n.36 June 2011

Istanbul worked hard to win the designation of 2010 City of Culture, hoping the year would increase tourism and help Turkey’s European cause. Overall, the year failed to yield the success some officials had hoped for, in part because of internal bickering.

Turkey appears undeterred by Japan’s recent nuclear woes. Looking to curb its dependence on foreign energy, the country has agreed to let Russia build a nuclear facility on its Mediterranean coast.

Though recent uprisings in the Arab world have been studiously labeled as secular uprising, the fact remains that the Shiites of the Middle East are making gradual progress in extending their power base.

Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev has held office uninterrupted since 1990. National elections have become little more than a charade in which he’s not only re-elected by re-anointed as his country’s savior.