FETÖ
Former Zaman daily columnist Mümtazer Türköne has been released from jail following Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli's call for his retrial. Türköne's lawyer Figen Çalıkuşu has said she believes the release came after the Court of Cassation overturned the sentence following an appeal.
A civil servant working for Turkey's Social Security Institution (SGK) was fired from his job on the basis that he sent his children to schools run by followers of the exiled Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, even though the man does not have any children.
26 judges and prosecutors that were removed from their posts by decree earlier this month on the basis of having ties with what the government calls the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) were appointed to their posts following the failed July 2016 coup attempt, according to a report in the daily Cumhuriyet.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has scolded former AKP deputy Mehmet Metiner on live TV after the former lawmaker claimed that Gülenists are still appointed to posts in the state. "I want to say that I was very saddened. I accept Metiner's remarks on TV as insults against me. I don't find it appropriate for people who can contact me to address me through the press," Soylu said.
Former army chief İllker Başbuğ last month in his testimony reiterated his stance on the Gülen network being responsible from drafting a 2009 legislation which paved the way for civilian courts to try military personnel and pointed the finger towards the then Justice Minister, according to newly surfaced information. “I think that the addressee of the issue is the then Justice Minister and Justice Ministry bureaucrats when the bill was submitted to parliament,” Başbuğ reportedly told prosecutors.
A pollster conducted a survey to understand if religious sects and communities have discredited themselves in the eyes of the Turkish public following the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, which is widely believed to have been undertaken by the Gülen movement. The survey found that some 9.7 percent of Turkish parents are still willing to send their children to schools affiliated with religious sects, if the government was ever to allow the opening of such schools.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu released a message to mark the fourth year anniversary of the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt. "We will never forget our 251 martyrs who lost their lives for democracy, just like we won't forget those who allowed FETÖ infiltration into the state," Kılıçdaroğlu said on Twitter, using an abbreviation of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
Turkish Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın has said that the United States' decision to not extradite Fethullah Gülen undermines the spirit of alliance between the two countries. "Allowing FETÖ members to live without serving sentences following the July 15 coup attempt, mainly in the U.S. and Europe, harms our bilateral relations," he also said.
T24 news portal editor-in-chief Doğan Akın was acquitted of charges of 'aiding a terrorist organization without being a member.’ Akın received this accusation after reporting on a Twitter phenomenon known as “Fuat Avni” that gained attention for its occasionally accurate predictions of Turkish political events.
Hundreds of lawyers gathered in front of a courthouse in Istanbul on June 30 to protest a draft bill submitted to parliament by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). "They want lawyers to refrain from talking about politics, but we'll do so until we die. We need to protect human rights and the superiority of law. I'm telling Ankara from here; The bars won't be silenced. We won't bow down and obey," Istanbul Bar head Mehmet Durakoğlu said.
The ruling AKP government and social media platforms have a love-hate relationship. The AKP loves using social media tools to spread its own narrative and propaganda, but they are highly disturbed that opposition voices can be so loud on the very same platforms.
Police have wounded two survivors of the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt during their protest in front of the AKP headquarters in the capital Ankara. Following scenes of police brutality, Minister Soylu invited representatives of the group to the ministry to voice his support to them. "I stand with you as long as I'm alive," Soylu reportedly told the group.
The AKP instructed Turkey's National Intelligence Agency (MİT) not to provide the army with information regarding military officers dismissed over their ties to the movement of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to former army chief İlker Başbuğ's lawyer İlkay Sezer.
Turkey's main opposition CHP spokesperson Faik Öztrak has said that an AKP official who recently resigned from his post had "confessed" about the ruling party "being the political leg" of the Gülen network. He asked if prosecutors will summon former AKP official Emre Cemil Ayvalı to testify over his comments, as they did for former army chief İlker Başbuğ.
Turkey has accused Twitter of trying to protect "terrorists" and "redesign Turkish politics" after the company took down accounts linked to the AKP for pushing propaganda, spreading misinformation and attacking critics of the government. "We would like to remind this company of the eventual fate of a number of organizations, which attempted to take similar steps in the past," Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said.
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duvar englis podcasts
Duvar English’s editor-in-chief Cansu Çamlıbel and pollster Can Selçuki discuss the underlying factors behind the recent moves of Turkey's ruling alliance which paves the way for further polarization in politics as the country enters the final months of 2020. They also analyze the effects of the sharp decline of the Turkish Lira against foreign currencies over public's perception.
Dinçer Demirkent writes: Interior Minister Soylu said that the head of the Constitutional Court would be unable to commute to work without his protection team. What he meant was that he was the Minister who assigned the security team to the judge, implying he might just remove them. By doing so, Süleyman Soylu openly violates the article 138 of the Turkish Constitution; basic principle for the independence of the judiciary.
Politics
The Turkish government's restrictions on card and board games are hurting business for old-fashioned coffee houses. Old-fashioned coffeehouses are an important part of social life, especially for retired and unemployed men in Turkey, and board and card games are among the primary activities.
Amnesty International has called on Turkey to investigate the throwing of two men from a military helicopter in the eastern province of Van. It also said that it's very concerned on the "allegations of torture and mistreatment," adding that international human rights law and standards must ensure that Turkey prevents torture under all circumstances.
Greece on Sept. 27 called on Turkey to condemn and investigate what it said was an "insult" to its national flag on the Greek island of Kastellorizo. "We expect Turkish authorities to immediately condemn and investigate the incident, so that the culprits are brought before justice," it said. "Such unacceptable actions only seek to torpedo prospects for easing tensions between the two countries."
HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan has called on Future Party leader and former prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to "speak the truth" about October 2014 Kobane protests a day after 20 HDP members were detained. "Now is the time to speak the truth. I think it's important for people who were in the government at the time and who know what unfolded to speak," Buldan said.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said that coronavirus (COVID-19) positive individuals will wear electronic bracelets while under quarantine as a measure against violating quarantine rules. The ministry is evaluating two options regarding the bracelet and both options include alarming authorities if breaches take place.
Members of the European Parliament have condemned the latest crackdown on pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). Kati Piri said that the Turkish government's move is “another step backwards pushing Turkey even further away from the EU,” while Nacho Sánchez Amor said that Turkish authorities seem “determined to establish some kind of overall retroactive state of emergency in order to further suppress opposition and any critical voices.”
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that he is very proud of his son who is doing his military service on the Greek-Turkish border. “Very proud father! I’m sorry that, due to Covid, I could not come to Alexandroupolis to brag about you!” said Mitsotakis Instagram on Sept. 25.
Istanbul Medical Chamber said on Sept. 25 that a healthcare worker who warned a patient's relative to put his mask on was beaten. Prof. Dr. Tufan Tükek, dean of Istanbul University’s Çapa Medical Faculty, said that the health worker named Rıfat Babayiğit might suffer a permanent vision loss due to the attack.
A deputy of the main opposition CHP has criticized the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) after a video footage showing a child being battered at a Quran course has surfaced. CHP MP Ali Öztunç called on Diyanet head to enlighten the incident, while also indicating that he does not believe the explanation of the district governor's office that the 10-year-old child was beaten by a 15-year-old child attending the same course.
The Surp Sarkis Armenian Church in Diyarbakır's Sur district, which is on the verge of destruction, is being targeted in recent years by treasure hunters. HDP deputy Garo Paylan said that the government's policy toward the church is a “purposeful neglect” for the memory of the Armenians in the city to be wiped away and called on the authorities to take the necessary measures for the protection of the church.
The Health Ministry has issued a new circular concerning the temporary supplementary payments given during the coronavirus epidemic. As per the new circular, doctors will get up to 50 percent increase in their coronavirus bonuses, whereas Diyanet personnel responsible for handling the deceased' bodies will get a 100 percent increase in their additional payments.
Turkey is trying to procure European-made air defense systems and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asked his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron to drop his opposition to co-production of Eurosam SAMP/T air missile systems, Elysee sources told Bloomberg. Macron reportedly told Erdoğan that Turkey must clarify its objectives in northern Syria before the request could be considered.
The spokesperson of Turkey's Justice Ministry has said that Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office has launched an investigation into Salafi associations which are alleged to be taking up arms as part of their preparations to fight in the country. The investigation comes after Ahmet Mahmut Ünlü, a popular preacher from the İsmailağa order of Naqshbandi Sufis, warned the government that there are 2,000 Salafi associations in Turkey which are preparing for a civil war.
A Turkish court on Sept. 25 banned access to the website of daily Yeni Yaşam newspaper. The reason of the access ban is not yet known.
The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office said on Sept. 25 that summary of proceedings will be prepared against seven HDP deputies in order for their immunities to be lifted over 2014 Kobane protests. The deputies in question were the HDP's Central Executive Board (MYK) members during Kobane protests, the prosecutor's office said.
Turkey's opposition parties have criticized the detention of HDP members CHP Group Deputy Chair Özgür Özel deemed the detentions "an intimidation operation" and asked the government whether new evidence was reached regarding the Kobane protests that happened six years ago. According to Özel, the recent detentions are attempts of the government to shift people's focus from the crumbling economy.
A group of opposition politicians slammed the construction of a 90-million-lira prison with a lake view in the eastern province of Van which government officials deemed "an investment." The opposition noted that the region has far more pressing needs than prisons and that hundreds of jails have been already built in recent years in Turkey.
Economy
Turkey's Central Bank unexpectedly hiked interest rates on Sept. 24, triggering an improvement in the lira's value against the dollar. The Turkish Lira has sunk to record lows over the past month as Ankara's currency interventions proved futile.
Turkey's state-owned Halkbank has urged a judge to dismiss a U.S. indictment accusing the bank of helping Iran evade American sanctions. At a hearing in Manhattan federal court on Sept. 18, a lawyer for Halkbank said its status as a Turkish “instrumentality” shielded it from prosecution because of sovereign immunity.
U.S. tech giant Amazon offered up its speed-delivery subscription to Turkish consumers on Sept. 15. The monthly subscription fee was set for 7.99 Turkish Liras, about one dollar with the current exchange rates.
Turkey's unemployment rate rose to 13.4 percent. and participation edged up in the May-July period in which a coronavirus lockdown was lifted and a ban on layoffs remained in place, data showed on Sept. 10, painting a clearer picture of the pandemic's fallout.
Urban Beat
Istanbulites will select the new face of Taksim Square from among three projects as part of the Istanbul Municipality's plans to renovate the area. Şerif Süveydan, Bünyamin Derman and Kutlu İnanç Bal were the winners in the contest that was held by Istanbul Planning Agency and Istanbul Municipality's Department of Cultural Assets.
The Odunpazarı Modern Museum in western Eskişehir won the award for "international project of the year over £1m" at the London Museums+Heritage Awards. The museum opened its doors just over a year ago in the city's ancient Odunpazarı neighborhood.
The 48th Istanbul Music Festival will be held online, streaming pre-recorded performances in historical venues. Starting on Sept. 18, the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) will make available the performances that honor composer Ludwig van Beethoven.
Heavy presence of the Asian tiger mosquito was detected in four Istanbul districts, concerning locals as the bug can carry malaria, the Zika virus and encephalitis. The invasive species have been increasing in population around Istanbul in the past decade, an Istanbul University veterinarian said.
Ali Demir writes: So the property of the local non-Muslims collapsed, and what happened? Nothing! The whole country is now composed of non-local foreigners. The greedy tailor apprentice that murdered his master could not sew a jacket, and will never be able to.