Articles by Joachim Becker

Turkey: Voting under the State of Emergency

In Turkey, the government of the nationalist-religious Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi—AKP) called early presidential and parliamentary elections for the 24 June. It was aware that its electoral base is gradually eroding, particularly in the big metropolitan areas like Istanbul. Therefore, it did everything in order to enhance the chances of being declared the winner of the forthcoming elections. By anticipating the elections, both president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and AKP hoped to increase their chances. However, not everything is going according to their plans. The ruling party had ob ..

Ahead of a Hot Italian Summer

Disenchantment with the euro had been growing in Italy for many years. After the last elections, this disenchantment proved to be the basis for the formation of a coalition between the far-right wing Lega and the diffuse Movimento Cinque Stelle (Five Stars Movement). While the two parties differed on many economic and social issues, they agreed on that the Eurozone is dysfunctional for Italy. And they nominated a politically experienced economist and a well-known critic of the euro zone, Paolo Savona, as a Minister of Finance. The prospect of a euro-critical government in Italy produced nervousness among other eu ..

Nationalism at a Crossroads: the Turkish Intervention in Syria

Late last month, Turkish military forces invaded Afrin, an autonomous Kurdish area in Syria. This is a further step of escalating the involvement of the Turkish AKP government in the Syrian war and in its conflict with the Kurds. In the wake of the so-called Arab spring, the nationalist-religious AKP government decided, after some hesitation, to bank on regime change in Syria and to support Islamist forces in their neighbouring country. This engagement did not bring the desired results. On the contrary, the Assad regime proved to be relatively resilient and the Kurds managed to establish autonomous regions in Syr ..

The Austrian Anti-Social Coalition

The new government of the ÖVP (Austrian People’s Party) and FPÖ (Freedom Party of Austria) in Austria opens the way towards radicalised neo-liberal economic and social policies. As in some other EU countries, such as Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark and Finland, a traditional liberal-conservative party has formed a coalition with or at least achieved the tolerance of a hard right-wing force with an aggressive anti-immigrant agenda in order to pursue or deepen its neo-liberal policies. The new Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, had ended the coalition with the Social Democrats in order to form a right-wing coalition after ..

Agrokor – oligarchic crisis in Croatia

Note from the LeftEast editors: this article was originally published in Slovak in the newspaper Pravda. We republish the piece in English with the kind permission of the author. The blue sea and summer holidays – that is what people usually associate with Croatia. However, there is a vast inland too. And tourism is not the only pillar of the economy though it is crucial as a foreign exchange earner. Since independence, the economy has, however, become more reliant on the tourist sector. Industry suffered heavily from the disintegration of Yugoslavia, the war and transformation. It has never again reached its 1 ..