Istanbul’s evocative skyline is set to be capped by a new peak, as architects on Wednesday unveiled plans to build a tower almost 300 meters high, which will rival the highest buildings in Europe.
Scotland-based architectural firm RMJM’s office in Dubai said that it received planning approval for “Metropol Istanbul,” a vast 500,000 square meter project, which includes three towers, a 30,000 square meter public shopping mall, offices and luxury apartments.
Managing principal at RMJM, Chris Jones, said the tower complex would be “iconic and bring character to Istanbul,” confirming that construction would conclude at the end of 2015. “There is nothing like this in Turkey yet… We could not be speaking about this kind of a project in any other part of Europe in this financial situation. This reflects the robust and confidence of Turkey’s growing economy,” Mr. Jones said in an interview.
NEW YORK TIMES
Game of Turkey
Many pro-government columnists are celebrating these arrests as the beginning of the end of the Turkish military’s tutelary state. Yet it is far too soon to cheer. Though the government is right to remove the military’s hand from the tiller, it has been far too slow in dismantling the apparatus that the generals created; Turkey’s civilian leaders should also be reforming the system. Only this week, the prosecutor in the Ergenekon trial accused Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the opposition, of interfering with justice simply for saying that the prosecutions were politically motivated. Until such meddling with basic freedom of expression stops, Turkish democracy will have to sleep with one eye open. Part of the problem lies with the 1982 Constitution. Penned while Turkey was under martial law, it endowed key positions within the judiciary and the bureaucracy with enormous and arbitrary authority. Its authors did not expect that those powers would one day fall into the hands of their ideological foes.
WALL STREET JOURNAL
South Carolina Will Likely Choose Romney
By PEGGY NOONAN
Newt's a battering ram who'll wind up in splinters, but he can do plenty of damage along the way. The candidate people immediately speak of here when talk turns to the GOP primary is a man named Romneybut. "I like Romney but I could change my mind." "I like Romney but I like Santorum too." People take a kind of chagrined pride in the state's past reputation for crazed, malice-laden, bare-knuckle political brawling; they look away and laugh if you speak of Lee Atwater's old charge that a Democratic candidate had a "psychotic neurosis" and received electroshock therapy "hooked up to jumper cables."
No one knows what's going to happen, because South Carolina takes pride in being prickly. They have a 30-year history of picking presidents, and nobody tells them who to pick. "New Hampshire thinks it's independent? Our great-great-great-great-grandfathers fired on the flag!" That's state GOP chairman Chad Connelly, sunny and garrulous. He's building up excitement and running out of breath doing it. "This thing is wide open. It's a battle royal. People are undecided. The debates will be decisive. South Carolina is the focal point of the world the next 10 days!" It is a great talent in life to spin relentlessly and not at all alienate the spinee.
All that said, if Mitt Romney wins here, he will win the nomination. And it's likely he will win here—that Romneybut will become Romney. But it's a real question how much damage will be done to him along the way.
NEW YORK TIMES
Political Islam Without Oil
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Egypt needs to be integrated with the world. The Muslim Brotherhood, whose party is called Freedom and Justice, draws a lot of support from the middle classes and small businesses. The Salafist Al Nour Party is dominated by religious sheiks and the rural and urban poor.
Essam el-Erian, the vice chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood’s party, told me: “We hope that we can pull the Salafists and that both of us will be pulled by the people’s needs.” He made very clear that while both Freedom and Justice and Al Nour are Islamist parties, they are very different, and they may not join hands in power.
What to make of all this? Egyptian Islamists have some big decisions. It has been easy to maintain a high degree of ideological purity all these years they’ve been out of power. But their sudden rise to the top of Egyptian politics coincides with the free fall of Egypt’s economy. And as soon as Parliament is seated on Jan. 23, Egypt’s Islamists will have the biggest responsibility for fixing that economy — without oil. (A similar drama is playing out in Tunisia.)
They don’t want to blow this chance to lead, yet they want to be true to their Islamic roots, yet they know their supporters elected them to deliver clean government, education and jobs, not mosques. It will be fascinating to watch them deal with these tugs and pulls. Where they come out will have a huge impact on the future of political Islam in this region.
The real battle for the soul of America
By Ruth Marcus
Mitt Romney likes to say that this election is a battle for “the soul of America.” He’s right — just not in the way that he thinks.
Romney asserts that President Obama wants to “fundamentally transform America,” turning the country “into a European-style entitlement society.” In fact, Romney and his Republican presidential rivals have a far more radical transformation in mind. They envision a dramatically shrunken federal government and a dangerously unraveled social safety net.
Theirs is not the self-styled compassionate conservatism of a George W. Bush. “It is compassionate to actively help our fellow citizens in need,” Bush said in 2002. “It is conservative to insist on responsibility and results.”
A decade and a Tea Party later, active help — at least active help from the federal government — is out of Republican fashion. Of course Republicans have traditionally favored state over federal involvement, but the degree of proposed retrenchment during the current campaign is remarkable — and troubling.
Romney went on to tick off specific programs: food stamps, housing vouchers, Medicaid, emergency heating assistance.
Nice talking point, if it were true. As the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has demonstrated, the major programs for the poor are extraordinarily efficient, even taking into account state as well as federal administrative costs.
The impact of their plans would be to shred the safety net. Making sure that doesn’t happen is the real battle for America’s soul.
It's a question many people inside Iran -- and those who watch the country closely around the world -- were asking last Wednesday: Who is killing nuclear scientists in Iran? U.S. Secretary of State Clinton categorically denies any involvement in Iran. We believe there has to be an understanding between Iran, its neighbors and the international community that finds a way forward for it to end its provocative behavior, end its search for nuclear weapons and rejoin the international community and be a productive member of it," she said.
NEW YORK TIMES
President Obama asks Congress for greater power to shrink the federal government, starting with merging six sprawling trade and commerce agencies that have some overlapping programs. Mr. Obama calls on Congress to give him a so-called consolidation authority allowing him to propose mergers that promise to save money and help consumers and businesses. The agreement would entitle him to a yes-or-no vote from Congress within 90 days. It would be up to lawmakers, therefore, to first grant Obama this fast-track authority and then decide whether to approve any of his specific ideas.
Beginning this month, YouTube is gambling $100 million that by seeding professional production firms such as Young Hollywood — whose slate of YouTube-only programming premieres Monday — it will draw more eyeballs for longer viewing sessions. "A few old-school publicists still don't embrace us," says Williams, who chose the Four Seasons because many stars call it home during publicity tours. "But the younger reps and celebs sure do."
Quote of the week
If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.
Food for Thought
At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Word of wisdom
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Martin Luther King, Jr.