Erdoğan
Whichever foreign leader tries his or her hand in dealing with and instilling sense in Ankara feels, they are given short shrift sooner rather than later. The present foreign policy surfs on top of all these contradictions and an oriental sort of variable geometry. All business is transactional: leave it or take it.
Let's try to fly over the most recent conflictual developments and keep in mind the question whether these set, now and finally, the definitive ropes for Ankara’s endless foreign policy endeavours.
Some 46.9 percent of voters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) want Islamic cults in Turkey to be shut down, according to a recent survey. Asked if there should be a government institution that inspects these religious cults and communities, 67.8 percent of AKP voters gave an affirmative answer.
Main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Oct. 8 paid a visit to DEVA chair Ali Babacan to congratulate him for his new party. The two opposition leaders later held a press meeting, during which they criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his comments urging the believers of Islam to have "patience" in the face of financial problems.
Kurdish politician and writer Mahmut Alınak was briefly detained on Oct. 8 on charges of "insulting" President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. After giving his testimony, the 68-year-old former People’s Labor Party (HEP) deputy was released.
HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar has said that the Turkish government has not yet attempted to shut down the party due to such a move's “political costs” but instead is running a policy of “blocking” and “immobilizing” the party.
Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül has commented on MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli's call for the restructuring of the Constitutional Court, saying that any amendment with regards to the structure of the top court requires the parliament's support. “Any change can be done for the sake of democracy and rule of law. And it is the parliament that can do this,” he said.
Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı, who is running against Prime Minister Ersin Tatar in the upcoming elections, has said that he was not previously informed about the government's decision to open Varosha beach. Akıncı strongly criticized the announcement delivered from the Turkish capital Ankara, calling it a “shame for our democracy” and “interference in our elections.”
Turkish Cyprus has announced that it will open the coastline of the abandoned town of Varosha ("Maraş" in Turkish) on Oct. 8. "Maraş issue is a national cause above all political competitions and debates," Turkish Cypriot PM Ersin Tatar said on Oct. 6, alongside Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
U.S. Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden has called for a tougher stance against Turkey and said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan needs to reverse his decision to convert Istanbul's Byzantine-era Hagia Sophia into a mosque. Biden said that the former cathedral should remain a museum with "equal access for all, including the Orthodox faithful."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has slammed his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron over his comments from last week pledging to fight “Islamist separatism,” accusing the French leader of “impertinence” and "provocation." "Speaking about Islam's structuring as the leader of France is overstepping and impertinence," said Erdoğan. "Who are you to utter a phrase like Islam's structuring?"Erdoğan asked.
Last week's European Union summit decisions were not sufficient to overcome problems in relations between Turkey and the block, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Oct. 6.
HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan has said that the latest investigation file targeting party members over 2014 Kobane protests has been prepared at the Presidential Palace and referred to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak as the “prosecutors” of the case.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Oct. 5 discussed efforts to defuse tension between Turkey and Greece over energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean. After Turkey, Stoltenberg will visit Greece to meet the country’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
The Turkish government has announced that all students in elementary school as well as eight- and 12th-graders will return to in-person learning on Oct. 12. It was only pre-school and first-grade students that had been attending classes since the launch of the school year on Sept. 21.
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Duvar English’s editor-in-chief Cansu Çamlıbel and pollster Can Selçuki discuss whether the recent crackdown on the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) portends a possible closure case against the party. They attempt to analyze who in the Turkish political landscape would benefit from antagonizing Kurdish voters; President Erdoğan or his alliance partner Mr. Bahçeli or both?
Politics
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.
A committee of main opposition CHP politicians said that the construction of a visitors' center on southeast Turkey's iconic Mount Nemrut was a betrayal to nature. The CHP committee noted that the site was pending assignment as a UNESCO geopark and that the construction was putting it in jeopardy.
The NATO has criticized a possible test by Turkey of its Russian-made S-400 missile launcher and stepped up calls on Ankara to opt for a different defense system. “Any test of the S-400 air defense system by Turkey, if confirmed, would be regrettable. It is important Turkey continues to work with other allies to find alternative solutions," it said in a statement.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu sent congratulatory messages to HDP co-chairs Mithat Sancar and Pervin Buldan on the party's eighth foundation anniversary. "I underline once again that we will never give up on building peace and fraternity," İmamoğlu said.
Five health workers have died of COVID-19 in just one day, the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) said on Oct. 18, as it criticized the government for not being able to manage the pandemic properly. The names of the health workers were revealed as Dr. Salih Kanlı, Dr. Turan Yıldırım, Ferhat Gencer, Harun Dönmez and Yasemin Çolak. The number of health workers who died of COVID-19 in the past eight days rose to 13.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has cancelled his planned visit to Turkey after Ankara said it was restarting operations of a survey ship that it withdrew last month. Maas said that Ankara's renewed push "severely damaged" the atmosphere of trust and said that Turkey can't have any interest in the long-term continuation of the conflicts that it's involved in.
Denizli Governor Ali Fuat Atik has prompted fury for ordering a restaurant to be closed because a waiter working there didn't recognize him. Following criticism on social media, Atik apologized, saying that he was saddened by his approach to the man. Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu also commented on the incident, saying that he found it appropriate for the governor to apologize.
Some 2,500 academics worldwide, including famed international scholars Judith Butler, Noam Chomsky, Silvia Federici, Etienne Balibar and Enzo Traverso, have signed a petition for Turkey to release Cihan Erdal, a PhD candidate and researcher at Carleton University in Canada and an LGBT activist, who was detained in Istanbul on Sept. 25.
A show owner in Denizli has told the governor of the province that he wants to die because of the worsening economy when asked why he was not wearing a mask. "I've had enough. I want to die. Look at the economy. I gained 15 liras on Tuesday and 100 liras on Wednesday. What use does it have even if that 100 liras is all profit?" the shop owner said.
In the government's latest attempt to criminalize the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), summary of proceedings have been prepared against 18 of its deputies, bringing charges against them for attending demonstrations and for making statements including the word "Kurdistan."
Osman Kavala remains behind bars as one of Turkey's most high-profile political prisoners, while President Erdoğan appointed the prosecutor who prepared Kavala's indictment to the post of Deputy Justice Minister. The appointment came within seven days of the indictment's preparation, and removed the prior appointee by presidential decree.
Hale Gönültaş reports: Turkey's financial crimes unit has determined that Afghan criminals engaged in drug smuggling and in the funding of terror operations are exploiting Afghan refugees in Turkey via bank transfers. As migrants are unable to transport large sums of money and often cannot open bank accounts in Turkey, they rely on moneychangers who transfer cash for a fee, and this is usually the only option.
A missile was fired into the sky on Oct. 16 on Turkey's Black Sea coast where the military was expected to test its Russian-made S-400 defense systems, according to local video obtained by Reuters. "If confirmed, we would condemn in the strongest terms the S-400 test missile launch as incompatible with Turkey’s responsibilities as a NATO  Ally and strategic partner of the United States," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.
Health Ministry failed to deliver an Oct. 15 data release that was designed to offset the repercussions of the revelation that Ankara's official COVID-19 numbers had been excluding asymptomatic patients. The ministry said that Fahrettin Koca's promise to release all data starting on Oct. 15 had been "misunderstood," and that they would only share certain numbers with the WHO.
Former President Abdullah Gül said that he was "appalled" by the attacks on Turkey's Constitutional Court, the most recent of which accused a member of threatening a military coup. The coup debate closely followed discussions on overhauling the Constitutional Court, which many members of the governing bloc in Ankara voiced support for.
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.
Economy
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.
Turkish exporters are struggling with shrinking markets as Morocco appears to have joined the countries that are effectively boycotting all products made in Turkey. Sources from the Moroccan Ministry of Trade indicate that measures have been put in place to prevent unfair competition from Turkish textile producers who are dominating the local market.
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.
CHP deputy Mustafa Adıgüzel has found a lost letter penned by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Turkey's founding father, to a U.S. child called Curtis La France. "My advice to the intelligent and hardworking children of the U.S. is to not perceive everything they hear about Turks as true and attach importance to basing their opinions on scientific and sound examinations. I wish you success and happiness," Atatürk said in the letter.
The 39th Istanbul Film Festival will offer viewings both online and in-person, the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV) noted. While tickets will become available on Oct. 2, showings will start a week later and last for 10 days.