Human Rights
Turkish prosecutors are seeking an aggravated life sentence and an additional 20 years in prison for Osman Kavala in a second indictment filed against the renowned philanrophist. The indictment includes claims that Kavala organized the 2013 Gezi Park protests -- allegations of which he was cleared back in February.
A child that was rescued from a house fire in western Turkey said that he had been chained inside by his father for misbehaving. The child's mother said that the father chained the child "only on Tuesdays," while the father remains under police custody.
AKP deputy Cengiz Aydoğdu has admitted that "something happened" when asked about the incident of throwing of two Kurdish men from a military helicopter in the eastern province of Van. "Yes, something happened and the prosecutor's office launched a probe," Aydoğdu said in a speech in parliament on Oct. 7.
Turkish police have detained four journalists in the eastern province of Van for reporting the throwing of two Kurdish men from a military helicopter. Police raided the journalists' houses, as well as the Van office of the Mesopotamia News Agency, and seized all cameras and technical equipment.
More than 59,000 children were sexually abused in Turkey between 2014-2017, some 87 percent of them girls, said main opposition CHP deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu, basing this figure on official data from TÜİK. Tanrıkulu also slammed the Justice Ministry for blocking access to data from 2002-2017 with regards to sexual cases.
An 8-year-old child has died after falling from the roof when trying to access internet to attend remote education in Istanbul. Çınar Mert from Istanbul's Esenyurt district was having problems in securing an internet connection necessary to attend classes when his father went up to the roof to solve the problem. The child followed his father and fell when his foot slipped. "How is education free and equal for all?" his father asked.
A total of 70 migrants who were struggling to breathe were rescued from a minivan by the gendarmerie in the eastern province of Van on Oct. 4. While two of the migrants were found dead inside the overcrowded vehicle, the remaining migrants were held by the security teams. The migrants included 37 Pakistani, 33 Afghan and two Iraqi nationals.
The lawyer of Hacı Lokman Birlik, who was shot by soldiers and dragged until he died behind an armored vehicle in the southeastern province of Şırnak in 2015, has taken the case to the Constitutional Court. "Since no investigation was launched into the shooting of Birlik, the crime scene was not investigated, evidence was not collected, witness testimonies were not taken, the weapons used were not looked into and the testimonies of the security forces were not taken," Birlik's lawyer told Duvar.
At least six million students are unable to access remote education due to a lack of internet or proper devices in their household, according to the educator's union Eğitim SEN. While some families have one smartphone only, others complained about finding areas that have internet access since the connection frequently fades in and out.
Turkish prosecutors have put a broadcast ban on news reports concerning throwing of two Kurdish men from a military helicopter while under detention in the eastern province of Van.
The head of the state-run Turkey Human Rights and Equality Institution (TIHEK) defended underage marriages, and said that they should be differentiated from sexual assault. "People shouldn't be tried over shameful crimes just because they got married young," Süleyman Arslan said.
The recent suicide of a transgender woman in Istanbul sheds light on the struggles faced by the group in the metropolitan city. Hailing from a conservative central Turkey province, the transgender woman faced threats of violence from her roommates to the point where she didn't feel safe in her Istanbul home.
Police have prevented HDP deputies from offering their condolences to the family of a Kurdish man who died after being thrown from a military helicopter while under detention. Police arrived at the site as HDP deputy Hüda Kaya was making a speech and told mourners that they need to disperse because of the pandemic measures. Officers also said that they will start detaining people if they continue with the ceremony.
A group of workers have been protesting the international company Cargill for their layoff on the grounds of their union membership. The workers have reached day 894 of their protest outside the Bursa factory.
Freedom of expression in Turkey is effectively nonexistent, although it's a constitutionally protected right, a report by the German Foreign Ministry said. Deutsche Welle reported that the document noted Ankara's mass prosecution policies, and the inconsistencies in the judiciary.
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Ankara's conflict-oriented foreign policy has received the public's support for military operations, but public opinion often fails to translate into votes. While Ankara's "enemy" in military conflict is ever-changing, the northern Syria conflict was revealed to be the only intervention that expanded the government's voter base.
Selahattin Demirtaş writes: You have re-arrested us after six years. You say we are the instigators of the Kobane massacres when we were actually the victims. Do you think you will be able to make us responsible for this through conspiracies based on secret witnesses and be saved from responsibility? You must genuinely believe that the fascism you rely on today will always exist.
Politics
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's salary has been raised by 8.3 percent to a total of 88,000 Turkish Liras, as part of a budget proposal submitted by the ruling AKP government to parliament. Erdoğan's new salary will be effective as of January 2021. Earlier in October, Erdoğan had urged the believers of Islam to have “patience” in the face of financial problems.
Some 32 deputies in parliament failed to take the stand except to take an oath, daily BirGün reported on Oct. 21. A total of 27 of said deputies were members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), receiving more than 500,000 liras in annual salaries when combined.
The trial into the murder of prominent Kurdish human rights lawyer Tahir Elçi started on Oct. 21, amid further obstacles to securing an effective investigation into the killing. None of the three defendant police officers attended the hearing in person in the courtroom, but instead appeared via the video system. Elçi family's lawyers said that this is against the normal procedure and the case was being handled in a “negligent” and “impartial” way.
Turkish police have seized 879 animal and plant fossils worth $10 million from two houses owned by Islamic televangelist cult leader Adnan Oktar. Officials said the fossils would be delivered to a museum in Ankara.
The Istanbul 15th High Criminal Court has rejected exiled journalist Can Dündar's appeal against the seizure of his assets. The court has said that it has found the 14th High Criminal Court's Oct. 7-dated decision “in accordance with procedure and law.”
In a parliamentary question addressing Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, HDP lawmaker Ali Kenanoğlu has asked what kind of legal proceedings the ministry has run against the assailants of 36 publicly known hate crime incidents that were committed against Alevis in the last eight years. Kenanoğlu's inquiry came after unidentified assailants on Oct. 20 painted threatening messages on an Istanbul apartment building housing Alevis.
Turkey said it would not hesitate to send soldiers and provide military support for Azerbaijan if such a request were made by Baku. "There is already a military cooperation agreement between Turkey and Azerbaijan. If there is a need and Azerbaijan makes such a request, then Turkey would do it openly [provide military support]," Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Oct. 21.
Unidentified assailants have stabbed a 14-year-old Syrian child to death in Turkey's Central Anatolian province of Konya. Vail El-Mansur was on his way to the tailor shop he was working at when he was murdered brutally.
Turkish authorities seized 220 kilograms of cocaine on a ship that arrived at a port in the country's southern coast from Brazil. Police in the coastal province of Mersin found the cocaine hidden in a container carrying packages of paper.
Istanbul University's Cerrahpaşa Medical School has been observing twice as many patients, the dean said on Oct. 20. Turkey's official numbers receded to early May levels on the same day, observing some 2,026 diagnoses. "There's almost a doubling of the number of cases and patients seeking help in Cerrahpaşa. The winter might be rough for all of us," the dean said.
Turkey will send some 110,000 tons of grains and flour to countries in need, primarily Syria, a presidential decree in the Official Gazette said on Oct. 21. While the grains will be handed out by Ankara's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) and the Turkish Red Crescent, any wages related to the operation will be taken out of the Treasury's budget as well.
During a recession that has dealt a deep blow to agricultural producers across Turkey, potato farmers are struggling to get by while retailers purchase produce cheap and sell at high prices to consumers. "I don't like the AKP anymore,” said one 70-year-old farmer, who has grown potatoes in Niğde for 45 years.
A controversial social media legislation has enabled the Turkish government to swiftly block access to scores of news reports from critical newspapers and websites within the past month. "What we are facing is a heavy censorship mechanism,” cyber-rights expert Yaman Akdeniz told the daily Cumhuriyet.
The death of Serkan Tumay in a prison raised concerns on the prison conditions in Turkey once again. While Tumay's family says that he was tortured by prison guards repeatedly and died as a result in Kırıkkale F-Type Prison, opposition deputies Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu and Gülizar Biçer Karaca asked Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül to explain how he died.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has found Turkey guilty of violating the right to free speech of Prof. Baskın Oran and Prof. İbrahim Kaboğlu, who faced prosecution in 2005 for publishing a report on the country's minorities. The ECHR said that the legal proceedings against the two academics had “inevitably created pressure" on them leading to “self-censorship.”
The Coalition for Women in Journalism has launched a petition demanding that Turkey immediately drop charges against journalist Ayşegül Doğan, who prosecutors accuse of "being a member of an armed organization." "Today, Ayşegül Doğan has become the target of the government due to her journalism, which touches on social issues such as the struggle for peace, women's struggle and labor," read the petition.
Five years later after the killing of Kurdish lawyer Tahir Elçi, the case still remains unsolved, amid claims that the Turkish intelligence service's neglect played a role in the murder. Diyarbakır Bar Association and Tahir Elçi Human Rights Foundation have criticized the indictment in the murder case, saying that the inclusion of an alleged PKK member as a suspect in the case is inconsistent and is an attempt to divert the attention from the real perpetrators.
A HDP lawmaker has submitted two separate parliamentary questions inquiring about the whereabouts of Bahtiyar Fırat who went missing on Oct. 14 amid concerns that he might have been abducted by state agents. MP Sait Dede asked Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulahmit Gül if they will issue a statement with regards to the fate of Fırat considering that 17,000 people have been so far victims of enforced disappearances while under detention in Turkey.
Hatice Cengiz, the fiancée of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, on Oct. 20 filed a lawsuit against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a U.S. court, accusing the kingdom’s de facto ruler of ordering the journalist's killing.
Economy
The Turkish government has said that it "laughs off" boycotts imposed on Turkish products in Saudi Arabia, Morocco and United Arab Emirates. "We laugh off some countries' boycotts against Turkey. They should first learn to stand as independent countries," AKP deputy leader Numan Kurtulmuş said on Oct. 18.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected that income per capita in Turkey would drop to 2005 levels, an annual average of $7,720. The IMF also predicted a five percent contraction in the Turkish economy until the end of 2020, despite Ankara's 0.3 percent growth projection.
Turkey's net international investment deficit grew by $20 billion from the end of 2019 to reach a total $365.8 billion at the end of August. Turkey's international assets shrunk by 10.2 percent to reach $227.4 billion in the same period.
President Erdoğan on Oct. 17 announced the discovery of an additional 85 billion cubic meters of natural gas in the Black Sea, following a similar find in August. As a result of testing, analysis and detailed engineering work, another 85 billion cubic meters were added to the reserves we had discovered. The total amount of natural gas reserves in the TUNA-1 well of the Sakarya Gas Field reached 405 billion cubic meters," Erdoğan said.
Data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) revealed a dip in real estate sales vis-a-vis last year in September, dropping by 6.9 percent for some 136,744 residences sold. Meanwhile, the total volume of sales between January and September was larger than the number in 2019.
Urban Beat
Kurdish artist Zehra Doğan's work that she created during her two prison sentences between 2016 and 2019 are on display in Turkey for the first time. The artist was jailed on terrorism charges and gained international fame after finishing her second sentence and holding a show at London's Tate Modern.
Turkey's Presidential Symphony Orchestra will thrive thanks to the completion of its long-awaited music hall, Conductor Cemi'i Can Deliorman said. Having been in the works for 25 years, the music hall's large auditorium can seat more than two thousand viewers.
Alterations on Istanbul's iconic Hagia Sophia reportedly violated guidelines mandated under the site's "UNESCO World Heritage" status. Converted within two weeks of the legal ruling that allowed Muslim worship, the ancient structure's mosaics were unlawfully covered up, and any work on it was deemed practically impossible, architectural publication Mimarlık Magazine reported.