Turkey raises pressure on Kurdish journalists with increasing detentions
Turkish police detained 11journalists working for various Kurdish news outlets on October 25 in Ankara,Istanbul, Manisa, Mardin, Diyarbakir, Urfa, and Van. The journalists werecharged with promoting the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
On October 28 evening, the court ordered the arrestof nine journalists. One journalist was previously granted house arrest tonurse her newborn baby. "The journalists were involved in illegal"organizational actions, and they published news that "incited enmityand spite in public." according to a statement from the Ankara SecurityDirectorate.
Sixteen other journalists working for opposition publicationsdetained in June are still imprisoned.
Kurdish ex-deputy suffering from dementia released from prison
Turkish court freed dementia sufferer AyselTuluk, a former deputy and co-chair of the People's Democratic Party (HDP).
The decision was taken just after the Forensic MedicineInstitution (ATK) declared on October 26 that she was unable to remainbehind bars due to her deteriorating health conditions. The ATK previouslystated that she was fit to remain imprisoned and could continue herdaily routine without assistance.
Tugluk, 57 years old, spent more than five years in ahigh-security prison on terrorism charges.
Meta Platforms gets fined 18.6 million dollars by Turkishcompetition board
Meta Platforms Inc, the parent company of Facebook, was charged by Turkey's competitionboard with a 346.72 million lira ($18.63 million) fine for violatingthe competition law.
According to the Turkish regulator, the company blockedcompetitors by combining data from its primary platforms, Facebook, Instagram,and WhatsApp. By doing so, the board also claimed it enjoyed a strong positionin personal social networking services and online video advertising.
A spokesperson for Meta Platforms said the companydisagrees with the board's conclusions and will explore all potentialsolutions.
Turkish Central Bank raises inflation forecast once again
Sahap Kavcioglu, governor of Turkey's CentralBank, revealed on October 27 that the inflation estimated forthe end of 2022 had been raised from 60.4% to 65.2%.The governor Kavcioglu also admitted that the bank had notbeen "particularly successful" in curbing inflation.
The state statistics agency TurkStat reported an annual inflationrate of 83.45 percent in September, while the independent group ENAG declared anannual inflation rate of 186.27 percent for the same period.
Head of top medical association arrestedfollowing Erdogan’s remarks
On October 27, an Ankara court ordered the arrest of Turkey'shead of top medical association, Sebnem Korur Fincanci, on the charge of"spreading terrorist group propaganda."
Turkish President Erdogan had declared on October24 that legal action was launched against Fincanci, the head of theTurkish Medical Association (TTB), following her remarks over the alleged useof chemical weapons by the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) against the PKK.
Erdogan also announced that he gave his go-ahead to create anew framework for professional organizations.
Sebnem Korur Fincanci was taken to Ankara after being detained byIstanbul police on October 26 as a part of an investigation launched by thechief prosecutor's office in Ankara.
The same day, five TTB members were taken into policecustody while protesting Fincanci's arrest outside the Ankara court.
Last week, Turkey's defence ministry and top government officialsvehemently denied claims that the TAF used chemical weapons against the PKK.
Israeli defence minister signals re-launch of defencerelations with Turkey
Israel's defence minister on October 27 signaled a possibleresumption of defence ties with Turkey after a meeting with his Turkishcounterpart Hulusi Akar during his visit to Ankara.
Both countries are currently in the process of normalization ofties which have been strained for a decade. Israeli minister became the firsttop defence official to visit Turkey in over a decade.
"The defence staff has been instructed to "start thesteps necessary to resume working relations." Israeli defenceminister Benny Gantz was cited as saying.
Turkish defence minister Akar emphasized that increasedcooperation and communication with Israel will also aid in resolving otherissues, such as the issue of the Palestinians.
Libya announces the signing of two defence deals with Turkey
Libya’s Tripoli-based Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah inked two deals with theDefense Minister of Turkey on October 25, counting on a contentious deal in2019.
The deals included implementation guidelines for the 2019 securityagreement that was signed between Ankara and Tripoli, according to thestatement of the Dbeibah's administration.
"Dbeibah also signed another deal to "improve thecapabilities of Libya's air force using Turkish experience." the statementadded.
The most recent deals were signed three weeks after MevlutCavusoglu, the foreign minister of Turkey, signed an agreement in Tripoli thatwould allow for oil and gas exploration in Libya's Mediterranean waters.
The 2019 deal, which demarcated the countries' common marineborders, infuriated Greece and Cyprus.
“InSeptember, several Turkish banks stopped accepting theMir payment system — the Russian equivalent of Visa or MasterCard. Theiractions came after the United States warned thatfinancial institutions expanding the use of Mir or entering into new agreementsrisked running afoul of American sanctions against Russia.
Nevertheless, Turkish marinas continue to service sanctionedRussians and their superyachts.
While some superyachts owned by or linked to Russian oligarchsfacing sanctions have been seized in ports around the world, the Flying Fox andothers caught up in the broader Russia penalties have found safe haven inTurkey, the only NATO member not to impose sanctions on Russia.
The flotilla of Russian superyachts in Turkish waters is raisingtensions with the United States, which sees Turkey’s welcoming of the vesselsas a symptom of the much larger problem: Russia’s access to Turkey’s financialsystem, potentially undermining Western sanctions.
At least 32 yachts tiedto oligarchs and sanctioned entities have sheltered in the country’s waters inrecent months, able to move about or moor in its picturesque coves and bayswithout fear of seizure,
Ownershiprecords of superyachts for the ultrawealthy are notorious for being hiddenbehind layers of shell companies. As of October 20, there were at least 13yachts in Turkey linked to sanctions. Of those, four were owned by or linked tosanctioned individuals, and nine have recently been offered for charter byImperial, the sanctioned Monaco-based company.
This month, Turkish PresidentErdogan announced that he might meet with the President of Syria, Bashar Assad,when the time is right.
There are several reasons thatprompted Turkey to change its tone toward Damascus and think pragmatically awayfrom the values that it has adhered to for more than a decade.
It appears to be thedesire of the Turkish ruling party to withdraw a key card in the hands of theTurkish opposition, which held the Justice and Development Party responsiblefor the influx of refugees.
“Siege tightens around Turkey’s criticalnewsrooms ahead of election” by Sibel Hurtas, Al-Monitor
Government opponents fear Ankarawill use all of its means to stifle unfavorable news and public debate ahead ofcrucial elections next year.
Turkey’s independent media –already dwindled and largely muted – finds itself under a tightening siege asthe country heads for crucial elections next year. Pressure is rising onnewsrooms in various forms, from broadcasting bans and financial penalties tojudicial probes and new legal threats, including jail terms for spreading“untrue” information.
The government sees the upcomingelections as an “existential” matter, so “it will try to muffle criticalbroadcasters as much as it can,” Ilhan Tasci, one of the two RTUK membersnominated by the main opposition, told Al-Monitor, adding that attempts to takesome broadcasters off the air would not come as a surprise.
Human Rights Watch Report: Hundredsof Refugees Deported to Syria
"Turkish authorities arbitrarily arrested, detained, anddeported hundreds of Syrian refugee men and boys to Syria between February andJuly 2022.
Deported Syrians told that Turkish officials arrested them intheir homes, workplaces, and on the street, detained them in poor conditions,beat and abused most of them, forced them to sign voluntary return forms, drovethem to border crossing points with northern Syria, and forced them across atgunpoint.
Turkish officials deported 37 of the people interviewed tonorthern Syria. All said they were deported together with dozens or evenhundreds of others. All said they were forced to sign forms either at removalcenters or the border with Syria. They said that officials did not allow themto read the forms and did not explain what the forms said, but all said theyunderstood the forms to be allegedly agreeing to voluntary repatriation. Somesaid that officials covered the part of the form written in Arabic with theirhands. Most said they saw authorities at these removal centers processing otherSyrians in the same way.
All interviewees said Turkish officials in the removal centerseither assaulted them or they witnessed officials kicking or beating otherSyrians with their hands or wooden or plastic batons.
Many deportees said Turkish officials – either removal centerguards, or officials they described as "police" or "jandarma"interchangeably – used violence or the threat of violence to force them intosigning "voluntary" return forms.