Party to watch in Turkey?; Much to learn from Rwanda; Smart Cities competition will benefit urban areas; Distrust toward customers has big consequences; Russia must act to maintain status as shipping power

A roundup of global commentary for the May 30, 2016 weekly magazine. 

Burhan Ozbilici/AP
Devlet Bahceli, the leader of opposition Nationalist Movement Party, addresses his lawmakers at the parliament in Ankara, Turkey, on May 17, 2016.

Hurriyet Daily News / Istanbul, Turkey

Party to watch in Turkey?

“If there is one major Turkish political party that the Western media shows almost no interest in, it must be the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP),” writes Mustafa Akyol. “It is often described as ‘far-right,’ ‘ultra-nationalist’ or even ‘fascist,’ and of course these are the labels that make everybody repulsed and look the other way.... If there is going to be a significant change in Turkish politics soon, it will come from the MHP more than anywhere else. Here is the very simple reason: The MHP is the only party which ‘shares a base’ with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). In other words, many people who vote for the AKP can also potentially vote for the MHP, because both parties refer to the primordial values of the conservative, Sunni, Anatolian bloc.... If you and I are noticing this potential in the MHP, President Tayyip Erdoğan must be noticing it, too.” 

Business Day / Johannesburg, South Africa

Much to learn from Rwanda

“There certainly are question marks over the democratic credentials of Rwanda’s government, led by President Paul Kagame...,” states an editorial. “[But Rwanda] is benefiting from firm action taken to effect ‘doing business’ reforms that began in 2005-09 and from an open and decisive attitude to attracting foreign investment, and only minimal red tape. [South Africa] claims to be open for business and the government has promised to effect structural reforms including cutting red tape.... But plans and promises need to be translated into action and SA’s pathetic economic growth rate is unlikely to be turned around until policy makers show the will and ability to implement, not just promise.” 

The Times of India / Chennai, India

Smart Cities competition will benefit urban areas

“Smart Cities Mission brings in three important dimensions,” Sanjiv Shankaran writes. “First, a city’s inhabitants are encouraged to participate in improvement plans as they bear the brunt of problems. To illustrate, over 15 million people participated in the current round of planning. Second, competition among cities can catalyse lethargic urban bodies to perform better. Successful ideas from this competition can then be used for urban renewal across India.” 

Trinidad and Tobago Newsday / Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

Distrust toward customers has big consequences

“The client is met at every stage in business, at cashiers’ desks everywhere, with distrust,” Jean Antoine-Dunne writes. “Increasingly, procedures are set in place which simply hold up productivity.... National distrust has now evolved to the point where we have recently passed the Strategic Services Agency (SSA) (Amendment) Bill 2016 and seek to persuade ourselves that enumerating criminal acts and increasing our databases and surveillance networks will actually end violence against children and end crime.” 

The Carnegie Moscow Center / Moscow 

Russia must act to maintain status as shipping power

“Despite new logistical challenges, Russia remains central to the lattice of Eurasian commerce...,” writes Ivan Zuenko. “Though the majority of intercontinental trade currently flows through China, Kazakhstan, and Russia, the latter will soon see its share of trade from the Far East diminish if it is not proactive in developing its infrastructure there. A route from China to Europe via Kazakhstan and Russia has far greater potential than routes across the Caspian or through Iran: shippers only have to negotiate two customs borders and can avoid using ferries. The China-Kazakhstan-Russia route is faster, cheaper, and logistically easier to navigate than any of the aforementioned alternatives. Going forward, Moscow should focus on preserving its share of the transcontinental shipping market by ensuring that cargo moving from China to Europe goes through Russia. To do so, Russia must improve its logistical infrastructure in the Far East....” 

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