October 2023

Turkey Weekly 30 – 31 October

Turkey Today – 31.10.2023

Kocaeli Governorship decided to ban protests for 7 days against the planned march demanding that Kurdish be a compulsory course. 

MHP chair Devlet Bahçeli has defended Deputy Parliament Speaker Celal Adan over his curse directed at a HEDEP MP. Bahçeli said Adan responded “courageously to a separatist who made a treacherous speech.” 

The Criminal Court of Istanbul did not release imprisoned Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP) deputy Can Atalay, and referred his case to the Court of Cassation. 

The trial of journalist Fırat Can Arslan, who has been in pre-trial detention for 99 days for reporting on the appointment of prosecutor Mehmet K., who prepared the indictment of 16 journalists on trial in Diyarbakır, and his wife Seda K., a member of the court panel, started in Diyarbakır. The court ruled for the release and acquittal of the journalist. 

HEDEP Sur District Organization Co-Chair Meliha Cömert, who was blocked by the police and forced to act as a spy, condemned the situation and said: “I continue doing my job.” 

Turkey Today – 30.10.2023

The Parliamentary Group of the People’s Equality and Democracy Party (HEDEP) will make a statement on November 2 regarding the aggravated isolation of PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan. Following the statement, HEDEP Group will apply to the Ministry of Justice to request a meeting with Abdullah Öcalan, who has not been heard from for 32 months.

HEDEP MPs protested the Parliamentary Speaker’s Office for its inaction against the MHP Deputy Parliament Speaker Celal Adan who swore at HEDEP MP Sırrı Sakık. 

8 prisoners stated that they were kept in severe isolation conditions in Ereğli High Security Closed Prison and listed the violations they experienced. 

2 of the 3 HDP members detained in Beylikdüzü, Istanbul were released after giving their statements to the prosecutor’s office, and Emrullah Şenyüz was arrested.  

Turkey Weekly 23 – 28 October 2023

Turkey Today – 28.10.2023

President Erdoğan has condemned Israel’s bombardment of Gaza at a rally in Istanbul, blaming the West for the ‘massacre of the Palestinians’.

Thinking that the microphone was turned off, Turkish Deputy Parliament Speaker Celal Adan, from the ultra-nationalist MHP, swore at pro-Kurdish HEDEP MP Sırrı Sakık after the latter mentioned the massacres that the Kurds have experienced for 100 years.

Police prevented again the Saturday Mothers from gathering at Galatasaray Square. 27 people were detained. 

Speaking before the general congress, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said he would “hand over” the party leadership to a social democrat in case he would run again. 

Three high school students have been detained for “burning a picture of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk,” founder of the Republic of Turkey, the Kayseri Governor’s Office announced.

Turkey Today – 27.10.2023

78-year-old Emin Soyal, whose heart works with a pacemaker, was arrested on the charge of “aiding the organization” despite his 91 percent disability report.

Lawyers marched at Çağlayan courthouse and demanded release order for their colleague Can Atalay after the supreme court decision. 

DEVA Party’s 13 Istanbul district heads have resigned from their party, saying they lost their trust to the party management. The move came after their meeting with CHP chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu last weekend. 

According to Istanbul Planning Agency’s (İPA) recent report, children in Turkey face difficulties in accessing to education due to the government’s spending cuts. 

Turkey Today – 26.10.2023

President Erdoğan said that Hamas is “not a terrorist organization, but a liberation and mujahideen group that struggles to protect its lands and citizens,” He announced that he canceled his plan to go to Israel.

Government ally Islamist New Welfare Party announced that they will vote against Sweden’s NATO bid in the Parliament, citing the Quran-burning incidents in the Nordic country.

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Turkey violated the right to “freedom of peaceful assembly” of former pro-Kurdish MP Sevahir Bayındır who broke her hip bone during a police intervention in a protest in 2010. 

The military operation launched yesterday in the Lice countryside continues with “special units”.

Constitutional Court ruled that the “right to vote and be elected” and the “right to personal liberty and security” of imprisoned TİP MP Can Atalay have been violated. 

Turkey Today – 25.10.2023

A raid was carried out by the police on the HDP Cizre District Organization building early in the morning.

54 kilograms and 912 grams of cocaine was discovered in a diplomatic vehicle entering Turkey from Bulgaria. 

An investigation was opened against journalist Oktay Candemir, who criticized the Minister of Internal Affairs Ali Yerlikaya, who shared the footage of the police house raid, saying “They are violating the presumption of innocence.”

Turkey hasn’t denied the reports that Hamas’s Haniyeh was in İstanbul during the October 7 attacks. A Turkish flag was spotted in the video showing Haniyeh’s “prayer of gratitude” in response to the “Operation Aqsa Flood”.

Turkey Today – 23.10.2023

President Erdoğan signed Sweden’s NATO accession protocol and sent it to the Parliament.

People’s Equality and Democracy Party (HEDEP) Group Deputy Chairperson Meral Danış Beştaş submitted a bill to the Presidency of the Parliament to establish the Ministry of Women. In the justification of the bill, it was emphasized that women are subjected to discrimination in every field and that the gender issue is a democracy issue.

HDP Muş Provincial Co-chair Bermal Nergiz was detained. HDP Ereğli District Co-chairperson Rıdvan Ulaşman and Çerkezköy district administrator Niyazi Artun were detained in the house raids carried out early in the morning in Tekirdağ.

DBP Party Assembly member Ali Gültepe was detained during house raids in Istanbul. 

Xwebun newspaper editor Nafiye Bal was detained in a police raid on her home in Diyarbakır. 

Turkey did not participate in the “School Meals Coalition,” established by 90 countries under the leadership of the United Nations World Food Programme, and also did not attend the summit held in Paris. 

Turkey Weekly 17 – 22 October 2023

Turkey Today – 22.10.2023

PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan has received a new indefinite disciplinary penalty. The justification of the penalty has not been disclosed to his lawyers on the grounds that “it will be published in the press”.

Stating that the disease of her son Delil Bozkurt, who has cancer and is 80 percent disabled, has started to spread throughout his body, Mother Akisa Bozkurt said: “He cannot even stand up. He should be released immediately.”

Fince Akman, the mother of Yakup Akman, who was sentenced after being recognised as the perpetrator of the forest fire he reported to the fire brigade, said: “He was sentenced because he was Kurdish. If he was from Tokat, they would have said, ‘You called us. Thank you.’

Turkey Today – 21.10.2023

MHP chair Bahçeli, Erdogan’s ally, threatens military intervention into Gaza against Israel. He said: “It is our legacy to undertake the mission of protecting Gaza.”

President Erdoğan called on Israel to cease its attacks on Gaza, which he described as constituting genocide, and appealed to governments across the world to collaborate for a humanitarian ceasefire in the region.

The police detained 23 individuals in Eskişehir following a wedding ceremony for singing songs containing “terrorist propaganda”.

Saturday Mothers were prevented again from gathering in İstanbul’s Galatasaray Square. Several people were detained.

Elif Akkuş, a 25-year war correspondent who was suspended from her post by the state-run TRT channel without a reason, was arrested despite suffering from severe health problems and being brought to the court on a stretcher.

Turkish lottery body has banned access to link-in-bio platform Linktree, citing it’s being used to “finance illegal betting and terrorism.”

Turkey Today – 20.10.2023

YSP’s Diyarbakır MPs submitted a parliamentary motion to examine the damage caused by trustee mayors in their constituency.

Following a proposal in the Turkish Parliament to create a delegation to visit Palestine, Deputy Parliamentary Speaker Sırrı Sürreya Önder, representing HEDEP (YSP), mentioned that 15 deputies and himself were banned from traveling abroad.

Journalist Selahattin Kaygusuz was detained during a house raid in Batman.

According to Turkish media, Israel has withdrawn its diplomats, including Ambassador Irit Lillian, from Turkey following the protests taking place across the country against Israel.

Turkey Today – 19.10.2023

In the murder case of HDP member Deniz Poyraz, the court upholds life sentence against murderer of HDP member and denies deeper investigation.

5 people were detained in house raids in Şırnak’s İdil district.

The U.S. has decided to close its consulate in Adana province until further notice due to the ongoing protests in Turkey against Israel’s massacres in Gaza. Some of the protests took place near the U.S. consulates as well.

The motion to extend Turkey’s military operations in Iraq and Syria were published in Official Gazette.

İyi party chair Akşener deems Israeli PM Netanyahu ‘Hitler of 21st century’.

Media watchdog RTÜK has initiated a legal process against DW Türkçe for its article titled “What actions are considered war crimes?” covering the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Platform X is facing new sanctions in Turkey. The platform could face restricted access for failing to appoint a representative and comply with reporting obligations.

Turkey Today – 18.10.2023

The parliament approved a bill extending the authorisation for cross-border operations into Iraq and Syria for another two years.

Yesterday, a drone strike by the Turkish army on a civilian vehicle in Erbil’s Koye district, Kurdistan Region of Iraq, resulted in one fatality and three injuries. The vehicle belonged to a family from the Makhmour refugee camp.

At the hearing of former HDP MP Musa Farisoğlu, a 26-year prison sentence was requested on 3 separate charges.

Foreign Minister Fidan has proposed assigning “guarantor states” to ensure the two-state solution for the Israel Palestine conflict, with Turkey as a potential guarantor for the Palestinian side.

Turkey Today – 17.10.2023

A child was injured in Turkey’s attack on Birc Qasa village in Afrin’s Sherawa district in Northern Syria.

Government’s far-right ally MHP chair Bahçeli stated that the Constitutional Court “backed terrorists” by not closing down the HDP and they will confront the justices in the “judgment day.”

At least 15 people were detained in house raids in Ankara.

Fırat Gerekli, who is arrested in Iğdır Type S Closed Prison, stated that he and his friends were threatened and said: “If anything happens to us, the director of the prison will be responsible.”

Elif Akkuş, a 25-year war correspondent of the public broadcaster TRT was taken into custody in Ankara yesterday. Previously, Akkuş had been suspended from her position at TRT for a period of three months for an unspecified reason.

Turkey Weekly 9 – 15 October 2023

Turkey Today – 15.10.2023

Green Left Party has officially unveiled its new name “Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party” (HEDEP) during its 4th Grand Congress in Ankara.

President Erdogan’s son Bilal and his son-in-law, drone manufacturer Selcuk Bayraktar, took to the streets in Istanbul in a demonstration of support for Hamas.

Former Turkish President Abdullah Gül has stated that “separatist terrorism” backed by international powers prevented the resolution of the Kurdish issue. He added that a true solution would have strengthened all citizens’ loyalty and sense of belonging to Turkey.

Turkey Today – 14.10.2023

The police have prevented Saturday Mothers’ vigil in Istanbul’s Galatasaray Square despite the Constitutional Court ruling for the 27th week in a row and detained at least 24 human rights defenders.

Future Party chair and former PM Ahmet Davutoğlu has stated that they might form an alliance with the ruling AKP for the local elections in some municipalities if they can agree on “a good candidate.”

A court has sentenced a high school student to one year and eight months in prison and released him on charges of “publicly insulting the memory of Atatürk.”

Turkey Today – 13.10.2023

President Erdoğan said that the American military activities in Syria are “an extraordinary threat to Turkey’s national security,”. His remarks came after U.S. president Biden had deemed Turkey as “a national security threat” due to its military activities in Syria.

A new drone attack was carried out on the Maxmur Refugee Camp, which is frequently targeted by Turkey. A women was injured in the attack.

14 regions were declared “Temporary Special Security Zones” by Şırnak Governorship for 15 days.

New Welfare Party has submitted a legislative proposal to limit alimony to five years.

Police raided Pir Sultan Abdal Cultural Association Sarıyer/İstanbul Branch. Many people were detained in simultaneous house raids.

At least 20 people, including Contemporary Lawyers Association ÇHD lawyers, were detained in Ankara.

A court in Aydin’s Nazilli district has arrested two of the three teenagers under investigation for social media posts that were “insulting to religious values.”

The Eskişehir Governor’s Office has canceled the Octoberfest on the grounds of “public order and security.”

Turkey Today – 12.10.2023

Diyarbakır Execution Judgeship deemed the prisoners who made their defense in Kurdish as “Giving up their defense and using their right to remain silent”.

Government ally HÜDA-PAR General Secretary and deputy Şehzade Demir held a press conference with a Hamas executive at the parliament. Demir called on the AKP gov’t to “take a clear stand on the side of the Palestinian resistance.”

Nine police officers who held key posts during Soylu’s ministerial tenure were suspended over mafia connections.

It was learned that arrested HDP İzmir Provincial Co-chair Berna Çelik was strip-searched and TEM police entered her cell.

15 internationalist young people who came from different European countries to attend the congress of the Green Left Party were detained in Urfa.

“Repentance” is imposed on İzzettin Sevilgen, a 30-year prisoner who has been held in Giresun Type E Closed Prison and whose release has been postponed 4 times.

Turkey Today – 11.10.2023

Turkish Deputy Education Minister Nazif Yılmaz quoted Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in a social media post and said “One day they will shoot you too. You’ll die horribly.” Yılmaz later deleted his post.

Government’s radical Islamist ally HÜDA-PAR, and opposition Islamist Felicity and Future parties will hold a joint rally in Istanbul in support of Palestinians following the latest conflict between Hamas and Israel.

Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya has announced that 27 individuals were detained in operations conducted in 8 cities.

CHP chair Kılıçdaroğlu has stated that they will reject the motion regarding the military’s presence in Iraq and Syria, saying it will enable foreign soldiers to enter Turkey.

Journalist Can Dündar’s application to the Constitutional Court against the rejection of his lawsuit against Sabah’s news claiming “He sold his villa through FETÖ at an exorbitant price” was deemed inadmissible by the supreme court.

Turkey Today – 10.10.2023

President Erdoğan stated that “necessary action” would be taken against the shooting down of the country’s drone by the US in Syria.

President Erdoğan talked on the phone with leaders from Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Qatar, and Egypt and discussed the ongoing developments in the conflict between Israel and Palestinians, as stated by the presidency’s office.

The co-chairs of HDP in İzmir, Berna Çelik and Çınar Altan, and Nihat Türk, the co-chair of the party’s Buca district organization, were arrested.

DBP Deputy Co-Chairperson Zekiye İlbasan was arrested in Diyarbakır on the charge of “resisting the police”.

Future Party leader and former PM Ahmet Davutoğlu has hinted that they would support the new draft constitution of the government to “protect the family,” which is expected to target the LGBTI+ community in the country.

Turkey Today – 09.10.2023

Turkey has further escalated its artillery and aerial bombardment in northern Syria. Two children, Nadia Al-Ayyash (10) and Ali Al-Ayyash (9), were killed in an artillery attack by Turkish military in the village of Mastour, near the district of Ayn Issa.

Turkish authorities have captured 2,554 fugitives as part of a nationwide counter-terrorism operation launched after Ankara bombing, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said.

President Erdoğan stated that a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital “is an urgent need.”

Stating that Turkey wants to destroy the autonomous administration with air strikes targeting the infrastructure in Northern and Eastern Syria, PYD Co-chairperson Salih Muslim said: “We will resist the attacks until the end.”

Kurdish journalist Fırat Can Arslan faces 3 years in prison. Arslan had become the first journalist to be arrested for “marking counterterrorism officials as a target for terror groups.”

The drinking water problem has still not been solved in the city eight months after the earthquakes. E. Coli was detected in Hatay water samples.

Turkey Weekly 1 October – 8 October 2023

Turkey Today – 08.10.2023

A mother and her 2 children were injured in the attack by Turkey’s drone targeting a mosque in Maxmur refugee camp in Iraq.

AKP has re-elected President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as party leader at the party’s fourth extraordinary congress. Erdoğan also made changes to the party’s Central Decision and Executive Board (MKYK), replacing 48 names out of 75.

Commenting on Hamas’ latest attack on Israel, CHP chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said they “are always with the Palestinian people”. CHP’s Özgür Özel also “condemned” Israel’s attack on Gaza, “which caused the death of 198 Palestinians.”

Turkey Today – 07.10.2023

Turkish Air Forces carried out a new series of attacks yesterday night, targeting various sites and infrastructure facilities in Kobane city in northern Syria.

The police again attacked the Saturday Mothers at Galatasaray Square in Istanbul. A number of demonstrators were handcuffed behind their backs and taken into custody.

Former AKP MP İbrahim Halil Yıldız, who was involved in the massacre against the Şenyaşar family and was in the hospital during the hospital massacre, was re-elected to the AKP Central Council.

President Erdoğan has urged “all parties” to “refrain from aggressive acts” following Hamas’s attack on Israel, which the latter deemed “a war.”

President Erdoğan stated that he does not “recognize LGBT” and pledged to counter “perverse” trends that he believes threaten the institution of family in the country at ruling AKP’s congress.

Turkey Today – 06.10.2023

75 people were detained in house raids in 11 cities. Police also raided HDP’s provincial and district organization buildings in Izmir.

Journalist Ahmet Kanbal was detained during a police raid on his home in Mardin.

In Şırnak’s Siopi district, an armored military vehicle collided with an 18-year-old motorcycle courier at the municipal intersection.

Halide Aksoy, whose son’s bones had been delivered in a box following his death in an armed conflict in 2017, is standing trial for “membership to terrorist organization”. In today’s first hearing she was not released.

CHP chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu visited TİP deputy Can Atalay, businessman Osman Kavala, and urban planner Tayfun Kahraman who were imprisoned due to the Gezi Park trials.

Turkey Today – 05.10.2023

In today’s attacks on Northern Syria, Turkey targeted a power plant and petrol station with a drone. Turkish Air Force bombed the village of Qesif in the south of Kobane. Attacks hit also the IDP camp Washokani.

HPG denied the statement of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Hakan Fidan that the activists who carried out the attack in Ankara came from Syria.

24 people were detained following the attack on the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Ankara.

The Constitutional Court (AYM) has decided to refer to the Parliament the application of the Turkey Workers’ Party (TIP) Hatay MP Can Atalay on the grounds of “parliamentary immunity,” who is still imprisoned despite being elected a deputy. Atalay who was sentenced to 18 years in prison in the Gezi Trial.

Green Left Party MP Yılmaz Hun requested that a commission consisting of all parties in the Parliament be established and İmralı be visited.

A Diyarbakır Criminal Court on Oct. 5 ruled that Green Left Party MP Meral Danış Bektaş cannot be part of the Kobanê trials until her legislative immunity ends.

The police detained eight Dokuz Eylül University students for protesting the hike in meal prices with the help of university’s security guards.

Turkey Today – 04.10.2023

Journalist Yanardağ who was arrested after his critical statements regarding the isolation conditions of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan on a TV program, was sentenced to 2 years and 6 months and released in today’s hearing.

A court released a person who had a red notice issued against him by Kazakhstan for being a member of ISIS from prison. After 29 months of incarceration, the ISIS member is currently residing in Ankara.

Parliament’s press office has penned a report against opposition Green Left Party lawmaker Ömer Öcalan for speaking Kurdish in a press conference held in the parliament.

The request for “stay of trial” in the case of Green Left Party Şırnak MP Ayşegül Doğan was rejected. Doğan was the Program Coordinator of İMC TV, which was closed by the Decree Law in 2016, and was accused of “being a member of a terrorist organization”.

In the case of the murder of Ceyda Yüksel in Bornova, the sentence given to Serkan Dindar was approved with a reduction of “unjust provocation”.

Media watchdog RTÜK has penalized journalist Ayşenur Arslan’s program on the opposition Halk TV station with a five-time broadcast cancellation regarding her remarks on the latest PKK bombing. RTÜK also fined the TV channel for actor & director Ezel Akay’s remarks regarding the canceled Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival.

Turkey Today – 03.10.2023

Journalist Ayşenur Arslan was detained after her comments on the Ankara bombing led to her programme being cancelled and an investigation launched against her. She was released later in the day.

Following the attack on the General Directorate of Security, the number of people detained in operations carried out in 18 provinces exceeded 90.

A.E.Ö., who worked as a police officer at Konak District Police Department in İzmir, murdered Elvin Özütaştan and seriously injured Fehmi Kaan Berberoğlu.

A Hatay Court accepted the first-ever lawsuit in the province regarding the Earthquakes that struck Southeastern Turkey and claimed 50,000 lives. The lawsuit will be about those responsible for the collapse of the İlke Apartment Complex, killing 53.

Maruf Çelikel, a member of the Green Left Party Youth Assembly discovered a listening device in his home in Muş. Çelikel believes the device was planted by the police.

Turkey Today – 02.10.2023

Constitutional Court president stated that they disagreed with the European Court of Human Rights because the latter has found Turkey guilty in the case of teacher who was convicted of “membership of the FETÖ armed terrorist organization” for allegedly using ByLock, an encrypted messaging app.

After yesterday’s bomb attack in Ankara Turkish Air Forces conducted air strikes in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The Constitutional Court decided that there was no “right violation” in the disciplinary punishments given to prisoners who went on hunger strike against rights violations in Sincan Women’s Closed Prison.

The parliament has received a total of eight summaries of proceedings seeking to have legislative immunity lifted for seven opposition MPs, including CHP MP Sezgin Tanrıkulu and three YSP MPs.

At least 20 people, including HDK and HDP executives, were detained in house raids in Istanbul and Kırklareli. A ‘confidentiality’ decision was taken in the investigation file. A 24-hour lawyer restriction was also imposed on prisoners.

A prison sentence of up to 15 years is sought for HDP member Hüsamettin Tanrıkulu, who was arrested after Süleyman Soylu targeted him and it was revealed that the “report letter” about him was sent by the police.

Erhan Baştin, a prisoner in Şakran who contracted cancer in prison and was given a medical report stating that he was “life-threatening”, died two days after his request for release was rejected.

Turkey Today – 01.10.2023

An explosion followed by gunshots rang out near Ankara Kızılay. Afterwards, there was ambulance activity. Minister of Internal Affairs Ali Yerlikaya announced that there was a bomb attack on the General Directorate of Security. The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) claimed responsibility for the attack.

A broadcast ban has been imposed regarding the bomb attack in Ankara.

Local elections in Turkey will be held on March 31, 2024. The decision taken by the Supreme Electoral Board (YSK) regarding the local elections on September 28 was published in the Official Gazette.

The crutches of ill prisoner Abdurrahman İverendi in Trabzon Beşikdüzü Type T Closed Prison were confiscated.

Boğaziçi University’s community has marked their 1000th day of protesting against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s rector appointments.