President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Over 36,000 people were probed in one year over "insulting" President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Justice Ministry statistics showed. Out of the 36,066 people probed, 12,298 were tried and 3,381 were given sentences. Before Erdoğan's term, the highest number of people being sentenced over "insulting" a president was 44.
A founding member of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and former Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç tested positive for COVID-19, a week after he was in a meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The two met on Sept. 2 for the Presidential High Advisory Board.
Ayşegül Karakülhancı writes from Cologne: Germany is doing its best to protect Turkey. However, as the pressure grows within the EU its strength is fading. If Turkey plays its last card as it did in March and halts its cooperation with the EU with regards to the refugees, Merkel will irrevocably lose her bargaining power.
During this almost "non-visit" presidency protocol allowed only the Turkish flag to be in display. Almost no media coverage, no official statement. It feels like it’s back to 1990’s. An internally divided IKR and transactional personal relations with IKR leaders based on the fight against PKK.
Erdoğan is now threading the road the Arab regimes did during the 1960s and 1970s. His superior services to the Israeli and U.S. interests provide an immunity to the special agenda “print out” centered on Palestine.
Failing political regimes are like marriages on the rocks – when it gets too dreary, they remember the past or promise the moon in some unspecified future date. But take away the AKP’s tales of glory and people face a sober autumn with COVID-19 and forex spinning out of control.
Turkey has introduced a new dress code to visit Istanbul's Hagia Sophia, which was converted into a mosque last month. Following the code's introduction, authorities started to distribute overalls and headscarves in front of the sixth-century site.
US special envoy for Syria James Jeffrey arrived in Turkey on Aug. 26 with an accompanying delegation to discuss the latest efforts to resolve the Syrian conflict. "We have exciting developments on the Syrian account," Jeffrey told reporters at the airport. "The military phase of this conflict needs to end. There is no more ground to be gained by the regime. The regime needs to return to the negotiating table and deal with the rest of the international community. That's our priority," he said.
U.S. President Donald Trump, in a phone call on Aug. 26 with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, expressed concern about tensions between Greece and Turkey and urged the two NATO allies to commit to a dialogue about their dispute over the eastern Mediterranean. The U.S. president also spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, discussing “regional developments and tensions in the region."
Greece wants to extend its western territorial waters, Erdoğan says Turkey won’t compromise its rights at sea
Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis said on Aug. 26 that the country plans to extend the western limit of its territorial waters in the Ionian Sea to 12 miles, while President Erdoğan called on Ankara's counterparts to avoid mistakes that he said would bring their destruction. "If there is anyone who wants to pay its price, they are welcome to confront us. If not then they should go away so we can handle our own business," Erdoğan said.
Turkish court releases rapist specialized sergeant Musa Orhan one week after arrest despite public outrage
A Turkish court on Aug. 26 released a specialized sergeant one week after he was arrested over raping an 18-year-old woman in the southeastern province of Batman. His release came after his lawyer Mehmet Erkan Akkuş objected to the arrest ruling on the grounds that his client is not a flight risk. Social media users once again are calling for his arrest.
The United States has criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for hosting Hamas leaders in Istanbul, saying that it "strongly objects to" the move. "We continue to raise our concerns about the Turkish government's relationship with Hamas at the highest levels," read a statement by State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus. Turkish Foreign Ministry said Ankara "fully rejects" the U.S. criticism and called on Washington to use its influence for a "balanced policy."
Germany urged Greece and Turkey on Aug. 25 to solve their dispute over energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean Sea through dialogue, warning of the risk of a military confrontation. "The current situation in the eastern Mediterranean is equivalent to playing with fire," Heiko Maas said after meeting his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias in Athens. "Every little spark can lead to catastrophe."
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has voiced his disappointment over former U.S. Vice President and current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's remarks on backing Turkish opposition. "We were talking and we drank tea together in the past. How can you make those comments?" Erdoğan said on Aug. 24.
Murat Yetkin writes: While watching President Tayyip Erdoğan announcing at a ceremony the natural gas discovery in the Black Sea, I also had the impression that we are witnessing the ceremony for the announcement of a successor to him. With a phone call from a source from the business world, I realized that I was not the only one who thought the president might have pointed to Albayrak as his successor.