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?
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.