Politics
A group of lawyers in Istanbul and Ankara have come together in an attempt to form separate bar associations in the provinces. However, as their numbers have not yet reached 2,000, they have lost their chance to send delegations for elections of the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) which is set to be held in October.
Turkey's media watchdog RTÜK has slapped opposition TV station Tele1 with a five-day black screen broadcast ban over statements critical of the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) and Ottoman Sultan Abuldhamit II. Opposition leaders have slammed RTÜK for its move, saying that this is an "attack on free press and people's freedom of information."
HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar has criticized ECHR head Robert Spano over his decision to accept an honorary doctorate in law from Istanbul University, emphasizing that Turkey has been severely violating its obligations under the ECHR.
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli has said that Turkey should restore the death penalty since “there is no other option to fight against crimes and criminals that surpass the threshold of fear.” "With the opening of Turkish parliament on Oct. 1, 2010, our nation's expectations should be met with the consensus of our lawmakers, and baby killers, perverts, scums and rapists should receive the sentences they deserve,” Bahçeli said in a written statement on Sept. 2.
Ruling AKP deputy Tamer Akkal on Sept. 2 tweeted an insulting message targeting former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş and his two daughters, a day after the jailed Kurdish politician's wife said Demirtaş has not been allowed to see both of his children together since the outbreak of the COVID-19. After Akkal's tweet has received widespread criticism, he claimed that one of his advisers had published the content “accidentally” via his official account.
President Erdoğan on Sept. 1 called for the expulsion of lawyers from the profession should they be accused of links to "terrorism." Erdoğan's comments came after a picture of lawyer Ebru Timtik was hung outside the headquarters of the Istanbul Bar Association. Timtik died in an Istanbul hospital on Aug. 27 after a 238-day hunger strike with a demand for a fair trial.
MP Barış Atay has said that Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu is the ruling AKP's "mob leader" as he is using his power as a means of oppression to "discard of Kurds, socialists, Alevis, leftists and everyone who thinks in a democratic way." Atay's comments came after he was attacked on Aug. 31 by a group of unidentified assailants following Soylu's comments targeting him.
Former presidential candidate for main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Muharrem İnce has revealed a tour bus for his new "movement." İnce will start to tour the country on Sept. 4 for his "The Country in 1,000 Days Movement."
Turkey’s opposition parties are currently trying to decide between fielding their own separate presidential candidates or coalescing behind a joint candidate to run against Erdoğan in the upcoming elections, sources told Gazete Duvar. As for the parliamentary elections, there are also different scenarios on the table for the opposition. The Nation Alliance might expand to include the newly founded Future Party and DEVA, or a third alliance under the leadership of İYİ Party might arise.
Turkish Workers Party (TİP) deputy Barış Atay was attacked early on Aug. 31 by unidentified assailants following Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu's comments targeting him. Atay filed a criminal complaint at the prosecutor's office regarding the attack, saying in this testimony: "The perpetrator of this incident is Süleyman Soylu." Meanwhile, opposition politicians, slammed Soylu, with the hashtag #BarisAtayYalnızDeğildir (which translates as 'Barış Atay is not alone') going viral on Twitter.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has said that Turkish Workers Party (TİP) deputy Barış Atay would be "a perfect rapist" after the lawmaker criticized him over the fact that a specialized sergeant was not arrested over sexual assault even though the existence of plenty of evidence. He also addressed Atay as a "leftover" of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C).
After converting the Hagia Sophia and Chora Museum into mosques, the Turkish government is now preparing to promote the country's churches and synagogues in an attempt to polish its tarnished image. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan instructed his executives to have a publicity booklet prepared describing Turkey's churches and synagogues, daily Hürriyet reported.
Lawyers Newroz Uysal, Faik Özgür Erol, Cengiz Yürekli and Mazlum Dinç have submitted their application to Bursa Chief Public Prosecutor's Office to be able to meet imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. This is the 100th application of the lawyers since their last meeting with their client on Aug. 7, 2019.
Several cans of roasted meat supplied by the Turkish Red Crescent (“Kızılay”) have been spotted in a Tatvan hotel that is co-owned by AKP lawmaker Cemal Taşar and his brother Battal Taşar, according to a local news report.
MHP deputy chair Feti Yıldız has announced that he launched a legal work to make the criteria for the formation of new political parties more difficult. Yıldız described the newly founded parties as “bargaining parties,” claiming that they have been damaging the democracy. Yıldız's statement came as the AKP-MHP alliance has been preparing to amend the Political Parties Law.
Editor's Picks
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.
Vural Özdemir writes: A smirk is invariably political and never innocent. Smirk undermines democratic practices and human rights. Let’s bear in mind that oppression is sometimes enacted upon us in the form of a smirk.
Politics
Merkez İlaç CEO Mehmet Şapçı has told Health Minister Fahrettin Koca that most of the sanitizers used in hospitals are fake. According to Şapçı, these fake products have around 3.3 percent povidone-iodine, whereas the standard is at 10 percent. He also named the fake products in the letter he sent to the minister.
In a not-so-veiled message to Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, Constitutional Court President Zühtü Arslan has said that although the top court is open to criticism of its decisions, remarks which focus on judges and "go beyond criticism will not bring any benefit.” Arslan's comments came after he was targeted by Soylu over the top court's decision to permit inter-city demonstrations and marches.
A report prepared annually by the Hrant Dink Foundation showed that Armenians were the most targeted group in hate speech in Turkish media in 2019. According to the report, there were 5,515 instances of hate speech in local and national media and 803 of them targeted Armenians. Syrian refugees followed Armenians with 760 instances, Greeks ranked third with 754 and Jews were targeted 676 times.
Turkey's premier petrochemical company Petkim has been involved in illegal oil business with Syria, according to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Files, which said that Petkim and its associate Petrokim completed over $90 million in "suspicious transactions" between March 2010 and January 2016.
Handan Bul, a 23-year-old woman was shot dead by a coworker she turned down in the western province of Bilecik. The 30-year-old assailant, Yusuf Uğur also shot and killed himself on site.
After the suspicious death of Kurdish soldier Mustafa Araz in the province of Kırklareli in May was ruled a suicide by military officials, Araz's family has stated that they believe their son was murdered. The family also disputes that the suicide note which was added to his file actually belongs to Mustafa Araz.
A young man is offering unique codes provided by the government to visitors of the Diyarbakır Courthouse, as the codes are required to enter public buildings. Initially created as a traveling precaution during the pandemic, HES codes are available online, but not everyone knows g-how to get them, the young man said.
The HDP has conducted an online meeting with representatives from 26 EU member states regarding Turkey-EU relations, human rights, and the Kurdish issue. HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan said that the EU needs to take a more consistent stance against Turkey's "increasingly authoritarian government."
The founders of private Altınbaş University were detained on charges of fraud in Istanbul. The brothers allegedly reported buying boat fuel to benefit from tax exemptions regarding marine transportation.
An Ankara court has ruled for the continuation of imprisonment of former HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ on charges related to 2014 Kobane riots. The Kobane investigation was launched in 2014 and reopened in 2019, and has failed to produce an indictment for Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ since. Lawyer Levent Kanat has said that new charges were brought against the politicians over the same incident to make sure that they remain in prison.
Heavy machinery entered the sacred Alevi grounds of Munzur Springs in eastern Dersim, despite promises from the governor's office that landscaping in the area wouldn't involve construction machinery. The state-run project will reportedly cost eight million liras, and was allegedly approved by a natural resources protection board.
Future Party chairman Ahmet Davutoğlu has said that the party will nominate its own presidential candidate in the upcoming elections, amid rumors that opposition parties are contemplating of coalescing behind a joint candidate. Davutoğlu said that although Future Party is open to cooperation with other parties concerning various issues, it still aims for the rulership on its own.
The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) has announced that its 72nd Great Congress will no longer be held at CerModern, but instead at Bilkent Hotel. The change came after CerModern notified the TTB that it could not meet the COVID-19-related safety guidelines designated by the Ankara Governor's Office.
Run by Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), the Islamic Research Center (İSAM) has seen a 600-percent increase in its budget over the last 16 years. Known for holding a symposium about Islamic fatwas on medical issues, the foundation is chaired by a founding member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
A group of health workers in Ankara had to barricade the door of an emergency room when loved ones of a patient wanted to push their way in to see the deceased gunshot victim. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said that the workers had been afraid of a violent attack, as health workers in Turkey are often targeted by patients' families.
Turkey's Radio and Television High Council (RTÜK) got into a brawl with an actor over a complaint from an 11-year-old viewer who said the actor's show "affected him a lot." After RTÜK shared the message on social media, the actor protested the council's reporting of his show to the public.
Climate activists who have been living in western Kaz Mountains in protest of destructive mining activities were detained as gendarmerie raided their campsite on Sept. 22. One activist said that the detentions were prompted by the wishes of Cengiz Holding, a company known for their close ties to Ankara who recently signed a tender for mining in the Kaz Mountains.
An initiative launched by lawyers close to the government has announced that it has collected the minimum number of signatures need to establish its own bar association in Istanbul. The founding member of the Istanbul No. 2 Bar Association, Cavit Tatlı has said that they will submit their application to the Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) on Sept. 23.
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.
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
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.