Istanbul Municipality reveals pro-gov’t trolls’ setup to smear opposition with public transportation
Istanbul Municipality has shared “digital data” on the public transportation buses claimed to be overcrowded by pro-government trolls despite calls for social distancing amid the coronavirus (COVID-19), saying that they were used by the people who had never used them before when the pictures were taken. According to the municipality, majority of those seen in the pictures don't take the buses in question in their daily lives.
CHP Ankara deputy Tekin Bingöl has accused the AKP of wasting 495 billion Turkish Liras collected from several resources. “This money belongs to the public,” Bingöl told daily Sözcü on April 2. According to the deputy, some 28 billion liras collected in the Unemployment Fund was not given to those unemployed, but was transferred elsewhere instead.
The Turkish government is going ahead with the controversial Kanal Istanbul project, despite widespread opposition and the current crisis stemming from the coronavirus outbreak. On March 26, it held a tender for the reconstruction of two bridges on the route of the project.
Ankara's removal of eight mayors from the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) is an example of the government using the coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity, HDP Co-Chair Mithat Sancar said in a press conference March 23. He also criticized the government's economic stimulus package for failing to fulfill the needs of healthcare workers.
On days such as the International Women’s Day on March 8, heavy attacks are inflicted on women in their numerous acts and activities. But despite all these sieges and attacks, the women’s movement in Turkey continues to constitute the biggest barrier in front of hegemony of both the main opposition and the government in the country.
The Turkish Parliament has received 55 new summaries of proceedings against 28 opposition lawmakers from the CHP, HDP and DBP. If the Parliament votes to strip the deputies of their immunity from prosecution, they will be tried by Turkish courts.
In their "Freedom in the World 2020" report, the US government-funded organization Freedom House said Turkey has been the second country to limit freedoms and human rights the most in the past decade. The country's human rights score on the Freedom House scale was cut in half over the past decade when the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has governed uninterruptedly. For 2019, the re-run of the Istanbul mayoral elections and the unwavering pressure on the opposition were deemed the biggest blows to freedoms.
It’s hard to voice opposition to war when the coffins of slain soldiers are being sent back from Syria and when the nationalist mood is in full swing. However HDP deputy and former journalist Ahmet Şık, who has been jailed twice and is still tried on the Cumhuriyet case, says that they have the responsibility to question why so many young people are dying for.
As of January 2020, Vice President Fuat Oktay has declined to deliver parliamentary questions to the ministries, telling deputies to do it themselves. Following Turkey's transformation into an executive presidential system submitting a parliamentary question has been the only means that deputies have of inspecting and receiving information from the government.
Canan Kaftancıoğlu has been re-elected as the Istanbul provincial chair of the main opposition CHP. Kaftancıoğlu was the only person who put forward her candidacy for the position, which was criticized by some party delegates, who found the process as “undemocratic.”
Turkey's opposition parties have criticized a proposed bill that seeks alternative funding for the country's megaprojects, asserting that the legislation is an attempt by a cash-strapped government to get the public to pay for its ambitious projects. The bill would enable citizens and companies to purchase securities in order to finance long-term infrastructure projects such as the controversial Kanal Istanbul megaproject.