KGOU

Syria

Suzette Grillot / KGOU

Over the past 11 months, the Zaatari refugee camp in Northern Jordan has hosted hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing that country’s civil war.

World Views host Suzette Grillot and regular contributor Rebecca Cruise visited the camp in early June, and witnessed some of the camp's newest arrivals.

“They had their life's belongings in a wheelbarrow,” Cruise says. “They were coming in with some hope, and unfortunately, I don't know hopeful the situation really is going to be for them. So that was very sad to see."

(This post was last updated at 1:31 p.m. ET.)

On Thursday, the United States revealed that it now has "high confidence" that the Syrian regime had used chemical weapons against rebel forces.

"The constant flow of killings continues at shockingly high levels," the U.N. high commissioner for human rights said Thursday as her office reported there have been at least 92,901 conflict-related deaths in Syria since March 2011.

Ammar Abd Rabbo / Flickr

Real-time updates on social media are revolutionizing traditional journalism. By following Twitter feeds and other forms of social media, journalists like NPR Senior Strategist Andy Carvin now identify breaking news faster and do a better job following international stories.

“Crowdsourcing is basically just a fancy term for asking for help from the public,” Carvin says. “It's something journalists have always done at various points, but now social media has made it easy to engage people all over the world.”

Carvin calls himself an “informational DJ.” He has used crowdsourcing to cover stories ranging from the Newtown, Connecticut shooting to the Arab Spring.

Suzette Grillot continues to host the program from Istanbul. A week since protests broke out across Turkey, she and Joshua Landis discuss where things stand in the normally peaceful and stable country.

On Friday June 14 Iranians head to the polls to elect a successor to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Tehran Bureau founder and editor Kelly Niknejadjoins World Views for a look at the elections, and a conversation about Western journalism in the Islamic Republic.

KGOU's "World Views" contributor Joshua Landis tells the PBS Newshour more arms will certainly lead to more killing in the short run, but if the Western countries are willing to go toe to toe with Russia, Iran and Hezbollah in Syria, they can certainly give better arms and provide more lethal air power.

KGOU's "World Views" contributor Joshua Landis's blog "Syria Comment" makes this list from "Policy Mic."

Suzette Grillot / KGOU

Tens of thousands of Turks have joined anti-government protests expressing discontent with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s 10-year rule.

Joshua Landis, the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, says the protests started over green space in the middle of Istanbul’s Taksim Square. Developers, with the backing of Erdoğan, want to build a large shopping mall.

“Very quickly political parties and the opposition parties joined in,” Landis says. “But much more than that, lots of middle-class people and particularly young students began to crowd into the squares.”

Suzette Grillot / KGOU

Monday marked the fourth day that riot police used tear gas in Istanbul and Ankara against protesters.

Demonstrations started Friday over plans to rip out trees and redevelop an area of Taksim Square in Istanbul, but quickly spread as urban, secular Turks vented frustration that prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is an authoritarian figure who wants to force his religious outlook on them.

KGOU's World Views host Suzette Grillot is in Ankara leading the University of Oklahoma College of International Studies "Journey to Turkey" program.

"We are half-a-mile away from the protests in Ankara – we can hear them from our hotel,” Grillot says.  “But interestingly, life continues as usual outside the protest areas with people shopping and eating at outdoor cafes with little interest in what is happening."

Suzette Grillot reports from Antalya, Turkey, where she speaks with Middle East expert Joshua Landis about Turkey’s booming economy and domestic anxieties.

Desmond Shawe-Taylor and Anna Somers Cocks join the program to discuss art appreciation in the 21st century. Shawe-Taylor is the Surveyor of The Queen’s Pictures, overseeing nearly 7,000 oil paintings and 3,000 miniatures from the British Royal Collection. Somers Cocks is the founding editor and CEO of The Art Newspaper.

Joshua Landis / Facebook

Over the last decade, Turkey has averaged at least five percent growth of gross domestic product per year with a per capita income now more than $17,000, according to the country’s Ministry of Finance.

Those numbers are only expected to rise, even as a revolution continues to boil over next door in Syria, Iran faces severe economic sanctions, and economies in Greece and Cyprus melt down.

Joshua Landis, the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, says after Turkey’s attempt to join the European Union failed, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan forged a new path, facing neither East nor West.

FreedomHouse2 / Flickr

After decades of fighting, the conflict between the Kurdish nationalist group the PKK and the Turkish government finally drew to a close with a ceasefire in March.

Peace in Turkey may be short-lived, though. Violence in neighboring Syria is steadily intensifying, forcing a reluctant Turkey to respond and possibly putting citizens at risk.

“Most people among the Kurdish population are very optimistic,” says Firat Demir, a University of Oklahoma economist. “The last thing now that a citizen of Turkey wants is to have another civil conflict after this 80-year-old bloody conflict that is ending.”

Update at 1:55 p.m. ET: White House Is "Highly Skeptical":

At the White House this afternoon, spokesman Jay Carney said the U.S. is "highly skeptical" of the comments made over the weekend by international prosecutor Carla del Ponte, who said there are "strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof" that rebels in Syria have used sarin gas.

We've been covering del Ponte's comments, and the reaction to them, through the day. Scroll down to see an earlier update and our original post.

On Tuesday President Obama reiterated that the U.S. has evidence chemical weapons have been used in Syria, and regular contributor and Syria expert Joshua Landis discusses "game changers" and crossing "red lines."

Universidad de Chile industrial engineering professor and Educación 2020 founder Mario Waissbluth joins the program for a conversation about socio-economic segregation in the South American country's schools.

FreedomHouse / Flickr

U.S. and other diplomatic officials say discussions within the Obama administration in favor of providing arms to the Syrian rebels are gaining ground amid new indications that President Bashar Assad's regime may have launched additional chemical weapons attacks.

Joshua Landis, the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, says eliminating Syria's air defenses would be the first step before inspectors could determine if the regime did indeed use chemical weapons.

"Once you've destroyed the Syrian military, you're in Iraq in a sense," Landis says. "We were criticized in Iraq because we only had 100,000 troops to protect an entire country."

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