Weekend Roundup: Turkey Enters the Syrian Quagmire to Fight ISIS — And the Kurds


Nathan Gardels is the editor-in-chief of Noema Magazine.

The Syrian quagmire, in which both the Islamic State and the Kurds have been fighting for territory, has now sucked in Turkey. Last week’s ISIS attack on Turkish soil, Kurdish gains along the Syrian border and the surprise advance of the secular and liberal pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party, the HDP, in recent elections — which clipped the parliamentary majority of President Erdoğan’s neo-Islamist ruling party — have conjoined into an explosive state of affairs.

To boot, NATO, which is obliged to defend a member state under siege, has now been drawn into a three-way fray in which Turkey is lashing out at both the Kurdish resistance and ISIS.

Writing from Istanbul, Behlül Özkan ominously foresees “Armageddon” descending on the region. Mustafa Akyol, also writing from the shores of the Bosphorus, argues that Erdoğan’s assault on the Kurds in tandem with ISIS is aimed at bolstering his nationalist credentials at home in order to block the HDP, which stands in the way of his autocratic vision.

Like Akyol, former senior CIA official Graham Fuller sees domestic politics as a driver of the new Turkish policy as Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party is likely to seek new elections or a governing coalition with an anti-Kurd nationalist party. World Reporter Nick Robins-Early traces the collapse of the truce between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party that had been in effect for most of the last decade. And WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones reports on the “witch hunt” for Kurdish politicians that’s brewing in Turkey.

Writing from Rome, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano argue that the fight against terrorism is not only a matter of state, but must also involve civil society, parents, teachers and coaches. Iranian dissident Akbar Ganji examines the challenges both President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei face in selling the recently negotiated nuclear accord to their publics and legislatures. In an interview, former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki declares his support for the nuclear deal with Iran. Former Al Jazeera Director-General and WorldPost editorial board member Wadah Khanfar welcomes the launch of HuffPost Arabi this week. Mohamed Fahmy, the Al Jazeera journalist on trial in Cairo, writes exclusively for The WorldPost on his expectations and hopes as a judgment is expected any day now.

Our World reporters examine how the death of Taliban leader Mullah Omar, reported this week, affects the peace talks in Afghanistan. This week’s “Forgotten Fact“ looks at the rumors around the chief’s death and asks if he’s really been dead for years. And Mohammad Taqi says the death of Mullah Omar, whom he calls a “Pakistan proxy,” has broken the back of the Taliban.

Writing from Berlin, former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer denounces the policies of Angela Merkel as turning the eurozone into a “sphere of influence” and undoing the German goodwill built up over the post-WWII era. Writing from the Symi Symposium in Corfu, Greece, I argue that other European states can now leverage this widely shared view of German overreach to move away from austerity and embark on a fresh approach to integration through a “digital community” not unlike the early Coal and Steel Community of the 1950s. In an interview, Prince Michael of Greece says “Greeks don’t like people in power.” Fusion this week looks at the phenomenon of Greek doctors who are going to Germany because they can’t find work at home.

British parliamentarian Richard Howitt reports after a recent visit to Ukraine that there are plenty of sparks that could easily ignite a “hot war” there. From Donetsk, photojournalist Ioana Moldovan documents in a photo essay how so much has been destroyed as low-level conflict grinds on. Writing from Budapest, Amy Rodgers and Annastiina Kallius say the anti-migrant fence Hungary is building to keep out refugees trying to cross from Serbia will prove a social disaster.

From the other side of the world, Fu Ying, chairperson of the foreign affairs committee of the National People’s Congress, lays out a vision of how China’s new Silk Road can bring prosperity through connectivity across Eurasia. Veteran journalist Dilip Hiro worries that linking up China and Pakistan through the new Silk Road is a way for Beijing to muscle its way into the Indian Ocean. Writing from Beijing, the Pakistani scholar and former diplomat Akbar Ahmed reflects on China’s rising influence as it expands westward and faces the challenge of dealing with Muslim minorities like the Uighurs along the way.

Writing from Hong Kong, George Chen says the continuing volatility of China’s stock market is undermining Communist Party authority. WorldPost China Correspondent Matt Sheehan reports on how one man is trying to sell his pet alpaca after losing big in the stock market.

Rose George tells the tragic tale of how impoverished Indian women are demanding toilets to avoid being raped when they have to defecate in open spaces. Joel Bourne takes on those who see a world of “abundance” and foresees a looming crisis as world population grows beyond our ability to produce enough food without also inviting climate doom. Similarly, Nicholas Agar argues that “techno-optimism” promotes a dangerous illusion that there is a technical fix to all our problems.

Former Bolivian President Jorge Quiroga expresses the anger felt across Latin America at Donald Trump’s tirades against immigrants from south of the border.

In photo posts, we cover a new exhibit that shows what it’s like when 1 percent of the world controls nearly half the wealth and document a heat wave that’s bringing scorching temperatures to the Middle East. Finally, in our Singularity series this week, we look at how tiny lab-grown human brains are providing insights into the genesis and treatment of autism.


EDITORS: Nathan Gardels, Senior Advisor to the Berggruen Institute on Governance and the long-time editor of NPQ and the Global Viewpoint Network of the Los Angeles Times Syndicate/Tribune Media, is the Editor-in-Chief of The WorldPost. Farah Mohamed is the Managing Editor of The WorldPost. Kathleen Miles is the Senior Editor of the WorldPost. Alex Gardels and Peter Mellgard are the Associate Editors of The WorldPost. Katie Nelson is the National Editor at the Huffington Post, overseeing The WorldPost and HuffPost’s editorial coverage. Eline Gordts is HuffPost’s Senior World Editor. Charlotte Alfred and Nick Robins-Early are World Reporters. Rowaida Abdelaziz is Social Media Editor.

CORRESPONDENTS: Sophia Jones in Istanbul; Matt Sheehan in Beijing.

EDITORIAL BOARD: Nicolas Berggruen, Nathan Gardels, Arianna Huffington, Eric Schmidt (Google Inc.), Pierre Omidyar (First Look Media) Juan Luis Cebrian (El Pais/PRISA), Walter Isaacson (Aspen Institute/TIME-CNN), John Elkann (Corriere della Sera, La Stampa), Wadah Khanfar (Al Jazeera), Dileep Padgaonkar (Times of India) and Yoichi Funabashi (Asahi Shimbun).

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Moises Naim (former editor of Foreign Policy), Nayan Chanda (Yale/Global; Far Eastern Economic Review) and Katherine Keating (One-On-One). Sergio Munoz Bata and Parag Khanna are Contributing Editors-At-Large.

The Asia Society and its ChinaFile, edited by Orville Schell, is our primary partner on Asia coverage. Eric X. Li and the Chunqiu Institute/Fudan University in Shanghai and Guancha.cn also provide first person voices from China. We also draw on the content of China Digital Times. Seung-yoon Lee is The WorldPost link in South Korea.

Jared Cohen of Google Ideas provides regular commentary from young thinkers, leaders and activists around the globe. Bruce Mau provides regular columns from MassiveChangeNetwork.com on the “whole mind” way of thinking. Patrick Soon-Shiong is Contributing Editor for Health and Medicine.

ADVISORY COUNCIL: Members of the Berggruen Institute’s 21st Century Council and Council for the Future of Europe serve as the Advisory Council — as well as regular contributors — to the site. These include, Jacques Attali, Shaukat Aziz, Gordon Brown, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Juan Luis Cebrian, Jack Dorsey, Mohamed El-Erian, Francis Fukuyama, Felipe Gonzalez, John Gray, Reid Hoffman, Fred Hu, Mo Ibrahim, Alexei Kudrin, Pascal Lamy, Kishore Mahbubani, Alain Minc, Dambisa Moyo, Laura Tyson, Elon Musk, Pierre Omidyar, Raghuram Rajan, Nouriel Roubini, Nicolas Sarkozy, Eric Schmidt, Gerhard Schroeder, Peter Schwartz, Amartya Sen, Jeff Skoll, Michael Spence, Joe Stiglitz, Larry Summers, Wu Jianmin, George Yeo, Fareed Zakaria, Ernesto Zedillo, Ahmed Zewail, and Zheng Bijian.

From the Europe group, these include: Marek Belka, Tony Blair, Jacques Delors, Niall Ferguson, Anthony Giddens, Otmar Issing, Mario Monti, Robert Mundell, Peter Sutherland and Guy Verhofstadt.


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