Arab news

Why Turkey changed its name: populism, polls and a bird

Sinan Ülgen, Chairman of the Istanbul-based think tank EDAM, said, “The main reason for Turkey to change its name is to eliminate the association with the bird.” “But at the same time, the term is used colloquially to denote failure.”

Ulgen told CNN that international organizations now have to use the new name, but that it won’t happen overnight for the wider public. “It will probably take many years for the international community to pass from Turkey to Turkey.”

This isn’t the first time the nation has tried to change its name, he said. He said that a similar initiative was carried out under Prime Minister Turgut Özal in the mid-1980s, but it never attracted such attention.

Political motivations may lie behind the move as Turks return to the polls next June amid a sharp economic crisis.
“This is another strategy implemented by the Turkish government to reach nationalist voters in a very important year for Turkish politics,” said Francesco Siccardi, senior program manager at the Carnegie Europe think tank.

He said the timing of the name change was “important” for next year’s elections. “The decision on the name change was announced last December, when President Erdogan fell behind in all opinion polls and the country was going through one of the worst economic crises in the last 20 years.”

Erdogan’s position in the polls has dropped significantly over the years. According to Reuters, polls conducted late last year show that support for the ruling AK Party has dropped from 42.6% during the 2018 parliamentary elections to 31-33%.

However, Ülgen said the name change was a rebranding strategy aimed at strengthening the country’s international position rather than a pre-election demonstration.

Turkey’s foreign trade deficit increased by 98.5% year-on-year in April, reaching $6.11 billion, according to Reuters’ news based on the Turkish Statistical Institute. Annual inflation rose to 73.5% last month, its highest level in 22 years.
Analysts say that in times of crisis, the president tends to use populist moves to divert attention from domestic problems. The economic turmoil that brought people to the streets gave the government a headache.

“The new name will not only distract the local audience from more concrete, pressing issues, but will also present President Erdogan another argument for his cause for a stronger, more traditional Turkey,” Siccardi said. said.

Erdogan ordered Hagia Sophia to be turned into a mosque.

In another populist move in 2020, Erdogan passed a decree to convert Istanbul’s historic Byzantine Hagia Sophia Museum into a mosque.

Political analyst Seren Korkmaz said about the movement at that time, “In the absence of concrete policies to overcome the country’s economic and political problems, Erdogan seeks salvation in populist identity politics.” “It supports Turkish nationalism and Islamism and targets opposition figures,” he said.

The new name also has symbolic value, as it was adopted in 1923 after the new nation emerged from the ashes of the First World War. Siccardi said that its global adoption will “consolidate Erdogan’s place in Turkish history alongside Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founding father of the republic.”


White House says Biden’s view of Saudi Arabia as a “pariah” ahead of a possible trip has not changed

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Wednesday that US President Joe Biden’s stance on Saudi Arabia was “still valid” and responded to a reporter’s question about whether the president viewed the kingdom as “pariah” for alleged complicity in the murder. Dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

  • Background: As a presidential candidate, Biden promised to turn the kingdom into a “pariah” and “pay the price” for Khashoggi’s murder. After taking office, he avoided direct contact with Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), opting instead to interact with his father, King Salman.
  • why is it important: A repeat of Biden’s position came amid reports that the president is planning a trip to the kingdom. MBS, which runs the kingdom’s day-to-day business, rejected US calls to increase oil production to rein in inflation. Jean-Pierre said he didn’t have a presidential trip to preview. But on Thursday, the White House took the rare step of recognizing MBS’s role in extending the ceasefire in Yemen.

Lebanese spy chief plans to visit Syria because of missing US correspondent

Lebanese intelligence chief Major General Abbas Ibrahim said he would visit Syria to restart negotiations for the release of American journalist Austin Tice, who disappeared ten years ago. The rapid start in the negotiations came after the request of the US authorities.

  • Background: Austin Tice was a freelance journalist and former US Marine. He disappeared while reporting in Syria in 2012. Ibrahim said that in past talks with Damascus on Tice, Syria has made demands for the withdrawal of US forces, the resumption of diplomatic relations and the lifting of some US sanctions. Negotiations stalled at the end of former President Donald Trump’s term.
  • Why is it important: Washington said last year that it would not normalize or escalate relations with Syria because of what it described as the atrocities it inflicted on its people. Biden, who met Tice’s family last month, needs a foreign policy victory, especially after his clumsy withdrawal from Afghanistan. Biden’s overall approval rating stood at 41% last month, according to a CNN poll.

Israel tells UN nuclear watchdog it will take action against Iran if diplomacy fails

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Raphael Grossi on Friday that Israel would act to thwart Iran’s nuclear program if diplomacy fails. “Prime Minister Bennett has made clear that while Israel prefers diplomacy to reject the possibility of Iran developing nuclear weapons, it reserves the right to defend itself and take action against Iran to thwart its nuclear program if the international community does not succeed. In the relevant time frame,” said Bennett. A statement from Bennett’s office.

  • Background: Iran has increased its stockpile of enriched uranium and is not responding to unexplained nuclear activity in three as yet undeclared regions, according to two reports from the IAEA by CNN on May 30. The only additional explanation Iran offered at one of the suspected nuclear facilities, the report said, was “the possibility of sabotage by a third party to contaminate the region. However, Iran has not provided any evidence to support this statement.”
  • Why is it important: Grossi’s abrupt visit to Tel Aviv comes ahead of an IAEA board meeting in Vienna on Monday, when the US, UK, France and Germany prepare to seek a solution focused on Iran’s need for full cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog. . The draft resolution will be in response to two reports obtained by CNN and given to IAEA member states on May 30, which stated that Iran had not responded to unexplained nuclear activities in three yet-to-be-declared regions.

around the area

When Iranian actress Zar Amir Ebrahimi fled her country in 2006 because of a leaked tape, she thought her career was over. But she became the first Iranian to win the best actress award at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival on Saturday.

Ebrahimi rose to fame in his native Iran, but the highlight of his career at Cannes came when he was in exile for a film shot in Jordan.

Directed by Iranian-born Ali Abbasi, “The Sacred Spider” is based on the true story of a serial killer in Iran’s holy city of Mashhad. It is about journalist Rahimi, who goes after a construction worker who is suspected of killing 16 sex workers.

Winning the award was “just like a dream,” he told CNN’s Becky Anderson on Thursday.

The film touches on the issue of patriarchy, which Rahimi hopes will send “a message of courage, a message of hope, not just for women, but for men and women all over the world.”

The win brought him back into the limelight in Iran and caused outrage. The actor told CNN he received about 200 threats. “The problem is that they haven’t even seen this movie and are judging this movie only from a trailer,” he said, tying the reaction to the lack of freedom of expression in Iran.

Ebrahimi said he fled Iran to France in 2006, after a “private video” of him was leaked, fearing arrest and whipping from judicial authorities. He had to restart his career “in a country where I don’t know anyone”.

“I had to flee my country, my home. I left my friends and family behind,” he told CNN. But he refused to let the scandal tarnish his career. “From the day that scandal happened to me, I’ve talked about cinema and thought that I live and work. And you know, I’ll be alive because I have a movie theater, I love my job, because I love life.”

Ebrahimi said his next movie will be shot in Australia. He has no plans to return to his homeland.

by Mohammed Abdelbary

what is trending

Kuwait: #American_Embassy

A tweet by the US embassy in Kuwait to celebrate Pride Month started a firestorm on social media and encouraged the Gulf country to summon a US diplomat.

The embassy tweeted on Thursday in English and Arabic with a picture of a pride flag, “All people should be treated with respect and dignity and be able to live fearlessly, regardless of who they are or whom they love.” “@POTUS is a human rights defender of #LGBTQI people. #Pride2022 #YouAreIncluded,” he said, referring to the US president.

The US embassies in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE also posted similar tweets.

The Kuwaiti embassy called the US chargé d’affaires behind the embassy’s “pro-gay rights mail” late Thursday, the state-run Kuwait News Agency reported. The embassy is urged to “respect the country’s laws and regulations in force in the State of Kuwait and its obligation not to post such tweets.”

Homosexuality is illegal in Kuwait and same-sex sex is a crime under the country’s penal code.

Kuwaiti lawmaker Abdul Aziz Al Saqobi accused the embassy of “trying to impose an agenda that goes against common sense and values” in the country.

Human rights activist Anwar Al Rasheed said she was shocked not by the embassy’s tweet, but by the protest, in which she said the Kuwaiti government “believes it stands for virtue in the name of God”.

He told his more than 112,000 followers, “As if our country is not riddled with moral and financial corruption … and our society is like an angel whose government is trying to protect its innocence.”

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