Süleyman Soylu
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on July 31 visited a military base in Siirt and wished the soldiers a happy Eid al-Adha. While addressing them, Soylu said that Turkey will "very soon" turn into a "center of attraction of the world."
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has visited Istanbul's Hagia Sophia ahead of its opening as a mosque on July 24. Erdoğan was accompanied by Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) head Ali Erbaş.
Bar association heads have filed a criminal complaint against Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Ankara Governor Vasip Şahin for authorizing the police to halt their Defense March through a violent intervention. The criminal petition said that police officers at the scene of the incident "deprived the bar heads of their liberty” and “imposed torture and ill-treatment on them."
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has once again targeted a journalist over a report revealing nepotism in the municipality in the Black Sea province of Trabzon that's run by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Soylu, who on May 18 targeted journalist Müyesser Yıldız - who was arrested a short while later - on Twitter, praised the couple in the story, while slamming journalist Saygı Öztürk.
There may have been changes in the relations between the underworld and politics in Turkey but nevertheless the relations between criminal chiefs and the politicians and bureaucrats can still overwhelm the political agenda. As politics is criminalized, mafia is further politicized.
Turkish police on June 8 detained two journalists, TELE 1 Ankara correspondent İsmail Dükel and Oda TV Ankara News Editor Müyesser Yıldız, over unknown reasons. According to Oda TV, Yıldız was detained as part of an ongoing military espionage case launched by Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office. It also said that searches were carried out at her house and all of her digital materials were seized.
Felicity Party leader Temel Karamollaoğlu has accused the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of planning to rig the next elections. "I'm saying that they will rig the elections. Understand it as you please. They'll intervene in the number of votes, because they did so in the past. They killed people near ballot boxes," he said, referring to the killing of two Felicity Party members during March 31, 2019 local elections.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, from the main opposition CHP, has filed a lawsuit against Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu for authorizing an inspector to investigate him concerning his term as the city's Beylikdüzü district mayor. İmamoğlu said the 27 probes against him were based on forged documents, accusing Soylu and the inspector assigned to the investigations of abusing their power of authority.
Opposition deputies from the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) put forward parliamentary questions denouncing the Turkish government’s efforts at demographic engineering to make Kurds a minority in towns where they are the majority. The parliamentary questions also claimed that destroying the demographics of an area constituted a crime against humanity.
The resignation story of Interior Minister Süleyman Soyl, confirms that a political and managerial mistake occurred, and that responsibility arose from this error. This responsibility for the mistake is something that won’t be able to be written off by accusing “fools” or “ignorant” group.
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Health Minister Fahrettin Koca had a serious argument over the former's short-notice coronavirus curfew announcement, pro-government daily Hürriyet columnist Hande Fırat said on April 14. The ministers reportedly talked on the phone on April 11, a day after Soylu announced that a curfew will be imposed in 31 provinces on the weekend.
The abortive resignation of Interior Minister Soylu aims to absolve the ruling AKP of any blame for the implementation of a chaotic weekend curfew, the HDP said in a statement on April 13. "Soylu is trying to absolve the president’s name; and the president is trying to clear Soylu’s name. This incident has turned into a method that attempts to absolve each other of the responsibility,” the HDP said.
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.
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.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has slammed municipalities run by the main opposition CHP for launching donation campaigns to collect money to be used in the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic., saying "There is no point in being a state within the state." Eleven CHP metropolitan municipalities, meanwhile, released a statement on April 1, saying that it's legal for the municipalities to accept donations.
Editor's Pick
duvar englis podcasts
Duvar English’s editor-in-chief Cansu Çamlıbel and pollster Can Selçuki are joined by Robert Bosch Academy's Galip Dalay to discuss the impact of Turkish government's recent domestic policy moves on Ankara's international relations. They look for answers to whether there is any possibility that Turkey's relations with the West might change for the better any time soon.
Taner Akçam writes: The regime’s bold stroke vis-a-vis Hagia Sophia should not be seen as stemming from desperation. Rather, it is simply meant to relay the not-so-subtle message of the path to be followed by the "New Republic", and that message is that the “annihilationist tradition” of the old regime, inherited by the Republic’s founders, will be retained in the era to come.
Politics
Some 40 percent of youth aged between 25-29 are financially dependent on their parents, said a deputy of main opposition CHP. "Some 40 percent of our 6.1 million young people in the age group of 25-29, i.e. 2.5 million, are neither in unemployment nor in education. Due to the ruling government's policies, our youth in this age group are unfortunately living in a way that is depending on their parents,” Veli Ağbaba said.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is planning to make changes in the electoral system when parliament reopens in October. Various commissions were formed to work on the changes on the Law on Political Parties, Elections Law and Parliament Bylaws, sources told Duvar, adding that the first draft bills of the next legislative year will concern them.
The U.S.' health protection agency CDC has designated Turkey as a risky place for COVID-19, urging Americans to avoid all nonessential travel to the country. "COVID-19 risk in Turkey is high. If you get sick in Turkey and need medical care, resources may be limited," the CDC said.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has named the party's new top brass, the Central Executive Board (MYK), after its 37th ordinary congress. The number of individuals in the CHP MYK was decreased to 16 from 18. Tuncay Özkan and Ünal Çeviköz were left out, while Böke, Ali Öztunç, Yüksel Taşkın and Ahmet Akın were handed posts.
The Ankara branch of Turkish Health Workers' Union (SES) has said that there are currently approximately 50,000 coronavirus patients in the capital, 3,500 of whom are receiving treatment at hospitals. The SES based this figure on the number of patients each family physician in the capital is monitoring for suspected coronavirus infection.
All passengers travelling from Turkey to Germany are required to take COVID-19 tests and those who do not submit a negative PCR test result will not be allowed to leave the country. However many questions are still unanswered regarding this new implementation as travelers still do not know where they will be placed under quarantine, who will cover the cost of their accommodation should they stay at a hotel and how their treatment will be actualized in Turkey.
Turkish archaeologist Dr. Vuslat Müller Karpe was buried in the ancient city of Samuha where she has led excavation work for the past 15 years. The 3,800-years-old settlement was a political hub in the Hittite civilization.
Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) data revealed that seasonally adjusted unemployment in May rose by 0.2 percent from May 2019. Some 4,166,000 people reported unemployment in May.
Ancient Roman toilets and baths will be displayed in southwestern Denizli's Tripolis settlement by summer of 2021. The excavation head noted that the toilets and baths were connected through waterways and sewage, adding the importance of toilets for Roman urban architecture.
The Akbük village in the Aegean province of Muğla was transferred to the Muğla Tourism Environment Foundation (MUÇEV), a company close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Though MUÇEV has the word “foundation” in its name, it is actually registered as a company under the legal name MUÇEV Tourism Commerce LLC.
Turkey's Saturday Mothers has called on the state to enlighten the case of Ferhat Tepe, a reporter for now defunct pro-Kurdish Özgur Gündem newspaper who was found dead after disappearing on July 28, 1993. The group said in its weekly demonstration on Aug. 8 that as a result of Turkish state's denialist attitude in the face of enforced disappearances, members of security forces who are responsible for serious human rights violations are not held accountable for their actions.
Economist and former Treasury advisor Mahfi Eğilmez has said that the Turkish economy is no longer predictable. "In an unpredictable economy, due to the fact the risks increase, this means that expenses will also increase,” Eğilmez wrote in a column on Aug. 5.
Şaban Vatan, the father of Rabia Naz who was found dead in a suspicious way two years ago, has been stopped by the police for wearing a t-shirt that read “Where are you justice?” and “What happened to Rabia Naz?” “So it turns out, a person's being in Taksim with a t-shirt that has Rabia Naz's picture on, is a crime," Vatan wrote on Twitter.
A prominent health expert has said that about 3,000 people are believed to have been infected with the COVID-19 virus during the prayers held at Istanbul's Hagia Sophia on July 24. "There were about 1,000 asymptotic patients there, based on forecasts. If we think of the transmission rate, those patients have infected 2,000-3,000 others. I believe that gathering will increase the cases in Istanbul,” Assoc. Pro. Dr. Üner said on Aug. 8.
Richard Moore, who served as British ambassador to Turkey from January 2014 to December 2017, has been named as the next chief of MI6. A fluent Turkish speaker, he studied at Oxford and first joined MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service, in 1987.
Turkey's parliament speaker Mustafa Şentop, from the ruling AKP, has said that there is no need for Turkey to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, an international accord designed to protect women. Şentop's comments came as the AKP is considering whether to pull Turkey out of the convention, alarming campaigners who see the pact as key to combating rising domestic violence.
Turkey's Arab Alawite community has celebrated the Gadir Hum holiday amid concerns of rising cases of coronavirus in Turkey. Mehmet Ali Dönmez, who organized Gadir Hum festivities in the Samandağ district of Hatay, which is prominently Arab Alawite, said that the celebration of the festival is in defiance of cultural assimilation.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has voiced support to Finance Minister Berat Albayrak amid the country's worsening economy. Several AKP officials, including Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, defended Albayrak on Twitter via using the hashtag "We stand with Berat Albayrak."
Amnesty International has called on the Turkish government to "fully implement" the Istanbul Convention rather withdraw from it. The prominent organization said that Turkey's withdrawal from the convention would have "disastrous consequences" for millions of women and girls in the country.
Rights organizations will take the case of Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal -- who have been on a hunger strike since April 5 to support their demand for a fair trial -- to the Constitutional Court. The move comes after an Istanbul court in July denied the release of Timtik and Ünsal, despite a medical report that says it is not “suitable” for the two lawyers to remain in jail.
Economy
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on July 15 that companies involved in construction of the TurkStream pipeline will be subject to the U.S. penalties unless they stop their works. “It’s a clear warning to companies. Aiding and abetting Russia’s malign influence projects will not be tolerated. Get out now or risk the consequences,” he said.
The Turkish Petroleum Refineries Corporation (TÜPRAŞ) ranked as Turkey's largest industrial business with 87.9 billion liras in annual production revenue. The oil company was followed mostly by automotive producers.
On the second anniversary of Turkey's transformation into a presidential system, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has prepared a report detailing how the country stands in the ensuing years, finding that the Turkish lira has lost four times its value since 2007.
Urban Beat
Mois Gabay writes: Do you think the Camondo family will be included in the Beyoğlu Culture Road project conducted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism? What about Arif Ergin’s “Tekvin” novel, in which he imagined that there would be a “Camondo Museum” one day?
Artifacts from Istanbul's ancient Hagia Sophia will be displayed in a nearby public building that will be transformed into a museum. Formerly used as a land office, the late-19th-century building in historical Sultanahmet will be converted on the president's orders.
Luke Frostick writes: Edanur Kuntman’s Tales from Behind the Window has been nominated for an Eisner Award. If she wins, she will be the first Turk to win an Eisner. The story is a piece of creative-nonfiction and its main narrative is drawn from the memories of Kuntman’s grandmother growing up in the Çarşamba district of Samsun.