CHP deputy Ali Mahir Başarır criticized the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for forbidding the CHP to collect donations, but allowing İsmailağa religious cult to do so. "It seems that the İsmailağa Association has the authority and permission to collect donations and share their bank account numbers," Başarır said amid a debate on collecting donations to be used in the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said that more than two million workers in Turkey have lost their jobs due to measures taken to contain the coronavirus outbreak. "They had to start a campaign to keep people home. This current campaign has only led to one thing: unemployment," he said. "They will get unemployment wages from the unemployment fund for a short time, but there are no guarantees after that," he added.
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Istanbul deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu has slammed the government's penal reform package for excluding politicians and activists. Calling on the government to prepare a new draft bill that includes citizens imprisoned on political grounds, Tanrıkulu questioned the reason for why precautions adopted around the world to prevent prisoners from being infected with coronavirus aren't implemented in Turkey.
MHP Group Deputy Chair Erkan Akçay shared a picture of a man badly beaten by a group of ultra-nationalist MHP supporters, as he also bragged about the incident. "Who is this handsome man?" Akçay asked sarcastically in his Twitter post. "They say that his test for being undignified was positive," he also said.
Turkish Health Ministry is set to meet with coronavirus researcher Mustafa Ulaşlı, who was sacked with a state of emergency decree. According to HDP deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca sounded positive on his reinstatement to his post. "I have received positive signals from the minister in our talks.," Gergerlioğlu told Duvar.
Social media users in Turkey have pointed to the ages of politicians after the country imposed a partial curfew on March 21 for citizens over the age of 65 and those with chronic diseases. Dozens of politicians are above the age of 65 in Turkey.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have started reworking on regulations that would lead to the release of thousands of prisoners in Turkey amid calls for taking measures in prisons over coronavirus. Prisons in Turkey are known to be at overcapacity, with reports of people sleeping on the floors being common. Rights groups have been drawing attention to the fact that coronavirus can easily be spread via prison guards or the arrival of people newly arrested.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said that Turkey conducted over 10,000 coronavirus (COVID-19) tests so far and aims to carry out between 10,000 and 15,000 tests daily. "We think that the number of tests will increase significantly in the upcoming days," he told lawmakers in a speech in parliament on March 19, adding that a quick diagnosis kit will be put to use in the next one or two days.
HDP deputy Meral Danış Beştaş was criticized for not imposing quarantine on herself upon returning from Germany on March 8. "From what we see on social media, Beştaş returned from Germany and her quarantine period is ongoing under normal circumstances," AKP Group Deputy Chair Cahit Özkan said in parliament. "Yes, I went to Germany and came back. All the necessary tests were carried out at the airport, my health is perfectly fine. If there were problems, I wouldn't jeopardize my friends and the society," Beştaş said in return.
Nine AKP and two CHP lawmakers are in self-imposed quarantine and are under close surveillance of Parliament Speaker's Office, sources told Duvar, adding that the office called the parties to ask lawmakers to not show up in parliament. "Our lawmaker friends have put themselves under quarantine in their houses for 14 days as necessitated by their responsibilities," Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop said on March 17.
All new parties reiterate the need for AKP, Erdoğan says after former ally launches opposition party
President Erdoğan has said that all the new parties reiterate the need for the ruling AKP, as he commented on former deputy prime minister Ali Babacan's DEVA Party. "Those who don't have the people and their country as their cause are always doomed to fail," Erdoğan told AKP members on March 11. He also reportedly deemed one of DEVA Party founders a "secret Gülenist."
An aide of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan scanned journalists and politicians who crowded around the Turkish leader as he arrived in parliament with a thermal camera, checking people he met for fever which could be linked to coronavirus.
Former deputy prime minister Ali Babacan has filed the application to found his long-awaited opposition party, which will reportedly be called the Democracy and Progress Party, with its abbreviation “DEVA” meaning “remedy” in Turkish. There are 90 individuals on the list of the founders, with 27 women and 16 fresh faces. There are also experienced politicians and former ministers who worked with Babacan in the past.
Former deputy prime minister Ali Babacan filed an application to found his long-awaited political party, which will reportedly be called the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), on March 9. "There is a powerful need to create a more prosperous and livable Turkey and this is not possible with the current political order," Babacan said, stressing the importance of democracy, rule of law and human rights.
Germany's leftwing political party Die Linke and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (RLS) have hosted a conference on the Kurdish issue in the German Bundestag on March 6, with the participants discussing "the current opportunities and perspectives" with regards to the solution of the Kurdish issue in the Middle East in several panels. From Turkey, CHP Istanbul deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu and HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar attended the conference.