Owen Matthews

Moscow Splurges on a New Armada

While much of Europe slashes spending to reduce deficits, surging oil prices are allowing Russia to splurge. The Kremlin's choice of stimulus package is a bit of a throwback, though—among other things, a new fleet of warships to challenge China.

Opposition to Alcohol in Turkey

The founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, was so fond of raki that he died of liver disease. But alcohol is becoming the latest battleground in Turkey's culture wars. New regulations introduced this month by the conservative, Islamic-leaning AK Party government have caused a storm of protest from the imbibing elite.

How Asia's Binge Shoppers Will Help The West

Look at global economics from a moral point of view, and it's a story of virtue rewarded. Growth in the West, fueled by easy credit and consumption, collapsed in the 2008 financial crisis. Growth in the East, by contrast, fueled by saving and production, has held steady. But look more carefully, and the reality is that Asia's legendary culture of saving, while not quite a myth, is fast declining in many places.

Rethinking Turkey's Past

Ultimately, the outcome of Turkey's ongoing culture wars between the ultra-secularists who defend military dictatorship and the Islamists who seek to jail the officers who overturned Turkey's Constitution is about more than coming to terms with the past.

Russia's Liberal Thaw?

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's lofty rhetoric is at last coming true—to a point. The country's Federal Migration Service has announced an easing of the Soviet-style registration system that has kept many citizens from living wherever in Russia they choose.

Turkey Reaches Out to Both West and Iran

In a visit to London last week, Turkish President Abdullah Gül declared his country to be a bright spot amid Europe's gloom: "It wouldn't be surprising if we start talking about BRIC plus T [for Turkey]." The boast was more symptomatic of Turkey's geopolitical ambitions than its real economic heft—in cash terms, its GDP is only half of Russia's, the poorest BRIC nation.

Russia Sends Out a Hit Man

Dmitry Medvedev has made his name talking up liberal ideas and blasting corrupt bureaucrats. But when his nation's pride is at stake, Russia's president sounds like his hard-nosed mentor, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

A Return Engagement for Russia

To this day, many Russians can only wish they had never heard of Afghanistan. But two decades after the Soviet Union's humiliating pullout, NATO is working to get Russia back into the country. The plan, championed by NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, would have Moscow provide helicopters to Afghan and NATO forces, train Afghan national-security forces, and assist in counternarcotics programs and border security.

Back to Afghanistan

Two decades after the Soviet Union's humiliating retreat from Afghanistan, NATO is working to get Russia back into the country to help fight drug trafficking and rebuild Afghan security forces. The deal is championed by NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen as part of a "new start in the relationship between NATO and Russia."

The Real Reasons NEWSWEEK RUSSIA Folded

On Monday the German-based media company Axel Springer announced the closure of NEWSWEEK RUSSIA, the Russian-language title it had licensed from NEWSWEEK since 2004. It was one of the few independent newsmagazines left in Russia, and its demise marks the end of one of the last bold and critical voices in the country's increasingly bland and docile media landscape.

Russia Suspects a Split at the Top

Moscow's barrel-chested mayor, Yury Luzhkov, has been a force in Russian politics since 1993, but recently he learned who's boss. When the -mayor thought he could run a highway through a patch of woodland on the city's outskirts, Dmitry Medvedev blocked it—and when Luzhkov publicly complained, the Kremlin launched a media campaign accusing the -mayor of corruption, intimidation, and even murder.

Old Istanbul Hotels Reveal New Style

Back when there was no tourism but only travel, the rich would take steamers and luxury trains to Constantinople to visit one of the world's most cosmopolitan cities. A century later, Istanbul is as international as ever—it's been named Europe's Capital of Culture this year—and many of the grand old hotels have new face-lifts, while many boutique hotels are opening in historic buildings.

Putin's Russia: Exile Businessmen

Yevgeny Chichvarkin once took London by storm. Bounding onto the stage at the Russian Economic Forum four years ago in red sneakers, graffiti-sprayed jeans, and a top that proclaimed that he was MADE IN MOSCOW, the 34-year-old Russian businessman told the elite gathering how he'd grown his Evroset mobile-phone company into a billion-dollar empire in just five years, and that a "new generation of young businesspeople" was "ready to integrate Russia into the world economy."