PKK
PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan has said that no one should build their future plans over him during a phone call with his brother Mehmet Öcalan while commenting on a recent rift between the PKK and the KRG. "Kurds need to solve their problems via dialogue. Those who can manage this are the Barzani and Talabani families and our friends in Qandil," he said.
A bomb on April 28 detonated on an oil tanker in the northern Syrian town of Afrin, which is controlled by Turkish-backed opposition fighters. The attack caused the death of 40 civilians, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said.
Mayor Fatma Şahin has criticized likening CHP municipalities to "terrorist organizations," but backpedaled after learning that it was President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who did the comparison. "They are mayors elected with the votes of the people. Even if their methods are different, we can sit and talk, but I don't find such a comparison appropriate," Şahin said. Şahin then released a statement, saying that it's out of question for her to make statements that contradict the policies determined by Erdoğan.
Lawyers of jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan have called upon the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) to contact Turkey's Ministry of Justice to demand and ensure that the authorities take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus to the Imralı prison where Öcalan is imprisoned. The lawyers have also demanded that Turkish authorities allow them as well as family members to speak with Öcalan on the phone.
KRG President Barzani has said that the presence of the PKK in the region is "not legitimate.” Barzani made the comments on April 20 in response to the PKK's call for the withdrawal of the KRG-affiliated Peshmerga from Zini Warte, a region of Erbil.
Notorious mafia leader Alaattin Çakıcı, whose ties to the deep state and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) are known, was released from prison on April 16 as part of a bill that allows some 90,000 convicts and arrestees to be freed in a bid to ease overcrowding in jails in the face of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Journalists and political prisoners, however, won't be released since they were excluded from the bill.
Currently a staunch supporter of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and a hawkish politician on the Kurdish issue, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu's political life has seen dramatic changes. Before joining the AKP, Soylu was known for his harsh criticisms against the party and Erdoğan. "People have forgotten how to smile as a result of the AKP government's wrong economic policies. They made Turkey face crisis with their inabilities and incompetence. They are covered in corruption," he said before joining the AKP.
The remains of a PKK militant have been delivered to the family three years after his death. The family received their son's body in a PTT cargo package.
A deputy in parliament said that jailed pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker İdris Baluken can die in prison, Özgür Özel, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Group Deputy Chair said during a debate on a prisoner release bill. Now, when we ask whether he should die in prison, the answer is 'They can.' Someone said 'He can die' at the back," Özel also said, while refraining from naming the lawmaker.
The COVID-19 isolation triggers post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety for children living in the Sur district of Diyarbakır since it reminds them of the months-long curfews imposed in 2015. “The first thing kids ask us on the phone is ‘What’s wrong outside?’ They’re worried that they’re not being told the whole truth,” Ezra Elbistan, the chair of the Colorful Hopes Association, told Duvar.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has ordered a commander to rip PKK militants said to be involved in an attack in Diyarbakır's Kulp apart. "I called the regional commander and ordered, 'Rip them apart when you find them,'" a pro-government columnist cited Soylu as saying on April 9. The minister noted that the pictures of the "neutralized" militants will be shared.
Diyarbakır Governor's Office said on April 8 that five civilians were killed in a PKK attack in the province's Kulp district. Security forces launched an operation to apprehend those involved in the attack, it also said.
Ayhan Sefer Üstün from the newly-founded Future Party likened the coronavirus process in Turkey to the aftermath of the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt in terms of the government's authoritarian tendencies. "The society is being tried to enter a new authoritarian environment via making coronavirus an excuse," Üstün, a former deputy of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), told Duvar on April 7.
Iran said on March 31 its natural gas exports to Turkey have stopped after an attack on a pipeline inside the neighbouring country, Mehdi Jamshidi-Dana, director of National Iranian Gas Co., told Iran's state news agency IRNA. "The pipeline has exploded several times in the past. It is also likely that the PKK group has carried out the blast," he said.
An ousted HDP mayor is facing terrorism charges over her support for a women's agricultural cooperative that was planting green beans in Mardin's villages. The prosecutors said that activities of Saray Women's Cooperative are to be considered within the framework of the KCK, which the government says is the urban wing of the PKK.
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Duvar English’s editor-in-chief Cansu Çamlıbel and pollster Can Selçuki discuss the underlying factors behind the recent moves of Turkey's ruling alliance which paves the way for further polarization in politics as the country enters the final months of 2020. They also analyze the effects of the sharp decline of the Turkish Lira against foreign currencies over public's perception.
Dinçer Demirkent writes: Interior Minister Soylu said that the head of the Constitutional Court would be unable to commute to work without his protection team. What he meant was that he was the Minister who assigned the security team to the judge, implying he might just remove them. By doing so, Süleyman Soylu openly violates the article 138 of the Turkish Constitution; basic principle for the independence of the judiciary.
Politics
The publisher and editor-in-chief of a local daily were arrested on slander charges in the western province of Koceali two days after running a story about a “rape gang” in the district. While the story accused local officials of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of assaulting a minor, the prosecutor’s office ruled the suspects mentioned “were not involved” in the incident.
The total number of COVID-19 deaths in Turkey surpassed 8,000 as 65 patients died on Sept. 28, Health Ministry data revealed. Meanwhile, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca noted that the number of recovered patients was higher than the number of new diagnoses for the first time in a while.
The Kars governor's office announced on Sept. 28 that it banned all “demonstrations and activities” for a period of 15 days until Oct. 12. The ban came into effect just hours before HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan's planned rally in the province, in support of Kars mayor Ayhan Bilgen who was among those taken into custody in simultaneous police raids last week.
A group led by forensic science expert and human rights defender Prof. Şebnem Korur Fincancı won the elections for the leadership of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB). Fincancı is now expected to be elected the leader of the association in the upcoming meeting.
A women's prison in southeast Turkey banned a book that was co-authored by the chairman of Turkey's Constitutional Court (AYM). The book that was found "suspicious" by the prison is about freedom of expression.
The New York Times reported on Sept. 28 that Trump Towers Istanbul has netted U.S. President Donald Trump $1 million in 2016 and 2017. Trump has long had business ties in and with Turkey, the most visible example being the Trump Towers Istanbul, which licenses the Trump name.
Turkish prosecutors have launched an investigation into Tele1 TV editor-in-chief Merdan Yanardağ over his reports that Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor Yüksel Kocaman paid a visit to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan following his wedding ceremony. The court ruled for Yanardağ's release, but imposed judicial control measures involving regularly reporting at his local police station as well as overseas travel ban.
Halk TV, a broadcaster that's critical of the government, blacked out on Sept. 28 following a ruling from Turkey's Radio and Television High Council (RTÜK). The five-day blackout is a first in the council's history, as such harsh sanctions haven't been issued before.
The Turkish presidency has prepared a video and an anthem on the occasion of the anniversary of the Naval Battle of Preveza which took place near the port of Prevaza in northwestern Greece in 1538. The video is a historic recreation of the battle but also includes various shots of Turkish naval officers.
A one-year-old toddler has been tortured to death in Istanbul, daily Birgün reported on Sept. 28. The toddler named “Hayat” (which translates as “Life” in Turkish) was reported to have bruises and burn scars on the body. The police reportedly detained the father whereas the mother is currently missing.
A fake "scientific publication" robbed some 50 people, mostly academics, of a total one million liras in southeast Turkey. The fraud allegedly offered users publication, and created an online space by copying legitimate websites.
Deputies and officials of pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) protested the detention of dozens of members last week, on charges related to the October 2014 Kobane protests. The HDP members are accused of inciting violence in the events that lead to the deaths of 37 people, as members of Turkish Hizbullah also took to the streets.
Turkey's first coronavirus vaccine was administered on Sept. 28 in Istanbul University. A 53-year-old health worker volunteered to receive the shot, and said that he hoped it would eliminate the pandemic soon.
Daily BirGün released video showing the crime scene of Nadira Kadirova's alleged suicide, revealing signs of a struggle in the suspicious death of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Şirin Ünal's help. Meanwhile, the daily released a video of Kadirova's mother at her grave, accusing the deputy of killing the young woman.
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 police have denied that three HDP politicians, including Mayor Ayhan Bilgen, were hospitalized over food poisoning while under detention. According to the police statement that was released after the HDP's claims on the issue, Bilgen was taken to a hospital over an infection in his body. Deputy Hüseyin Kaçmaz earlier on Sept. 28 said that Bilgen, İsmail Şengün and Can Memiş were taken to a hospital over food poisoning.
Turkish prosecutors have prepared a second indictment in connection with the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul. The indictment against the six suspects, including two consulate workers and four other Saudi nationals, was sent to the court to be combined with the main case.
Turkey's Industry and Technology Ministry falsely advertised opening a factory in a mass opening event, only to be refuted by the facility's board who said they'd been in business for 45 years. It was later claimed that the name was erroneously added, and that some of the factories had merely been invested in, and not built from scratch.
Police in the southeastern province of Şırnak are refusing to release the numbers of arrests for selling and using drugs amid a surge in illegal substances in recent years. "It has been determined that such information cannot be accessed on an individual basis," police responded to an inquiry by Duvar.
Economy
Turkey's banking regulator on Sept. 28 lowered the asset ratio calculation for deposit banks to 90 percent from 95 percent and for participation banks to 70 percent from 75 percent, in a bid to boost the lira. This came at a time when the country is making efforts to lasso inflation and support price stability, trying to calm down the markets.
Turkey's Central Bank unexpectedly hiked interest rates on Sept. 24, triggering an improvement in the lira's value against the dollar. The Turkish Lira has sunk to record lows over the past month as Ankara's currency interventions proved futile.
Turkey's state-owned Halkbank has urged a judge to dismiss a U.S. indictment accusing the bank of helping Iran evade American sanctions. At a hearing in Manhattan federal court on Sept. 18, a lawyer for Halkbank said its status as a Turkish “instrumentality” shielded it from prosecution because of sovereign immunity.
U.S. tech giant Amazon offered up its speed-delivery subscription to Turkish consumers on Sept. 15. The monthly subscription fee was set for 7.99 Turkish Liras, about one dollar with the current exchange rates.
Urban Beat
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.
Istanbulites will select the new face of Taksim Square from among three projects as part of the Istanbul Municipality's plans to renovate the area. Şerif Süveydan, Bünyamin Derman and Kutlu İnanç Bal were the winners in the contest that was held by Istanbul Planning Agency and Istanbul Municipality's Department of Cultural Assets.
The Odunpazarı Modern Museum in western Eskişehir won the award for "international project of the year over £1m" at the London Museums+Heritage Awards. The museum opened its doors just over a year ago in the city's ancient Odunpazarı neighborhood.
The 48th Istanbul Music Festival will be held online, streaming pre-recorded performances in historical venues. Starting on Sept. 18, the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) will make available the performances that honor composer Ludwig van Beethoven.