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Neue Zürcher Zeitung - Switzerland | 30/07/2015

Putin securing his own power with veto

The veto against setting up a UN tribunal to investigate the crash of flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine is aimed at protecting President Vladimir Putin's power, the liberal-conservative Neue Zürcher Zeitung contends: "A credible tribunal that confirmed the suspicions that Russia was to blame for the crash would destroy the distorted view of the world conveyed by Russian television. And it would ultimately expose a far bigger lie of the Kremlin, namely the fairy tale that there were no Russian soldiers fighting in eastern Ukraine and that the conflict in Ukraine was simply a civil war. … Without the annexation of Crimea and the subsequent infiltration of Russian partisans in eastern Ukraine, that war would never have broken out and flight MH17 would never have been shot down. If the Russian people cottoned on, not only would President Putin's Ukraine adventure fail, but the power of his regime would be threatened." (30/07/2015)

NRC Handelsblad - Netherlands | 31/07/2015

Quick alternative to MN17 tribunal needed

Russia blocked on Wednesday the establishment of an independent UN tribunal on the shooting down of passenger jet MH17. The Kremlin claimed that Moscow was trying to prevent the investigation from turning into a political show trial. An alternative must be found as quickly as possible, the liberal daily NRC Handelsblad admonishes: "All member states of the Security Council, including Russia, say that there can be no talk of the perpetrators going unpunished. The value of these nice words must be determined as soon as possible and another way found to get the MH17 tragedy dealt with by a court. This is important for the relatives of the victims. … But it is also important for the international legal system. The Netherlands must try to find an alternative as quickly as possible. And an international tribunal should be the preferred option. Suspicions of biases are best avoided if the judges' mandate is as international as possible." (31/07/2015)

Berlingske - Denmark | 29/07/2015

Erdoğan fights IS military more consistently

The US and Turkey have agreed on a joint strategy in the fight against the IS. The US can now use Nato's İncirlik base for air strikes, which will boost the alliance's strike force against the IS, stresses the liberal-conservative daily Berlingske: "Up to now the Turks had insisted on a clear US commitment to making Syria's dictator Assad disappear. … But the White House's top priority was the IS. This weakened Turkish-American cooperation and was the reason for the lack of a coordinated strategy on Nato's southern flank. President Erdoğan should not be underestimated. ... His main objective is still to eliminate Assad and the Kurdish terrorists. Whether two of the most important partners in the alliance will pursue a clearer strategy in the future remains uncertain. But the fact that the two countries have decided to fight the IS together is already progress." (29/07/2015)

Hürriyet Daily News - Turkey | 31/07/2015

Ankara's hypocrisy provokes PKK terror

The outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party PKK has killed at least 12 Turkish police officers and soldiers in the last week, according to media reports. This is hardly surprising given that despite all its promises the AKP government has made barely any concessions to the Kurds in recent years, points out the liberal Hürriyet Daily News: "Knowing that there would be three elections in 2014-15, the government pretended that it wanted sustainable peace with the Kurds, while in fact privately aiming to keep the PKK 'inactive'. The more the hope of peace was kept alive, the more Kurdish votes for the government. Smart shot. But like all nice things, the plan had an expiry date. And not trusting Ankara (rightfully) the Kurds neither surrendered their influence on Turkey nor have they given up the fight. Hence the current mess." (31/07/2015)

Gazeta Wyborcza - Poland | 31/07/2015

Kiev desperately needs money for reforms

The Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk complained in an interview in mid-July that his country is being treated worse than Greece by international creditors. Yet in view of the threat from Russia, Kiev's reform efforts so far have been admirable, comments the liberal daily Gazeta Wyborcza: "The ambassadors of the EU and the US have already said that Kiev has made real progress on the reforms concerning the military, the financial sector and the fight against corruption. … Russia, which is constantly kicking up a stink politically, economically and militarily, remains the biggest threat to reforms in Ukraine. … There is the constant threat that the current break in the ceasefire in Donbas will turn into full-scale fighting once more. Then the reforms in Ukraine will be postponed again." (31/07/2015)

Público - Portugal | 29/07/2015

Greek crisis: Europe must give Tsipras a chance

In the conflict over the reform course Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras raised the prospect of early elections should he fail to achieve a secure majority in parliament. He hopes to settle the disputes within his Syriza party at a party conference in September. Europe should not abandon Tsipras, warns the liberal daily Público: "In addition to economic uncertainty the country now faces political uncertainty, because Tsipras is openly considering new elections - or in other words the last thing the Greeks need now. … Europe should learn from past mistakes and put a halt to its financial fatalism. It should give Tsipras the chance to present Plan C at the party conference. What this might involve? Well, for example debt restructuring to cut the costs of servicing its debts so that a clear future can be sketeched out for Greece." (29/07/2015)

Huffington Post Italia - Italy | 30/07/2015

Renzi's new start going to rot

Members of Italy's ruling PD party on Wednesday voted that a former senator from an early Berlusconi government charged with embezzlement should not be placed under house arrest. Another Berlusconi confidante announced that the PD would receive more support and a controversial law on political control of public broadcasting has been passed. The Berlusconi mentality is alive and kicking, comments the editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Italy, Lucia Annunziata: "The day was a triumph for Silvio Berlusconi. … Behind these three episodes lies a single truth: The majority is only staying afloat thanks to Berlusconi and everything he created in the course of all those years, both personally and on the level of values. … The common denominator here is an excess of purely tactical manoeuvring. It's all about survival. These are age old political methods and a sign that the new start is not just on hold but is already going to rot." (30/07/2015)

Večernji List - Croatia | 30/07/2015

Croatia has had enough of Slovenia's arrogance

Croatia's withdrawal from the arbitration proceedings for resolving its Piran Bay border conflict with Slovenia in the northern Adriatic is partly a result of Slovenia's arrogance, the conservative daily Večernji List explains: "In the same way Greece needlessly ruffled its feathers in the Southern Balkans, Slovenia has shamelessly exploited its geopolitical position. It left Yugoslavia without major problems and the procedure for joining Nato and the EU was a mere formality. Ever since Slovenia has been treating all countries south of the River Kupa like colonies for its products rather than partners. … Slovenia's small-mindedness and immaturity was revealed when Croatia was to be accepted into the EU. Even its EU partners were annoyed by Slovenia's dogged pursuit of its own interests." (30/07/2015)

Gündem Kıbrıs - Cyprus | 30/07/2015

Promising peace talks in Cyprus

The leader of the non-recognised Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Mustafa Akıncı, last week explained that the creation of a federation was on the agenda of the current talks on the future of the divided island. The Turkish Cypriot daily Gündem Kıbrıs sees this as a positive signal: "For the first time since 2004 we are entering a phase of hope. And this is mostly thanks to the election of President Akıncı. It bodes well that the resumption of negotiations has been accompanied by social activities in which, as well as NGOs, the two leaders are participating. … The level of acceptance of the Annan Plan is absolutely crucial for a solution. The biggest problem to date was the failure to include social dynamics in the peace process." (30/07/2015)

Delo - Slovenia | 30/07/2015

Croatia seeks external foe in border dispute

The Croatian parliament on Wednesday unanimously voted in favour of the country's withdrawal from the arbitration proceedings on the border dispute with Slovenia. Their outrage was triggered by media reports on illicit phone calls between a judge and a member of the Slovenian government. Croatia is again insisting on its position at any cost, complains the centre-left daily Delo: "It seems as if the Croatians have forgotten the word compromise again. It's either the way we want it, or nothing at all! No matter what the cost. ... Croatia has been an EU member for two years - but in the heads of many of its citizens the country is still a long way off from joining. In a situation like this, which is only made worse by poor economic performance and a public which is disappointed by politics and mistrusts all social structures except the Church and the army, it seems only logical to focus on external foes rather than the country's problems. And where is that foe to be found? Ideally, right next door." (30/07/2015)

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