Poll: The public should decide opposition's presidential candidate
A poll conducted by MetroPoll Research asked citizens about how theopposition alliance should choose its presidential candidate for the upcomingelections scheduled in June 2023.
61.1 percent of respondents said, "thedecision should be based on the public's choice." 20percent said that the opposition alliance, which consists of theRepublican People's Party, Good Party, Felicity Party, DemocraticParty and Democracy and Progress Party, should make a choice.
Meral Aksener, the leader of the right-wing opposition Good Party,stated on December 2 that the opposition's presidential candidate should appealto all Turkish voter groups and should make an effort to get the supportof the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) voters.
Opposition parties propose a newconstitution draft
On November 28, the opposition alliance announced its newconstitution draft for the "Strengthened Parliamentary System" inAnkara, with the participation of six opposition party leaders.
The draft concerns 84 articles and 9 titles of the constitution,including the legislation, execution, judiciary, and fundamental rights andfreedoms.
Some significant changes include reducing the national electoralthreshold from 7 percent to 3 percent, electing the president of the republic forjust one term and seven years, and enabling the decisions of the HighElection Board (YSK) to be subject to an appeal before theConstitutional Court.
Prosecutor seeks life sentence for opposition politician for'espionage' charges
At a closed hearing on November 29 in Ankara, the prosecutor demanded a lifesentence for Metin Gurcan, a founding member of the Democracy and Progress(DEVA) Party.
Gurcan is accused of espionage for providing information todiplomatic missions that could not be obtained through open sources. Gurcandenied the accusations, saying that he obtained all the information for hisreports from open sources.
The next hearing will be held on March 9, 2023.
Turkish government banks on Gulffinancial support to save economy
Turkey's external debt maturing over the next 12 months amounts tosome $185 billion, while its current account deficit reached $38 billion in thefirst eight months. Both problems are seen as hard to surmount. Also, Turkey'srisk premium - reflected in credit default swaps that determine the cost ofinsuring exposure to a country's sovereign debt - has largely decoupled fromthose of peer countries, hovering between 500 and 600 basis points. This leadsmany to conclude that the country will struggle to borrow from foreign markets.The downturn in foreign direct and portfolio investments compounds the viewthat great trouble is looming for Turkey in securing the foreign currency itneeds. So, the argument goes, growing pressure on the lira and a fresh pricestorm are inevitable.
Such arguments, however, fail to adequately reflect how Erdogan'sgovernment has put pressure on companies and banks to curb dollarization andused non-economic channels to secure foreign funds.
Turkish main opposition leader unveils new economic vision
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition RepublicanPeople's Party (CHP), revealed a new economic vision,on December 3, for Turkey's economic recovery, which he announced as "Acall for the Second Century."
Kilicdaroglu claimed that in the first 3 years of his rule, atleast 100 billion dollars of direct investment would come to Turkey, and thatthey would receive at least 75 billion dollars from various investment funds inthe world.
Kilicdaroglu appointed eminent economists as his counsellorsearlier this week as the "brain squad beyond politics."
"Turkish Economy Stumbles, Risks Worse Pre-ElectionDownswing", by Baris Balci, Bloomberg
Turkey's economy fared worse than forecast as it grew at theslowest pace since a contraction at the height of the global pandemic in 2020,a downswing likely to alarm President Erdogan ahead of elections next year.
While the loss of momentum helps explain the urgency behind thecentral bank's shock resumption of interest-rate cuts in August, the unorthodoxapproach is also feeding inflation that's increasingly taking a toll on theeconomy. When adjusted for working days and seasonal variations, GDP shrank0.1% in the third quarter from the previous three months.
Even with easing growth, inflation will remain a bigger concernfor the economy. The central bank's loose monetary policy stance will take atoll on the currency and feedback into inflation. We see expansionary policiesin the lead up to the mid-2023 elections boosting demand and adding to pricegains.
The government is likely to look at various measures to revive theeconomy ahead of elections that should be held by June. A much-anticipatedincrease in the minimum wage, expected to be announced in December, may providehouseholds with an extra breather against inflation.
Report: Seventy-threeprisoners died in prison in Turkey
At least 73 prisoners, including threewomen, died in Turkish prisons between December 1, 2021, and December 1, 2022,according to a report prepared by Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker and human rightsactivist Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu,
The authorities reported 34 death casesas suicide which Gergerlioglu called "suspicious deaths."Gergerlioglu emphasized that prisoners lose their lives as there are nosufficient means of physical or psychological treatment.
Turkey, Egypt intelligence delegations meet after leaders'handshake
Following a handshake between Turkish President Erdogan andEgypt's President al-Sisi on the sidelines of the World Cup in Qatar,intelligence officials from the two countries met in Egypt over the weekend,according to Reuters.
Reuters also quoted a senior Turkish official as saying thatnegotiations between the two countries are about to start on military,political and commercial issues.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters onNovember 28 that Ankara and Cairo may re-appoint ambassadors and resume fulldiplomatic relations "in coming months."
Sources claim Syria's Assad resists meeting Erdogan
Three sources stated on December 2 that Syria resists Russianefforts to mediate a summit with President Erdogan of Turkey.
However, two Turkish sources denied that Damascus was holdingup negotiations and claimed that everything was proceeding as planned for theleaders' meeting.
The Syrian sources also claim that Damascus is skeptical about themeeting as such a meeting could boost Erdogan's votes ahead of theTurkish elections next June when considering Ankara's desire to send someof the 3.6 million Syrian refugees back to their country.
Turkey anticipates a "clearpicture" of the Ukraine-Russia conflict by spring
At a forum in Rome on December 2, Turkish Foreign Minister MevlutCavusoglu stated that hehopes for a "clear picture" regarding the conflict in Ukraine byspring. While the Kremlin announced that Russian President VladimirPutin was open to talks, Cavusoglu said Turkey would maintain its efforts toadvance the negotiations.
Turkey seeks understanding from the US for Syria operation
On December 1, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar asked the USto demonstrate understanding over a possible Turkish military operation inSyria, following Washington's "strong opposition" to such a move.
"The US asked us to reconsider our decision. We expressed ourconcerns and sensitivities and insisted that they should understandour concerns," Akar told reporters.
"Iran Is Filling Armenia's Power Vacuum" by GabrielGavin, Foreign Policy
Despite Yerevan's membership in the Moscow-led Collective SecurityTreaty Organization (CSTO) military bloc, Russia has so far refused Armenia'scalls to intervene. Iran, meanwhile, seems more than eager to fill the powervacuum and open another front against Azerbaijan and its backer, Turkey, whichIran has long mistrusted and seen as a potential rival in the region.
Iran has long opposed any changes to the status quo along itsnorthern border, in part because it doesn't want Turkey, Azerbaijan'slong-standing ally, to expand its influence near its own borders. "Ifthere is an effort to block the border between Iran and Armenia, the IslamicRepublic will oppose it because this border has been a communication route forthousands of years," the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei,warned in July at a meeting with Turkish President Erdogan.
"Tehran doesn't want Turkey to militarize or securitize thatcorridor, and they don't want it to become nonnegotiable for Azerbaijan. Ithink that's what the consulate opening is trying to achieve," saidHussein Banai, an associate professor at Indiana University Bloomington whospecializes in the region. "Iran is stepping up now because its leadersdon't feel Russia is doing enough to keep everyone in check."
Iran's interests in maintaining the status quo, Huseynov added,come from its fears that "when the conflict with Armenia is over,Azerbaijan will be strong enough to be more attractive for Iran's Azeris andpose a danger for Iran's own security." For Tehran, Baku is apparentlyless of a threat if it continues to have a deeply entrenched domestic conflicton its own soil—and doesn't have the capacity to build bridges with itswould-be countrymen across the border.
"Syrian Kurdish commander slams US response to Turkishattacks as US diplomats evacuated from Syria" by Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor
Al-Monitor has learned that all US civilian staff, includingdiplomats, have been evacuated to Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region ofIraq, as Turkey continues to target SDF assets as well as critical civilianinfrastructure, notably oil installations, power plants and grain silos.Medical facilities have also been hit.
Al Jazeera and al-Araby al-Jadeed reported [on November 29] thatRussia was seeking to convince Damascus and the SDF to withdraw its fightersfrom Tell Rifaat to prevent a Turkish ground offensive. Turkey has given Moscow"more time" to broker such an agreement, the Arab media outletsreported.
Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) forces were meantto leave Tell Rifaat and Manbij under the Sochi accord. But Ankara insists theynever did and use Tell Rifaat to launch attacks against Turkish forces insideAfrin, the Kurdish-majority city that Turkey occupied in 2018.
But Iran, the other big stakeholder in Syria and unmentioned inthe reports, would also need to be persuaded. Kobane's tone suggested the SDFwas in no mood to cede further territory.