Turkish coup attempt
On the night of 15 July 2016, factions of the Turkish military launched a coup against the administration of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. While the coup attempt ultimately failed, its results and the Erdogan administration’s response to it will have lasting consequences. In recent years Erdogan has slowly consolidated control, leading many to fear a revival of an Ottomanesque government. In the aftermath of the coup, the Turkish government detained over 2,800 soldiers who participated in it, as well as 2,745 judges (the reasons remain unknown). Thousands of educators from private institutions have had their credentials revoked, and there are reports of academics being placed on a travel ban. Turkey remains an important NATO ally in the region, with Incirlik Air Base being a key staging area for operations against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. While Turkey remains a NATO member, further authoritarian moves by Erdogan may cause the military alliance to come back to review the importance of their role.
South China Sea
Days before the Turkish coup, the United Nations ruled China has no legal basis for their Nine-Dash line in the South China Sea. The UN ruling supports the Philippine’s sovereign rights in the region (the Philippine’s filed a case against China with the UN in 2013 regarding access in the South China Sea). It is unlikely Beijing will abide by the UN mandate. As China continues to bolster its strength to become a world superpower, control of the trade routes through the South China Sea ($5.3 trillion trade passes through the region annually) will allow the Chinese government to dictate foreign relations throughout the western Pacific.
Terror in France
On the evening of 14 July 2016, terror struck the French coastal city of Nice. A large cargo truck was deliberately used to kill over 80 people celebrating the Bastille Day festivities in the city. The driver of the truck, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, had allegedly bore allegiance with the Islamic State (ISIS). The terror group later claimed responsibility for the attack. Since January 2015, France has suffered three terror attacks by ISIS members/affiliates. As ISIS continues to lose ground in Iraq and Syria, it is expected the number of terror attacks in Europe will increase as the organization tries to remain relevant. Following this latest attack, France and its European allies will have to address their security apparatus to avoid further mass casualty situations.