Politics
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu's guard chief Koray Aslan was forced to retire over "a lack of cadres." Aslan is known with his efforts to save Kılıçdaroğlu from a lynching attempt in the Çubuk district of the capital Ankara in April 2019.
A foundation close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will be closing down 25 of its dormitories due to financial struggles, daily Birgün reported on June 8. "We will use our resources to the 21 dormitories we will maintain and to our education services that will continue to diversify and expand," TÜRGEV said.
The appointments of low-level bureaucrats by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has harmed the hierarchical structure within the state, high-level ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials have told Duvar. "There are general managers who don't comply with what ministers tell them. They say, 'Both of us were appointed by the president.' Is this acceptable?" one official said.
Main opposition CHP MP Enis Berberoğu, who was stripped of his parliamentary status on June 4, has been temporarily released from prison and will remain under house arrest until the end of July as part of coronavirus measures.
AKP group deputy chair Mehmet Muş has said that the party is "clarifying" the issues related to the planned transfer of the main opposition CHP's stakes in Turkey’s largest listed lender İşbank. "We are clarifying the question marks. Await news from us,” Muş told journalists on June 5.
Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials have said that a new period is beginning in Turkish politics following the jailing of three opposition politicians, whose parliamentary statuses were stripped on June 4, adding that the day is a "milestone." While the move was met with surprise among the opposition ranks, the AKP knew about it for a week, government sources told Duvar.
Deputies from the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) were battered by police during a protest that they carried out against the imprisonment of three lawmakers, whose parliamentary statuses were stripped. The deputies were met with heavy riot police presence in Ankara's Güvenpark and their banners were also ripped apart by police.
The Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) has speeded up its efforts of mobilization as Turkey entered the normalization process following the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. DEVA's founding members have set up 18 commissions which will be tasked with the establishment of party organizations in all of Turkey's 81 provinces.
Turkish authorities early on June 5 arrested three opposition deputies after they were stripped of their parliamentary status. The legislators are Enis Berberoğlu of the main opposition CHP who went on trial on espionage charges and Leyla Güven and Musa Farisoğulları of the pro-Kurdish HDP who were convicted of terrorism charges.
Atilla Kart, lawyer and former MP of the main opposition CHP, has said that the expulsion of three opposition deputies from the parliament is "unconstitutional," as the process of lifting their legal immunity had not been renewed following their re-election on June 24, 2018.
HDP lawmakers Leyla Güven and Musa Farisoğulları and main opposition CHP Enis Berberoğulları were stripped of their statuses as members of parliament on June 4. Deputies chanted slogans against fascism and the ruling AKP. They also slammed the party for being "putschists."
Turkey's right-wing political party leaders Ali Babacan, Meral Akşener and Ahmet Davutoğlu have commemorated communist poet Nazım Hikmet on the 57th anniversary of his death. Hikmet is usually commemorated by leftists in Turkey and the commemoration tweets of right-wing leaders prompted surprise.
Ten new political parties were founded in Turkey in the past five months, increasing the total number to 91. Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), which was founded by former deputy prime minister Ali Babacan, is among the said parties. Former prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu founded his Future Party earlier than the said time period, in late 2019.
A recent survey by private pollster AREA Research revealed Turkey's opposition İYİ Party coming in third in a potential election, following the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the main opposition CHP. The AKP's coalition partner Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) ranked fifth, following pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).
Convicted mafia boss Alaattin Çakıcı has visited MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli at the MHP headquarters in the capital Ankara. Çakıcı was released from jail in April as part of an amnesty law drafted by the ruling AKP and its ally MHP.
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Şenay Aydemir writes: It seems like Netflix, rather than providing resources to Turkey and contributing to the advancement of the sector, chooses to work with producers that already have a strong share in the market. Though the Netflix Turkey team claims they are open to all kinds of projects and ideas, they are obviously more open to certain ideas, projects and production companies.
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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.
Politics
Turkey's southernmost province of Hatay was rocked by an explosion on Oct. 26 and authorities said that two militants of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) were nabbed following the blast. Hatay Governor Rahmi Doğan said that the two militants were a part of a group of four who had flown from the Syrian town of Manbij to the Amanos Mountains in Hatay using paramotors.
A report prepared by a number of civil society organizations regarding trials in Turkey prosecuting conscientious objectors to mandatory military service in the country has influenced the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers to pressure Turkey on recognizing the right to conscientious objection.
President Erdoğan and the newly-elected Turkish Cypriot President Ersin Tatar on Oct. 26 voiced their support for a two-state solution on the divided island of Cyprus. "We believe a two-state solution must now be brought to the table with a realistic proposal," Erdoğan said. Erdoğan also said that he would visit Turkish Cyprus on Nov. 15 and expressed his desire to have a picnic at Varosha.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said that at least 78 Turkey-backed Syrian rebels were killed and dozens more were injured in Russian airstrikes on a military training camp in Idlib. Those targeted were in a camp belonging to Faylaq al-Sham, the monitor said, adding that it was the deadliest attack since the ceasefire came into force in March.
The second indictment against human rights defender and businessman Osman Kavala presents no new grounds to justify his detention and is politically motivated, said Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in a statement.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has urged the UNESCO to release its report on the restoration works in the iconic Hagia Sophia as soon as possible. Lavrov said that for Russia Hagia Sophia is particularly valuable from the spiritual point of view.
Twenty-eight of Istanbul's 39 districts have registered more than 50 percent increase in COVID-19 infections in the past week compared to the average of this month, said Health Minister Fahrettin Koca. “The increase rate is 50-60 percent in 11 districts, 60-70 percent in 10 districts, and 70-80 percent in seven districts,” he told reporters on Oct. 26.
A Canadian vehicle manufacturer has suspended the delivery of aircraft engines to Turkey in the wake of reports that some of those engines are being used on Turkish combat drones deployed by Azerbaijan in its conflict against Armenian forces over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Former main opposition CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu's lawyer has appealed to the Constitutional Court following two lower courts' refusal to retry him over violations of his rights to participate in politics and personal freedom.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told a worker to enjoy a nice cup of tea as the latter complained of not being able to bring home bread. Erdoğan said that the worker's plea sounded like a huge exaggeration, evoking infamous French ruler Marie-Antoinette who told the people to eat cake if they can't find bread.
A dynamite blast in the construction of Turkey's first nuclear power plant damaged cars that were parked in the nearby lot, ANKA News Agency reported on Oct. 25. Locals have complained from the use of dynamite in the construction before, saying that the dust harms their crops, and the blasts have even cracked the walls of their homes.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has challenged the United States on a sanctions threat over Ankara’s support to Baku in its clashes with Armenia. "You [Americans] do not know who you are playing with. Go ahead with your sanctions," Erdoğan said. He also slammed the U.S. for not delivering promised F-35 fighter jets.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that Baku would use Turkish F-16 jets in case of an external attack on the country. "They've been asking me about why Turkish F-16s are here. I'm tired of answering. Everyone knows that the F-16s are waiting. They came here for a drill and our Turkish brothers kept them here for moral support. They'll see those F-16s if there is an external attack on us," Aliyev said.
Mehmet Ayışığı is a well-known and well-liked figure in Istanbul's Kurtuluş neighborhood, wandering the streets and calling out to customers with his signature voice. After Ayışığı's cart was confiscated by the Şişli Municipality due to noise complaints, area residents marched together with the vendor in a gesture of solidarity against police.
Known for its lush natural beauty, the environmental integrity of the town of Şavşat is under threat due to a hydroelectric power plant, where construction is due to continue despite being previously blocked by a regional court. “The people of the area are very determined. They will definitely not allow the construction of a hydroelectric power plant,” said Tahsin Yazıcı of the Kireçli village, saying that the villagers would use their democratic rights.
Turkish law enforcement detained some 38 journalists in the first eight months of 2020, a report by the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) revealed. Meanwhile, access to 53 news stories and 75 websites was blocked. Charges of insulting the president resulted in the detention of 24 people, the arrest of three and an investigation into one person.
Istanbul police violently detained around 40 members of a pro-Kurdish youth union involving pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party's (HDP) Youth Assembly, Mesopotamia Agency reported on Oct. 25. Police claimed that a banner held up by demonstrators was criminal on the grounds that it displayed a photo of İbrahim Kaypakkaya, a deceased Turkish leftist.
Economy
Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak has said that the economy is growing despite the tumbling Turkish Lira. The lira weakened to a record low on Oct. 26, hit by investor unease over the central bank's decision last week to keep its policy rate on hold and various sources of geopolitical concern. Strains in ties with the United States, a row with France, a dispute between Turkey and Greece over maritime rights and the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh have all unsettled investors.
Turkish monthly inflation was almost four times greater than the official rate in September, according to a new model developed by a group of academics and researchers. According to the independent Inflation Research Group (ENAG)'s first published finding, consumer prices in September rose 3.61 percent from the previous month, compared to the official Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK)'s calculation of 0.97 percent increase.
Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez said on Oct. 22 Turkey will operate the gas field which it recently discovered in the Black Sea on its own, but it may cooperate with foreign firms in terms of detailed work and equipment. The minister's comments came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Oct. 17 Turkey had raised the estimated reserves of the field to 405 billion cubic meters after finding an additional 85 bcm.
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.
Urban Beat
Turkey's southeastern city of Diyarbakır is nestled in Mesopotamia and has a deep legacy spanning millenniums and civilizations. A recent discovery on the 8000-year-old Amida Höyük archaeological site has unearthed an 1800-year-old heating system that was quite sophisticated for the time.
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.