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Celebrating Erdogan's victory in Berlin on June 24.
Celebrating Erdogan's victory in Berlin on June 24.
Luisa Seeling

BERLIN — They lined up in motorcades, honking horns, waving flags. It was as if Turkey had just won the World Cup, except that Turkey isn't even in the tournament this year. Instead, these enthusiastically noisy German-Turks were fans of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the just re-elected Turkish president who earned a particularly clear victory in Germany. Indeed, two-thirds of the Turks who cast their ballot in Germany did so for the Erdogan era to continue. But why?

If you take part in a motorcade, you need to have at least a presentable car. So it was not economic dissatisfaction that drove these German-Turks out onto the streets on Sunday evening. It was about identity, rather. About demonstrating their affiliation, which was also the case for many people in Turkey.

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Geopolitics

Our 'Emotional' Divide: How The Ukraine War Reveals A World Broken In Two

Russia's invasion has created a stark global divide: them and us. On one side are the countries refusing to condemn Moscow, with the West on the other. It's a dangerous split that could have repercussions far into the future.

Protesters against the war in Ukraine demonstrate in front of the Russian embassy in London

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — "The West and the Rest of Us." That's the title of a 1975 essay written by Nigerian essayist and critic Chinweizu Ibekwe. I've been thinking about his words as the war in Ukraine both reveals and accelerates divisions of the world that I believe are ultimately "emotional" in nature.

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With war returning to Europe and the risk of escalation, there is a gap between the Western view and that of the "others," a distinct "us and them." This gap cannot be explained in strictly geographical, political, and economic terms.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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