TURKISH LEADER RALLY’S SUPPORT ON ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF COUP
Hundreds of thousands of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s supporters gathered Saturday across the country to commemorate one-year since the failure of a coup designed to remove the nation’s leader from power. In the year since the failed attempt, Erdogan has initiated a harsh crackdown of political opponents, arresting 50,000 believed to have supported the coup’s aims and firing or suspending approximately 1,50,000 others.
President Erdogan used the occasion as an opportunity to rally support around his Islamist government and decry its alleged opponents. He spoke first in Istanbul before holding another rally in the nation’s capital, Ankara, and attending a ceremony in parliament. Last year’s attempted coup briefly threw Turkey into crisis, forcing Erdogan to appeal to supporters via social media as loyal government forces reclaimed control from rebelling military officers and their allies. Ultimately more than 240 were killed and more than 2,000 were injured before the rebellion’s suppression.
MACRON AIMED TO CHARM TRUMP BACK TO PARIS
In the face of criticism for his warm treatment of U.S. President Donald Trump during his visit last week, French President Emmanuel Macron defended his outreach as a means of convincing the American leader to change his tune on the 2015 Paris climate agreement. “Donald Trump listened to me,” Macron said in an interview with French newspaper Journal du Dimanche. “He understood the reason for my position, notably the link between climate change and terrorism,” the French president added, pointing to expert opinion that climate change has led to heightened competition over increasingly scarce resources and, in turn, fed radicalization in certain conflict zones.
Trump announced in June his decision to pull the U.S. out of the international agreement, which currently includes every UN member state except Nicaragua and Syria, citing concerns it would make his nation’s businesses less competitive. Macron told the newspaper he believes his charm offensive might have helped convince Trump of the deal’s merits. “He said he would try to find a solution in the coming months,” said Macron. “We spoke in detail about what could allow him to return to the Paris deal.”
MCCAIN’S HEALTH SCARE STALLS WASHINGTON
While Republican Senator John McCain recovers at home following surgery Friday that removed an approximately 5 cm blood clot from above his eye, Congressional Republicans’ efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare have come to a standstill. Experts say McCain might need to wait multiple weeks to rejoin his colleagues in Washington. For now, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who had planned to hold a procedural vote to begin debate on a new health care replacement bill this week, has delayed discussion of the bill pending the former Republican presidential candidate’s return.
With Republicans currently controlling 52 of the Senate’s 100 seats and two Republicans publicly declared as “no votes,” McCain’s absence virtually guarantees that the so-called Better Care Act will not garner a majority in the chamber. But even if McCain should return to Washington soon, experts are uncertain the bill will pass. Approximately half a dozen other Republicans have refrained from publicly stating their support for the bill, including McCain himself, who has been critical of the bill’s cuts to Medicaid, a U.S. federal government insurance program for low-income people.
ISRAEL REOPENS HOLY SITE AFTER SHOOTING
Israel partially reopened a Muslim holy site in Jerusalem Sunday, only two days after gunmen opened fire at the site. Two Israeli policemen were killed before the three attackers were also gunned down. However, new metal detectors installed outside the Temple Mount plaza, a holy site for both Jews and Muslims, have drawn criticism from Palestinians and international Muslim leaders for changing longstanding security arrangements in the highly-contested old city.
The Palestinian government said in a statement that the new security measures were “a violation of the sanctity of the Al Aqsa Mosque,” while the Muslim Waqf, which controls the site, urged visitors to remain outside the metal detectors in protest rather than pass through them. The Israeli and U.S. governments defended the heightened security as a valid measure to prevent increased violence around the contested site. In the past, violence in the area has spilled over and led to larger-scale conflict, including the Al Aqsa Intifada which began in 2000 following Israeli leader Ariel Sharon’s controversial visit to the site.