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Home / Press review / Archive / Press review | 05/06/2015

 

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Turkey facing key election

President Erdoğan wants to amend the constitution and strengthen his position after the election. (© picture-alliance/dpa)

 

Three days before the Turkish parliamentary elections the human rights organisation Reporters Without Borders has called on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to stop harassing opposition media. The fate of the country's democracy is at stake, commentators point out, and hope the left-leaning pro-Kurdish HDP will make it into parliament.

Financial Times - United Kingdom

Erdoğan must not secure even more power

A two-thirds majority for the AKP and the resulting option for President Erdoğan to change the constitution would be a catastrophe for Turkey, the conservative daily Financial Times believes: "At a time of polarisation inside the country and the jihadist threat lapping at its borders with Syria and Iraq, and in light of the president's increasingly wilful and authoritarian behaviour, giving the AKP a majority big enough for Mr Erdogan to rewrite the constitution and fashion an executive presidency in his image would be bad for Turkey. ... He has leeched power from the cabinet, ridden roughshod over the law, and persecuted the media and private businesses. It would be disastrous were he to accumulate further power - and the means to bulldoze the few remaining checks to his exercising it." (04/06/2015)

Frankfurter Rundschau - Germany

Turks must defend democracy

President Erdoğan's ploy of turning the Turkish parliamentary elections into a referendum on his presidential system is an all-or-nothing strategy, the centre-left daily Frankfurter Rundschau believes: "Voters are much less interested in the presidential system than in the money in their wallets - which is dwindling by the day - and the dramatically high unemployment figures. ... Waste is the Achilles' heel of this president, who ran for election on the promise of eradicating corruption. ... Turkey will decide on its future on Sunday: Central Asian autocracy or European democracy. This time we will see whether the opposition manages to mobilise voters, and whether the Turks are mature enough to recognise the importance of the vote and defend their democracy." (05/06/2015)

Il Sole 24 Ore - Italy

Only Kurds can stop the sultan

Turkey's fate is in the hands of the Kurds, the liberal business paper Il Sole 24 Ore observes: "Just before the election on Sunday that will decide whether the the pasha of politics Erdoğan also becomes the sultan of a presidential republic, he has clearly overstepped the mark that made his European ambitions still seem credible. Because Erdoğan, like Putin in Russia, will stop at nothing to discredit his opponent. He has condemned the critical voices of the media and opposition politicians as traitors to national interests in the service of the Western powers. Nonetheless the AKP will win the election. But the crucial question for Erdoğan is the following: will he achieve the majority he needs to change the constitution? The polls show the HDP at 10 percent. That means it will all depend on a handful of Kurdish votes." (05/06/2015)

Agos - Turkey

AKP attacks prompted by fear of election fiasco

This week saw three attacks against the pro-Kurdish left-wing HDP in which one person was killed and at least two others injured. Erdoğan accused the "Armenian lobby", homosexuals and the Doğan media group of inciting the masses on Wednesday. The numerous attacks by Erdoğan and the ruling AKP against Kurds and Armenians in particular testify to his fear of losing votes in Sunday's election, the weekly of the Armenian authority Agos concludes: "The AKP is used to ruling alone as a strong party and the mere possibility that it could lose that supremacy is causing it to resort to pretty crude, racist and discriminatory language. It won't have a problem using strongly sexist and degrading arguments either. The last few weeks have shown us that, faced with the prospect of losing their absolute majority, the AKP and its collaborators are even ready to depict the election itself as an attempted coup." (05/06/2015)

POLITICS

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Sme - Slovakia

Only Obama can achieve peace in Ukraine

Massive fighting has once again broken out in eastern Ukraine, and been condemned by the EU Commission as the worst violation of the Minsk ceasefire agreement so far. The liberal daily Sme warns of a new war and argues that the onus is increasingly on the US to step in: "The fighting was provoked by both sides. A prolongation of EU sanctions against Russia is expected in a few weeks' time, meaning that the last motivation for Russia to behave responsibly will be removed. Ukraine, in turn, has named former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, a declared enemy of Russia, as governor of the Odessa region - with the clear intention of provoking Russia. ... In view of the renewed risk that the conflict could spread like wildfire, it is incomprehensible that Washington continues to leave the job of protecting Ukraine to Angela Mekel and pacifist Germany. What more will it take for Obama to realise that Putin is turning his back on the West with his strategy of controlled aggression?" (05/06/2015)

Lidové noviny - Czech Republic

West at odds over G7's Russia exclusion

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper has spoken out in favour of extending Russian President Vladimir Putin's exclusion from G7 meetings like the one taking place in Germany this weekend. On the surface at least there seems to be consensus on this matter, comments the conservative Lidové noviny daily: "But there are also more and more voices saying that communication and not sanctions is the key to finding a way to coexist peacefully with Russia. It would also help Ukraine if the West spoke to Russia. Others say that the West would be betraying its values if it invited Putin without insisting that he first end all military support for the rebels in Ukraine. ... The G7 represents just 14 percent of the global population. The G20, which represents 66 percent, is growing ever louder. After the annexation of Crimea Australia wanted to exclude Moscow there too - but the Brics countries wouldn't allow it." (05/06/2015)

i - Portugal

Portugal should keep fingers crossed for Greece

A Grexit would be bad news for Portugal, warns the centre-left daily i: "For the government a Grexit would prove that it was right with 'its' and all Europe's motto that 'There are no alternatives'. For the Socialists who promise a break with the current austerity policy it would be a major setback. But regardless which of the two discourses a Grexit would favour, it would have enormous consequences for Portugal and expose the country's vulnerability. If the Pandora's box is opened it is likely that the yields on Portuguese government bonds will spiral. ... So Portugal should keep its fingers crossed for Greece - which however isn't happening. One can understand why the centre-right parties aren't doing just that, but as regards the Socialists it's less understandable." (03/06/2015)

NRC Handelsblad - Netherlands

A little less NSA spying thanks to Snowden

The US Congress passed a law on Tuesday that restricts the NSA's powers to gather the telephone and Internet data of US citizens. A small step in the right direction, the liberal daily NRC Handelsblad comments: "In principle Americans now have more protection against the curiosity of the state, even if it remains to be seen whether this will make much difference in practical terms. But for citizens in the rest of the world who also make phone calls and surf the Internet nothing changes. ... So the NSA can continue tapping into the telephone traffic of entire countries. ... Nonetheless it is still of major interest that the NSA will no longer be able to do as it pleases in the name of national security. Without Edward Snowden this probably never would have happened." (05/06/2015)

Tvnet - Latvia

Green president good for Latvia

Latvia's parliament elected current Defence Minister and Green Party leader Raimonds Vējonis as the country's new president on Wednesday. The Internet portal Tvnet is happy with the choice: "Vējonis will be the first head of state since Latvia became independent who has plenty of experience in politics: he has been elected to parliament four times, for nine years he was minister for the environment and in recent years defence minister. He is also internationally recognised. He is seen as the first green president of an EU state. Now we hope that in future he won't just present his green ideas but also fulfil the obligations of a head of state. … His statement on television on Wednesday evening that politicians should not lie will be a criterion by which the people will judge the new head of state." (04/06/2015)

REFLECTIONS

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Libération - France

Edward Snowden observes the return to reason

The US Congress on Tuesday voted to reform the Patriot Act of 2001 and restrict the access of intelligence services to telephone metadata. Two years after his disclosures society is demanding its freedom back from the state, whistleblower Edward Snowden writes in delight in the centre-left daily Libération: "Spymasters in Australia, Canada and France have exploited recent tragedies to seek intrusive new powers despite evidence such programs would not have prevented attacks. ... Yet the balance of power is beginning to shift. We are witnessing the emergence of a post-terror generation, one that rejects a worldview defined by a singular tragedy. For the first time since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, we see the outline of a politics that turns away from reaction and fear in favor of resilience and reason. With each court victory, with every change in the law, we demonstrate facts are more convincing than fear. As a society, we rediscover that the value of a right is not in what it hides, but in what it protects." (05/06/2015)

ECONOMY

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Der Standard - Austria

Grexit would burn creditors' money

The IMF agreed to let Greece defer a payment on a loan tranche on Thursday. Athens will pay the four instalments that are due all together at the end of the month. The bargaining position of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in the struggle for an agreement with Greece's creditors is not all that bad, the centre-left daily Der Standard writes: "One aspect is the bailout funds that have been funnelled to Greek banks via national central banks and amount to more than 80 billion euros. In the case of an exit from the Eurozone and/or a Greek default all the debts and collateral would be worth nothing. ... The Eurozone and the IMF have clearly underestimated the fact that Alexis Tsipras's position improves the longer he puts off the creditors." (05/06/2015)

Blog Biziday - Romania

Romania must hurry up and join the euro club

After meeting on Thursday with President Klaus Iohannis, Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta said he would like to see his country introduce the euro on July 1 2019. In view of French and German plans to step up economic integration Bucharest needs to get a move on, Moise Guran writes on his blog Biziday: "The [French and German] ministers of economic affairs have called in a joint article for a fiscal union to complement the monetary union. They evoke the need not only for a common financial policy but also for a common budget. ... However such a project could divide the EU into one completely integrated zone and one less integrated zone. ... Now it's clear why our politicians have presented such a resolute timetable for joining the Eurozone. Sure: no one's going to kick us out of Europe if we don't introduce the euro. But now's the time to ask if we want to belong to the United States of Europe or simply remain on its doorstep." (05/06/2015)

Naftemporiki - Greece

Spaniards losing their homes despite recovery

According to Spain's National Statistics Institute, the Spanish economy grew by 0.9 percent over the previous quarter QOQ in the first quarter of 2015. The conservative daily Naftemporiki believes the figures are obscuring the sad reality: "Unemployment lies at 24 percent (and over 50 percent among the young), while jobholders' average income is around 20 percent lower than in 2008. That makes it increasingly difficult for the Spaniards to repay their loans and mortgages. Last year almost 35,000 homes were foreclosed on, meaning roughly 95 families lose the roof over their heads every day. And according to the Spanish Central Bank the repayment of public debt between 2012 and 2014 meant that the net budget savings were practically zero." (05/06/2015)

SOCIETY

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Tportal - Croatia

Croatia must deal with fascist past

Seventy years after the end of World War II a debate has broken out in Croatia about the historical role of the partisans and the fascist Ustaša revolutionary movement. Croatia needs this debate, the liberal website tportal.hr stresses: "Only once Ustaša fascism, its symbols and all traces of this movement have been eradicated through systematic education and ruthless criminal prosecution according to the model in modern democratic Germany will it be possible to talk calmly about the relationship between the state and the markets, as well as labour and capital. Only then will Croatia have created the preconditions for its economic progress, because only then will it have matured into a normal, democratic and civilised society." (03/06/2015)

hvg - Hungary

Help! Hungary back to being a multiethnic state

On June 4, 1920, Hungary lost roughly one third of its population and two thirds of its territory as a result of the Treaty of Trianon. Journalist Péter Techet makes an ironic comparison with today's situation in the centre-left weekly paper Heti Világgazdaság: "June 4 1920 was a big day in Hungary's history. 95 years ago our small homeland finally gained its freedom. It shook off the yoke of the Habsburgs and rid itself of the liberal developments and reforms introduced by the Imperial and Royal Monarchy, to say nothing of ethnic diversity. After half a millennium Hungary was once more a sovereign state. Today nothing less is at stake: the 68ers, cosmopolitans, liberals, traitors and fanatic supporters of the EU here at home are plotting to betray Trianon and turn Hungary back into a large, liberal, multicoloured and hospitable country." (04/06/2015)

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