Politics
Duvar English columnist and renowned writer Ece Temelkuran and politician Ertuğrul Kürkçü are among the advisors council of Progressive International, which aims to mount a fightback against the increasing rise of right-wing populist movements around the globe. In September, pandemic permitting, the council will convene for an inaugural summit in Reykjavik.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has urged President Erdoğan to remove Defense Minister Hulusi Akar from duty if a coup is suspected to be underway, as he commented on recent coup speculations. "Who could do a coup? The army could. If a coup is in question, then he should replace Hulusi Akar with someone else and prevent a coup," he said.
A total of 50 bars have released a statement to protest President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's planned shift in the bars' internal election system, saying that the proposed changes are "antidemocratic." "Preparing a draft bill via excluding the lawyers and bars is not just, rightful and appropriate, when they should be the ones consulted on the issue," the statement released on May 10 read.
Tarık Çelenk, an academic from the right-wing political tradition in Turkey, says that the main reason why the Turkish right has not been able to develop a methodology and discipline of its own is because it is dogmatic. "Though rural national bourgeois revolution occurred in Anatolia, the Anatolian tigers behind it never had an intellectual leader to support and promote their ideals," he told Duvar's İslam Özkan.
MHP deputy Cemal Enginyurt has blamed YÖK head Yekta Saraç for the disarray in exam dates. "The person responsible for the 2020 YKS exam dates in YÖK head Yekta Saraç. If you announce the date of the exam in February and make youth prepare in accordance, it creates confusion," he said. Enginyurt also addressed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a tweet, saying, "This YÖK head tricked you."
Kars Mayor and former HDP spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen has said that the HDP has structural problems it needs to solve, as he commented on the resignation of Ahmet Şık from the party. "I think that he carried out productive works with both his identity as a journalist and a politician. I shared my sadness with our friends from the party and with himself," he said, adding that his personal choice is "to stay within the party to struggle and make a change."
A politician who served among the AKP ranks for long years said that the AKP may go to snap polls to prevent further loss of votes, as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is aware of the decrease in the level of support. The debate on early elections has been ongoing for months in the country, with the regular parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled to be held in 2023.
Sevda Noyan, an Islamist TV commentator, has said that her family has the "financial and spiritual" means to kill 50 people if a new coup is attempted in Turkey. "Our family has a capability of taking [executing] 50 people. We are very prepared regarding this – both financially and spiritually. We stand by our leader [President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan],” Noyan said during a TV program aired on the pro-government channel Ülke TV.
Two main opposition CHP deputies are facing investigations for criticizing Fahrettin Altun, one of the top aides of President Erdoğan, over an illegal construction carried out on a land rented by the aide in Istanbul's Üsküdar district.
Sedat Peker, a well-known convicted crime boss, has said that Treasury Minister Berat Albayrak is trying to "destroy" him, which he is why he left Turkey and currently lives abroad.
Former AKP deputy Burhan Kuzu faces fresh allegations of pressuring the judiciary, as an investigation was launched into him for trying to prevent the enemy of an Iranian drug lord, for whom Kuzu is already accused of pressuring the judges, from being released. The new probe was launched following the testimony of Orhan Ünğan, Naji Sharifi Zindashti's enemy.
Turkey’s media watchdog penalized a program on the opposition news broadcaster Halk TV with a five-time broadcast cancellation and a monetary fine over on-air comments of the main opposition CHP's Istanbul chair Canan Kaftancıoğlu. "In the upcoming period, I see a change of the ruling power with an early election or in another way, even a system change," Kaftancıoğlu had said on Halk TV's "Sözüm Var" program on April 30.
Diyarbakır Governor Hasan Basri Güzeloğlu has chaired a meeting of several AKP officials, including the heads of the party's provincial and district branches as well as women's and youth's branches. The government in August appointed Güzeloğlu as a trustee to the Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality, after ousting HDP mayor Selçuk Mızraklı, who was was elected garnering 62,9 percent of the votes during the local elections.
Ahmet Türk, the sacked mayor of the southeastern province of Mardin from pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), sang a Kurdish folk song on an online broadcast, along with main opposition deputy Orhan Sarıbal. Sarıbal said that as long as folk songs live on, so does heritage, and that will eventually lead to the victory of minorities' struggles.
Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş from the main opposition CHP is more successful in managing the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis than President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, according to a poll carried out by Metropoll which aimed to reveal people's perceptions on governance during the pandemic. Yavaş ranked third in the list, surpassing Erdoğan, who came in fourth.
Editor's Pick
Soner Çağaptay and Raffaella A. Del Sarto write: The EU often praises itself as a promoter of democracy and regional stability by highlighting the power of its enlargement process to include new members in the “neighbourhood.” Yet in the case of Turkey, its ill-conceived policies may well have contributed to the opposite. A clumsy EU has repeatedly gotten its policy toward Turkey wrong, often inadvertently helping Erdoğan at key points during his rise while creating preventable tensions with Ankara.
Politics
Ali Babacan, the former deputy prime minister from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) who founded the opposition DEVA in March, has said that critics of the government are being arrested or left unemployed for just expressing their opinions. “People are being detained just for speaking, for writing. You cannot consider a thought a crime. If you want just one opinion to persist in this country, this cannot happen. It is impossible,” Babacan said.
Turkish police on Oct. 28 detained five people over their alleged involvement in the suicide bombing that shook Hatay's İskenderun district earlier this week. İskenderun was rocked by an explosion on Oct. 26 which the authorities blamed on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
President Erdoğan has asked whether people believe that "anyone can't bring home the bread." "Do you believe that anyone can't bring home the bread? Do you think such thing exists in Turkey? Turkey is ahead of many countries in terms of its minimum wage and salaries," Erdoğan told reporters, adding that Turkey is "at a great spot" when one looks at data from the IMF and OECD.
The second leg of Turkey's Rafting Championship took off in the southeastern province of Hakkari on Oct. 27. The four-day event brought together 400 athletes from across the country. Both male and female athletes will compete in categories for downstream rafting, slalom and RX, a unique sub-category of the sport.
A Turkish man named Ömer İ. shot and killed his ex-fiancé and her mother hours after the young woman petitioned for a restraining order against him on Oct. 27. The assailant committed suicide during a stand-off with police shortly after.
The cover-up of the ancient mosaics and frescoes was "unqualified to the point of destroying the structure's character and artistic value," Istanbul Municipality Deputy Secretary General Mahir Polat said. The 4th-century museum was transferred to the property of the state's religious authority, and will open for Muslim worship on Oct. 30.
Public housing residents of southern Hatay who lost their homes in a recent forest fire are still expecting the government to help them, weeks after they were rendered homeless by the flames. While many officials visit the area regularly, they merely take pictures and leave, housing complex residents said.
Leader of ruling People's Alliance member Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahçeli, babbled during his weekly speech at the party's group meeting as he forgot the word "cake." The chairman accused opposition parties of preparing to eat cake in Paris once he managed to speak again, possibly a reference to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's row with French President Emmanuel Macron.
Former Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, who heads the opposition Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), has said that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's call for a boycott of call was “childish” and "a propaganda." "There are products carrying French brands that are produced in Turkey. They are produced here but their brand is French. What are we going to do, boycott those too?" he said.
Medical staff in both public and private institutions will not be allowed to quit their jobs during the coronavirus outbreak, according to a notice issued by Turkey's Health Ministry on Oct. 27. The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) released a statement with regards to the ministry's new regulation saying it is “unacceptable" at a time when the COVID-19 is still not being recognized as an occupational illness and healthcare staff are not being tested for the virus on a regular basis.
Firefighters have been battling the forest fires that erupted in the southern provinces of Adana, Mersin and Hatay on Oct. 27. Authorities have said that teams have been trying to bring the fires under control and some houses have been evacuated to keep locals safe.
The Turkish Lira further lost its value on Oct. 27, measuring more than 8.1 liras on the dollar as a result of more than 35 percent depreciation this year. The depreciation is a result of Ankara's increasingly strained relationship with the European Union, as well as the United States.
The German government has said that the Erdoğan regime has in recent years increased its support for Milli Görüş, an Islamist group monitored by German intelligence services due to alleged extremist leanings. In its response to a parliamentary question, the German government has also emphasized the links between Milli Görüş and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.
The ruling AKP has turned down the opposition's demand for budget discussions to be aired live on the official channel of parliament, called TBMM TV. The opposition deputies have said that these talks need to be conducted in a “transparent” manner as it concerns the people, with a CHP lawmaker saying that Turkey has not experienced such a “dark period” in its history before.
An employee of the United States’ Istanbul consulate was handed five years and two months in prison on charges of aiding the movement of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen. The court did not arrest Nazmi Mete Cantürk, meaning he will be free pending appeal.
HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar has said that the party condemns extremists' abuse of Islam to justify their violent actions, but also slams France's treatment of Islam in a row about cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad published by satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Many prisoners in Turkey, particularly political prisoners, are held in facilities hundreds or thousands of kilometers away from their families, making it very difficult for visitation. Requests by prisoners for transfer to a closer penal institution are now being rejected by the authorities on account of the coronavirus.
As coronavirus cases surge in Istanbul, Governor Ali Yerlikaya said that he can be a "scapegoat" if anyone's looking for someone to blame. The governor also said that he has been working closely with Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu. “My job is not politics, it is service. To that end, I am continually in contact with İmamoğlu. You should know that we are working very well [together]. There is no problem whatsoever,” he said.
Economy
Turkey's Central Bank Governor Murat Uysal said that it has no target on exchange rates as the lira touched a new low for a third day on Oct. 28. Uysal said higher import costs, with the lira tumbling to record lows beyond 8.3 to the dollar, rising food prices and strong credit growth were the main causes of the upward revision.
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.