Future Party
Future Party leader and former prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has criticized the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) over "using" Hagia Sophia as "political leverage." He also commented on the imprisonment of three opposition deputies, saying, "They weren't arrested over a search for justice. They were arrested because the government, which fails to generate politics, is in a deadlock."
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).
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.
After former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu announced that former Major Gen. Mehmet Dişli was kept on duty despite an intelligence report urging for the Gülenist general's dismissal, main opposition CHP called on the gov't the reveal the content of the relevant report. CHP Deputy Chair Özgür Özel said that the 2015-dated report is important in terms of enlightening the process leading to the failed coup attempt of July 2016.
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.
Future Party leader Ahmet Davutoğlu has claimed that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited the Pelican group, which is said to be consisting of staunch supporters of Erdoğan who are influential in the pro-government media, in their residence. "The coup that was done against me in the party was carried out by Pelican. I saw that there were acts that were carried out upon orders behind it. Mr. President visited them in their residence," Davutoğlu said.
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.
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has called for "urgent" reforms in the law on political parties for the continuation of the presidential system. "When the recent developments are taken into account, it's understood that these reforms need to be issued urgently. It can be brought to parliament's agenda when it opens following the coronavirus pandemic," Bahçeli 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.
Amid rumors of an early election fueled by MHP leader Bahçeli's proposal to change electoral law, Future Party leader Davutoğlu has challenged the gov't to call snap election. “If your purpose is really to declare an early election, bring it on! Let's go to early election. But if you are after petty concerns such as changing the nation's real agenda with early election [rumors], then stop wasting our nation's energy with such cheap manipulations,” Davutoğlu said.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said that the government will change in the next elections since people will hand power to those advocating democracy. "The people are seeing that our beautiful country is not being governed properly and that we're heading downhill like a truck with no brakes. They also know that the only way to get rid of this course depends on their choice in the next elections," he said.
The MHP has stepped in to complicate the efforts of the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) and Future Party, both founded by former high-level AKP officials, to form parliamentary groups necessary for them to run in elections, in a bid to cover AKP's concerns on losing deputies. MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli called for making changes in the election law and parliamentary bylaws even though the two new parties would barely get deputies from the MHP.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said that a number of CHP lawmakers can quit and join the DEVA and the Future parties to secure their run in elections. "We can definitely provide support to DEVA and the Future Party for democracy. That's why we want the election threshold removed. All parties must be represented in parliament," Kılıçdaroğlu said.
Turkey's main opposition CHP and the Future Party have criticized the government for prioritizing the reopening of shopping malls while keeping the parliament shut. Ahmet Davutoğlu, a former ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, also asked why "Erdoğan is locking himself” at his residence in Istanbul if Turkey has overcome the pandemic to the extent that it can reopen the malls.
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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
A group led by forensic science expert and human rights defender Prof. Şebnem Korur Fincancı won the elections for the leadership of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB). Fincancı is now expected to be elected the leader of the association in the upcoming meeting.
A women's prison in southeast Turkey banned a book that was co-authored by the chairman of Turkey's Constitutional Court (AYM). The book that was found "suspicious" by the prison is about freedom of expression.
The New York Times reported on Sept. 28 that Trump Towers Istanbul has netted U.S. President Donald Trump $1 million in 2016 and 2017. Trump has long had business ties in and with Turkey, the most visible example being the Trump Towers Istanbul, which licenses the Trump name.
Turkish prosecutors have launched an investigation into Tele1 TV editor-in-chief Merdan Yanardağ over his reports that Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor Yüksel Kocaman paid a visit to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan following his wedding ceremony. The court ruled for Yanardağ's release, but imposed judicial control measures involving regularly reporting at his local police station as well as overseas travel ban.
Halk TV, a broadcaster that's critical of the government, blacked out on Sept. 28 following a ruling from Turkey's Radio and Television High Council (RTÜK). The five-day blackout is a first in the council's history, as such harsh sanctions haven't been issued before.
The Turkish presidency has prepared a video and an anthem on the occasion of the anniversary of the Naval Battle of Preveza which took place near the port of Prevaza in northwestern Greece in 1538. The video is a historic recreation of the battle but also includes various shots of Turkish naval officers.
A one-year-old toddler has been tortured to death in Istanbul, daily Birgün reported on Sept. 28. The toddler named “Hayat” (which translates as “Life” in Turkish) was reported to have bruises and burn scars on the body. The police reportedly detained the father whereas the mother is currently missing.
A fake "scientific publication" robbed some 50 people, mostly academics, of a total one million liras in southeast Turkey. The fraud allegedly offered users publication, and created an online space by copying legitimate websites.
Deputies and officials of pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) protested the detention of dozens of members last week, on charges related to the October 2014 Kobane protests. The HDP members are accused of inciting violence in the events that lead to the deaths of 37 people, as members of Turkish Hizbullah also took to the streets.
Turkey's first coronavirus vaccine was administered on Sept. 28 in Istanbul University. A 53-year-old health worker volunteered to receive the shot, and said that he hoped it would eliminate the pandemic soon.
Daily BirGün released video showing the crime scene of Nadira Kadirova's alleged suicide, revealing signs of a struggle in the suspicious death of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Şirin Ünal's help. Meanwhile, the daily released a video of Kadirova's mother at her grave, accusing the deputy of killing the young woman.
Kurdish singer Cesim Başboğa said that he was threatened by gendarmerie officials and MİT members to not sing in Kurdish in Bitlis' Tatvan district. According to Başboğa, a MİT official "banned" him to sing in Kurdish, saying, "I'm warning you for the last time. You'll be in trouble in the smallest mistake."
Turkish police have denied that three HDP politicians, including Mayor Ayhan Bilgen, were hospitalized over food poisoning while under detention. According to the police statement that was released after the HDP's claims on the issue, Bilgen was taken to a hospital over an infection in his body. Deputy Hüseyin Kaçmaz earlier on Sept. 28 said that Bilgen, İsmail Şengün and Can Memiş were taken to a hospital over food poisoning.
Turkish prosecutors have prepared a second indictment in connection with the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul. The indictment against the six suspects, including two consulate workers and four other Saudi nationals, was sent to the court to be combined with the main case.
Turkey's Industry and Technology Ministry falsely advertised opening a factory in a mass opening event, only to be refuted by the facility's board who said they'd been in business for 45 years. It was later claimed that the name was erroneously added, and that some of the factories had merely been invested in, and not built from scratch.
Police in the southeastern province of Şırnak are refusing to release the numbers of arrests for selling and using drugs amid a surge in illegal substances in recent years. "It has been determined that such information cannot be accessed on an individual basis," police responded to an inquiry by Duvar.
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.
City water in a district of western Kütahya was revealed to contain levels of arsenic 350 times higher than the acceptable standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO). The water also reportedly contains 8,000 times the acceptable level of boron, and deaths from cancer in the Emet district are three times as high as the other districts of Kütahya.
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.
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.