Politics
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.
Following a number major defeats in this year's local elections, particularly in Istanbul and Ankara, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has began the process for its 7th Extraordinary Congress, in which the party seeks to renew itself. The congress will consist of two wings: one will be involved with instructing certain provincial party leaders to resign, while the other will seek out new provincial leaders and executives.
Editor's Pick
Soner Çağaptay and Raffaella A. Del Sarto write: The EU often praises itself as a promoter of democracy and regional stability by highlighting the power of its enlargement process to include new members in the “neighbourhood.” Yet in the case of Turkey, its ill-conceived policies may well have contributed to the opposite. A clumsy EU has repeatedly gotten its policy toward Turkey wrong, often inadvertently helping Erdoğan at key points during his rise while creating preventable tensions with Ankara.
Politics
Russia's President Vladimir Putin called on Oct. 29 for an immediate ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh and peace talks that would review proposals from many countries including Turkey.
Turkey's testing of Russian S-400 missile defense systems continues to draw rebuke from the United States. "That risk is very real because they… continue to pursue the S-400. And, of course, with the testing of it, sanctions is very much something that is on the table," R. Clarke Cooper, the top State Department official in charge of arms sales, said on Oct. 28.
A 120-year-old woman living in Turkey's southeastern province of Şırnak has beaten the novel coronavirus. Following a 15-day-long treatment, Menica Encü was discharged from hospital accompanied by applauds on Oct. 28.
A Turkish court has sentenced a high school teacher to 52 years and five months in jail for sexually abusing five of his students. Child advocates have been calling for better sex abuse prevention for years. The Turkish government says it will work on prevention but has not specified how.
Twelve women who were violently detained by police during a femicide protest are now facing charges of battery from police officers, the indictment against them revealed. The women are primarily accused of holding an illegal assembly in protest of the brutal murder of 27-year-old Pınar Gültekin.
Some 210 migrants were discovered inside the trailer of a freight lorry in the eastern province of Van on Oct. 29. Migration officials reportedly searched the lorry during routine road controls and detained the lorry driver. Some 18 of the migrants were children.
Unmonitored and extensive mining in eastern Turkey threatens to destroy all life in the area, an environmental activist said. Divriği Life and Nature Platform has launched a social media campaign to organize locals against mining.
Turkey's parliament, hampered by the increased authority granted to the presidency after the country transitioned to a presidential system two year ago, has received a budget hike of 8.4 percent for the upcoming year. Parliament Speaker Şentop said that parliament had been working at full speed in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some 20 non-governmental organizations slammed Istanbul Municipality's search for a landscape design for the city's iconic Taksim Square on the grounds that the process didn't allow for "democratic input" from all stakeholders. Istanbul Municipality held a design contest for potential landscapes for Taksim Square that yielded three final projects on Sept. 20, which were offered up to the public for voting.
Turkey's largest mining union Maden-İş blasted miners who are members of the organization and who are striking for severance pay as "provocateurs." Laborers from two mines in Turkey have roused up attention recently by marching to the capital of Ankara in protest of being denied their rights.
An ancient church in the southeastern province of Mardin once belonging to Turkey's dwindling Assyrian community is being sold by its owner. The owners of the property gave up on selling the ancient church in 2015 after fierce reaction mounted against the sale, though realtor Mahsum Altay said there were no legal obstacles to selling the church.
President Erdoğan has said that Armenia employed PKK and YPG militants to fight against Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh. "They say, 'You're sending foreign militants to Azerbaijan from Syria.' I told Mr. President [Putin] that around 2,000 PKK and YPG militants are fighting for Armenia with 600$ salary," Erdoğan said, to which Putin reportedly responded by saying, "I don't know about that."
AKP spokesperson Ömer Çelik deemed CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu's call on First Lady Emine Erdoğan to burn her Hermes handbag following calls to boycott French goods "violence against women." President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had a harsher tone, saying, "If you have the guts, talk about me."
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca on Oct. 28 raised the alarm about a 62 percent weekly surge in number of COVID-19 cases in the country's most populated city Istanbul, describing the infection rate as "frightening." "If we don’t get the situation in Istanbul under control, the outbreak will spiral out of control,” Koca said in a press conference, following a meeting of the government's science board.
Turkey's opposition Good (İYİ) Party leader Meral Akşener urged the president to respond to "adolescent-like European leaders with statesmanship" instead of the "same adolescent attitude." The chairwoman's comments are in reference to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's brawl with French President Emmanuel Macron over the latter's strong stance against "Islamist separatism."
A new metro line running between Istanbul's neighborhoods of Mecidiyeköy and Mahmutbey on the European side opened on Oct. 28. Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu announced that the new line will be at the service of Istanbulites for free for the first 10 days.
Ali Babacan, the former deputy prime minister from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) who founded the opposition DEVA in March, has said that critics of the government are being arrested or left unemployed for just expressing their opinions. “People are being detained just for speaking, for writing. You cannot consider a thought a crime. If you want just one opinion to persist in this country, this cannot happen. It is impossible,” Babacan said.
Turkish police on Oct. 28 detained five people over their alleged involvement in the suicide bombing that shook Hatay's İskenderun district earlier this week. İskenderun was rocked by an explosion on Oct. 26 which the authorities blamed on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
President Erdoğan has asked whether people believe that "anyone can't bring home the bread." "Do you believe that anyone can't bring home the bread? Do you think such thing exists in Turkey? Turkey is ahead of many countries in terms of its minimum wage and salaries," Erdoğan told reporters, adding that Turkey is "at a great spot" when one looks at data from the IMF and OECD.
Economy
Turkey's Central Bank Governor Murat Uysal said that it has no target on exchange rates as the lira touched a new low for a third day on Oct. 28. Uysal said higher import costs, with the lira tumbling to record lows beyond 8.3 to the dollar, rising food prices and strong credit growth were the main causes of the upward revision.
Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak has said that the economy is growing despite the tumbling Turkish Lira. The lira weakened to a record low on Oct. 26, hit by investor unease over the central bank's decision last week to keep its policy rate on hold and various sources of geopolitical concern. Strains in ties with the United States, a row with France, a dispute between Turkey and Greece over maritime rights and the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh have all unsettled investors.
Turkish monthly inflation was almost four times greater than the official rate in September, according to a new model developed by a group of academics and researchers. According to the independent Inflation Research Group (ENAG)'s first published finding, consumer prices in September rose 3.61 percent from the previous month, compared to the official Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK)'s calculation of 0.97 percent increase.
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.
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.
Urban Beat
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.
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.