World News Brief, Friday May 17

Turkey's PM Erdogan meets with Obama to discuss Syria; Taiwan rejects apology from Philippines for death of coastguard; Japan willing to meet with North Korea; Nigeria declares state of emergency; Eurozone sinks deeper into recession; and more

Top of the Agenda: Turkey's Erdogan Meets With Obama

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled to meet with President Obama at the White House, with discussions focusing on Syria and Erdogan's desire for greater U.S. involvement (USAToday) in resolving the ongoing conflict, which has threatened to spill over into Turkey.


"Rather than providing leadership and a source of stability in the region, Turkey is now a party to regional conflicts, especially the civil war in Syria. It is true that Turkey did not necessarily seek the position that it now finds itself in, but the mismatch between its grand ambitions and Ankara's capacity to provide order to the Middle East contributed mightily to its problems," writes CFR's Steven Cook.

"This time it is Turkey that asks for immediate intervention from the international community, and it is the US that runs after a diplomatic bargaining strategy. Having been hit by Syrian state-organized terrorism, Turkey will most probably ask for a NATO umbrella that will secure its borders through the establishment of a buffer zone within Syrian soil. Americans will most probably resist the idea, claiming that Russian influence on the region should not be neglected," writes Kerim Balci in Today's Zaman.

"[S]ettling the Kurdish issue domestically will enable better relations between Turkey and the Syrian Kurds. The largest Kurdish political group in Syria, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) maintains ideological and organic links with the PKK. In the context of solving the Kurdish issue domestically, Turkey may help persuade PYD to join the anti-Assad Syrian opposition. Such a development could help tip the balance of power in favour of the opposition," writes Galip Dalay for al-Jazeera.



Taiwan Increases Pressure on Philippines

Taiwan announced sanctions, promised to hold military drills in the South China Sea, and recalled its representative in the Philippines, rejecting an apology by Philippine President Benigno Aquino III (FT) for last week's killing of a Taiwanese fisherman by Philippine coastguards and raising tensions in the South China Sea.

JAPAN: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would consider meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to try to settle a row over Pyongyang's kidnapping of Japanese nationals (BBC) during the 1970s and 1980s to train spies.


Nigeria declares state of emergency

Eurozone sinks deeper into recession


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