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Home / Press review / Archive / Press review | 29/10/2015

 

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Turkish police storm TV stations

Police storming the compound of TV channel Kanaltürk. (© picture-alliance/dpa)

 

The Turkish police stormed two opposition-linked television stations on Wednesday. They belong to the Koza İpek Holding, which has close ties to the Gülen movement. A court ruling on Monday put the conglomerate under state control. Commentators are concerned to see President Erdoğan resorting to violence and intimidation shortly before the election, but they also believe the government's tactics will strengthen solidarity among its opponents.

Hürriyet Daily News - Turkey

Those who don't support AKP persecuted

Shortly before the elections Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the AKP are making yet another brutal attempt to intimidate their opponents, the liberal daily Hürriyet Daily News criticises: "For the last couple of days, Turkey has seen the worst of what a democratic parliamentary system turns into when those in power bend laws as they please in the absence of any kind of checks and balances. ... The seizure of Koza İpek days before a crucial election on Nov. 1 is nothing but an intimidation of everybody, including big businesses, who dare to criticize, or do not openly support the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its de facto leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The message is simple: Support us, do what we tell you to do, or I will confiscate everything you have and no one can do anything." (29/10/2015)

Der Tagesspiegel - Germany

Police crackdown bonds opposition groups

This most recent attack on a media company linked to the opposition could backfire on the AKP government, the centre-right daily Der Tagesspiegel believes: "Ankara may well have gone a step too far with its move against the critical Koza İpek media. ... On Wednesday everything pointed to the police operation having caused the opposition to bond. Even representatives of parties and media that normally don't have any sympathy whatsoever for the Gülen community have reacted indignantly. They know they could be the next in line. Moreover, this intervention against the media is a clear sign of weakness. Shortly before the elections, the government is clearly not sure that it can reach its goals by legal means." (29/10/2015)

The Times - United Kingdom

Turkey has never been so polarised

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has sown chaos and discord in Turkey all for the sake of securing an absolute majority for the AKP in Sunday's election, the conservative daily The Times criticises: "Erdoğan may feel he has done enough this time to drive worried voters into the arms of his nationalist ruling party - and paint Kurds as well as liberal, secular Turks as enemies of the state. But electoral success - if he wins on Sunday - comes at the cost of a Turkey polarised as never before and rife with rumours of shadowy conspiracies to which both Russia and the US have been linked in wild imaginings. This is a high price for one man's ambitions, a man Chancellor Merkel courted last weekend, with offers of visa-free travel and accelerated accession to the EU, despite Turkey sliding into authoritarianism and chaos." (28/10/2015)

La Repubblica - Italy

A new party needed to bring change

Turkey needs a new political party, writes the centre-left daily La Repubblica: "The [pro-Kurdish] HDP is trying to free itself from the grip of the war between the Turkish military and the PKK guerrillas. Because even with its brilliant result of 13 percent in the June election, the HDP can't even dream of ever achieving a majority in Turkey. No matter how open it is to all the other minorities it can't ever make people forget its Kurdish origins. The hopes for true change - rather than just a stronghold of the type Erdoğan's Islamic-nationalist megalomania is aiming for - rest on the emergence of a Turkish political party that truly believes in justice and peace. On a Turkish party without Islam-nationalism, on a state without a parallel state." (29/10/2015)

POLITICS

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Večernji list - Croatia

Exodus to Europe: The end of the EU's hypocrisy

At last the masks are coming off in the refugee crisis, comments the conservative daily Večernji list: "It has taken a major crisis like this for Europe to show its true face. Bit by bit what has been hidden for decades is now being revealed - namely that the EU's motto 'unity in diversity' only applies in the good times. And that the prospect of a more stable political union grows more distant with each bus full of refugees and each new border fence. Because it's clear to all now that national interests are stronger than EU values such as solidarity. Stronger even than money from the EU funds. … Now that fences are being built we can speculate on what will become of Schengen. Probably nothing. Schengen will survive. The EU too. It is 'constructed' to be flexible enough to withstand political strain as long as the economic foundations hold firm. But then at least please put an end to the hypocrisy and say clearly: it's each state for itself. The last one to build a fence loses. It becomes a hotspot." (29/10/2015)

Die Presse - Austria

Exodus to Europe: Vienna must talk about fences too

The Austrian government is at odds over whether to construct a fence on its border with Slovenia. The conservative daily Die Presse defends the idea: "Austria is trying to pass on the responsibility to both sides - to Germany and Slovenia. This may be right in terms of realpolitik, but then you can't really boast about being the world champion in humanitarianism. We should see ourselves for what we are: scoundrels. Nonetheless we must still talk about the fence - or whatever they want to call it. Because this brings us back to the question of trust. A state that knows no borders, that allows thousands of people to pass through (even if it knows they will move on to Germany) will lose its citizens' trust." (29/10/2015)

Dagens Nyheter - Sweden

Exodus to Europe: EU must relieve strain on Germany and Sweden

Germany and its Chancellor Angela Merkel need more support in the refugee crisis, stresses the liberal daily Dagens Nyheter: "It's too early to say whether Merkel's position is at risk. The 2017 election is still a long way off. That also goes for peace in Syria. But it is clearly in the EU's best interest to find joint solutions and preserve freedom of movement. The question is only how the German voters and politicians will react to having to wait on the less agile partner countries. A dangerous sense of distrust is spreading right now in Europe. The tensions between Germany and Austria are only the most recent example. It is indisputable that Germany and Sweden must be relieved of some of the burden. The EU's geographic position is what it is and the member states must overcome the crisis together. Germany has vast resources but they are not unlimited." (29/10/2015)

Echo24 - Czech Republic

Exodus to Europe: Threats from Brussels leave Poland cold

EU member states that reject refugee quotas should receive less EU funding, Euro Group chief Jeroen Djisselbloem has stated in reaction to the national conservative PiS winning the election in Poland. But Poland will pay little heed to such threats, commentator Petr Holub prophesies on the liberal website Echo24.cz: "The Eastern Enlargement is one of the heroic legends of the EU. And it worked for as long as the Eastern states kept to the rules. Poland was exemplary in that respect, with more than three percent growth even in the thick of the financial crisis. Now the PiS - a party that champions national values under a strong leader - has received an absolute majority. ... The major reason for that, however, was that the people's economic expectations remained unfulfilled. Even a huge appetite to work could not alleviate the people's day-to-day worries in the poorer areas of the country. ... The Poles have learned the rules of the market economy but want to complement them with other values, for example more support for families and the elderly. They should be able to do that even without EU funding." (28/10/2015)

La Croix - France

Syria crisis finally takes a new turn

Iran will take part in an international conference on Syria for the first time on Friday. The search for a solution to the conflict will gain momentum with Tehran at the table, the Catholic daily La Croix predicts: "The two major rival powers in the Middle East, Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia, will be sitting at the same table. Everything points to the major protagonists being in a hurry to find a solution to the Syrian civil war, which is poisoning the entire region and giving free reign to unbridled jihadism. … It seems that Moscow is aware that the regime in Damascus is exhausted. Giving it prolonged support would be costly - and risky - for Russia. In such circumstances the meeting in Vienna may well contribute to a meeting of minds. This is an indispensable step in the search for a solution to this conflict which has already claimed 250,000 lives and forced millions into exile." (28/10/2015)

El País - Spain

Catalan government has gone radically astray

In presenting a draft resolution for Catalonia's secession from Spain Catalan leader Arturo Mas has gambled away any last vestiges of credibility, the centre-left daily El País comments: "By putting his signature to the draft resolution which was inspired by the radical separatists of the [left-wing] CUP right down to the last detail, Mas has sealed the doom of his own [centre-right] Convergence party as the protagonist of moderate Catalanism. … By going along with this colossal error Mas has become a servant of the anti-system forces rather than being business friendly, as he had promised. He no longer represents the moderate bourgeoisie but has taken sides with the supporters of [the anarchists] Kropotkin and Durruti. Instead of creating rational expectations for improvement he is creating uncertainty. He has committed political suicide, though someone could yet step in death, only to live in an irreversible coma." (29/10/2015)

Sega - Bulgaria

Ruling party conned Bulgarian voters

The local elections in Bulgaria last Sunday were not conducted fairly, the daily newspaper Sega comments, accusing the ruling Gerb party of cheating: "The cheating went on at hundreds of polling stations across the country. In thousands of cases the legally stipulated excerpts from the voting protocols were not submitted on the silly pretext that the printer cartridges were empty or that there wasn't enough paper. In this way the electoral commissions, controlled by Gerb, were able to do as they pleased. … A monstrous fraud against tens if not hundreds of thousands of voters has been committed. How can the media have ignored the whole thing? Throughout the election campaign they were under the control of the economic and political clique of the powerful who told them what and who to cover." (28/10/2015)

ECONOMY

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Simerini - Cyprus

Government bonds won't fill Cypriots' stomachs

Cyprus issued a government bond worth a billion euros on Tuesday, making its official return to the markets after its crisis in 2013. But who is supposed to benefit from the money, the conservative daily Simerini asks: "It won't fill the empty stomachs of those who are starving here in Cyprus. The true prosperity of a state is not measured in figures and access to the markets. It is measured by the citizens' ability to stand on their own feet economically, have a job and be able to provide for their children's future. Some families don't even have food and milk for their children. Some schoolchildren have to be fed at soup kitchens. If it wasn't for the solidarity of the rest of society we would be gathering dead from the streets by now. … A return to the financial markets doesn't mean anything but new loans and new debts." (29/10/2015)

SOCIETY

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Le Soir - Belgium

Exodus to Europe: State must not fuel fears

Belgian national conservative Interior Minister Jan Jambon proposed on Tuesday that asylum seekers in reception centres should wear electronic badges with information on their identities. This is one of numerous counter-productive and absurd measures that are exacerbating the refugee crisis, writes François De Smet, director of the Belgian migration centre Myria,in the liberal daily Le Soir: "The state's responsibility is not limited to giving asylum seekers 'bread, a bed and a shower'. It also includes doing everything possible to improve cooperation between the local population and the asylum seekers and recognised refugees. It also involves refraining from spreading fear among the local population, which would only increase hostility and create barriers to integration. In short, it is high time for all of us to stop being afraid." (28/10/2015)

Hämeen Sanomat - Finland

Finns should not drive at 16

The Finnish traffic safety authority Trafi last week put forward a proposal for lowering the age for obtaining a driving licence to 16 provided the candidate meets certain requirements. The liberal daily Hämeen Sanomat thinks little of the idea: "This is not necessarily about knowledge or ability. A 16-year-old can learn to drive just as well as someone who's two years older. But are common sense and driving skills enough when the driving conditions change? The experts are at odds. ... Safety considerations in particular speak against setting a new minimum age for driving. There are already too many accidents involving young drivers. Who really wants to increase the risks for even younger people by letting them get behind the wheel?" (29/10/2015)

MEDIA

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Polityka - Poland

PiS wants to control Polish media

Poland's new governing party, the national conservative PiS, wants to transform the state broadcasters into 'national media' starting 2016, according to statements by a member of parliament. To that end senior posts there are to be filled by PiS supporters, for example. The centre-left news magazine Polityka voices deep concern: "The right plans to reform the media 'in the national spirit'. In so doing it is assuming the right to speak in the name of the entire nation and to define just what 'national' is. What right does it have to do that? It is acting on the basis of its election victory, but in fact only one in six Poles voted for it. The problem is that these 'national media' will become nothing more than organs of the PiS, and will exclude from public debate all those who don't share the party's opinions. Of course, for the political right that's a good thing, but for society as a whole it's problematic. The dominance of a single party will ruin all society." (29/10/2015)

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