Turkish politics
Turkey's presidential system blocks a possible solution to the years-long Kurdish issue, Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Mithat Sancar said, adding that opposition parties need to bring democracy forward. "This system blocks a solution. The government makes bringing the discussions on the most basic subjects regarding the Kurdish issue to agenda impossible," Sancar said.
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.
CHP Istanbul deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu has prepared a report on rights violations in Turkey in April, saying that there were 271 instances that the right to life was violated. Tanrıkulu, in his report, also cited violations related to COVID-19, mainly stemming from the government's bans on opposition municipalities from carrying out aid campaigns.
One third of the young opposition voters in Turkey support the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), according to a poll conducted by the Eurasia Public Opinion Research Center (AKAM). While the total votes of the HDP rally around 11 percent, some 35 percent of the youth said that they would vote for it. AKAM chair Kemal Özkiraz said that three fourth of the youth who recently became voters prefer opposition parties, adding that they are not affected by the "slanders" aimed at the said parties.
Nearly half of the youth who vote for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) wants to live abroad, a survey carried out by the Social Democracy Foundation (SODEV) said, adding that the overall percentage stood at 62.5 percent. "Half of the youth who vote for the AKP want to live abroad even though they have been feeling the government's security for 18 years," SODEV head Ertan Aksoy said.
Eren Yıldırım, the CHP's Yüreğir district youth branch head, was arrested over allegedly attacking a group of aid workers of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). "Yıldırım was arrested upon orders from the government. I condemn the judiciary for issuing rulings upon orders," CHP deputy leader Onursal Adıgüzel said.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said that the government will change in the next elections since people will hand power to those advocating democracy. "The people are seeing that our beautiful country is not being governed properly and that we're heading downhill like a truck with no brakes. They also know that the only way to get rid of this course depends on their choice in the next elections," he said.
The MHP has stepped in to complicate the efforts of the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) and Future Party, both founded by former high-level AKP officials, to form parliamentary groups necessary for them to run in elections, in a bid to cover AKP's concerns on losing deputies. MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli called for making changes in the election law and parliamentary bylaws even though the two new parties would barely get deputies from the MHP.
Six members of Congress, including Ilhan Omar, penned a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, urging the government to engage with Ankara to secure the release of political prisoners in Turkey, requesting that the U.S. government discuss the equitable application of release policies, particularly in the context of U.S. financial or other material assistance to Turkey.
HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar has denied former deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder's remarks on the right-wing İYİ (Good) Party having consulted them in the past. Another politician to comment on Önder's claims was experienced politician Ahmet Türk, the sacked mayor of the southeastern province of Mardin, who said that he was surprised to hear them. There are things that need to be kept hidden in politics," Türk said.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said that a number of CHP lawmakers can quit and join the DEVA and the Future parties to secure their run in elections. "We can definitely provide support to DEVA and the Future Party for democracy. That's why we want the election threshold removed. All parties must be represented in parliament," Kılıçdaroğlu said.
Turkish Interior Ministry has allowed a total of 27 investigations to be launched into Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu over a number of allegations belonging to his term as a the mayor of the city's Beylikdüzü district, Istanbul Municipality said on May 13. The municipality noted that the permit lacks legal basis, adding that İmamoğlu filed a complaint against the decision to the Council of State.
The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) is the only party that managed to increase its votes since the June 24, 2018 general elections, a poll said, adding that four parties would pass the 10 percent election threshold if elections were today, while the HDP would fail to enter parliament. According to the poll, the AKP lost 5 percent of its votes.
Turkish leftist daily Evrensel's chief editor Fatih Polat was called to testify over a column penned by Ragıp Zarakolu in which he criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan via comparing him to former Prime Minister Adnan Menderes, who was executed by hanging. "I and our news editor Görkem Kınacı were called to testify over Ragıp Zarakolu's column, which didn't have a single sentence that supports a coup," Polat said on Twitter.
Istanbul Municipal Council's members from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have significantly decreased the municipality's resources despite the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, prompting criticism from Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu for being politically-motivated. "I should underline that these decisions will go down in history. This is wrong during the pandemic period," he said.
Editor's Picks
duvar englis podcasts
Duvar English’s editor-in-chief Cansu Çamlıbel and pollster Can Selçuki discuss the underlying factors behind the recent moves of Turkey's ruling alliance which paves the way for further polarization in politics as the country enters the final months of 2020. They also analyze the effects of the sharp decline of the Turkish Lira against foreign currencies over public's perception.
Dinçer Demirkent writes: Interior Minister Soylu said that the head of the Constitutional Court would be unable to commute to work without his protection team. What he meant was that he was the Minister who assigned the security team to the judge, implying he might just remove them. By doing so, Süleyman Soylu openly violates the article 138 of the Turkish Constitution; basic principle for the independence of the judiciary.
Politics
DEVA chair Ali Babacan has criticized the government's new three-year economic program, saying he did not see it including any “concrete steps” which will economically provide a relief to the people. Babacan also said that with this new program, the government has admitted to Turkey being impoverished since he left the position of deputy prime minister in 2015.
Turkey's Constitutional Court on Sept. 29 postponed its decision to review Osman Kavala's appeal with regards to his ongoing arrest, citing the impending indictment against the philanthropist. Just a couple of hours after the Constitutional Court's statement, Istanbul prosecutors submitted the new indictment against Kavala to the relevant court, concerning “espionage” charges.
Istanbul prosecutors have dismissed a case against CHP Istanbul chair Canan Kaftancıoğlu, who was being sued by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s aide Fahrettin Altun in a dispute concerning an illegal construction undertaken in Istanbul's Üsküdar district.
Murat Gezenler, the head of a Salafi association, has said that the number of Salafis in Turkey is much higher than what is stated in the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) reports. Gezenler also said that one of the differences between his association and ISIS is that the latter accepts Turks as Muslims, whereas they don't.
Pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Group Deputy Chair Saruhan Oluç said that the government was trying to create "a Turkey without the HDP" with its mass detentions. Dozens of HDP members were detained last week in relation to the 2014 Kobane protests.
Turkish Parliament speaker Mustafa Şentop has said that he believes in reintroduction of death penalty for certain crimes, a proposal suggested by far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli earlier in September. "I am of the opinion that death penalty could be considered for premediated murder and sexual abuses committed against minors and women,” Şentop said on Sept. 29.
Turkish state and university hospitals are offering to repay debts totalling some 19 billion lira ($2.43 billion) to drugmakers and medical equipment firms, but with a discount, Reuters reported on Sept. 29.
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.
Finance Minister Berat Albayrak has said that he doesn't care about exchange rates and that he doesn't follow them, as the Turkish Lira plumbed to new lows on Sept. 29. Albayrak's comments came after he unveiled the country's new economic program for 2021-2023 based on themes of "new stabilization, new normal, and the new economy." The minister said the Turkish economy is projected to grow 0.3 percent this year.
A man who stabbed and killed his neighbor's dog and injured two others was released by an Istanbul court. Due to a lack of legal protection for animal rights in Turkey, the attacker Faruk Ö. was charged with property damage.
The downfall of cruise tourism has benefited Turkey's ship recyclers as multi-million-dollar ships are scrapped at the Aegean Izmir facility. The recyclers expect almost one million tonnes of scraps this year.
Students in the eastern province of Kars asked the government for help in a video where they're seen doing classwork on a barren hill, the only spot where they can access the internet. Former main opposition deputy Barış Yarkadaş noted that remote education wasn't as effective as the government made it seem.
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.
The total number of COVID-19 deaths in Turkey surpassed 8,000 as 65 patients died on Sept. 28, Health Ministry data revealed. Meanwhile, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca noted that the number of recovered patients was higher than the number of new diagnoses for the first time in a while.
The Kars governor's office announced on Sept. 28 that it banned all “demonstrations and activities” for a period of 15 days until Oct. 12. The ban came into effect just hours before HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan's planned rally in the province, in support of Kars mayor Ayhan Bilgen who was among those taken into custody in simultaneous police raids last week.
A group led by forensic science expert and human rights defender Prof. Şebnem Korur Fincancı won the elections for the leadership of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB). Fincancı is now expected to be elected the leader of the association in the upcoming meeting.
A women's prison in southeast Turkey banned a book that was co-authored by the chairman of Turkey's Constitutional Court (AYM). The book that was found "suspicious" by the prison is about freedom of expression.
The New York Times reported on Sept. 28 that Trump Towers Istanbul has netted U.S. President Donald Trump $1 million in 2016 and 2017. Trump has long had business ties in and with Turkey, the most visible example being the Trump Towers Istanbul, which licenses the Trump name.
Turkish prosecutors have launched an investigation into Tele1 TV editor-in-chief Merdan Yanardağ over his reports that Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor Yüksel Kocaman paid a visit to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan following his wedding ceremony. The court ruled for Yanardağ's release, but imposed judicial control measures involving regularly reporting at his local police station as well as overseas travel ban.
Halk TV, a broadcaster that's critical of the government, blacked out on Sept. 28 following a ruling from Turkey's Radio and Television High Council (RTÜK). The five-day blackout is a first in the council's history, as such harsh sanctions haven't been issued before.
Economy
A jaw dropping 95 percent of a fund established to develop Turkey's internet infrastructure has disappeared, a main opposition deputy said. Some 1.5 billion liras were collected for the fund in 2019, but 1.4 billion of that has vanished, Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Murat Emir said.
Turkey's Central Bank unexpectedly hiked interest rates on Sept. 24, triggering an improvement in the lira's value against the dollar. The Turkish Lira has sunk to record lows over the past month as Ankara's currency interventions proved futile.
Turkey's state-owned Halkbank has urged a judge to dismiss a U.S. indictment accusing the bank of helping Iran evade American sanctions. At a hearing in Manhattan federal court on Sept. 18, a lawyer for Halkbank said its status as a Turkish “instrumentality” shielded it from prosecution because of sovereign immunity.
U.S. tech giant Amazon offered up its speed-delivery subscription to Turkish consumers on Sept. 15. The monthly subscription fee was set for 7.99 Turkish Liras, about one dollar with the current exchange rates.
Urban Beat
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.
Istanbulites will select the new face of Taksim Square from among three projects as part of the Istanbul Municipality's plans to renovate the area. Şerif Süveydan, Bünyamin Derman and Kutlu İnanç Bal were the winners in the contest that was held by Istanbul Planning Agency and Istanbul Municipality's Department of Cultural Assets.
The Odunpazarı Modern Museum in western Eskişehir won the award for "international project of the year over £1m" at the London Museums+Heritage Awards. The museum opened its doors just over a year ago in the city's ancient Odunpazarı neighborhood.
The 48th Istanbul Music Festival will be held online, streaming pre-recorded performances in historical venues. Starting on Sept. 18, the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) will make available the performances that honor composer Ludwig van Beethoven.