European Union and Turkey Near Deal to Stem Flow of Refugees
The European Union has agreed to support a new action plan with Turkey to stem the flow of refugees entering Europe, a move European Council president Donald Tusk called a “major step forward.” The decision comes after talks this week in Brussels and could result in as much as €3 billion in aid to Turkey ...
The European Union has agreed to support a new action plan with Turkey to stem the flow of refugees entering Europe, a move European Council president Donald Tusk called a “major step forward.” The decision comes after talks this week in Brussels and could result in as much as €3 billion in aid to Turkey to address the smuggling of persons across national borders, including those trying to cross into Europe by sea. The European Union said it will ease visa restrictions on Turkish citizens traveling to Europe for Turkey’s cooperation. Discussion of the plan will now shift to Ankara, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems skeptical of the deal. In a speech today, he criticized the European Union for being “not sincere” about Turkish accession and said the international community has been unfairly dismissive of Turkey’s support to refugees.
The influx of refugees entering Europe continues to strain border tensions. Yesterday, clashes between refugees and security forces along the Turkish-Bulgarian border resulted in an Afghan refugee being shot and killed. It is the first reported shooting of a refugee during the crisis.
Scottish and U.S. Investigators Pursuing New Leads in 1988 Lockerbie Bombing
Scottish and U.S. law enforcement officials have identified two new suspects in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, and are working to send investigators to Libya to question them. A Libyan man, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, was jailed in 2001 for his role in the bombing, and in 2003 Muammar Gaddafi agreed to pay compensation to victims’ families without confirming his involvement. Investigators have long suspected others of involvement in the attack.
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- Iran met its obligations to provide details of its nuclear research to the International Atomic Energy Agency as part of an investigation of the possible military dimensions of previous iterations of its nuclear program; the IAEA has until December 15 to complete its report.
- A Palestinian mob set fire to the tomb of the Biblical patriarch Joseph in the West Bank town of Nablus before being pushed back by Palestinian security forces; seven Israelis and 33 Palestinians have been killed in the recent spate of violence.
- U.N. Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson said that he hopes negotiations to end Yemen’s civil war could begin by the end of the month, noting that he found regional governments receptive to talks during a recent trip to the Middle East; a suicide bomber and gunmen believed to be affiliated with al-Qaeda attacked an intelligence facility in Hodaida.
- The European Court of Human Rights affirmed a Turkish politician’s right to deny the Armenian genocide, ruling against a 2007 Swiss court decision that found a Turkish parliamentarian guilty of racial discrimination.
- Ken Taylor, the Canadian ambassador to Iran depicted in the movie Argo who sheltered a group of American embassy workers during the 1979 hostage crisis, died yesterday at the age of 81.
Arguments and Analysis
“The Drone Papers: The Assassination Complex” (Jeremy Scahill, The Intercept)
“Taken together, the secret documents lead to the conclusion that Washington’s 14-year high-value targeting campaign suffers from an overreliance on signals intelligence, an apparently incalculable civilian toll, and — due to a preference for assassination rather than capture — an inability to extract potentially valuable intelligence from terror suspects. They also highlight the futility of the war in Afghanistan by showing how the U.S. has poured vast resources into killing local insurgents, in the process exacerbating the very threat the U.S. is seeking to confront. These secret slides help provide historical context to Washington’s ongoing wars, and are especially relevant today as the U.S. military intensifies its drone strikes and covert actions against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Those campaigns, like the ones detailed in these documents, are unconventional wars that employ special operations forces at the tip of the spear.”
“The heinous consequences of Turkey’s polarization” (Lisel Hintz, Monkey Cage)
“The division of Turkey’s citizens into ‘us’ and ‘them’ categories — each worthy of security to a different degree — as expressed by [Peoples’ Democratic Party co-chair Selahattin] Demirtaş reflects the not just the political, but also the societal polarization that has become pervasive under AKP rule. Throughout its history Turkey has experienced struggles along multiple identity lines such as those mentioned above; however, the violent attacks on journalists, activists, and others critical of the government demonstrate a visceral hatred observers fear may now rend the country apart. In a pro-AKP speech the day before the Ankara attacks, a well-known ultra-nationalist mob boss ominously declared that ‘barrels and barrels of blood will flow,’ referring to Kurds.”
-J. Dana Stuster
OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images