AKP-MHP
MHP leader Bahçeli, a staunch ally of the ruling AKP, has said that he was pleased to see Muharrem İnce, a senior name in the main opposition CHP, launch his new political movement. Experts have not found Bahçeli's support for the dissident movement surprising as İnce's move has a potential to weaken the opposition against the AKP-MHP bloc in the upcoming elections.
Though he wants to come to power, the main opposition leader does not even know if there will be an election. He insists the days ahead are bright while the AKP-MHP government twists and undermines the few remaining freedoms and rights that prevail in this country: from gender equality to social media.
A recent survey by private pollster AREA Research revealed Turkey's opposition İYİ Party coming in third in a potential election, following the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the main opposition CHP. The AKP's coalition partner Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) ranked fifth, following pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).
Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) held an online meeting with main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), recently-founded offshoots of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Islamist Felicity Party (Saadet). Meeting in the context of Eid al-Fitr greetings, the deputies noted that the Turkish opposition must unite to establish a political environment with less polarization and more freedoms.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said that the government will change in the next elections since people will hand power to those advocating democracy. "The people are seeing that our beautiful country is not being governed properly and that we're heading downhill like a truck with no brakes. They also know that the only way to get rid of this course depends on their choice in the next elections," he said.
MHP deputy Cemal Enginyurt has blamed YÖK head Yekta Saraç for the disarray in exam dates. "The person responsible for the 2020 YKS exam dates in YÖK head Yekta Saraç. If you announce the date of the exam in February and make youth prepare in accordance, it creates confusion," he said. Enginyurt also addressed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a tweet, saying, "This YÖK head tricked you."
The votes of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) fell below 50 percent, according to a poll carried out by AREA Research. The People's Alliance formed by the AKP and the MHP were seen to be getting 45.6 percent of votes, with the AKP gathering the majority 35.8 percent. The MHP was seen to be failing to pass the 10 percent election threshold.
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli has praised Turkey's executive presidential system by saying that the results of it are "dazzling." "The new system has a firm basis with its institutions, rules and principles. Its implementation is healthy and the results are dazzling," Bahçeli said in a written statement on May 5.
MHP deputy Halil Öztürk has submitted a draft bill to parliament that suggests accessing social media with ID numbers. The draft bill added to the concerns in the country on censorship and the freedom of expression, with thousands of people being subjected to fines and jail sentences each year for criticizing the government on social media.
A recent poll revealed that Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) are no longer able to rally up enough votes to form a government. While the AKP received 35.8 percent of votes, the MHP was revealed to have 12.2 percent backing. Individually, the AKP has lost 7 percent of its votes since June 2019.
Mafia leader Alaattin Çakıcı has thanked MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli, who is a close friend of his, and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for a bill that paved the way for his release. He also called on the newly-released prisoners to act responsibly amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
A regulation in the new judicial bill brought to parliament by the government will allow Turkish authorities to interrogate prisoners arrested on terror charges for 15 days. If the bill is approved, intelligence units will also be granted the authority to get convicts or arrestees out of jail to interrogate them, daily Cumhuriyet reported on April 13, adding that the bill stipulates receiving permission from the said prisoners.
AKP-ally MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli has said that his party is "highly content" with President Erdoğan's decision to reject Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu's resignation. "The MHP is highly content with the fact that the resignation was rejected," Bahçeli said in a tweet early on April 13.
The CHP has called on the government to include political prisoners in a judicial reform bill that will lead to the release of thousands of convicts and prisoners. "Judges have been issuing arrest rulings under political pressure. This exterior pressure applies for the cases of prisoners of thought, political prisoners and some terror arrestees," the CHP said.
Ankara's removal of eight mayors from the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) is an example of the government using the coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity, HDP Co-Chair Mithat Sancar said in a press conference March 23. He also criticized the government's economic stimulus package for failing to fulfill the needs of healthcare workers.
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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
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.
Refugee children are isolated to a single school in the central Turkish province of Kırşehir, daily Evrensel reported. The school has reached enrollment figures of more than 1,000 elementary and middle school students, all of whom are refugees. Smaller numbers of refugee children coming from relatively well-to-do families were reportedly able to enroll in regular schools alongside Turkish students.
Turkey's three opposition parties have denounced a recent proposal by the AKP for the establishment of the Turkey Environmental Agency, which they claim will pave the way for corruption and nepotism. "It runs parallel or even rival to the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning in terms of its inspection authority but it itself is exempt from both internal and external inspection,” the CHP said.
Turkey's Deputy Interior Minister İsmail Çataklı has said that reports of Ankara mulling re-imposing curfews are "completely baseless." Çataklı's comments came after Reuters, citing a senior official, said that the government is weighing the re-implementation of lockdowns to stem rising coronavirus cases in the country.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's salary has been raised by 8.3 percent to a total of 88,000 Turkish Liras, as part of a budget proposal submitted by the ruling AKP government to parliament. Erdoğan's new salary will be effective as of January 2021. Earlier in October, Erdoğan had urged the believers of Islam to have “patience” in the face of financial problems.
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.