DEVA
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.
The ruling AKP's nationalist ally MHP has said that a change in laws pertaining to elections and political parties is "must" and the legal work regarding this amendment has been already launched. The AKP-MHP plan is expected to make it more difficult for members of parliament to join newly formed opposition parties, mainly DEVA and Future Party.
DEVA, one of Turkey's newest opposition parties, has said that the government is trampling on the HDP's constitutional rights by attempting to prevent its Democracy March from taking place. “According to the Constitutional Court laws, it is not possible for a demonstration march to be banned just because the opinions and ideas it favors is not embraced by the majority or the ruling party or leads to a discomfort in them,” DEVA's Mustafa Yeneroğlu said in a written statement on June 16.
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.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has ruled out months-long rumors on early elections, saying that all the parties need to wait for the scheduled 2023. "Why would we hold early elections? The elections will be held in 2023, they will wait. Everyone should plan accordingly," Erdoğan said, adding that the law on political parties and elections need to be amended in line with the presidential system.
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.
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 opposition parties have expressed their concern at the death threats issued against slain Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink's wife Rakel Dink and the lawyer of the Hrant Dink Foundation. They have said that the threats were a result of the current political climate which encourages discrimination and polarizing language.
If parliamentary elections were held today in Turkey, just four political parties would exceed the 10 percent election threshold, according to a recent survey. The study put support at 34.49 percent for the ruling AKP, 30.65 percent for the main opposition CHP, 10.37 percent for the HDP, 10.25 percent for the İYİ Party and 8.15 percent for the MHP.
Turkish opposition parties have said that they would be willing to hold early elections, as they commented on the months-long rumors on snap polls that intensified following MHP leader Bahçeli's "urgent" call to amend political parties law for the continuation of the presidential system, although the main motive is to complicate new parties' efforts of running in elections. They also expect elections to be held in 2021.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has reportedly ordered officials of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to go out on the streets to listen to people's complaints. "You have to be the most careful ones on wearing masks and abiding by social distancing. You'll describe the normalization process to them and listen to their demands," Erdoğan reportedly told the party members.
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.
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duvar englis podcasts
Duvar English’s editor-in-chief Cansu Çamlıbel and pollster Can Selçuki are joined by Robert Bosch Academy's Galip Dalay to discuss the impact of Turkish government's recent domestic policy moves on Ankara's international relations. They look for answers to whether there is any possibility that Turkey's relations with the West might change for the better any time soon.
Taner Akçam writes: The regime’s bold stroke vis-a-vis Hagia Sophia should not be seen as stemming from desperation. Rather, it is simply meant to relay the not-so-subtle message of the path to be followed by the "New Republic", and that message is that the “annihilationist tradition” of the old regime, inherited by the Republic’s founders, will be retained in the era to come.
Politics
Thousands of Turkish women on Aug. 5 held protests across the country to demand that the ruling AKP does not withdraw from the Istanbul Convention. During the protest in İzmir, police battered and detained several of the women. As some of the protesters resisted being detained, one of the police commanders was heard instructing his colleagues to “break their arms” should they defy the police.
Osman Özçalımlı, a Turkish soldier of Kurdish origin, was found dead while doing his compulsory military service in Turkey’s Aegean province of İzmir last week. In the face of authorities' contradictory statements, coupled with their son’s statement of having been threatened the day before, the family are now demanding to know what really happened.
Turkey's daily COVID-19 cases have shown a sharp rebounding trend, with more than 1,000 daily jump in successive days. “We need to prevent the risk in the Eid al-Adha and holiday from causing new consequences. We need unity in precautions," Health Minister Fahrettin Koca wrote on Twitter.
Turkish President Erdoğan has ordered the country’s education watchdog YÖK to shut down the universities' distance education programs for psychology studies. The move came after Istanbul University’s plan to launch such a program received widespread criticism among psychologists.
Six members of the left-wing Turkish popular folk band Grup Yorum were detained on Aug. 5 while performing at a concert rehearsal in Istanbul's Beykoz. The İdil Culture Center, which is run by the group, was also raided by the police.
The Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) has slammed prison conditions in Turkey, urging authorities to take "decisive action" against ill-treatment of police. The problem of prison overcrowding remained acute, the CPT said, and the steady increase in the size of the prison population already observed in the mid-2000s continued.
Turkish Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank has used the deadly explosion in Beirut to advocate the construction of the controversial Kanal Istanbul project, which seeks to carve out an artificial shipping canal on the outskirts of the European side of Istanbul in order to alleviate traffic from the Bosphorus Strait.
Turkey's Humanitarian Relief Foundation (İHH) is among those searching for survivors in Beirut after a massive blast in the city killed over 100 people and injured nearly 4,000, and Ankara has offered to build a field hospital and help as needed. "We are providing assistance with one ambulance to transfer patients. We may provide help according to the needs of the hospital," an İHH official said.
The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) has said that number of daily coronavirus infections in Ankara alone amount to approximately 1,000, thereby disputing the official figures which put the daily nationwide tally at around this level. The TTB's statement came as Ankara provincial directorate of health on Aug. 4 ordered all hospitals in the city to allocate at least half of their beds for the use of COVID-19 patients.
Villagers in the Mehmetdede Tekke village in the central Anatolian province of Çorum have protested the mine drilling project on the grounds that it will hurt local agricultural production and reduce the amount of land used for agricultural purposes.
Thirty two women were killed by men during the month of July in Turkey. Fifty nine percent of the women killed by men in July were murdered by their current or ex-husbands. Femicides in Turkey have more than doubled within the past decade during the tenure of the ruling AKP.
Turkey Thinking Platform has announced that it will no longer submit any advisory report to the government on Istanbul Convention. The platform said that they entered a “mine field” with their May-dated report which urged President Erdoğan to withdraw from the landmark convention.
Germany on Aug. 4 partially lifted its coronavirus travel warning for Turkey, greenlighting summer holidays in the destinations of Antalya, İzmir, Aydın and Muğla. Turkey will require all travelers leaving for Germany to show a negative coronavirus test result obtained within the previous 48 hours, German Foreign Ministry said.
Death fasting lawyer Aytaç Ünsal called on the people to not let the doctors force feed him and another death fasting lawyer, Ebru Timtik. In a message he sent via his wife, Ünsal said that the doctors will "circle around them like vultures" and intervene medically without their consent if they lose their consciousness.
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Gamze Akkuş İlgezdi has slammed Turkey's Justice Ministry for not revealing the number of coronavirus cases in prisons for nearly 50 days. "A heightening risk is in question at prisons, but the ministry is more concerned about hiding the number of cases than struggling against the virus," she said.
A pro-Taliban group has recorded a video at Istanbul's Hagia Sophia, days after the site was converted into a mosque by the Turkish government. The footage showed the group chanting Islamic slogans while holding the flag used by the Taliban.
CHP member and former presidential candidate Muharrem İnce is reportedly planning to found a new political party. "Our party will have individuals who are experts in their fields and their presence will excite everyone," İnce reportedly said.
The Turkish Language Association (TDK) has been seeking to cut the use of English in company names, as it said that a bill that would protect the Turkish language should be proposed. Saying that English words are currently perceived as if they're a part of Turkish, the association noted that presenters and guests on TV shows speak English "to be more impressive."
Turkey's Supreme Court of Appeals has ruled that a defendant employer who tracked the correspondence of his employee via a computer program he designed could not use this information as a reason for termination.
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
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?
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.