– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community
PHUKET: Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan declared victory in local polls that had become a referendum on his rule and said he would “enter the lair” of enemies who have accused him of corruption and leaked state secrets. “They will pay for this,” he said.
But while Erdogan’s AK Party was well ahead in overall votes after Sunday’s elections, the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) appeared close to seizing the capital Ankara.
Erdogan, fighting the biggest challenge of his 12-year rule, addressed supporters from a balcony at AKP headquarters at the end of a long and bitter election campaign in which he has labelled his opponents “terrorists” and an “alliance of evil”.
The harsh tone of his balcony address suggested he felt he now had a mandate for strong action against his enemies. “From tomorrow, there may be some who flee,” he said.
The election campaign has been dominated by a power struggle between Erdogan and a moderate U.S.-based cleric, Fethullah Gulen, whom he accuses of using a network of followers in police and judiciary to fabricate graft accusations in an effort to topple him. Erdogan has purged thousands of police and hundreds of judges and prosecutors since anti-graft raids in December targeting businessmen close to him and sons of ministers.
“We will enter their lair,” he said. “They will pay the price, they will be brought to account. How can you threaten national security?”
The turbulence has unnerved investors, helping keep the lira currency near record lows and driving stocks down some 8.6 percent since late last year. The strong AKP showing, signalling political continuity, could calm nerves.
“From a market perspective, the election result appears to be more or less what the doctor ordered: a solid win for the AKP which shores up the position of Turkey’s ruling party,” said Nicholas Spiro, head of Spiro Sovereign Strategy.
At the end of last week, the crisis reached a new level when a recording of a top-secret meeting of security officials about possible intervention in Syria was posted anonymously on YouTube. The action, for which Gulen denies any responsibility, raised serious concern about government control of its own security apparatus and fears of further damaging leaks.
NATO member Turkey, under Erdogan, was long held up as a model for a Muslim democracy and indeed the prime minister carried out many reforms that eased human rights and drove the economy. But since a crackdown on anti-government protests last June he has been accused of intolerance.
With more than two thirds of votes counted, AKP, in power since 2002, were winning between 43-47 percent of the vote, the opposition CHP trailing with 26-28 percent, according to Turkish television. If borne out, the result would be on the upper end of what Erdogan might have expected, although the race for Ankara was going down to the line.
The CHP, Erdogan said, must look at itself in the mirror.
“The old Turkey is no longer. The new Turkey is here,” he said, to cheers from supporters who shouted Allahu Akbar (God is greatest) and “Turkey is proud of you”. “Today is the victory day of the new Turkey, 77 million united…as brothers.”
Erdogan, lacking his own trained personnel, filled government departments with Gulen supporters when he first was elected in 2002. Gulen, who runs a huge network of schools and businesses, is widely credited with having helped him break the army’s political power using his people in police and judiciary.
But in recent years friction has grown between the two men and came to a head when Erdogan moved to curb his influence and close the schools that are a key sort of income and influence.
Erdogan seems likely now to step up his drive against the followers of Gulen, who denies any wrongdoing. Criminal investigations and arrests could follow, especially after last Thursday’s leak of the meeting between spymaster Hakan Fidan, a close Erdogan confidante, and military and civilian chiefs.
“Let me tell you, Erdogan’s response is coming,” said Tesev think-tank chairman Can Paker, seen as close to Erdogan.
“He will harshly and fully clean up the police and judiciary. And he will purge the press that supported the leaks. He will most certainly do that. He will say ‘I was elected to eliminate them,’ he is not going to soften.”
Blow to opposition
The strong showing could embolden Erdogan to run in what will be the first popular election for the presidency in August. In doing so, he would take over a role that has been largely ceremonial, but with the aim of extending its powers.
There would be some risks involved. Erdogan has described audio recordings anonymously posted on the Internet implicating him in corruption as “montage”, a manipulation. But he must reckon with further such postings in the run-up to the presidential race.
His government has blocked access to both the social networking site Twitter and YouTube in moves condemned by Western governments and rights groups.
He could also choose to run for a fourth term as prime minister in parliamentary elections next year.
Sunday’s results will come as a bitter blow to the CHP.
“It’s already clear from his speech this evening that he’s basically threatening society,” said Gursel Tekin, CHP Vice President. “This shows his state of mind isn’t to be trusted, and these obvious threats are not something that we can accept.”
Erdogan formed AK in 2001, drawing nationalists and centre-right economic reformers as well as religious conservatives who form his base. Since his 2011 poll victory he has moved more towards these core religious supporters he sees as having been “looked down upon” over generations by an urban secular elite.
Whatever the scale of Erdogan’s victory, he will awake on Monday to a huge task in restoring control over the security apparatus of the country. Even in purging members of the police force he considers unreliable, he cannot be sure that the replacements he brings in are loyal.
— Phuket Gazette Editors
People have short memories. Why the Boeing 737 MAX will survive the current crisis.
If history is anything to go on people’s current fears about the Boeing 737 MAX jets will be short-lived.
The make0ver of the venerable 737 plane, the most popular passenger jet in history, was supposed to set Boeing on a path to success. Airlines said it was the plane they wanted – perfect for short-haul, cheap to run, new efficient engines.
Boeing didn’t go down the path of coming up with a new single-aisle jet to compete with the new Airbus 320 Neo series, instead they decided to come up with a revised 737. The revised plane has slightly larger and more powerful engines, is a little higher off the ground, features some new hi-tech construction materials making it lighter, upgraded avionics and, importantly, new software that was meant to make it even safer.
You can identify a 737 MAX because of the two-spoke winglets at the end of the wings.
Now two of the new series 737 MAX have crashed within six months with investigators speaking about ‘similarities’ in the early days of the crash investigation.
Travel site Kayak even added an option to screen out flights using the 737 Max jets.
If panic persisted, the media kept writing stories about it and airlines were unwilling to buy it, the future of Boeing would be in jeopardy.
That’s the current situation. But it also reflects a similar time during a four-month period in late 1965 and early 1966 when four new Boeing 727 jets crashed. Three of the crashes occurred while the planes were attempting to land at US airports. Two of them happened within three days of each other in November 1965. The 727 was the first commercial jet to fly with less than four jet engines.
Like the 737 MAX crashes, the US regulator, the FAA, defended the planes’ safety and refused to ground the 727s at the time. It issued a statement the day after the third fatal 727 crash, saying that it could find no pattern in the crashes. It declined to ground the jet.
At the time Boeing was still riding on its reputation built around the Boeing 707 jet, the first successful commercial passenger jet (the British Comet was the first commercial passenger jet in 1952 but had a series of catastrophic crashes from which it never recovered profitable sales).
Eventually the Civil Aeronautics Board, which was created in the wake of the crashes, cleared the 727 and blamed pilot error for the accidents. Pilots were not prepared to fly the 727, and that led to the crashes. The new wings of the revolutionary (for the time) 727 made the plane descend much faster than was possible in the past, giving pilots the chance to slow the planes down faster and land on much shorter runways than the jets of the time, a big selling point.
But the pilots at the controls of the four doomed jets in the 60s were apparently unprepared for how quickly the planes would descend with the new wings.
But Boeing did get past the 727 crisis. Increased training led to safer operation of the plane, and these kinds of crashes ended. Customers soon forgot.
The 727 went on to become the bestselling jet of its time for Boeing. It eventually sold 1,831 of the jets, a lot when flying in jets was still mostly reserved for the ‘jet set’ and people able to afford the expensive ticket prices of the time.
“I don’t know that people will care that much for very long,” says Shem Malmquist, a Boeing 727 and 777 Captain.
“They only worry about the price of the ticket.”
The Boeing 727 suffered four high-profile crashes in the mid 60s and went on to become a flying favourite.
Preliminary data suggests ‘similarities’ to Lion Air incident – Ethiopian Airlines crash
PHOTO: The ‘black box’ data recorder arrived in Paris last week
Preliminary data analysis from the black boxes of last week’s Ethiopian Airlines plane crash has revealed “similarities” to last October’s Lion Air incident.
Ethiopian Minister of Transport, Dagmawit Moges, says that investigators recovered all relevant data from the data recorders on board the fateful final flight of the Boeing 737 MAX jet.
He did not provide additional details about the alleged “similarities” between the two crashes saying they were “subject to additional investigation. The black box recorders are being evaluated in France after the Ethiopian aviation authorities said they didn’t have the facilities to analyze the data. The recovered recorders were sent to Paris last Thursday.
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed on March 10, just six minutes after takeoff, killing all 157 people on board. It mimics characteristics of the other Boeing 737 MAX crash six months ago in Jakarta where the pilot and crew reported problems with the flight controls before plummeting to the ground (or the sea in the case of the Jakarta crash).
Similarities between the two incidents, both of which remain under investigation, led aviation authorities around the world to ban the 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 model aircraft.
Investigators suspect the Lion Air crash may have been caused by a combination of software, pilot education of new flight systems (introduced by Boeing), and a faulty angle-of-attack sensor on the outside of the plane that could have transmitted incorrect data.
Boeing’s new Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, special software designed for the new MAX model jets, may have been responsible for forcing the plane’s nose down, over0riding the pilot’s corrections.
The Boeing Chairman and CEO Dennis Muilenburg issued a statement saying the company “continues to support the investigation, and is working with the authorities to evaluate new information as it becomes available.”
He added the company is “finalising its development of a previously announced software update that will address the MCAS flight control law’s behavior in response to erroneous sensor inputs.
Boeing may apply for special permits to flight-test modifications of newly assembled 737 MAX aircraft in U.S. airspace during the worldwide commercial-flight ban of all 737 MAX-family jets.
Accused Australian killer appears in Christchurch court charged with murder
A 28 year old Australian man smirked as he walked into the Christchurch District Court in New Zealand’s South Island this morning, charged with murder after a carefully planned mass shooting at lunchtime prayers at two mosques.
The public was banned from the courtroom for the proceedings, but an angry crowd waited outside the court building.
Brenton Tarrant was brought to court by armed prison officers into the heavily secured central city courtroom, packed with local and international journalists.
According to reporters, the man kept turning towards the media and ‘smiling’. They report the man was ‘eerily calm’ during his appearance.
He has initially appeared on one charge of murder but is expected to face further charges. In New Zealand a murder charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Press from all over the world gathered in the courtroom, but the general public was banned.
Meanwhile, 18 year old Daniel John Burrough of Christchurch has been charged with intent to excite hostility or ill will against any group of persons on the ground of the colour, race or ethnic or national origins.
The alleged mass slaughter of Muslim worshippers at Friday prayers at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques, in central Christchurch, left 49 dead and more than 20 injured.
41 people died at Al Noor Mosque, seven at the Linwood Mosque and another died after being rushed to hospital.
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