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Erdogan poster in Bursa, Turkey
Erdogan poster in Bursa, Turkey
Stuart Richardson

-Analysis-

Even as the European Union has wavered on whether to let Turkey into its exclusive grouping, Ankara has flexed its muscles within the bloc. It has done so by using a shared tool and resource to fight crime: Interpol.

Last Saturday, Spanish authorities arrested author Dogan Akhanli after Turkey issued an Interpol arrest warrant — a so-called "red notice" — for the writer, a German citizen of Turkish origin. Ankara has not publicly stated its motive for the arrest but Akhanli, a critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has previously infuriated officials for his work on the Armenian genocide, a massacre that Turkey has sought to downplay.

Just weeks before Akhanli's arrest, Ankara had issued another "red notice" to Interpol, again in Spain, for Hamza Yalcin, a 59-year-old Swedish-Turkish journalist. Both writers are now being held in Spain, as the courts there decide whether they should grant Turkey's request for extradition.

Since the failed coup attempt on July 15 last year, Turkey has cracked down on officials, teachers, journalists and virtually anyone suspected of dissent in the country. But now it's also reaching far beyond its borders, emboldened by its status as a crucial player in the ongoing fight against terror group ISIS and amid an unprecedented migration crisis. In addition to the international Interpol warrants, Erdogan has been urging voters to boycott Chancellor Angela Merkel's party, among other groups, in upcoming elections in Germany, as video footage released by Turkish media outlet Cumhuriyet shows. "All of these parties are Turkey's enemy," he declared in the clip.

A condemnation with no action may reflect an implicit tolerance for his remarks.

His statements quickly drew Germany's ire. "We will not be dictated here by anyone, including President Erdogan," retorted Merkel, according to a report published in the German newspaper Die Welt. "We refuse to tolerate any kind of interference in the forming of our opinions."

Is her response enough? A condemnation with no action may reflect an implicit tolerance for his remarks. If Europe won't threaten Erdogan with sanctions and punitive measures, the Turkish president certainly won't stop using international organizations for his global witch hunt.

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Society

How India’s Women Are Fighting Air Pollution — And The Patriarchy

India is one of the world's worst countries for air pollution, with women more likely to be affected by the problem than men. Now, experts and activists are fighting to reframe pollution as a gendered health crisis.

A woman walking through dense fog in New Delhi

*Saumya Kalia

MUMBAI In New Delhi, a city that has topped urban air-pollution charts in recent years, Shakuntala describes a discomfort that has become too familiar. Surrounded by bricks and austere buildings, she tells an interviewer: "The eyes burn and it becomes difficult to breathe". She is referring to the noxious fumes she routinely breathes as a construction worker.

Like Shakuntala, women’s experiences of polluted air fill every corner of their lives – inside homes, in parks and markets, on the way to work. Ambient air in most districts in India has never been worse than it is today. As many as 1.67 million people in the country die prematurely due to polluted air. It is India’s second largest health risk after malnutrition.

This risk of exposure to air pollution is compounded for women. Their experiences of toxic air are more frequent and often more hazardous. Yet “policies around air quality have not yet adequately taken into account gender or other factors that might influence people’s health,” Pallavi Pant, a senior scientist at the Health Effects Institute, a nonprofit in the U.S., told The Wire Science.

“It’s unacceptable that the biggest burden [rests on] those who can least bear it,” Sherebanu Frosh, an activist, added. People like her are building a unique resistance within India.

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