Turkish judiciary
A summary of proceedings was prepared against CHP Group Deputy Chair Özgür Özel for calling Erdoğan "a lame duck" in 2019, when in fact Erdoğan used the same for the CHP a day earlier. Özel said that the prosecutor who accuses him of insulting the president needs to launch an investigation into Erdoğan as well since he used the same phrase against the main opposition.
The pictures showing the grim death of Mustafa Kabakçıoğlu, a police officer sacked with an emergency decree in 2016, have sparked debate on the conditions in Turkish prisons amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Media reports said that the police officer, who had been in jail for four years, repeatedly asked for treatment for his deteriorating health, but his transfer to a hospital was denied.
Former CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu's lawyers have applied once again for a retrial days after a local court ignored a top court ruling unconstitutionally in his case, but the appeal was rejected once again. Berberoğlu's lawyer Yiğit Acar took the case to Istanbul 15th Heavy Penal Court days after the 14th one ignored the Constitutional Court ruling that paved the way for his client's retrial.
An indictment has been prepared with the charges of “insulting a public official” against lawyer Cahit Kırkazak, after he criticized police for sexually harassing a woman as they took her into custody during a protest in Ankara last year. "No individual or institution was targeted in my post. This reaction is a perverted masculine mentality,” Kırkazak said of the indictment.
Noam Chomsky has called for the immediate release of Osman Kavala. "The European Court of Human Rights has demanded that he be released. Now we should all strongly support that demand. Kavala should be released immediately and such criminal acts of state repression should never be tolerated," Chomsky said.
Ayşe Buğra, a renowned academic who is married to jailed businessman and activist Osman Kavala has said that she, her husband and his mother are dealing with torture. “As a citizen of this country, I am addressing not only the press and the public, but also the representatives of the nation in parliament. I think my situation and that of my husband's mother should concern the women representatives of all political parties,” Buğra said.
Turkey's media watchdog has given 72 hours to several broadcasting corporations, including Spotify and FOXplay to make license applications and said that it will apply for access ban if they don't do so. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Mubi previously launched the process to obtain licenses.
Turkey's Libertarian Democrat Lawyers Group (ÖDAV) have nominated the only female candidate for the position of Istanbul Bar Association's chair. Candidate Sezin Uçar said that the group are running in the race to represent underdogs against what she defines as a "chauvinistic" and "misogynistic" understanding that's been in control of bar association administrations for a long time.
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.
An investigation was launched into the chairman and 26 members of southeast Turkey's Urfa Bar Association over a peaceful protest they held against Turkey's new multiple bar association regulation. While the prosecutor's office claimed the demonstration violated the code of civil gatherings, the chairman said they didn't have any illegal slogans or signs present.
Turkish police have detained four journalists in the eastern province of Van for reporting the throwing of two Kurdish men from a military helicopter. Police raided the journalists' houses, as well as the Van office of the Mesopotamia News Agency, and seized all cameras and technical equipment.
The lawyer of Hacı Lokman Birlik, who was shot by soldiers and dragged until he died behind an armored vehicle in the southeastern province of Şırnak in 2015, has taken the case to the Constitutional Court. "Since no investigation was launched into the shooting of Birlik, the crime scene was not investigated, evidence was not collected, witness testimonies were not taken, the weapons used were not looked into and the testimonies of the security forces were not taken," Birlik's lawyer told Duvar.
Freedom of expression in Turkey is effectively nonexistent, although it's a constitutionally protected right, a report by the German Foreign Ministry said. Deutsche Welle reported that the document noted Ankara's mass prosecution policies, and the inconsistencies in the judiciary.
Turkey's Human Rights Association revealed that 20 inmates died in prison in Turkey during the first nine months of 2020. Data also showed that there are currently 1,605 sick prisoners in Turkey, 604 of which are seriously ill.
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.
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Ankara's conflict-oriented foreign policy has received the public's support for military operations, but public opinion often fails to translate into votes. While Ankara's "enemy" in military conflict is ever-changing, the northern Syria conflict was revealed to be the only intervention that expanded the government's voter base.
Selahattin Demirtaş writes: You have re-arrested us after six years. You say we are the instigators of the Kobane massacres when we were actually the victims. Do you think you will be able to make us responsible for this through conspiracies based on secret witnesses and be saved from responsibility? You must genuinely believe that the fascism you rely on today will always exist.
Politics
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's salary has been raised by 8.3 percent to a total of 88,000 Turkish Liras, as part of a budget proposal submitted by the ruling AKP government to parliament. Erdoğan's new salary will be effective as of January 2021. Earlier in October, Erdoğan had urged the believers of Islam to have “patience” in the face of financial problems.
Some 32 deputies in parliament failed to take the stand except to take an oath, daily BirGün reported on Oct. 21. A total of 27 of said deputies were members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), receiving more than 500,000 liras in annual salaries when combined.
The trial into the murder of prominent Kurdish human rights lawyer Tahir Elçi started on Oct. 21, amid further obstacles to securing an effective investigation into the killing. None of the three defendant police officers attended the hearing in person in the courtroom, but instead appeared via the video system. Elçi family's lawyers said that this is against the normal procedure and the case was being handled in a “negligent” and “impartial” way.
Turkish police have seized 879 animal and plant fossils worth $10 million from two houses owned by Islamic televangelist cult leader Adnan Oktar. Officials said the fossils would be delivered to a museum in Ankara.
The Istanbul 15th High Criminal Court has rejected exiled journalist Can Dündar's appeal against the seizure of his assets. The court has said that it has found the 14th High Criminal Court's Oct. 7-dated decision “in accordance with procedure and law.”
In a parliamentary question addressing Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, HDP lawmaker Ali Kenanoğlu has asked what kind of legal proceedings the ministry has run against the assailants of 36 publicly known hate crime incidents that were committed against Alevis in the last eight years. Kenanoğlu's inquiry came after unidentified assailants on Oct. 20 painted threatening messages on an Istanbul apartment building housing Alevis.
Turkey said it would not hesitate to send soldiers and provide military support for Azerbaijan if such a request were made by Baku. "There is already a military cooperation agreement between Turkey and Azerbaijan. If there is a need and Azerbaijan makes such a request, then Turkey would do it openly [provide military support]," Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Oct. 21.
Unidentified assailants have stabbed a 14-year-old Syrian child to death in Turkey's Central Anatolian province of Konya. Vail El-Mansur was on his way to the tailor shop he was working at when he was murdered brutally.
Turkish authorities seized 220 kilograms of cocaine on a ship that arrived at a port in the country's southern coast from Brazil. Police in the coastal province of Mersin found the cocaine hidden in a container carrying packages of paper.
Istanbul University's Cerrahpaşa Medical School has been observing twice as many patients, the dean said on Oct. 20. Turkey's official numbers receded to early May levels on the same day, observing some 2,026 diagnoses. "There's almost a doubling of the number of cases and patients seeking help in Cerrahpaşa. The winter might be rough for all of us," the dean said.
Turkey will send some 110,000 tons of grains and flour to countries in need, primarily Syria, a presidential decree in the Official Gazette said on Oct. 21. While the grains will be handed out by Ankara's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) and the Turkish Red Crescent, any wages related to the operation will be taken out of the Treasury's budget as well.
During a recession that has dealt a deep blow to agricultural producers across Turkey, potato farmers are struggling to get by while retailers purchase produce cheap and sell at high prices to consumers. "I don't like the AKP anymore,” said one 70-year-old farmer, who has grown potatoes in Niğde for 45 years.
A controversial social media legislation has enabled the Turkish government to swiftly block access to scores of news reports from critical newspapers and websites within the past month. "What we are facing is a heavy censorship mechanism,” cyber-rights expert Yaman Akdeniz told the daily Cumhuriyet.
The death of Serkan Tumay in a prison raised concerns on the prison conditions in Turkey once again. While Tumay's family says that he was tortured by prison guards repeatedly and died as a result in Kırıkkale F-Type Prison, opposition deputies Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu and Gülizar Biçer Karaca asked Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül to explain how he died.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has found Turkey guilty of violating the right to free speech of Prof. Baskın Oran and Prof. İbrahim Kaboğlu, who faced prosecution in 2005 for publishing a report on the country's minorities. The ECHR said that the legal proceedings against the two academics had “inevitably created pressure" on them leading to “self-censorship.”
The Coalition for Women in Journalism has launched a petition demanding that Turkey immediately drop charges against journalist Ayşegül Doğan, who prosecutors accuse of "being a member of an armed organization." "Today, Ayşegül Doğan has become the target of the government due to her journalism, which touches on social issues such as the struggle for peace, women's struggle and labor," read the petition.
Five years later after the killing of Kurdish lawyer Tahir Elçi, the case still remains unsolved, amid claims that the Turkish intelligence service's neglect played a role in the murder. Diyarbakır Bar Association and Tahir Elçi Human Rights Foundation have criticized the indictment in the murder case, saying that the inclusion of an alleged PKK member as a suspect in the case is inconsistent and is an attempt to divert the attention from the real perpetrators.
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.
Hatice Cengiz, the fiancée of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, on Oct. 20 filed a lawsuit against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a U.S. court, accusing the kingdom’s de facto ruler of ordering the journalist's killing.
Economy
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.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected that income per capita in Turkey would drop to 2005 levels, an annual average of $7,720. The IMF also predicted a five percent contraction in the Turkish economy until the end of 2020, despite Ankara's 0.3 percent growth projection.
Turkey's net international investment deficit grew by $20 billion from the end of 2019 to reach a total $365.8 billion at the end of August. Turkey's international assets shrunk by 10.2 percent to reach $227.4 billion in the same period.
President Erdoğan on Oct. 17 announced the discovery of an additional 85 billion cubic meters of natural gas in the Black Sea, following a similar find in August. As a result of testing, analysis and detailed engineering work, another 85 billion cubic meters were added to the reserves we had discovered. The total amount of natural gas reserves in the TUNA-1 well of the Sakarya Gas Field reached 405 billion cubic meters," Erdoğan said.
Data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) revealed a dip in real estate sales vis-a-vis last year in September, dropping by 6.9 percent for some 136,744 residences sold. Meanwhile, the total volume of sales between January and September was larger than the number in 2019.
Urban Beat
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.