Politics
Finding a building to rent in order to set the place up as headquarters turned into a major struggle for former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, with over 10 building owners turning him down over concerns of "getting into trouble afterwards."
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has criticized the criteria for appointing ambassadors, saying that "nepotism" carried out by the government is decreasing respect for the state. "We are appointing men who take bribes as ambassadors," Kılıçdaroğlu said, referring to the recently appointed former EU minister Egemen Bağış.
The killing of a Syrian Kurdish politician in northern Syria during Turkish military offensive has raised criticism worldwide, with the murder reportedly committed by Ankara-backed rebels. The Amnesty International said Khalaf was dragged out of the car by the Ahrar al-Sharqiya militia, beaten and killed in a cold-blooded manner.
At the meeting of a government advisory board last month, AKP co-founder Bülent Arınç was seated next to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. However, at the latest meeting of YİK on Nov. 5, Arınç was seated several spots away from the president. Arınç recently criticized the removal of Mardin district mayor Ahmet Türk of the pro-Kurdish People's Democracy Party (HDP) and the widespread removal of the posts of thousands of state employees via an official government decree following the failed military coup on July 2016.
A bitter war of words began between Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, with the former calling the latter a "fool" for "complaining" about Turkey in a speech in the European Council.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's approval rating has jumped following the country's military incursion in Syria, a poll shows, which showed that the support for the President reached 48 percent.
It has been three years since the arrest of former HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ. The imprisonment of pro-Kurdish figures is slammed by their lawyers as "political hostage taking" due to the authorities repeatedly blocking local courts' rulings for release.
A court ruled for former HDP deputy Abdullah Zeydan's release, hours before accepting an objection to rule for the continuation of his arrest. The release of the party's former co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş was also ruled, but he will also stay in jail due to another case that he was given a prison term.
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the number of aircrafts at the president's disposal. “Unemployment rates have exceeded 8 million. You have 13 planes. What state leader has 13 planes?", Kılıçdaroğlu asked.
Pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Sezai Temelli claimed that research indicates the national support for the 'Operation Peace Spring' in northeastern Syria remained at around 60 percent, considerably lower than the 85 percent that supported last year's Operation Olive Branch in the Afrin district of Syria. He argued that the latest episode of the government policies in Syria was a serious failure.
The resignation of an AKP deputy stirs debate within the ruling party, with its deputy chair refuting claims of more resignations. The MP's move adds to the internal crisis within the AKP, with two of its founders recently having left the party as well.
Vice Chairman Feti Yıldız of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has called on President Erdoğan to cancel his upcoming visit to the U.S. on Nov. 13 due to genocide and sanctions resolutions voted at the Congress. The MHP has been coalition partners with Erdoğan's AKP both in presidential elections of 2018 and local elections of 2019.
The Turkish parliament on Thursday condemned the U.S. House of Representatives' passing a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide as well as a bill backing sanctions on Turkey. Pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) did not join the condemnation.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)'s Ministry of Environment and City Planning has moved to seize control of four Istanbul districts located near the Bosphorus strait, which command high real estate values. The move aims to take control of the districts away from main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Ekrem İmamoğlu's administration, via the establishment of the Bosphorus Ministry, the members of which will be determined by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
President Ertan Aksoy of the Social Democracy Foundation (SODEV), which reached the agenda due to its incisive polling prior to this year's local elections, said that if an election was to be held this Sunday, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and their far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) would not stand a chance.
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.