Politics
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.
The Turkish parliament on Dec. 13 condemned the U.S. Senate’s passing a resolution recognizing early 20th century killings of Armenians as “genocide.” People’s Democratic Party (HDP) did not join the condemnation.
Former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu announced Friday that his new Future Party will work towards a new constitution and reverting to parliamentary system. He added that “libertarian secularism” and “pluralist religion” are among the fundamental principles of his party.
Opposition right-wing Good Party (İP) leader Meral Akşener said that she would transfer 20 members of parliament from her party to the newly founded AKP breakaway parties if needed.
Istanbul's Şehir University, known for its close affiliation with former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu from the start, has recently became the subject of controversy. President Erdoğan accused Davutoğlu of illegally acquiring state-owned land for the university. Prior to Erdoğan's allegations, seizure procedures had began against the university based on the grounds that the school had not paid its loans to state-owned Halkbank.
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has claimed that journalism is not done properly anymore in Turkey, which is why he would like to become a journalist if he could “give up everything.” He also said that politicians have the “luxury” of making mistakes, whereas the same is not the case for journalists.
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.
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Ankara's conflict-oriented foreign policy has received the public's support for military operations, but public opinion often fails to translate into votes. While Ankara's "enemy" in military conflict is ever-changing, the northern Syria conflict was revealed to be the only intervention that expanded the government's voter base.
Selahattin Demirtaş writes: You have re-arrested us after six years. You say we are the instigators of the Kobane massacres when we were actually the victims. Do you think you will be able to make us responsible for this through conspiracies based on secret witnesses and be saved from responsibility? You must genuinely believe that the fascism you rely on today will always exist.
Politics
Hate speech and threats against Armenians in Turkey have accelerated following the outbreak of clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan. HDP MP Garo Paylan, himself a Turkish-Armenian, has been targeted for his insistence on a ceasefire. "We can conclude that there will be no favorable results from this war--which has caused loss and destruction on both sides—and that the solution is on the peace table," Paylan said.
Turkey's top medical association has said that 143,000 coronavirus patients are currently treated at their homes, whereas 460,000 others have been placed under mandatory home quarantine. The Turkish Medical Association made the remarks based on the results of a survey conducted with family physicians across the country.
A report penned by CHP lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu has said that 29 journalists, writers and publishers have received jail terms during January-September period of this year, 20 of whom have been arrested. "The animosity against journalists that is on the rise during the AKP rule is due to the government's stance against freedom of press,” Tanrıkulu said.
A group of university students and alumni are requesting that the Credit and Dormitories Agency (KYK) annul all loans. Currently, some five million Turkish university students are in debt to the state-run KYK, and 300,000 face prosecution for not being able to pay back the debt.
The lira sank to a record low to near 8 versus the dollar after Turkey’s central bank ignored investors' calls to raise its main interest rate. The decision to leave the rate unchanged prompted economists to question the central bank’s commitment to lowering inflation and its independence from the government.
Putin said on Oct. 22 Russia and Turkey disagree about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, but emphasized strong ties between Moscow and Ankara. Erdoğan "might seem tough, but is a flexible politician and reliable partner for Russia," Putin said.
A 24-year-old woman was shot dead by her brother in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, news portal Jinnews reported on Oct. 21. Meanwhile, a local court discounted a femicide assailant's sentence on "good behavior," adding to the list of killers that Turkish courts are lenient toward.
Protesting miners from around Turkey were promised a solution within 10 days during an Oct. 21 meeting with Justice and Development Party (AKP) Group Deputy Chairwoman Özlem Zengin. Hundreds of miners started marching to the capital earlier this month, as survivors of the Soma Mining Disaster are yet to receive damages, and workers in Ermenek have 13 months of unpaid wages.
A newly passed legislation will allow ministries to veil their budget items as they submit their budget proposals to parliament. This means that they are no longer obliged to make it public how much is paid to private contractors for projects.
Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez said on Oct. 22 Turkey will operate the gas field which it recently discovered in the Black Sea on its own, but it may cooperate with foreign firms in terms of detailed work and equipment. The minister's comments came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Oct. 17 Turkey had raised the estimated reserves of the field to 405 billion cubic meters after finding an additional 85 bcm.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has confirmed that Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems were tested last week, as he also dismissed NATO allies' concerns on the issue. Akar also said that the S-400 won’t be integrated into NATO’s command-and-control infrastructure, but rather "used as a standalone system similar to the use of Russian-made S-300 weapons that exist within NATO."
Turkey's Health Ministry will regulate the administration of flu shots through the online government portal as supplies will fall short of soaring demand. Patients will need to obtain prescriptions from their family practitioner, report to a pharmacy with their prescription. Pharmacies will be supplied shots only after receipt of a prescription.
The AKP and its ally MHP on Oct. 21 rejected the HDP's demand to investigate what really unfolded during the 2014 Kobane protests for the 10th time. The HDP's demand came after dozens of its members, including co-mayors of the eastern province of Kars, were arrested over the protests six years later earlier this month.
A bus assistant in Turkey sexually harassed a 17-year-old passenger on a trip with Metro Turizm vehicle, notorious for sexual assault incidents. The company told an Instagram user who shared footage of the assault that the worker was uninsured, and asked them to remove the video.
Ankara said on Oct. 21 it extended the stay of its Oruç Reis survey vessel and two other ships in a disputed area of the eastern Mediterranean until Oct. 27. Ankara had withdrawn Oruç Reis from last month to "allow for diplomacy" before a European Union summit at which Cyprus sought sanctions against Turkey, but sent it back this month, prompting an angry rebuke from Greece, France and Germany.
Turkey's Constitutional Court has determined that teacher and author Tahir Baykuşak's rights were violated by police who assaulted him during an ID check in Istanbul in 2016. The court said that a proper investigation was not carried out and that the mistreatment of police violated the 17th Article of the constitution.
Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Oct. 21 condemned Turkey for "violating international law" during one-day regional summit. Turkish Foreign Ministry rejected the "baseless" allegations a day later, saying that Ankara will continue to protect "our rights and the Turkish Cypriots' rights with determination."
Turkey's southeastern city of Diyarbakır is nestled in Mesopotamia and has a deep legacy spanning millenniums and civilizations. A recent discovery on the 8000-year-old Amida Höyük archaeological site has unearthed an 1800-year-old heating system that was quite sophisticated for the time.
Turkish police on Oct. 22 detained 14 people in anti-ISIS operations in Istanbul. Police said that 13 of those apprehended are foreigners and their extradition processes began. Sources told state-run Anadolu Agency that some of the suspects were active in Syria.
Economy
The Turkish government has said that it "laughs off" boycotts imposed on Turkish products in Saudi Arabia, Morocco and United Arab Emirates. "We laugh off some countries' boycotts against Turkey. They should first learn to stand as independent countries," AKP deputy leader Numan Kurtulmuş said on Oct. 18.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected that income per capita in Turkey would drop to 2005 levels, an annual average of $7,720. The IMF also predicted a five percent contraction in the Turkish economy until the end of 2020, despite Ankara's 0.3 percent growth projection.
Turkey's net international investment deficit grew by $20 billion from the end of 2019 to reach a total $365.8 billion at the end of August. Turkey's international assets shrunk by 10.2 percent to reach $227.4 billion in the same period.
President Erdoğan on Oct. 17 announced the discovery of an additional 85 billion cubic meters of natural gas in the Black Sea, following a similar find in August. As a result of testing, analysis and detailed engineering work, another 85 billion cubic meters were added to the reserves we had discovered. The total amount of natural gas reserves in the TUNA-1 well of the Sakarya Gas Field reached 405 billion cubic meters," Erdoğan said.
Data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) revealed a dip in real estate sales vis-a-vis last year in September, dropping by 6.9 percent for some 136,744 residences sold. Meanwhile, the total volume of sales between January and September was larger than the number in 2019.
Urban Beat
Kurdish artist Zehra Doğan's work that she created during her two prison sentences between 2016 and 2019 are on display in Turkey for the first time. The artist was jailed on terrorism charges and gained international fame after finishing her second sentence and holding a show at London's Tate Modern.
Turkey's Presidential Symphony Orchestra will thrive thanks to the completion of its long-awaited music hall, Conductor Cemi'i Can Deliorman said. Having been in the works for 25 years, the music hall's large auditorium can seat more than two thousand viewers.
Alterations on Istanbul's iconic Hagia Sophia reportedly violated guidelines mandated under the site's "UNESCO World Heritage" status. Converted within two weeks of the legal ruling that allowed Muslim worship, the ancient structure's mosaics were unlawfully covered up, and any work on it was deemed practically impossible, architectural publication Mimarlık Magazine reported.