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generation z

Turkey
Carolina Drüten

Why Gen Z Is A Real Threat To Erdogan's Grip On Power In Turkey

Erdogan has long sought to mould young Turks into a so-called 'pious generation' for his brand of Islamic political rule. Now it seems he has failed, as the younger generation longs for what that the president refuses to grant them. In next year’s elections, their votes may prove decisive.

ISTANBUL — The only Turkey that Zehra Denizoglu has ever known is the one governed by Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He became Prime Minister the year she was born, and shortly afterward was named “European of the Year”, having brought the inflation rate down to 9%. Now, 18 years later, it is more than five times that, and Erdogan has established a regime where he wields absolute power. Denizoglu is now an adult and has started studying at a university in Istanbul. Next year she will be one of around 6 million first-time voters in Turkey.

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In The News
Anne-Sophie Goninet and Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

One Million Refugees, Kyiv Bracing, Paralympics Ban

👋 Kaixo!*

Welcome to Thursday, where a massive refugee crisis is arriving, with more than one million people having fled Ukraine as Russia’s assault continues. Also, the UN overwhelmingly votes to condemn Russia’s invasion, and Belarusian and Russian athletes are banned from the Beijing Winter Paralympics. Meanwhile, a piece by German daily Die Welt looks at how Turkey’s Generation Z, frustrated with the country’s politics, is turning its back on President Erdogan.

[*Basque]

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Society
Manuel Ligero

Orhan Pamuk On Pandemics, Press Freedom And An Eye On Erdogan's Defeat

Nights of Plague is the latest book by the Turkish Nobel Prize winner, a fictional rendering based on historical reality that draws parallels (political and health-wise) between the past and the present.

MADRID — Orhan Pamuk is a kind of Bosphorus Bridge of literature: He unites two continents, two cultures, two philosophical and religious visions that have, over the centuries, tenaciously turned their backs on each other.

In his country, as the authoritarian drift of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has deepened, the author and public intellectual has progressively become a thorn in the side of the government. However, his run-ins with the Islamo-nationalist regime have not made a dent in his cheerful and optimistic personality.

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THE CONVERSATION
Rosalind Gill and Shani Orgad

What "Lean In" Leaves Out: Women Need Structural Change, Not Pep Talks

The so-called "Confidence Culture" is a trap that puts the emphasis on boosting women's self-confidence without addressing the real causes of gender inequality.

With Valentine’s Day here, advice about confidence is proliferating. British Vogue enjoins women to boost their sexual confidence with slogans like “feel good in your body” and say goodbye to negative talk. Meanwhile, Selfridges promises shoppers a sex and relationship “MOT”, in which “confidence coaching” for women comes as part of the package.

But (like dogs and Christmas), confidence is not just for Valentine’s Day. It is now a 24/7 obligation for women.

Inequality in the workplace? Women need to lean in and become more confident. Eating disorders and poor body image? Programmes promoting girls’ confidence and body positivity are the solution. Parenting problems? Let’s help make mums feel more confident so they can raise confident kids. Post-pandemic relationship sours? Well, confidence is, after all, “the new sexy”. Even the British Army now targets potential female recruits with the promise that joining the military will give young women confidence that “lasts a lifetime”.

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Green
Gaspard Koenig

Grinch Or Green? It’s Time To Stop Buying Christmas Trees!

Each year, millions of trees are sacrificed for the sake of Christmas — an ecological disaster and a denial of what trees represent for humanity. There are, however, some green alternatives to buying (and killing) your own private tree each year.

-OpEd-

PARIS — In the street, on the sidewalks, the corpses pile up in the cold, stacked one above the other — victims of mutilation. Passers-by glance at them carelessly, sometimes fiddling with their broken limbs. The executioners stand guard around their victims, kicking them back into a pile.

The execution is recent: the bodies still wear their natural colors. But soon the last drops of life will recede. They will start to turn pale and decompose, leaving scorched flakes around them. A foul odor will take hold of the city.

This vision of horror is the Christmas spectacle, with its six million trees in France alone that are cut, sold, decorated for a few days and then discarded. In order to grasp the full extent of this massacre, we must first admit that trees are not simple pieces of wood, but individuals in their own right, who are leading unique lives.

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Economy
Anne-Claire Bennevault

Don't Trust The TikTok Business Gurus

Anne-Claire Bennevault, founder of consulting firm BNVLT and think tank SPAK.fr, weighs in on the rise of the so-called "finfluencers".

Op-Ed

Some 15 or 20 years ago, if you were looking to get into finance, you would read the Wall Street Journal, pay attention to Henry Kaufman's analyses and closely follow both Ray Dalio's speeches and Warren Buffet's masterclasses. These traditional financial gurus do continue to have very large audiences, but now they are rivaled by tech-savvy newcomers who understand the power of social media.

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Economy
Raphaël Balenieri

Don't Let The Metaverse Become Just Another Club For The Wealthy

Metaverses are introducing ownership and rarity to the internet for the first time in its history. It is already generating billions of dollars in transactions, but the risk is that it becomes a club exclusively for the wealthy.

-Analysis-

PARIS — Gas, electricity, paper… The prices of everything are soaring. But this is nothing compared with what is happening in the metaverse, a place of a multitude of new, virtual and immersive universes, populated with 3D avatars.

In The Sandbox, a metaverse launched in 2012 by two Frenchmen and backed by the Japanese conglomerate Softbank, the prices of virtual lands (more than 166,000 of them exist on the platform) compete with real estate prices in Paris, London or Hong Kong. A user called “EnzoFar” recently put his land for sale … for 66,666 Ethers (a top cryptocurrency, along with Bitcoin), or more than $227 million at the current exchange rate.

Others have done even better. Since their creation by four friends in 2021, the 10,000 unique virtual apes of the Bored Ape Yacht Club have generated what equates to $1.5 billion in transactions. Justin Bieber, Paris Hilton, Snoop Dogg and Eminem have all succumbed to the craze and bought their own.

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Geopolitics
Benjamin Quénelle

Meet The Russians Protesting The War At Their Peril

Despite legal threats or worse, a notable minority of Russians, from students to elected officials, are finding ways to oppose the invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, many others have left the country since the war began, creating a brain drain that could last for many years.

MOSCOW — On this Wednesday in the middle of spring, Valeria Pasternakova and Polina Petrova, both in their twenties, are in a small courtroom of the municipal tribunal of Khamovniki, a district near the center of Moscow. A banal case before an administrative judge offers a view into the judicial absurdity that Vladimir Putin's opponents face.

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All over Russia, those opposed to the "special military operation" in Ukraine finds different ways to express themselves. But many end up in court.

The lawyer asks questions to the police officer who wrote the protocol for the students' arrest. Seated opposite of Valeria and Polina, he is nervous and vague in his answers. The judge, in her sixties, is protecting him: She rejects questions and requests with evasive glances and pouting. She yawns, showing impatience and boredom, when Polina Petrova, in her energetic plea, looks at her straight in the eyes.

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Geopolitics
Carolina Drüten

'Z' Marks Moldova, Inside Putin's Potential Next Target

An exclusive visit inside Moldova's breakaway pro-Russian republic of Transnistria, which many fear may be the gateway to the next war after Ukraine in the strategically important target.

TIRASPOL — With adhesive tape, one of the demonstrators has pasted a Z on his jacket. “Russia, Russia,” the men and women shout, waving blue-and-white flags. Cars are parked at the side of the road, with the Z emblazoned on their windows – a sign that adorns Russian military vehicles in Ukraine these days.

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Wearing a Z is a blatant way to show that your are on the side of Russian President Vladimir Putin in his war of aggression against Ukraine.

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Geopolitics
Benjamin Quénelle

A Visit To Putin Country: What Absolute Faith In The Kremlin Looks Like

In the agricultural region of Mordovia, south of Moscow, people live in their own reality, far from Western news and the bloodshed of Ukraine. And Vladimir Putin is like a father.

SARANSK — Alexander Kireev embodies the Russia that defies Western sanctions, that sees the war in Ukraine as the Kremlin calls it: a “special military operation.”

Asked if he has ever had doubts in what Vladimir Putin says about Ukraine: Kireev responds with his twinkling eyes and sharp mind: "never.”

“The focus is completely on the liberation of Ukraine. Unfortunately, Russia had no other choice. We must put an end to the abuses committed by Ukrainian nationalists,” he adds.

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Kireev doesn’t speak English, hasn't traveled abroad since COVID-19 restrictions were implemented and, anyway, doesn’t have friends to interact with on social networks outside of Russia.

“I don’t have time to waste watching Western media outlets,” he says.

Like many Russians, he keeps up to date with state-owned televisions and some Telegram channels. But Kireev is hardly isolated in his daily life. This agricultural engineer is in charge of an ultra-modern factory equipped with French, Spanish and German machine tools and is proud to produce, along with his 250 employees, about 7,000 tons of cheese a year. And production is booming.

“Sanctions have helped!” Since the 2014 Russian embargo on many European agri-food products, imposed in retaliation for the first wave of Western measures against Russia, the national dairy industry is growing to supplant imports.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War
Anna Akage, Emma Albright and Cameron Manley

Putin’s Mariupol Surprise, From Assault To Isolation Of Azovstal

The attention of Vladimir Putin and the rest of the world has zeroed in on the Azovstal steel plant in the besieged city of Mariupol, where several thousand soldiers and civilians have been holed up for weeks. While most had been awaiting an imminent Russia assault, Putin made the surprise announcement Thursday that his military would hold off on attacking the plant.

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Speaking on television with his Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, the Russian president said the army would instead seal off the industrial port area “so that not even a fly can escape.”

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In The News
Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Putin Sees “Prolonged” War, Al Jazeera Reporter Killed In Israel, Bye Bye iPod

👋 Здравейте*

Welcome to Wednesday, where U.S. intel says Putin is preparing for a “prolonged conflict,” a prominent Al Jazeera journalist is shot dead by Israeli troops, and Apple pulls the plug on the iPod. Meanwhile, Benjamin Quénelle in French daily Les Echos focuses on the few brave Russians voicing their opposition to the invasion of Ukraine, and the many who have fled the country.

[*Zdraveite - Bulgarian]

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