Politics
Turkish Presidential Communications Directorate has set up a new department to tackle "misperception operations" against Turkey. Countering "psychological campaigns, propaganda and misperception operations against Turkey" after determining them were listed among the department's duties.
The Diyarbakır Chief Prosecutor's Office has drafted an extradition request and red notice for former Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Osman Baydemir. Baydemir, who was the mayor of Diyarbakır between 2004 and 2014, is currently living in the U.K., prosecutors said in their application to the Justice Ministry.
Turkey's Constitutional Court said in a ruling on Sept. 17 that former CHP lawmaker Enis Berberoğlu's right to stand for election and engage in political activities as well as his right to freedom and security had been violated. The ruling concerns Berberoğlu's continued imprisonment despite his re-election as a member of parliament on June 24, 2018.
President Erdoğan has said that a system which he defined as the "Turkey model” will lay the foundations of the country’s 2053 vision. "You cannot find anywhere else such a genuine democracy, a fair development objective, a long-established ideal of right and justice which are built on the concept of human values. Hopefully we will build our 2053 vision on such a model," he said.
If parliamentary elections were held today in Turkey, ultranationalist MHP would receive 6.5 percent of the votes, a recent survey revealed. The MHP serve as alliance partner to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), who polled at 37.2, indicating that more than half of the respondents favored parties outside the ruling coalition or were undecided.
Management of Turkey's seismic search vessel Oruç Reis was signed to a close friend of former PM Binali Yıldırım, daily BirGün reported. While the tender was worth nearly $5 million, the private company will operate the vessel for the next two years.
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has called for the closure of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) after the organization has this week launched a series of protest events, accusing the government of mismanaging the COVID-19 pandemic. In the face of Bahçeli's remarks, messages of support poured in from Twitter users for the TTB, with the hashtag campaign of "#İyikiTTBvar" (which translates as "So glad we have TTB") going viral.
A member of Turkey's Constitutional Court has criticized Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu for targeting court head Zühtü Arslan. "The judges are independent. They issue rulings in accordance with the Constitution and the law. The legislative and executive bodies need to abide by court rulings and these bodies can never change them or delay their implementation," court member Engin Yıldırım said on Twitter.
Opposition politicians have continued to respond to former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş's remarks on unity among the opposition, with Future Party leader Ahmet Davutoğlu leaving the door open for dialogue. "In principle, I find it appropriate to talk to anyone who believes in democracy and who distanced themselves from terror for the future of this country," Davutoğlu told daily Sözcü on Sept. 15.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has reportedly been working on an online voting system as a precaution against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. According to Hürriyet, the AKP seeks to add an article that allows all parties to hold online congresses ahead of elections.
Turkish Education Ministry has urged its personnel to attend a symposium on Hagia Sophia organized by the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) and scheduled to be held in Istanbul on Sept. 30 upon the religious body's request. The ministry sent a notice to all provincial and district directorates to ensure attendance.
Former Ağrı Mayor Sırrı Sakık has been sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison over terrorism charges. The case against Sakık concerns a press statement he issued in 2015 for the resumed clashes between the PKK and Turkish military to come to an end. The prison sentence was handed down despite then Ağrı Governor Musa Işın's testimony that he had given his approval to the press statement in question.
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has targeted Constitutional Court President Zühtü Arslan over the top court's decision to cancel a provision in the Law on Demonstrations and Public Meetings (Law 2911) which did not allow inter-city demonstrations and marches.
The Patriotic Party led by Doğu Perinçek has expelled one of its prominent figures for opposing the party's stance on siding with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Çiçek's criticism of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and pro-government businessman Ethem Sancak were listed among the reasons for expulsion.
Over 36,000 people were probed in one year over "insulting" President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Justice Ministry statistics showed. Out of the 36,066 people probed, 12,298 were tried and 3,381 were given sentences. Before Erdoğan's term, the highest number of people being sentenced over "insulting" a president was 44.
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Duvar English’s editor-in-chief Cansu Çamlıbel and pollster Can Selçuki discuss the underlying factors behind the recent moves of Turkey's ruling alliance which paves the way for further polarization in politics as the country enters the final months of 2020. They also analyze the effects of the sharp decline of the Turkish Lira against foreign currencies over public's perception.
Dinçer Demirkent writes: Interior Minister Soylu said that the head of the Constitutional Court would be unable to commute to work without his protection team. What he meant was that he was the Minister who assigned the security team to the judge, implying he might just remove them. By doing so, Süleyman Soylu openly violates the article 138 of the Turkish Constitution; basic principle for the independence of the judiciary.
Politics
Local medical device companies have warned the Turkish Health Ministry that if debts owed by the government hospitals remain unpaid, there could be a “disruption in the health services” starting as early as in October. The Turkish Medical Equipment and Devices Manufacturers Association (TÜDER) has said that local medical firms have been waiting for the last 16 months to get their payment which has reached to around $26 billion Turkish Liras ($3.4 billion) in total.
Turkish Justice Ministry has dismissed a parliamentary question on the release of a rapist soldier for being "offensive." Uca in her question asked Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül to reveal the reason for why former specialized sergeant Musa Orhan was released despite raping İpek Er. The ministry said that the question can be accepted if the terms found "crude and offensive" are removed.
Turkey reportedly didn't apprehend ISIS militant Yunus Durmaz responsible for deadly attacks in Turkey despite determining his location 19 times between April 29 and May 19, 2016. Durmaz, who was sought over the attacks in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, the Suruç district of the southeastern province of Urfa, the capital Ankara and Istanbul's Taksim, blew himself up during a police raid on an ISIS cell in 2016.
An 80-year-old inmate who was imprisoned for holding a Muslim memorial service in Kurdish died on Sept. 23, without being allowed to see his family, pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu said. The old man's conviction should have been delayed in the first place since he was ill, the deputy added.
Former Zaman daily columnist Mümtazer Türköne has been released from jail following Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli's call for his retrial. Türköne's lawyer Figen Çalıkuşu has said she believes the release came after the Court of Cassation overturned the sentence following an appeal.
Turkey will not make any concessions over its claims in the eastern Mediterranean, said a statement issued following the country's National Security Council (MGK) meeting. “It has been once again emphasized that Turkey will not make a concession with regards to its rights and interests on land, sea or in the air, as has been the case up until today,” the statement read.
A group of lawyers close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have submitted their application to the Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) to form a second bar association in Istanbul. The group has collected just over 2,000 signatures required to establish their own association as per a new legislation which was passed by Turkish parliament in July of this year.
The trial into the murder of a 12-year-old girl shot dead on Oct. 12, 2015 in Diyarbakır during a curfew, has been put on hold following the Interior Ministry's refusal to grant permission for the prosecution of the police officer in question.
The Ankara Medical Chamber has said that the number of healthcare staff who have contracted the COVID-19 in the city has increased by 61 in the last eight days, reaching to a total of 943.
The Turkish government is reportedly planning to hand prison sentences between two months and a year to those violating quarantine rules based on an article of the Turkish Penal Code, which regulates behavior in violation of the measures against contagious diseases. The country on Sept. 23 announced the death toll as 72 - its highest since the beginning of May.
Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB) police teams on Sept. 24 demolished some restaurants and cafes on Heybeliada on the grounds that they were unlicensed. Café owners slammed the İBB's move saying that they had already paid an "occupancy fee" to the local management to use the lands in question.
Turkey's Central Bank unexpectedly hiked interest rates on Sept. 24, triggering an improvement in the lira's value against the dollar. The Turkish Lira has sunk to record lows over the past month as Ankara's currency interventions proved futile.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said that former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş will carry the indictments into him as medals, as he commented on a recent visit by a chief public prosecutor to the presidential palace. "We know that there are prosecutors lined up in front of Erdoğan," the CHP leader said.
Construction on Turkey's first nuclear power plant is ongoing amid reports of unpaid wages, the general manager said on Sept. 23. While management said it was contract companies that were lagging behind on payments, they launched an investigation into the wages nonetheless.
U.S. Ambassador to Turkey David Satterfield has said debts owed by Turkish government hospitals to American pharmaceutical companies had risen to around $2.3 billion, warning that there will be consequences for non-payment of debt or reductions in payment. "Companies will consider departing the Turkish market or will reduce exposure to Turkish market. This is not a direction which serves the interests of Turkey," he said on Sept. 23.
The Turkish Health Ministry is under scrutiny over the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases it announces daily. "This is not the exact number of positive cases. However, this is not the number of patients receiving treatment at hospitals only," the ministry reportedly told Prof. Mehmet Ceyhan, prompting confusion on what the numbers on the daily coronavirus chart mean.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has cautioned Turkey against further deployment of equipment from Chinese telecoms giant Huawei on its soil, saying it would complicate the military cooperation between the two NATO allies. The U.S. believes Huawei Technologies’ apparatus could be used for espionage.
CHP Group Deputy Chair Özgür Özel has asked the government to reveal who received millions of dollars of bribe from shady Iranian-Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab. "It's said that $80 million of this money was given to a single politician. Will the Financial Crime Investigation Board, Turkish Treasury, Court of Accounts and other auditors be mobilized?" Özel asked.
Turkey on Sept. 23 recorded more than 70 daily coronavirus deaths for the first time since May. Seventy two people died over the past 24 hours due to the COVID-19 in Turkey, while 1,767 new cases were diagnosed, according to the daily figures the Health Ministry announced on a COVID-19 dedicated website on Sept. 23.
A women's company in the western province of Uşak work to protect an art they inherited from their mothers, the endangered technique of weaving that produces "Turkish rugs," as they are known globally. Represented in Renaissance paintings, the Uşak rugs were once a symbol of wealth and prestige.
Economy
Turkey's state-owned Halkbank has urged a judge to dismiss a U.S. indictment accusing the bank of helping Iran evade American sanctions. At a hearing in Manhattan federal court on Sept. 18, a lawyer for Halkbank said its status as a Turkish “instrumentality” shielded it from prosecution because of sovereign immunity.
U.S. tech giant Amazon offered up its speed-delivery subscription to Turkish consumers on Sept. 15. The monthly subscription fee was set for 7.99 Turkish Liras, about one dollar with the current exchange rates.
Turkey's unemployment rate rose to 13.4 percent. and participation edged up in the May-July period in which a coronavirus lockdown was lifted and a ban on layoffs remained in place, data showed on Sept. 10, painting a clearer picture of the pandemic's fallout.
Turkish Airlines (THY) observed a drop of almost 65 percent in the number of August travelers compared to the year before. Domestic flights saw a smaller drop of 47.1 percent, while international flights shrank by 75.4 percent, THY said.
Urban Beat
Istanbulites will select the new face of Taksim Square from among three projects as part of the Istanbul Municipality's plans to renovate the area. Şerif Süveydan, Bünyamin Derman and Kutlu İnanç Bal were the winners in the contest that was held by Istanbul Planning Agency and Istanbul Municipality's Department of Cultural Assets.
The Odunpazarı Modern Museum in western Eskişehir won the award for "international project of the year over £1m" at the London Museums+Heritage Awards. The museum opened its doors just over a year ago in the city's ancient Odunpazarı neighborhood.
The 48th Istanbul Music Festival will be held online, streaming pre-recorded performances in historical venues. Starting on Sept. 18, the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) will make available the performances that honor composer Ludwig van Beethoven.
Heavy presence of the Asian tiger mosquito was detected in four Istanbul districts, concerning locals as the bug can carry malaria, the Zika virus and encephalitis. The invasive species have been increasing in population around Istanbul in the past decade, an Istanbul University veterinarian said.
Ali Demir writes: So the property of the local non-Muslims collapsed, and what happened? Nothing! The whole country is now composed of non-local foreigners. The greedy tailor apprentice that murdered his master could not sew a jacket, and will never be able to.