Turkey’s government has won international praise for efforts to end a bitter dispute with Armenia and expand rights for Kurds, but a fierce battle is brewing at home over the highly charged issues.
Parliamentary sources said the government will put the two issues before lawmakers soon after they resume legislative work on Tuesday — five days after parliament re-opens. But it will have a tough time winning over opposition parties that have already raised objections to both projects.
For Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the two issues are of utmost importance to the nation’s standing on the international arena, but they could also cost him politically at home.
His government has been accused at home of making concessions that damage Turkey’s interests and of selling out Azerbaijan, which is locked in conflict with Armenia over the breakaway enclave of Nagorny Karabakh.
Turkey has long refused to establish diplomatic links with Armenia over Yerevan’s efforts to have World War I-era massacres of Armenians by Ottoman Turks recognised as genocide — a label Turkey rejects.
Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their kin were systematically killed between 1915 and 1917, and the massacres have been recognized as a genocide by France, Canada and the European parliament.
Reconciliation between Ankara and Yerevan would bolster Turkey’s bid to join the EU, as would a government plan to introduce measures to boost the rights of the Kurdish minority and erode support for a campaign by Kurdistan Workers’ Party rebels for self-rule.
The government remains tight-lipped on the contents of the package, but media reports say it may include steps to lift restrictions on teaching Kurdish in schools, renaming Kurdish villages that have Turkish names and allowing campaigning in Kurdish. Ankara could also open the way for the return of some 12,000 Turkish Kurds exiled in northern Iraq. Kurdish activists, on the other hand, want the government to recognize the Kurdish identity and culture in the Constitution, a proposal that Erdogan has rejected.
WIDE REOPENING DISCOURAGED: A study from Peking University has suggested that lifting restrictions in the style of the US, UK and others would be catastrophic China would face a “colossal outbreak” on a scale beyond anything any other country has yet seen if it were to reopen in a similar manner to the US. That is a prediction based on statistical modeling by researchers at Beijing’s Peking University. A switch from China’s current COVID-19 elimination strategy to a US-style approach with few restrictions would lead to as many as 637,155 infections per day, according to the study, which was published by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday. That would be the largest daily figure reported by any country since the start of the
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An episode of The Simpsons in which the cartoon family from the US visit Tiananmen Square has been removed from Disney’s streaming channel in Hong Kong at a time when authorities are clamping down on dissent. The missing episode adds to concerns that Chinese-style censorship is becoming the norm in the territory, ensnaring global streaming giants and other major tech companies. Disney+ has made rapid advances since it was launched 18 months ago, reaching more than 116 million worldwide subscribers. The Hong Kong version started streaming earlier this month and eagle-eyed customers soon noticed that an episode of The Simpsons featuring China was