Former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu turned down an offer by opposition right-wing Good Party (İP) leader Meral Akşener to transfer members to Future Party if they failed to fulfill the requirement for the minimum number of members to join the general election. "If we're in a difficult situation, we will meet with everyone and form a democratic coalition," Davutoğlu said.
PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan's lawyer İbrahim Bilmez has said that they are prevented from meeting with their client on İmralı Island, adding that they've been filing two applications per week since the beginning of 2019, but only five of them were approved. "Strong political and legal struggle is required for this system to be abolished. As long as this isolation system is not removed, arbitrariness will continue," Bilmez said.
Saliha Aydeniz has resigned from the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and joined its sister party Democratic Regions Party (DBP). As a result, the number of political parties represented in Turkish parliament has risen to 10.
Filiz Buluttekin, Sur co-mayor from the HDP, was detained early on Dec. 20, with police reportedly laying her, her son and her husband on the ground during the raid and pointing guns at them. State-run Anadolu Agency said investigations were being conducted against Buluttekin on charges of terrorism propaganda, insulting the Turkish people, the government and parliament.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has confirmed that Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the mother of Qatar Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, purchased land from the area on which Kanal Istanbul will be built. "Why are they bothered when the mother of Qatar Emir makes such a purchase? There are places that the Emir himself bought here. We opened the doors for it," Erdoğan said.
A newly surfaced footage showing Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül kissing the hands of a religious cult leader has stirred debate, with many urging the government to quit its relations with cults. While the minister said that the footage is from a time that he wasn't a lawmaker, the issue was slammed in parliament by the main opposition CHP. "Haven't we learned a lesson?" the party's Group Deputy Chair Özgür Özel asked the minister.
Turkey's Interior Ministry has removed from office four more mayors on terror charges and replaced them with district governors. Three of the sacked mayors are from the HDP, whereas the other is from the CHP.
Chanting slogans in support of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan can't be accepted as a crime if they're not calling for violence, Turkey's top court has said, adding that they are instead within the boundaries of freedom of expression. "Expressing, suggesting or advising thoughts criticizing the way a country is ruled are under the protection of freedom of expression even if they are disturbing for state officials or a significant portion of the society," the court said.
Khaled Khoja, the former head of the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition (SNC), swapped Syrian opposition for Turkish opposition last week via becoming one of the founders of former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu's breakaway Future Party. Khoja, who uses Alptekin Hocaoğlu as his Turkish name, says "I wanted to become part of this reformist [Future] party because it will strive for individual freedoms and rights in Turkey."
Former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş was barred from reading an issue of daily Evrensel that included an interview conducted with him, his lawyer has said. "The reasons behind these bans are arbitrary in almost all prisons. Only the pro-government newspapers are allowed. Different and opposition voices can't enter jails," he tweeted.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu said that the sale of lots on the Kanal Istanbul project to the mother of the Qatar Emir was being looked into. "What kind of an estate trade was this? Are we talking about a sincerely nationally beneficial process or are there things we don't know?" said İmamoğlu, adding that when evaluating the financial aspect of the project, Istanbul's priorities must be considered.
İbrahim Burak Oğuz, mayor of the Urla district of the Aegean province of İzmir, has been arrested over alleged links to the Gülen movement. The CHP's İzmir provincial head has criticized the arrest, saying: "There is no chance of FETÖ living in the CHP. We condemn that those who came [to the office] with elections are removed with the hand of the law."
Murat Yetkin writes: Erdoğan’s government has been depriving tens of millions of citizens living in big cities and opted for opposition mayors, from crucial loans to be used on infrastructure. If he aims to punish those who voted in favor of the opposition instead of his candidates, it’s evident that this reaction isn’t working, and is, instead, backfiring.
Former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has unveiled the 143-page program for his newly-launched Future Party. The program vowed to recognize the legal status of cemevis, the worship house of the Alevis, a heterodox non-Sunni faith that accoutns for as much as a quarter of the country's population. Regarding the Kurds, the program vowed to fight against identity-based discrimination
A group of HDP deputies have filed a motion in parliament urging the establishment of an investigation commission to investigate human rights violations and the killing of civilians during curfews imposed in Şırnak between 2015-2016. The deputies said that 64,000 people had been “forcibly” displaced from their homes during these curfew periods.
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Duvar English’s editor-in-chief Cansu Çamlıbel and pollster Can Selçuki discuss the underlying factors behind the recent moves of Turkey's ruling alliance which paves the way for further polarization in politics as the country enters the final months of 2020. They also analyze the effects of the sharp decline of the Turkish Lira against foreign currencies over public's perception.
Dinçer Demirkent writes: Interior Minister Soylu said that the head of the Constitutional Court would be unable to commute to work without his protection team. What he meant was that he was the Minister who assigned the security team to the judge, implying he might just remove them. By doing so, Süleyman Soylu openly violates the article 138 of the Turkish Constitution; basic principle for the independence of the judiciary.
Deputies and officials of pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) protested the detention of dozens of members last week, on charges related to the October 2014 Kobane protests. The HDP members are accused of inciting violence in the events that lead to the deaths of 37 people, as members of Turkish Hizbullah also took to the streets.
Turkey's first coronavirus vaccine was administered on Sept. 28 in Istanbul University. A 53-year-old health worker volunteered to receive the shot, and said that he hoped it would eliminate the pandemic soon.
Daily BirGün released video showing the crime scene of Nadira Kadirova's alleged suicide, revealing signs of a struggle in the suspicious death of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Şirin Ünal's help. Meanwhile, the daily released a video of Kadirova's mother at her grave, accusing the deputy of killing the young woman.
Kurdish singer Cesim Başboğa said that he was threatened by gendarmerie officials and MİT members to not sing in Kurdish in Bitlis' Tatvan district. According to Başboğa, a MİT official "banned" him to sing in Kurdish, saying, "I'm warning you for the last time. You'll be in trouble in the smallest mistake."
Turkish police have denied that three HDP politicians, including Mayor Ayhan Bilgen, were hospitalized over food poisoning while under detention. According to the police statement that was released after the HDP's claims on the issue, Bilgen was taken to a hospital over an infection in his body. Deputy Hüseyin Kaçmaz earlier on Sept. 28 said that Bilgen, İsmail Şengün and Can Memiş were taken to a hospital over food poisoning.
Turkish prosecutors have prepared a second indictment in connection with the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul. The indictment against the six suspects, including two consulate workers and four other Saudi nationals, was sent to the court to be combined with the main case.
Turkey's Industry and Technology Ministry falsely advertised opening a factory in a mass opening event, only to be refuted by the facility's board who said they'd been in business for 45 years. It was later claimed that the name was erroneously added, and that some of the factories had merely been invested in, and not built from scratch.
Police in the southeastern province of Şırnak are refusing to release the numbers of arrests for selling and using drugs amid a surge in illegal substances in recent years. "It has been determined that such information cannot be accessed on an individual basis," police responded to an inquiry by Duvar.
The 39th Istanbul Film Festival will offer viewings both online and in-person, the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV) noted. While tickets will become available on Oct. 2, showings will start a week later and last for 10 days.
City water in a district of western Kütahya was revealed to contain levels of arsenic 350 times higher than the acceptable standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO). The water also reportedly contains 8,000 times the acceptable level of boron, and deaths from cancer in the Emet district are three times as high as the other districts of Kütahya.
The Turkish government's restrictions on card and board games are hurting business for old-fashioned coffee houses. Old-fashioned coffeehouses are an important part of social life, especially for retired and unemployed men in Turkey, and board and card games are among the primary activities.
Amnesty International has called on Turkey to investigate the throwing of two men from a military helicopter in the eastern province of Van. It also said that it's very concerned on the "allegations of torture and mistreatment," adding that international human rights law and standards must ensure that Turkey prevents torture under all circumstances.
Greece on Sept. 27 called on Turkey to condemn and investigate what it said was an "insult" to its national flag on the Greek island of Kastellorizo. "We expect Turkish authorities to immediately condemn and investigate the incident, so that the culprits are brought before justice," it said. "Such unacceptable actions only seek to torpedo prospects for easing tensions between the two countries."
HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan has called on Future Party leader and former prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to "speak the truth" about October 2014 Kobane protests a day after 20 HDP members were detained. "Now is the time to speak the truth. I think it's important for people who were in the government at the time and who know what unfolded to speak," Buldan said.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said that coronavirus (COVID-19) positive individuals will wear electronic bracelets while under quarantine as a measure against violating quarantine rules. The ministry is evaluating two options regarding the bracelet and both options include alarming authorities if breaches take place.
Members of the European Parliament have condemned the latest crackdown on pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). Kati Piri said that the Turkish government's move is “another step backwards pushing Turkey even further away from the EU,” while Nacho Sánchez Amor said that Turkish authorities seem “determined to establish some kind of overall retroactive state of emergency in order to further suppress opposition and any critical voices.”
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that he is very proud of his son who is doing his military service on the Greek-Turkish border. “Very proud father! I’m sorry that, due to Covid, I could not come to Alexandroupolis to brag about you!” said Mitsotakis Instagram on Sept. 25.
Istanbul Medical Chamber said on Sept. 25 that a healthcare worker who warned a patient's relative to put his mask on was beaten. Prof. Dr. Tufan Tükek, dean of Istanbul University’s Çapa Medical Faculty, said that the health worker named Rıfat Babayiğit might suffer a permanent vision loss due to the attack.
A deputy of the main opposition CHP has criticized the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) after a video footage showing a child being battered at a Quran course has surfaced. CHP MP Ali Öztunç called on Diyanet head to enlighten the incident, while also indicating that he does not believe the explanation of the district governor's office that the 10-year-old child was beaten by a 15-year-old child attending the same course.
Turkey's Central Bank unexpectedly hiked interest rates on Sept. 24, triggering an improvement in the lira's value against the dollar. The Turkish Lira has sunk to record lows over the past month as Ankara's currency interventions proved futile.
Turkey's state-owned Halkbank has urged a judge to dismiss a U.S. indictment accusing the bank of helping Iran evade American sanctions. At a hearing in Manhattan federal court on Sept. 18, a lawyer for Halkbank said its status as a Turkish “instrumentality” shielded it from prosecution because of sovereign immunity.
U.S. tech giant Amazon offered up its speed-delivery subscription to Turkish consumers on Sept. 15. The monthly subscription fee was set for 7.99 Turkish Liras, about one dollar with the current exchange rates.
Turkey's unemployment rate rose to 13.4 percent. and participation edged up in the May-July period in which a coronavirus lockdown was lifted and a ban on layoffs remained in place, data showed on Sept. 10, painting a clearer picture of the pandemic's fallout.
Urban Beat
Istanbulites will select the new face of Taksim Square from among three projects as part of the Istanbul Municipality's plans to renovate the area. Şerif Süveydan, Bünyamin Derman and Kutlu İnanç Bal were the winners in the contest that was held by Istanbul Planning Agency and Istanbul Municipality's Department of Cultural Assets.
The Odunpazarı Modern Museum in western Eskişehir won the award for "international project of the year over £1m" at the London Museums+Heritage Awards. The museum opened its doors just over a year ago in the city's ancient Odunpazarı neighborhood.
The 48th Istanbul Music Festival will be held online, streaming pre-recorded performances in historical venues. Starting on Sept. 18, the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) will make available the performances that honor composer Ludwig van Beethoven.
Heavy presence of the Asian tiger mosquito was detected in four Istanbul districts, concerning locals as the bug can carry malaria, the Zika virus and encephalitis. The invasive species have been increasing in population around Istanbul in the past decade, an Istanbul University veterinarian said.
Ali Demir writes: So the property of the local non-Muslims collapsed, and what happened? Nothing! The whole country is now composed of non-local foreigners. The greedy tailor apprentice that murdered his master could not sew a jacket, and will never be able to.