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In the last Monday Briefing of the semester we turn the spotlight on Turkey’s presidential election. In other news, Serbia takes on an unprecedented campaign to disarm the country after last week’s shootings, a ceasefire in Gaza ends five days of fighting, Donald Trump is found liable for sexually abusing and defaming journalist E. Jean Carroll, and much, much more in our latest issue. 

Spotlight: Can democracy beat strongmen? Turkey’s election goes to run-off. 

On Sunday, voters in Turkey headed to the polls for the presidential election that many believed would decisively spell the end of President Erdogan’s 20-year grip on power. For the first time in his career – marked by five parliamentary election wins and two terms as president – Erdogan entered the election trailing his main rival by more than 2% in the polls. The state of Turkey’s economy, characterized by 43% inflation, along with the devastating effects of the February 6 earthquake, which exposed government incompetency and corruption, provided an outstanding opportunity for a united opposition, led by Kemal Kilicdaroglu, to break through. However, with over 99% of the ballot boxes opened, this morning’s results starkly differed from predictions. Erdogan received the most votes, 49.4%, while rival Kilicdaroglu scored 44.96%. Since neither of the two leading candidates obtained more than 50% of the vote, it is likely that the election will go to a run-off on the 28th of May. Even then, in a quick reversal of fortunes, the incumbent Erdogan appears to have regained his lead over the opposition leader. 

How did Erdogan gain a first-round lead in the polls? The answer, while complex and multifaceted, can be articulated by what Turkish politics analyst Galip Dalay defined as Erdogan’s “language of grandeur.” Indeed, Erdogan success lies in being able to pull the election’s focus away from matters of a failing economy. He pivoted instead to values of identity, national pride, and security, with the showcase of monumental infrastructure projects carried out under his watch. In the past month, he visited the country’s first (Russian-built) nuclear plant and celebrated the tapping of a gas field in the Black Sea. The narrative depicting the government’s successes in the country is, however, largely conditional on the ongoing censorship and repression of free media. Erdogan has so far held onto power by going after his opposition, with mass arrests and purges throughout military, government, and civil service. Fears are that another term in power would solidify his authoritarianism; that’s already years in the making. During his campaign, Kilicdaroglu reiterated the key  point that sets him apart from Erdogan: “we promise democracy.” Essentially, while Kilicdaroglu may not bring major changes to the country’s stances on immigration or trade links with Russia, he would embody a diplomatic figure capable of safeguarding one of the few “genuine” democratic institutions in the Middle East, in a country that is a NATO member (currently the only country blocking Sweden’s accession to NATO) and plays a crucial role in regulating flows of refugees to the EU. On the global scale the election has since transformed into a fight for democracy, this is why, over the next fortnight, Turkey’s election will continue to be one of the world’s most closely watched political contests of the year.   

Around the World 

Imran Khan fears re-arrest after being granted bail in corruption case. Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan was taken under custody on Tuesday after being arrested by 100 paramilitary officers with the accuse of corruption. On Thursday, the supreme court declared that the manner of his arrest was illegal, to the anger of the government, and ordered his protection from arrest on any charges until Monday. The prime minister accused the court of hypocrisy and his party’s members accused the court of protecting terrorism. On Friday, two senior leaders of Khan’s party were arrested, adding to the other five aligned leaders already arrested. Khan accused the leading party of arresting him for political reasons since he gained popularity after losing power in April, for which he blamed the military.

Related:  Monday Briefing 01/05/2023

Gaza fighting enters fourth day as hopes raised of truce brokered by Egypt. The violence broke out on Tuesday, when Israel killed 3 top members of a Palestinian Jihad militant group, while the following strikes killed 2 other senior figures. At least 32 people have been killed as a result of the fights, all but one of them being Palestinian. Additionally, more than 90 people were wounded, according to the latest health ministry toll. The international community has reacted to the events, with the European Union calling for an “immediate comprehensive ceasefire,” and the US urging that “steps be taken to ensure violence is reduced. ”

Serbia Offers Amnesty for Illegal Firearms, and Thousands Are Turned In. This past week, the authorities in Belgrade have taken hold of more than 9 thousand illegal and legal weapons, in what has been an unprecedented campaign to disarm the country. The initiative comes after 2 devastating shootings took place in Serbia last week, out of which one targeted a school in central Belgrade. President Alexander Vucic has called the arm collection campaign as a “great step towards a safer environment for Serbia’s children”.

Russian missiles downed over Kyiv as Putin makes angry Victory Day speech. On Tuesday it was Russian Victory Day, a celebration in memory of winning over Nazi Germany. Putin used this day to underline his “battle against Nazism” in Ukraine saying that the future of Russia depends on this war. The speech came right after the strike of two Russian drones in Kyiv. Nevertheless, the parade was shorter than previous years and the flyovers over Moscow and At. Petersburg got cancelled. This year’s parade lacked modern strategic equipment, observers noticed, a clear sign that the war in Ukraine has inflicted heavy toll to the Russian military equipment. 

US and Mexico braced for border ‘chaos’ with end of Title 42 migration rule. Cities along both sides of the border are bracing for an unprecedented influx go migrant crossings. Title 42 was a pandemic-era policy that allowed border control to reject migrants without regard for their asylum cases, hence drastically limiting movement across the border. On Friday however, the rule will come to its end and the US Border Agents anticipate what could be weeks of mass hysteria as people rush to be the first to cross the border. President Joe Biden has warned that the border will be “chaotic for a while”and sent over a thousand military troops to aid the border. With Biden’s struggle to contain the surge of migrants this event will certainly take a toll on his political agenda.

Donald Trump Sexually Abused and Defamed E. Jean Carroll, Jury Finds. At the end of the two weeks trial, after less than three hours of deliberation, the federal jury of six men and three women sentenced a unanimous verdict: Donald Trump is liable for sexually abusing and defaming the former Elle Magazine writer E. Jean Carroll. The woman was awarded $5 million in damages. After asked if Mrs. Carroll ever regretted to speak publicly about what Mr. Trump did, “I have regretted this about a hundred times, but in the end — in the end, being able to get my day in court finally is everything to me,” she said. “I’m glad that I got to tell my story in court.”

Related:  Monday Briefing 17/04/2023

South Africa summons US ambassador over his claims it is arming Russia. During a press conference Thursday last week US ambassador, Reuben Brigety, claimed that South Africa had loaded weapons and ammunition on to a Russian vessel, which is currently under sanctions, at the Simon’s Town naval base near Cape Town in December last year. After the comments, the South African President, Cyril Ramphosa, stated that investigations on the case had been underway even before the allegations and that at this time there is “no evidence” of such dealings. Historically, South Africa owes Russia for their support during the fight to end the apartheid regime, perhaps explaining the country’s neutral stance in the Ukraine war and refusal to arrest Russian President Putin if he were to land in their country.

Italian News 

Meloni: “Ho il mandato per fare le riforme, niente aventini”. “Voglio fare una riforma ampiamente condivisa ma la faccio perché ho avuto il mandato dagli italiani e tengo fede a quel mandato: voglio dire basta ai governi costruiti in laboratorio, dentro il Palazzo, ma legare chi governa al consenso popolare”. Queste le parole di Giorgia Meloni, pronunciate ad Ancona. La premier ribadisce la sua ferma determinazione ad andare sino in fondo nella partita delle riforme costituzionali avvertendo le opposizioni: “non accetto atteggiamenti aventiniani o dilatori” Parole forti alla vigilia del confronto tra governo e opposizioni, che sembra partire in salita. 

Caro affitti, Valditara: ‘Colpa delle giunte del centrosinistra inadeguate’. Continuano le proteste contro il rincaro degli affitti per gli universitari fuori sede e si moltiplicano le tende di fronte agli atenei di tutta Italia. Oggi presenti anche a Padova con un accampamento di tende davanti al Palazzo del Bo, in segno di protesta contro il caro-affitti Il ministro dell’Istruzione Giuseppe Valditara punta il dito sul centrosinistra: “Io credo che il problema del caro affitti è grave ma tocca le città governate dal centrosinistra.” – e aggiunge – “Evidenzio come nelle città dove ci sono gli accampamenti degli studenti non sono state attivate dalle giunte comunali politiche a favore dei giovani e degli studenti per offrire loro un panorama abitativo decoroso”.

Meloni: donne non libere se devono scegliere fra figli-lavoro. Il Papa: natalità e l’accoglienza non vanno contrapposte. Papa Francesco e la premier Giorgia Meloni sono stati i protagonisti della seconda giornata degli stati generali della Natalità in corso a Roma. «Grazie per questo invito. Per questa iniziativa bella e coinvolgente che sta diventando tradizione, grazie oltre le parole di rito: viviamo in un’epoca nella quale parlare di natalità, maternità, famiglia è sempre più difficile sembra un atto rivoluzionario», dice la Meloni. E continua «Fin dal primo giorno il governo ha messo figli e genitori in cima all’agenda politica, ha fatto della natalità e della famiglia la priorità assoluta della nostra azione, perché vogliamo che l’Italia torni ad avere un futuro, a sperare e credere in un futuro migliore rispetto questo presente incerto» 

Bocconi news

Last week, our university was glad to host the National Final of the International Mathematical Games, a worldwide Mathematics competition that unites over 200 thousand STEM enthusiasts determined to solve the hardest mathematical riddles in the world. The international stage will take place this August in Wroclaw, Poland. 

Related:  Women Behind the Camera  

Starting from this week, we will enter the long (ohh too long) Summer exam session. We thus wish all Bocconians good luck and inspiration for their exams, as well as the best Summer they could ever imagine. You all deserve it for all the hard work you put in this school year!

Questione di Prospettiva: Fazio e Litizzetto lasciano la Rai. Come lo raccontano i quotidiani italiani?

È noto che una delle aree in cui le maggioranze di governo tentano di dimostrare la propria influenza sulla vita pubblica è la televisione di Stato, ovvero la Rai. D’altronde, si tratta di un aspetto della vita dei cittadini influenzabile senza dover stanziare fondi particolarmente rilevanti – dato che l’influenza viene esercitata perlopiù tramite nomine di nuovi dirigenti – ma che però ha un impatto visibile nella quotidianità di gran parte degli italiani. Ecco quindi che arriva un segnale piuttosto vistoso: dopo 40 anni, il conduttore di Che Tempo Che Fa Fabio Fazio ha annunciato ieri che lascerà la televisione pubblica. Al di là di come la si pensi su Fabio Fazio e sul programma che conduce, Che Tempo Che Fa è notoriamente una delle uniche trasmissioni della televisione pubblica in cui i ricavi sono superiori ai costi: in sostanza, si tratta di un programma ancora oggi talmente tanto visto che rappresenta una fonte di profitto per la Rai. Perché quindi sbarazzarsene? Beh, alcuni dei personaggi più in vista della maggioranza (soprattutto il vicepremier Matteo Salvini) hanno ripetutamente criticato Fabio Fazio nel corso degli ultimi anni per la sua presunta appartenenza a una non meglio identificata “sinistra,” e nel momento in cui il rinnovo del suo contratto con la Rai in scadenza a fine giugno è stato messo in discussione Fazio ha preferito lasciare per approdare su Discovery.

E come l’hanno presa i giornali di questa mattina? Ovviamente non tutti si occupano della notizia in prima pagina, dato che tra la visita di Zelensky a Roma e le elezioni in Turchia c’è tanto materiale. Tuttavia, c’è una contrapposizione interessante da visionare. Repubblica, giornale tradizionalmente associato alla sinistra, apre con il titolo “Rai a destra, Fazio lascia,” evidenziando insomma il valore politico della scelta del conduttore di lasciare la tv pubblica come mossa quasi politica. Dall’altro lato, Il Giornale, notoriamente di destra, che titola “I martiri immaginari,” e inserisce il sottititolo “I due artisti [Fabio Fazio e Luciana Litizzetto, ndr] lasciano la Rai per un ricco contratto a Discovery e la sinistra grida all’epurazione,” ricalibrando dunque la narrazione in modo da dipingere la loro scelta come puramente economica e del tutto scollegata dalla politica. 

Al di là dei luoghi comuni possibili su martiri e censure, c’è qualcosa di indubbio: la tv pubblica è un’arena di influenza non indifferente per una maggioranza parlamentare, e vista la direzione che sta prendendo la Rai sotto la presente maggioranza, è lecito attendersi ulteriori cambiamenti nel corso dei prossimi mesi. Saranno le sensibilità di ognuno a caratterizzarli come positivi o negativi. 

In case you missed it

Luca Francesco Giacobbe, con l’associazione studentesca Keiron, propone un quadro generale sullo strumento delle investigazioni difensive contenuto nel codice di procedura penale. 

Ida Di Stasio, with the student association BOSDIC, analyses the economic and political situation in Haiti, from its colonial past to the current strategy of foreign NGOs’ intervention.

Author profile

Every week, your TiL Monday Briefing 🗞: you better read it with a cup of coffee! ☕️

Current members of the team are Bojan Zeric, Elisa Latora, Dragos Ile, Olimpia Vitali, Marco Visentin, Federica Di Chiara, Chiara Binello and Chiara Todesco

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