Erdogan's tussle with Europe, The shame of the world, Regional support for Venezuela is vital, Scotland's place in the United Kingdom, US reengagement in the Middle East

A roundup of global commentary for the March 27, 2017, weekly magazine.

Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Press Service, Pool Photo/AP
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters in Kastamonu, Turkey, on March 22, 2017.

Kathimerini / Athens

Erdogan's tussle with Europe

“While [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan accuses the West of Islamophobia, he is doing everything in his power to strengthen this sentiment because it will benefit him at the polls...," writes Pantelis Boukalas. "In contrast to Erdogan, what the European Union is trying to achieve vis-a-vis Ankara is not so clear.... Pre-election anxiety strengthened by the rising ... anti-systemic, anti-migrant, far-right forces, has ... resulted in bans against Turkish officials that demonstrate fear rather than faith in the strength of democracy.... Meanwhile, fears that the European Union’s refugee deal with Turkey may collapse have prevented the German and Dutch leaderships from openly condemning the human rights violations in Turkey."

The Daily Star / Dhaka, Bangladesh

The shame of the world

“It is a matter of grave concern that, according to a UN estimate, twenty million people are facing starvation in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria...," states an editorial. "It is indeed disturbing to note that man-made disasters like war and famine continue to bleed nations while international politics fails to come to a consensus on how to reach a stasis in parts of the Middle East, Northeast Nigeria and vast swathes of Somalia.... We urge the international community to infuse immediate aid to these four war-torn and famine ravaged countries.... It is indeed appalling that in this era of globalisation and scientific breakthroughs, fellow human beings should die of hunger.... The shame is on us all. The world should act immediately."

El Tiempo / Bogotá, Colombia

Regional support for Venezuela is vital

"Venezuela is, with no exaggeration, a genuine time bomb," states an editorial. "And if nothing is done [to rescue its economy, restore a spiraling quality of life for millions of its citizens, and resolve political deadlock], the continent in general, and Colombia in particular, is going to suffer the effects of a situation that nobody’s prepared for. For that reason ... it is vital that the whole region forges an atmosphere that allows the dialogue [between the Venezuelan government and the opposition] led by the Vatican, supported by [former leaders of Spain, the Dominican Republic, and Panama, as well as the secretary-general of the Union of South American Nations] to bear fruit.... Anything that runs contrary to this will be like jumping off a cliff."

New Statesman / London

Scotland's place in the United Kingdom

"In 2014, the Better Together campaign’s message of cold, hard economic facts worked...," writes Julia Rampen. "[Blair McDougall, head strategist of the campaign,] believes economic realism is still the best strategy.... Nevertheless, unionists fear the [Scottish National Party] may summon an emotional nationalism powerful enough to eclipse spreadsheet slogans – and that Westminster may inadvertently help if [members of Parliament] try to block a second poll.... In 2014, [former Prime Minister Gordon] Brown declared that Scottish achievements happen ‘not in spite of the union but because of the union – and none of us is any less a Scot as a result of it’.... [But today] neither [main] party is making ... a coherent argument for the ideal of unionism. If it dies in Scotland ... they will only have themselves to blame."

The Jordan Times / Amman, Jordan

US reengagement in the Middle East

"The US’ increased aerial and ground forces involvement in the war against [Islamic State] in and around Mosul must aim not only to deal the terrorist organisation a death blow, but also to try and contain Iran’s growing role in Iraq...," states an editorial. "This increased US military involvement in Iraq and Syria is probably meant to stake a claim in these two important Arab countries. That would be a complete reversal of the policy of former president Barack Obama who sought to disengage, at least militarily, from the Middle East.... Despite the promise to look inwards, to make America a first priority, the US seems determined to make its presence in the Middle East more visible and effective."

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