by instituDE, published on 23 January 2023


HDP request top court to give its decisionfor closure case after elections

In a press conference on January 16, the Peoples' Democratic Party(HDP) co-chair Mithat Sancar said that the party had asked the Constitutional Court to postpone allproceedings related to the closure case until the elections.

In mid-2021, the Constitutional Court accepted an indictmentseeking the party's closure due to alleged ties to the Kurdistan Workers'Party (PKK). Recently, the court ruled to block the HDP's Treasury funds, whichare essential for political parties' election campaigns.

Erdogan's ally calls for early elections, Erdogansignals May 14  

Presidential and parliamentary elections should be held in Mayinstead of June, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ally and the leader of thefar-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahceli, said on January 17. His remarks came after Erdogan signaled for apossible early election due to "the seasonal conditions.”

In response to Bahceli's statement, President Erdogan indicated on January 18 that elections would take place on May 14, one monthearlier than he had previously stated. Last year, Erdogan announced thatthe elections would be held in June, but he later said that the datemight be brought forward from the scheduled date.

On the other hand, Turkey'ssix-party opposition alliance plans to announce its presidential candidate in February to challengePresident Tayyip Erdogan's 20-year rule in May elections, Unal Cevikoz, anadviser of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader KemalKilicdaroglu said on January 20.


ORC Survey: Turkey's Gen Z supports opposition bloc in elections

According to an ORC Research Company survey, 42 percent of Generation Z in Turkey would vote for theopposition bloc Nation Alliance in the elections.

The ORC survey was conductedon 2,160 people between 18 and 25 on January 13- 17. While 42 percent ofrespondents said they would vote for Erdogan's Nation Alliance, only 22 percentsaid they would vote for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and itsally, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).



Turkish Central Bank leaves interest ratesunchanged

On January 19, Turkey'scentral bank kept interest rates at 9% for the second month in a row. According tothe central bank, a broad state policy to increase the usage of the lira hashelped to improve the level and trend of inflation. The bank added thatstronger domestic demand balanced the current economic slowdown caused byweaker foreign demand.


Government forces retailers to freezeprices before elections

The largest market chains in Turkey started a month-long price freeze, and some announced price cuts thismonth in response to nearly six months of public requests from thegovernment.

Finance Minister Nureddin Nebati also encouraged retailers ofapparel and shoes to begin their discount season much earlier than the usualperiod in March.

But some supermarkets andindustry associations stressed that they could only apply price freezesand cuts for a short time.



"ByLockand Bank Asya" hearing at the ECHR Grand Chamber

The Grand Chamber of the European Courtof Human Rights (ECHR), which consists of 17 judges and deals directly withsome complex and difficult cases, heard the parties of an important case onJanuary 18. At the hearing, the Grand Chamber addressed the application of a teacher who was arrested and later sentenced for allegedly usingthe ByLock communication program, having a bank account with Banka Asya, andwith the testimony of an unidentified witness.

Hearing the parties' views regarding theteacher's application, the Grand Chamber will make its decision later.

The International Commission of Lawyersalso gave a written opinion to the hearing and stated that it participated inthe hearing as an intervening third party.

StockholmCenter for Freedom Report: "Pushbacks of Turkish asylum seekers fromGreece to Turkey"

The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF)on January 19 released its latest report, "Pushbacks of Turkishasylum seekers from Greece to Turkey: Violation of the principle of non-refoulment." The study focuses onhow illegal pushbacks by Greek authorities have devastating consequences onTurkish asylum seekers upon their return to Turkey.

Thereport also provides a brief account of the alarming extent and consequences ofthe pushbacks of asylum seekers from Greece to Turkey in the last couple ofyears. It then sets out reported cases of pushback of Turkish asylum seekersfleeing the persecution of Turkish authorities. The report discusses how thepushbacks, particularly of Turkish asylum seekers, violate the principles ofinternational and European Union law, particularly the principle ofnon-refoulment, which prohibits returning refugees to a country where theywould face persecution. Finally, it concludes with some recommendationsaddressed to the Greek authorities and E.U. institutions, as well as civilsociety and human rights organizations.



Turkish intelligence chief visits Libyafollowing CIA director's trip

Libya received two intelligence chiefs within a span of a week.Last week, CIA's head William Burns visited the war-torncountry. On January 17, Turkish intelligence chief Hakan Fidan also paid a visit to Libya from Sudan following his meeting with Sudan's militaryleader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. Fidan met with Tripoli-based PrimeMinister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah.

Fidan's visit came after a Libyan court last week rejected ahydrocarbon exploration agreement that the Dbeibah-led Government of NationalUnity (GNU) had signed with Ankara the last year.

Turkish foreign minister meets U.S.counterpart to lift Congress objection for F-16 jets sale

Turkey urged the Biden administration to take immediate action inits efforts to sell Turkey F-16 jets and persuade the U.S. Congress to end itsresistance to a $20 billion agreement.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu paid a two-day officialvisit to Washington and met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken onJanuary 18.  Cavusoglu said that he informed U.S. Secretary of State Blinken thatthe F-16 sale should not depend on Turkey's removal of its objectionsto Sweden and Finland joining NATO. Cavusoglu also stated that the U.S. sidemade it clear that Congress would positively see Ankara's approval of Finlandand Sweden's NATO membership.


Iraq's president sees normalizationimpossible amid border violations

In an interview during World Economic Forum (WEF) inDavos, Switzerland, Iraq's President Abdul Latif Rashid responded to a question regarding Turkey's recent violation of Iraq'sterritorial sovereignty from the air and the ground by saying that Iraq doesnot accept these trespassings and Iraqi and Kurdish people are against these violations.President Rashid stated, "our relations cannot be normalized as violationsat our borders continue."

Turkey strongly condemns protests and Koranburning in Sweden

Protests against Turkey and Sweden's NATO bid in Stockholm onJanuary 21, involving burning a copy of the Koran, escalated tensions betweenthe two countries.

Rasmus Paludan, the leader of the Danish far-right political partyHard Line and a Swedish citizen, carried out the Koran burning.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement condemning the burning of the Koran. The Ministryalso urged Sweden to prosecute the perpetrators and invited to takesignificant steps to combat Islamophobia.

Earlier on January 21, TurkishDefense Minister Hulusi Akar announced that a scheduled visit to Ankara by the Swedish Defence Ministeron January 27 had been canceled as protests in Stockholm have been grantedpermission by Swedish authorities.



"Turkey could be on the brink ofdictatorship", Weekly Edition, Economist

Outsiders should pay attention to Turkey's presidential andparliamentary elections, which Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested this week will beheld on May 14th. All the more so since, under its increasingly erraticpresident, the country is on the brink of disaster.

Mr. Erdogan's behavior as the election approaches could push whatis today a deeply flawed democracy over the edge into a full-blowndictatorship.

Approaching his third decade in power, he sits in a vast palacesnapping orders at courtiers too frightened to tell him when he is wrong. Hisincreasingly eccentric beliefs swiftly become public policy.

Mr. Erdogan is a bully who sees impudence as a reason to press onhis advantage, and his toughness as an incentive to mend relations with many ofhis neighbors in the Middle East lately. Therefore, Western leaders should showMr. Erdogan how much they care about his behavior by speaking out personallyand publicly against the pending bans against Mr. Imamoglu and the governmentbefore the election. HDP. It is not too late to pull Mr. Erdogan back from thecliff. But the West should start warning him now.

"Turkey and its markets head forelection crossroads" by Jonathan Spicer, Marc Jones and Canan Sevgili, Reuters

Turks beset for years by soaring inflation and currency crasheswill soon decide whether to forge ahead with President Tayyip Erdogan's visionof a heavily-managed economy, or ditch it for a painful return to liberalorthodoxy.

The vote marks a fork in the road for Turks battered by aninflation-driven cost of living crisis that is only just easing.

International investors, many of whom have bailed out in the lastfive years amid recurring market turmoil and Ankara's embrace of unorthodoxeconomic policies, are watching closely.

The election will also determine what role regional military powerand NATO member Turkey plays in conflicts in Ukraine, where Erdogan has helpedbroker talks, and in neighbour Syria.

"Majority in Egypt, Turkey andTunisia on edge over food access", Al-Monitor/Premisepoll

68% majority of the population in Egypt, Turkey, Yemen, Tunisiaand Iraq worried about their ability to access food in the coming months,according to an Al-Monitor/Premise poll.

In Turkey, food prices rose nearly 1.9% in December compared toNovember, while annual food inflation stood at 78%.

Out of the five countries surveyed, the situation seemsparticularly pronounced in Turkey where a combined 75% say they are somewhatconcerned (44%) and very concerned (31%), followed by Tunisia (73%). And thesituation doesn't seem to be getting any better.

"What Everyone Gets Wrong AboutTurkey" by Steven A. Cook, Foreign Policy

Turkey may be distancing itself from the United States and NATO,but it is not quite aligning with Russia. Erdogan does want leverage, and theentire U.S./NATO-Turkey-Russia dynamic gives him an opportunity to try tomanipulate Washington and Brussels. For example, when a Turkish defenseofficial raised the possibility of acquiring Russia's Su-35 fighter planebecause members of the U.S. Congress were raising a ruckus about selling AnkaraF-16s, it stoked fear in Washington that if Turkey didn't get the U.S. planes,then the West would lose Ankara. This kind of manipulation is only possible solong as the foreign community sees Turkey as either West or East. Erdogan doesnot want Turkey to become an asset to Russian foreign policy any more than hewants the country to be viewed strictly as a NATO appendage on the alliance'ssoutheastern flank.

Turkey may be a NATO ally, but it is hardly a partner. At the sametime, the tendency of Turkey's detractors to discern Ankara's divergences fromthe West as alignment with Russia misapprehends Turkish foreign policy. It isno secret that there is a faction in Ankara that is deeply suspicious of NATOand wants to throw Turkey's lot in with Moscow. The influence of this grouptends to wax and wane, but even at moments when it has held more sway, Erdoganhas resisted turning foreign policy over to the so-called Eurasianists. If hedid, it would likely result in a break with the West, which despite Turkey'stightening ties with Russia is not something the Turkish leader wants.

"Syrian Kurdish commander wants peacewith Turkey, but will 'fully' resist attack" by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor

In a January 15 interview with Al-Monitor, Syrian Democratic Forceshead Mazlum Kobane said he expects a Turkish attack in February, and warnedAnkara should not punish Syria's Kurds over its own failure to resolve its owndomestic issues.

Kobane said he took Turkey's threats seriously and urged Ankara toopt for peace, not war with his people. Kobane downplayed the fact that he andnumerous figures in leadership positions had been active inside the PKK, sayinghe was Syrian and concerned with Syria's future. Turkey should not punish Syria'sKurds over its own failure to bring long-shelved peace talks with the PKK to asuccessful conclusion, Kobane added.

Russia is trying to solve existing problems in Syria by bringingTurkey and the Syrian regime around the same table. However, Kobane does notbelieve such attempts can succeed. The Syrian regime will never compromise onits own demands. Chief among them is that Turkey withdraw all its troops fromSyrian soil and that Turkey withdraw its support to the armed Sunni oppositiongroups. By the same token, Kobane does not believe that the Syrian regime wouldyield to Turkey's demands to crush the autonomous administration in thenortheast. It neither has the means to do this, nor are circumstances favorableto any such plans.