Politics
KRG President Barzani has said that the presence of the PKK in the region is "not legitimate.” Barzani made the comments on April 20 in response to the PKK's call for the withdrawal of the KRG-affiliated Peshmerga from Zini Warte, a region of Erbil.
The Adana Provincial Health Directorate has sealed a field hospital constructed by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) off over "not being sanitary." According to the directorate, a license application was not filed by the municipality before its construction.
Turkish prosecutors are seeking up to two years in jail for a Cumhuriyet journalist who had reported that Finance Minister Berat Albayrak purchased a land on the route of the Kanal Istanbul project in 2012 — a year after Erdoğan announced plans for its construction.
Mafia leader Alaattin Çakıcı has thanked MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli, who is a close friend of his, and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for a bill that paved the way for his release. He also called on the newly-released prisoners to act responsibly amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Interior Ministry has launched a probe into Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu over the municipality's donation campaign against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. According to İmamoğlu, the block on the donations has been ongoing. "If you see a wrong procedure, you can launch an investigation into the Istanbul Mayor, but you can't block the citizens' donations," he said.
Notorious mafia leader Alaattin Çakıcı, whose ties to the deep state and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) are known, was released from prison on April 16 as part of a bill that allows some 90,000 convicts and arrestees to be freed in a bid to ease overcrowding in jails in the face of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Journalists and political prisoners, however, won't be released since they were excluded from the bill.
Turkey’s parliament on April 15 passed a bill that will see sentences increased by 50 percent for perpetrators targeting healthcare workers on duty. The long-awaited bill was passed as a gesture to medical professionals battling the coronavirus outbreak.
Turkey's main opposition CHP has filed a parliamentary motion requesting an investigation into the sources of money transfers made to the U.S.-based Türken Foundation, known to have close ties to the ruling AKP.
Future Party leader Ahmet Davutoğlu has said that the heads of all the AKP provincial organizations wanted to resign when he quit his role as prime minister in 2016. "This is the first time I'm saying this. All the provincial groups said, 'Allow us to hand our resignations as well.' Selim Temurci, then AKP Istanbul provincial head, said, 'We approved your party leadership nine months ago. All the provincial heads will resign. We stand with you,'" he said.
Former deputy of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Mustafa Yeneroğlu slammed new legislation in his first speech as a lawmaker of the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) of former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan. Yeneroglu criticized the legislation that allows the Council of Higher Education (YOK) to lay off academics for "terrorist propaganda."
The parliament has gone into recess for six weeks as part efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The recess comes despite the objection of the main opposition CHP and HDP, which demand greater scrutiny over how the Covid-19 crisis is being handled.
Singer Şükriye Tutkun and art director Yudum Yontan, two neighbors of Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun and his wife Fatmanur Altun, has come to their defense over reports of his illegal construction in Istanbul's Kuzguncuk neighborhood. They said that the land that the construction was made was a dump where drug addicts were dwelling in, hence finding the construction a positive move for the neighborhood.
Engin Özkoç, a deputy from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), has said the party will challenge the new prisoner release law in Turkey's top court. The law has been criticized by opposition parties for its exclusion of prisoners who are jailed for their political opinions.
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Health Minister Fahrettin Koca had a serious argument over the former's short-notice coronavirus curfew announcement, pro-government daily Hürriyet columnist Hande Fırat said on April 14. The ministers reportedly talked on the phone on April 11, a day after Soylu announced that a curfew will be imposed in 31 provinces on the weekend.
Turkey's parliament ratified a bill early on April 14 aimed at reducing the sentences of thousands of prisoners, paving the way for their release amid the coronavirus outbreak. The bill, drafted by the ruling AKP and its ally MHP, was supported by 279 lawmakers in the 600-seat chamber while 51 voted against it.
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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
Turkey's opposition parties have criticized the detention of HDP members CHP Group Deputy Chair Özgür Özel deemed the detentions "an intimidation operation" and asked the government whether new evidence was reached regarding the Kobane protests that happened six years ago. According to Özel, the recent detentions are attempts of the government to shift people's focus from the crumbling economy.
Turkish police on Sept. 25 detained some 20 HDP members, including Kars Co-Mayor Ayhan Bilgen, over 2014 violent protests against the siege by ISIS of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane. Detention warrants were issued for a total of 82 people in seven provinces. Those sought were in the MYK of the party at the time of the protests.
A group of opposition politicians slammed the construction of a 90-million-lira prison with a lake view in the eastern province of Van which government officials deemed "an investment." The opposition noted that the region has far more pressing needs than prisons and that hundreds of jails have been already built in recent years in Turkey.
Greek women from the Women's Initiative for Peace (WINPEACE) have slammed two Greek tabloids for their reports on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan allegedly having had an extramarital relationship with an actress. "We believe the fact that two newspapers in Greece, however marginal, have in the last week decided on publishing insulting, misogynist, shameful headlines, denigrating all human values is a despicable attempt to sabotage any positive developments," they said in a statement.
Turkey's Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects Chambers (TMMOB) has said that some 14 parcels on the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) land near the university masjid (prayer room for Muslims) have been zoned for construction. The architects urged the university administration to clarify the parcels' allocation and asked whether the land in question will be used for a mosque construction.
Turkey's depletion of foreign exchange reserves and the fact that a majority of its forex reserves are swap lines has created mass distrust in the economy, Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) Chairman Simone Kaslowski said. Turkey needs to “ensure full market confidence” to attract long-term financing flows, Kaslowski said during a videoconference on Sept. 24.
Works to excavate an ancient Roman bath in Turkey's Central Anatolian province of Yozgat have been stopped due to lack of financial funding. The area is now fenced off, and visitors are barred from entry.
İsmail Tarman Middle School in İstanbul's Beşiktaş district still remains closed despite four court rulings to reverse the school's status as religious İmam Hatip school. The rulings should have enabled for the school's reopening as a standard middle school, but the courts' decisions have not been enforced and the school's doors remain closed.
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tore into President Donald Trump on Sept. 24 after he declined to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the presidential election in November. “You are not in North Korea, you are not in Turkey, you are not in Russia, Mr. President. You are in the United States of America, it is a democracy, so why don’t you just try for a moment to honor your oath of office, to the Constitution of the United States?” she said.
The governor's office in the Black Sea province of Giresun banned smoking cigarettes in public spaces on the grounds that it required removing face masks, hence risking the spread of COVID-19. The province will fine those smoking in the streets, parks or any other public spaces.
Turkey's largest seller of fish, Dardanel reportedly discriminated against Roma women who applied for positions at a factory. While the women weren't even called in for an interview, the company blamed the incident on the contracting hiring firm.
One of the Turkish Aegean Riviera's most pristine areas, Gökova Bay was rezoned to allow construction along with nearby Marmaris and Milas. Muğla Mayor Osman Gürün said that the rezoning threatens construction of 25,000 hectares of land, and that the are would effectively "cease to exist."
The Turkish parliament has failed to debate in its general session any draft bills prepared by any party other than the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the past two legislative sessions, daily Cumhuriyet reported. The AKP presented some 249 draft bills, 100 of which were reported on by the relevant commissions, while one of the CHP's 2,148 draft bills were investigated by commissions.
The Kızılırmak Delta Wetland and Bird Sanctuary in the Black Sea province of Samsun has observed raging fires since the reversal of its "protected area" status. While a part of the delta was transferred to the property of the government, environmentalists suspect the fires were started intentionally.
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.
Economy
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.
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.
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.