26/03/2022
26 Mar 2022

Turkey’s dilemma

26 Mar 2022

Turkey’s dilemma

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Features
Owen Matthews
Turkey’s dilemma: whose side is Erdogan on?

Istanbul Vladimir Putin’s ill-conceived blitzkrieg in Ukraine has failed thanks, first and foremost, to the guts of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians. British and US-supplied anti-tank weapons have played a crucial role, too. But it’s Ukraine’s Turkish--made TB2 Bayraktar drones that have been the war’s most unexpectedly effective weapon. Unexpected not just because of their battlefield killing power but because the father-in-law of the TB2’s inventor and manufacturer is Recep Tayyip Erdogan – the only European leader to have once described himself as a friend of Vladimir Putin.

Turkey’s dilemma: whose side is Erdogan on?
Jade McGlynn
What TV is telling Russians – and why they believe it

If you want to understand how Russians see the world, it helps to watch Russian TV. The Kremlin’s control over the airwaves permeates every part of Russia’s television schedules. There are no longer soaps or series during waking hours, just relentless TV shows about Russia’s place in the world. The popular and execrable ‘news’ discussion show 60 Minutes now often lasts two to three hours. It is as if EastEnders and Coronation Street were replaced with 200 minutes of state propaganda.

What TV is telling Russians – and why they believe it
Max Pemberton
Tina: the drug devastating the gay community

Something is ravaging through the gay community, leaving death and misery in its wake, yet few are willing to talk about it. If I’d written that sentence a generation ago, I’d have been referring to the Aids crisis. But this time the enemy isn’t a virus, but a substance called ‘tina’ or ‘ice’. It is a methamphetamine – a stimulant drug that is either smoked or injected into the veins. Tina is also called crystal meth, made famous by the Netflix series Breaking Bad.

Tina: the drug devastating the gay community
Nick Newman
How should cartoonists respond to war?

Laughter has always been a coping mechanism for dealing with war. Some of this country’s most memorable cartoons have been born out of conflict. Think of Gillray’s ‘Plumb-Pudding in Danger’, Bairnsfather’s ‘Well, if you knows of a better ’ole, go to it’ or Low’s ‘Very well, alone’ – they are the quintessential images that defined the Napoleonic, first and second world wars. War didn’t stop cartoonists in the thick of the action from making light of their circumstances.

How should cartoonists respond to war?
Damian Thompson
Kirill, the Patriarch in league with Putin

Until very recently, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, was most famous for being the owner of a phantom wristwatch. It had the magical property of disappearing from sight, visible to onlookers only as a reflection. Don’t believe me? Google ‘Kirill’ and ‘watch’ and you’ll find a photo of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus’ meeting the Russian justice minister. It was taken in 2009, the year Kirill succeeded the late Patriarch Alexy II as spiritual leader of 110 million Russian Orthodox Christians.

Kirill, the Patriarch in league with Putin
Jay Elwes
Inside Putin’s mind: the lessons of Chechnya

As far as Vladimir Putin is concerned, ‘we are nobody, while he who chance has enabled to clamber to the top of the pile is today Tsar and God’. So said Anna Politkovskaya, the eminent Russian journalist, in her book Putin’s Russia. She continued: ‘In Russia we have had leaders with this outlook before. It led to tragedy, to bloodshed on a huge scale, to civil wars. I want no more of that.’ She wrote those prophetic words almost two decades ago.

Inside Putin’s mind: the lessons of Chechnya
Daryna Kolomiiets
Why I’ve stayed in Kyiv

I write this from my Kyiv air raid shelter. It has become my second home, an improvised bedroom, study and kitchen. For food, we eat bread and borscht. It is a spartan existence, but conducive to reflection. I still can’t get used to the siren that sounds five times a day, although I have got used to sleeping on the floor, in hallways, subways or the metro. I keep a bag packed with essentials by the door that I can grab and run with when the alarm sounds.

Why I’ve stayed in Kyiv
Matt Ridley
China may be facing its greatest Covid crisis yet

The coronavirus is spreading through Hong Kong, Shenzhen and other cities in China like a bush fire; tens of millions of Chinese are locked down again. It won’t work. Like a new Mercedes, the BA.2 model of the omicron variant of the Sars-CoV-2 virus is faster, quieter and 30 per cent more prolific. There is no chance of stopping it with lockdowns, mass testing or social distancing – even in Xi Jinping’s China. The only remedy is vaccination, which won’t stop infection but will moderate the symptoms enough to save a lot of lives, as it has done here.

China may be facing its greatest Covid crisis yet
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