Gulenists
The pictures showing the grim death of Mustafa Kabakçıoğlu, a police officer sacked with an emergency decree in 2016, have sparked debate on the conditions in Turkish prisons amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Media reports said that the police officer, who had been in jail for four years, repeatedly asked for treatment for his deteriorating health, but his transfer to a hospital was denied.
Turkish police detained dozens of people on Oct. 13 in a search for 167 suspects, many of them active duty soldiers, in an operation against the Gülen movement. Since the abortive putsch of July 15, 2016, some 80,000 people have been held pending trial and about 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and others sacked or suspended.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has slammed journalist Barış Terkoğlu over a column he penned regarding the minister's links to religious groups on Oct. 12. "I haven't received education from any faith group. I would've said if I did. Everyone knows that I read a lot in the past. Islam can't be learned in the filthy gatherings that you got your ideology," Soylu said. "I'm not a man breastfed by embassies," he added.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has denied reports that religious cults infiltrated into the state. Soylu's remarks came following debates on religious cults' infiltration into state institutions, mainly the Health Ministry. "They are lies. They are provocations," Soylu said, adding that no such infiltration is the case in any of the state institutions.
From Turkish journalists working for foreign media to women who suggest that motherhood is not the highest honour bestowed upon them, there are many types of public enemies in Turkey. Here is a crash course on just who those shady characters are.
Police have detained over 40 people in an operation based in the western province of İzmir against the followers of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). Another operation was launched in the capital Ankara as part of an investigation launched by Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office against the Gülenists in the air forces.
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.
The head of the Turkish Historical Society (TTK), Prof. Ahmet Yaramış, has resigned from his post following backlash over his remarks on reintegrating regretful coup plotters into society. He was replaced with Prof. Birol Çetin on July 23.
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.
Dinçer Demirkent writes: Comparisons between July 15 and the Turkish War of Independence, attempts to define it a “new war of independence” or brand it as a symbol of the new regime have all failed. President Erdoğan's efforts to establish political hegemony and found new institutions had already expired by the time of the attempted coup.
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).
A Turkish court has released President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's two former aides who are accused of being involved in the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt. Mete Semercioğlu and Erkan Kıvrak were released in the hearing on July 3 despite a prosecutor seeking over 20 years in prison for each.
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.
Istanbul 23rd Heavy Penal Court on June 22 imposed a publication ban on the trial into the summoning of Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) chief Hakan Fidan to testify by the followers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen on Feb. 7, 2012. The testimonies in the case were expected to reveal significant information regarding Turkey's recent history.
The father of NBA center Enes Kanter, a staunch follower of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, has been acquitted of charges that he was a member of the Gülen movement. Mehmet Kanter, the father and a genetics professor in Turkey, was alleged to have supported the Gülenists, the group widely believed to have orchestrated the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt.
Editor's Pick
Selahattin Demirtaş writes: You have re-arrested us after six years. You say we are the instigators of the Kobane massacres when we were actually the victims. Do you think you will be able to make us responsible for this through conspiracies based on secret witnesses and be saved from responsibility? You must genuinely believe that the fascism you rely on today will always exist.
Politics
A local court in southern Turkey acquitted Birol K. of charges related to his sexual abuse of an underage relative, as well as holding her against her will. The court's ruling came despite eyewitnesses, forensic proof of the abuse and the man's death threats against the survivor.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca slammed Istanbulites' Sunday outing on İstiklal Avenue on Oct. 18, saying that anyone who entered the crowd healthy would come out ill. Meanwhile, some 1,815 COVID-19 diagnoses were made on Oct. 18, while some 72 patients died.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.