Posted on 14 November 2012 by Emma Wallace
Lasantha Wickrematunga remains a name of no significance to many. He was in fact one of the most renowned Sri Lankan journalists to have ever lived. Wickremetunga founded Sri Lankan newspaper ‘The Sunday Leader’, and was the editor for 15 years.
The Sunday Leader exposed what no other Sri Lankan paper dared to: corruption, nepotism, demise of press freedom and freedom of speech, the dismantling of a so-called democracy and the implemenation of a totalitarian state. It remained “unbowed and unafraid”. Continue reading “The Sunday Leader – “unbowed & unafraid”, but for how much longer?” »
Posted on 15 May 2012 by Guest
By Begüm Burak
Democracy is the most ideal form of government in the contemporary world. In the post-Cold War era, with the triumph of liberal democracy against Soviet Communism, the importance of democratic norms and principles were emphasized. In fact, the emphasis put upon the virtues of democracy was a product of the Second World War, with the United States’ victory as proof for the necessity of democracy in the new world order.
“…[the] Turkish Army is determined to defend the unitary secular state founded by Ataturk… [and the] Protection of fundamental characteristics of the republic cannot be considered as an intervention in domestic politics.” Isık Kosaner, ex-Chief of the General Staff
Continue reading “When will democracy be the only game in town in Turkey?” »
Posted on 05 May 2012 by Iram Ramzan
Fellow writer Chris McCourt stated correctly that “the strongest argument in favour of Mr Hollande seems to be that he is not Monsieur Sarkozy”. Where I disagree is with his opinion that Sarkozy’s low ratings in polls are mostly down to an ‘image problem’.
Certainly his image has hindered him over the years; the nickname ‘President Bling Bling’ does him no favours, nor does it help voters to identify with him.
(c) Marie-Lan Nguyen
Sarkozy introduced tax breaks for a tiny minority of super-rich cronies, while living the life of a tycoon himself, alongside his heiress third wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. The couple have regularly enjoyed luxury holidays abroad (often at somebody else’s expense), or else at Ms Bruni-Sarkozy’s palatial private villa on the Riviera. Continue reading “Game up for Sarkozy, but is Hollande really the change France needs?” »
Posted on 05 May 2012 by Mitch Barltrop
By Begüm Burak
In his famous question “who will guard the guardians?” Plato places a rather challenging and provocative question mark in everybody’s mind. Throughout the course of history, political corruption and the tendency of elites to oppress the masses have been witnessed by countless examples. As Lord Acton stated “power corrupts.” In sort, the limitless and unchecked (political) power puts a considerable amount of pressure upon people.
In the case of Turkey, the state-building process and the nature of Turkish political culture gives important signs in analysing the political processes and nature of the relationship between the ruler and ruled. In this context, despite having free and fair elections, Turkey does not have a fully-consolidated democracy. Some argue that the Turkish political system is a procedural democracy.
In recent years, Turkey has been undergoing an enormous transformation process. The civil-military relations have started to normalise whilst separation of powers has been strengthened. In previous decades some political parties, (just like the Republican People’s Party, namely the CHP that is the main opposition party today) abused the Constitutional Court in line with their own ideologies. In addition to that, the Turkish Armed Forces in Turkey used to have an important degree of political autonomy which has been challenged by the Justice and Development Party (the AKP) government in recent years.
Let’s now take a look at today’s Turkey. What has changed and why do I need to ask the famous question propounded by Plato “who will guard the guardians”? In order to answer this question a general framework regarding Turkish political history, political culture and state tradition must be explicated.
Continue reading “Who will guard the “guardians” in today’s Turkey?” »
Posted on 23 April 2012 by Iram Ramzan
Earlier this week, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde told a news conference that the $3.2 billion lending program for Egypt “will not be sufficient, and everybody knows that, so it will require other donors, other participants to also come to the table to help Egypt”.
Continue reading “Saudi financial package to Egypt exposes influence of the Kingdom” »
Christine Lagarde (c) World Economic Forum
Posted on 09 February 2012 by Iram Ramzan
Last week, Libya’s former ambassador to France, Omar Brebesh, died in the custody of a militia from possible torture, Human Rights Watch said. This was barely mentioned in the mainstream media.
Posted on 09 February 2012 by Mitch Barltrop
By Daniel Bosley
Crystal clear waters, sandy beaches and tropical sunshine: you’re probably thinking of the Maldives.
False imagery? (c) Paolo Curto/Getty Images
Now picture violent street protests stalked by baton wielding soldiers and a democratically elected President ousted from office under duress before being arrested. This is the Maldives that people ought to be made aware of this week. These events bear far more significance than their potential impact on holiday bookings and warrant more attention than they appear to be receiving.
Continue reading “President Mohamed Nasheed and the Maldives: why the world must now look beyond the holiday brochures” »
Posted on 30 December 2011 by Peeping Tom
Once again, the credibility of the Arab League (AL) is being questioned, after ‘news’ that General Mohammed Ahmed al-Dabi, the leader of the observers currently in Syria, has been accused of human rights abuses.
What did people expect anyway? The whole of the Arab world is ruled by corrupt regimes, so the idea of the corrupt investigating another corrupt regime is ludicrous. Prior to the intervention in Libya, many world leaders have encouraged the AL and the rest of us to believe that only the AL should be investigating other Arab countries, and that their permission is needed in order for something to be deemed as successful.
Let us take Libya as an example. Those in favour of intervention continually pushed this line that if the AL were in favour of intervention in Libya then that made it OK – it was justified. The same is happening in Syria. Thus, the general public forgets the glaringly obvious fact that they are all ruled by dictators. And they are selective in their approach. Continue reading “Arab League monitors in Syria will only be a disappointment” »
Posted on 18 December 2011 by Peeping Tom
Russia has presented a new, ‘beefed-up’ draft resolution to the UN Security Council on the violence exercised by the Syrian regime. France promptly rejected it, claiming the text was too weak. Ironic, considering it was only two months ago that Russia, along with China, vetoed an equally weak, draft resolution that contained only a threat of sanction.
Has Russia suddenly done a U-turn? Not quite. After it initially opposed the no-fly zone over Libya, Russia (and other countries) was viewed with much suspicion by Western leaders.
Now that the Arab league (useless though they are) have turned up the notch with their condemnations of Bashar al-Assad, Russia has realised that now is the time to be clever.
The draft resolution is a pragmatic step by a country that is becoming more and more isolated. Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs, said: “Russia is changing its position because to completely defend the Syrian regime is impossible given that everyone is against it, including practically all the Arab nations”. Continue reading “Russia and Syria – chess on a global scale” »
Posted on 05 November 2011 by Peeping Tom
Arab League HQ in Cairo (c) Ijanderson977
Syria has accepted an Arab League roadmap aimed at ending the crackdown that has plagued the country for the past seven months. The proposal calls for the regime to withdraw armoured vehicles from the streets, stop violence against protesters, release all political prisoners and begin a dialogue with the opposition within two weeks. Syria also agreed to allow journalists, rights groups and Arab League representatives to monitor the situation in the country.
The Arab League, which comprises 22 member states, has been increasingly vocal about the Syrian government’s response to the sustained uprising, insisting that alternative voices in the country – which has been ruled under the totalitarian control of one family for more than four decades – must be heard.
Continue reading “Arab Spring turns into Arab Winter: Syrian and Yemeni opposition call for intervention” »