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RFI goes behind-the-scenes of one of the week's major stories.

RFI goes behind-the-scenes of one of the week's major stories.


Paris, France




RFI goes behind-the-scenes of one of the week's major stories.




Turkey's Syrian refugees face local hostility as economic problems mount

Turkey is in the grip of an economic crisis. Last year the Turkish lira plummeted nearly 35 percent, resulting in surging prices and rising poverty. The country's deepening financial woes are prompting concerns it could further raise tensions over the presence of millions of refugees. Pain and fear stalk one of Istanbul's main food markets. A year of financial currency turmoil has brought with it soaring inflation, predicted to rise to over thirty percent and beyond in the coming weeks....


Turkey’s ambitions in the Caucasus strain relations with Iran

Turkey's highly publicised arrest of alleged Iranian agents is the latest sign of growing tensions between the two neighbors, as Turkey expands its influence in the Caucasus region at Iran's expense. In October, Turkish security forces claimed to have arrested several Iranian agents who Ankara says were attempting to kidnap an Iranian dissident in the city of Van close to the Iranian border. Video of the arrests was widely distributed to the media, causing embarassment for Tehran. The...


Climate change: The impact of intense winters on Gaza olive production

In the Gaza Strip, farmers, customers, and traders of olives lament the sharp decline of olive production this season. The reason for the decline, according to experts, is climate change and high temperatures during the winter. Less productivity across the coastal territory has impacted Gaza's economy, which has already gone through an Israel-imposed blockade for more than a decade, now. Olives and olive oil constitute an important form of nutrition for Gaza's 2.2 million residents. They...


Turkey steps up threats against Syrian Kurdish forces after car bombing

Turkey is threatening to launch a military operation against Syrian Kurdish forces after a deadly attack in Syrian territory where Turkish forces are present. Last month's deadly car bombing in the Turkish-controlled Syrian Afrin region saw Ankara blaming the Syrian Kurdish group YPG. Turkish forces, along with Syrian rebels, ousted the YPG from the area three years ago. The Kurdish group has been waging a guerrilla campaign against the Turkish troops and their Syrian rebel allies. But in an...


Turkey fears another Syrian refugee crisis as Damascus ramps up attacks against Idlib

Turkey fears another exodus of Syrian refugees as Damascus, backed by Russia, is ramping up attacks against Idlib, the last Syrian rebel enclave. A Turkish military force stands in the way of Syrian troops that are poised to seize Idlib, a move Ankara fears could result in millions of refugees fleeing to Turkey. Russian-backed Syrian regime forces are stepping up their attacks on Idlib with artillery and airstrikes. Syrian President Bashar Al Assad is pledging to retake the rebel-controlled...


Why proposed legislation in Turkey aims to rein in social media

Dokuz Sekiz news web portal is one of a myriad of independent Turkish outlets that's opened up on social media in recent years. Like many others, it receives international support. But Turkey's presidential head of communication, Fahrettin Altun, is accusing foreign-funded media organizations of acting as a "fifth column," undermining the government at the bidding of foreign powers. But Dokuz Sekiz chief editor Gokhan Bicici dismisses the allegation, seeing the move as a sign of the...


Afghan NATO forces flee to Istanbul to seek refuge

Growing numbers of Afghans who fought alongside NATO forces are arriving in Istanbul looking for help from the countries they once worked with. Youssef, an Afghan helicopter pilot, shows photos of the NATO forces he fought alongside against the Taliban. "Our advisors they were from British, they were from the U.S., they were from Germans," said Youssef, "We worked shoulder by shoulder in making some plans against the insurgents." But with the Taliban seizing power Youseff says he is a marked...


Turkey looks to play pivotal role in Taliban's new Afghanistan

Since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, Turkey has been holding talks with the group's leadership. Ankara is looking to play a pivotal role in the new Taliban Afghanistan, but voices caution Turkey risks overplaying its hand. As the Taliban celebrated with gunfire, as the final refuge of NATO's twenty-year Afghan presence ended with the last American plane flying out of Kabul international airport, its leadership was already reaching out to Ankara. Taliban looks to Ankara Despite...


Pegasus spyware scandal raises questions about independence of Indian press

A collaborative investigation into Pegasus spyware, based on information accessed by the France non-profit Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International and shared with a host of publications, has revealed a list of potential targets for surveillance. The phone numbers of over 40 Indian journalists appear on a leaked list of potential targets for surveillance. Forensic tests have confirmed that some of them were successfully snooped upon by an unidentified agency using Pegasus spyware. Though...


Afghan refugees in India tensely wait for news of those they left behind

With a resurgent Taliban now re-established all over Afghanistan, thousands of anxious refugees in India continue to live in fear and uncertainty, wondering what the future holds for the family and friends they left behind. Twenty-six-year-old Babar Khan has been tuning into the news regularly to get the latest updates on how the Taliban have been advancing in Afghanistan. He runs a simple restaurant that serves traditional Afghan cuisine and delicacies in one of the congested lanes, just...


After the war of words, are Paris and Ankara on the verge of a new era?

Turkish and French Presidents are pledging to ease tensions after months of trading insults, but difficulties between them remain, especially over their increasingly contrary interests in Africa. Following a meeting, on the sidelines of June’s Nato summit, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that he had agreed with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on the need to revive bilateral cooperation and regional consultation. French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian declared after the...


Afghanistan turns to India as US hastens to escape 'the war without end'

Afghanistan has called on India to engage with the Taliban once American troops return home. The signals became public just one day after the US vacated its biggest airbase near Kabul in a step towards ending its 20-year occupation of the war-wrecked nation. The Pentagon has said the withdrawal of US forces will be completed ahead of the original deadline of September. “A safe, orderly drawdown enables us to maintain an ongoing diplomatic presence, support the Afghan people and the...


UN Security Council to meet as waters and tensions rise at Ethiopian Nile dam

Ethiopia has started the second phase of filling the reservoir of its mega-dam on the upper Blue Nile, according to the authorities in neighbouring Egypt and Sudan, raising tensions ahead of a UN Security Council meeting on the divisive project. Both Cairo and Khartoum said they had been notified by Addis Ababa that the second phase of filling had begun at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Egypt's irrigation ministry on Monday expressed its "firm rejection of this unilateral...


The geopolitical and environmental dangers of Turkey's Bosphorus bypass canal

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has initiated the controversial building of a multi-billion-dollar canal intended to bypass the busy waters of the Bosphorus Strait, despite grim environmental warnings and major Russian security concerns. In a blaze of publicity, Erdogan last month laid a ceremonial foundation stone close to Istanbul, starting the construction of the 45-kilometer canal intended to link the Black and Marmara Seas. "This is going to be a brand-new page in Turkey's...


Pandemic-hit India holds out hope of ‘brighter future’ for Covid-19 orphans

India’s government has promised support for the uncounted number of children who are either orphaned or have lost a parent in the Covid-19 pandemic that so far has infected more than 30 million people in the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise came as suspicious offers to adopt Covid orphans surfaced on the social media amid worries parentless kids could walk into traps laid out by child traffickers. The government said it will pay stipends from a million-rupee (11,000-euro) fund...


Taj Mahal reopens but Indian tourism industry remains badly hit by Covid crisis

The tourism industry of Agra – the northern Indian city which is home to the Taj Mahal - has been brought to its knees in the past year by the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic. India's top tourist attraction, the Taj Mahal, a major money spinner for the tourism industry, wears a forlorn and desolate look. The 17th-century architectural marvel finally reopened last week but the tourism industry revolving around the monument of love remains crippled. Krishna Rathore, a 29-year-old tourist...


Indian military fight back to blunt devastating virus surge

The Indian Navy vessel Shardul recently ferried oxygen from the Middle East instead of the military tanks it is designed to carry. The 4,259 nautical mile voyage scripted another golden verse in the Indian military’s odyssey of saving millions of lives in struggling Covid hospitals. The vessel entered Indian waters just days before France offered a second batch of oxygen generators as part of its “largest solidarity operation”. Paris also promised oxygen concentrators and ventilators for...


What are Turkish troops and Syrian militia fighters doing in Libya?

Turkey's military presence in Libya is under growing pressure amid increasing international and Libyan calls for all foreign forces to leave the country. The pressure is predicted to grow as critical players in the Libyan civil war meet in Berlin this month. Turkey has deployed hundreds of soldiers and encouraged thousands of Syrian fighters to support the Libyan Government of National Accord in its battle against forces led by General Khalifa Hafta, who is backed by Russian and Sudanese...


As Gaza rebuilds, Hamas and the PA struggle for control of aid cash

The latest Israeli attacks on Gaza have damaged many hundreds of buildings, including homes, mosques, factories and government-run facilities. As the reconstruction process begins once again, there is a debate about who will administer the millions of dollars available, with both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority claiming the right to supervise re-building. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has vowed to provide millions of dollars in aid to help the war-ravaged Gaza Strip. The top...


India’s chaotic Covid crisis damages PM Narendra Modi’s public image

As a devastating second wave of coronavirus has swept India in recent weeks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s well-crafted public image has taken a beating. The ruling Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi marked its seventh anniversary in power in India this week but tough questions are being asked of his leadership as public trust has been dented. The pandemic’s crippling second wave has made India the worst-hit country in the world. Since the beginning...