Turkish opposition
The HDP on Oct. 1 staged a sit-in in front of parliament to criticize the government's crackdown on their party. Earlier HDP co-chairs Pervin Buldan and Mithat Sancar made a press statement in parliament's garden, saying that the government's aim is politics and Turkey without the HDP. A number of CHP deputies visited the sit-in protest to show solidarity.
The Turkish parliament has failed to debate in its general session any draft bills prepared by any party other than the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the past two legislative sessions, daily Cumhuriyet reported. The AKP presented some 249 draft bills, 100 of which were reported on by the relevant commissions, while one of the CHP's 2,148 draft bills were investigated by commissions.
Opposition politicians have continued to respond to former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş's remarks on unity among the opposition, with Future Party leader Ahmet Davutoğlu leaving the door open for dialogue. "In principle, I find it appropriate to talk to anyone who believes in democracy and who distanced themselves from terror for the future of this country," Davutoğlu told daily Sözcü on Sept. 15.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has reportedly been working on an online voting system as a precaution against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. According to Hürriyet, the AKP seeks to add an article that allows all parties to hold online congresses ahead of elections.
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.
Former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has suggested returning to an enhanced parliamentary system, as he gave the details of it under nine articles. "It's time for the state of the Turkish Republic to become a state of the people and not a state of individuals, groups or parties," he said, adding that numerous amendments need be made in the constitution, parliament bylaws and regulations to switch to this system.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), along with its ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), is reportedly planning to decrease the speech durations of lawmakers in parliament. Speaking to Birgün, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Group Deputy Chair Özgür Özel said that the government wants to turn parliament into a "legislation machine."
AKP Group Deputy Chair Özlem Zengin has said that "women had no name" before the AKP came to power, prompting surprise among the opposition. "Women had no name in this country until the AKP came to power. Women built the AKP and that's why we, as the women and men in the party and our President, try to make life easier for women with the works that we carry out," Zengin said in parliament.
Turkey's right-wing political party leaders Ali Babacan, Meral Akşener and Ahmet Davutoğlu have commemorated communist poet Nazım Hikmet on the 57th anniversary of his death. Hikmet is usually commemorated by leftists in Turkey and the commemoration tweets of right-wing leaders prompted surprise.
Ten new political parties were founded in Turkey in the past five months, increasing the total number to 91. Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), which was founded by former deputy prime minister Ali Babacan, is among the said parties. Former prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu founded his Future Party earlier than the said time period, in late 2019.
AKP officials believe that DEVA leader Ali Babacan aims to make former president Abdullah Gül a presidential candidate. An AKP official also claimed that the new parties will form a right-wing alliance with İYİ (Good) Party and the Felicity Party to ensure that there's a second round, which would be the third alliance in the Turkish political scene.
Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) held an online meeting with main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), recently-founded offshoots of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Islamist Felicity Party (Saadet). Meeting in the context of Eid al-Fitr greetings, the deputies noted that the Turkish opposition must unite to establish a political environment with less polarization and more freedoms.
The CHP is set to apply to the Constitutional Court to annul the "unconstitutional" articles of a recent prisoner release law. In its application, the CHP said that the bill created discrimination between the convicts and inmates, as well between the convicts themselves, adding that it's against a number of articles in the constitution, mainly on equality.
The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) has warned against resuming medical tourism, saying that the move would result in a health disaster amid the ongoing pandemic. "We still don't know the consequences of reopening shopping malls and think that bringing patients from abroad on such an early date like May 20 into the hospitals here will be harmful to the health of society,” TTB chairman Sinan Adıyaman told Duvar.
Turkey's media watchdog RTÜK head Ebubekir Şahin has refused to fine the pro-government Ülke TV channel over Islamist commentator Sevda Noyan's remarks on her family's “capability” to kill at least 50 people if a new coup attempt is undertaken in Turkey. "If a penalty will be given, it should not be one that makes coup lovers and praisers happy," Şahin said. "We're not in a position to sentence the statements made against those who praise a coup," he added.
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Duvar English’s editor-in-chief Cansu Çamlıbel and pollster Can Selçuki discuss whether the recent crackdown on the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) portends a possible closure case against the party. They attempt to analyze who in the Turkish political landscape would benefit from antagonizing Kurdish voters; President Erdoğan or his alliance partner Mr. Bahçeli or both?
Politics
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.
A committee of main opposition CHP politicians said that the construction of a visitors' center on southeast Turkey's iconic Mount Nemrut was a betrayal to nature. The CHP committee noted that the site was pending assignment as a UNESCO geopark and that the construction was putting it in jeopardy.
The NATO has criticized a possible test by Turkey of its Russian-made S-400 missile launcher and stepped up calls on Ankara to opt for a different defense system. “Any test of the S-400 air defense system by Turkey, if confirmed, would be regrettable. It is important Turkey continues to work with other allies to find alternative solutions," it said in a statement.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu sent congratulatory messages to HDP co-chairs Mithat Sancar and Pervin Buldan on the party's eighth foundation anniversary. "I underline once again that we will never give up on building peace and fraternity," İmamoğlu said.
Five health workers have died of COVID-19 in just one day, the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) said on Oct. 18, as it criticized the government for not being able to manage the pandemic properly. The names of the health workers were revealed as Dr. Salih Kanlı, Dr. Turan Yıldırım, Ferhat Gencer, Harun Dönmez and Yasemin Çolak. The number of health workers who died of COVID-19 in the past eight days rose to 13.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has cancelled his planned visit to Turkey after Ankara said it was restarting operations of a survey ship that it withdrew last month. Maas said that Ankara's renewed push "severely damaged" the atmosphere of trust and said that Turkey can't have any interest in the long-term continuation of the conflicts that it's involved in.
Denizli Governor Ali Fuat Atik has prompted fury for ordering a restaurant to be closed because a waiter working there didn't recognize him. Following criticism on social media, Atik apologized, saying that he was saddened by his approach to the man. Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu also commented on the incident, saying that he found it appropriate for the governor to apologize.
Some 2,500 academics worldwide, including famed international scholars Judith Butler, Noam Chomsky, Silvia Federici, Etienne Balibar and Enzo Traverso, have signed a petition for Turkey to release Cihan Erdal, a PhD candidate and researcher at Carleton University in Canada and an LGBT activist, who was detained in Istanbul on Sept. 25.
A show owner in Denizli has told the governor of the province that he wants to die because of the worsening economy when asked why he was not wearing a mask. "I've had enough. I want to die. Look at the economy. I gained 15 liras on Tuesday and 100 liras on Wednesday. What use does it have even if that 100 liras is all profit?" the shop owner said.
In the government's latest attempt to criminalize the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), summary of proceedings have been prepared against 18 of its deputies, bringing charges against them for attending demonstrations and for making statements including the word "Kurdistan."
Osman Kavala remains behind bars as one of Turkey's most high-profile political prisoners, while President Erdoğan appointed the prosecutor who prepared Kavala's indictment to the post of Deputy Justice Minister. The appointment came within seven days of the indictment's preparation, and removed the prior appointee by presidential decree.
Hale Gönültaş reports: Turkey's financial crimes unit has determined that Afghan criminals engaged in drug smuggling and in the funding of terror operations are exploiting Afghan refugees in Turkey via bank transfers. As migrants are unable to transport large sums of money and often cannot open bank accounts in Turkey, they rely on moneychangers who transfer cash for a fee, and this is usually the only option.
A missile was fired into the sky on Oct. 16 on Turkey's Black Sea coast where the military was expected to test its Russian-made S-400 defense systems, according to local video obtained by Reuters. "If confirmed, we would condemn in the strongest terms the S-400 test missile launch as incompatible with Turkey’s responsibilities as a NATO  Ally and strategic partner of the United States," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.
Health Ministry failed to deliver an Oct. 15 data release that was designed to offset the repercussions of the revelation that Ankara's official COVID-19 numbers had been excluding asymptomatic patients. The ministry said that Fahrettin Koca's promise to release all data starting on Oct. 15 had been "misunderstood," and that they would only share certain numbers with the WHO.
Former President Abdullah Gül said that he was "appalled" by the attacks on Turkey's Constitutional Court, the most recent of which accused a member of threatening a military coup. The coup debate closely followed discussions on overhauling the Constitutional Court, which many members of the governing bloc in Ankara voiced support for.
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.
Economy
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.
Turkish exporters are struggling with shrinking markets as Morocco appears to have joined the countries that are effectively boycotting all products made in Turkey. Sources from the Moroccan Ministry of Trade indicate that measures have been put in place to prevent unfair competition from Turkish textile producers who are dominating the local market.
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.
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.