Friday. 23/9/2022

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images

Opinion / Hannah Lucinda Smith

Rough justice

To be indicted on political charges in Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey is, if not quite a compliment, a sign of your importance. That will have been of little comfort to Istanbul’s mayor, Ekrem Imamoglu, as he appeared on Wednesday at the latest hearing of his trial for allegedly insulting public officials. If found guilty, he faces a maximum prison sentence of four years.

Imamoglu, a potential candidate for next year’s presidential elections, is one of several opposition figures indicted on a variety of charges. Though the mayor’s legal problems began in 2019, his hearing has now been adjourned until November. A conviction would prohibit him from holding public office, a rule that once barred Erdogan (pictured) from office when his Justice and Development Party (AKP) took power in 2002. The current president was convicted of inciting religious hatred by the then broadly secular judiciary after he read an Islamist poem at a rally in 1997.

Today the judiciary dances to Erdogan’s tune and the opposition is in the dock. Since a failed coup in 2016, more than a third of Turkey’s judges and prosecutors have been replaced. Positions in the top courts have been filled by the president’s loyalists, who have overruled acquittals of dissident journalists and activists, and rubber-stamped a decree pulling Turkey out of an international convention on gender-based violence.

Judicial independence in Turkey has “always been problematic”, constitutional law expert Osman Can tells The Monocle Minute. But since a new constitution handed Erdogan sweeping executive powers in 2018, the law has become increasingly politicised. Supreme court judges are now appointed by the president or parliament, which is governed by a coalition of ultra-nationalists and the AKP. “Politics is shaped by the emotional state of the president, which shapes the entire judiciary,” says Can. Opposition parties have become reticent about confirming candidates for elections, fearing that it will trigger legal action against whoever comes forward to oppose Erdogan.

Hannah Lucinda Smith is Monocle’s Istanbul correspondent.

Image: Air Canada

Aviation / Canada

On the up

Despite reservations about their range, orders for electric aircraft are soaring as airlines look to come good on pledges of greater sustainability. Air Canada recently signed a deal with Swedish firm Heart Aerospace to acquire 30 ES-30 battery-powered aircraft that are slated for delivery by 2028. The Canadian flag carrier joins United Airlines and SAS in adding electric aircraft to its fleet but for now these 30-seaters are limited to short-haul hops (with a range of just 200km). Intriguingly, the deal also secured Air Canada a €5m stake in the Gothenburg-based plane manufacturer, perhaps hinting at longer-term ambitions to work together and help get larger models off the ground soon. “Air Canada’s order is a significant endorsement of this programme,” Murdo Morrison, head of strategic content at trade title Flight Global, tells The Monocle Minute. “It marks a really exciting time for aviation technology.” If the past few months have taught us anything, it’s that energy markets can shift quickly: expect more such deals to land in the coming months.

Image: Getty Images

Defence / Belarus

Putin’s gamble

The world shuddered this week as Vladimir Putin announced that 300,000 military reservists will be sent to shore up his failing forces in Ukraine in a “partial mobilisation” of the Russian military. The EU has decried Moscow’s move as an attempt to escalate and widen the war amid a series of embarrassing military setbacks. This follows reports that Russia’s ally Belarus – which sits to the north of Ukraine – is in danger of being drawn into the conflict.

“Belarus’s president Alexander Lukashenko [pictured, on right, with Putin] has been offering Russia support,” Rosemary Thomas, UK’s ambassador in Minsk between 2009 and 2012, tells The Monocle Minute. “But I think it’s far too risky for Belarus to join the fight. The polling suggests that only 3 per cent of Belarusians support the war. So don’t expect to see the country’s tanks rolling across the border any time soon.”

Image: Hitachi

Mobility / Berlin

The way ahead

Today is the last stop for Innotrans, the world’s largest trade fair for the transport technology industry, which wraps up at Messe Berlin after its first outing in four years. What’s clear from Monocle’s time here is that while the railway industry is making tracks and winning passengers, there’s still some ground to cover when it comes to the hardware on offer and the onboard experience. “After the pandemic, passengers want more privacy,” Nick Kingsley, executive editor of Railway Gazette International, tells The Monocle Minute. “First Class, for example, could go in the direction of an airline’s Business Class model, with seating pods in the future.” Designers are also thinking more carefully about helping passengers to enjoy smoother connections. “You want to know which platform you are coming into and which platform you’re leaving from – and that information can be delivered in real-time.” So a premium carriage and clear signage for a quicker connection? We’re on board.

Three things we learned at Innotrans 2022

1
The mood in the mobility industry is up. Adina Valean, the EU’s transport commissioner, even claimed that the next few years on the continent could be “a second golden age for rail travel”.

2
Hydrogen’s popularity is rising. The vast, heavy tanks that hindered its use in cars and aeroplanes aren’t as big an issue on trains. Ditto bulky batteries. Trenitalia unveiled a Hitachi-made hybrid train (pictured) that can run on batteries, electric traction and diesel.

3
Monorail’s fortunes are rising too. Cairo has just opened two new lines and, though he might have a one-track mind, Marko Kroenke, president of the International Monorail Association told The Monocle Minute that more and more cities are eschewing the cost and complexity of going underground.

For more from Innotrans 2022, tune in to our updates from key mobility movers across Monocle 24 today.

Image: Shutterstock

Fashion / Global

Style counsel

Italian luxury fashion house Fendi celebrated the 25th anniversary of its Baguette bag at a buoyant New York Fashion Week earlier this month, before the sartorial carnival moved to London. The UK capital put the spotlight on sharp tailoring by younger talents, from Eftychia to Irish-born Simone Rocha, who staged a show (pictured) inside the Old Bailey. Was this justice at last for a fashion week that has long flown under the radar? Perhaps so. Tune in to our fashion coverage from Milan on Monocle 24 before we decamp to Paris next week.

Beyond the runways and exhibitions, our team has put together a Style Survey in Monocle’s October issue, which is on newsstands now. Here are three highlights from our top 20, selected by Monocle’s fashion editor, Natalie Theodosi.

Brand to track: Norda, Montréal
This new label by former athletes Nick and Willa Martire offers some of the most advanced trail-running shoes on the market.
nordarun.com

Winter wardrobe addition: Arktisk puffer jacket, Copenhagen
Launched by Danish retailer Norse Projects, the outdoorsy new Arktisk label offers snug winterwear in innovative fabrics. We’re partial to this puffer, made from water-resistant Loro Piana wool.
norseprojects.com

Shop to visit: Visvim General Store, Tokyo
Japanese fashion label Visvim channels its craft-focused philosophy into a smart new shop. Founder Hiroki Nakamura called on Japanese artisans to help design the space and courtyard garden in Nakameguro.
visvim.tv

For the full Style Survey, which features big interviews with key CEOs, a selection of seasonal staples and a look at the freshest new shops, pick up our October issue today. Or subscribe so that you don’t miss an issue.

Monocle Films / Greece

Keeping the faith

In this digital age, do we need more forgiveness and sacrifice in our lives? And where can we look for direction? Monocle Films sits down with Archbishop Elpidophoros of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America to find out how the church strives to address contemporary needs and remain relevant.

Image: Chris Yates

Monocle 24 / Monocle On Design

Design and fashion in London

We wrap up London Fashion Week, then look ahead to London Design Festival and the alchemy of glass and copper, courtesy of Omer Arbel.

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