by instituDE, published on 14 November 2022



Interior Minister Soylu: 5000 drug dealers are arrested weekly

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu announced on November7 that 5,000 drug dealers are arrested weekly. "Just yesterday, over 1,900kilograms of cannabis was seized in the province of Diyarbakir, and 95 drugdealers were apprehended in operation." minister Soylu added.

Following Soylu's latest remarks, opposition figures called him to resign, saying headmitted that the country has become a drug hub.


Nationalist ally calls ruling party's visit to HDP as a naturalstep 

PresidentErdogan's ally Nationalist Movement Party's (MHP) leader DevletBahceli  described the Justiceand Development Party's (AKP) recent visit to the Peoples' Democratic Party(HDP) to negotiate a proposed constitutional change to protect women’s right towear the headscarf as natural. 

"The amendment can be made with a consensus among parties orwith the referendum. Negotiating with the HDP for a constitutional revision isa natural step," said Bahceli.


Istanbul Mayor faces four years in prison

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu could face up to a four-year prisonsentence and a political ban, according to a prosecutor's final assessment on November11 to the court.

Mayor Imamoglu is accused of insulting Turkey's High ElectionBoard (YSK) while criticizing the board's decision to annul the Istanbulmayoral election on March 31, 2019. The Court adjourned the hearing to December14, when it is expected to hand down its judgment.




Turkey begins using rubles to pay forRussian gas


Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez announced on November8 that Turkey has partially started using rubles to pay for its natural gasimports from Russia. "In the upcoming months, the ratio of local currencypayments in energy trade with Russia will increase," Donmez added.


Erdogan dismisses deputy head of country's statistics agency

Fatih Sahin, the deputy head of the Turkish Statistical Institute,was removed from hispost by President Erdogan on November 12. He was appointed tothe position on April 25. No re-appointment has been made to his seat sofar.

Erdogan hascome under fire for frequently changing the country's economic management. Inthe last three years, Erdogan appointed three central bank governors, MuratUysal (2019-2020), Naci Ağbal (2020-2021), and the current governor ŞahapKavcıoğlu in 2021; three finance ministers, Berat Albayrak (2018-2020), LütfiElvan (2020-2021) and the incumbent minister of finance, Nureddin Nebati, in2021, along with several other top officials in charge of the economy.


Turkey plans to build a third nuclearplant in the Thrace region


"After Sinop and Akkuyu, a new location is being investigatedfor a potential third nuclear power plant in Turkey," said Energy andNatural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez.


"Nuclear energy will be prioritized as a new cleanenergy source in Europe and many developed countries. Exploration for locationsis now being conducted in the Thrace region," minister Donmez added.


Official unemployment rate surpasses 10percent with recent increase


In September, Turkey's unemployment rate increased by 0.3 percentcompared to the previous month and reached 10.1%; the Turkish StatisticalInstitute issued on November10.

The results showed a 120.000 increase in unemployed people in amonth, reaching 3.48 million.




"Turks risk losingEurope's human rights protections after court spurned" by Ali Kucukgocmen,Reuters

Turkey faces removal from the Council ofEurope (CoE), a leading human rights body, after failing to implement a 2019court ruling to release jailed businessman and philanthropist Osman Kavala.

Experts say that the CoE's Committee ofMinisters has launched infringement proceedings against Ankara that have so farstressed dialogue but could eventually see Turkey's removal or its membershipsuspended.

It is the second time that proceedingshave been launched against a member state. Ayse Isil Erguvenc Karakas, a formerECHR judge and law professor at Istanbul's Kadir Has University, said,"Turkey should never be excluded from that system. It should benefit fromthat system. I see that the Council of Europe wants the same thing. TheCommittee of Ministers could have taken a much more radical decision here, butit did not do so."

Ankara told the Committee last week thatKavala's appeal and an application with the Constitutional Court are stillpending.


UN Experts demandrelease of the Turkish medical association head

United Nations experts urged Ankara to release the head of Turkey's medical association, who wasdetained after she requested an investigation into claims that the Turkish armyused chemical weapons.

UN special rapporteurs statedthat Turkey should stop using anti-terrorism laws to intimidate human rightsadvocates.


ECHR rules Turkeyviolated the rights of HDP lawmakers 

The European Court of Human Rights(ECHR) ruled that Turkey violated the rights of 13 Peoples' Democratic Party(HDP) lawmakers. The Court decided that parliamentarians' freedom ofexpression and right to vote and be elected were violated during theirimprisonment process beginning in 2016. In addition, Turkey was ordered bythe ECHR to pay a total of 184,600 Euros in compensation to the lawmakers.

Following the judgment, the HDP issued awritten statement demanding the release of HDP politicians.


New Alevi cultural agency draws criticism from the Alevi communityand opposition

President Erdogan has created a new governmental agency toorganize cemevis, Alevi places of worship, a controversial pre-election movetargeting the Turkish Alevi community.

According to the regulation, the newentity, affiliated with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, would investigatethe requirements of the cemevis, Alevism and Bektashism. An 11-member advisorygroup will be established, and the president will select all its members.

Alevi community and opposition parties criticized the movesaying that it ignores the community's actual needs and fails torecognize Alevis as a religious community. Alevi groups gathered in front ofthe parliament on November8 to condemn the regulation.


Bakery union head arrested for 'publicly insulting theTurkish nation'

Cihan Kolivar, Chairman of the Union for Bread Producers, was imprisoned for"publicly insulting the Turkish nation." "Bread is the staple ofstupid societies. Since our society eats its fill with bread, such rulers havebeen ruling it for 20 years,” said Kolivar on a TV broadcast on November 7while discussing rising bread prices and Turkey's growing inflation.




Turkey still expects Sweden to fulfill its obligations for joiningNATO  

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson left Turkey withoutreceiving the assurances he requested in exchange for Turkey's approval ofSweden's application to join NATO.

Following their meeting on November 8 in Ankara, Turkish PresidentErdogan and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson held a press conference.Erdogan said suchclearance would not be granted until Sweden complied with its obligations underthe terms of a trilateral memorandum signed in Madrid to resolve Turkey'ssecurity concerns.

In response to Erdogan's remarks, Kristersson said, "Swedenwill fulfill all the obligations pledged to Turkey in combatting theterrorism threat.


"What Netanyahu's return means for Israel-Turkey ties"by Nazlan Ertan, Al-Monitor

Turkey is ready to maintain relations with Israel's incominggovernment provided that the Palestinians' rights and Jerusalem's status arerespected, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on November 8 yetexperts express caution over the future of bilateral ties in the aftermath ofthe Israeli elections.

Erdogan said he wanted to maintain Turkey's relations with Israelbased on "mutual respect for sensitivities and common interests"regardless of the election outcome.

Academics and politicians maintain that the new Israeli governmentwill increase risks to the fragile ties, only recently back on track afternearly a decade of tensions.

"Netanyahu's return to power poses a serious risk tonormalization. Normalization looks very much on a razor's edge. Ideally, thetwo sides will keep the momentum going through trade, tourism, academiccooperation and intelligence. Still, I cannot quite picture the presidentialvisit [Erdogan has said he would like to make] to Israel anytime soon. Nor do Isee any breakthrough in energy cooperation." said Cagri Erhan, thepresident of Istanbul-based Altinbas University.

"Netanyahu is a politician who knows Turkey well, and itwould be a mistake to assume his term would mean a return to 2018 and 2019. Weare looking at a different stack of cards, not regarding his relations withTurkey but with his Arab neighbors. All countries are also waiting to see whowill be in the coalition." said Gokhan Cinkara, a lecturer at NecmettinErbakan University.


"Taliban meets with Hamas during high-level talks inTurkey" by Joe Truzman and Bill Roggio, Foundation for Defense ofDemocracies

Last month, Taliban spokesman Zabihulla Mujahid and a delegationof Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan officials visited Turkey and met with variousforeign officials including senior members of Hamas. The Taliban's meeting withHamas and other foreign officials is likely an attempt to curry favor withTurkey's allies in a bid to persuade Ankara to establish full diplomatic tieswith Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

While Turkey has not officially recognized the Taliban, themeeting with Hamas in Istanbul should not come as a surprise. Hamas' activityin Turkey has been extensive, including fundraising and military efforts.

An al-Arabiya article citing The Times reported Hamas establishedcyber-warfare and counterintelligence operations in Istanbul. These units were largelyaimed at targeting foes such as Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

The Taliban's attempt to increase ties to Hamas is not a surprise,as the group has long expressed support for Palestinian causes in the pastwhile also explicitly stating that it would not establish diplomatic ties withIsrael.

Following the trip to Turkey, Mujahid expressed "hope"that the visit would produce aid and investment in Afghanistan.


"NATO Should Apply Turkey's Counterterrorism PrincipleAgainst Turkey" by Michael Rubin, 19FortyFive

"By forcing Swedish politicians repeatedly into submissionand servility, Erdogan signals to his followers, not only inside Turkey butalso among the sizeable diaspora community in Europe, that democracies are weakand unprincipled, while his brand of strongman rule can bring greatness.

NATO is a consensus-driven organization and it should be neitherErdogan's role unilaterally to redefine terrorism nor Kristersson's role toaffirm Erdogan's incongruence.

Rather, a better NATO response would be for each NATO member todeliver a list to Erdogan of Turks and others to extradite based on very realevidence of terrorism.

One of the main drivers of Erdogan's irrational anger at exiledjournalists is that they have exposed the extent of his, his family's, and hisadministration's ties to the Islamic State. Intelligence debriefings ofcaptured Islamic State fighters suggest that there are numerous safe houses inTurkey and sympathizers throughout Turkey's Interior Ministry and intelligenceservice. Perhaps Kristersson and NATO leaders should demand Erdogan put hisprinciple where his mouth is and extradite these individuals for trial.

NATO should respond to Erdogan's antics by applying its definitionof terrorism to Turkey, drawing up and delivering lists of radicals toextradite or imprison. Should Erdogan refuse to uphold the standard he demands,then each NATO member should designate Turkey as a terror sponsor under theirown national laws, applying whatever legislative sanctions such designationrequires."

"As liquidity problems worsen, Turkey turns to capitalcontrols and informal FX flows" by              M. Murat Kubilay, Middle East Institute

"The Turkish economy's foreign exchange (FX) liquidityproblem is getting worse. So far this year, the foreign trade deficit hasaveraged $9 billion per month, while the trade surplus from services sectorslike tourism and transportation has not been able to cover this. As a result,the current account balance, including both goods and services trade and someincome transfers, has been in the red with a monthly deficit of around $5billion. The gross FX and gold reserves of the Central Bank of the Republic ofTurkey (CBRT) total $114.2 billion, but in reality they are far less.

Turkey is greatly in need of FX flows as its short-term externaldebt is $185.9 billion and its current account deficit is expected to remain ataround $40 billion until the elections. The CBRT's reserves are insufficientand, as a result, capital restrictions are enforced to push businesses toconvert their FX assets to FX-protected debt. This mechanism works well enoughto maintain short-term stability in the currency markets.

The type of economic policies that the AKP needs to win theupcoming elections in June require more FX reserves. Capital restrictions willhelp to retain FX already in Turkey, but more will be needed.

Turkey's financial stability and industrial production willprobably be maintained until the beginning of 2023, at which point generouseconomic policies will start pushing both production and demand. For thisstrategy to be successful until the June elections, more FX resources will benecessary. The amount and timing of these resources will be key to evaluatingthe outlook for the Turkish economy in 2023 and forecasting the electionresults in June."

"Iran teaches Russia its tricks on beating oilsanctions" by Matthew Karnitschnig, Politico

"The West has been unable to beat the smokescreens Tehranuses to rake in oil income. The danger is Putin will be equally successful.

Iran is preparing to hand the Kremlin the blueprints for its mosteffective weapon against the West: the underground financial network it relieson to evade sanctions.

Iran's surreptitious financial system is built on what is known inthe country as "money exchange houses." The organizations, whichnumber in the dozens, are Iran-based clearinghouses that operate a network offront companies abroad, typically registered in China, UAE and Turkey. Thehouses are under the close supervision of the regime.

Although banks have stringent due diligence requirements to tracethe origins of funds, the Iranians have become masters at hiding where cashcomes from. Nothing on the clearing data reveals an Iran connection. Thetransactions in question often involve the same group of companies and banks,based in China, Turkey the UAE, Singapore and India, and range in value from afew thousand dollars to millions."

"China Is Playing by Turkey's Media Rules" by CagdasUngor, Carnegie Endowment ForInternational Peace

"Journalists from Turkey's state-owned Anadolu Agency haveparticipated in Chinese-sponsored press tours to Xinjiang, where Beijing hassought to undercut the Turkish narrative around abuses against the Uyghurs. Onthe other end of Turkey's polarized ideological spectrum, China has alsoappealed to left-wing opposition groups through its narratives, which emphasizethe country's anti-imperialist credentials. Such messaging strategies mayalready have produced some results in Turkey, as the most recent opinion pollsreflect a gradual increase in the number of Turkish citizens who perceive Chinaas a potential partner.

In recent years, Sino-Turkish cooperation has expanded into areasthat reflect more than the economic and commercial basis of their bilateralrelationship—most notably, media and public opinion, judicial matters, and policing.

To enable this broadened collaboration, Turkey has toned down itsprevious criticisms of the human rights situation in China's autonomousXinjiang region, even as the plight of Turkic-speaking ethnic Uyghurs hasdeteriorated after the introduction of detention centers in 2017."