PUTSCHED OFF THE EDGE
Turkey marks one year since coup attempt
One year after an attempted coup in Turkey, the country’s opposition is still struggling to unite. On Saturday, the now-autocratic legacy of the coup will be commemorated in government and opposition remembrance events.
Opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) recently completed a “justice march” from Ankara to Istanbul to protest Erdogan’s use of state power to silence both coup plotters and others, including academics and journalists. The march culminated in a rally last Sunday; further actions are expected this weekend pushing oft-termed “Kemal Gandhi”’s ten demands for liberalisation.
Today’s “Martyr Remembrance Day” will mark the loss of civilians, 249 of whom died defending the elected AKP government. Erdogan will seal the celebration by addressing parliament early Sunday morning, exactly a year since the coup began. As he has done for the past 12 months, the president will use today’s events to tie the coup to terrorist actions and delegitimise the country’s opposition, consolidating his grip on power.
Concern over language status
Regional language groups will be meeting in India today to discuss concerns that Hindi will subvert English to become the subcontinent’s only official language.
India has no national language, but Hindi and English, a remnant of the country’s colonial past, are the official languages of the government. While it would represent a bureaucratic shirking of its colonial past, elevating Hindi to the sole official language of India would be problematic. The central and northern parts of the country house a cocktail of Indo-Aryan languages that differ by state, whereas the south is linguistically Dravidian (but English is the lingua franca).
Having English as an official language also benefits the subcontinent’s economy. Trade and investment across countries tend to be higher when both parties speak a common language. While foreign direct investment into India has increased over the past few years, it could slow if English were ditched as an official language.
FOOTBALL’S HIGH PRICE
Russia prepares for 2018
One year from today, the final of the FIFA World Cup will be played in Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium, bringing to close over a decade of preparations to showcase Russian power through football.
Hosting its last large-scale event, the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, cost the state over $40 billion more than predicted and continues to burden local government while providing little in return. The Russian news agency Tass, however, optimistically predicts up to one million tourists for the now $10 billion 2018 World Cup, hoping to boost an economy hobbled by low oil prices and sanctions.
Russian preparations have run relatively smoothly, although international concern surrounds claims of abuses of North Korean labour. Moscow’s local government tested much of the World Cup preparations with this summer’s Confederation Cup, which incorporated a newer, stronger fan-identification security system.
Given the vast distance between stadiums and large crowds, expect difficult logistics in Russia’s next soft power play.