ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JULY 18: Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan wave flags as they gather in Istanbul's central Taksim Square on July 18, 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey. Clean up operations are continuing in the aftermath of Friday's failed military coup attempt which claimed the lives of more than 208 people. In raids across Turkey 7,543 people have been arrested in relation to the failed coup including high-ranking soldiers and judges, Turkey's PM Binali Yildirim has said. (Photo by Kursat Bayhan/Getty Images)

On April 18, I was in a seaside coffeehouse in Istanbul when Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called snap elections for June 24. There was confusion and even panic among customers: he had caught the nation off-guard. Political parties had only sixty-seven days to prepare, and if Erdoğan won he would likely hold the reins for at least another decade. But then came an intriguing thought: if he lost—and Erdoğan has never lost an election in sixteen years—the surprise elections might be his exit.

Turkey’s new presidential system, adopted after a referendum in 2017, is nerve-racking for Erdoğan and his rivals.…  Seguir leyendo »

Belgium's Christian Benteke takes part in a press conference of the Belgian national soccer team Red Devils on May 24, 2018, in Tubize prior to the final squad selection for the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. (Photo by BRUNO FAHY / various sources / AFP) / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read BRUNO FAHY/AFP/Getty Images)

The only true Belgian, goes a long-running joke, is the king of the country. Riven by tensions between its French-speaking Walloons and Dutch-speaking Flemish, and with the identity of Brussels largely defined by it’s being the capital of Europe, rather than Belgium, the country’s existence as a unified nation often seems tenuous at best. But in the last decade, another national institution has come to symbolize what it means—or, at least, might mean—to be Belgian: the national soccer team, known as the Red Devils. Packed with star players well-known from their professional careers in the English Premier League (considered the world’s best), the national squad is also notably for its diversity, with many players from immigrant backgrounds.…  Seguir leyendo »

How Britain Lost Its Power of Seduction

“The place of those who have ceased to rule is to teach,” V. S. Pritchett wrote of Spain in 1954, as the British Empire was collapsing around him. By the end of the 20th century, Britain had long since ceased to rule. But in India, where I grew up and which had been a British colony for nearly 90 years and subject to its growing influence since the 1700s, it continued to feed us in myriad ways. The phantom limb of empire outlasted Britain’s physical presence; we felt ourselves bound, as if by an invisible cord, to our former colonial masters.…  Seguir leyendo »

The writer watched the Iceland-Argentina match with her family and friends at a rooftop bar in Reykjavik.CreditThe writer watched the Iceland-Argentina match with her family and friends at a rooftop bar in Reykjavik.

Because my husband, Luke, and I are both former football players and we want our boys to love the game as we do, we packed our bags and our sons — Ellis, 2, and Dane, 5 — on a nine-hour flight to Reykjavik. Tiny Iceland, for the first time, made the World Cup. And the United States did not.

Our plan: to traverse volcanoes and glaciers in the never-ending daylight; whisper in our sons’ ears of trolls, fairies and elves; and hoist them on our shoulders as thousands Viking-clap in unison on a cobblestone street. We hoped it would all get conflated in their little hearts and minds as one magical thing: football.…  Seguir leyendo »

¿Por dónde comenzar a escribir un artículo preelectoral cuando hay demasiado en juego y la sociedad está extremadamente polarizada en dos partes de casi las mismas dimensiones? La pregunta viene a cuento porque las elecciones son trascendentales para el futuro del país y hay interrogantes sobre si pueden ser libres y justas. Los próximos comicios que tendrán lugar en Turquía este domingo —tanto presidenciales como legislativos— no son solo para elegir quién gobernará el país, sino cómo se gobernará. Entre otras cosas, marcarán la fecha de entrada en vigor de las enmiendas a la Constitución. Aprobado con un referéndum muy controvertido en abril 2017, Turquía se convertirá en un sistema presidencial con mecanismos de control muy débiles.…  Seguir leyendo »

A cardboard cut-out of Selahattin Demirtas, the jailed former co-chair and the presidential candidate of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party. (Emrah Gurel/AP)

On Sunday, voters in Turkey will face a stark choice between two paths. One, embodied by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, entails a further descent into authoritarianism and a deepening of ethnic and sectarian divides. The other, represented by the opposition, offers the potential for national reconciliation, a return to parliamentary democracy and an easing of tensions with the West. The stakes have never been higher.

Opinion polls show a deeply polarized nation, evenly split between the pro-Erdogan camp and an opposition bloc led by pro-secular presidential candidate Muharrem Ince. Not only will the outcome affect the Turkish people. It also will determine whether Turkey — a critical Middle Eastern power and a vital member of NATO — continues its drift away from the U.S.-led Western security alliance or resumes its role as a stable and dependable ally.…  Seguir leyendo »

A migrant tries to board a boat of the German NGO Sea-Watch in the Mediterranean Sea. Nov. 6, 2017. (Alessio Paduano/AFP/Getty)

In recent years, Europe has made many mistakes in its approach to immigration. It has lost interest in Africa, allowed the tactical reasoning of internal politics to win out and has lacked strategic vision. In recent years, Italy has often acted alone, “saving Europe’s honor in the Mediterranean,” as European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker declared last year.

I have always said that faced with a person who is about to drown, our first thought must be to save them and only afterward to think of the effect on public opinion. Centuries of civilization have taught us that human life is worth more than a vote.…  Seguir leyendo »

Hogs are raised on Duncan Farms on June 6 near Polo, Ill. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The “story” was classic Politically-Correct-Sweden-Gone-Nuts material.

The organizers of the largest youth soccer tournament in the world, the Gothia Cup held in Gothenburg, Sweden, had decreed that pork was “haram” (forbidden by the Muslim faith). Thus, pork would be “banned” from being served to players and coaches at the tournament, scheduled to begin July 15.  The reaction from far-right, anti-immigration clusters on social media was quick and predictable. It was was yet another example of Sweden’s capitulation to “Islamic values” and further evidence of how Muslims simply cannot “integrate” into modern Western society, thus forcing Christian Europeans to give up their cultural heritage.…  Seguir leyendo »

Le moment fera certainement date dans les livres d’histoire. Le 17 juin 2018, 630 migrants secourus par les ONG SOS Méditerranée et Médecins sans frontières, à bord de l’Aquarius, sont accueillis dans le port de Valence, en Espagne, après le refus des gouvernements italien et maltais, et une position inaudible de la France – qui parvient à tenir comme parole politique qu’en même temps elle accueille et n’accueille pas.

Peut-être le nouveau premier ministre espagnol socialiste, Pedro Sanchez, aura-t-il une place dans l’Histoire, au nom de la lutte qu’il semble vouloir mener contre l’égoïsme des différents pays de l’Union européenne.…  Seguir leyendo »

Turkey will vote in presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24. I am one of six candidates running for president. I am running from my prison cell.

I am writing from a maximum-security prison in Edirne, a city in northwestern Turkey, near the border with Bulgaria. I was arrested one year and eight months ago while I was a member of the Turkish parliament and the co-chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, known as the H.D.P., for which six million people voted in the last election.

My jailers chose to imprison me here because Edirne is far from my home, family and friends in the southeastern Kurdish region of the country.…  Seguir leyendo »

A banner read "World Torture Championship?" at a protest in in Moscow in advance of the World Cup.CreditAndrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Have you enjoyed the first week of the 2018 World Cup? Good. Some of the games have certainly been very exciting!

Now read the words of Dmitry Pchelintsev as they appeared in MediaZona, a small independent online publication focused on police brutality and the prison system in Russia: “The man in surgical gloves cranked the DC generator with wires attached to my toes. The calves of my legs started contracting violently, I was paralyzed with pain. They threw me on the floor, pulled my underpants down and tried to attach the wires to my genitals. I clenched my teeth so hard that my mouth was full of blood and shards of broken teeth.”

Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »

Migrants disembark the Italy's coastguard ship Diciotti at the port of Catania. Fabrizio Villa/Getty Images

La izquierda tradicional europea enfrenta una amenaza de extinción. En menos de dos años, los partidos socialdemócratas del continente sufrieron derrotas históricas en Francia, Países Bajos, Alemania e Italia. En un continente donde la competencia entre partidos de centroderecha y centroizquierda era lo habitual, el colapso de la izquierda puede traer profundas consecuencias que exceden los intereses particulares de los partidos.

La declinación de la izquierda tiene detrás de sí muchos factores, entre ellos la disolución de la clase trabajadora tradicional. Pero una de las razones más importantes es dura y simple: los votantes europeos se oponen cada vez más a la inmigración, y no confían en que la izquierda le ponga límites.…  Seguir leyendo »

El nuevo ministro de economía y finanzas de Italia, Giovanni Tria, buscó tranquilizar a los mercados financieros con promesas de que el nuevo gobierno de coalición del Movimiento Cinco Estrellas y la Liga no abandonará el euro ni inflará el déficit fiscal contra las normas presupuestarias de la Unión Europea. Pero Europa todavía no está a salvo. La asunción del gobierno populista y euroescéptico en Italia aumenta el riesgo a mediano plazo derivado de cuatro cuestiones: el sector bancario, la deuda pública, las políticas laborales y migratorias y el modelo de crecimiento del país.

En noviembre será el 25.º aniversario del Tratado de Maastricht, que transformó la Comunidad Económica Europea en la Unión Europea; y en 2019 se cumplen veinte años de la creación del euro.…  Seguir leyendo »

L’Aquarius a donc accosté en Espagne. Il faut s’en réjouir pour les 629 personnes embarquées sur le bateau – dont 134 enfants et 7 femmes enceintes – qui, après avoir fui les drames de leurs pays, être montées sur des embarcations de fortune au péril de leur vie, et finalement secourues, se sont retrouvées pendant trois jours les otages des atermoiements de l’Europe quant à l’accueil des réfugiés.

Alors que les gouvernements européens se livraient à un cynique jeu de ping-pong, à coups de règlements européens et de droit maritime international, l’Espagne, la mairie de Valence et 200 communes espagnoles ayant manifesté leur volonté d’accueillir dans la dignité ces réfugiés font la démonstration salutaire du pouvoir d’agir.…  Seguir leyendo »

People commemorate victims of anti-government protests at Independence Square during the first anniversary of the Euromaidan Revolution in Kiev, in November 2014. (Tatyana Zenkovich/European Pressphoto Agency)

On June 7, Ukraine’s parliament passed long-awaited legislation establishing a special anti-corruption court. Our country took another important move forward on its path toward building a European state where all are equal under the law. This was not the first step in this journey, and it won’t be the last. But I believe it showed that our journey toward a genuine democracy is now irreversible.

Nobody would argue that our reform process has been easy. Over the past two decades, Ukrainians have become skeptical that there could be any progress in the fight against the scourge of corruption. Nevertheless, the Euromaidan Revolution of Dignity gave Ukrainians hope for a new future of accountable leaders and the rule of law.…  Seguir leyendo »

Emmanuel Macron visits Berlin in January 2017. Photo: Getty Images.

Much of the discussion about ‘populism’ that is currently taking place is hopelessly binary and reductive. Perhaps the best example of this is the idea that there is a new fault line in politics between ‘open’ and ‘closed’ that is more important than, or has even replaced, the fault line between left and right.

In particular, against the background of the referendum on British membership of the EU, ‘pro-European’ centrists have come to identify the European project with the idea of ‘open’ societies and an ‘open’ world and both left-wing and right-wing Eurosceptics with the idea of ‘closed’ societies and a ‘closed’ world.…  Seguir leyendo »

El próximo 3 de julio, entrará en vigor la nueva legislación sobre el Tribunal Supremo de Polonia, aprobada por el Parlamento con virulencia y de forma exprés, a instancias del Gobierno de Ley y Justicia (PiS, en sus siglas polacas). De esta forma, el partido que gobierna controlará completamente el poder judicial. Polonia ya no podrá considerarse un Estado de derecho. La Unión no debería cruzarse de brazos contemplando algo semejante.

En la visión autocrática del Estado que tiene Jaroslaw Kaczynski no hay lugar para un poder judicial independiente. Por este motivo, el ajuste de cuentas con la justicia se inició inmediatamente después de que el PiS asumiera el poder en otoño de 2015.…  Seguir leyendo »

MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 11: Fans clash after the UEFA EURO 2016 Group B match between England and Russia at Stade Velodrome on June 11, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

At the time of writing, I am not particularly exercised about England’s chances. Don’t worry, it will happen. I’ll get caught up in it, will once again face the possibility of having to relish my least favorite taste: the taste of England, the taste of ashes in the mouth.

I am always shocked by the way it takes hold, this faith in England, the desire for England to go all the way, as they say, in spite of the long record of thwarted hopes, hopes that are so necessary a prelude to the lingering after-taste—the permanent after-taste, if such a thing is possible—of ashes in the mouth that, as when savoring a complex wine, the fire of hope itself already burns with more than a hint of the ashes to come.…  Seguir leyendo »

A man passes in front of a graffiti with an old map of Macedoni in Skopje on Wednesday.CreditRobert Atanasovski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Image

It has taken almost 25 years to get an agreement between the governments in Athens and Skopje on what to call the entity once known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. It would be a mistake to dismiss this as a minor development — particularly now, when the unity of the trans-Atlantic alliance is at its lowest point since World War II and the unity of the European Union is under challenge in every national election.

In fact, the historic compromise to rename the country the Republic of Northern Macedonia, thus softening a rivalry over national histories, opens a window of opportunity for leaders in Europe and the United States to defy current trends and begin shaping a secure future for the Balkans, an achievement that would help secure stability for all of Europe.…  Seguir leyendo »

L’obligation de porter assistance aux personnes en détresse en mer est la plus ancienne des obligations du droit de la mer. Elle incombe d’abord aux capitaines de navire. L’Aquarius, les navires marchands, et les garde-côtes italiens se sont acquittés de cette obligation juridique, née d’un devoir moral auquel l’esprit de solidarité en mer exige de se plier. Mais le droit exige aussi et surtout des Etats de permettre aux capitaines de débarquer les personnes secourues en un lieu sûr et ce dans un délai raisonnable. C’est tout l’objet des amendements à la convention internationale sur la recherche et le sauvetage maritimes de 1979, dite convention «SAR».…  Seguir leyendo »