July 2016 coup attempt
A Twitter post shared by top court member Engin Yıldırım stirred controversy, with the government condemning him for "giving a coup message." "The lights are on," tweeted Yıldırım on Oct. 13 with a picture of the court's building, prompting the Interior Ministry to respond by sharing its own building. The row came hours after a local court unconstitutionally ignored the top court's ruling on a former CHP deputy.
A deputy of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has asked Turkey's Justice Ministry about claims that families of lawyers detained in Ankara earlier this month were getting calls asking for ransom in return for their loved ones' release. The unidentified individuals on the phone reportedly told the families that the lawyers will be formally arrested if the ransom is not paid.
Turkey's Youth and Sports Ministry named a gym center after a young man who died during the 2016 coup attempt, but failed to invite his mother to the ceremony. Mother Nihal Olçok Mother Nihal Olçok called out Youth and Sports Minister and asked if he realized "Abdullah has a mother."
A thousand words were said for philanthropist, businessman and human rights activist Osman Kavala to mark his 1,000th day of imprisonment on July 27. "Conscience and just" topped the list via being written 48 times, which were followed by "humble and humility."
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.
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.
Four years after the attempted takeover, a number of crucial questions remain unanswered, especially on former army chief Hulusi Akar and MİT chief Hakan Fidan. "Erdoğan protected Akar and Fidan in an incomprehensible manner. The fact that these two officials made an evaluation mistake caused a lot of people to get killed or wounded," journalist Mehmet Yılmaz told Duvar English.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has likened the thwarting of July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt to the Conquest of Istanbul, saying that the takeover bid "was a breaking point." "July 15 is the latest ring of the chain of struggles of our existence that we have put forward for ages on this soil. Whoever tries to undermine it aims to overshadow this deep history," he also said.
Police have prevented survivors of the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt from marching in the capital Ankara on the fourth anniversary of the botched takeover bid. "They know that we will face them and say, 'Give us our rights Mr. President.' That's why they're blocking us," one of the survivors told ANKA News Agency.
Good (İYİ) Party leader Meral Akşener has cancelled her plans to attend President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's speech in parliament after her bodyguard tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). Akşener's tests were negative.
Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun has said that the conversion of Istanbul's Hagia Sophia into a mosque is the continuation of our revival during the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt. "This longing ended with the will of our president. The decision is the continuation of our July 15 revival," Altun told daily Hürriyet.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has prepared a video to mark the fourth anniversary of the thwarting of the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt. In the video, a student in a Western university describes how Turkish people poured to the streets to stop the coup bid.
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.
Turkey shut down a total of 119 media outlets following the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt, Vice President Fuat Oktay said in response to a parliamentary question submitted by Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Muazzez Orhan. A total of 53 newspapers, 20 magazines, 16 TV channels, 24 radio stations and six news agencies were shut down with state of emergency decrees.
Editor's Picks
duvar englis podcasts
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
Some 32 deputies in parliament failed to take the stand except to take an oath, daily BirGün reported on Oct. 21. A total of 27 of said deputies were members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), receiving more than 500,000 liras in annual salaries when combined.
The trial into the murder of prominent Kurdish human rights lawyer Tahir Elçi started on Oct. 21, amid further obstacles to securing an effective investigation into the killing. None of the three defendant police officers attended the hearing in person in the courtroom, but instead appeared via the video system. Elçi family's lawyers said that this is against the normal procedure and the case was being handled in a “negligent” and “impartial” way.
Turkish police have seized 879 animal and plant fossils worth $10 million from two houses owned by Islamic televangelist cult leader Adnan Oktar. Officials said the fossils would be delivered to a museum in Ankara.
The Istanbul 15th High Criminal Court has rejected exiled journalist Can Dündar's appeal against the seizure of his assets. The court has said that it has found the 14th High Criminal Court's Oct. 7-dated decision “in accordance with procedure and law.”
In a parliamentary question addressing Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, HDP lawmaker Ali Kenanoğlu has asked what kind of legal proceedings the ministry has run against the assailants of 36 publicly known hate crime incidents that were committed against Alevis in the last eight years. Kenanoğlu's inquiry came after unidentified assailants on Oct. 20 painted threatening messages on an Istanbul apartment building housing Alevis.
Turkey said it would not hesitate to send soldiers and provide military support for Azerbaijan if such a request were made by Baku. "There is already a military cooperation agreement between Turkey and Azerbaijan. If there is a need and Azerbaijan makes such a request, then Turkey would do it openly [provide military support]," Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Oct. 21.
Unidentified assailants have stabbed a 14-year-old Syrian child to death in Turkey's Central Anatolian province of Konya. Vail El-Mansur was on his way to the tailor shop he was working at when he was murdered brutally.
Turkish authorities seized 220 kilograms of cocaine on a ship that arrived at a port in the country's southern coast from Brazil. Police in the coastal province of Mersin found the cocaine hidden in a container carrying packages of paper.
Istanbul University's Cerrahpaşa Medical School has been observing twice as many patients, the dean said on Oct. 20. Turkey's official numbers receded to early May levels on the same day, observing some 2,026 diagnoses. "There's almost a doubling of the number of cases and patients seeking help in Cerrahpaşa. The winter might be rough for all of us," the dean said.
Turkey will send some 110,000 tons of grains and flour to countries in need, primarily Syria, a presidential decree in the Official Gazette said on Oct. 21. While the grains will be handed out by Ankara's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) and the Turkish Red Crescent, any wages related to the operation will be taken out of the Treasury's budget as well.
During a recession that has dealt a deep blow to agricultural producers across Turkey, potato farmers are struggling to get by while retailers purchase produce cheap and sell at high prices to consumers. "I don't like the AKP anymore,” said one 70-year-old farmer, who has grown potatoes in Niğde for 45 years.
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.
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.