World View: In Bizarre Gaffe, Erdogan Compares Turkey to Hitler’s Germany

Illegal Migrants
The Associated Press

This morning’s key headlines from

  • India imposes men-only driving restrictions in Delhi to curb pollution
  • In bizarre gaffe, Erdogan compares Turkey’s government to Hitler’s Germany

India imposes men-only driving restrictions in Delhi to curb pollution

Cars and autorickshaws move through New Delhi, India, Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015. (AP)
Cars and autorickshaws move through New Delhi, India, Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015. (AP)

With pollution levels in the capital city Delhi some of the highest in the world, India is imposing an even-odd system to limit the number of cars in Delhi. For the next two weeks, only cars with odd-numbered license plates will be allowed on the roads on odd-numbered dates, with only even-numbered plates on other days.

However, the restrictions apply only to men. Women are free to come and go in Delhi on every day, irrespective of license plate. I’m guessing that the reason for this exemption is to do nothing to prevent women from coming to Delhi to shop. But a woman with an adult male in her car is still subject to the restrictions.

Politicians, judges and VIPs will also be free from restriction.

Motorcycles and motor scooters will also be free from restriction, even though they’re extremely heavy polluters.

Pollution in Delhi in 2015 was significantly worse in 2015 than in 2014. For example, the pollution level was “severe” in Delhi for 73% of the days in November 2015, versus 53% in November 2014. New car sales are soaring in India, with 1,400 extra cars taking to the capital’s streets every day.

After the two-week pilot project is complete, Indian officials will evaluate the result to determine whether a permanent restriction should be ordered. BBC and The Hindu and AFP

In bizarre gaffe, Erdogan compares Turkey’s government to Hitler’s Germany

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been strongly advocating a constitutional change that would take some power away from the parliament and give it to the president, creating a much stronger presidential system. Erdogan has indicated that this constitutional change will be a major political objective for him in 2016.

A reporter on Thursday asked Erdogan whether a presidential system could be adopted while keeping the country’s unitary structure. His response:

There is no such thing as ‘no presidential system in unitary states.’ There are examples of this around the world. There are examples in the past, too. When you look at Hitler’s Germany, you can see it there. You can see later examples in other countries as well. What is important is that a presidential system should not disturb the people in its implementation. If you provide justice, there will be no problem because what people want and expect is justice.

The comparison of Turkey to Hitler’s Germany has caused quite a bit of outrage, especially among Erdogan’s opposition, but still one wonders what the heck he was talking about.

A “unitary system” is one in which all power is held by the central government, and none by the states or provinces that make up the nation. Here are internet definitions of the three systems:

  • Federal System: Power is shared by a powerful central government and states or provinces that are given considerable self-rule, usually through their own legislatures. Examples: The United States, Australia, the Federal Republic of Germany.
  • Unitary System: One central government controls weaker states. Power is not shared between states, counties, or provinces. Examples: China, United Kingdom (although Scotland has been granted self-rule).
  • Confederal System: Weak or loose organization of states agrees to follow a powerful central government. nations can choose to follow or not follow the lead of the weak central government. Examples: The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), formerly known as the Soviet Union. Also, Switzerland’s canton system and the Confederate States of America (1861-1865)

Other web sites list many other countries with a unitary system: France, Spain, Italy, many more European countries, as well as many countries in Africa, Asia, and South America.

So Erdogan had plenty of examples to choose from, without going to Hitler’s Germany. He issued a statement saying that the news stories have distorted his message, that he was saying that Hitler’s Germany was a unitary system that went from a parliamentary to a presidential system the wrong way, and that Turkey should do it the right way. Zaman (Istanbul) and Reuters and Skyline College and Lewis Historical Society

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, India, Delhi, Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Adolf Hitler, Germany, unitary system, federal system, confederal system
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