Murat Yetkin writes: The real picture in the current state of Turkish-German relations is more complicated than what were told in the press conference. Merkel, who already declared that she would not be a candidate after 2021, is trying to leave a good legacy to continue the historic ties between the two countries and Erdoğan, who wants to attract European investments and markets again, is trying to use German leverage, which is not an easy task for Merkel.
A message of peace and unity was the main idea in a letter to the third Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) conference from Selahattin Demirtaş and Abdullah Zeydan, former co-chair and former deputy of the pro-Kurdish HDP. "We must demonstrate with small and meaningful gestures the respect we have for Turkish values and our sincerity about living together," said the letter from Edirne Prison.
Selahattin Demirtaş has said that a left 'democracy block' can only be achieved if smaller fractions refrain from prioritizing their agenda, adding that the issue distracts politicians from addressing the real needs of the people. It might be possible for an alliance to form between the HDP and the new parties founded by Davutoğlu and Babacan if they participate in the democratization process, he said.
Lawyers of PKK leader Öcalan and three other inmates on İmralı Island have applied to Turkey's Constitutional Court following the authorities' move to extend a three-month visitation ban for family members for the fifth time in the last 15 months.
Turkey's Court of Cassation has approved a 12-year jail term for Feti Ün, the lawyer of Fethullah Gülen, the U.S.-based Islamic preacher believed to have masterminded the 2016 botched coup attempt. Ün was charged with being a member of "FETÖ", the term Ankara uses to refer to the Gülen organization.
Turkey's center-right parties are reportedly preparing to form an alliance to challenge the People's Alliance consisting of the ruling AKP and its nationalist ally MHP in the next elections. Contrary to the Nation Alliance of the last elections, the main opposition CHP won't be included in the alliance formed by these nationalist-conservative parties, Birgün reported on Jan. 23.
Turkey remains 110th in the Economist's latest global democracy index. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) categorized Turkey as the only “hybrid regime” in western Europe -- the second lowest after “authoritarian regime.”
A total of 131 suspects were handed prison terms on Jan. 22 in the case into the illegal wiretapping by Gülenists. Those sentenced include police chiefs that carried out Dec. 17-25, 2013 graft probes, which targeted former ministers and are deemed as attempts to overthrow the government by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Bilal Erdoğan, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's son, has criticized Turkey's intellectuals for being "outdated." “Unfortunately our 20th century intellectuals weren't able to follow the world and they missed out. How did they miss out? When the Young Turks went to Europe for education, to France in particular, they were influenced by the positivist trends," Bilal Erdoğan said.
Turkey's Supreme Election Board (YSK) Sadi Güven has said that the practice of using envelopes when casting votes should be removed. "The practice of using envelopes was removed in many countries. The envelopes need to be removed after making ballot boxes opaque instead of transparent with a change in legal regulations," he said.
Good Party leader Meral Akşener said that she can't predict whether the country will have early elections because the decision is up to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. "We could be casting ballots with one executive order," Akşener said, adding that she wasn't aware of Good Party member Lütfü Türkkan's tweet from Jan. 19 asking "How's Sunday June 28 for elections?"
The General Directorate of Foundations, under the Culture and Tourism Ministry, has taken over the management of Foundation for Sciences and Arts (BSV), which was co-founded by former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in 1986. The foundation said the take-over is "a perilous step that can lead to a big damage in our centuries-long foundation tradition."
Turkey's former Prime Minister Davutoğlu has accused economy administration of manipulating inflation figures. "Competent people need to be in charge of this administration. Think about a doctor who tells his patient that he is fine by changing his test results. The patient says 'I'm dying,' but the doctor says, 'Look at the figures, your test results are fine.' The economy administration in Turkey is doing exactly this," he said.
Columnist Soli Özel met Ian Lustick from UPenn to discuss his new book "Paradigm Lost." Lustick says that Israel thought repeated military victory over Palestinians would divide them, with one fraction willing to compromise, but that this policy eventually created a false illusion in Israelis' minds of a weak enemy. Lustick says that this made Israelis reluctant to compromise with Palestinians, birthing the "one-state reality."
Murat Yetkin writes: The worker rally with the broadest turnout that Turkey witnessed in the last couple of years took place on January 19 in Bursa, the hub of the Turkish automotive sector. Of course, it is not possible to assume that a single rally indicates a certain groundswell that could also affect politics but other omens have emerged for those who don’t turn a blind eye.