Turkey campaign poster

A Consequential Day for One the Most Consequential Country in the Region

At time of publication, President Erdogan declared victory in a controversial constitutional referendum that would greatly expand his hold on power.  “Erdogan supporters say replacing the parliamentary system with an executive presidency will modernise the country. The two main opposition parties are challenging the results. The “Yes” vote, if confirmed, could also see Mr Erdogan remain in office until 2029. Three people were shot dead near a polling station in the south-eastern province of Diyarbakir, reportedly during a dispute over how they were voting.” (BBC http://bbc.in/2pn8EgP)


Live updates from the Guardian  http://bit.ly/2pn64Yc


Massive Sectarian Suicide Bombing in Syria…”More than 100 people, including women and children, were killed in a suicide attack on Saturday in rebel-held northwestern Syria. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the vast majority of the victims were families evacuating from two Shiite villages, Fuaa and Kefraya, long besieged by rebels. They had been promised safe passage out of rebel-held territory, as part of a reciprocal deal to evacuate two besieged pro-rebel towns, Madaya and Zabadani, on the opposite end of the country. The population exchange stalled on Saturday, amid disagreements over the terms of the evacuation. The line of buses from Fuaa and Kefraya parked on the outskirts of Aleppo city, still trapped in rebel-held territory.”  (NPR http://n.pr/2pmYDA2)


Egyptian-American Aid Worker Freed…“After three years in detention, the Egyptian-American aid worker Aya Hijazi was cleared of child abuse and human trafficking charges in Cairo on Sunday, abruptly ending a high-profile case that had become an international symbol of Egypt’s harsh crackdown on aid groups. A courtroom in downtown Cairo erupted in cheers after the judge dropped all charges against Ms. Hijazi, her Egyptian husband and all six other defendants in what human rights groups called a weak case driven by defective evidence. Ms. Hijazi, 30, a graduate of George Mason University in Virginia, embraced her husband after the verdict was announced, then smiled broadly as she was led from a metal cage to a waiting police vehicle to be processed for release.” (NYT http://nyti.ms/2pnfzqb)