Süleyman Soylu
Turkish authorities have launched an investigation into a man on charges of “being a member of a terrorist organization” after he tweeted Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu's remarks previously aired on the now-closed Gülen-linked Samanyolu TV channel. Moreover, the man's brother, serving as a police officer in the western province of İzmir, was relegated to a post in the eastern province of Ardahan.
A HDP lawmaker has submitted two separate parliamentary questions inquiring about the whereabouts of Bahtiyar Fırat who went missing on Oct. 14 amid concerns that he might have been abducted by state agents. MP Sait Dede asked Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulahmit Gül if they will issue a statement with regards to the fate of Fırat considering that 17,000 people have been so far victims of enforced disappearances while under detention in Turkey.
An Ankara appeals court has ruled that Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu's referring to renowned political expert Prof. Baskın Oran as a “servant” and “despicable” person fell within the scope of freedom of expression.
A Twitter post shared by top court member Engin Yıldırım stirred controversy, with the government condemning him for "giving a coup message." "The lights are on," tweeted Yıldırım on Oct. 13 with a picture of the court's building, prompting the Interior Ministry to respond by sharing its own building. The row came hours after a local court unconstitutionally ignored the top court's ruling on a former CHP deputy.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has slammed journalist Barış Terkoğlu over a column he penned regarding the minister's links to religious groups on Oct. 12. "I haven't received education from any faith group. I would've said if I did. Everyone knows that I read a lot in the past. Islam can't be learned in the filthy gatherings that you got your ideology," Soylu said. "I'm not a man breastfed by embassies," he added.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has denied reports that religious cults infiltrated into the state. Soylu's remarks came following debates on religious cults' infiltration into state institutions, mainly the Health Ministry. "They are lies. They are provocations," Soylu said, adding that no such infiltration is the case in any of the state institutions.
Interior Minister Soylu has bragged about mistreatment of drug dealers, as he said that drug dealers and the mafia should not be treated leniently. "The CPT report said that mistreatment exists towards drug dealers and this stems from me. Don't be tolerant towards drug dealers and the mafia. If there is a price to pay, I'm ready to do so. These two groups feed each other. Do what's necessary and put the blame on me," he said.
In a not-so-veiled message to Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, Constitutional Court President Zühtü Arslan has said that although the top court is open to criticism of its decisions, remarks which focus on judges and "go beyond criticism will not bring any benefit.” Arslan's comments came after he was targeted by Soylu over the top court's decision to permit inter-city demonstrations and marches.
One thing to watch in Turkish politics, other than Erdoğan’s maneuvers, are two ministers. While Berat Albayrak looks like the man of the palace with the backing of his father-in-law, Süleyman Soylu gives the image of being a man of the people.
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has targeted Constitutional Court President Zühtü Arslan over the top court's decision to cancel a provision in the Law on Demonstrations and Public Meetings (Law 2911) which did not allow inter-city demonstrations and marches.
Workers Party (TİP) deputy Barış Atay has urged OdaTV journalist Barış Terkoğlu to “take care of himself” after the latter was targeted by Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu. The minister referred to Terkoğlu as a “tramp” and claimed that the journalist "is the man of the other."
MP Barış Atay has said that Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu is the ruling AKP's "mob leader" as he is using his power as a means of oppression to "discard of Kurds, socialists, Alevis, leftists and everyone who thinks in a democratic way." Atay's comments came after he was attacked on Aug. 31 by a group of unidentified assailants following Soylu's comments targeting him.
Turkish Workers Party (TİP) deputy Barış Atay was attacked early on Aug. 31 by unidentified assailants following Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu's comments targeting him. Atay filed a criminal complaint at the prosecutor's office regarding the attack, saying in this testimony: "The perpetrator of this incident is Süleyman Soylu." Meanwhile, opposition politicians, slammed Soylu, with the hashtag #BarisAtayYalnızDeğildir (which translates as 'Barış Atay is not alone') going viral on Twitter.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has said that Turkish Workers Party (TİP) deputy Barış Atay would be "a perfect rapist" after the lawmaker criticized him over the fact that a specialized sergeant was not arrested over sexual assault even though the existence of plenty of evidence. He also addressed Atay as a "leftover" of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C).
Police have detained a woman for "insulting" Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu in the Bodrum district of the southern province of Muğla. Hülya B. was released on condition of judicial control on Aug. 26.
Editor's Pick
Soner Çağaptay and Raffaella A. Del Sarto write: The EU often praises itself as a promoter of democracy and regional stability by highlighting the power of its enlargement process to include new members in the “neighbourhood.” Yet in the case of Turkey, its ill-conceived policies may well have contributed to the opposite. A clumsy EU has repeatedly gotten its policy toward Turkey wrong, often inadvertently helping Erdoğan at key points during his rise while creating preventable tensions with Ankara.
Politics
The Turkish Lira further lost its value on Oct. 27, measuring more than 8.1 liras on the dollar as a result of more than 35 percent depreciation this year. The depreciation is a result of Ankara's increasingly strained relationship with the European Union, as well as the United States.
The German government has said that the Erdoğan regime has in recent years increased its support for Milli Görüş, an Islamist group monitored by German intelligence services due to alleged extremist leanings. In its response to a parliamentary question, the German government has also emphasized the links between Milli Görüş and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.
The ruling AKP has turned down the opposition's demand for budget discussions to be aired live on the official channel of parliament, called TBMM TV. The opposition deputies have said that these talks need to be conducted in a “transparent” manner as it concerns the people, with a CHP lawmaker saying that Turkey has not experienced such a “dark period” in its history before.
An employee of the United States’ Istanbul consulate was handed five years and two months in prison on charges of aiding the movement of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen. The court did not arrest Nazmi Mete Cantürk, meaning he will be free pending appeal.
HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar has said that the party condemns extremists' abuse of Islam to justify their violent actions, but also slams France's treatment of Islam in a row about cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad published by satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Many prisoners in Turkey, particularly political prisoners, are held in facilities hundreds or thousands of kilometers away from their families, making it very difficult for visitation. Requests by prisoners for transfer to a closer penal institution are now being rejected by the authorities on account of the coronavirus.
As coronavirus cases surge in Istanbul, Governor Ali Yerlikaya said that he can be a "scapegoat" if anyone's looking for someone to blame. The governor also said that he has been working closely with Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu. “My job is not politics, it is service. To that end, I am continually in contact with İmamoğlu. You should know that we are working very well [together]. There is no problem whatsoever,” he said.
President Erdoğan has filed a criminal complaint with Turkish authorities against prominent Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders saying that he had insulted him on social media. "Even though the crime was committed directly against the person in the presidential seat, the value that is being violated is the state's political government structure," Erdoğan's lawyers said.
Turkish police have apprehended seven ISIS militants who were preparing for attacks in the capital Ankara in the latest round of operations against the jihadist group. According to authorities, the militants were seeking to attack Oct. 29 Republic Day celebrations and Nov. 10 ceremonies that are held each year to commemorate Turkey's founding father Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has found main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu right in his case against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. While Turkish courts ruled that Kılıçdaroğlu "attacked Erdoğan's personal rights" in two separate speeches in 2012, the ECHR ruled that the country violated the main opposition leader's freedom of expression.
A coal thermal power plant in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir is predicted to make more than 11 million people ill over the course of 35 years, a health impact report for the project revealed. The Right to Clean Air Plaform reported that the pollutants from the Alpu Coal Thermal Power Plant will spread to 24 provinces and destroy local farming land.
A group of miners from the Central Anatolian district of Ermenek set off once again on their march to demand unpaid wages, only to be met with a gendarmerie blockade on Oct. 26. In a video showing the miners' exchange with officers, one of them is heard saying "We are angry. We are hungry, that's why we're yelling. You can't yell!"
One of downtown Istanbul's last remaining green spaces was rezoned to allow construction despite the protest of locals. Also designated as an emergency meeting point, the green space was permitted for the construction of a 10-story building.
Turkey's southernmost province of Hatay was rocked by an explosion on Oct. 26 and authorities said that two militants of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) were nabbed following the blast. Hatay Governor Rahmi Doğan said that the two militants were a part of a group of four who had flown from the Syrian town of Manbij to the Amanos Mountains in Hatay using paramotors.
A report prepared by a number of civil society organizations regarding trials in Turkey prosecuting conscientious objectors to mandatory military service in the country has influenced the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers to pressure Turkey on recognizing the right to conscientious objection.
President Erdoğan and the newly-elected Turkish Cypriot President Ersin Tatar on Oct. 26 voiced their support for a two-state solution on the divided island of Cyprus. "We believe a two-state solution must now be brought to the table with a realistic proposal," Erdoğan said. Erdoğan also said that he would visit Turkish Cyprus on Nov. 15 and expressed his desire to have a picnic at Varosha.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said that at least 78 Turkey-backed Syrian rebels were killed and dozens more were injured in Russian airstrikes on a military training camp in Idlib. Those targeted were in a camp belonging to Faylaq al-Sham, the monitor said, adding that it was the deadliest attack since the ceasefire came into force in March.
The second indictment against human rights defender and businessman Osman Kavala presents no new grounds to justify his detention and is politically motivated, said Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in a statement.
Economy
Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak has said that the economy is growing despite the tumbling Turkish Lira. The lira weakened to a record low on Oct. 26, hit by investor unease over the central bank's decision last week to keep its policy rate on hold and various sources of geopolitical concern. Strains in ties with the United States, a row with France, a dispute between Turkey and Greece over maritime rights and the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh have all unsettled investors.
Turkish monthly inflation was almost four times greater than the official rate in September, according to a new model developed by a group of academics and researchers. According to the independent Inflation Research Group (ENAG)'s first published finding, consumer prices in September rose 3.61 percent from the previous month, compared to the official Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK)'s calculation of 0.97 percent increase.
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.
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.
Urban Beat
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.
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.