ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 22/06/2018

POLITICO – Zia Weise / What’s at stake for Erdoğan in Turkey’s election

  • Sunday’s elections mark a turning point for Erdoğan. If reelected, he would not only secure the sweeping powers he craves, but victory would also set him on course for his longstanding goal of remaining in power until 2023, the centenary of the Turkish republic’s founding.
  • Yet, for the first time in 16 years, there are signs he could be vulnerable. Turkey’s economic downturn, with the lira losing a fifth of its value against the dollar this year, unnerved the president enough to call for early elections.
  • Credible polls suggest Erdoğan could fall short of a majority and face a runoff against Muharrem Ince on July 8. A second round would turn the election into a referendum on Erdoğan’s presidency — a prospect he will be keen to avoid, given he won last year’s plebiscite to extend his powers only by the narrowest of margins.
  • The long-marginalized Kurds could also tip the scales. Conservative Kurds have voted for Erdoğan in past elections, but his alliance with the ultra-nationalist MHP and harsh policies toward Kurds in Syria and Iraq may have cost him their support.
  • The New York Times – Carlotta Gall / Turkey’s Presidential Election Will Test Love for Erdogan’s Megaprojects

Financial Times – Mehreen Khan & Jim Brunsden / Eurozone creditors reach ‘historic’ deal on Greek debt relief

  • Eurozone governments have brokered a long-awaited debt relief deal for Greece, pushing back repayment deadlines on almost €100bn of bailout loans as the country prepares to exit its era of financial rescue programmes.
  • The deal was immediately hailed by governments as a “historic” step after eight years in which Greece has undergone three bailout programmes and suffered the worst depression of any European economy in modern times.
  • A key priority was to come up with a debt relief plan that could convince the International Monetary Fund that Greece’s debts are on a sustainable path, after years of disagreements between the IMF and eurozone governments, led by Berlin, over the state of the Greek economy.
  • As a condition for the relief, Athens will be required to maintain a primary budget surplus, which excludes debt repayments, of 3.5 per cent of GDP until 2022, with a target that this will stay at 2.2 per cent on average until 2060.
  • EurActiv – Georgi Gotev / Tensions build ahead of hastily prepared migration meeting

Foreign Policy – Humza Jilani / OPEC Close to Agreement to Open the Oil Taps

  • OPEC is trying to cobble together a compromise agreement today in Vienna, after a week of sniping between member countries like Iran that want to keep production steady to push up prices and those like Saudi Arabia who are willing to open the spigots.
  • This iteration of the biannual meeting has been even more contentious than usual because U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly blamed OPEC for high oil prices and called for more production, and countries like Iran were loath to seem to be dancing to his tune.
  • Many OPEC members, plus observer Russia, essentially acknowledged that the strategy adopted a year and half ago to cut oil production to shore up very low crude prices has worked only too well. As a result, prices rebounded from about $27 a barrel back in 2016 to almost $75 a barrel this spring.
  • On Thursday, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, Khalid al-Falih, warned of a big crude shortfall later in the year unless OPEC opens the taps, and suggested 1 million extra barrels a day would be a good start. If Iran’s resistance to extra production means no agreement is possible, the main petrostates could unilaterally raise production as they have in the past.

The Brookings Institution –  Jung H. Pak / Kim Jong-un’s tools of coercion

  • In the past three months, Kim has shown to be a remarkably adroit regional player, first by using its nuclear weapons program to highlight Pyongyang’s strategic relevance and create leverage, and then by using engagement to exploit respective national priorities and to weaken sanction pressure.
  • Pyongyang is not a “revisionist” power in the same category as China and Russia that “want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian mode.
  •  North Korea’s ambitions are probably not expansionary, given its focus on internal security. Yet Kim Jong-un has been expanding, sharpening, and demonstrating tools for coercive diplomacy.
  • While we should be focused on the nuclear and ballistic missile threat, we should also be vigilant about how Kim might seek to erode the mechanisms of democratic governance and silence those who seek to put pressure on Pyongyang to improve its repressive practices and human rights.

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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