Akbelen forest, western Turkey. Local villagers and environmental activists try to stop the expansion of a coal mine. Just three months after strongman President Erdoğan was re-elected, people flocked here from all over Turkey to try to save the remaining woodland. The protest is a symbol of a wider struggle to protect the environment in Turkey, from companies which often enjoy close relations with the government. The coal giant Limak Holding is a typical example. President Erdoğan dismissed the protesters as ‘marginal’, opposed to the country’s economic development. Despite a nation-wide outcry, the forest clearing continues with the protection of the Turkish security forces.
Herodotus (History, Book 1.53) tells the story of Croesus, king of Lydia c. 585-546 BC in what is now Western Turkey and the Ionian shore of the Mediterranean. Croesus conquered Ephesus, Miletus and neighboring Greek-speaking realms, obtaining tribute and booty that made him one of the richest rulers of his time. But these victories and wealth led to arrogance and hubris. Croesus turned his eyes eastward, ambitious to conquer Persia, ruled by Cyrus the Great. Having endowed the region’s cosmopolitan Temple of Delphi with substantial silver and gold, Croesus asked its Oracle whether he would be successful in the conquest that he had planned.
The Syrian and Iranian presidents met in Damascus and announced their resolve to work for greater regional stability. They stressed that the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the region was necessary for this purpose. They emphasized that their mutual cooperation in the economic field is intended to be a strategic move to counter the impact of illegal unilateral sanctions imposed by the US and some of its allies. The countries signed a long-term comprehensive strategic cooperation agreement during the state visit of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to Damascus on Wednesday, May 3.
The circumstances surrounding the flare-up in Syria between the US occupation forces and pro-Iranian militia groups remain murky. President Biden claims that the US is reacting, but there are signs that it is likely being proactive to create new facts on the ground. The US Central Command claims that following a drone attack on March 23 afternoon on an American base near Hasakah, at the direction of President Biden, retaliatory air strikes were undertaken later that night against “facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.”
A study by an elite European government-funded think tank found that, while the United States and Europe are growing closer together, the West is increasingly out of touch politically with the rest of the world. The report, from the EU member state-financed European Council on Foreign Relations, conceded that the system of “American global supremacy” is in rapid decline, and many people in the Global South want a new “multipolar world”. The series of polls concluded that NATO’s proxy war in “Ukraine confirmed the renewed centrality of American power to Europe”, uniting the West under Washington’s leadership.