FROM Soli Ozel
A Political Upset in Turkey Means New Uncertainty in the Middle East Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was not on the ballot, but Sunday's parliamentary election was widely seen as a referendum on his leadership and his ambition for more political power. His Muslim-oriented party won the most votes, but lost the parliamentary majority it's held since 2002. For the first time, a party including Kurds and other minorities won the right to participate in government. The conservative leader now faces a deadline to form a ruling coalition. But, what liberals call a win for democracy has led to drops in economic indicators, and political instability seems likely. What will that mean for the US, Turkey's other NATO allies and the fight against ISIS?
Protests Put Turkey's Prime Minister on the Defense Whatever President Obama decides to do in Syria, one crucial ally is Turkey, where the US-backed leadership is struggling with an unprecedented popular uprising. After two weeks of unprecedented unrest met with harsh police action, Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan appears to be trying to restore calm. We hear the latest from Istanbul and look at Turkey's crucial role as the US gets more involved in the crisis in Syria.
NATO and Syria: The Military Option At today's meeting in Brussels, the leaders of the NATO alliance denounced Syria for shooting down a Turkish jet fighter. Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan threatened Syria with retaliation and warned against any military approach to the Turkish border. It is the first time that the North Atlantic Conference has opened the door to international military action against Syria's brutal repression of its own people. Would NATO involvement help the Syrian people or just lead to more violence? Would the diplomatic alternative mean sitting down at the table -- not just with Russia, but also Iran?
Kurdistan: New Drums of War in the Middle East The US will have to choose between its wife and its girlfriend. Will it be Turkey or Iraqi Kurdistan? Meantime, Iran is hanging around the back door. That's a crude metaphor that fits all too well with 100,000 Turkish troops on the Iraqi border in an already violent region. At stake are: stability in the only tranquil part of Iraq; US relations with a NATO ally; and the global price of crude oil. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is on her way to Istanbul for a conference originally called to talk about Iraq's internal security; Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki has asked Iran to help resolve the crisis; Turkey's President will meet President Bush on Monday. Can they calm an escalating crisis?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?