AKP
The construction of an Istanbul mosque has begun on a multi-billion liras worth of land in Levent -- the city's prime business district. The construction started after the government transferred the ownership of the land from the Central Bank to the Urbanization Ministry. The construction is being undertaken by a former AKP deputy's company.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Feb. 26 that being a rich socialist shouldn't be enough to save prominent human rights activist Osman Kavala, as he commented on the Gezi Park trial. "Gezi is a betrayal against this country," Erdoğan said, while claiming that Kavala has pictures with "terrorist organizations." A day earlier, European Parliament called on Turkey to release Kavala and former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş.
CHP U.S. Representative Yurter Özcan visited the area that the controversial Türken Foundation is constructing a student dormitory, saying that the area is New York's most expensive district. "We have revealed the construction plan of this dormitory. The first two floors will be hired to restaurants and shops. So the Türken Foundation will make major gain from them as well," Özcan says in a video he shared on Twitter on Feb. 25.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has scolded a reporter working for Fox TV, a media outlet critical of the government, over a question on Turkish soldiers in Libya. "Fox should be a newspaper first. It should be a serious member of the press. You need to learn this. Quit producing fake news," Erdoğan said.
KONDA General Manager Bekir Ağırdır has said that support for the AKP is in its lowest level in 17 years. "If elections were held this weekend, the AKP would receive the lowest support in its 17 years in government," Ağırdır told Duvar English. He also said that he thinks elections will be held earlier than it's scheduled. "As soon as the MHP withdraws its support, there will be snap polls," he said.
A contemporary amphitheater installed by Istanbul Municipality on the city's central Taksim Square is being taken down following a swift ruling by the regional conservation board. The Istanbul Second District Cultural Heritage Conservation Board ruled within two days of the installation of the structure that it be taken down, while it had allowed the Presidency's Communications Directorate to leave a tent up on the square for months.
AKP lawmakers have downplayed any possibility of a coup attempt following debates over a report by the RAND Corporation. The lawmakers couldn't make sense of the debate, since significant changes were made following the July 15 takeover attempt. "The conditions of today are very different from July 15," an AKP official told Duvar, as he listed four differences.
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.
The ruling AKP and its ally MHP have lost respectively 12.56 percentage and 2.3 percentage points of support since the last parliamentary election and would receive respectively 30 percent and 8.9 percent of the votes if Turkey headed to the ballot boxes for another election today, a pollster found.
The son-in-law of the former Istanbul Mayor from the ruling Justice and Development Party, Ömer Faruk Kavurmacı is facing 7.5 to 15 years for affiliation with the Gülen organization, Ankara's prime suspect for the botched coup attempt of 2016. Kavurmacı worked for TUSKON, an alleged business affiliate of the Gülen organization, but turned in a notarized resignation prior to the charges against him.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has urged deputies of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to have at least three children. "You stick with having one child. I'm saying at least three. I don't want one child for the vitality of our country," he said, before turning to the deputies with a single child to ask, "Am I right?"
Felicity Party chair Karamollaoğlu has urged the Turkish government to study the suicide theory of French sociologist Durkheim amid growing economic hardship in the country. “Durkheim says, 'If suicides in a society show a sharp increase in a very short period of time, their reasons are not personal but social.' You [gov't] are not giving an ear to us, but listen to Emile Durkheim," Karamollaoğlu said.
Turkey's Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) will investigate three judges who acquitted Osman Kavala. The move comes a day after the Istanbul 30th Heavy Penal Court acquitted Kavala and eight others in the case into the Gezi Park protests. Also on Feb. 19, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the court "attempted" to acquit Kavala "with a maneuver."
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that a court "attempted" to acquit prominent businessman, human rights activist and philanthropist Osman Kavala with "a maneuver." "We respect all decisions of courts, but our and our people's judgement about Gezi and who supported it will never change," he said.
Presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın has slammed former President Abdullah Gül over his remarks on a controversial meeting held before the June 24, 2018 presidential elections. "The things that were written are not true. To adapt that meeting to the political process and conjuncture that they are newly embarking on is not in line with reality," Kalın said.
Editor's Picks
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.
duvar englis podcasts
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
As Turkey's economic recession deepens, with major problems such as high unemployment and inflation and the devaluation of the Turkish lira worsened by the coronavirus epidemic, suicide rates due to economic reasons have spiked.
A Turkish court acquitted a father of sexual abuse charges because the child's virginity "remained intact." The father of the six-year-old survivor is currently serving an aggravated life sentence for the femicide of his wife. As a result of the sexual abuse charges' elimination, the assailant could get a discount in his murder sentence, as the woman now appears to have made "false" accusations.
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.
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.
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.