Terrorism convictions for four rightsadvocates overturned by the top court
The Court of Cassation, Turkey's highest court of appeals, has overturned the convictions of four human rights activists, including Taner Kilic,former local director of Amnesty International.
Amnesty International said that the Court remanded the case ofKilic to a first-instance court due to an "incompleteinvestigation."
In the Büyükada Case, 11 human rightsdefenders, including Kilic, were facing charges ranging from "membershipin an armed terrorist group" to "aiding armed terroristorganizations."
Several women detained during women'srights marches
Protesters gathering in many provinces of Turkey on the evening ofNovember 25 to mark the International Day for the Elimination of ViolenceAgainst Women were met with a violent response. Police detained several women during the protests.
The government withdrew from theIstanbul Convention, the Council of Europe's Convention on preventing andcombatting violence against women, and domestic violence in July 2021.
Top medicalassociation head faces the risk of 7 years in jail
Turkishprosecutors prepared an indictment for SebnemKorur Fincanci, chair of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), and asked forseven years and six months in jail for Fincanci.
Due to her comments questioning the claims that the Turkish armyused chemical weapons against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), Fincanci ischarged with "making propaganda for a terrorist organization.”
Turkey at thefinal stage with Saudi Arabia and Qatar for billion dollars funding
According toa Saudi Ministry of Finance spokeswoman, Saudi Arabia and Turkey arenegotiating a $5 billion deposit at Turkey's central bank. A Turkish officialconfirmed that the deposit or swap agreement is at the final stage, Reutersreported.
Turkey is also about to conclude negotiations with Qatar for up to10-billion-dollar funding in the form of a swap, Eurobond, or anothermechanism. Some 3 billion dollars are expected by the end of this year.
TurkishCentral Bank lowers the policy rate to single digit
On November24, Turkey's Central Bank reduced itsbenchmark interest rate by 150 basis points to 9%.
The bank emphasized that it has decided to terminate therate-cutting cycle that began in August since the current rate levelis "adequate."
Erdogansignals attacks with tanks, soldiers in Syria
On November21, mortar bombs struck a border area in Turkey's Gaziantep province, causing thedeaths of a child and a teacher while injuring six others. Turkey claimed theYPG killed these two people with mortar attacks from northern Syria.
PresidentErdogan announced on November22 that Turkey would soon attack terrorists with tanks and soldiers, indicatingthe possibility of a ground offensive in Syria after retaliatory bombingsintensified along the Syrian border.
Erdogan's commentscame while Turkish airstrikes continued targeting Kurdish bases and otherlocations near the Syrian cities of Tal Rifaat and Kobani.
There areconcerns that Erdogan may run another security-focused campaign before theelections in June 2023, as experienced before the 2015 elections.
Makingsimilar remarks, Pervin Buldan, co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' DemocraticParty (HDP), claimed that the most recent cross-border operation in northernSyria and northern Iraq served as the official start of the AKP and MHP'selection campaign in Turkey. Highlighting that explosion in Istanbul justbefore the air operations was not a coincidence, Buldan said, "Thereare many points that still need to be investigated. The government embraced thepolitics of war rather than illuminating this darkness."
According toa statement released by the Pentagon on November 23, Turkish airstrikes innorthern Syria endangered the safetyof United States military personnel and risked years of progress against ISIS.On the same day, Russia asked Turkey toavoid a full-scale ground operation in Syria, highlighting that such stepscould spark an escalation of violence.
It was reported on November24 that Turkish drones have been attacking critical oil facilities innortheast Syria controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). TheUnited States strongly condemned these attacks. National Defense MinisterHulusi Akar denied the claims, adding that harming coalition personnel or civilians during cross-bordermilitary operations is "out of the question."
Erdogan:Turkey, Egypt to begin talks at ministerial level
Aftershaking hands with Egypt's President al-Sisi in Qatar last week after years oftension, Turkish President Erdogan said on November27 that building relations with Egypt would begin with ministerial-levelmeetings and that negotiations will progress from there.
Erdogan alsosignaled the possibility of improving ties with Syria after getting relationsback on track with Egypt.
Earlier inthe week, Devlet Bahceli, the leader of the government-aligned NationalistMovement Party (MHP), praised PresidentErdogan's hand-shaking with his Egyptian counterpart al-Sisi and suggested thatrelations with Egypt be strengthened. Bahçeli also suggested that Erdogan cometogether with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to forge a "united willagainst terrorist organizations."
"Why isTurkey so insistent on an incursion into Syria?" by Mustafa Enes Esen, Institute for Diplomacy and Economy
Turkey hasalready carried out four large-scale military operations in Syria in the lastsix years. And yet it wants to launch another large-scale military campaign.There are some reasons why Turkey is concerned with northern Syria nowadays.
First ofall, the main difference between the stances of Turkey and the West over anoperation in Syria stems from their perception of the YPG. Ankara fears that anautonomous Kurdish entity led by the YPG could set an ominous example forTurkey's large Kurdish community. On the other hand, Western authorities worrythat the loosening of control of the YPG over the detention camps could lead tothe dispersal of these ISIS fighters worldwide. It is hard to reconcile thesedivergent views.
Second,Turkey's current decision-making mechanism is under the influence ofEurasianists who favour an alignment of Turkey's foreign policy with Russia.This faction believes that if Turkey pursues a military operation despite theUS objection and faces the consequences, it will damage Turkey's strainedrelations with the US. And a worsening of Turkey's relations with the West willbenefit Russia.
Third andmost important, the ruling coalition in Turkey considers a cross-bordermilitary operation a good election campaign strategy, scheduled to take placein June 2023.
Should a newground military operation take place, it will probably target the territoryunder the Russian sphere of influence in Syria. Russia's hands are tied inUkraine, and it is in no position to alienate one of its most trustworthyallies in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine.
"Turkey'sRussian-built nuclear plant could amplify Moscow's regional influence" byElisabeth Gosselin-Malo, Al-Monitor
Some expertsare warning that Turkey's first nuclear power plant, which Russia's Rosatom isbuilding, might become a tool to advance Russian interests in the region.
While a 2018deal was reportedly concluded in which Moscow would retain 51% and sell 49%stakes to Turkish firms, later reports claimed this arrangement collapsed andthat Russian entities now possess 99.2% of the shares.
According toa Turkish defence expert who wished not to disclose his identity, while in the2010 deal, the potential port was to be used only for the needs of the nuclearfacility, recent amendments "paved the way for" the possible facilityto be used as a commercial dock by Russia.
Russia andTurkey support rival parties in the Syrian civil war but have been closelycoordinating on a series of issues on the ground under deals between the twocountries.
Events inUkraine have shown how the Kremlin can effectively use nuclear power plants asa weapon during conflicts to threaten or intimidate its opponents.
"Turkeymarks International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women withdisturbing femicide numbers" by Arzu Geybullayeva, Global Voices
Scores ofwomen are killed in Turkey on a regular basis, according to local women'sorganizations. The number of femicides remains high, while the existingprotective measures lack effectiveness. A local platform, We Will StopFemicides, which tracks femicides and suspicious deaths of women, reported atleast 282 femicides between January to October 2022. Another platform, called AnitSayac [monument tracker], displays the number "349" on its homepageto represent the women killed so far in 2022. The stark numbers indicate howfew measures have been taken to protect women from violence by stateinstitutions.
Shelters forvictims of domestic abuse and their treatment of women who have escapedviolence at home fail to provide sufficient psychological assistance or supportfor victims to start a new life after their time at the shelters.
"Tensionssimmer as Azerbaijan-Turkey alliance unsettles Iran" by Fehim Tastekin, Al-Monitor
Iran isincreasingly worried over Azerbaijani and Turkish geopolitical gains in theregion as calls for "Greater Azerbaijan" push a hot button in Tehran.
As part ofthe cease-fire terms, Armenia pledged to allow transportation links betweenAzerbaijan proper and Nakhchivan - a route Baku calls the Zangezur corridor.Iran worries that Azerbaijani control of the strip could cut its borderconnection with Armenia. For Turkey, it would mean a direct land link withAzerbaijan via neighboring Nakhchivan and a route to Central Asia bypassingIran.
Turkey'sefforts to invigorate the Organization of Turkic States, which brings ittogether with Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, have alsounsettled Tehran. A stronger Turkish influence in the Turkic world, it fears,could destabilize Iran's north, where the Azerbaijanis and other Turkicminorities, such as the Turkmen and Qashqai peoples, live. Furthermore, with astronger standing thanks to Turkish support, Azerbaijan could become a centerof gravity for its kin in Iran.