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TURKEY: THE BACKSTAGE TROUBLES OF A ONE-MAN SHOW

TURKEY: THE BACKSTAGE TROUBLES OF A ONE-MAN SHOW

​No one can dispute that Turkish politics is increasingly a one-man show. After winning a first-round presidential ballot outright on Sunday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan — who has already purged thousands of officials, warped the courts, and muzzled the media — jumped through what looked like the last hoop in his multi-year push to bring the country’s political system more firmly under his control. He will begin a fresh five-year term with vastly-expanded new presidential powers.


But Mr. Erdogan isn’t yet the modern Sultan that he seemingly aspires (and his critics sometimes make him out) to be. His election victory — in which he managed to secure just 52.4 percent despite almost complete control over domestic media — was by no means resounding. Turkish society remains deeply divided, and despite growing constraints, real political parties that oppose him continue to thrive, at least for now.

What’s more, his AKP party suffered a decline in support and failed to win outright control over parliament, meaning it will rely on a partner for a legislative majority. That partner is the ultranationalist MHP party, which joined forces with the AKP in the election. Erdogan will need MHP votes to pass legislation or to stave off parliamentary challenges to his decrees. Erdogan will also need the MHP’s help to win some difficult municipal elections next year.

The MHP could prove to be a thorny partner: its demands for harsher policy towards the Kurds will inflame tensions at home and risk fresh tensions with NATO allies who support Kurdish enclaves across the border. The MHP also wants to loosen the budgetary purse strings, precisely when foreign creditors are already punishing Turkey for pumping too much money into the economy.

To be clear, Erdogan has done much to bend the Turkish political system to his will over the past fifteen years. The country is already one of the world’s biggest democratic “backsliders.” And yet there are still parts of that system that remain resistant to his brand of authoritarianism.

Whether Erdogan will use his new powers to break those last ramparts of resistance — and whether that effort decisively levels his opponents or ends up destabilizing his country more broadly — will be the critical story as Turkey lurches into a new and deeply uncertain phase of its history.

Microsoft released a new annual report, called the Digital Defense Report, covering cybersecurity trends from the past year. This report makes it clear that threat actors have rapidly increased in sophistication over the past year, using techniques that make them harder to spot and that threaten even the savviest targets. For example, nation-state actors are engaging in new reconnaissance techniques that increase their chances of compromising high-value targets, criminal groups targeting businesses have moved their infrastructure to the cloud to hide among legitimate services, and attackers have developed new ways to scour the internet for systems vulnerable to ransomware. Given the leap in attack sophistication in the past year, it is more important than ever that steps are taken to establish new rules of the road for cyberspace: that all organizations, whether government agencies or businesses, invest in people and technology to help stop attacks; and that people focus on the basics, including regular application of security updates, comprehensive backup policies, and, especially, enabling multi-factor authentication. Microsoft summarized some of the most important insights in this year's report, including related suggestions for people and businesses.

Read the whole post and report at Microsoft On The Issues.

Donald Trump's presidency has irked a lot of people around the world. And in fairness, that's no surprise. He was elected in part to blow up long-standing assumptions about how international politics, trade, and diplomatic relations are supposed to work.

But while he has correctly identified some big challenges — adapting NATO to the 21st century, managing a more assertive China, or ending America's endless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — his impulsive style, along with his restrictions on trade and immigration, have alienated many world leaders. Global polls show that favorable views of the US have plummeted to all-time lows in many countries, particularly among traditional American allies in Europe.

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GZERO Media, in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Eurasia Group, today hosted its second virtual town hall on the hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine and the challenges of its distribution.

The panel was moderated by New York Times science and health reporter Apoorva Mandavilli and featured Gates Foundation's Deputy Director of Vaccines & Human Immunobiology, Lynda Stuart; Eurasia Group's Rohitesh Dhawan, Managing Director of Energy, Climate & Resources; Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman; and Gayle E. Smith, the president & CEO of ONE Campaign and former Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Watch the full video above.

The enormous scale of the coronavirus pandemic was captured earlier this week as the global death toll surpassed 1 million people. As the weight of the grim milestone sunk in, the New York Times noted that COVID-19 has now killed more people this year than the scourges of HIV, malaria, influenza, and cholera — combined. While some countries like Germany and South Korea are models in how to curb the virus' spread through social distancing and mask wearing, other countries around the world have recently seen caseloads surge again, raising fears of a dreaded "second wave" of infections. Here's a look at countries where the per-capita caseload has spiked in recent days.

"The jury is out" European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde says when asked if things in Europe will get economically worse before they get better. "All I know is that it's going to be a journey, and probably a long journey." Her conversation with Ian Bremmer is part of a new GZERO World episode.

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