Ali Babacan
Former deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said that he never used religious terminology in his political career, majority of which he spent with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Babacan also said that his recently-formed Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) didn't identify with labels like "left, right, liberal, conservative."
Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) leader Ali Babacan has criticized heavy taxes on alcoholic beverages, saying that it leads to smuggling. They are being sold to one third of the prices here in our neighboring countries. The fact that the taxes are high leads to smuggling," Babacan said when asked about increases in private consumption tax (ÖTV).
MHP Vice Chairman Semih Yalçın has called on newly established Future and DEVA parties to join the People's Alliance. Claiming that these two AKP breakaway parties do not have a future in Turkish politics, Yalçın said: “The People's Alliance will grow in time and will dominate all harbors of politics, staying permanent."
While they are no new demographic, the restless conservatives are getting stronger amongst the ruling People's Alliance electorate and the AKP base in particular. The Erdoğan and AKP that they had supported so buoyantly for the past decade are no longer the same.
Turkey must restore its economic credibility if it hopes to secure needed foreign funding and return to growth, said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s former economy czar who recently broke away and founded his own party. “Turkey must find that forex soon” but it needs to “reinstate the reputation and confidence in its economy management first,” Ali Babacan said.
Former deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said that Turkey has returned to the poor years of the 1970s. “The only reason for this is the bad policies of the government. With the right policies, Turkey can become a self-sufficient country," he told.
The Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) has speeded up its efforts of mobilization as Turkey entered the normalization process following the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. DEVA's founding members have set up 18 commissions which will be tasked with the establishment of party organizations in all of Turkey's 81 provinces.
Turkey's right-wing political party leaders Ali Babacan, Meral Akşener and Ahmet Davutoğlu have commemorated communist poet Nazım Hikmet on the 57th anniversary of his death. Hikmet is usually commemorated by leftists in Turkey and the commemoration tweets of right-wing leaders prompted surprise.
AKP officials believe that DEVA leader Ali Babacan aims to make former president Abdullah Gül a presidential candidate. An AKP official also claimed that the new parties will form a right-wing alliance with İYİ (Good) Party and the Felicity Party to ensure that there's a second round, which would be the third alliance in the Turkish political scene.
DEVA leader Ali Babacan has claimed that AKP officials are in a race for gaining personal financial benefits. "The AKP is destroying what it built with its own hands. The reputation and the economy of the country is in ruins. The number of competent people have decreased in the ruling party. Decisions are being adopted without consultations and inside a family," he said.
Politicians have exchanged Eid al-Fitr celebrations through video conferences amid a tense political environment in Turkey. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) said it won't exchange greetings with the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), Future Party and the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA). A similar stance was adopted by its ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which won't talk to İYİ (Good) Party in addition to the aforementioned three.
Felicity Party leader Temel Karamollaoğlu has accused the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of planning to rig the next elections. "I'm saying that they will rig the elections. Understand it as you please. They'll intervene in the number of votes, because they did so in the past. They killed people near ballot boxes," he said, referring to the killing of two Felicity Party members during March 31, 2019 local elections.
DEVA Party leader Ali Babacan has said that Turkey shouldn't rule out borrowing loans from the international institutions, saying that it should choose cheap IMF loans over high-cost borrowing from markets. "Turkey has the right to use them with unconditional 1 percent interest. Instead of going to the markets and paying 7 percent, we can get loans from these institutions with 1 percent," he said.
Former deputy prime minister and leader of the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) Ali Babacan said that Ankara should swiftly compensate the 55 million people who do not receive money from the government. Some 27 million receive either public salaries or retirement pension, Babacan said.
Nobody in their right mind can think that being an opposition party in an autocratic environment is easy. However, one cannot learn how to swim without jumping in the water. Ali Babacan's party DEVA seems to be enjoying the dry land, not taking any risks, at a time when citizens are expecting brave and wise leadership.
Editor's Picks
Mois Gabay writes: Do you think the Camondo family will be included in the Beyoğlu Culture Road project conducted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism? What about Arif Ergin’s “Tekvin” novel, in which he imagined that there would be a “Camondo Museum” one day?
Nilüfer Bulut writes: Forced Islamization was one of the methods of survival during what Armenians call “Medz Yeghern,” the great catastrophe. Professor Zerrin Kurtoğlu Şahin says that by complying with the imposition of Islamization, these Armenians (mostly women and children) were assured their biological existence, but their cultural and social connections were ripped away.
Murat Yetkin writes: What Abdul Hamid II established, the Yıldız Intelligence Organization, was not a national institution but a personal intelligence organization. The leader who established the first national intelligence organization in Turkey was Atatürk, whom Erdoğan did not feel the need to mention.
Politics
Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoğlu said that more than 200,000 passengers arrived in Turkey during the month of June, when Turkish Airlines recommenced international flights. The minister failed to answer a question about layoffs within the country's flagship carrier.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on July 30 the United States was continuing to evaluate how it would respond to Turkey's purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems. "We continue to evaluate how to apply sanctions in order to achieve our end objective," Pompeo said.
A group of seven-eight unidentified Turkish citizens on July 26 battered six Syrian children under the age of 18 in Hatay's Kırıkhan district. The local governor's office on July 30 announced that an investigation was launched into the incident and two of the children are receiving treatment at hospital.
An Ankara court has reversed a ban on a gay pride march that was imposed by ODTÜ rectorate in May 2019. The court said that the rectorate's decision had no legal basis as the all-embracing ban enacted by the Ankara Governor's Office in 2017 had been already lifted.
Students enrolled in the Kurdish language departments of universities in Turkey will no longer be allowed to submit their dissertations in Kurdish. Former academic Selim Temo has also announced that from now on, all lectures at these departments will be conducted only in Turkish.
The area in the Hagia Sophia where emperors used to be coronated was left exposed when carpeting was installed in the structure to prepare it for Muslim prayer, Istanbul Culture and Tourism Director Coşkun Yılmaz said. The former museum was opened to Muslim worship on July 24, holding the first mass prayer in decades.
Dozens of celebrities all over the world, including Ellie Goulding, Christina Aguilera, Milla Jovovich and many more, have posted black and white pictures of themselves to voice solidarity with victims of femicides in Turkey. The trend began after women in Turkey said that they don't want to see their pictures in black and white in newspapers after they are killed.
No Turkish teams will be relegated from the Süper Lig after a season impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, Turkish Football Federation chairman Nihat Özdemir said on July 29. He added that the Süper Lig's new foreign player restrictions would also not apply for the 2020-21 season.
U.S. Ambassador to Turkey David Satterfield and his family visited Hagia Sophia to see the restoration works carried out at the site after its conversion into a mosque. "Ambassador Satterfield toured Hagia Sophia to admire its grandeur and technical genius, and better understand the renovation and restoration work to be completed to preserve the universal value of and continued access to this monumental building," the embassy said on July 30.
A district governor's office in Ankara ordered the municipality to transfer any donations they collected for COVID-19 relief to the central government for public use. The donation campaign by the main opposition municipality had been suspended on March 31 on the grounds that any aid would be carried out by the central government.
The bar head of the border province of Hatay, Ekrem Dönmez, has said that he filed a complaint against police officers who detained him by force in the province's İskenderun district. "We have to decide whether we are a police state or a state of law. We're going through a process that all the critical voices are suppressed. Yesterday's incident is linked to that," Dönmez told reporters on July 30.
Some 20,000 books went missing from the National Library of Turkey in 2019, a main opposition deputy claimed in a parliamentary question. CHP deputy Gamze Akkuş İlgezdi also said that materials at the National Library that weren't books had decreased in number.
Google is preparing to remove shopping ads from search results in Turkey, which come up at the very top of the page almost anytime that a “shopping-related” search is done. The move comes following the Turkish Competition Authority's ruling earlier this year that the company is obstructing competitors’ activities in the online shopping services market.
The Syrian government will build a replica of the Hagia Sophia that will operate as an Orthodox cathedral, in protest of the Turkish government's move to convert the iconic structure into a mosque, according to various media reports. A Russian lawmaker said that Moscow will provide funding for the project to show the importance of “peaceful dialogue” between faiths.
Turkey's Presidential Digital Transformation Office has banned public officials from using foreign messaging apps, such as WhatsApp and Telegram, for work purpose, citing security issues. "If a certain institution doesn't have its own communication application, the local and national applications of which the providers are in Turkey must be preferred," a guide prepared by the office said.
Istanbul's Beşiktaş district is displaying billboards that urge viewers to read the Istanbul Convention, an international document that provides women with legal protection against domestic violence and discrimination. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) recently suggested Turkey might recuse from the document, causing public outcry.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoğlu was ranked the most successful mayor in handling the COVID-19 pandemic in a recent survey by private poller SONAR Research. Imamoğlu was followed by Izmir Mayor Tunç Soyer, also from main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP).
Turkey's parliament passed a law regulating social media on July 29, that critics said will increase censorship and help authorities silence dissent. The law requires foreign social media sites that have more than 1 million daily visitors in Turkey to appoint Turkish-based representatives to address authorities' concerns over content and includes deadlines for removal of material they take exception to.
Economy
The Turkish Lira has devalued drastically against the dollar, reaching almost seven liras on the dollar. Ankara has invested almost $60 billion in currency interventions in 2020 to no avail, Financial Times reported on July 28.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on July 15 that companies involved in construction of the TurkStream pipeline will be subject to the U.S. penalties unless they stop their works. “It’s a clear warning to companies. Aiding and abetting Russia’s malign influence projects will not be tolerated. Get out now or risk the consequences,” he said.
The Turkish Petroleum Refineries Corporation (TÜPRAŞ) ranked as Turkey's largest industrial business with 87.9 billion liras in annual production revenue. The oil company was followed mostly by automotive producers.
On the second anniversary of Turkey's transformation into a presidential system, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has prepared a report detailing how the country stands in the ensuing years, finding that the Turkish lira has lost four times its value since 2007.
Urban Beat
Artifacts from Istanbul's ancient Hagia Sophia will be displayed in a nearby public building that will be transformed into a museum. Formerly used as a land office, the late-19th-century building in historical Sultanahmet will be converted on the president's orders.
Luke Frostick writes: Edanur Kuntman’s Tales from Behind the Window has been nominated for an Eisner Award. If she wins, she will be the first Turk to win an Eisner. The story is a piece of creative-nonfiction and its main narrative is drawn from the memories of Kuntman’s grandmother growing up in the Çarşamba district of Samsun.
Turkey's Culture and Tourism Ministry will be turning the iconic Galata Tower into a museum. The ministry will also launch a "culture route" that spans from the tower, along Istiklal Avenue and to Taksim Square. Minister Ersoy also said that the construction of the AKM would be completed within a month, ongoing since February 2019.