The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Tuesday 18 April 2017

Politics

Image: Getty Images

Yes? No? Maybe

The Turkish referendum has been brought into question – but can the opposition come up with the answers?

“An unlevel playing field” was how the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) described Turkey’s recent referendum, which went in the government’s favour on Sunday and will deliver executive powers to the presidency. The OSCE sent observers to polling stations across the country and its conclusion is fair, given that the opposition media has been obliterated and the ruling party’s resources were put behind the "yes" campaign. For the Turkish politicians who backed "no" on the constitutional draft, and who now claim that there were serious irregularities at the ballot box, the OSCE’s conclusion will be welcomed. But they still need to make their case to dispute the result in the courts, a judicial playing field that’s also been left heavily skewed by the purge since last year’s coup. For the "no" camp, it’s not over yet but it will be an uphill battle.

Politics

Image: Getty Images

Setting the tone

The Canadian Conservative party’s shot at government will hinge on its choice of leader – which way will members vote?

In little more than a month, Canada’s Conservative party will elect a new leader. The race so far has proved to be a Petri dish for the kind of conservatism that is likely to flourish in Canada in the years to come. The 14 candidates represent varying views from the unvarnished populism of TV personality Kevin O’Leary to the far-right overtones of Kellie Leitch MP. The latest polls indicate O’Leary is neck and neck with the libertarian-leaning Maxime Bernier MP, with former government minister Michael Chong MP and Lisa Raitt, the former Toronto Port Authority chief executive, just behind. There’s a reason conservatives and liberals are watching the race closely: professor Nelson Wiseman, director of Canadian studies at the University of Toronto, says the party has a shot at forming the next government but a lot will depend on precisely what message the new Conservative leader conveys. For this reason, the next few weeks will be very telling.

Geography

Image: Getty Images

Every little helps

China and Japan size each other up as the latter lays claim to islands – and their surrounding natural resources.

Japan’s archipelago just got a little bigger. Prime minister Shinzo Abe’s Headquarters for Ocean Policy has registered 273 uninhabited, unclaimed islands to the 6,850 that the country already considers to be within its official borders. Meticulously identifying and mapping islands – a priority for Abe, who took up his post in late 2012 – has taken nearly two years and isn’t merely a land-grab. For a country with few natural resources, it’s also about being in control of what lies beneath the surface of the surrounding sea – fisheries, natural gas, oil and rare earth minerals. That has become even more urgent as neighbouring China has made claims over swathes of open ocean and reclaimed land in the South China Sea to assert its authority.

Governance

Image: Reuters

Morality play

Tajikistan is making a song and dance about its police force but the theatre can’t combat corruption.

The Tajik police force doesn’t have the best reputation. Not only is there a culture of bribery and backhanders but the former police chief absconded to Isis. So the Tajikistan government is determined to reposition the boys in blue as a force to be looked up to. It started with the interior ministry decree that all officers must shed a few pounds – or be fired. Now every unit has been ordered to attend the theatre at least once a month, reportedly in a bid to promote a “greater spiritual and moral awareness”. Yet Tajikistan is among the most corrupt of the post-Soviet states as well as economically isolated; forcing corpulent cops into velvet seats won’t squeeze out this endemic malpractice.

From Monocle 24

Image: Flickr

How do you write true crime?

The Culture Show

People have always loved a good murder-mystery but recently there’s been an influx of binge-worthy documentaries, books and podcasts based on true crime, such as ‘Serial’ and Netflix’s ‘Making a Murderer’. From Malaysia to Rio via the streets of 1960s New York, we find out why this genre has become so popular recently and how writers and film-makers use real cases to feed our thirst for a twisted tale.

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