Turkey’s Erdogan Calls for Snap Election

Turkey’s Erdogan has called for a snap election on June 24th, more than a year earlier than scheduled. Erdogan cited instability in Syria and willingness to abandon the old constitutional order for the earlier elections: however, many are worried for the fairness of the elections since it will be held during a state of emergency.

A significant number of people believe that the decision for snap elections was due to economic instability and for efforts to block newly-formed IYI party from participating the elections.

IYI party was not able participate in the elections if 15 members of the main opposition party CHP did not resign and join the IYI party. Many people considered this as an act of democratic initiative, by the CHP.

According to the elections procedure in Turkey, a party could only partipicate in elections if either it had organizations over half of Turkey’s provinces, or it had a minimum number of seats in the parliament. The IYI party has ensured its eligibility with the newly-joined members, transferred from the CHP.

Today, Turkey’s official election commision YSK has anounced 10 eligible parties, including the IYI Party.

CHP-IYI party coalition has a potential to challenge Erdogan’s “Cumhur” coalition with far-right MHP party. However, some are already sure that President Erdogan will once again win at all costs, due to concerns about state of emergency and unfair elections process.

Turks will vote for both congress and president on the same day.


Trump Defends McMaster From Right-Wing Attacks

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President Donald J. Trump has defended his beleaguered National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster despite a massive campaign by right-wing media, accusing the general of trying to silence conservative voices in the national security team.

“General McMaster and I are working very well together,” Mr. Trump said in a White House statement on Friday. “He is a good man and very pro-Israel. I am grateful for the work he continues to do serving our country.”

Lately, Mr. McMaster removed Ezra Cohen-Watnick from his post as the senior director of intelligence on the National Security Council, adding on a serious of recent dismissals including the retired Army Col. Derek Harvey.

These latest removals by Mr. McMaster were seen as an attempt to clear the council of his predecessor’s appointees. Mr. McMaster assumed the top national security position at the White House after Gen. Michael T. Flynn resigned for failing to disclose his contacts with Russian officials.

Mr. McMaster’s alleged purge has alarmed some conservatives. Right-wing media outlets, particularly those close to Mr. Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon, have leveled blows against the national security adviser.

Since Wednesday, Breitbart News, formerly run by Mr. Bannon, has produced many stories defaming Mr. McMaster. “McMaster Deeply Hostile to Israel and to Trump” was one of many headlines appeared on Breitbart News.

On Wednesday, The Daily Caller, another conservative outlet, argued that Mr. McMaster opposed everything that the “President wants to do.” The Caller alleged that the national security adviser was ruining president’s foreign policy.

Twitter hashtag #FireMcMaster had even made it to the most trending list.

President Trump’s support for Mr. McMaster came at a time of turmoil at the White House, which has been rattled over palace intrigues. The president appointed another general, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, to lead the West Wing and bring much-needed discipline to the White House staff.

Mr. Trump’s support for his national security adviser has been widely considered as a move by the president to prevent another potential chaos consuming his policy agenda.

Originally published on theGlobePost.

Trump Signs ‘Seriously Flawed’ Russian Sanctions Bill

Source: Reuters
Photo Credit: Reuters

President Donald J. Trump has reluctantly signed a bill on Wednesday imposing new sanctions on Russia, complaining that the bill is “seriously flawed” since it restricted his authority to ease the expanded sanctions.

The bill severely limits president’s ability to lift sanctions on Moscow, requiring Mr. Trump to get permission from Congress. Both legislative houses have passed the bill with veto-proof majorities, a vote of 419-3 in the House and of 98-2 in the Senate. It also included new sanctions on North Korea and Iran.

Mr. Trump lamented in a signing statement that the bill had violated many aspects of the Constitution “particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate.” Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson had also stated that neither the president nor he were happy about the bill, believing that this is not the proper way to deal with Russia.

The sanctions are intended to punish Russia for its aggression in Ukraine and Syria as well as its alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election. The latest plunge in U.S. relations with Russia has changed the positive course that came along with the victory of Mr. Trump last year.

In a tit-for-tat manner that was reminiscent of Cold War politics, Russian President Vladimir Putin retaliated on Sunday. He ordered the U.S. to reduce its staff by 755 in Russia, a signal that Mr. Putin runs out of hope expecting the relations with the U.S. would improve.

“We waited for quite a long time that, perhaps, something will change for the better, we held out hope that the situation would somehow change,” Mr. Putin expressed his disappointment with Washington on a state-run Russian television.

Mr. Trump, on the other hand, stated that the bill represents “the will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the United States.”

Originally published on theGlobePost.

Kelly Brings Discipline To White House By Ousting Scaramucci

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President Donald J. Trump removed White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramuccifrom his post after only 11 days on the job, a move that precipitated by his public feud with former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus last week and is poised to bring a sense of discipline to the West Wing under the new chief of staff.

In the latest episode of an ensuing White House drama, President Trump mostly heeded an advice from new Chief of Staff John Kelly, a former four-star general, to fire Mr. Scaramucci who found himself at the center of media attention following his profanity-laced tirades against Mr. Priebus.

The decision was made public by the White House press secretary on Monday after The New York Times and Associated Press, citing officials, first reported about the sacking of the former New York financier.

“Anthony Scaramucci will be leaving his role as White House Communications Director. Mr. Scaramucci felt it was best to give Chief of Staff John Kelly a clean slate and the ability to build his own team. We wish him all the best,” White House said in a statement.

On Wednesday night, Mr. Scaramucci had called Mr. Priebus a “paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoic,” in a phone call with The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza. Mr. Scaramucci also publicly accused Mr. Priebus of leaking information. The former communications director failed to mention that his talk with Mr. Lizza was off-the-record.

The decision came on Mr. Kelly’s first day as the Chief of Staff and is viewed as part of his efforts to bring order and discipline to the West Wing. Removal of Mr. Scaramucci reflected an early sign that the new Chief of Staff would try to assert authority at the White House.

Mrs. Sanders said on Monday Mr. Kelly “has the full authority to carry out business as he sees fit.” From now on, all White House staff will report to Mr. Kelly, including several of the big personalities such as the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and chief strategist Steve Bannon.

To play down concerns that White House administration is falling apart, Mr. Trump tweeted on Monday

that there was no chaos at the White House. His tweet stood out as an irony since the Mr. Trump set the record for having the shortest-lived National Security Adviser (24 days), Chief of Staff (200 days) and Communications Director (10 days).

Originally published on theGlobePost.