All of the provincial bar associations in Turkey have joined forces to criticize the government for working on a bill seeking to change their election system. The bar associations said that they have not been consulted on this draft bill and suggested the establishment of a commission including their representatives which would guide the government in reforming the Attorneyship Law.
Chief of Staff of the Turkish Navy Rear Admiral Cihat Yaycı, who resigned after being demoted by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has said that he was set up in a conspiracy reminiscent of those previously used by Gülenists. "It's clear that I can't continue my duty as a rear admiral who was dismissed as a result of lies and slander via a plot," Yaycı said in his resignation letter.
EU’s top diplomat criticizes Ankara for undermining local democracy after dismissal of more HDP mayors
The Turkish government’s move to detain and replace HDP mayors in Kurdish-majority areas "appears to be politically motivated," Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief said. "Turkey should repeal measures inhibiting the functioning of local democracy," he said in a statement on May 18.
Amid rumors of an early election fueled by MHP leader Bahçeli's proposal to change electoral law, Future Party leader Davutoğlu has challenged the gov't to call snap election. “If your purpose is really to declare an early election, bring it on! Let's go to early election. But if you are after petty concerns such as changing the nation's real agenda with early election [rumors], then stop wasting our nation's energy with such cheap manipulations,” Davutoğlu said.
Shortly after being dismissed from duty, Iğdır mayor Yaşar Akkuş has been arrested. Meanwhile, HDP officials on May 18 staged protests against the government for targeting elected mayors and denounced the crackdown as a "coup."
Turkey’s media watchdog head backtracks on earlier remarks, says death threats on TV are ‘unacceptable’
RTÜK head Ebubekir Şahin has backtracked from his earlier remarks on the unnecessity of fining a pro-government channel over an Islamist commentator's remarks on her family's “capability” to kill at least 50 people if a new coup attempt is undertaken in Turkey, saying that the remarks are "unacceptable." No one should doubt that the RTÜK will do what's necessary in line with its founding objectives," Şahin said on May 18 following backlash.
Chief of Staff of the Turkish Navy Rear Admiral Cihat Yaycı, who is known with his stance against the movement of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, resigned on May 18, two days after he was demoted by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Yaycı is also known as the architect of the maritime deal signed between Ankara and Tripoli.
Ayhan Bilgen, the co-mayor of the eastern province of Kars, has received a death threat on social media, with a user sending a picture of bullets, while mentioning JİTEM, a clandestine gendarmerie intelligence unit responsible for dozens of unsolved murders, predominantly in the 1990s.
Eren Yıldırım, the CHP's Yüreğir district youth branch head, was arrested over allegedly attacking a group of aid workers of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). "Yıldırım was arrested upon orders from the government. I condemn the judiciary for issuing rulings upon orders," CHP deputy leader Onursal Adıgüzel said.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said that the government will change in the next elections since people will hand power to those advocating democracy. "The people are seeing that our beautiful country is not being governed properly and that we're heading downhill like a truck with no brakes. They also know that the only way to get rid of this course depends on their choice in the next elections," he said.
MHP steps in to reinforce parliamentary wall against new parties to cover AKP’s concerns on losing deputies
The MHP has stepped in to complicate the efforts of the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) and Future Party, both founded by former high-level AKP officials, to form parliamentary groups necessary for them to run in elections, in a bid to cover AKP's concerns on losing deputies. MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli called for making changes in the election law and parliamentary bylaws even though the two new parties would barely get deputies from the MHP.
The European Parliament’s Turkey rapporteur Nacho Sanchez Amor has called on the Turkish government to stop removing HDP's elected mayors without court decisions. “Local councils should have at least the possibility to appoint an interim mayor among its elected members!” he tweeted. “Credibility on fundamentals of democracy is at stake.”
PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan's brother Mehmet Öcalan and his lawyers have applied to the Bursa Chief Public Prosecutor's Office to be granted a visit to İmralı Island, where Öcalan is imprisoned. The last time family members contacted Öcalan was on April 27, when they held a telephone conversation. This was the first time ever Turkish authorities allowed Öcalan to speak with his family on the phone.
Turkey's media watchdog RTÜK head Ebubekir Şahin has refused to fine the pro-government Ülke TV channel over Islamist commentator Sevda Noyan's remarks on her family's “capability” to kill at least 50 people if a new coup attempt is undertaken in Turkey. "If a penalty will be given, it should not be one that makes coup lovers and praisers happy," Şahin said. "We're not in a position to sentence the statements made against those who praise a coup," he added.
HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar has denied former deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder's remarks on the right-wing İYİ (Good) Party having consulted them in the past. Another politician to comment on Önder's claims was experienced politician Ahmet Türk, the sacked mayor of the southeastern province of Mardin, who said that he was surprised to hear them. There are things that need to be kept hidden in politics," Türk said.