Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Erdogan leads Turkey in Middle East round-up


In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has defied expectations by narrowly beating his rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu in the recent presidential election. Despite facing economic crisis, earthquakes, frustration among young people, and less-than-friendly relations with the West, Erdogan’s electoral alliance also won a majority in parliament. While there will be a presidential run-off on May 28, the opposition will have to recalibrate their strategy to catch up with Erdogan, who is now the firm favorite. The elections have highlighted the rise and staying power of nationalism in Turkey, and it is likely that Erdogan’s eventual replacement will also be a nationalist.

In Gaza, a truce has been agreed between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad after four days of conflict that killed at least 33 Palestinians and one Israeli. The fighting did not draw in Hamas, the rulers of the blockaded territory, and the Israeli government can point to it as a success. However, civilians in Gaza have suffered, with many killed or displaced. The truce came just before Palestinians marked the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, which marks the foundation of the state of Israel and the mass displacement and occupation that has followed.

In Sudan, more than 600 civilians have been killed in a month of fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces. Talks held in Saudi Arabia have not resulted in a ceasefire agreement, and both sides seem to believe they can win. Civilians continue to suffer across the country with little hope for a quick resolution.

Other news includes the sale of a Hebrew Bible dating to about 900 AD for $38m, an arrest warrant issued for Lebanon’s central bank chief by France, and the suspension of rival eastern-based prime minister Bashagha by Libya’s parliament. A group of academics and public figures have called for the release of Tunisian politician Rached Ghannouchi, who was sentenced to a year in prison as part of a crackdown against the Tunisian opposition.

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