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Spotlight: Erdogan And EU, A Strongman And Weak Continent

Looking eastward from Western Europe, Turkey used to be seen as both a model of secular democracy in the Muslim world and a huge business opportunity. But longstanding hopes for Turkish entry into the European Union appear grimmer every day. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, apparently seeking to revive a form of "Ottoman glory," has led a slide into authoritarianism over the past decade, most recently seizing on the failed coup in July as a golden opportunity to crack down on any form of opposition. As Turkish journalist Ozgur Ogret recently wrote for Worldcrunch, "Turkey is on a one-way road to a one-party system, which is going to be glorified by an obedient media."

Coming as no surprise, the European Parliament voted today in favor of freezing talks on the country joining the EU: "Continuing with membership talks is not credible when we see a complete deviation from democracy and rule of law," Kati Piri, a Dutch MEP, said before the vote.

Still, the passage of the measure itself reveals the many contradictions and high stakes of European-Turkish relations. The result itself is purely advisory and nonbinding, while many in Europe — including German Chancellor Angela Merkel — have pointed to the necessity of maintaining good relations with Turkey. Most urgently, Turkey is both a member of NATO and is considered crucial in stemming the flow of refugees into Europe from the Middle East.

Speaking at an Organization of Islamic Cooperation conference in Istanbul yesterday, Erdogan dismissed the Parliament's debate even before it happened. "This vote has no value for us," he said. Once again, Erdogan's seemingly unshakeable stance says as much about the weakness of a divided Europe as it does about his own strongman ambitions.

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Big Brother For The People: India's CCTV Strategy For Cracking Down On Police Abuse

"There is nothing fashionable about installing so many cameras in and outside one’s house," says a lawyer from a Muslim community. And yet, doing this has helped members of the community prove unfair police action against them.

A woman is walking in the distance while a person holds a military-style gun close up

Survellance and tight security at the Lal Chowk area in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India on October 4, 2022

Sukanya Shantha

MUMBAI — When sleuths of the National Investigating Agency suddenly descended on human rights defender and school teacher Abdul Wahid Shaikh’s house on October 11, he knew exactly what he needed to do next.

He had been monitoring the three CCTVs that are installed on the front and the rear of his house — a chawl in Vikhroli, a densely populated area in suburban Mumbai. The cameras told him that a group of men and women — some dressed in Mumbai police’s uniform and a few in civil clothes — had converged outside his house. Some of them were armed and few others with batons were aggressively banging at the door asking him to immediately let them in.

This was not the first time that the police had landed at his place at 5 am.

When the policemen discovered the CCTV cameras outside his house, they began hitting it with their batons, destroying one of them mounted right over the door. This action was captured by the adjacent CCTV camera. Shaikh, holed up in his house with his wife and two children, kept pleading with the police to stop destroying his property and simply show them an official notice.

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