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Ouest-France - France | 07/10/2015

Putin needs conflicts in Middle East

Russia started to bomb targets in Syria from warships stationed on the Caspian Sea on Wednesday. According to Moscow, IS targets were hit. But contrary to what he affirms in public, President Putin wants to keep the conflicts in the Middle East going, the regional paper Ouest France believes: "Putin's goal is to polarise interests according to his own idea of international relations. Here the dividing line would no longer separate states according to ideology - as was the case during the Cold War - or run between Israel and the Arab world. Instead it pitches a West that is in decline against states that reject Western interference and the values used to justify it. ... As peace in the Middle East would diminish its influence, Moscow is doing its best to keep up the conflicts in the region." (07/10/2015)

Delfi - Lithuania | 08/10/2015

Moscow's Syria operations give Baltic a reprieve

Since Russia's intervention in Syria the Baltic states can rest assured that they won't be President Vladimir Putin's next target, writes political scientist Kęstutis Girnius on the liberal web portal Delfi: "A country that is already fighting a war on two fronts won't be in any hurry to open up another. Particularly not if the country doesn't have a large number of experienced soldiers. … Why should the Kremlin take the risk of attacking the Baltic states? Strategically, economically and emotionally these countries are far less important than Ukraine. Lithuania can therefore consider itself safe because it will be some time before Russia gets out of the Syrian mess. … Syria will remain the focus of the Kremlin's attention for a long time to come, which means it won't plan any new military interventions for now." (08/10/2015)

Helsingin Sanomat - Finland | 08/10/2015

US and Russia must cooperate in Syria

Russia and the US must give up their unilateral course in their Syria policy, demands the liberal daily Helsingin Sanomat: "The airstrikes have heightened Russia's profile, helped Assad and hindered the consolidation of Western bases in Syria. But they don't seem to be a solution to the war in Syria or the chaos it is causing. The dozens of bombs fired by Russia don't achieve anything more in military terms than the bombs fired by the US in hundreds of airstrikes. There were alternatives - and there still are. Memories of Russia and the US cooperating on drawing up the agreement on surveillance of the Iranian nuclear programme are still fresh. Cooperation of this kind is absolutely vital in Syria too. And it's really time they got started on it." (08/10/2015)

Politiken - Denmark | 08/10/2015

Denmark will burn its fingers in Syria

Denmark's Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen wants to step up the fight against the IS terror organisation, calling on Wednesday for an extension of the mandate for airstrikes that has been in force for one year. A dangerous move, the left-liberal daily Politiken believes: "So the government wants to attack a sovereign country without a UN mandate - at a time when the danger of a military confrontation with the Russian Air Force now active in the region is increasing. It is worrying that the prime minister is willing to send Denmark to war against a well-armed enemy with a casual turn of phrase. In addition there's no telling that the bombs will really make an impact. ... The IS can't be defeated by more airstrikes. If the government refuses to carry out a thorough analysis of Denmark's options, the opposition must insist that it does. The experiences with rash wars without a UN mandate does not bode well for such a mission. Let's not make that mistake again." (08/10/2015)

Die Presse - Austria | 08/10/2015

Exodus to Europe: Tougher deportations policy at last

The EU wants to speed up the process of deporting asylum seekers whose claims have been rejected. The EU border agency Frontex is to create a special "returns unit" to this end, the European Commission announced on Wednesday in Brussels. The conservative daily Die Presse welcomes the plan: "So far the approach to deportations has been rather lax, because it's not so easy to remove someone from a country against his will. If something goes wrong there's a huge uproar, not least in the media. Many rejected asylum seekers simply go underground. And police resources are not unlimited. This is where the EU wants to step in: a deportations department is to be set up at EU border agency Frontex to help the national authorities. Deportations are to be carried out at the reception centres on the EU's outer borders, the hotspots. … There is no alternative if we want to have enough space for those who really need it." (08/10/2015)

Taraf - Turkey | 06/10/2015

Exodus to Europe: Turkey can't hold back migrants

Even if Turkey steps up its border protection in exchange for the EU financing its refugee camps it won't stop refugees from reaching Europe, the liberal daily Taraf believes: "Once someone has got the idea into their head, sooner or later they'll emigrate. No one can stop them. That's the golden rule of migration theory. The flood of refugees can't be stemmed by walls, weapons or decrees. In addition, the Syrians are fleeing our country because while the camps provide food and drink, they don't have any serious or comprehensive refugee policy. ... It's absurd to think that Turkey's lack of a migration policy can be cured by talks with EU representatives in Brussels." (06/10/2015)

Público - Portugal | 06/10/2015

Dangerous provocations in Turkey's air space

After Russian fighter jets repeatedly invaded Turkey's air space President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatened Moscow on Tuesday with ending the good relations between the two countries. The liberal daily Público warns of an esacalation: "Russia's intervention in Syria - supposedly also aimed at fighting the IS - has further confused the process of defining and coordinating air strike targets. The incidents involving Russian fighter jets which reportedly twice violated Turkey's air space have put a strain on the relations between Erdoğan und Putin. Note, this is the same Erdoğan who wrinkles his nose at the Russian air strikes because they put a question mark over Ankara's efforts to topple Syrian ruler Assad and erect a buffer zone in the south. And this is happening in a war in which every incident is interpreted as a provocation and can therefore have terrible consequences." (06/10/2015)

Simerini - Cyprus | 07/10/2015

Cyprus: EU losing leverage against Ankara

According to reports in Turkish media, during his visit to Brussels President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan demanded among other things concessions in the dispute over divided Cyprus in return for taking care of refugees. The conservative daily Simerini has no hope that the EU can still act in Nicosia's interest on the issue of Cyprus: "While Cyprus's government is addressing the EU and calling for it to put pressure on Turkey, it's clear that it has misjudged the relations between Turkey and the EU. At a time when Europe is pinning its hopes on Turkey to solve the migration problem there is no prospect of the EU doing this. … And after reaching an agreement on the Turks participating in the war against the jihadists, the US is not in a position to put pressure on Turkey either." (07/10/2015)

Ziare - Romania | 07/10/2015

Corrupt Romania kept out of Schengen

Romania's Prime Minister Victor Ponta said on Saturday in Bucharest that hopes that his country will soon join the Schengen Area were unrealistic. It is politicians like Ponta who are to blame for this delay, news portal Ziare complains: "Accession was mentioned in one breath with corruption. … On the subject of corruption our behaviour is schizophrenic. Yes, the judiciary is making progress and achieving specatular results, but at the same time we are the only country in Europe whose prime minister has been charged with corruption. He still hasn't resigned and is even being protected by the rest of the coalition. … In theory all that was stopping us from joining the Schengen Area was a few technical requirements regarding border protection which we have long since fulfilled. But we see now that in the Schengen Area all countries depend on each other. If one is permeable the whole area is in danger." (07/10/2015)

Yeni Şafak - Turkey | 06/10/2015

EU just using Erdoğan

The EU is only making overtures to Erdoğan because this serves its own interests, writes the pro-government daily Yeni Şafak commenting on the Turkish president's visit to Brussels: "Until just a few hours ago the European media had written thousands of articles and commentaries on the need to 'tackle' Erdoğan's dictatorship, tyranny, betrayal and despotism. Now all of a sudden they see Erdoğan as the political leader they need. Europe urgently needs Erdoğan on the one hand because Russia has started an offensive outside the area that comprised the former Soviet Union for the first time and on the other hand to halt the Syrian refugees outside the EU's borders. … The EU is a community of countries that has established political, economic and cultural hegemony as the only criterion for its own values and is increasingly closing itself to the outside world. However, that makes it impossible for it to be the voice of universal humaneness." (06/10/2015)

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