Weekend Roundup: Turkish and Greek Democracy Upend the Status Quo


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

The value of democracy, when it works, is its capacity to change course. In both Greece, and now Turkey, recent elections have upended the status quo. With Greece having lost an astonishing 25 percent of its GDP through austerity policies, the Syriza government that came to power earlier this year has insisted on sticking to its popular mandate to resist the demands of creditors and hold out for debt relief. The prospects of default and an exit from the eurozone have never been closer. In Turkey, which has been seeking to join the European Union, the autocratic path set by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been stopped in its tracks by voters in this week’s poll.

Writing from Istanbul, Behlül Özkan sees the beginning of the end of the Erdoğan era. WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones reports that the surprise demise of support for Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party raises the big question: “now what?” The Middle East Eye’s David Hearst reminds us not to diminish what Turkey has accomplished under AKP rule. World editor Nick Robins-Early profiles the “pro-gay and pro-women” Peoples’ Democratic Party that was an election spoiler. A photo essay shows the spontaneous celebrations that erupted in Turkey when the election results came in. In a break from election coverage, Sophia also reports on the opening of a rare Arabic-language bookstore that’s giving Syrian refugees in Turkey’s capital city a taste of home.

Writing from Athens, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis calls on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to offer hope to his beleaguered people. Nobel laureate Joe Stiglitz fears a “Grexit” could trigger a global financial crisis.

French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy argues that the Kurdish peshmerga are the best bet to fight the Islamic State group. Maha Aziz explains how crowdsourcing can help the West fight ISIS. Farheen Rizvi writes that the acquittal of most of Malala’s alleged attackers betrays the lack of seriousness in fighting terrorism in Pakistan. A report from our World editors details how women and girls abducted by ISIS are sold for “as little as a pack of cigarettes.” Noted scholar Akbar Ahmed lists 10 things that would surprise us about Islam in Europe. Continuing her reporting from South Sudan, World editor Charlotte Alfred takes us inside a UN peacekeeping base. UN envoy and former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown calls this “the year of fear” for children.

Turbulent undercurrents continue to roil the South China Sea. Writing from Canberra, Hugh White sorts out the South China Sea crisis and asks how Americans might feel if Chinese spy planes reciprocated and flew a dozen miles off the California coast. One of China’s leading foreign policy voices, Fu Ying, reports on her visit to the U.S. and says it is acting “like a flamboyant eagle which has flown into a china shop.” Writing from Shanghai, Zhang Jun explains why China’s growth cannot fulfill its potential within “the existing global system.” WorldPost China Correspondent Matt Sheehan reports from Beijing on a Chinese rapper’s viral shout out on behalf of Uber and against exploitative taxis. He also reports on how Alibaba has facilitated LGBT marriages in West Hollywood, as well as on an armpit hair contest by Chinese feminists.

Ashutosh, spokesman for the Aam Aadmi Party (Common Man’s Party), warns from Delhi, where his party governs, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is beginning to show his authoritarian stripes and is “turning the land of Gandhi into a banana republic.” In an interview, Bollywood star Salman Khan asks, “Why would I want to go to Hollywood?”

Global risk analyst Ian Bremmer lays out the three options from which U.S. presidential candidates must choose in shaping American foreign policy. In an interview, fugitive WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange talks about “the God of mass surveillance.”

As the negotiations over Iran stumble toward a conclusion, European parliamentarian Richard Howitt proposes from London “how to avoid putting the dead in deadline.” Muhammad Sahimi scores the contradiction of the U.S. trying to negotiate a nuclear agreement with Iran while also arming its enemies. Our World editors review what’s at stake in the final stages of negotiations.

To mark the anniversary of the fall of Mosul, World editor Nick Robins-Early looks at what life is like in Iraq’s second-largest city, a year after ISIS took over. He also writes about a pair of sacred statues that the Taliban destroyed in Afghanistan that have been recreated by 3-D light projections.

In this week’s “Forgotten Fact,” we look at how ISIS is on a rampage far from the battle zones in Iraq and Syria.

British Prime Minister David Cameron calls for a crackdown on corruption that, as the FIFA scandal has shown, is at the heart of so many of the world’s problems. Writing from Rome, Marco Valerio Lo Prete outlines Italy’s novel scheme for shared unemployment insurance across Europe. European Parliament President Martin Schulz calls for a “Digital Bill of Rights” for Europe.

In an interview, legendary literary critic Harold Bloom, now 85, talks about how the ideological “isms” that have invaded universities are destroying literature. In another interview at the American Academy in Rome, Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters lauds the slow food movement and says “we digest our values” when we eat. Marking World Oceans Day this week, Virgin chairman Richard Branson calls on us all to take care of the oceans as an investment in the future.

Fusion this week reports that Ireland is poised to have one of the most enlightened transgender identity laws in the world. In our Singularity University series, we look at how computers could replace financial advisers within a decade.

Finally, our photo essays this week include an intimate look inside the capital of the Hermit Kingdom, gripping photos of fleeing Syrian refugees, the women guerrillas of Kurdistan and the dramatic diversity of Vietnam’s landscapes.


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 Associate World Editors.

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.


The WorldPost is a global media bridge that seeks to connect the world and connect the dots. Gathering together top editors and first person contributors from all corners of the planet, we aspire to be the one publication where the whole world meets.

We not only deliver breaking news from the best sources with original reportage on the ground and user-generated content; we bring the best minds and most authoritative as well as fresh and new voices together to make sense of events from a global perspective looking around, not a national perspective looking out.