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UK to Vote on Leaving EU, Taiwan's First Female President & Turkish-German Tensions Escalate

Francesco Sgroi
The Houses of Parliament in London.

On June 23, citizens of the United Kingdom will cast ballots in a referendum to determine whether or not they’ll remain in the European Union. It’s a tense time, with passions running high on both sides of the issue. 

It's a complex issue with roots in Britain's historical reluctance to ally itself with mainland Europe, despite their continued reliance on trade with other countries in the EU. Still, Lake Effect foreign policy contributor Art Cyr, says that leaving the EU could be a decidedly bad business move for the UK. 

"They'll be, I really do believe, hurting themselves in a counterproductive way if they leave. They're a diverse enough economy and enough of a global financial power they'll survive, but I don't think it'll be a plus economically and that in turn means it won't be helping them in foreign policy terms," he says. 

Credit Studio Incendo / Flickr
A rally in Taiwan during the 2016 presidential election.

Across the globe, Taiwan elected its first female president, Tsai Ing-wen, in a landslide victory. President Tsai comes from the Democratic Progressive Party, or DPP, which supports independence from China. Although the DPP has ruffled some feathers in Beijing, Cyr believes that in the long run the DPP will help ease relations with mainland China. 

"They are formally committed to declaring formal independence from the People's Republic. And Beijing, understandably, has regularly said that would mean war," he says. "That is not going to happen."

Meanwhile, tensions have increased between Turkey and Germany. In response to Germany's decision to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide, which happened more than a century ago in the Ottoman Empire (in an area part of present-day Turkey), Turkey recalled its ambassador to the country.

The incident comes at a time of growing strife in the Turkish peninsula, where thousands of refugees are being held back from entering EU territory. Although the country has been promised financial compensation for retaining displaced people, some feel the EU isn't properly rewarding Turkey's sacrifices. 

"Turkey has a long-standing application for membership in the EU. For various reasons that has been particularly slow moving," says Cyr. "They have been willing to accept a very large number of refugees and... they feel that they're making important sacrifices for Europe and for wider European security, given their frontline role at war against ISIS. There is a sense of resentment in Turkey. 

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Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.
Joy Powers joined WUWM January 2016 as producer for Lake Effect. Most recently, she was a director and producer for The Afternoon Shift, on WBEZ-fm, Chicago Public Radio.