The public tender and the tax incentive blatantly given to Kalyon Construction last week is the product of a cartelization that has created its own oligarchs. Turkey’s regime is the product of this blend in which a particular class has effortlessly seized a significant portion of the nation’s reserves, its accumulation, and in fact, its wealth.
There is a need for a segment that will wear the outfit shown at the podium in Hagia Sophia in neighborhoods. The soul and the spirit that has been infused into the AKP government has to have reciprocity in the streets. The sword at the Hagia Sophia mosque opening will turn into a stick if needed.
Since Erdoğan's AKP is not able to open an umbrella that would cover everyone, it reinforces the point where it can give a “wheel alignment adjustment” to everyone. However, they know that the magnificent election results are a thing of the past.
A government-led and much-vaunted water supply project that connects Turkey to Northern Cyprus through an undersea pipeline has turned into a tender scandal.
The relationship between the government and the capital class is now at a deadlock. While the “Daddy State” maintains order, it now also manages the Central Bank and meddles with foreign currency. And though the AKP-led government is solely responsible for maintaining order, its economic fate depends on external factors.
It appears that Turkey’s capital-owning class largely agrees that the pandemic has brought two opportunities. The first has to do with broadening their vast exploitation of labor. The second has to do with obtaining a strategic place in the global supply chain, which is expected to break off from China.
As the pandemic ravaged Turkey, it turned out the government’s “public health” policies were cynically tied to commercial opportunities. In a country constrained by minimum legal control, the hospital project adjacent to the Atatürk Airport would have likely been the subject of an investigation and ended up before a high court. In fact, such things did happen in Turkey a while back.
The Wealth Fund has the freedom of incorporating any profiting institution without needing to be accountable to the parliament. Moreover, with the recent sweeping law that was passed thanks to the epidemic, the government it is now pretty much exempt from all laws including trade, tax, development and human resources.
The number of workers in Turkey who would be directly affected by staying at home during this period is close to 6 million. If their families are included, then it is not an exaggeration to estimate that the epidemic, at the first glance, will hit more than 15 million people economically.
Growth rates have shown Turkey is rapidly impoverishing. In 2019, income per capita almost collapsed. That figure which was 12.5 thousand dollars in 2013 is now around 9.1 thousand, thus making Turkey fall back behind Lebanon, Kazakhstan and Bulgaria. Turkey’s total national income has gone back from 950 billion dollars to 754 billion dollars.
Revelations have come out uncovering the ties between the Turkish state and Molham Rateb al-Drobi, a member of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. As the Gülen movement, the Muslim Brotherhood and pro-AKP foundations demonstrated, education networks have served as crucial institutional structures for Islamist circles. Such networks work as circulatory systems that allow for the movement of economic, political and ideological interests.
In the case in which too many rats are trapped in a confined space, their tails get tangled together after a while. The more they try and use their strength to save themselves, the knot tying them all together becomes tighter. They are unable to sacrifice even one tail to open up just a little bit of comfort space. At the end, they turn into a single creature, the “rat king.” It becomes uncertain which tail belongs to whom.
The ambitious mind that has been working on the extremely profitable scheme in the north of Istanbul was developed through the “sacred lot” cause of the 1970s. All those mega projects that looks meaningless when considered alone — namely the third bridge, the new Istanbul Airport, the North Marmara Highway and Kanal Istanbul — are the evolution of an old dream when thought of all together. With thousands of homes to be built, hotels, hospitals, campuses and a marina, Salvationville turns into Erdoğan City.
"A new, prospering middle class forged by new successful business and emerging from deep parts of society is gaining power and placing itself at the forefront of the bourgeoisie." Such exhilarating words had come from Ümit Boyner in 2012, the then-president of TÜSIAD, the Turkish Industry and Business Association. Was Boyner's new middle class able to achieve such an expectation?
It seems that the government is once again betting on 'global opportunities'. Dice in hand, it is eagerly putting its money on a quite worn out chance, dating from days when loans were cheap and plenty: What if it happens this time!
Court of Accounts 2018 report details massive amount of corruption within SGK. Examples show private hospitals cheated billing system using various techniques.
The government is making tailor-made legal adjustments, only to save certain companies. The latest example of this is the law enacted at the beginning of August
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Şenay Aydemir writes: It seems like Netflix, rather than providing resources to Turkey and contributing to the advancement of the sector, chooses to work with producers that already have a strong share in the market. Though the Netflix Turkey team claims they are open to all kinds of projects and ideas, they are obviously more open to certain ideas, projects and production companies.
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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.
Politics
Recidivism is high among youth criminals in Turkey as more than half of released minors eventually end up back in prison due to a lack of opportunities and support structures upon their release, said the Youth Re-autonomy Foundation of Turkey (TÇYÖV).
As countless stray animals live difficult lives on the streets of Istanbul, the city municipality has teamed up with an animal rights activist to develop an sophisticated app aimed at meeting the needs of the city's street animals and finding them permanent homes.
A budget proposal for 2021 that Vice President Fuat Oktay presented to parliament allocated funds to purchase hundreds of vehicles for government agencies as the country's economy remains strained. The Turkish Lira has been depreciating consistently since the beginning of the year, resisting state intervention as Ankara's international reserves shrink.
Turkish Parliament has received 25 new summaries of proceedings against 11 HDP lawmakers. If Parliament votes to strip the deputies of their immunity from prosecution, they will be tried by Turkish courts.
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.
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.
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
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.