Politics
Istanbul Municipality is hiring two Kurdish-speaking instructors for Kurdish lessons at the Arts and Professional Training Center. CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu met with graduates of the Kurdish Language and Literature department in August and said that the city would be offering Kurdish lessons and nursing services in Kurdish.
A source close to former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said that he applied to the Interior Ministry on Dec. 12 to form his new party and that he will formally announce it at a news conference in Ankara on Dec 13. It will be called Future Party, the source said.
Former Turkish deputy prime minister Ali Babacan and his team have recently organized a workshop in the capital Ankara to determine how the new party will address Turkey's Kurdish issue. Babacan said the two-day workshop, which brought together 15 experts, discussed the current problems and solution proposals.
A brawl has erupted in the Turkish parliament after the main opposition CHP's criticism of the ruling AKP for privatizing the Tank and Pallet Factory. As the tension grew, a recess was given but the lawmakers continued their quarrel.
Former Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ and lawmakers from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have reportedly failed a law exam. Some 27,537 people, including academics, members of the judiciary and politicians, took the mediation test on Nov. 24, with 6,271 of them passing via obtaining at least 91 points. Bozdağ, however, failed by receiving 72 points.
Former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş was taken to a hospital for planned examinations on Dec. 9. Following the surfacing of rumors regarding the visit stemming from an emergency, a statement was released, saying that the visit was planned. "He is feeling well," it said.
A group consisting of former AKP politicians, who are close to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, are carrying out visits to former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and former President Abdullah Gül in order to prevent them from establishing two new political parties. The group aims to prevent the AKP from getting harmed because of the new parties and to establish peace with Davutoğlu and Babacan.
Veysel İpekçi, who was the deputy mayor of Istanbul's Güngören and has come under fire for forcing a driver working in the municipality to sit in front of a bathroom as a punishment for not standing up when he saw İpekçi, defended himself in a bizarre way, saying that he became the target of foreign powers due to developing an economic system as an alternative to communism and capitalism.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said that his party supports a call by former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on establishing a parliamentary commission to investigate the assets of presidents and prime ministers. "This is necessary in order for clean politics and clearing politics of dirt. The people also expect this," Kılıçdaroğlu said, adding that the move would mean taking a stand against the U.S. House of Representatives.
In a poll conducted by the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) surveying its own supporters, results indicate that 70 percent of respondents said that they wanted the party to stay in parliament, amid debates about abandoning it in protest of the government's removal of numerous recently-elected HDP mayors from their posts. Meanwhile, jailed former HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş said that he supported the HDP's call for early elections as a first step.
Abdurrahman Kurt, a former lawmaker from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), has said that public personnel are being hired in exchange for money in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır. "The selling of cadres in Diyarbakır has become so internalized that it's impossible to believe. Won't anyone say 'enough' to this?" Kurt said in a tweet on Dec. 8.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is planning to stop dissolution in AKP base via targeting former high-level AKP officials Ahmet Davutoğlu and Ali Babacan, Davutoğlu's team said, as the foundation of two new parties nears. "The aim here is to raise question marks in people's heads regarding the new parties to prevent their interest, to stop the dissolution in his base and to remain in power via trying all methods," former prime minister's team has said.
A dispute broke out in parliament on Dec. 5 between deputies of rival political parties amid the rejection of a motion submitted by the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) to establish a commission to research the recent targeting of Alevi homes in the province of Izmir. The HDP's motion to establish a commission to investigate the issue was rejected by a majority of parliamentary votes.
AKP deputy Alpay Özalan was attending the opening of a mosque in Cambridge with a delegation from Turkey, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, when his name was found among the votes cast in parliament. When Özalan's name was read out loud in parliament, several lawmakers said that he was outside, before parliamentary deputy speaker noticed that he was not present during voting. Following criticism, Özalan said that he didn't know about the incident.
A fresh row has erupted between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu over the status of a land belonging to a private university, as the foundation of a new party by Davutoğlu nears. Upon Erdoğan's remarks that accused Davutoğlu of attempting to defraud Turkey's state-owned Halkbank, the former PM urged the establishment of parliamentary commissions for the investigation of the assets of presidents and prime ministers.
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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.
Politics
Turkey's opposition parties have criticized the detention of HDP members CHP Group Deputy Chair Özgür Özel deemed the detentions "an intimidation operation" and asked the government whether new evidence was reached regarding the Kobane protests that happened six years ago. According to Özel, the recent detentions are attempts of the government to shift people's focus from the crumbling economy.
Turkish police on Sept. 25 detained some 20 HDP members, including Kars Co-Mayor Ayhan Bilgen, over 2014 violent protests against the siege by ISIS of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane. Detention warrants were issued for a total of 82 people in seven provinces. Those sought were in the MYK of the party at the time of the protests.
A group of opposition politicians slammed the construction of a 90-million-lira prison with a lake view in the eastern province of Van which government officials deemed "an investment." The opposition noted that the region has far more pressing needs than prisons and that hundreds of jails have been already built in recent years in Turkey.
Greek women from the Women's Initiative for Peace (WINPEACE) have slammed two Greek tabloids for their reports on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan allegedly having had an extramarital relationship with an actress. "We believe the fact that two newspapers in Greece, however marginal, have in the last week decided on publishing insulting, misogynist, shameful headlines, denigrating all human values is a despicable attempt to sabotage any positive developments," they said in a statement.
Turkey's Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects Chambers (TMMOB) has said that some 14 parcels on the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) land near the university masjid (prayer room for Muslims) have been zoned for construction. The architects urged the university administration to clarify the parcels' allocation and asked whether the land in question will be used for a mosque construction.
Turkey's depletion of foreign exchange reserves and the fact that a majority of its forex reserves are swap lines has created mass distrust in the economy, Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) Chairman Simone Kaslowski said. Turkey needs to “ensure full market confidence” to attract long-term financing flows, Kaslowski said during a videoconference on Sept. 24.
Works to excavate an ancient Roman bath in Turkey's Central Anatolian province of Yozgat have been stopped due to lack of financial funding. The area is now fenced off, and visitors are barred from entry.
İsmail Tarman Middle School in İstanbul's Beşiktaş district still remains closed despite four court rulings to reverse the school's status as religious İmam Hatip school. The rulings should have enabled for the school's reopening as a standard middle school, but the courts' decisions have not been enforced and the school's doors remain closed.
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tore into President Donald Trump on Sept. 24 after he declined to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the presidential election in November. “You are not in North Korea, you are not in Turkey, you are not in Russia, Mr. President. You are in the United States of America, it is a democracy, so why don’t you just try for a moment to honor your oath of office, to the Constitution of the United States?” she said.
The governor's office in the Black Sea province of Giresun banned smoking cigarettes in public spaces on the grounds that it required removing face masks, hence risking the spread of COVID-19. The province will fine those smoking in the streets, parks or any other public spaces.
Turkey's largest seller of fish, Dardanel reportedly discriminated against Roma women who applied for positions at a factory. While the women weren't even called in for an interview, the company blamed the incident on the contracting hiring firm.
One of the Turkish Aegean Riviera's most pristine areas, Gökova Bay was rezoned to allow construction along with nearby Marmaris and Milas. Muğla Mayor Osman Gürün said that the rezoning threatens construction of 25,000 hectares of land, and that the are would effectively "cease to exist."
The Turkish parliament has failed to debate in its general session any draft bills prepared by any party other than the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the past two legislative sessions, daily Cumhuriyet reported. The AKP presented some 249 draft bills, 100 of which were reported on by the relevant commissions, while one of the CHP's 2,148 draft bills were investigated by commissions.
The Kızılırmak Delta Wetland and Bird Sanctuary in the Black Sea province of Samsun has observed raging fires since the reversal of its "protected area" status. While a part of the delta was transferred to the property of the government, environmentalists suspect the fires were started intentionally.
Local medical device companies have warned the Turkish Health Ministry that if debts owed by the government hospitals remain unpaid, there could be a “disruption in the health services” starting as early as in October. The Turkish Medical Equipment and Devices Manufacturers Association (TÜDER) has said that local medical firms have been waiting for the last 16 months to get their payment which has reached to around $26 billion Turkish Liras ($3.4 billion) in total.
Turkish Justice Ministry has dismissed a parliamentary question on the release of a rapist soldier for being "offensive." Uca in her question asked Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül to reveal the reason for why former specialized sergeant Musa Orhan was released despite raping İpek Er. The ministry said that the question can be accepted if the terms found "crude and offensive" are removed.
Turkey reportedly didn't apprehend ISIS militant Yunus Durmaz responsible for deadly attacks in Turkey despite determining his location 19 times between April 29 and May 19, 2016. Durmaz, who was sought over the attacks in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, the Suruç district of the southeastern province of Urfa, the capital Ankara and Istanbul's Taksim, blew himself up during a police raid on an ISIS cell in 2016.
Economy
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.