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Turkey prepares for action against IS

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is considering setting up a "safe zone" in Northern Syria. (© picture-alliance/dpa)


The Turkish government is waiting to receive the go ahead from parliament today to take military action against the IS in Syria and Iraq. Ankara has the right to protect itself from the terrorist militia, some commentators believe. Others suspect Turkey of pursuing its own interests in neighbouring countries.

Yeni Şafak - Turkey

Ankara faces difficult decision

Turkey is right to consider military intervention against the IS, the pro-government daily Yeni Şafak comments: "The IS is laughing at the West's plans to use the Iraqi military and the Syrian rebels for its campaign. They say it will take months to organise the Iraqi military - and the Free Syrian Army is undisciplined, degenerate and generally ineffectual. ... All the region's contradictions work in the IS's favour. The enormous amount of weapons supplied to the Free Syrian Army, the [Syrian-Kurd organisation] PYD and the Iraqi army may lead to years of stalemate. In such a situation there is the risk that the IS gradually gains strength and legitimacy. ... Turkey must therefore exercise caution and clearly has the right to insist on its own strategy vis-à-vis the US." (02/10/2014)

Der Standard - Austria

Turkish safe zone in Syria controversial

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's proposal for setting up a "safe zone" in Northern Syria is controversial in the Arab World, the left-liberal daily Der Standard explains: "In Western media Turkey's plans are seen in the context of the expansion of the anti-IS alliance, in which Turkey can now take full part after the release of its hostages by the IS. However it's not possible to understand the significance - and potential repercussions - of a Turkish intervention in Syria without looking at the Arabic media. There the idea that Turkey is cooperating with the IS to claim part of Syria for itself is practically mainstream. In this respect the media of the Gulf states - which take an antagonistic view of the Assad regime - suddenly sound exactly like the Syrian state media: neo-Ottoman plans for launching a colonialist attack on Arab land. The fact that the Turkish parliament's authorisation would also extend to Iraq incites fears regarding Mossul - which the Turks lost after World War I." (02/10/2014)

Corriere della Sera - Italy

US airstrikes not enough

Without support from trained troops on the ground the US's air strikes in Syria are almost pointless, the liberal-conservative daily Corriere della Sera criticises: "There's a lack of support from the intelligence service or any other body that can pinpoint targets and transmit information on the results of the strikes. The Americans don't seem to have any real spy network in Syria. They have no contact with Assad's armed forces, nor with other 'moderate' rebel groups operating within the country. ... The US hopes that the defence of ground positions, apart from the work done by the Kurds, will be taken over by the moderate Syrian militias and the troops of the revamped Iraqi army. But the US Defense Department itself warns that it will take months, if not years, to train these forces." (02/10/2014)


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Polityka Online - Poland

Kopacz makes historic policy speech

Poland's new Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz delivered her first policy statement on Wednesday. A historic speech, the left-liberal news portal Polityka Online writes in praise: "Of course you can always dispute this or that detail, and doubt whether all the new government's plans can be implemented as put forward. But even if it manages to push through just half of them, things will improve markedly in Poland. This is the best policy speech ever delivered in the Third Republic [since the constitution of 1997]. The session began with the statement of Kopacz's predecessor Tusk that Kopacz had now replaced him as head of government - meaning that she bears full responsibility. ... In addition Kopacz called on Tusk and [opposition leader] Kaczyński to put an end to their quarreling once and for all. And in the end she even set deadlines for putting her promises into action." (02/10/2014)

Jyllands-Posten - Denmark

China does not want compromise in Hong Kong

Chinese National Day also saw thousands of people gather in Hong Kong to demonstrate for free election of their head of government. The liberal-conservative daily Jyllands-Posten observes the developments with concern: "China's party leader Xi Jinping has secured more power for himself than any Chinese leader since Mao in record time. But the question is whether he has the courage and the will to offer the demonstrators a compromise. Compromise has no tradition in Beijing and since the massacre on Tiananmen Square the Party has built up a security apparatus that immediately smothers any alternative to its own power. ...  Beijing sees the defeat of the power of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union and the break-up of the Soviet states around 25 years ago as the result of the Kremlin's compliance and weakness. This doesn't bode well for a compromise in Hong Kong." (02/10/2014)

Protagon - Greece

Vote of confidence won't help Samaras

The Greek government led by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras plans to seek a vote of confidence next Monday. The move is a reaction to the demands of the opposition for new elections. An absurd and hopeless undertaking, the web portal Protagon complains: "Sometimes you just can't change things no matter what you do. The next elections, whenever they take place, will be won by the left-wing Syriza alliance. ... The government's decision to seek a vote of confidence is a sign of its predicament and defeatism. The government is trying to convey an image of unity but this isn't doing any good. The trends have already consolidated in the opinion polls, and since no major changes to the basic conditions are to be expected, these trends will continue." (02/10/2014)

Heti Világgazdaság - Hungary

Hungary's foreign minister living in luxury

After just one week in office Hungary's new Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó is already in a compromising situation after media reports that he bought a luxury villa for half a million euros. Journalist Tamás Gomperz pokes fun at the politician's unexpected wealth in the left-liberal weekly Heti Világgazdaság: "Péter has always worked as an MP. ... He spent his legally stipulated salary following the prime minister's example, i.e. on his home, utilities, clothes, food, petrol. Yet by some strange miracle he still had his entire salary left over at the end of each month. So he thought he could set the money aside for buying a villa. ... And hey presto! Now he has a huge, albeit tasteless, neo-baroque villa. ... And the best thing about it is that there won't even be an investigation into his financial affairs." (01/10/2014)

Trud - Bulgaria

Bulgarian voters stricken by apathy

Bulgarians will elect a new parliament on Sunday. But unlike in recent years this time the final phase of the election campaign is anything but exciting, the daily Trud observes: "There are hardly any election rallies or demonstrations, the politicians seem bored with their own words and the media apathetic in their coverage. Why? Because these are the first elections in which there's no good against evil. ... There's no hope that we will elect the goodies to punish the baddies. Memories of Boyko Borisov's government are still fresh, and the government alliance between the Socialists and the Turkish party DPS has just collapsed. ... The pathos of the power struggle is also lacking. We suspect that behind close doors it's already known who will win, that we are in for something amorphous and dirty. Despair, aimlessness and distrust are spreading." (01/10/2014)


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New Statesman - United Kingdom

John Denham says religion alone doesn't turn people into terrorists

According to EU Counter-terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove roughly 3,000 Europeans have joined the IS terror group in Iraq and Syria. But what attracts young Muslims to this cause has less to do with religion than with other factors, British Labour MP John Denham writes in the left-leaning magazine New Statesman: "Radical movements have their intellectuals, so of course there are times and places when winning the ideological argument is crucial. But young people are rarely radicalised by ideas alone. It's the emotional and social connections, the sense of meaning and purpose that attract. Too many young Muslims share that sense of alienation, voicelessness and injustice. Feelings of rejection, stereotyping, powerlessness and double standards are commonplace This does not make them terrorists. It makes them vulnerable... The drive to blame theology has left more important concerns unaddressed." (01/10/2014)

El Periódico de Catalunya - Spain

Josep Oliver Alonso on the broken dream of a mutually supportive Europe

The EU as a mutually supportive community? This idea was nothing but a dream from which Spain has now been rudely awakened, economist Josep Oliver Alonso comments in the left-liberal daily El Periódico de Catalunya: "The crisis has woken us from a long and deep sleep, from a sweet illusion about the true nature of the EU. It has been a rude awakening and left us with a terrible feeling of loneliness. ... The myth of a united and mutually supportive Europe is deeply embedded in our collective consciousness. Both the democratic boost and the financial aid Spain received from the EU in recent decades contributed to this myth. But as the gap between what we asked for and what we received [during the crisis] demonstrates, this idea was always an illusion. This Europe of powerful states continues to be, to our detriment, an amalgamation of strategic interests, social models, cultural ideas and disparate economic strengths and weaknesses. ... The long recession has shown us that although we are not alone and receive important support, in the end we must rely on our own abilities to confront the enormous challenges we face." (02/10/2014)


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The Irish Times - Ireland

Apple tax case puts Ireland in a bad light

The European Commission's investigation into the tax deal Ireland gave US company Apple is very detrimental to Ireland's status as a business location, the liberal daily The Irish Times complains: "The uncertainty that surrounds the outcome of the state aid case could have a negative effect on the State's ability to attract inward investment. An adverse finding against the State in the Apple case could prompt the commission to investigate the Irish tax arrangements of other multinational companies - such as Google. Ireland remains highly dependent on the multinational sector, both for jobs and for tax revenu ... Ireland's financial reputation would be badly tarnished, and its ability to attract large overseas investment greatly diminished." (01/10/2014)

Sme - Slovakia

Putin puts pressure on Slovakia

Russia reduced its gas supplies to Slovakia by 50 percent on Wednesday without giving notice. Moscow is apparently responding to the fact that Russian gas is being supplied to Ukraine via Slovakia. The pressure is growing, the liberal daily Sme notes with concern: "Prime Minister Robert Fico is wrong when he says gas has become a pawn in a political game. No, gas is Russia's key strategic weapon. The Kremlin uses it not only to blackmail Ukraine but also to divide Europe. Cutting gas supplies in half puts massive pressure on Slovakia and the EU to stop their deliveries to Ukraine. ... The gas shortages are a good reminder for Fico that sucking up to the Russian side doesn't secure you any privileges." (02/10/2014)

La Libre Belgique - Belgium

EU merciless in Brussels airport war

The Charleroi Airport in Brussels must reimburse six million euros to the Belgian state after the European Commission decided on Wednesday that subsidies for the airport contravened EU state aid rules. The liberal daily La Libre Belgique welcomes the decision: "On the left: Brussels Airport, on the right: Brussels South Charleroi Airport (BSCA). A full-blown war has raged between the two airports for years. Then when Ryanair also started flying to Brussels Airport a few months ago, it escalated. An economic war with considerable collateral damages. ... The European Commission does not want to be instrumentalised in this Belgian domestic quarrel, and is playing its role - that of guarantor of healthy and fair competition - without mercy. And as is only natural, it has told Charleroi Airport that it will have to make do without outside help." (02/10/2014)


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taz - Germany

Orbán capitalising on land grab

Hungary's right-wing conservative government aims to have an overview of how much Hungarian land is held by non-Hungarians by the end of October. This initiative was prompted by a new land law that annuls all lease and tenancy agreements held by foreigners unless they are related to the owner of the land in question. This will all go down well with the voters, the left-leaning daily taz suspects: "For months the propaganda machinery claiming that foreigners have taken control of the best pieces of land in the country has been in action. More than a million hectares are said to be in foreign hands - acquired for bargain prices and using dubious methods. The fact that the tenancy agreements were legal until twelve years ago and were advertised abroad as an alternative to buying or leasing is being ignored. Orbán knows that annulling such contracts will make him more popular in Hungary. ... And if the EU demands that he repeals these laws, which clearly violate legal security, the prime minister can once again cast himself as a heroic patriot in the battle against Brussels. In any case he will be the winner politically." (02/10/2014)

Eesti Päevaleht - Estonia

Get sexist stereotypes out of advertising

An advertising campaign by shoe store chain ABC King has provoked an outcry in Estonia. It really is just too sexist, the liberal daily Eesti Päevaleht believes: "ABC King's advertising campaign uses old stereotypes to boost its sales. The problem is that rather than eliminating these old stereotypes such ads merely reinforce them. The foot clad in a cheap shoe belongs to the secretary, while the slender foot wearing an expensive shoe comes from a better world - it belongs to the boss's wife. And of course there's no need to ask if he's male or female. ... One can try to understand ABC King and believe that nothing more than a pair of shoes separates us from our ideal world. However even what is presented as the ideal world here is also questionable: the woman is just the boss's pretty possession. ... And the shoe is her weapon." (01/10/2014)

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