AKP
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said "no virus is stronger than our precautions" hours after Turkey reported its first coronavirus case. Erdoğan said that the person who was diagnosed with coronavirus returned to Turkey after visiting Europe, adding that the individual's treatment is ongoing. "The patient's family is also being observed," he said.
Six journalists, who were arrested last week over a report covering the funeral of a member of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) killed in Libya, are being kept in isolation, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Utku Çakırözer has said upon visiting them in Silivri Prison. "I call on the prison authorities and the Justice Ministry to end this practice," Çakırözer told Duvar on March 11.
Some 13 actors who were laid off from their jobs at the Istanbul Municipality City Theater were reinstated after three years and seven months. The actors were laid off during the state of emergency declared after the botched coup attempt of July 15, 2016 in an attempt to cleanse state institutions of supporters of U.S-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, Ankara's top suspect for the failed takeover.
On days such as the International Women’s Day on March 8, heavy attacks are inflicted on women in their numerous acts and activities. But despite all these sieges and attacks, the women’s movement in Turkey continues to constitute the biggest barrier in front of hegemony of both the main opposition and the government in the country.
Former deputy prime minister Ali Babacan has filed the application to found his long-awaited opposition party, which will reportedly be called the Democracy and Progress Party, with its abbreviation “DEVA” meaning “remedy” in Turkish. There are 90 individuals on the list of the founders, with 27 women and 16 fresh faces. There are also experienced politicians and former ministers who worked with Babacan in the past.
Former deputy prime minister Ali Babacan filed an application to found his long-awaited political party, which will reportedly be called the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), on March 9. "There is a powerful need to create a more prosperous and livable Turkey and this is not possible with the current political order," Babacan said, stressing the importance of democracy, rule of law and human rights.
AKP officials are reportedly unhappy with the decision to hold weekly meetings a day after opposition parties, especially the main opposition CHP, saying that it puts the party in a "defensive position." According to daily Cumnhuriyet, the officials said that the meetings can be held on the same day with the opposition, since "Kılıçdaroğlu's remarks can be responded to on the same day."
Marmara province Yalova's town council elected a councilor from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to replace the elected mayor from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Mayor Vefa Salman was dismissed from his post within the scope of a corruption lawsuit he initiated after he reported an accountant employee's embezzlement of over one million Turkish Lira.
A fistfight erupted between the ruling AKP and main opposition CHP deputies in the parliament on March 4 during a speech by CHP MP Engin Özkoç who earlier called President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan “dishonorable, ignoble and traitor.” Özkoç had slammed Erdoğan during a pres conference for previously referring to a killed Turkish soldier as a "head" ("kelle" in Turkish).
Turkey's former deputy prime minister Ali Babacan has said that a group of 15 to 20 university students would govern the country better. He also said that the lack of freedoms is the biggest problem in Turkey. "If I were to list Turkey's problems, I would put the lack of freedoms, especially the freedom of expression, on top. When people can't talk and say, 'There are problems,' you can't begin finding solutions to them," he said.
Access to OdaTV has been blocked as a result of “an administrative order” imposed by the Turkish Telecommunications Authority (BTK). The move came after two OdaTV journalists were arrested over charges of violating intelligence laws by disclosing the identity of an intelligence operative even though an opposition MP had revealed the name a week prior to the publication of the OdaTV story.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has slammed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his plans to go to Moscow to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin. Kılıçdaroğlu said that Erdoğan should ask Putin four questions, with the first one being the reason for why Turkish soldiers were hit "despite their locations being known by Russians."
The Turkish army should head to Damascus, put a sack over Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's head and deal the final blow to the "bloody and filthy regime" if politics and diplomacy fail, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli said on March 3. Bahçeli, who is an ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), said that Russia and Syria should not test Turkey's patience any longer.
The opposition's secret candidate for the 2023 presidential election is Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş of the Republican People's Party (CHP), a member of parliament from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) claimed.
The AKP, CHP, MHP and İYİ Party have issued a joint declaration condemning the attack that killed 33 Turkish soldiers on Feb. 27 in Syria's Idlib. The HDP was the only party in the Parliament that did not sign the declaration, saying that it does not find it right to sign it together with the ruling alliance of AKP and MHP, which it said has "the full political responsibility."
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
President Erdoğan has filed a criminal complaint with Turkish authorities against prominent Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders saying that he had insulted him on social media. "Even though the crime was committed directly against the person in the presidential seat, the value that is being violated is the state's political government structure," Erdoğan's lawyers said.
Turkish police have apprehended seven ISIS militants who were preparing for attacks in the capital Ankara in the latest round of operations against the jihadist group. According to authorities, the militants were seeking to attack Oct. 29 Republic Day celebrations and Nov. 10 ceremonies that are held each year to commemorate Turkey's founding father Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has found main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu right in his case against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. While Turkish courts ruled that Kılıçdaroğlu "attacked Erdoğan's personal rights" in two separate speeches in 2012, the ECHR ruled that the country violated the main opposition leader's freedom of expression.
A coal thermal power plant in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir is predicted to make more than 11 million people ill over the course of 35 years, a health impact report for the project revealed. The Right to Clean Air Plaform reported that the pollutants from the Alpu Coal Thermal Power Plant will spread to 24 provinces and destroy local farming land.
A group of miners from the Central Anatolian district of Ermenek set off once again on their march to demand unpaid wages, only to be met with a gendarmerie blockade on Oct. 26. In a video showing the miners' exchange with officers, one of them is heard saying "We are angry. We are hungry, that's why we're yelling. You can't yell!"
One of downtown Istanbul's last remaining green spaces was rezoned to allow construction despite the protest of locals. Also designated as an emergency meeting point, the green space was permitted for the construction of a 10-story building.
Turkey's southernmost province of Hatay was rocked by an explosion on Oct. 26 and authorities said that two militants of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) were nabbed following the blast. Hatay Governor Rahmi Doğan said that the two militants were a part of a group of four who had flown from the Syrian town of Manbij to the Amanos Mountains in Hatay using paramotors.
A report prepared by a number of civil society organizations regarding trials in Turkey prosecuting conscientious objectors to mandatory military service in the country has influenced the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers to pressure Turkey on recognizing the right to conscientious objection.
President Erdoğan and the newly-elected Turkish Cypriot President Ersin Tatar on Oct. 26 voiced their support for a two-state solution on the divided island of Cyprus. "We believe a two-state solution must now be brought to the table with a realistic proposal," Erdoğan said. Erdoğan also said that he would visit Turkish Cyprus on Nov. 15 and expressed his desire to have a picnic at Varosha.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said that at least 78 Turkey-backed Syrian rebels were killed and dozens more were injured in Russian airstrikes on a military training camp in Idlib. Those targeted were in a camp belonging to Faylaq al-Sham, the monitor said, adding that it was the deadliest attack since the ceasefire came into force in March.
The second indictment against human rights defender and businessman Osman Kavala presents no new grounds to justify his detention and is politically motivated, said Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in a statement.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has urged the UNESCO to release its report on the restoration works in the iconic Hagia Sophia as soon as possible. Lavrov said that for Russia Hagia Sophia is particularly valuable from the spiritual point of view.
Twenty-eight of Istanbul's 39 districts have registered more than 50 percent increase in COVID-19 infections in the past week compared to the average of this month, said Health Minister Fahrettin Koca. “The increase rate is 50-60 percent in 11 districts, 60-70 percent in 10 districts, and 70-80 percent in seven districts,” he told reporters on Oct. 26.
A Canadian vehicle manufacturer has suspended the delivery of aircraft engines to Turkey in the wake of reports that some of those engines are being used on Turkish combat drones deployed by Azerbaijan in its conflict against Armenian forces over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Former main opposition CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu's lawyer has appealed to the Constitutional Court following two lower courts' refusal to retry him over violations of his rights to participate in politics and personal freedom.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told a worker to enjoy a nice cup of tea as the latter complained of not being able to bring home bread. Erdoğan said that the worker's plea sounded like a huge exaggeration, evoking infamous French ruler Marie-Antoinette who told the people to eat cake if they can't find bread.
A dynamite blast in the construction of Turkey's first nuclear power plant damaged cars that were parked in the nearby lot, ANKA News Agency reported on Oct. 25. Locals have complained from the use of dynamite in the construction before, saying that the dust harms their crops, and the blasts have even cracked the walls of their homes.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that Baku would use Turkish F-16 jets in case of an external attack on the country. "They've been asking me about why Turkish F-16s are here. I'm tired of answering. Everyone knows that the F-16s are waiting. They came here for a drill and our Turkish brothers kept them here for moral support. They'll see those F-16s if there is an external attack on us," Aliyev said.
Economy
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.