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Turkish Media Mum Over Albayrak Fuels New Free Speech Concerns – Bloomberg

Most media outlets took more than 24 hours to report that Albayrak, who’s married to Erdogan’s oldest daughter, had quit, leaving millions of Turks to click on to YouTube broadcasts to hear the breaking story. The press continued to keep mum even after the lira rallied the most in two years, only reporting the news after the president’s office said late Monday that the resignation had been accepted.

That silence — echoing the muteness of government officials — demonstrates how intense the pressure is on mainstream media to toe the ruling AK Party line, said Kilicdaroglu, leader of the Republican People’s Party, or CHP.

“Only five of 1,780 radio and television stations reported the resignation” before Albayrak confirmed it the following day on social media, Kilicdaroglu said. The others, he said, have become a “pool media,” or palace press.

Macron’s War on Islamists Comes Up Against Erdogan’s Soft Power – Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) — On an industrial estate in the French city of Strasbourg a few miles from the European Parliament, a grand plan to build the continent’s largest mosque is slowly taking shape. The Turkish organization behind the 30 million-euro ($36 million) project says the Eyyub Sultan complex, replete with a dozen domes and minarets and surrounded by conference halls, …

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Erdogan’s Assault on Macron Is the Height of Cynicism – Bloomberg

In his mind, Erdogan wants Turkey to replace Saudi Arabia and Egypt as the guardian power of Sunni Islam, as the Ottoman Empire once was. And he wants to project power in all directions, toward Moscow as to the West. This is why he’s meddling in conflicts around the region, from Syria to Libya and the eastern Mediterranean, and now also in the battles between (ethnically Turkic) Azerbaijanis and Armenians. In several of these conflicts he faces France on the opposing side.

Nominally, Turkey is a member of NATO and still officially interested in applying to join the EU. In reality, Erdogan needs to portray Europe as the enemy. Because he’s weak at home, he’ll seize on any propaganda opportunity he gets. The danger is that in the process he might unleash passions and hatreds far beyond his, or anybody’s, control, potentially causing more violence, suffering and perhaps war. Europeans and Turks of any faith should see through Erdogan’s vanity and cynicism — and tactically ignore him.

International Law Can’t Solve the Greco-Turkish Island Problem – Bloomberg

One idea I like is to use Europe’s own experience after World War II as inspiration. In the 1950s, old enemies France and Germany placed coal and steel — the industries of warfare — under a joint authority that guaranteed shared access and benefits. Out of this “Schuman plan” grew what is today the EU. And what coal and steel were then, oil and gas are now.

Something similar could work in the eastern Mediterranean, if only its ancient enemies could also rise above their feuding and grasp their responsibility to prevent war. With luck, Europe will transition from brown to green energy fast enough so that nobody will even need all that dirty stuff under the sparkling blue sea anyway.

Greece, U.S. Agree Sea Borders Must Be Set by International Law – Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) — U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and his Greek counterpart Nikolaos Dendias reaffirmed their countries’ position that maritime borders should be settled peacefully and in accordance with international law, as Athens prepares for a new round of talks with Turkey on territorial disputes. The U.S. welcomes Greece’s readiness to engage with other …

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Turkey Slams U.S. Decision to Ease Its Arms Embargo on Cyprus – Bloomberg

Turkey condemned the U.S. for easing a decades-old arms embargo on Cyprus, saying the move could fuel already heightened tensions over territorial disputes in the energy-rich eastern Mediterranean. The Foreign Ministry urged Washington to reverse course, saying the decision “poisoned the atmosphere of peace and stability in the region and violated the spirit of the …

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Turkey Criticizes Ex-Trump Aide Bolton for ‘Manipulative’ Memoir

Turkey accused former U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton of misrepresenting President Donald Trump’s conversations with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his recently published memoir. The book “includes misleading, one-sided and manipulative presentations of our leader President Erdogan’s conversations with the US President Donald Trump,” Erdogan’s communications director Fahrettin Altun said in a Twitter …

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