Turkish politics
President Erdoğan has said that the southeastern border province of Şırnak has the same advantages as the other 80 provinces. "What exists in Turkey's 80 other provinces in the name of democracy, rights and freedoms exists here. We serve on the basis of democracy and development for everyone. We have been doing in Şırnak whatever we have been doing for Turkey's development since we came to power," Erdoğan said.
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.
A local court on Oct. 13 rejected former CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu's demand for a retrial despite a previous top court ruling. CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu slammed the decision, saying that everyone needs to abide by the constitution. "The constitution binds us all, but a local court says it won't abide by it. So, a citizen can say, 'I'm not going to pay taxes.' This forms the basis of chaos," Kılıçdaroğlu said.
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.
Ayhan Bilgen has criticized the HDP over various issues and called for a change within the party. "The only option is to lean towards change that would solve its internal problems, rebuild itself, abandoning the routine way of doing politics and to seek a way that would render prejudices useless and break the routine," Bilgen said. "Determining candidates with nepotism would make the party rot and make it vulnerable to interventions," he added.
Turkish police detained dozens of people on Oct. 13 in a search for 167 suspects, many of them active duty soldiers, in an operation against the Gülen movement. Since the abortive putsch of July 15, 2016, some 80,000 people have been held pending trial and about 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and others sacked or suspended.
Vecdi Erbay writes: Nowadays opposition leaders come to Diyarbakır at every opportunity, and talk about the right to mother-tongue education, freedom, justice, and the appointed leaders. They pledge to solve these problems. Diyarbakır residents take this into consideration and then see how long they stand behind their words. Due to this cautious mentality, Babacan was not met with great enthusiasm in Diyarbakır.
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.
A report prepared by the CHP has put forward the changes in the stances of President Erdoğan and his AKP on China's treatment of the Uyghurs. While Erdoğan referred to China's treatment of the Uyghurs in 2009 as a genocide, the trade between the two countries nowadays has made the government fear from economic consequences if it takes a firm stance on the East Turkestan issue.
Turkish opposition parties have been working on a wide ranging alliance program that will include promises on various issues, including a return to the parliamentary system. The promises will also include enhancing the justice system and freedoms. Nearly all of the opposition parties have been working on constitutional changes in line with the return to the parliamentary system, sources said.
AKP deputy Cengiz Aydoğdu has admitted that "something happened" when asked about the incident of throwing of two Kurdish men from a military helicopter in the eastern province of Van. "Yes, something happened and the prosecutor's office launched a probe," Aydoğdu said in a speech in parliament on Oct. 7.
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli has called for the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic to be a part of Azerbaijan. Deeming Armenia a "killer and terror state," Bahçeli said that the Nakhchivan's inclusion in Azerbaijan "is a must, a historical obligation and an urgent need." "It's a matter of life and death," Bahçeli said.
An 8-year-old child has died after falling from the roof when trying to access internet to attend remote education in Istanbul. Çınar Mert from Istanbul's Esenyurt district was having problems in securing an internet connection necessary to attend classes when his father went up to the roof to solve the problem. The child followed his father and fell when his foot slipped. "How is education free and equal for all?" his father asked.
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.
Turkey's crackdown on the HDP continued on Oct. 1, with police detaining the co-mayor of the eastern province of Kars, as well as party members. The detentions came after Kars Co-Mayor Ayhan Bilgen, who was detained in the operation on Sept. 25, said on Sept. 30 that he will resign and that five parties in the city's municipal council can form a new administration.
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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?
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.
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.