Turkish politics
Future Party leader Ahmet Davutoğlu has said that Turkey's natural gas find in the Black Sea has turned into a personal promotion of Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak. "It's against the morals of a state to make such a find, which made all of us happy, become a personal promotion of a minister that destroyed Turkey's economy," Davutoğlu, who is also the former prime minister, said.
Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) former co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş's lawyer Hasan Tahsin Kaya died of a heart attack at the age of 43 in the western province of Edirne. HDP Edirne provincial head Beşir Belke said that Kaya had been a lawyer of Demirtaş since 2018 and was visiting the former co-chair once every two weeks in the Edirne Prison.
Turkey expects its energy imports to fall significantly following a major Black Sea natural gas find and more discoveries could be made in another area now being evaluated, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez said on Aug. 22 "There is a new area of 6,000 square kilometres ahead of us. The evaluation of our experts is that we may see similar structures there too," he said in Istanbul.
The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has prepared a report on trustees, saying that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) ignored the votes of millions of people via sacking 47 mayors in the past year. Speaking at the press conference organized to reveal the report, HDP deputy Garo Paylan said that the government wants to prevent the party from getting stronger. "Erdoğan is a putschist," Paylan said.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has said that its ready to listen to the views of all women's organizations about the Istanbul Convention, which aims to combat violence against women and from which the AKP seeks to withdraw. "We don't see a contradiction between protecting women and protecting family. We will neither abandon protecting women nor the family," AKP spokesperson Ömer Çelik said.
Women in Turkey started a social media campaign in favor of Istanbul Convention, a key piece of legislation that protects women's rights in Turkey. AKP's central board will discuss during a Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting whether Turkey should withdraw from Istanbul Convention.
Police have detained over 40 people in an operation based in the western province of İzmir against the followers of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). Another operation was launched in the capital Ankara as part of an investigation launched by Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office against the Gülenists in the air forces.
Turkey drew another rebuke from the European Union on Aug. 16 when it said its Yavuz energy drill ship would extend operations in disputed Mediterranean waters off Cyprus until mid-September. Turkey's renewed drilling plan covers a zone delineated by Cyprus and Egypt and raises tensions, said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.
Politicians from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and several opposition parties have slammed U.S. Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden over his remarks on Turkish politics. Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said that his comments "reflect games and an interventionist approach towards Turkey" and are inconsistent with current diplomatic relations.
CHP member and former presidential candidate Muharrem İnce has kicked off a new movement, as he also slammed his own party. "Our movement consists of individuals experts in their fields. We're preparing for 'victory.' We'll act in line with our vision and the people's wills. The people would finance us just like they did before the presidential elections," İnce said in a press conference on Aug. 13.
Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak has downplayed Turkish Lira's sharp fall via asking "Are you getting your salaries in dollars?" "First, let me ask you this; Are you getting your salaries in dollars? Do you owe money in dollars? Do you have any business in dollars?" Albayrak responded to a question on whether the people should be concerned on Aug. 12, prompting surprise on social media.
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli has said that demanding education in Kurdish shows captivity to imperialism, as he commented on Future Party leader Ahmet Davutoğlu's remarks. "The fact that Davutoğlu talked about the Kurdish issue and mentioned education in mother tongue is a scandalous example of the extent that captivity to imperialism has reached," Bahçeli said in a written statement on Aug. 12.
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."
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is planning to make changes in the electoral system when parliament reopens in October. Various commissions were formed to work on the changes on the Law on Political Parties, Elections Law and Parliament Bylaws, sources told Duvar, adding that the first draft bills of the next legislative year will concern them.
The Akbük village in the Aegean province of Muğla was transferred to the Muğla Tourism Environment Foundation (MUÇEV), a company close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Though MUÇEV has the word “foundation” in its name, it is actually registered as a company under the legal name MUÇEV Tourism Commerce LLC.
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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.