Map of the districts of Cyprus, with English annotations, and showing the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, United Kingdom Sovereign Base Areas, and United Nations buffer zone. The TRNC section illustrates the current de facto district boundaries following this map as a guide. The northern districts are labelled in Turkish. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
June 9, 2012: Turkey announced that it will give the Tunisian government $100 million. The money is for economic and social development projects but will probably be spent very quickly since Tunisia is experiencing a severe economic crunch. Turkey will also loan Tunisia $400 million at a low interest rate. Tunisia’s Ennadha Party is a moderate Islamist party which models its political program on Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Several Tunisian politicians are warning that the country could face another political explosion unless it can revive the stalled economy and put people back to work. The AKP has told the Tunisian government that it strongly favors a secular democracy and that Turkey will try to help the Tunisian people manage the transition from dictatorship to democracy. At the moment that means providing economic aid.
June 8, 2012: Maps stir passions in the Balkans. Bulgaria’s foreign minister and Turkey’s Bulgarian ambassador met to discuss a map that appeared with educational materials published for schools in Istanbul three years ago. The map showed a Greater Turkey of a sort, with parts of Bulgaria (including Sofia) and Greece’s Thessalonica (Salonika) included as Turkish territory. All of Armenia, part of northern Iraq, and part of Georgia were also labeled as Turkish territory. Cyprus was also included as Turkish territory. The government of Turkey has assured Bulgaria that it does not have any territorial claims on any neighboring nations. Turkey has disavowed the map and said the maps, which appeared on a compact disk, were withdrawn from the schools when they were discovered and publicized.
Greece acknowledged that it now faces an energy crisis because it cannot pay its electricity, gas, and oil bills. The government and Greek energy corporations are looking for up to $400 million in emergency bridge loans in order to avoid power cuts during the summer tourist season. Though overall demand for energy has been declining, due to the economic crisis, Greece imports most of its power, including electrical power. Tourism is a major industry in Greece and despite numerous travel and tourist bargains, tourists have been reluctant to visit Greece because of the riots and other social turmoil accompanying the economic crisis.
February 24, 2012: The head of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq has asked the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to lay down its weapons. The KRG leadership has urged the PKK to end the fighting and become a political party. The KRG recently hosed what it called a Kurdish National Conference. Members of the Turkish Kurdish party, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), attended. The conference in remembrance of the Republic of Mabahad, a short-lived Kurdish state (1946) located in northwestern Iran.
February 23, 2012: French police have agreed to treat a recent attack on a Turkish newspaper office in Paris as terrorist acts. Earlier this month, pro-PKK demonstrators attacked Turkish newspaper offices in France and Germany. There were at least two prior attacks last year in France.
February 22, 2012: The Turkish government estimated that 2,000 PKK rebels are operating near the Turkish-Iraqi border, most of them from bases in northern Iraq.
February 20, 2012: Turkish anti-terror police arrested ten people suspected of belonging to the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), which the government considers to be a front group for the PKK. The government claimed the group intended to commit acts of arson. Police acknowledged that they had been monitoring the group’s activities on Facebook.
(Reuters) – Morocco‘s moderate Islamist PJD party is on course to win a parliamentary election, partial results showed on Saturday, in what would be the second victory for Islamists in the region in the wake of the “Arab Spring” uprisings.
Incomplete results from Friday’s vote indicate that PJD will lead a coalition government in partnership with the secularist party of the outgoing prime minister and two other groups.
Tunisia, birthplace of the Arab Spring, sent ripples through the Middle East last month when a moderate Islamist movement won the country’s first democratic election.
Morocco has not had a revolution of the kind seen elsewhere in the region, with its ruler, King Mohammed, still firmly in charge. But it has witnessed some protests inspired by Arab uprisings, mostly to demand fewer direct powers for the monarchy and an end to corruption. In response, the king has introduced limited reforms.
Last time out, it was about the power of civilian politicians versus the might of the military. This time, it has been about sex — at least superficially.
In a lackluster encounter, the sex scandals that have engulfed a small nationalist party have provided a rare racy focal point in Turkey’s forthcoming parliamentary elections on June 12.
Ten senior members of the right-wing Nationalist Action Party (MHP) were forced to resign in May following the publication of videos showing them engaged in activities not normally in the line of political duty. One was allegedly shown in flagrante with a 16-year-old girl.
Given the MHP’s relatively minor role in Turkish politics — it has 70 out of the parliament’s 550 seats — the incident appeared to hold no wider significance beyond its undeniable prurience.