Heiko Maas
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.
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.
The United States has accused Turkey of stoking tensions and "deliberately" complicating the resumption of any talks with Greece via sending Oruç Reis to carry out seismic surveys in the eastern Mediterranean. We urge Turkey to end this calculated provocation and immediately begin exploratory talks with Greece," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement on Oct. 13.
The foreign ministers of Turkey and Greece met on Oct. 8 for the first time since their dispute over energy exploration and territorial rights in the eastern Mediterranean, and agreed to hold bilateral talks on the issue. Çavuşoğlu said he met with Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias on the sidelines of the Global Security Forum in the Slovak capital Bratislava for about 25 minutes.
Murat Yetkin writes: Turkey had already proven that it would afford any conflict for its rights in Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean, and it was not bluffing. There is enough proof to show that Turkey is always ready to burn the bridges if the issue is about Cyprus or the eastern Mediterranean, regardless of the government in charge.
Germany urged Greece and Turkey on Aug. 25 to solve their dispute over energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean Sea through dialogue, warning of the risk of a military confrontation. "The current situation in the eastern Mediterranean is equivalent to playing with fire," Heiko Maas said after meeting his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias in Athens. "Every little spark can lead to catastrophe."
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has said that Berlin is no longer approving arms exports to Turkey, except for equipment used in the naval forces. Maas made the comments in response to a German newspaper's question as to why the German government is not completely halting its arms exports to Turkey, which has played a role in the Libyan and Syrian conflicts.
Prior to the Hagia Sophia controversy, Turkey was already a “hot potato” issue both for the EU Commission and Germany. Some serious brainstorming has already been going on regarding what to do with Turkey as far as some EU countries are concerned.
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Ankara's conflict-oriented foreign policy has received the public's support for military operations, but public opinion often fails to translate into votes. While Ankara's "enemy" in military conflict is ever-changing, the northern Syria conflict was revealed to be the only intervention that expanded the government's voter base.
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 controversial social media legislation has enabled the Turkish government to swiftly block access to scores of news reports from critical newspapers and websites within the past month. "What we are facing is a heavy censorship mechanism,” cyber-rights expert Yaman Akdeniz told the daily Cumhuriyet.
The death of Serkan Tumay in a prison raised concerns on the prison conditions in Turkey once again. While Tumay's family says that he was tortured by prison guards repeatedly and died as a result in Kırıkkale F-Type Prison, opposition deputies Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu and Gülizar Biçer Karaca asked Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül to explain how he died.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has found Turkey guilty of violating the right to free speech of Prof. Baskın Oran and Prof. İbrahim Kaboğlu, who faced prosecution in 2005 for publishing a report on the country's minorities. The ECHR said that the legal proceedings against the two academics had “inevitably created pressure" on them leading to “self-censorship.”
The Coalition for Women in Journalism has launched a petition demanding that Turkey immediately drop charges against journalist Ayşegül Doğan, who prosecutors accuse of "being a member of an armed organization." "Today, Ayşegül Doğan has become the target of the government due to her journalism, which touches on social issues such as the struggle for peace, women's struggle and labor," read the petition.
Five years later after the killing of Kurdish lawyer Tahir Elçi, the case still remains unsolved, amid claims that the Turkish intelligence service's neglect played a role in the murder. Diyarbakır Bar Association and Tahir Elçi Human Rights Foundation have criticized the indictment in the murder case, saying that the inclusion of an alleged PKK member as a suspect in the case is inconsistent and is an attempt to divert the attention from the real perpetrators.
A HDP lawmaker has submitted two separate parliamentary questions inquiring about the whereabouts of Bahtiyar Fırat who went missing on Oct. 14 amid concerns that he might have been abducted by state agents. MP Sait Dede asked Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulahmit Gül if they will issue a statement with regards to the fate of Fırat considering that 17,000 people have been so far victims of enforced disappearances while under detention in Turkey.
Hatice Cengiz, the fiancée of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, on Oct. 20 filed a lawsuit against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a U.S. court, accusing the kingdom’s de facto ruler of ordering the journalist's killing.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said that President Erdoğan's ideas are even more backward than those of the Middle Ages, adding that Turkey is more backward than a tribe at the moment. Do we have any traditions, constitution or justice left? No. I wish we were a tribe so that we could sit and discuss," Kılıçdaroğlu told his party members during a parliamentary group meeting on Oct. 20.
The İYİ Party is in disarray after deputy Ümit Özdağ claimed that the party's Istanbul chair, Buğra Kavuncu, is a Gülenist. While Kavuncu blasted the allegations and said that he will file a complaint against Özdağ, İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener said that the legal process gives the deputy the opportunity to prove his claims.
Greece has asked the European Commission to consider suspending a customs union agreement between Turkey and the European Union due to Ankara’s “continued provocations." Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said the Commission should consider the full suspension of the customs union “as a message of disapproval for Turkey's ongoing illegal behavior" against the EU.
A man has threatened his wife with two bullets, accusing her of cheating on him just because both her and a male colleague's coronavirus tests came out positive. The abusive husband's threats that lasted for days caused the woman to give early birth.
A summary of proceedings was prepared against CHP Group Deputy Chair Özgür Özel for calling Erdoğan "a lame duck" in 2019, when in fact Erdoğan used the same for the CHP a day earlier. Özel said that the prosecutor who accuses him of insulting the president needs to launch an investigation into Erdoğan as well since he used the same phrase against the main opposition.
A building housing Alevi families in suburban Istanbul was the scene of a hate crime, daily Cumhuriyet reported on Oct. 20. Police started an investigation into the incident, the most recent in Turkey's long record of hate crimes. "Everyone should hear our voice," resident Muhterem Aydoğdu said.
The health director of the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa warned locals that hot peppers don't protect from coronavirus. The director also said that locals thought the heat protected from the illness, but that both were misconceptions.
Medical students from Istanbul University started a boycott of their dining hall, requesting free, quality meals. The students are asking that attending doctors be allowed in the personnel cafeteria everyday, and that students who are simply working at the hospital be offered meals during their shifts.
Economy
The Turkish government has said that it "laughs off" boycotts imposed on Turkish products in Saudi Arabia, Morocco and United Arab Emirates. "We laugh off some countries' boycotts against Turkey. They should first learn to stand as independent countries," AKP deputy leader Numan Kurtulmuş said on Oct. 18.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected that income per capita in Turkey would drop to 2005 levels, an annual average of $7,720. The IMF also predicted a five percent contraction in the Turkish economy until the end of 2020, despite Ankara's 0.3 percent growth projection.
Turkey's net international investment deficit grew by $20 billion from the end of 2019 to reach a total $365.8 billion at the end of August. Turkey's international assets shrunk by 10.2 percent to reach $227.4 billion in the same period.
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.
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.
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.
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.