Politics
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has said that Turkey will have repatriated most of its ISIS detainees to their home countries by the end of the year. He also said that countries that revoked the citizenships of their nationals were violating international law.
Former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has received the "2019 Award for Special Political Courage," with his wife attending the ceremony to get the award due to the former party co-leader being in jail. "I accept this award on behalf of all political prisoners in Turkey, female political prisoners in particular," Demirtaş said in the letter sent to the ceremony.
MHP deputy Tamer Osmanoğlu has submitted a law proposal to the parliament, demanding that the government open "integration courses" for foreigners who want to become Turkish citizens. Only those who successfully complete these courses should be eligible for citizenship, according to the law proposal.
Main opposition CHP vice chair Ünal Çeviköz has said that public diplomacy is no longer run by the Foreign Ministry, but instead by the Presidency's Directorate of Communications. "
Public support for Turkey's military offensive in northern Syria is nearly 80 percent, with striking changes taking place in the people's perceptions after the beginning of the incursion. The offensive, called "Operation Peace Spring," wins the “complete” support of 53.3 percent of the population, while another 25.7 percent give it their “partial” backing, according to a recent research by Metropoll.
Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Istanbul Deputy Ahmet Hamdi Çamlı claimed that the recent local elections were influenced by CIA and Mossad. Referring to reforms carried out by Atatürk that switched the Arabic script-based Ottoman Turkish for the Latin alphabet, Çamlı said "It was a disastrous mistake".
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said that Turkey is unlikely to repatriate three million Syrian refugees to the northeast of the country and this is a "deceptive humanitarian slogan" raised by Ankara. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan suggested in September that three million refugees could return to a "safe zone" in northern Syria.
HDP mayors from Savur, Derik and Mazıdağı districts of Mardin and Suruç district of Şanlıurfa have been detained as part of ongoing terrorism investigations, provincial prosecutors said. In addition to detentions and arrests, Turkey’s Interior Ministry often appoints trustees to replace elected mayors from the HDP in the country’s southeast.
A MHP deputy has likened the lawyers of HDP Youth Assembly members to a "pack of dogs," while also calling them "terrorists" during a meeting of the Parliamentary Human Rights Inquiry Commission. The deputy's remarks were slammed by the HDP, with its lawmakers leaving the meeting and urging MHP deputy Metin Sazak to resign.
PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan's lawyers have requested to meet their client on İmralı Island, where he has been serving a life sentence for over 20 years. The lawyers have been filing numerous applications to visit Öcalan, but no response have been given to them.
A MHP deputy attended the meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the White House on Nov. 13. Another MHP deputy was also among the delegation, in an unexpected move. Three Republican senators were present in the meeting upon Trump's invitation.
Both Erdoğan and Trump have utilized their sons-in-law as "back channels" to foster the relationship between the two countries, especially during critical times, says an article penned by The New York Times. Berat Albayrak and Jared Kushner "have developed an informal, next-generation line of communication" between the two leaders, says the newspaper.
The Uzbek Foreign Ministry has summoned Turkish Ambassador Mehmet Süreyya Er to inquire about the ongoing investigation regarding the death of Nadira Kadirova. The Uzbek woman was working in the house of a Turkish deputy from the ruling AKP when she allegedly committed suicide.
Main opposition Republican People's Party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is to pay President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a settlement of 50,000 TL after Erdoğan filed a lawsuit against Kılıçdaroğlu over comments he made during a speech in parliament last year. Erdoğan's lawyers had initially requested a sum of 1 million TL.
A court has ordered the arrest of the co-mayors of the eastern province of Van's İpekyolu district over “terror charges.” Yacan and Kurt were previously removed from their posts to be replaced with a trustee.
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.