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ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 20/04/2018

ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 20/04/2018

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European Council on Foreign Relations – Asli Aydıntaşbaş / 4 factors that led to Turkey’s snap elections

  • Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has called snap elections at the request of his ultra-nationalist ally, the Nationalist Action Party. The elections will take place on 24 June, and they will be the first held under the new system, approved last year.
  • After experiencing a dip in polls following that 2017 Constitutional referendum, Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the MHP have more recently seen their support grow in the wake of the Turkish incursion into the Syrian town of Afrin. Erdogan wants to seize the day and ride the nationalist wave rising from Afrin.
  • The Turkish economy is showing serious signs of vulnerability that the government can paper over for a few more months – but not all the way to November 2019, when elections were originally scheduled.
  • Turkey’s opposition is divided. What’s more, Turkey’s secular main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), does not yet have a candidate to run against Erdogan, and now has just a few weeks to find someone who is enough of a name to stand.
  • Coupled with the state of emergency, a new legal structure and the composition of the newly appointed Supreme Electoral Council make it difficult to provide the types of electoral check and monitoring that had been characteristic of Turkish elections.

Brookings – Suzzane Maloney / Trump, promising hellfire in Syria, blinked. Why that could bode well for the Iran deal

  • Trump tweeted that the recent US-led operation in Syria was a “mission accomplished”, and described the Middle East as “a troubled place” whose “fate … lies in the hands of its own people.”  This shows that, despite the Trump administration’s rhetoric, Washington has no intention of taking on Tehran directly to roll back its regional advances. In short: Iran is emerging as the big winner from the latest skirmish.
  • The mission’s evident risk aversion and embrace of cooperation with Europe boosts the prospects that some similar formula might persuade Trump to retreat from his threats to jettison the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA).
  • Any game plan that can succeed in countering Iran’s regional threat requires President Trump to strike a compromise with Britain, France, and Germany to preserve the JCPOA and avoid a needless nuclear crisis.
  • But the survival of the JCPOA remains a long shot, especially in light of the views of new National Security Advisor John Bolton.
  • Now that Assad has prevailed in Syria, Israel is facing a permanent presence of hostile Iranian forces along its borders. The slow-burning shadow war between Israel and Iran will almost surely intensify in the weeks to come, even as the May 12 deadline for preserving the nuclear deal looms.

The Economist / Europeans remain welcoming to immigrants

  • The results of a recent Eurobarometer survey suggest that Europeans’ views of migrants are relatively positive. This is particularly true if they live in a country which hosts significant numbers of immigrants.
  • 83% of Spaniards and 81% of Swedes say that they would feel comfortable having an immigrant as a social relation. Swedes are also particularly happy to have immigrants as friends, with 87% feeling totally comfortable being friendly with one. Sweden welcomed the highest number of refugees per person during the refugee crisis in 2015.
  • Two European countries stand out for their particular dislike of immigrants: Hungary and Bulgaria. The percentage of foreign-born population in 2017 was just 2% for Bulgaria and 5% in Hungary, in contrast to 18% in Sweden.
  • The survey results suggest that proximity to immigrants correlates with pro-migrant sentiment, rather than the opposite. They also show that, when it comes to migration, the political fault lines in Europe increasingly run between the young and the old, and between urban and rural types.

European Council on Foreign Relations – Hugh Lovatt & Saleh Hijazi / Mapping Palestinian Politics

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces.  

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