News Timeline: November 2015


November 1 – Europe / Middle East: TURKEY
Turkey’s general election results in a win of the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), which regains a parliamentary majority after having had lost it five months earlier in the June 2015 general election. The snap election was called by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in August after the June election resulted in a hung parliament and inability to form a coalition. Despite winning a majority, AKA comes short of 14 seats to be able to call a referendum on changing the constitution and boosting the President’s powers.

November 4 – South Asia: MALDIVES
The Maldives declares a state of emergency for 30 days after the government says it uncovered a plot to assassinate President Abdulla Yameen. The government claims that the president survived an assassination attempt on his boat despite the FBI’s report pointing to no evidence of a bomb blast. (November 5): The Maldives Parliament overwhelmingly votes to impeach Vice President Ahmed Adeeb who is arrested and accused of plotting to kill President Yameen. President Yameen came to power in 2013 in a bitterly contested presidential election against the first democratically elected leader, Mohamed Nasheed. In July this year, Nasheed was impeached, arrested and sentenced to13 years in prison on terrorism charges. His party claims the sentence was politically-motivated. International rights groups widely condemn the verdict.

November 7 – East Asia: CHINA / TAIWAN
China’s president, Xi Jinping, and Taiwan’s president, Ma Ying-jeou, hold historic talks in Singapore, the first ones since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949. Both sides talk about consolidating the 1992 Consensus and developing cross-strait peace. Also, as a result of the talks, both countries agree to swap jailed spies. In Taiwan, the meeting is received with distrust and a suspicious feeling about China’s real motives.

November 8 – East Asia: MYANMAR
Myanmar’s opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party led by Aung San Suu Kyi wins a landslide victory in the country’s parliamentary elections. It wins 86 percent of the seats in the parliament called the Hluttaw (370 of the 492 contested seats), securing the supermajority needed to ensure that its favored candidates will be elected president and first vice president. Twenty-five percent of the Hluttaw seats are reserved for unelected military representatives who also have a veto power over any constitutional changes. The NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi is constitutionally barred from becoming the president (as she is also a UK citizen), but she is expected to hold the real power in any NLD-led government. The new government will take over in January 2016.

November 12 – Middle East: LEBANON
The Islamic State (IS) takes responsibility for two suicide attacks in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut. The bombings take place in a mostly Shia suburb and Hezbollah stronghold, the Bourj al-Barajneh district, with one outside a mosque and the other inside a bakery. The attack kills 43 people and injures 239. All four attackers were IS recruits.

November 13 – Europe: FRANCE
Several gunmen and suicide bombers strike various Paris locations in a coordinated terrorist attacks, killing 130 people and injuring 368 in mass shootings. Islamic State (IS) group claims responsibility for the attacks. The militants strike Stade de France, the Bataclan music venue, as well as several cafes and restaurants. Seven attackers are killed, while two are on the run. The attacks were planned in Syria and organized in Belgium. Police are searching for accomplices in Belgium and France. (November 15): In a response to the Paris attacks, France launches the biggest airstrike operation on IS targets in Syria. (November 27): After a week of talks with leaders of several countries, French President Francois Hollande does not succeed in forming a coalition in the fight against IS, but wins promises of increased political and military cooperation. The United States promises greater sharing of intelligence; Germany offers its infrastructure to refuel airplanes and promises to share its intelligence gathering on IS; the United Kingdom promises to join the air strikes after the approval of its parliament; Cyprus and the UK promise to open air bases at the Mediterranean for the French military to strike the IS.

November 17 – East Asia / Latin America: CHINA / ARGENTINA
China sign a $15 billion deal with Argentina to finance and build two nuclear power plants there. The deal shows China’s continued interest in maintaining its presence in Latin America. Since 2007, China has invested $19 billion in Argentina’s infrastructure projects and made more investments in other Latin American countries.

November 17 – Africa: TUNISIA
In a counter-terrorism operation, the Tunisian authorities arrest a dozen suspected Islamists who, they say, plotted another terrorist attack in the country. The authorities say the arrested have trained in terrorist camps in Syria and Iraq. Tunisia estimates that around 3,000 of its citizens are part of Islamic militant groups in Syria and Iraq.

November 20 – Africa: MALI
Two gunmen attack the luxury Radisson Blu hotel in Mali’s capital, Bamako, killing 22 people (including foreign guests) and taking the staff and guests as hostages. Special forces storm the hotel freeing the hostages and killing both militants. Three different Islamist militant groups claim responsibility for the attack: al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, al-Murabitoun, and the Macina Liberation Front (MLF), which operates in central and southern Mali.

November 22 – East Asia: HONG KONG
Activists of the 2014 Occupy Central protests win eight seats in in the Hong Kong District Council elections. The term “Occupy Central” is commonly used to describe a loose pro-democracy political movement that was created spontaneously during the Hong Kong protests of 2014. It is also known as the “Umbrella Movement” in reference to the umbrellas used for defense against tear gas. Elections are held to all 18 District Councils. Over 900 candidates competed for 431 available seats. The pan-democrat Neo Democrats win 15 out of their 16 bids, doubling the number of their seats from 7 to 15. The pro-Beijing camp, however, retains its control of all 18 councils with the Beijing-loyalist party Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) maintaining its lead as the largest party. The Hong Kong councilors have mainly advisory role to the government.

November 23 – Latin America: ARGENTINA
Argentina’s conservative center-right opposition candidate, Mayor of Buenos Aires Mauricio Macri, defeats Peronist Daniel Scioli in the country’s run-off presidential election ending the 32-year-rule of the center-left Peronist party. Economic reforms will be the priority on his agenda as president, followed by rebuilding Argentina’s ties with its allies and neighbors in Latin America.

November 24 – Middle East / Europe: TURKEY / RUSSIA
Turkey shoots down a Russian warplane in the Syrian-Turkey border area, which was on the bombing mission in Syria. Turkey claims the plane violated Turkish airspace, flying over Turkish territory despite 10 warnings to change course. Russia denies the claim and says that the plane never entered Turkish airspace. Turkey says it has previously warned Russia about violations of its airspace, as well as strikes against Syrian Turkic minority that lives in Syria along the Turkish border. Russian President Vladimir Putin describes the attack as “a stab in the back by the accomplices of terrorists.” Russia also imposes economic sanctions on Turkey.

November 29 – Europe / Middle East: EUROPEAN UNION / TURKEY
The European Union and Turkey come to an agreement on the migrant crisis. According to the deal, Turkey will restrict the migrant flow into Europe and in return it will receive $3.17 billion that will support the refugees in Turkey. The EU also agrees to include Turkey in the Schengen Area, the visa-free zone within Europe by October 2016 and restart stalled EU accession talks with Turkey.