MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli
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.
Does anyone really believe that shady former police ministers, ex-military officers, and a mafia boss are a promising profile of the alliance for a new revival of Turkey’s democracy?
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.
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli has said that Armenia has cancer and its chemotherapy includes enmity against Turkey and the Turks. "Armenia was the side that violated the ceasefire as expected. Negotiating with the killer returned as bullets and bombs. Nagorno-Karabakh should not be taken on the table [through diplomacy], but should be taken via hitting Armenia in the head," he said.
Azeri analyst Zardusht Alizadeh has said that the nationalists in Azerbaijan are as sick as those in Armenia, as he commented on the clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh. "Azeri nationalists are sick just like Armenian nationalists. They want a Great Azerbaijan and want soil from Iran, Russia and Armenia," Alizadeh told Duvar on Oct. 6. When asked whether Azerbaijan seeks to take the Zangezur Corridor as suggested by MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli, Alizadeh said, "We don't have eyes on Armenian soil."
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli has called for restructuring Turkey's top court in line with the presidential system, as he also deemed the court's recent rulings on rights violations "flawed." "A Supreme Court that doesn't contradict with the presidential system, which speeded up Turkey's democratization process, that no longer is the focus of debates and that's democratic, effective and fair would add to Turkey's power," Bahçeli said.
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has called for the closure of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) after the organization has this week launched a series of protest events, accusing the government of mismanaging the COVID-19 pandemic. In the face of Bahçeli's remarks, messages of support poured in from Twitter users for the TTB, with the hashtag campaign of "#İyikiTTBvar" (which translates as "So glad we have TTB") going viral.
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli has said that demanding education in Kurdish shows captivity to imperialism, as he commented on Future Party leader Ahmet Davutoğlu's remarks. "The fact that Davutoğlu talked about the Kurdish issue and mentioned education in mother tongue is a scandalous example of the extent that captivity to imperialism has reached," Bahçeli said in a written statement on Aug. 12.
Erdoğan's staunch ally MHP leader Bahçeli has become angered with opposition leaders' exchanging humorous posts on Twitter referencing Netflix after Erdoğan threatened to shut down “YouTube, Twitter and Netflix” last week. Bahçeli referred to the opposition as “abasement alliance” (“zillet ittifakı” in Turkish) -- a term used by Erdoğan in several occasions during the election periods.
Murat Yetkin writes: Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu says that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is under the tutelage of his election ally Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) because he cannot make any decisions without Bahçeli’s approval.
CHP Istanbul deputy Erdoğan Toprak said that MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli's remarks on the next elections bring election fraud to mind. Bahçeli on June 19 said that elections will be held as scheduled in 2023, while also using a Turkish proverb that roughly translates as fooling the devil.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has ruled out months-long rumors on early elections, saying that all the parties need to wait for the scheduled 2023. "Why would we hold early elections? The elections will be held in 2023, they will wait. Everyone should plan accordingly," Erdoğan said, adding that the law on political parties and elections need to be amended in line with the presidential system.
Convicted mafia boss Alaattin Çakıcı has visited MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli at the MHP headquarters in the capital Ankara. Çakıcı was released from jail in April as part of an amnesty law drafted by the ruling AKP and its ally MHP.
Former minister Yaşar Okuyan has accused MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli of being a MİT agent, as he cited MHP founder Alparslan Türkeş's letter on the issue as proof. "I have a handwritten letter from Türkeş. Those who are willing can check it and see that Türkeş wrote, 'Devlet Bahçeli is a MİT agent,'" Okuyan said in an interview.
Turkish opposition parties have said that they would be willing to hold early elections, as they commented on the months-long rumors on snap polls that intensified following MHP leader Bahçeli's "urgent" call to amend political parties law for the continuation of the presidential system, although the main motive is to complicate new parties' efforts of running in elections. They also expect elections to be held in 2021.
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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
Hate speech and threats against Armenians in Turkey have accelerated following the outbreak of clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan. HDP MP Garo Paylan, himself a Turkish-Armenian, has been targeted for his insistence on a ceasefire. "We can conclude that there will be no favorable results from this war--which has caused loss and destruction on both sides—and that the solution is on the peace table," Paylan said.
Turkey's top medical association has said that 143,000 coronavirus patients are currently treated at their homes, whereas 460,000 others have been placed under mandatory home quarantine. The Turkish Medical Association made the remarks based on the results of a survey conducted with family physicians across the country.
A report penned by CHP lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu has said that 29 journalists, writers and publishers have received jail terms during January-September period of this year, 20 of whom have been arrested. "The animosity against journalists that is on the rise during the AKP rule is due to the government's stance against freedom of press,” Tanrıkulu said.
A group of university students and alumni are requesting that the Credit and Dormitories Agency (KYK) annul all loans. Currently, some five million Turkish university students are in debt to the state-run KYK, and 300,000 face prosecution for not being able to pay back the debt.
The lira sank to a record low to near 8 versus the dollar after Turkey’s central bank ignored investors' calls to raise its main interest rate. The decision to leave the rate unchanged prompted economists to question the central bank’s commitment to lowering inflation and its independence from the government.
Putin said on Oct. 22 Russia and Turkey disagree about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, but emphasized strong ties between Moscow and Ankara. Erdoğan "might seem tough, but is a flexible politician and reliable partner for Russia," Putin said.
A 24-year-old woman was shot dead by her brother in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, news portal Jinnews reported on Oct. 21. Meanwhile, a local court discounted a femicide assailant's sentence on "good behavior," adding to the list of killers that Turkish courts are lenient toward.
Protesting miners from around Turkey were promised a solution within 10 days during an Oct. 21 meeting with Justice and Development Party (AKP) Group Deputy Chairwoman Özlem Zengin. Hundreds of miners started marching to the capital earlier this month, as survivors of the Soma Mining Disaster are yet to receive damages, and workers in Ermenek have 13 months of unpaid wages.
A newly passed legislation will allow ministries to veil their budget items as they submit their budget proposals to parliament. This means that they are no longer obliged to make it public how much is paid to private contractors for projects.
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.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has confirmed that Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems were tested last week, as he also dismissed NATO allies' concerns on the issue. Akar also said that the S-400 won’t be integrated into NATO’s command-and-control infrastructure, but rather "used as a standalone system similar to the use of Russian-made S-300 weapons that exist within NATO."
Turkey's Health Ministry will regulate the administration of flu shots through the online government portal as supplies will fall short of soaring demand. Patients will need to obtain prescriptions from their family practitioner, report to a pharmacy with their prescription. Pharmacies will be supplied shots only after receipt of a prescription.
The AKP and its ally MHP on Oct. 21 rejected the HDP's demand to investigate what really unfolded during the 2014 Kobane protests for the 10th time. The HDP's demand came after dozens of its members, including co-mayors of the eastern province of Kars, were arrested over the protests six years later earlier this month.
A bus assistant in Turkey sexually harassed a 17-year-old passenger on a trip with Metro Turizm vehicle, notorious for sexual assault incidents. The company told an Instagram user who shared footage of the assault that the worker was uninsured, and asked them to remove the video.
Ankara said on Oct. 21 it extended the stay of its Oruç Reis survey vessel and two other ships in a disputed area of the eastern Mediterranean until Oct. 27. Ankara had withdrawn Oruç Reis from last month to "allow for diplomacy" before a European Union summit at which Cyprus sought sanctions against Turkey, but sent it back this month, prompting an angry rebuke from Greece, France and Germany.
Turkey's Constitutional Court has determined that teacher and author Tahir Baykuşak's rights were violated by police who assaulted him during an ID check in Istanbul in 2016. The court said that a proper investigation was not carried out and that the mistreatment of police violated the 17th Article of the constitution.
Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Oct. 21 condemned Turkey for "violating international law" during one-day regional summit. Turkish Foreign Ministry rejected the "baseless" allegations a day later, saying that Ankara will continue to protect "our rights and the Turkish Cypriots' rights with determination."
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.
Turkish police on Oct. 22 detained 14 people in anti-ISIS operations in Istanbul. Police said that 13 of those apprehended are foreigners and their extradition processes began. Sources told state-run Anadolu Agency that some of the suspects were active in Syria.
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.