Headlines: China Hacks U.S. Government; Turkey Prepares For Monumental Elections

Largest Hack Exposes 4 Million Government Workers
A group of Chinese hackers allegedly breached U.S. government computer systems and gained access to the personal information of at least four million current and former government workers, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The massive data breach, which looks to be the biggest cyber intrusion on federal networks to date, hit the Office of Personnel Management, which stores information on government security clearances as well as federal employee records. Although it was discovered in April, the government only acknowledged the breach this week.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said, “Cyberattacks are anonymous, cross-border and hard to trace. If you keep using the words “maybe” or “perhaps” without making a thorough study, this is irresponsible and unscientific.” He said China opposes all forms of cyberattacks.

In a commentary, the state news agency Xinhua said the latest allegations were still “waiting to be supported by proof,” and were just another case of “Washington’s habitual slander against Beijing on cyber security.”

Turkey Prepares For Vote This Weekend
On Sunday, voters in Turkey will vast votes to decide a critical parliamentary election, while President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who represents Turkey’s Justice and Development Party, is hoping to win a large majority to institute sweeping constitutional reforms that would significantly expand the powers of the office of the president.

His ambitions are being complicated by the growing popularity of the Kurdish-dominated People’s Democratic Party (HDP), which could win enough seats to block efforts to change the constitution. While Turkey’s Syria policy has not figured prominently in the campaign, the interventionist rhetoric and influx of refugees has stoked discontent with Erdogan’s government in southern towns like Gaziantep.

Although Erdogan’s party is expect to lose ground, he likely will return to the leadership post. But the country will be different than the one he was first elected to lead, says Kemal Kirişci of the Brookings Institution.

“There are four potential scenarios that can play out on Sunday. They range from the possibility of the AK Party gaining its desired 330 parliamentary seats to failing to win even the 276 seats required to form a government. In between, it’s possible that the AK Party would retain control over the helms of government with varying majorities, with a possibility of calling for an early election. Regardless of which scenario prevails, Turkey is likely to wake up to a very different political scene next Monday,” he writes.

Marc Pierini and Sinan Ülgen of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace agree that Sunday’s elections will be game-changing.

“What’s at stake sets this election apart — the future of Turkey’s political system and the fate of the Kurdish peace process. Erdoğan’s main objective is for the AKP to secure three-fifths of the seats — 330 out of 550 — in the Turkish assembly. This is the number needed to organize a referendum on constitutional amendments designed to introduce a powerful executive-style presidential system in Turkey. Erdoğan’s campaign narrative is almost entirely geared toward achieving this presidential system. His stature makes this objective the de facto central focus of the current election, but this goal has drawn the opposition of all other political parties, as well as some discontent within the AKP itself,” they argue.

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