Protests In Turkey Continue Posing Challenge For US Ally
Amid growing frustration with the government’s involvement in all aspects of society, thousands of Turks reflecting a large and diverse
section of Turkey’s population protested through the weekend.
While Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has delivered strong economic growth and some political stability, many Turkish citizens oppose what has been considered an attempt to Islamize Turkey’s secular state. Erdogan has denied cracking down on the protesters and continues to assert they are the result of social media.
The protests, however, do differ from those that swept Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak out of power in that there is an awareness of the need to avoid violence.
“Above all, the protests suggest that Turkey’s democracy is maturing and that civil society has taken root. The protesters are determined not to allow their movement to be hijacked by mischief-makers. They shun violence, clear the litter after each rally, and have set up hotlines for the injured—cats and dogs included. Restaurants and hotels have thrown open their doors. Pro-secularists seem to have cast off their dependency on the army. A sense of solidarity and confidence prevails,” notes The Economist.
On an ironic note, the government of neighboring Syria issued a travel advisory warning Syrians not to “travel to Turkey for the time being for their own safety.”
Palestinians Select Professor To Serve As Prime Minister
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas selected Rami Hamdallah, a university president, to serve as his next prime minister. Salam Fayyad, the previous prime minister, resigned in mid-April.
The US applauded Hamdallah’s selection, while Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said, “the new government in Ramallah has no legitimacy. Forming such a government is contrary to the Palestinian reconciliation,” according to news reports.
Cyber Security Tops Agenda For NATO Ministerial Meeting
As NATO ministers prepare to meet this week to address the growing threat of cyber security, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, secretary general of NATO, suggests that while cyber security largely remains a task for individual nations, as threats evolve, there is a need for greater international cooperation.
According to a NATO release, a separate session is planned entirely devoted to cyber defense, “during which the ministers are expected to take stock of existing measures to protect NATO networks and examine areas where Allies can cooperate further.”
In particular, he says NATO should consider an “enhanced role” that would include consider regular training on cyber defense, continuing to establish Rapid Reaction Teams “that will help protect NATO’s own networks in the event of attacks” and “could be to make such teams available on request to NATO countries.”