Kurds in Turkey
Local authorities have banned the first Kurdish play to be staged in Istanbul Municipal Theater over "public security concerns." "We can't perform because they said that we threaten public security, but these stages are our rights. We will perform. We will continue to protect our theater and language," actors Rugeş Kırıcı and Ömer Şahin said in a statement in Kurdish and Turkish.
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 Justice Ministry has dismissed a parliamentary question on the release of a rapist soldier for being "offensive." Uca in her question asked Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül to reveal the reason for why former specialized sergeant Musa Orhan was released despite raping İpek Er. The ministry said that the question can be accepted if the terms found "crude and offensive" are removed.
HDP deputy İmam Taşçıer has submitted a draft bill to parliament for Kurdish, mainly Kurmanji and Zazaki, to become a language of education. "Education in mother tongue ensures the development of a child's cultural identity, personality and self-respect. It's also utterly significant to make sure their efficient participation in social and economic life," Taşçıer said.
Pro-Kurdish HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar has called on the opposition to work together on drafting a constitution which will ensure the peace in Turkey. "Peace is the way to end the tyrant rulership in this country. Because despot, tyrant and fascist rulerships feed on wars. They want to secure their position through wars,” Sancar said.
No Kurd would accept being a legionary of imperialists, AKP spokesperson Ömer Çelik has said in response to U.S. Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden's past remarks. Çelik on Aug. 18 deemed Biden's remarks "a major attack against Kurds" and said that he aims to show the Kurds as his employees or an extension of his policies.
The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has voiced readiness to take risks to solve the Kurdish issue, adding that it would back all the efforts in line with that. Saying that the Kurds are strategically, geographically and politically at the center of the Middle East, the HDP noted that the Kurds are key to all the issues in the region. It also called for an end to Öcalan's isolation.
A draft bill submitted to the Parliament Speaker's Office by the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) on establishing a site to remember the victims of the Zilan massacre was rejected for including "Kurdish geography" and "massacre" remarks. "This is called hypocrisy. There is the understanding of denial and rejection regarding massacres committed against Kurds," HDP deputy Murat Sarısaç said.
Austria pledged on June 29 to find out who was behind clashes between Kurdish and Turkish protesters in the Austrian capital last week. "Austria's ambassador to Ankara will be invited to our ministry and informed of our concern," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said, accusing Austrian security forces of meting out "harsh" treatment to the Turkish protesters.
HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar has said that the calls on the party to distance itself from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) are "unfounded" because the party "has no links" to the militant group. "The issue is not distancing ourselves because we have no relations and there won't be," Sancar said, while asking, "So if the HDP is an extension of the PKK, six million people voted for the PKK. Will you accept that?"
Agricultural lands belonging to Assyrians were reportedly illegally grabbed by a Kurdish family in the southeastern province of Mardin. The owner of the lands filed a complaint about the incident that took place last year, but no action was taken for the return of them, Syriac Press reported.
Turkey's presidential system blocks a possible solution to the years-long Kurdish issue, Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Mithat Sancar said, adding that opposition parties need to bring democracy forward. "This system blocks a solution. The government makes bringing the discussions on the most basic subjects regarding the Kurdish issue to agenda impossible," Sancar said.
Ayhan Bilgen, the co-mayor of the eastern province of Kars, has received a death threat on social media, with a user sending a picture of bullets, while mentioning JİTEM, a clandestine gendarmerie intelligence unit responsible for dozens of unsolved murders, predominantly in the 1990s.
A court in the eastern province of Kars has ruled for the release of Kurdish politician, writer and lawyer Mahmut Alınak during the first hearing of the case that he was arrested. "My father was released. Hope the same happens to all political prisoners," Bişar Abdi Alınak, his son, said in a tweet on May 13.
A police officer has fired his gun into the air to disperse children playing on the street, before dragging a child with mental disabilities to an armored police vehicle to beat him in the Nusaybin district of the southeastern province of Mardin. The incident prompted outrage on social media, with provincial police forces trying to defend itself by saying that the children were throwing rocks at a group of officers.
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Duvar English’s editor-in-chief Cansu Çamlıbel and pollster Can Selçuki discuss whether the recent crackdown on the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) portends a possible closure case against the party. They attempt to analyze who in the Turkish political landscape would benefit from antagonizing Kurdish voters; President Erdoğan or his alliance partner Mr. Bahçeli or both?
Politics
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.
A missile was fired into the sky on Oct. 16 on Turkey's Black Sea coast where the military was expected to test its Russian-made S-400 defense systems, according to local video obtained by Reuters. "If confirmed, we would condemn in the strongest terms the S-400 test missile launch as incompatible with Turkey’s responsibilities as a NATO  Ally and strategic partner of the United States," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.
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.
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.
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.
CHP deputy Mustafa Adıgüzel has found a lost letter penned by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Turkey's founding father, to a U.S. child called Curtis La France. "My advice to the intelligent and hardworking children of the U.S. is to not perceive everything they hear about Turks as true and attach importance to basing their opinions on scientific and sound examinations. I wish you success and happiness," Atatürk said in the letter.
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.