Politics
Turkish presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın has said that the 24 mayors of the HDP who were previously suspended from their posts on alleged links to terrorism will be found guilty in court at the end of their judicial processes. Asked by the British journalist Tim Sebastian why the mayors were removed from their posts although court trials are still underway, Kalın said: “They will be charged of course.”
All political parties in parliament have each submitted a motion seeking to remove a clause in a government bill that would have granted the Interior Minister authority to strip the seniority of civilian administrative authorities (such as governors and local district governors). The four motions were voted for simultaneously and accepted in the parliament, reported the daily Sözcü on Nov. 28.
Support for Turkey's former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan is higher than former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, according to a survey carried out in October with a total of 1,700 participants in 26 provinces. The poll also said that Babacan would receive the majority of the votes from the supporters of İYİ (Good) Party, the CHP and the Felicity (Saadet) Party.
Turkey's former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan has said that their political party will be a mainstream one that won't appeal to a narrow audience. "Our party aims to create a stance that various parts of the society agree on. It's the design of a new Turkey that can be put in practice and that's realistic," Babacan said, as he criticized the current administration over plenty of issues, including the violation of human rights.
Three sacked HDP mayors from Savur, Derik and Mazıdağı districts of Mardin have been arrested as part of ongoing terrorism investigations. The HDP had on Nov. 20 called for an early election to protest the government’s dismissal of its mayors.
Turkey will continue its operation in northern Syria until its "goals are reached," the country's National Security Council said in a statement on Nov. 26. The council also said Turkey expects the U.S. and Russia to fulfill their agreements with Ankara as soon as possible to clear the YPG from the region.
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) executives have said that party members who initiate a quarrel with fellow members will be expelled from the party in a bid not to damage the party reputation. The CHP has adopted this stance in the aftermath of a recent crisis that emerged over claims that a senior party member had secretly met with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
All of the political parties' representatives in the Turkish parliament have agreed on the removal of the name of Kenan Evren from streets, schools, villages, neighborhoods, barracks and districts. Evren led a military coup in 1980 in Turkey and then imposed the harshest repression in the country's history.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has said that there's a rift between the PKK and its Syrian affiliate YPG, adding that he finds the attitudes of the HDP and the PKK towards SDF chief Mazloum Kobani "interesting." "They should embrace this man, who is being tried to be legalized internationally, but they don't," he said.
The MHP has slammed calls for early elections, with its leader saying that those who make the call are trying to lead Turkey into uncertainties. "The love for ballot boxes of those who can't stomach the results of elections will continue until they are elected, which doesn't seem possible," the party's Secretary-General said in a written statement.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has slammed CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and journalist Rahmi Turan over an alleged meeting, saying that the main opposition leader should quit his post if he can't prove his claims. "Lies haven't entered our lives, but their whole lives are lies," Erdoğan said of the CHP leader.
Following a number major defeats in this year's local elections, particularly in Istanbul and Ankara, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has began the process for its 7th Extraordinary Congress, in which the party seeks to renew itself. The congress will consist of two wings: one will be involved with instructing certain provincial party leaders to resign, while the other will seek out new provincial leaders and executives.
A column alleging that a meeting between Erdoğan and an "important" politician from the CHP took place in the presidential palace continues to top Turkish politicans' agendas, with a row erupting between the main opposition and the government. "Erdoğan, in his 43 years in politics, has never intervened in the internal affairs of another party," said Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun, while CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu accused Erdoğan of trying to disband the CHP.
Turkish Interior Ministry's budget talks for 2020 became the scene of a brawl between deputies of the ruling AKP and the opposition, with Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu calling Felicity Party lawmaker Cihangir İslam a "traitor" and a "provocateur," following the MP's criticisms aimed at the government about human rights and "jailing of opponents on terror charges."
Turkey’s pro-Kurdish HDP has called for an early election to be held in the country. The call comes after the authorities have removed 24 mayors of the party since August. "We say 'early election' for the peoples of Turkey to be rid of the AKP-MHP authority. This is a call for confrontation," the party said in a 12-point declaration on Nov. 20.
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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
Former MHP deputy Cemal Enginyurt has said it was him who started the legal process that led to the cancellation of a dissident-led congress back in 2016 aiming to challenge the leadership of Devlet Bahçeli. “When Meral Akşener won the congress with 715 votes on June 19, it was me who took the case to the court. It was me that led to the cancellation of the congress, which they had won," Enginyurt said on Aug. 5.
Good (İYİ) Party leader Meral Akşener has said that the majority of the Turkish people want to return to a parliamentary system, adding that the current "freakish" system can't govern the country. "Turkey's economy has worsened, the youth doesn't have hope to find jobs, agriculture and industry have collapsed. The people are suffering from not being able to find food and fear being unemployed," she said.
Twitter has announced that it is introducing a new label for government officials and state-backed media organisations to help users make informed decisions. The labels will initially be added to officials representing the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – Russia, China, France, the UK, and the US, the company said.
Turkish women did four times as much household and care work as men during lockdowns aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), research supported by the United Nations Development Programme showed on Aug. 6. The gender gap in paid work narrowed under lockdown as a result of changes in work patterns and a fall in men's paid work hours, the research found.
Former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has said that "a secret organization within the state brings its agenda into action step by step via planned operations." "We need to state what has been going on in the country properly. The constitutional order is being changed and an authoritarian regime is being constructed. This is not carried out through open political methods only," Demirtaş said.
Turkey’s Interior Ministry has declared a document circulating on social media claiming that a curfew would be imposed this weekend as fake news. Deputy Interior Minister İsmail Çataklı on Aug. 6 urged the people not to be misled by such “fake documents whose origins are unknown.”
The governor's office in the eastern province of Van has said that a video that purported to show final moments of migrants doesn't belong to the Lake Van tragedy. It also said that they contacted an Afghan national believed to be the person who owned the video, who reportedly told the office that he received the video from someone else.
Only 25 percent of the Turkish public has trust in the presidency, according to a recent poll from the ArtıBir research company. Some 17.3 percent of those polled said that they did not have trust in any of the country's institutions, while the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) was the most trusted institution with the confidence of 38.2 percent of those responding to the poll.
Individuals close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) were appointed to vacated posts in the Turkish Aeronautical Association (THK). According to Mustafa Mutlu Pekergin, a member of the supervisory board of the THK Köyceğiz branch, the appointments are unlawful.
Thousands of Turkish women on Aug. 5 held protests across the country to demand that the ruling AKP does not withdraw from the Istanbul Convention. During the protest in İzmir, police battered and detained several of the women. As some of the protesters resisted being detained, one of the police commanders was heard instructing his colleagues to “break their arms” should they defy the police.
Osman Özçalımlı, a Turkish soldier of Kurdish origin, was found dead while doing his compulsory military service in Turkey’s Aegean province of İzmir last week. In the face of authorities' contradictory statements, coupled with their son’s statement of having been threatened the day before, the family are now demanding to know what really happened.
Turkey's daily COVID-19 cases have shown a sharp rebounding trend, with more than 1,000 daily jump in successive days. “We need to prevent the risk in the Eid al-Adha and holiday from causing new consequences. We need unity in precautions," Health Minister Fahrettin Koca wrote on Twitter.
Turkish President Erdoğan has ordered the country’s education watchdog YÖK to shut down the universities' distance education programs for psychology studies. The move came after Istanbul University’s plan to launch such a program received widespread criticism among psychologists.
Six members of the left-wing Turkish popular folk band Grup Yorum were detained on Aug. 5 while performing at a concert rehearsal in Istanbul's Beykoz. The İdil Culture Center, which is run by the group, was also raided by the police.
The Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) has slammed prison conditions in Turkey, urging authorities to take "decisive action" against ill-treatment of police. The problem of prison overcrowding remained acute, the CPT said, and the steady increase in the size of the prison population already observed in the mid-2000s continued.
Turkish Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank has used the deadly explosion in Beirut to advocate the construction of the controversial Kanal Istanbul project, which seeks to carve out an artificial shipping canal on the outskirts of the European side of Istanbul in order to alleviate traffic from the Bosphorus Strait.
Turkey's Humanitarian Relief Foundation (İHH) is among those searching for survivors in Beirut after a massive blast in the city killed over 100 people and injured nearly 4,000, and Ankara has offered to build a field hospital and help as needed. "We are providing assistance with one ambulance to transfer patients. We may provide help according to the needs of the hospital," an İHH official said.
The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) has said that number of daily coronavirus infections in Ankara alone amount to approximately 1,000, thereby disputing the official figures which put the daily nationwide tally at around this level. The TTB's statement came as Ankara provincial directorate of health on Aug. 4 ordered all hospitals in the city to allocate at least half of their beds for the use of COVID-19 patients.
Villagers in the Mehmetdede Tekke village in the central Anatolian province of Çorum have protested the mine drilling project on the grounds that it will hurt local agricultural production and reduce the amount of land used for agricultural purposes.
Economy
The Turkish Lira has devalued drastically against the dollar, reaching almost seven liras on the dollar. Ankara has invested almost $60 billion in currency interventions in 2020 to no avail, Financial Times reported on July 28.
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.