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Turkish police restrain demonstrators on Feb. 10

How Did Turkey Become Isolated So Quickly?

It wasn't long ago that Turkey was a nation envied around the world for growing freedoms and a growing economy. Things have changed fast.


ISTANBUL For Turkey, the door to Europe is shut and will not be opened again anytime soon.

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A tale of two cubic cities

Dickens Revisited, "End Of History" To Endless Strife

Instead of global stability, the end of the Cold War has ushered in an age of high-tech changes and social turmoil. New tales of two cities for the 21st Century.

BUENOS AIRES — When Francis Fukuyama wrote his revolutionary article "The End of History" in 1988, communism was collapsing and the historic ideological clash between the political Left and Right seemed to be fading away. The dawn of a new era seemed inevitable.

Instead, 28 years later, we might call ours a Dickensian era, one "of two cities," where the spring of hope lives alongside a winter of despair.

Duality seems to be constant, though not necessarily consistent, in our globalized world. Ours is a world marked by cohabitations and impositions, interdependence and local autonomies, by symmetrical and asymmetrical patterns.

And as such, the Dickensian comparison can be made: We have two worlds (rather than two cities), the Westphalian world of nation states and the hypertechnical, interconnected world of the 21st century, that live side by side.

And therein lies the tension, and challenge. Today a leap in global governance is needed in the face of an ongoing technological revolution. The rising power of new communication technologies, which link people with massive amounts of information, will make the 21st century one of surprises, ambiguity and instability. But, yes, also one of great opportunities.

Continuous innovation and an increasingly interconnected global population will present peoples and governments with complicated challenges. The nation state has already ceded part of its authority and influence in world affairs. With the increase of non-state actors and private and individual networks, state power is being challenged from above and below, respectively by supra-national and local currents.

In our time, power is increasingly in networks not hierarchies, and one must learn to interact with a growing body of regional and international entities and leaders. Many sectors of the state apparatus, especially foreign ministries, are currently suffering from a reduction of their decisive role in global affairs. But since there is no replacing diplomacy for now, they continue to exercise leadership, through coordination.

There are also worrying signs of degradation, as traditional, Westphalian-type conflicts erupt alongside new, asymmetrical threats. Expect to see more wars inside states than between them, and more conflicts involving non-state actors. These will emerge and spread like epidemics, as will the kind of inequality that weakens institutions, erodes social fabrics and threatens the very existence of states.

Non-polar, non-state

It seems as if the world were caught in an argument between the worst of the old ideas and the latest advances. We are in a kind of non-polar situation: Power has been distributed among a vast range of state and non-state actors, all potentially able to exert influence.

In this world of greater autonomy, cooperation is possible and necessary, and our need is to forge a shared agenda, global in its scope and with sustainable development as its road map.

As internal and external domains permeate each other, sovereignty becomes relative and yields territory to connectivity. As Parag Khanna observes in his book Connectography, with millions of kilometers of cables, tubes, rail tracks and roads being built compared to just 500,000 kilometers of land frontiers around the world, connectivity may well become the new sovereignty.

Now this interconnected and interdependent world presents us with challenges and moral dilemmas: How do we safeguard certain principles in the face of the requirements of growth and development? How does one balance the national interest with the undoubted need for humanitarian interventions in faraway lands? How should global governance be used to attain national objectives? How can we establish an agenda to make international systems truly representative? And how can we work for peace, development and a measure of stability that might just manage to turn our winter of despair into a new spring of hope?

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Sunlit foliage in Berlin

The Hidden Life Of Trees, And Spiritual Path For Animals

Peter Wohlleben wrote an unlikely bestseller about trees. Now the lifelong forester explores the spiritual side of animals.

Peter Wohlleben is standing on a forest path, talking about the sex life of snails. He knows tons of stories and anecdotes ticks feeling hungry, jealous maggots driven to eat the rubber on your tires. Ever since he learned about that, he said, Wohlleben avoids leaving his car outside overnight.

In the true-life yarns he spins, the animals seem human, like in a fairy tale. He's been perched on top of the German bestseller list with his book "The Hidden Life Of Trees" first published in 2015 in which he describes trees' feelings and their ways of communicating. As a matter of fact, trees "cuddle," "nurse" and "educate" their tree-offspring, the forester explains.

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Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels (center) checking radio devices in 1938

Delving Into Nazi Germany's Arabic Language Propaganda

A new study offers clarity and insight into the strange World War II propaganda alliance between Nazi Germany and nationalist Arabs in Palestine.

BERLIN — The enemy of my enemy is my friend. There's a logic to the old proverb that's as simple as it is logical, and can sometimes lead to some very strange alliances.

Such was the case of the relationship, both before and during World War II, between Germany's Third Reich and the nationalistic Arabs of Palestine. The two parties had not just one, but two common enemies — the British and Jews — thus it "made sense" for Germany to support the potential allies, even if the Nazis saw the Arabs as racially inferior.

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Syria-Turkey border

The Many Double Meanings Of The Turkey-Syria Border

Note: This article was originally published on July 13, before the failed coup attempt


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Woman on balcony in Latakia, Syria

The Risks In Syria Of Falling In Love With The Wrong Man

Women in the government-controlled province of Latakia must decide between love and danger if they are to marry men from opposition-held areas in Syria.

LATAKIA — Raneem had a choice to make. The last time the 26-year-old from Hama province saw the man she loves, he asked her to marry him. She said yes. But her parents forbade the engagement. It was 2015, four years into the Syrian conflict, and Raneem was in love with a man her parents believed would put her in danger.

"My family never understood the situation they put me in," Raneem told Syria Deeply. "I couldn't marry anyone else. I love him. But they didn't care about that. My family rejected him because he is opposed to the Syrian regime."

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After the terrorist attack on Istanbul's Ataturk Airport

What To Say To A Child When Terror Attacks Become Routine

A developmental psychologist in Turkey offers some answers.

ISTANBUL — In the past year, more than 10 terrorist attacks in Turkey claimed the lives of at least 300 people.

Terror, sorrow and trauma have now spread to the big cities. We are psychologically damaged by the attacks in central Ankara and Istanbul — two cities we had believed to be well protected. Meanwhile, attacks have spread in frequency around Europe in the past two weeks.

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Darknet, Inside An Illicit German Weapons Ring On The Internet

Darknet, Inside An Illicit German Weapons Ring On The Internet

Criminals of the 21st century do not have to go to clubs to sell their drugs or drive across the border to buy their weapons. They only have to smuggle malware onto someone's computer or sell their goods at the black market of the digital underground.

Reports on the shooting Friday in Munich that left nine dead say that the gunman likely obtained his weapons online illegally via the "dark net." The following Die Welt article earlier this month covers another German case, in the city of Stuttgart, and the issues around black market activity on encrypted websites.

BERLIN — The three young men knew how to make lots of money. All they needed was a small workshop at grandma's, access to the Internet and a few guns that fired blanks.

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London not calling

Germany Set To Welcome British Exodus After Brexit

LONDON — Britain's departure from the European Union would have immediate far-reaching consequences for the British job market as hundreds of thousands of British and European Union citizens want to leave the UK to work on the continent instead, according to a recent survey by the StepStone global private markets specialist found.

Some 600,000 British-based professionals plan to leave the UK, the study said, as the country becomes a less enticing work destination, the value of the pound falls, and the economy risks weakening amid coming restriction on the free movement of labor.

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Erdogan's supporters carry his image

Turkey's Failed Coup, A Boon To Erdogan Autocratic Desires

ISTANBUL — Turkish society was on the verge of a major disaster last Friday. If the attempted coup d'etat had achieved its purpose, we would probably already be facing a large-scale civil war today. During the coup attempt, which lasted about 12 hours, we lived through a miniature version of this civil war with all its horrors: pro-coup soldiers clashed violently with the police, military officers opened fire on civilians, angry demonstrators lynched surrendered soldiers, military aircraft and helicopters bombed the parliament and other government buildings.

The high cost of human lives of this horrible night would only be a small fraction if the coup had succeeded, because its leaders would have terrorized the country in order to take control — and they would have realized that the only way to intimidate would be through massive slaughter.

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Kebab shop in Berlin's Kreuzberg district

Reading Erdogan In The Heart Of Germany's Turkish Community

In Berlin's Kreuzberg district, home to many people of Turkish descent, opinions about Recep Tayyip Erdogan and last week's failed coup that tried to oust him range from shock to skepticism.

BERLIN — The TV in the Turkish Café was tuned to CNN Türk, which was broadcasting continuous images that caused the world to collectively hold its breath on the night of the failed coup in Turkey. The images of tanks on the bridge spanning the Bosphorus; soldiers in front of the Turkish Parliament in Ankara; angry supporters of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gathered in public squares all around the country.

"Thank goodness it's over," sighed Yaman Isa, a man in his mid 50s, as he stirred his tea. Isa has been living in Germany for 35 years but still has many relatives in Turkey. "I was shocked to the core when I heard of the attempted coup."

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Anger on the streets of Istanbul

Turkey's Failed Coup And The Rise Of A "Lynching Culture"

Recounting and reflections of the failed Friday night coup, and the mob mentality left in its wake.


ISTANBUL — On the night of July 15, we were at a friend's house when we heard the first rumbles that silenced the normal sounds of seagulls: they were F-16 planes and explosions.

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