The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Tuesday 10 October 2017

Politics

Image: Getty Images

Under pressure

Ankara’s escalating tit-for-tat spat with the US is putting Turkey’s position in Nato at risk.

Nato’s easternmost flank appears more fraught than ever: Turkey’s decision to detain a member of staff at the United States consulate in Istanbul, accused of espionage, has provoked a halt on all non-immigration visas being issued to Turks wanting to travel to the US. A tit-for-tat decision was subsequently issued by Ankara but it’s Turkey that will suffer most as the lira plunges against the dollar. It’s a far cry from when Turkish foreign policy was keenly US-friendly – a recipient of the Marshall Plan, the country was a bulwark against restive Soviet influence during the Cold War. Yet today it is buying weapons from Moscow and likes to flirt with pivoting east to get the West riled up. For those who want to see Turkey booted out of Nato, there’s more of a case than ever.

Culture

Image: Getty Images

Read between the lines

Writers won’t be the only ones taking centre stage at a German book fair: the French president is guest of honour.

Frankfurt’s Buchmesse, the world’s largest literary trade fair, gets underway today and is expected to pack in 270,000 visitors. But it’s not just authors and publishers getting the top billing: French president Emmanuel Macron is set to open the annual shindig this evening alongside his German counterpart Angela Merkel. As this year’s guest of honour, France’s undoubted bookish soft power and delegation of 180 French authors is sure to be in focus but the leaders’ joint appearance also intends to highlight their commitment to a stronger, more united Europe. The French team includes controversial writer Michel Houellebecq, Congolese novelist Alain Mabanckou and Moroccan-born journalist Leila Slimani.

Urbanism

Image: Dr Don Slater/LSE

Night light

A project to test colourful streetlamps in a Colombian community has a bright future.

A recent community streetlamp programme in Cartagena, Colombia, is helping the city to shine. It is centred around Getsemaní – a rapidly changing and gentrifying heritage quarter filled with cafés, bars and tourists – and, as the prototype multi-hued lanterns are encouraging people to stay out later and feel safer, it’s underlined the importance of post-sundown urban design. This bright idea, named Smart Everyday Nighttime Design, is a collaboration between various architects and was only a trial but its success is encouraging the multinational research team to look at shedding a little more light elsewhere in Colombia.

Diplomacy

Image: Shutterstock

White flag

The Philippines has made a hasty apology to China after using Taiwan’s military banner in a ceremony honouring Beijing.

The Philippines has learned the hard way that when accepting a gift from one country, it’s best to double check that you’re not inadvertently thanking another. The country’s department of defence has had to apologise to China after holding a ceremony thanking Beijing for donating $3.3m (€2.8m) worth of assault rifles – while mistakenly displaying Taiwan’s defence ministry logo on a large banner rather than China’s. The snafu couldn’t have been more ill-timed: President Rodrigo Duterte has been working hard to rebuild relations with Beijing which, in turn, has been trying to signpost its dominance over Taiwan. Once the Philippines learned of its mistake defence secretary Delfin Lorenzana was quick to stress that his country respects the “One China policy”.

From Monocle 24

Image: T Rausing

Sigrid Rausing

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From Monocle Films

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