Turkey remains 110th in the Economist's latest global democracy index. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) categorized Turkey as the only “hybrid regime” in western Europe -- the second lowest after “authoritarian regime.”
A total of 131 suspects were handed prison terms on Jan. 22 in the case into the illegal wiretapping by Gülenists. Those sentenced include police chiefs that carried out Dec. 17-25, 2013 graft probes, which targeted former ministers and are deemed as attempts to overthrow the government by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Bilal Erdoğan, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's son, has criticized Turkey's intellectuals for being "outdated." “Unfortunately our 20th century intellectuals weren't able to follow the world and they missed out. How did they miss out? When the Young Turks went to Europe for education, to France in particular, they were influenced by the positivist trends," Bilal Erdoğan said.
Turkey's Supreme Election Board (YSK) Sadi Güven has said that the practice of using envelopes when casting votes should be removed. "The practice of using envelopes was removed in many countries. The envelopes need to be removed after making ballot boxes opaque instead of transparent with a change in legal regulations," he said.
Good Party leader Meral Akşener said that she can't predict whether the country will have early elections because the decision is up to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. "We could be casting ballots with one executive order," Akşener said, adding that she wasn't aware of Good Party member Lütfü Türkkan's tweet from Jan. 19 asking "How's Sunday June 28 for elections?"
The General Directorate of Foundations, under the Culture and Tourism Ministry, has taken over the management of Foundation for Sciences and Arts (BSV), which was co-founded by former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in 1986. The foundation said the take-over is "a perilous step that can lead to a big damage in our centuries-long foundation tradition."
Turkey's former Prime Minister Davutoğlu has accused economy administration of manipulating inflation figures. "Competent people need to be in charge of this administration. Think about a doctor who tells his patient that he is fine by changing his test results. The patient says 'I'm dying,' but the doctor says, 'Look at the figures, your test results are fine.' The economy administration in Turkey is doing exactly this," he said.
Columnist Soli Özel met Ian Lustick from UPenn to discuss his new book "Paradigm Lost." Lustick says that Israel thought repeated military victory over Palestinians would divide them, with one fraction willing to compromise, but that this policy eventually created a false illusion in Israelis' minds of a weak enemy. Lustick says that this made Israelis reluctant to compromise with Palestinians, birthing the "one-state reality."
Murat Yetkin writes: The worker rally with the broadest turnout that Turkey witnessed in the last couple of years took place on January 19 in Bursa, the hub of the Turkish automotive sector. Of course, it is not possible to assume that a single rally indicates a certain groundswell that could also affect politics but other omens have emerged for those who don’t turn a blind eye.
The assailant who targeted the HDP's Istanbul headquarters last week has been arrested on charges of “using unregistered firearm” and “disturbing the public peace.” The gunman told the authorities that he had come to Istanbul from the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri just to undertake this attack and had scouted the area for two days prior to the incident.
Turkey rapporteur for the European Parliament (EP) Amor has congratulated Istanbul Mayor İmamoğlu for winning last year's mayoral election "twice." “I congratulate you twice, because you won the election twice. This process means a new political expansion for your country. And you, in an unexpected way, became a political figure,” Amor told İmamoğlu during their meeting.
As the row over the AKP and the main opposition CHP over Kanal Istanbul continues, a report by daily Cumhuriyet said that Finance Minister Berat Albayrak purchased land on the route of the controversial canal a year after President Erdoğan announced the plans to build it. Albayrak's lawyer Ahmet Özel released a statement shortly after Cumhuriyet's report, saying that "it was an ordinary purchase."
According to a poll carried out by Metropoll research company, the gap between the popularity ratings of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu is closing. Erdoğan topped the list with 50.2 percent popularity rating, while İmamoğlu ranked second with 48.6 percent. Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş ranked third on the list with 38.8 percent.
Istanbul is too important to be left to the hands of local authorities, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, amid an ongoing war of words between the President and the city's Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu. "We won't allow the blocking of the beneficial projects that we are trying to bring to life when we support every beneficial work carried out in Istanbul," Erdoğan said.
Rahşan Ecevit, wife of late Turkish Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit, died at the age of 97 at a hospital in the capital Ankara on Jan. 17. She was the founder and first leader of Turkey's Democratic Left Party (DSP).