles of freedom and pluralism but also in a position to provide an alternative to radical Islamic tendencies. … The transformation of its leadership must be at the heart of the analysis [of the failure of the Turkish model]. Erdoğan has gradually assumed increasingly authoritarian traits. … In Turkey a political system is crystallising which, even if based on a broad consensus, has long since moved into the category of 'illiberal democracy'. (02/04/2015)

Frankfurter Rundschau - Germany

AKP system begins to totter

An election campaign manoeuvre could be behind Tuesday's terrorist attacks and nation-wide power failure, the left-liberal daily Frankfurter Rundschau surmises: "Are people close to the [Islamic-conservative governing party] AKP spreading chaos in a bid to present themselves as the country's only serious guarantor of stability? Once seemingly unassailable, the AKP is in fact going through rough times. The competition between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu poses a serious challenge, as do the ailing economy, the Syrian refugees and the unrest in the Kurdish south-east. The party has plummeted in the opinion polls and for the first time in twelve and a half years risks losing its absolute majority in parliament. That, in turn, that is causing the entire nepotism- and clientelism-based system to totter." (02/04/2015)

Sözcü - Turkey

Implausible theory of far-left violence

Although it was the far-left DHKP-C who took the prosecutor at the Istanbul court hostage, other forces are behind the events, the anti-government daily Sözcu suspects: "Was the prosecutor taken hostage and killed to divert public attention from corruption, theft, joblessness, the oncoming economic crisis and Erdoğan's efforts to get Turkey firmly under his control by means of a presidential system? And this at a time when popular dissatisfaction is increasing and the AKP is losing its voter base? ... The prosecutor wasn't trying to hide anything. He put all his energy into investigating the files of the eleven people who lost their eyesight during the Gezi protests and the murder of Berkin Elvan. ... It's clear that he would have shed light on the circumstances of the killing. He didn't gloss over or suppress anything, and he was on Berkin's side. That's the kind of prosecutor they targeted and took hostage." (02/04/2015)

POLITICS

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Tages-Anzeiger - Switzerland

Nuclear deal with Iran virtually impossible

The negotiating partners continue their struggle to reach an agreement in the nuclear talks with Iran currently taking place in Lausanne. All the UN veto power countries and Germany are at the negotiating table, but the left-liberal daily Tages-Anzeiger blames Iran and the US for the deadlock: "Even if the Iranians and Americans are moving closer to an agreement they still seem to talk at cross-purposes: US secretary of state John Kerry's team wants figures and limits that show that Tehran is winding down its nuclear programme. Unless Obama's administration can prove to the Republicans that this is happening, an agreement won't stand a chance in the US Congress. However the Iranians led by Foreign Minister Mohammed Zarif see such figures as a humiliation because they demonstrate unsparingly that their country must give something up. The conservative leadership in Tehran won't accept a defeat at the hands of the 'great Satan'. Zarif's team therefore demands respect for Iran's sovereignty. And that includes its nuclear programme. Consequently the diplomatic conclave in Lausanne faces an almost impossible task." (02/04/2015)

Al Jazeera - Qatar

Global perspectives: Military action in Yemen just a diversionary tactic

A Saudi-led alliance of Arab states started attacking Houthi rebels backed by Iran in Yemen a week ago. Both sides are using this proxy war above all to halt the democratic movements in their own countries, Islam expert Hamid Dabashi writes on the Qatari news broadcaster Al Jazeera: "Both the ruling regime in Iran and those of Arab countries have a single common goal: to divert and derail the revolutionary posturing of the Arab revolutions and massive demand for civil liberties in Iran most evident during the Green movement. The pumped up 'Persian-Arab' nationalism or 'Shia-Sunni' sectarianism is a ruse, a subterfuge, a vicious diversionary tactic to save both the ruling regimes in Arab countries and in Iran from their common enemy: the will of their people for democratic aspirations." (01/04/2015)

Efimerida ton Syntakton - Greece

Athens too lax vis-à-vis anarchists

Dozens of demonstrators broke through police barricades outside the Greek parliament on Wednesday and gathered in front of the building, demanding the closure of a maximum security prison. Self-proclaimed anarchists also occupied several university buildings making the same demand. The left-liberal daily Efimerida ton Syntakton calls for tougher action against the demonstrators: "The fact that for the first time an unorganised group of demonstrators has broken through the barricades in front of parliament triggers unpleasant memories. It calls to mind the famous 'indignant', who in 2011, arm-in-arm with the supporters of the [neo-Nazi party] Golden Dawn, chanted slogans calling for parliament to be burned down . … The message the government is sending to the citizens is more than alarming: everyone can do as they please for as long as they like and wherever they want to. … Immediate action is needed before it's too late and the alleged right to free thinking backfires." (01/04/2015)

Ouest France - France

French ignore powers of departments

Many voters wanted to teach the Socialist government in Paris a lesson in the departmental elections, the regional daily Ouest-France writes, voicing criticism that important local issues and projects were neglected in the process: "Most French really have no idea what the departments have been responsible for since the introduction of the decentralisation laws of 1982 (welfare, child and disabled benefits, funding and maintenance of secondary schools and much of the road network). So it's hard for them to judge the outgoing members of the departmental councils on the basis of their accomplishments. These, however, are crucial for the future of the departments, which will be subject to drastic - and unprecedented - cuts in the next legislature period. … Whatever their political orientation, the elected representatives will no doubt have to agree on austerity budgets." (01/04/2015)

Eesti Rahvusringhääling - Estonia

Russian-Estonian border treaty good for Europe

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent the Estonian-Russian border treaty to parliament for ratification at the end of March. The editor-in-chief of the monthly magazine Diplomaatia comments on the web portal of Estonian broadcaster ERR that the EU stands to gain from this agreement: "The European Union sees the border treaty as a bilateral issue between Estonia and Russia. Russia no doubt also sees it this way and therefore handles it separately from the issue of the EU sanctions. This enables Moscow to depict the border treaty as an example of the disunity within the EU. However the border treaty has been on the agenda for a long time, and it would be good for the EU to have a fixed external border." (02/04/2015)

Der Standard - Austria

Too much expected of Nigeria's president-elect

The electoral victory of opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari over President Goodluck Jonathan has been widely celebrated in Nigeria. The left-liberal daily Der Standard warns against pinning too many hopes on the winner: "Like Jonathan, who took office after the death of his predecessor Umaru Yar'Adua, Buhari is seen as being outside the corrupt system. Now his task is to clean things up. And as with Jonathan, this impression is false. Both men are backed by powerful interest groups. In addition the ex-dictator must show that his conversion to democracy will remain intact even when he's faced with complex problems. If the current military triumphal march against Boko Haram is also to be a social success, the Muslim president must attain a balance: providing better economic prospects for the north without getting on the bad side of the Christian south. The election has not done away with religious and ethnic division in the country. Buhari doesn't owe his victory to the support of Christian voters, but to the fact that they stayed away from the polls. If that ever changes there really will be cause to celebrate." (02/04/2015)

REFLECTIONS

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El País - Spain

Antonio Navalón on Obama at a crossroads in Mid East policy

The US can't continue its ambiguous stance regarding Iran and Saudi Arabia and will sooner or later have to take sides with one or the other, the historian Antonio Navalón predicts in the left-liberal daily El País: "The US policy seems contradictory, backing Syria and Iran in the morning only to fight Iran to defend Saudi Arabia at night. The Arab world and Islam would never have ended up in this extreme situation without the US's involvement, or in other words Afghanistan and the 9/11 attacks, but now the only way out of this situation is for Barack Obama to take a clear decision and resolve the many contradictions in his policy. Either he decides in favour of a historical agreement with Iran and thus effectively puts it in control of the entire Persian Gulf and the Middle East, or he helps Saudi Arabia against the Shiites and finds a way to change the monarchies and regimes that can no longer survive on their own, as the Arab Spring demonstrated." (02/04/2015)

La Libre Belgique - Belgium

Drieu Godefridi on the failure of Keynesianism

Economic growth has taken an upward turn in a number of EU countries after they implemented stricter austerity policies, philosopher and author Drieu Godefridi observes in the liberal daily La Libre Belgique. Only the Greek government still believes in the benefits of Keynesianism, he comments: "Germany, the incarnation of austerity which achieves a budget surplus year after year, is still growing apace. ... Even Spain and Portugal, initially in situations similar to that in Greece, are once more getting back on their feet after five years of anti-Keynesian, pro-cyclical austerity policy. To say nothing of Ireland, which is now providing the best example of how to reinvent its economic miracle through cuts. Greece, under the Tsipras/Varoufakis tandem, is the only country to hold firmly to the Keynesian dogma of overcoming crises through public spending. Failing an unexpected turnaround on the part of these two clowns, we may soon see just how successful this policy of pure Keynesianism is. We're now witnessing the biggest historical defeat of Keynesian thought." (01/04/2015)

ECONOMY

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ETC - Sweden

German conservatives bringing disaster on Europe

The conflict over the Greek debt and the conditions for further support from the Eurozone countries highlights how the ideas of Germany's conservative CDU ruling party dictate events in Europe, writes the left-leaning daily ETC: "Germany is pursuing an extreme economic policy that has been foisted on the rest of the EU, with mass unemployment, a shrinking public sector and tax cuts as the basic model for everyone. The only reason why Schäuble accepted the ECB's billion euro package for buying government bonds was the ban on the money being spent on state expansion or for Greece. And so the money will be transferred through the banks to an adventure-seeking financial market - or in other words to the stock markets. German policy is thus enhancing the speculation bubble all over Europe." (02/04/2015)

Público - Portugal

Recovery not reaching all Portuguese

Unemployment rate continues to rise in Portugal, the latest figures published by its national statistic agency reveal. Joblessness rose from 13.8 to 14.1 percent between January and February and testifies to a reality very different to the "economic recovery" much applauded by Lisbon and Europe, the liberal daily Público comments: "The unemployment rate's refusal to sink below double-digit levels is worrying, particularly as the economy begins to show the first signs of recovery. … The structural unemployment is that which persists even after a reversal in the economic cycle and probably won't be overcome for many years to come. … It's not fair that for over ten percent of the Portuguese able to work this 'economic recover' is just an empty phrase without any real meaning." (30/03/2015)

SOCIETY

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News.bg - Bulgaria

Bulgarians up to their necks in corruption

Elderly people in Bulgaria are increasingly falling victim to telephone fraudsters who tell them of accidents or crimes involving their relatives and present themselves as officials or doctors willing to lend a helping hand in exchange for money. The news portal News.bg isn't surprised that so many seniors fall for the swindlers' lies: "Corruption and distrust are so deeply entrenched in our society that they've corroded our way of thinking - and our very souls. If an old women gives the last of her money to a fictitious doctor so that he'll help her nephew, it means she no longer trusts hospitals, medical practices, pharmacies or white coats. If an old man gives a fake investigator money at a petrol station because his son supposedly knocked over a child with his car, it means that he really believes everything can be swept under the carpet with a bribe: that that's how the state functions." (31/03/2015)

Gazeta Wyborcza - Poland

John Paul II unforgotten in Poland

Polish Pope John Paul II died ten years ago today. The holy father will forever remain in the memory of Poles, the liberal daily Gazeta Wyborcza writes in his tribute: "It's clear that Church historians will go on squabbling over how to assess his pontificate - just as they do with other popes. But it's just as clear that for Poles John Paul II is one of the most significant figures of his time. There is no doubt, however, that everyone will interpret this significance differently. What he achieved was exceptional. He gave the Poles - and not only them - a renewed sense of dignity. He gave hope and aroused aspirations for freedom. He was loved and admired. And he even earned the respect of those who disapproved of the public activities of the priest from Wadowice who later became cardinal of Kraków and pope." (02/04/2015)

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