Roundup: Editorial opinions from other papers
Turkey, Russia stay the course
The assassination Monday of Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov in Ankara, Turkey, had the potential to destabilize already strained relations between the two nations, which back different sides in the Syrian war and have other points of conflict. To their credit, Russia and Turkey have responded prudently, launching a joint investigation of the assassination and vowing not to let the killing drive them further apart. That is welcome news for a part of the world roiling with conflict.
A 22-year-old police officer, Mevlut Mert Altintas, riddled Karlov, 62, with bullets as the envoy spoke at an exhibit of Russian photography. Altintas shouted, “Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria!” and “We are the descendants of those who supported the Prophet Muhammad, for jihad.”
Russian-Turkish relations already were tenuous, partly given Turkey’s role as a U.S. ally and NATO member and its downing of a Russian military jet near the border of Turkey and Syria last year. Russia backs the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad and has played a prominent role in the Syrian war, including the bombardment of Aleppo, while Turkey supports Syrian rebels. Russia and Turkey nonetheless have cooperated on the evacuation of civilians and fighters from Aleppo, a rebel enclave where government-backed forces have been accused of indiscriminate killing of innocents. The Syrian war has sent streams of refugees across the border into Turkey, another element of instability in a nation still reeling from a coup attempt last summer against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The assassination of Karlov could have been like pouring gasoline on the smoldering Russian-Turkish relationship. Turkey agreed to receive a team of Russian investigators for a joint probe into the killing, and both governments not only condemned the killing but also renounced it as an attempt to divide them.
On Tuesday, representatives of Russia and Turkey said they would work together to end Syria’s war. More than anything, Karlov’s death highlights the need for multinational efforts — involving Turkey, Russia and the United States, among many other nations — to join forces against terrorism wherever it appears.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dec. 21
North Carolina’s hyperpartisan turn bodes poorly for nation
Political hardball is an American tradition. After Donald Trump replaces Barack Obama as president on Jan. 20, he’s likely to issue far-reaching executive orders undoing Obama policies on a wide range of issues, just as Obama did after succeeding George W. Bush in the White House. It’s to be expected.
But what has happened in North Carolina goes far beyond hardball. It feels transgressive of U.S. political traditions.
Republican Gov. Pat McCrory lost to state Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat, in a race so close that McCrory refused to concede for nearly a month. Republicans with supermajorities in the North Carolina Legislature responded with a special session that last week saw measures passed that shift much authority over state public schools from the State Board of Education, which will have a majority of members chosen by the governor, to the elected state superintendent of public instruction, soon to be a Republican, and that gave Republicans de facto control over the most important decisions of the State Board of Elections.
They also passed measures reducing the number of state government positions Cooper can directly fill by more than two-thirds; that require the next governor’s Cabinet appointees to be approved by the state Senate; and that end the governor’s ability to nominate members to the board overseeing the University of North Carolina’s 17 campuses.
Given that McCrory is the only incumbent governor in state history to lose a re-election bid, these actions clearly don’t reflect the will of voters. Such hyperpartisanship bodes poorly for North Carolina. It bodes worse for the nation if heavy-handed partisan wrangling is deemed acceptable in other states.
The San Diego Union-Tribune, Dec. 20