- Erdogan takes Turkish presidency
Recap Erdogan, Turkey’s Prime Minister has won in one round an election for the Turkish Presidency. Erdogan is the leader of the AK party that has its roots in Islamist politics. Erdogan, who has served three terms as PM, will now assume the role of President. The Presidency in Turkey was previously seen as a largely ceremonial role, although it is widely expected that Erdogan will now attempt to use it in order to change the power dynamic in Turkey firmly in his favour. Erdogan has been criticised in the West in recent years for what has been seen as increasingly authoritarian policies. In the summer of 2013 Erdogan ordered protests in Gezi Park, Istanbul to be forcefully shut down. Despite this, Erdogan remains extremely popular in Turkey, and his calls to reduce the power of the ‘secular elite’ appears to resonate among large numbers of the population.
- Iranian passenger aircraft crashes in Tehran
2014 continues to be a disaster year for civilian aviation. The spotlight this weekend has turned to Iran, where a domestic passenger aircraft has crashed almost immediately taking off. The flight from Tehran to the city of Tabas in central Iran was a Russian made Antonov An-140 and belonged to Sepahan Airlines. Crashing into a residential unit next to the airport, it has been reported that 39 passengers and crew on board have been killed in the crash. The incident is yet another tragedy for Iranian aviation. The country has been forced to endure a series on crashes over the past decade that raises serious questions about the safety of national planes. Blame in Iran is likely to turn to the West. Iran has been unable to purchase from US aerospace manufactures since the imposition of sanctions in 1980, forcing it to acquire spare parts on the black market and lower-quality aircraft from Russia and Ukraine. The latest round of negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran did come to an agreement that would allow Iran to purchase new equipment from US and EU companies, although President Rouhani has said that western countries have so far failed to live up to their commitment.