Politics
The party membership of former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş was dropped over his ongoing ban from politics, daily Birgün reported. Demirtaş, who has been in jail for over three years, is no longer a member of the HDP due to a case that he was charged with "making propaganda of a terrorist organization." The judgement was later reversed, but his party membership had already been dropped by then, the daily said.
Six deputies of the ruling AKP have filed criminal complaints against former army chief İlker Başbuğ and former CHP deputy Dursun Çiçek, saying that the latter had accused them of being the "political leg" of the Gülen movement. The move came after Erdoğan urged AKP lawmakers to sue Başbuğ over his remarks that Gülenists had played a significant role in drafting a 2009 bill which opened the way for civilian courts to try military personnel.
Right-wing opposition Good Party deputy Lütfü Türkkan compared the watchmen officers that have risen in number in recent years to Nazis. "The members of political combat organization of the National Socialists in Hitler's Germany, known for their bad reputation due to their heavy-handedness and for the fights they caused in the streets, wore brown uniforms. Now we see that the ruling AKP has adapted these brown uniforms very nicely to the present day,” Türkkan said.
The deadly avalanche that buried rescue workers under snow was reportedly caused by Presidential Adviser and former AKP lawmaker Gülşen Orhan's insistence on using a road that was advised not to be used due to an avalanche warning via ordering the snow to be removed with snow plough vehicles, paving way for the loud noise caused by vehicles to trigger an avalanche.
According to a survey carried out by the CHP, some 40 percent of President Erdoğan's voters think that changes are needed in the country's presidential system. The ratio of those saying that the system must change is higher among voters of the MHP, the AKP's staunch ally, with 54 percent. The survey comes as the CHP prepares for a congress, where it will give the message that it's ready to become the ruling party.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's approval rate has dropped to the lowest it's been since October 2018, revealed "Turkey's Pulse 2020" survey by Metropoll research company. His approval rate rose as high as 48 percent during Ankara's Operation Peace Spring into Northern Syria in October 2019.
Main opposition CHP has officially announced its decision to boycott CNN Türk due to its biased coverage against the party. CHP deputy chair Özkan said CNN Türk has been "functioning as if it is the advertising agency" of the ruling AKP, calling on the TV channel to adopt "independent and objective" principles of journalism.
The ruling AKP's spokesman Ömer Çelik has signaled a lawsuit against former army chief İlker Başbuğ over his comments accusing the politicians who paved the way for civilian courts to try military personnel in 2009 of being Gülenists.
Former ministers involved in a corruption scandal should be tried, former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said. "If there are certain allegations, public conscience would be relieved when they are acquitted," Davutoğlu said on Feb. 4. "I thought that the most appropriate way would be to be acquitted in the Grand Chamber. I still think that way. We had a difference in opinion [with Erdoğan] here," he also said.
Future Party chair Ahmet Davutoğlu met with Christian Berger, the head of EU Delegation to Turkey, and ambassadors of EU countries in Ankara. Davutoğlu shared his views about foreign and domestic politics as well as the EU-Turkey relations during the meeting.
Özgür Özel, a deputy from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), said at a provincial board meeting that “[early] elections will settle the scores of the injury that April 16 inflicted on the presidency and the democratic parliamentary system," referring to the 2017 presidential system referendum. The pro-Kurdish Democratic Peoples' Party (HDP) also said that they support early elections.
Four bus drivers in Vienna were laid off after getting caught signing the nationalist gesture "Grey Wolf" on surveillance footage. The sign, often associated with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), was banned by Austrian legislature in 2018 as part of an effort to "combat extremism."
The European Parliament's 16th International Conference on "The European Union, Turkey, the Middle East and the Kurds" will focus on Turkey's military operations in northern Syria, the migration crisis and the effect of these crises on the Kurds. Patrons of the conference include South African Archbishop Desmund Tutu, human rights activist Bianca Jagger and linguist and philosopher and political activist Noam Chomsky.
Amid years of intense pressure and persecution from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) is preparing to host their 4th extraordinary party congress on Feb. 23. “All of our organizations are quite clearly united in the idea of being a party of Turkey and doing Turkey-oriented politics. Rather than being squeezed in the geography of Kurdistan, on the contrary, we want to organize everywhere in Turkey and confront problems everywhere in Turkey," says HDP group deputy chairman Saruhan Oluç.
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli, who has been a staunch supporter of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the ruling AKP, has said that it's impossible for his party to back motions submitted to parliament by the main opposition CHP regardless of their content, as he commented on a recent motion that was submitted in order for Elazığ, which was hit by a deadly 6.8-magnitude earthquake on Jan. 24, to be declared a disaster area.
Editor's Pick
duvar englis podcasts
Duvar English’s editor-in-chief Cansu Çamlıbel and pollster Can Selçuki are joined by Robert Bosch Academy's Galip Dalay to discuss the impact of Turkish government's recent domestic policy moves on Ankara's international relations. They look for answers to whether there is any possibility that Turkey's relations with the West might change for the better any time soon.
Taner Akçam writes: The regime’s bold stroke vis-a-vis Hagia Sophia should not be seen as stemming from desperation. Rather, it is simply meant to relay the not-so-subtle message of the path to be followed by the "New Republic", and that message is that the “annihilationist tradition” of the old regime, inherited by the Republic’s founders, will be retained in the era to come.
Politics
The European Union has said that it's "extremely worried" about the escalating tensions between Greece and Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean. Also on Aug. 11, Turkish Coast Guard Command announced that three people were injured when Greek navy opened fire on a private boat off the coast of Muğla.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) didn't ask to borrow money from Turkey, former Central Bank head Durmuş Yılmaz said to refute President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's claim. "This is a lie. The issue is technical. In short, the IMF didn't ask to borrow money from us. A commitment was made to a contingency fund and it wasn't realized. The proof: There is no such record on the Central Bank balance," Yılmaz tweeted on Aug. 11.
Women from the ruling AKP's women branches across Turkey have simultaneously filed criminal complaints against pro-government Islamist columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak for referring to defenders of the Istanbul Convention as “prostitutes.” Lawyer Rabia İlhan, who is the chairperson of the AKP's Istanbul women branch, said that AKP women will never stay silent against “dirty- and narrow-minded journalists.”
A new report to Congress by the Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Defense has criticised Turkey over being a “major facilitation hub” for ISIS militants even as the country simultaneously engages in “counter-ISIS activities.” The report also pointed to allegations of human rights abuses by Turkish-backed “hardline Islamist militias” in northern Syria.
A large piece of air conditioning equipment was removed from the chimney of an ancient palace in Istanbul following public outcry about its installment. The 16th century palace was commissioned by Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificient.
A construction project that will damage the Munzur Springs, considered sacred in the Alevi faith, has started in the eastern province of Dersim. Munzur River is a stream that runs through the Munzur Valley National Park, which is also home to the sacred goats of Dersim.
Turkey's Human Rights Association (İHD) observed dozens of deaths caused by rights violations in the first six months of 2020. Fourteen women were killed by men, two inmates died in prison and three law enforcement officers were found dead under suspicious conditions in the southeast.
President Erdoğan has once again given sales of white goods as an example to the economy’s current “climb," saying that it was thanks to the AKP that people now enjoy an "increased level of welfare." Erdoğan's comments came after Turkish Lira hit all-time lows against the euro and dollar as the coronavirus pandemic triggered massive capital outflows from the country.
Turkey’s state-run Halkbank, facing trial in the U.S. over charges of breaking sanctions on Iran, said on Aug. 10 that it was immune from prosecution and that U.S. laws did not cover its alleged misconduct. In a Manhattan court filing, Halkbank said its status as an "instrumentality" of Turkey shielded it from prosecution under principles of sovereign immunity.
Turkish hotels will cover COVID-19 testing and isolation costs for Russian tourists if they show symptoms of the disease at the airport, Sputnik Turkey reported. Hospitalization costs will fall upon the traveler's insurance.
Turkish Education Minister Ziya Selçuk has said that the occupancy rate of Islamic schools - Anatolian İmam Hatip high schools - has reached 99.8 percent. The statistics drew ire on social media, with hundreds of users pointing to the fact that students who fail to enroll in a high school are automatically placed in İmam Hatip schools.
Turkey announced on Aug. 10 that it dispatched a vessel named Oruç Reis to conduct a seismic survey in a disputed area of the eastern Mediterranean, a move that Greece said was "illegal." Turkey dismissed the Greek objections, with President Erdoğan saying that Ankara was ready to cooperate in finding "an acceptable formula that protects the rights of all."
Some 40 percent of youth aged between 25-29 are financially dependent on their parents, said a deputy of main opposition CHP. "Some 40 percent of our 6.1 million young people in the age group of 25-29, i.e. 2.5 million, are neither in unemployment nor in education. Due to the ruling government's policies, our youth in this age group are unfortunately living in a way that is depending on their parents,” Veli Ağbaba said.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is planning to make changes in the electoral system when parliament reopens in October. Various commissions were formed to work on the changes on the Law on Political Parties, Elections Law and Parliament Bylaws, sources told Duvar, adding that the first draft bills of the next legislative year will concern them.
The U.S.' health protection agency CDC has designated Turkey as a risky place for COVID-19, urging Americans to avoid all nonessential travel to the country. "COVID-19 risk in Turkey is high. If you get sick in Turkey and need medical care, resources may be limited," the CDC said.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has named the party's new top brass, the Central Executive Board (MYK), after its 37th ordinary congress. The number of individuals in the CHP MYK was decreased to 16 from 18. Tuncay Özkan and Ünal Çeviköz were left out, while Böke, Ali Öztunç, Yüksel Taşkın and Ahmet Akın were handed posts.
The Ankara branch of Turkish Health Workers' Union (SES) has said that there are currently approximately 50,000 coronavirus patients in the capital, 3,500 of whom are receiving treatment at hospitals. The SES based this figure on the number of patients each family physician in the capital is monitoring for suspected coronavirus infection.
All passengers travelling from Turkey to Germany are required to take COVID-19 tests and those who do not submit a negative PCR test result will not be allowed to leave the country. However many questions are still unanswered regarding this new implementation as travelers still do not know where they will be placed under quarantine, who will cover the cost of their accommodation should they stay at a hotel and how their treatment will be actualized in Turkey.
Turkish archaeologist Dr. Vuslat Müller Karpe was buried in the ancient city of Samuha where she has led excavation work for the past 15 years. The 3,800-years-old settlement was a political hub in the Hittite civilization.
Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) data revealed that seasonally adjusted unemployment in May rose by 0.2 percent from May 2019. Some 4,166,000 people reported unemployment in May.
Economy
Goldman Sachs revised its periodic forecasts for the Turkish lira, anticipating that it will continue to fall and will reach 8.25 to the dollar by next year. The lira has been the world's second-worst performing currency thus far this month, dropping four percent for a total of an 18 percent decline in 2020.
Economist and former Treasury advisor Mahfi Eğilmez has said that the Turkish economy is no longer predictable. "In an unpredictable economy, due to the fact the risks increase, this means that expenses will also increase,” Eğilmez wrote in a column on Aug. 5.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on July 15 that companies involved in construction of the TurkStream pipeline will be subject to the U.S. penalties unless they stop their works. “It’s a clear warning to companies. Aiding and abetting Russia’s malign influence projects will not be tolerated. Get out now or risk the consequences,” he said.
The Turkish Petroleum Refineries Corporation (TÜPRAŞ) ranked as Turkey's largest industrial business with 87.9 billion liras in annual production revenue. The oil company was followed mostly by automotive producers.
On the second anniversary of Turkey's transformation into a presidential system, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has prepared a report detailing how the country stands in the ensuing years, finding that the Turkish lira has lost four times its value since 2007.
Urban Beat
Mois Gabay writes: Do you think the Camondo family will be included in the Beyoğlu Culture Road project conducted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism? What about Arif Ergin’s “Tekvin” novel, in which he imagined that there would be a “Camondo Museum” one day?
Artifacts from Istanbul's ancient Hagia Sophia will be displayed in a nearby public building that will be transformed into a museum. Formerly used as a land office, the late-19th-century building in historical Sultanahmet will be converted on the president's orders.
Luke Frostick writes: Edanur Kuntman’s Tales from Behind the Window has been nominated for an Eisner Award. If she wins, she will be the first Turk to win an Eisner. The story is a piece of creative-nonfiction and its main narrative is drawn from the memories of Kuntman’s grandmother growing up in the Çarşamba district of Samsun.