Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu
The prosecutor who is investigating the infamous helicopter torture case in Van – subject to a confidentiality order - is the same prosecutor who pressed charges against four journalists to send them to jail. As laws get ‘tougher’, not only journalists, but anyone who expresses a critical opinion gets closer to a prison sentence.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has told his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar that they are concerned about reports that Syrian rebels are sent to Nagorno-Karabakh to fight. “Reports on militants from terrorist organizations from the Middle East being transferred to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone are especially concerning for the Russian Defense Ministry,” Moscow said, adding that the concern was conveyed to Akar.
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.
Turkey rejected "superficial" demands for a ceasefire on Oct. 3 in the South Caucasus, where it backs Azerbaijan, with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu saying, "Superficial demands for an immediate end to hostilities and a permanent ceasefire will not be useful this time."
Armenia posted pictures on an online government platform on Sept. 30 of the wreckage of a plane it said was a SU-25 warplane shot down by a Turkish fighter jet on Sept 29. An aide to Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev said on the same day that two Armenian SU-25 fighter jets were destroyed on Sept. 29 after crashing into a mountain, and accused Yerevan of lying about one of its planes being shot down.
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tore into President Donald Trump on Sept. 24 after he declined to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the presidential election in November. “You are not in North Korea, you are not in Turkey, you are not in Russia, Mr. President. You are in the United States of America, it is a democracy, so why don’t you just try for a moment to honor your oath of office, to the Constitution of the United States?” she said.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif will hold a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Qatari counterpart Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Istanbul on Sept. 22, Iranian state-run Mehr news agency said.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said that Turkey does not expect to face European Union sanctions over a dispute with Greece in the eastern Mediterranean. Çavuşoğlu repeated Turkey was open to talks without pre-conditions, but added that the seismic research vessel Oruç Reis will soon resume operations after it anchored off Turkey's southern coast on Sept. 13.
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.
If there is one beneficiary of the Greece-Turkey crisis, it is France’s President Emmanuel Macron. Macron has a very clear stance on backing Greece, which stands in deep contrast to Germany and the European Union Commission, both of which are hesitant to do so.
Turkish FM Çavuşoğlu has criticized US presidential front-runner Joe Biden's remarks on Turkey saying, "Who are you to say we made it possible for Kurds to enter parliament?" Çavuşoğlu's criticism concerns Biden's remarks in which he said the U.S. should make sure that Turkey's Kurdish population is represented in parliament.
The European Union has said that it's "extremely worried" about the escalating tensions between Greece and Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean. Also on Aug. 11, Turkish Coast Guard Command announced that three people were injured when Greek navy opened fire on a private boat off the coast of Muğla.
The European Union wants to see stronger relations with Turkey, according to a statement by the bloc following a meeting on Aug. 6 between Turkey’s top diplomat and the EU’s foreign policy chief. “Turkey is an important partner for the European Union," the office of EU High Representative Josep Borrell said in a written statement.
Turkish FM Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has criticized his Spanish counterpart Arancha Gonzalez Laya's reference to Hagia Sophia as a “common house.” "If she [Laya] meant that Hagia Sophia should remain a site where believers of other faiths will perform worship, we do not agree with this,” Çavuşoğlu said.
A secret trilateral meeting held between Ankara, Athens and Berlin has stirred debate in Greece, with Greek opposition parties calling on Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to clarify the issue. "Secret diplomacy shows that the Mitsotakis government is on the back foot," Syriza spokesman Alexis Haritsis told the party's radio station Sto Kokkino 105.5.
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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.