Mardin
Former Mardin Mayor Ahmet Türk on Oct. 19 testified for Ankara prosecutors as part of an investigation into 2014 Kobane protests. Türk said that he went to Kobane at the time within the knowledge of Turkish authorities and the aid to Kobane was dispatched under the coordination of Mardin Governor's Office.
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.
The ECHR has defended its president's controversial visit to Turkey by saying that it was "standard practice" for court presidents to meet the political and judicial authorities of member states of the Council of Europe. According to the ECHR, Spano had accepted the invitation to “convey a very important message” that those in power cannot control the courts and that judgments by the ECHR must be “respected and enforced."
The visit to Turkey of Robert Spano, the President of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has caused much concern amongst democrats, academics and people who have suffered from the crackdown here.
The southeastern Turkey province of Mardin will be "marking" COVID-19 patients and their close encounters with mandatory wristbands, the governor's office said. The province will fine anyone who takes off their wristband, as it was found to be a violation of the public health code.
The governor's office of Mardin's Mazıdağı district has announced that two neighborhoods in the district were placed under COVID-19 quarantine. The governor's office said that the “circulation of seasonal workers” has been recently high in these two neighborhoods.
Vecdi Erbay reports: After depriving thousands of villagers of electricity for months, prosecutors have launched investigations against a number of officials from the municipality of Mardin and the Dicle Electric Distribution Company (DEDAŞ). The officials face charges of corruption, bribery and bid rigging.
A Kurdish woman from Turkey's Diyarbakır has recorded a video asking Ankara and Athnes for help locating her husband and son, whom she hasn't heard from since a migrant boat crashed with all of them onboard on Aug. 25 near a small Greek island. Berivan Cansun said that she doesn't even know if her husband and son are alive.
The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has prepared a report on trustees, saying that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) ignored the votes of millions of people via sacking 47 mayors in the past year. Speaking at the press conference organized to reveal the report, HDP deputy Garo Paylan said that the government wants to prevent the party from getting stronger. "Erdoğan is a putschist," Paylan said.
All hospital beds and dormitories are filled in southeastern Mardin, where experts are worried the health infrastructure will fail to accommodate needs as the number of cases in the city approach 5,000.
Residents of a village in the southeastern province of Mardin have appealed a ruling that found the Interior Ministry not responsible for the massacre of civilians with state-owned weapons in 2019. “The state has the responsibility to be able to foresee whether or not people to whom guns are entrusted for a public duty will use these guns for personal purposes,” said lawyer Hayrettin Güzel.
An environmentalist group in the southeastern province of Mardin is concerned that a planned wind energy plant will harm historic Rabat Castle in the area. The Mardin Ecological Association has demanded that the Dicleres Wind Energy Plant project be cancelled.
Council of Europe's Venice Commission has called on Turkey to reinstate mayors from the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) who were sacked and replaced with trustees. It listed recommendations, including making the law on ineligible candidates clear, recognizing the elected six mayoral candidates of the district municipalities of Diyarbakır, Erzurum, Kars and Van and reinstating the mayors of Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van.
Human Rights Watch has urged Turkey to halt investigations into doctors running three professional medical associations in Turkey’s southeast and eastern provinces, saying, "The authorities should respect both freedom of expression and the important role of healthcare worker associations in informing the public and protecting public health."
Metin Yeğin writes: Belgian Marxian economist Ernest Mandel said that the bourgeois left two structures intact: colonialism and the proletariat. It is not surprising that African-Americans in the U.S. and Kurds here are killed so easily. The plight of both the Kurds and the African-Americans is related to class dynamics.
Editor's Pick
Soner Çağaptay and Raffaella A. Del Sarto write: The EU often praises itself as a promoter of democracy and regional stability by highlighting the power of its enlargement process to include new members in the “neighbourhood.” Yet in the case of Turkey, its ill-conceived policies may well have contributed to the opposite. A clumsy EU has repeatedly gotten its policy toward Turkey wrong, often inadvertently helping Erdoğan at key points during his rise while creating preventable tensions with Ankara.
Politics
The Turkish Lira further lost its value on Oct. 27, measuring more than 8.1 liras on the dollar as a result of more than 35 percent depreciation this year. The depreciation is a result of Ankara's increasingly strained relationship with the European Union, as well as the United States.
The German government has said that the Erdoğan regime has in recent years increased its support for Milli Görüş, an Islamist group monitored by German intelligence services due to alleged extremist leanings. In its response to a parliamentary question, the German government has also emphasized the links between Milli Görüş and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.
The ruling AKP has turned down the opposition's demand for budget discussions to be aired live on the official channel of parliament, called TBMM TV. The opposition deputies have said that these talks need to be conducted in a “transparent” manner as it concerns the people, with a CHP lawmaker saying that Turkey has not experienced such a “dark period” in its history before.
An employee of the United States’ Istanbul consulate was handed five years and two months in prison on charges of aiding the movement of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen. The court did not arrest Nazmi Mete Cantürk, meaning he will be free pending appeal.
HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar has said that the party condemns extremists' abuse of Islam to justify their violent actions, but also slams France's treatment of Islam in a row about cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad published by satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Many prisoners in Turkey, particularly political prisoners, are held in facilities hundreds or thousands of kilometers away from their families, making it very difficult for visitation. Requests by prisoners for transfer to a closer penal institution are now being rejected by the authorities on account of the coronavirus.
As coronavirus cases surge in Istanbul, Governor Ali Yerlikaya said that he can be a "scapegoat" if anyone's looking for someone to blame. The governor also said that he has been working closely with Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu. “My job is not politics, it is service. To that end, I am continually in contact with İmamoğlu. You should know that we are working very well [together]. There is no problem whatsoever,” he said.
President Erdoğan has filed a criminal complaint with Turkish authorities against prominent Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders saying that he had insulted him on social media. "Even though the crime was committed directly against the person in the presidential seat, the value that is being violated is the state's political government structure," Erdoğan's lawyers said.
Turkish police have apprehended seven ISIS militants who were preparing for attacks in the capital Ankara in the latest round of operations against the jihadist group. According to authorities, the militants were seeking to attack Oct. 29 Republic Day celebrations and Nov. 10 ceremonies that are held each year to commemorate Turkey's founding father Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has found main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu right in his case against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. While Turkish courts ruled that Kılıçdaroğlu "attacked Erdoğan's personal rights" in two separate speeches in 2012, the ECHR ruled that the country violated the main opposition leader's freedom of expression.
A coal thermal power plant in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir is predicted to make more than 11 million people ill over the course of 35 years, a health impact report for the project revealed. The Right to Clean Air Plaform reported that the pollutants from the Alpu Coal Thermal Power Plant will spread to 24 provinces and destroy local farming land.
A group of miners from the Central Anatolian district of Ermenek set off once again on their march to demand unpaid wages, only to be met with a gendarmerie blockade on Oct. 26. In a video showing the miners' exchange with officers, one of them is heard saying "We are angry. We are hungry, that's why we're yelling. You can't yell!"
One of downtown Istanbul's last remaining green spaces was rezoned to allow construction despite the protest of locals. Also designated as an emergency meeting point, the green space was permitted for the construction of a 10-story building.
Turkey's southernmost province of Hatay was rocked by an explosion on Oct. 26 and authorities said that two militants of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) were nabbed following the blast. Hatay Governor Rahmi Doğan said that the two militants were a part of a group of four who had flown from the Syrian town of Manbij to the Amanos Mountains in Hatay using paramotors.
A report prepared by a number of civil society organizations regarding trials in Turkey prosecuting conscientious objectors to mandatory military service in the country has influenced the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers to pressure Turkey on recognizing the right to conscientious objection.
President Erdoğan and the newly-elected Turkish Cypriot President Ersin Tatar on Oct. 26 voiced their support for a two-state solution on the divided island of Cyprus. "We believe a two-state solution must now be brought to the table with a realistic proposal," Erdoğan said. Erdoğan also said that he would visit Turkish Cyprus on Nov. 15 and expressed his desire to have a picnic at Varosha.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said that at least 78 Turkey-backed Syrian rebels were killed and dozens more were injured in Russian airstrikes on a military training camp in Idlib. Those targeted were in a camp belonging to Faylaq al-Sham, the monitor said, adding that it was the deadliest attack since the ceasefire came into force in March.
The second indictment against human rights defender and businessman Osman Kavala presents no new grounds to justify his detention and is politically motivated, said Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in a statement.
Economy
Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak has said that the economy is growing despite the tumbling Turkish Lira. The lira weakened to a record low on Oct. 26, hit by investor unease over the central bank's decision last week to keep its policy rate on hold and various sources of geopolitical concern. Strains in ties with the United States, a row with France, a dispute between Turkey and Greece over maritime rights and the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh have all unsettled investors.
Turkish monthly inflation was almost four times greater than the official rate in September, according to a new model developed by a group of academics and researchers. According to the independent Inflation Research Group (ENAG)'s first published finding, consumer prices in September rose 3.61 percent from the previous month, compared to the official Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK)'s calculation of 0.97 percent increase.
Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez said on Oct. 22 Turkey will operate the gas field which it recently discovered in the Black Sea on its own, but it may cooperate with foreign firms in terms of detailed work and equipment. The minister's comments came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Oct. 17 Turkey had raised the estimated reserves of the field to 405 billion cubic meters after finding an additional 85 bcm.
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.
Urban Beat
Turkey's southeastern city of Diyarbakır is nestled in Mesopotamia and has a deep legacy spanning millenniums and civilizations. A recent discovery on the 8000-year-old Amida Höyük archaeological site has unearthed an 1800-year-old heating system that was quite sophisticated for the time.
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.