Politics
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.
Allegations of an opposition newspaper columnist that a prominent CHP figure recently met with President Erdoğan, who offered help to install the figure as the new head of the CHP, sparked debate inside the main opposition party.
The European Union has decided to cut €85 million in the pre-accession funds for Turkey, compared to the draft budget proposed by the European Commission. The Council of the European Union said that the reason of this cut was “the distancing of Turkey from EU values.”
Editor's Picks
Dinçer Demirkent writes: President Erdoğan just appointed rectors to 16 universities across the country. This decision has raised “academic” concerns within universities. Questions have surfaced as to which criteria have been used and to what extent nepotism played a role in these appointments.
Serdar Korucu writes: One of the topics that comes to mind when recalling the Ottoman legacy in Lebanon is the Armenian Genocide. Among the most important symbolic structures carrying the traces of 1915 in Lebanon is the Armenian Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia in Antelias.
Politics
CHP member and former presidential candidate Muharrem İnce has kicked off a new movement, as he also slammed his own party. "Our movement consists of individuals experts in their fields. We're preparing for 'victory.' We'll act in line with our vision and the people's wills. The people would finance us just like they did before the presidential elections," İnce said in a press conference on Aug. 13.
Turkish drama producer Ay Yapım has said that actor Ozan Güven has decided to leave TV series 'Babil' until the legal investigation against him over charges of beating his girlfriend is finalized. The company said that the decision belonged to the actor himself and the company “respects” it.
Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak has downplayed Turkish Lira's sharp fall via asking "Are you getting your salaries in dollars?" "First, let me ask you this; Are you getting your salaries in dollars? Do you owe money in dollars? Do you have any business in dollars?" Albayrak responded to a question on whether the people should be concerned on Aug. 12, prompting surprise on social media.
Turkey's Council of Higher Education (YÖK) has said that it asked universities to postpone their reopenings until Oct. 1 amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. The YÖK said that it will be up to universities and their faculties to decide if courses will be taught online or on campus.
Several members of Congress have been quietly blocking multiple U.S. arms sales to Turkey as the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has still yet to impose mandatory sanctions on the country over its purchase of a Russian-made missile defense system, CNN cited several congressional aides as saying.
The Turkish Consulate in the German city of Nuremberg on Aug. 13 announced that it was temporarily closed as one of its staff tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Germany reached its highest level in more than three months on Aug. 12.
Several women gathered in Ankara's Kurtuluş neighborhood and wanted to march towards the Kızılay Square in an attempt to read a press statement there in protest of the government’s plan to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention. The women however faced a harsh police response, with several of them having been battered or detained.
World-famed Bollywood actor Aamir Khan stopped shooting his movie Laal Singh Chaddha, an adaption of the 1994 classic Forrest Gump, due to coronavirus outbreak in India. Khan now looks for alternative locations in Turkey to shoot his movie.
Turkey's main opposition CHP has disputed the official unemployment statistics, saying that the country's actual unemployment rate stands at 30.6 percent which corresponds to over 10.5 million people. CHP spokesperson Faik Öztrak has said that this number of unemployed people is higher than the populations of 109 countries.
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli has said that demanding education in Kurdish shows captivity to imperialism, as he commented on Future Party leader Ahmet Davutoğlu's remarks. "The fact that Davutoğlu talked about the Kurdish issue and mentioned education in mother tongue is a scandalous example of the extent that captivity to imperialism has reached," Bahçeli said in a written statement on Aug. 12.
İYİ Party leader Akşener on Aug. 12 paid a visit to DEVA chair Babacan to congratulate him for his new party. The two opposition leaders later held a press meeting, during which Babacan was asked if he would consider joining the People's Alliance of the AKP and MHP should such an offer come. "What we need to focus on is to complete the process of producing and [party] organization," Babacan said in response to the question.
Several human rights groups have penned a letter to the UN Human Rights Office asking the organization to urge the Turkish government not to discriminate against LGBTI+ individuals and to take necessary steps to protect the LGBTI+ community from any attacks.
Iraq cancelled on Aug. 11 Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar's visit to the country which was scheduled for Aug. 13, Iraq's foreign ministry said in a statement following the death of two Iraqi border guards as a result of a Turkish drone strike. The ministry also summoned the Turkish ambassador to hand him "a strong protest note and inform him of Iraq’s confirmed rejection of his country's attacks and violations," the statement added.
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has not confirmed whether Cemil Bayık, one of the leaders of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), was killed in a drone strike. "Our anti-terror operations are ongoing. Our advice to the whole world is for them to follow Turkey in terms of the struggle against terror," Soylu told reporters in the capital Ankara on Aug. 12 when asked to comment on the issue.
The deputy governor of southern province of Hatay on Aug. 11 shot and killed his mother and his brother in a brawl concerning inherited farming land. Tolga Polat was detained by police a few hours after he fled the scene. State-run Anadolu Agency reported on Aug. 12 that the deputy governor had been arrested by a court order.
Economy
Turkish public banks have started charging clients for foreign currency withdrawals in accordance with the Central Bank's August 4 decree that aims to push down the amount of foreign cash circulating in Turkey. The 0.2 to 0.5 percent commissions for withdrawals are part of Ankara's efforts to lower the Turkish Lira's exchange rate against the dollar and the euro, which peaked to record highs earlier this month.
Rating agencies Moody's and S&P warned Ankara on Aug. 7 that they will likely need to hike interest rates as a last-resort currency intervention policy. The Central Bank had already eroded Turkey’s foreign exchange reserves this year, said from S&P Global's Maxim Rybnikov.
Turkey's banking authority lowered the mandated loan-to-assets ratio for deposit banks to 95 percent, formerly 100 percent. The relaxing of the stimulation policy follows record devaluation of the Turkish Lira against the dollar.
Luxembourg-based drink manufacturer Purple Beverages appealed to Turkey's Competition Authority to buy Doğanay Foods, the country's largest turnip juice producer. Turnip juice is a common cold beverage in Turkey, even drank with rakı.
Goldman Sachs revised its periodic forecasts for the Turkish lira, anticipating that it will continue to fall and will reach 8.25 to the dollar by next year. The lira has been the world's second-worst performing currency thus far this month, dropping four percent for a total of an 18 percent decline in 2020.
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.
Urban Beat
Main opposition Istanbul Municipality revealed that the Culture Ministry's contract workers had been destroying walls of ancient Galata Tower. The historic building had been taken away from the municipality last 2019, and forced to be evacuated in April.
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.