"Persecutory Confiscation Amounting to Crimes Against Humanity: Case of the Gulen Group", Report by Yasir Gokce, Hakan Kaplankaya, Harun Resit Halisoglu and Mehmet Bozkaya, Institute for Diplomacy and Economy
This report examines the criminal acts and/or omissions of the Turkish authorities against individuals alleged to be affiliated with, connected to, or members of the Gulen Group in the context of violations of the right to property and concludes that these acts and omissions constitute crimes against humanity.
The report uncovers primarily why those violations of the Erdogan government against the property rights of the Gulen Group cannot fall within the category of lawful interference.
Noting that systematic and/or widespread conduction of violations is a prerequisite for crimes against humanity, the report establishes in line with the jurisprudence of international courts the systematic nature of those violations. Several statements of state representatives, state practices, and associated occurrences examined throughout the report demonstrate that the severe property rights violations were committed as part of a predetermined plan and policy against the Gulen Group.
The report offers some figures to convey the collectiveness, seriousness, and large-scale character of the human rights violations endured by the real or perceived Gulen-Group members.
Finally, the report concludes with the scrutiny of four representative cases that stand out as crimes against humanity in light of the above-cited four criteria for lawful and justified interference with the right to property, none of which have been met in the cases examined.
All in all, the Turkish government has instrumentalized criminal and anti-terror legislation to further and intensify its crackdown on the Gulen movement and regarded all economic activities of the perceived Gulenists as support for a terrorist organization without demonstrating any involvement in criminal conduct.
"Turkish Government is not Entirely Unhappy with the War in Gaza" by Mustafa Enes Esen, Institute for Diplomacy and Economy
Although the conflict in Gaza may impede Turkey's efforts to normalize relations with Israel and the West, the Turkish government also derives some benefits from the war.
First, Ankara has strongly opposed the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC), a project aimed at connecting India, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, and Europe through railway and port facilities. Ankara’s objection stems from the fact that the project excludes Turkey. The latest conflict in Gaza demonstrated that the corridor between the Arab countries and Israel may not be as reliable as once thought. This is a win for Ankara.
Second, the conflict in Gaza has revealed Turkey's discontent with the Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between several Arab countries and Israel. Thus, the undermining of the Abraham Accords and Saudi Arabia's suspension of talks with Israel are a win for Fidan’s foreign policy understanding.
On the other hand, the war in Gaza could be an opportunity to raise Erdogan’s image as a peacemaker and power breaker in the region. The fact that the US government and Israel have largely ignored Turkey’s pleas to offer help undoubtedly damages the Turkish government's sense of self-importance in regional politics. What Ankara may not fully grasp is that, from the U.S. perspective, the Palestinian issue is essentially an Arab-Israeli conflict. Turkey is an outsider in this conflict, similar to many other Muslim nations. This is a squandered opportunity for Erdoğan.
"Erdogan backtracks after siding with court that defied top court’s ruling on lawmaker’s release", AP
This week, the high court of appeals declared that it would not abide by a Constitutional Court ruling that called for the release of Can Atalay, a lawyer and human rights activist who was elected to parliament in May while in prison. The court of appeals also took the unprecedented step of filing a criminal complaint against Constitutional Court justices, accusing them of violating the constitution.
In remarks published Friday, Erdogan accused the Constitutional Court - Turkey’s highest court - of making “many mistakes one after the other” and reproached members of his own party who criticized the appeals court.
Hours later, Erdogan tempered his position, saying his government would strive to resolve the dispute. The Turkish leader also argued that the dispute was further proof that the country needed a new constitution.
Erdogan has frequently argued for the drafting of a new constitution which he has said would uphold conservative family values. Critics fear that the increasingly authoritarian leader would use the new constitution to cement his powers.
This week the European Union’s executive branch released its annual report on Turkey’s EU membership bid, criticizing what it said were serious deficiencies in the functioning of the country’s democratic institutions, backsliding in the judiciary and deterioration in human and fundamental rights.
"Israel's Gaza war opens room for Turkey-Iran rapprochement" by Fehim Tastekin, Al-Monitor
Turkey's efforts on a ceasefire in Gaza and the release of hostages held by Hamas are continuing, though so far without results. Its Gaza diplomacy has, however, invigorated Ankara's ties with Iran. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pleased Tehran by refusing to label Hamas a “terrorist” organization, and instead calling it a “mujahideen liberation group.” Turkey and Iran also appear willing to see if their convergence on Gaza can help resolve thorny bilateral files.
The most important result of Turkey’s Gaza diplomacy so far is the revival of Turkish-Iranian contacts. The two non-Arab regional powers have sought to unite their voices in support of the Palestinians, but their visions differ significantly. Turkey supports the creation of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, while Iran refuses to recognize Israel and proposes a joint state for Muslims, Jews and Christians.
It would be a victory for Iran if Turkey severed ties with Israel, but Erdogan appears to have no such intentions. Last week, he said he had “written off” Netanyahu as an interlocutor while noting that Turkey’s intelligence chief, Ibrahim Kalin, continued contacts with Israeli officials and Hamas.
As for other Turkish-Iranian issues, Abdollahian said in Ankara that the two sides had agreed to boost border security, establish new border crossings and set up free trade zones as well as convene the bilateral High-Level Cooperation Council.
According to the aforementioned Iranian sources, the talks during Raisi’s visit will have a wide-ranging agenda, including Syria and the Caucasus, transboundary waters and fighting terrorism.
Bilateral rapprochement on the Palestinian issue could have a very limited impact on all those complex files.
LEADERS ON THE MOVE
Former Good Party MP joins ruling AKP; resignations continue within party
After resigning from the nationalist opposition Good Party on November 2, lawmaker Nebi Hatipoglu joined the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on November 7. Hatipoglu revealed his decision to continue his political journey within the AKP via a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Two prominent figures from the right-wing opposition Good Party, Bahadır Erdem and former party Deputy Chair Durmus Yilmaz, also resigned on November 10.
Yilmaz, a former central bank chief, shared his resignation on social media, expressing disappointment in the party's failure to meet their initial goals of transparency and accountability.
Yilmaz said that the party had aimed to set a new path for Turkey, promising to uphold the law and protect the rights of all citizens. He also added that the party had moved away from these principles, leading to a collapse of its objectives.
Following Yilmaz, Bahadır Erdem, another General Administrative Board member, also announced his resignation on social media. Erdem criticized the party's decision to nominate mayoral candidates in all provinces for the upcoming 2024 local elections, stating that it would “create new opportunities for the AKP regime.
New main opposition leader accuses Erdogan of undermining Turkey's constitutional order
On November 10, the newly elected leader of the main opposition, Ozgur Ozel, accused President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of orchestrating a coup against Turkey’s constitutional order. Ozel’s remarks came after Erdogan openly backed the Supreme Court of Appeals’ refusal to comply with a ruling from the Constitutional Court in favor of jailed lawmaker Can Atalay.
At a gathering supporting a lawyers' march protesting the Supreme Court's actions, Ozel criticized Erdogan for escalating the judicial crisis, stating that Erdogan’s actions undermine the country’s constitutional foundation.
Ozel also warned that Erdogan's support for the defiance of the Constitutional Court indicates an attempt to nullify a constitutional provision, turning a judicial crisis into a direct assault on the constitutional order.
Turkish Medical Association criticizes Health Minister's "money" insinuation
The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) criticized Health Minister Fahrettin Koca for his insinuation that doctors leave Turkey to earn more money rather than due to rising workplace violence and deteriorating working conditions.
Koca made this remark during a Health Ministry budget meeting, where he gestured "money" with his fingers in response to criticism about doctors leaving the country. TTB shared the video on social media, expressing disappointment in the Minister's remarks,
Turkish banks seek inflation-adjusted accounting amid tax concerns
Turkish banks are set to ask Treasury authorities for permission to adopt inflation-adjusted accounting rather than being exempted and facing increased taxes as the government plans. The banking sector, with assets worth 21 trillion liras ($737 billion) in September, seeks the same benefit to be enjoyed by private companies.
A senior banker, speaking anonymously, mentioned that the banks intend to discuss this request with the Treasury. With inflation-adjusted accounting, banks expect their profits to decrease by over half, and some might even incur losses. The banker said the banks want to accurately reflect real, inflation-adjusted profits on their balance sheets.
Another senior banker pointed out that banks were excluded from inflation-adjusted accounting because of the government's reliance on the tax revenues generated by these banks.
Last week, Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek stated that Turkey would transition to inflation-adjusted accounting for companies, potentially excluding financial institutions from this change.
Turkish Treasury raises nearly 22 billion liras through bond auctions
The Turkish Treasury conducted two auctions on November 7, raising nearly 21.9 billion Turkish liras (around $768.4 million) through government bonds. The first auction was for a 2-year fixed coupon bond, where 5.8 billion liras were sold from a nominal bid of 23.6 billion liras.
The second auction involved a reissued 10-year fixed coupon government bond, with sales of 7.9 billion liras from a nominal bid of 16.6 billion liras. In total, the Treasury borrowed 21.9 billion liras from these auctions.
Turkey's top court upholds controversial media law on 'disinformation'
Turkey's highest court, on November 8, upheld a controversial media law that mandates prison terms for individuals found spreading "disinformation." The law allows up to three years in prison for journalists or social media users convicted of sharing information considered "contrary to the truth" regarding domestic and international security, public order, or health.
The law was passed a year ago with the support of lawmakers from President Erdogan's ruling party and its nationalist allies, raising concerns about media freedoms and free speech in the country.
US Secretary and Turkish Foreign Minister hold talks on Gaza crisis
On November 6, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan for urgent discussions about the Gaza situation. Blinken, who came to Turkey from Iraq, talked with Fidan for over two and a half hours in their first face-to-face meeting in Ankara. There was no press conference after the meeting, and there hasn't been an official statement released.
According to Turkish diplomatic sources, Fidan emphasized Turkey's call for an immediate ceasefire during the meeting. Both sides agreed on the importance of protecting Gaza's civilians and providing them with humanitarian aid. Fidan also stressed the need to work together towards a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
After the meeting, Blinken told reporters that the discussion was productive. They talked about the Gaza crisis, extending humanitarian assistance, and preventing the conflict from spreading to other parts of the region.
US Embassy in Turkey issues safety warning regarding protests and boycotts
The US Embassy in Turkey issued a safety warning on November 8 for its citizens residing in the country. The advisory cautioned against protests targeting U.S. foreign policy on the Israel-Palestine conflict and demonstrations or boycotts targeting U.S.-based businesses.
The statement highlighted recent protests at Turkey branches of U.S. cafes and fast food chains that led to disruptions, property damage, and individual injuries.
The embassy said it anticipated further demonstrations critical of U.S. policies and advised its citizens to stay cautious in locations associated with the United States or Israel and keep a low profile.
Turkish President calls for international peace conference for Israel-Hamas conflict
On November 11, during a gathering of Islamic-Arab leaders in Riyadh, Turkish President Erdogan called for an international peace conference to address the Israel-Palestine conflict. He strongly advocated for an immediate and lasting ceasefire in Gaza.
Erdogan also met with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince and Egypt's President, expressing Turkey's readiness to aid Gaza with humanitarian and health aid.
He also called for an international investigation after Israel's Heritage Minister, Amihay Eliyahu, indicated the possibility of a nuclear strike on Gaza, highlighting the need to investigate Israel's nuclear capabilities.
Iraqi Oil Minister expects oil production to resume in three days
Iraq's oil minister, Hayan Abdel-Ghani, said that he hopes to reach an agreement with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and foreign oil companies to restart oil production in the Kurdish region's oil fields within three days. This announcement follows initial meetings with KRG's natural resources ministry and senior Kurdish energy officials in Erbil on November 12.
Abdel-Ghani also mentioned that Iraq has reached an "understanding" with Turkey concerning the resumption of oil exports through the Iraq-Turkey pipeline.