Wednesday 19 April 2023 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Wednesday. 19/4/2023

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images

Opinion / Hannah Lucinda Smith

New life of the party

Turkey’s third-biggest political party is undergoing a rebrand and the fallout could influence the outcome of the forthcoming election. The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), a left-wing bloc co-chaired by Pervin Buldan (pictured) that represents most of the country’s 20 million Kurds, is facing legal closure weeks ahead of national elections on 14 May. All of its current deputies could be banned from running for office. So the HDP is entering the ballots with a new list of candidates, under a new party name: Green Left. Stickers and leaflets printed with the new logo are piled in the party offices in Diyarbakir, the largest city in Turkey’s Kurdish region.

This is a game of cat and mouse that Turkey’s Kurds have grown used to. Successive Kurdish parties have been repeatedly banned and reopened in new forms since the military coup of 1980. The HDP is the most successful: in June 2015 it became the first Kurdish-rooted party to win 10 per cent of the national vote, therefore allowing its MPs to enter parliament (the threshold was reduced to 7 per cent last year). That deprived Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party of its outright parliamentary majority for the first time. Erdogan now accuses the HDP of supporting terrorism. But by banning the party from the parliament, where it currently holds 56 of 600 seats, he would boost his own control over the chamber. If the HDP were to be dissolved after its deputies were elected to parliament, the seats left vacant would be distributed among other parties, according to the ratios they already hold.

The HDP doesn’t want to risk it. By running under a different banner, it is hoping to sidestep a court case. The Green Left is projected to take about 10 per cent of the vote and, as it isn’t putting forward its own candidate in the presidential race, the party can support the main opposition hopeful, Kemal Kilicdaroglu. By trying to force the Kurds out of politics, Erdogan might be anointing them the kingmakers.

Hannah Lucinda Smith is Monocle’s Istanbul correspondent. For more opinion, analysis and insight, subscribe to Monocle today.

Image: Shutterstock

Defence / Sweden

Show of strength

Sweden launched its largest military drills in 25 years yesterday. The exercise, dubbed Aurora 23, featured more than 26,000 troops from 14 countries, including the US and several other Nato member countries. They will take place until 11 May and focus on countering potential large-scale attacks on Swedish soil. While vast swaths of territory will be covered, units will mainly be positioned in the south of the country, primarily on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea. “We’re seeing a return to the sort of exercises that used to take place during the Cold War,” Elisabeth Braw, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute think-tank, tells The Monocle Minute. “But the major difference this time is the show of support from Sweden’s international friends. While it is a moment for Sweden to demonstrate its defensive capability, it will also signal to Russia or other potential attackers that any invasion could be incredibly costly and messy.”

Image: Reuters

Business / China

Charging ahead

Car executives from around the world pulled up in China yesterday for Auto Shanghai, Asia’s largest motor show. The 10-day biennial event is back at full throttle now that pandemic-related restrictions have been lifted and the atmosphere inside the cavernous exhibition hall is electric. Sales of battery-powered vehicles in China, the world’s largest car market, are accelerating.

According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, 6.89 million electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids were sold in the country last year, a 93.4 per cent year-on-year increase. Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and BMW are among the firms that are introducing new electric models and there is a lot riding on their success. Foreign brands have lost some of their lustre in China. They also face stiffer competition from new manufacturers here and beyond. With the likes of Shenzhen-based BYD and Shanghai’s Nio going global, an increasing number of Chinese cars on display this week could soon be on a cargo ship to Europe.

Image: Ian Patterson

Music / Canada

Quiet revolution

Canadian vinyl manufacturers are under pressure to meet a surge in global demand for their product as popular artists deem it unthinkable to release new albums without a run of LPs to accompany them. In 2021 the international vinyl sector was valued at more than $1.5bn (€1.4bn) and in 2022 it grew by 22 per cent in the US alone. According to Paul Miller, senior vice-president of sales at one of Ontario’s largest manufacturers, Precision Record Pressing, the global market is expected to increase by a further 4 per cent this year. Though new technologies can play a part in expanding production, the process of creating vinyl discs hasn’t changed since the 1930s. But Miller is eager to embrace the rising popularity of records. “It is difficult to innovate when you’re just trying to meet demand,” he tells Monocle “But now record plants will be pushed to become the best version of themselves.”

For more on Precision Record Pressing and other businesses to track, pick up a copy of Monocle’s April issue, which is out now.

Design / Milan

Light fantastic

Perhaps the design world’s most important event, Salone del Mobile, opened for business yesterday and our editors are reporting from Milan all week on Monocle Radio. Between now and Sunday, hundreds of thousands of designers and journalists are expected to pass through the Rho Fiera trade halls and various events across the city.

Image: Andrea Pugiotto
Image: Andrea Pugiotto

This year also marks the return of Euroluce, a biennial section of the fair dedicated to lighting in which the latest creations are unveiled by luminaries such as Barcelona’s Santa & Cole, Malmö-based Wästberg and Lombardy’s Flos. The latter is showcasing its latest releases and its iconic back catalogue in a mirrored hall, including pieces from the likes of German industrial designer Konstantin Grcic and others. “Euroluce presents an opportunity to better understand the value of light,” Flos CEO, Roberta Silva, tells Monocle. “A space with the right lighting is just magic; it’s transformative.”

For more from Euroluce pick up a copy of Monocle’s ‘Salone del Mobile Special’ newspaper, which is available on newsstands across Europe and online.

Monocle Radio / The Menu

Blaufränkisch and Alberto Landgraf

Brazilian chef Alberto Landgraf on how his German-Japanese heritage has shaped his cooking and Ivan Carvalho heads to Austria to sample blaufränkisch wine. Plus: Naomi Xu Elegant speaks to Kuala Lumpur-based chef Christian Recomio and the week’s food and drink headlines. 

Film / Global

Designing the news

How do you unpack stories in the most engaging way while building a credible and comprehensive brand? Monocle Films showcases best design for paper and screen too.


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