Politics
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu was favored more than President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a recent poll about a potential presidential election. "If a general election was held today," 31.9 percent said they would vote for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) while 24.7 percent would vote for the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP).
Former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş was taken to hospital on Dec. 2, nearly a week after losing consciousness due to chest tightness and inability to breathe. Demirtaş was taken for a check-up just hours after Aygül Demirtaş, his sister and one of his lawyers, complained on social media about the delay. Aygül Demirtaş later announced on Twitter that Demirtaş' test results did not show any "life-threatening conditions."
As the foundation of two new parties led by former AKP figures Ali Babacan and Ahmet Davutoğlu nears, the AKP has been working on determining whether the party will lose its votes to the new ones. While the effect of the new parties are evaluated to be limited, it was observed that the AKP has been losing votes to the MHP, which was also the case in the previous elections.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has said that Turkish authorities know the whereabouts of Adil Öksüz, a key suspect of the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt who has been on the run since the attempted takeover, while refraining from naming the precise location. Soylu also criticized the U.S., Germany and European countries for not extraditing suspects sought by Turkey over their involvement in the botched coup.
Turkish presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın has said that the 24 mayors of the HDP who were previously suspended from their posts on alleged links to terrorism will be found guilty in court at the end of their judicial processes. Asked by the British journalist Tim Sebastian why the mayors were removed from their posts although court trials are still underway, Kalın said: “They will be charged of course.”
All political parties in parliament have each submitted a motion seeking to remove a clause in a government bill that would have granted the Interior Minister authority to strip the seniority of civilian administrative authorities (such as governors and local district governors). The four motions were voted for simultaneously and accepted in the parliament, reported the daily Sözcü on Nov. 28.
Support for Turkey's former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan is higher than former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, according to a survey carried out in October with a total of 1,700 participants in 26 provinces. The poll also said that Babacan would receive the majority of the votes from the supporters of İYİ (Good) Party, the CHP and the Felicity (Saadet) Party.
Turkey's former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan has said that their political party will be a mainstream one that won't appeal to a narrow audience. "Our party aims to create a stance that various parts of the society agree on. It's the design of a new Turkey that can be put in practice and that's realistic," Babacan said, as he criticized the current administration over plenty of issues, including the violation of human rights.
Three sacked HDP mayors from Savur, Derik and Mazıdağı districts of Mardin have been arrested as part of ongoing terrorism investigations. The HDP had on Nov. 20 called for an early election to protest the government’s dismissal of its mayors.
Turkey will continue its operation in northern Syria until its "goals are reached," the country's National Security Council said in a statement on Nov. 26. The council also said Turkey expects the U.S. and Russia to fulfill their agreements with Ankara as soon as possible to clear the YPG from the region.
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) executives have said that party members who initiate a quarrel with fellow members will be expelled from the party in a bid not to damage the party reputation. The CHP has adopted this stance in the aftermath of a recent crisis that emerged over claims that a senior party member had secretly met with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
All of the political parties' representatives in the Turkish parliament have agreed on the removal of the name of Kenan Evren from streets, schools, villages, neighborhoods, barracks and districts. Evren led a military coup in 1980 in Turkey and then imposed the harshest repression in the country's history.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has said that there's a rift between the PKK and its Syrian affiliate YPG, adding that he finds the attitudes of the HDP and the PKK towards SDF chief Mazloum Kobani "interesting." "They should embrace this man, who is being tried to be legalized internationally, but they don't," he said.
The MHP has slammed calls for early elections, with its leader saying that those who make the call are trying to lead Turkey into uncertainties. "The love for ballot boxes of those who can't stomach the results of elections will continue until they are elected, which doesn't seem possible," the party's Secretary-General said in a written statement.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has slammed CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and journalist Rahmi Turan over an alleged meeting, saying that the main opposition leader should quit his post if he can't prove his claims. "Lies haven't entered our lives, but their whole lives are lies," Erdoğan said of the CHP leader.
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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.