World News Brief, Wednesday June 12

Turkish riot police fire tear gas and water cannons at protesters; Taiwan to meet with China; Vietnamese PM wins support of less than half of parliament in confidence vote; Mandela still in hospital; Pakistan claims India entered its airspace; and more

Top of the Agenda: Turkish Riot Police Enter Gezi Park

Turkish riot police fired tear gas and water cannons at hundreds of protestors (Reuters) early Tuesday as authorities tried to regain control of Taksim Square's Gezi Park, a central square in Istanbul at the heart of fierce anti-government demonstrations sparked two weeks ago. The unrest sank Turkey's currency to fresh lows since 2011 (WSJ), prompting the central bank to declare the possibility of intervention to support the lira. The renewed violence comes a day after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who staunchly defended the most recent police incursion, agreed to meet protest leaders. The anti-government demonstrations across the country have killed three people and wounded around 5,000 (al-Jazeera).


"After the immediate controversy over Gezi Park is defused--through, perhaps, an act of contrition by Erdogan--the E.U. must return to Turkey with renewed vigor. It is decidedly not in Europe's interest for a neighboring country of 80 million and an important economic partner to drift inexorably from the values that many Europeans and Turks hold dear," writes CFR's Steven Cook for the Washington Post.

"It remains highly improbable that Turkey's dysfunctional opposition parties will win the general election scheduled for 2015, or that anyone can beat Mr Erdogan in a presidential election next year. Still, some of the prime minister's ambitions--such as setting up a new, more powerful executive presidency for himself to occupy--seem further away than before," writes Daniel Dombey for the Financial Times.

"For the White House, Erdogan's handling of the challenge to his leadership could complicate Turkey's close but complex relationship with the U.S. Since taking office, Obama has taken significant steps to point to Turkey as a model for other majority-Islamic nations pursuing democracy and ties with the West," writes Julie Pace for the Associated Press.



Taiwan to Meet With China

Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet with Taiwan's Kuomintang Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung in Beijing on Thursday to discuss cross-strait relations in a three-day state visit (SCMP), hoping the high-level meeting will set the tone for policies in the next decade.

CFR's Elizabeth C. Economy reflects on Xi's summit with President Obama in this blog post.

VIETNAM: Vietnamese prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung was dealt a public blow on Tuesday after winning the support of less than half the members of parliament in the country's first-ever confidence vote (Reuters).


 Mandela still in hospital

Pakistan claims Indian jets entered its airspace

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