October 24-30, 2016.
We left a super busy week again with sour and worrisome developments.
For the ones who don’t know one of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s routines, he holds meetings with mukhtars at his awesome palace. Speaking of the palace, take a look at John Oliver’s comments about it:
Let’s get back to Mukhtars. They are officials who are heads of smallest urban administrative divisions, namely villages or/and neighborhoods in Turkey. Erdogan loves inviting mukhtars from all around Turkey and in such meetings he usually asks for vote for his former party AKP, discusses domestic and foreign policy, gossip about Obama, EU and some other people & organizations he choose and satisfies his ego with his endless moans, preaching and complaints while mukhtars simply listen and applaud Erdogan, if Erdogan can manage to keep quiet during his speeches.
Meanwhile, poor Mukhtars have to cover all travel, accommodation and clothing expenses (naturally, it is not appropriate to visit Erdogan in casual clothing), as stingy Erdogan doesn’t have budget to support these poor men who show up at the palace and function only as decoration plants. Presidency budget for 2016 was set to be around 127,000,000 Euros, while he can also use discretionary fund from which he spent 215,000,000 Euros in the first 5 months of 2016. We understand if Erdogan doesn’t have enough money, he can, at least, host mukhtars in his grand palace Aksaray that has 1150 rooms.
Anyway, last week Erdogan held another meeting with mukhtars, where he said he was the head mukhtar, and he controlled the whole Turkey. For someone who is the head of a supposedly secular and democratic republic, calling himself the head mukhtar and claiming to have control all over the country is a little weird. We love Erdogan, and he can be mukhtar anywhere he wishes, though.
We had a little bit laughter over Erdogan’s comments until the recent news we heard. He is not as funny as you think. As you know, Turkey has been in a state of emergency since the failed coup attempt last July. The assembly doesn’t have a function at all, as any law can be passed through a statutory decree. Last week, another decree was passed overnight banning 15 news agencies, newspapers and journals as part of counterterrorism. These news portals mostly cover news related to Kurdish problem in the east and southeast of Turkey, and allegedly related to PKK terrorist organization. State of emergency was announced in an attempt to cleanse and neutralize FETO (Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organization) that was claimed to be the group responsible for the failed coup attempt. Erdogan and ruling party wowed to remove FETO in government offices and the army. In the beginning, there was a huge crackdown on FETO, as many government officers, high ranked soldiers, military students and supposedly FETO members who worked at FETO related schools and private enterprises were jailed, relieved or sidelined from their duties. However, as many people expected, the ruling party and Erdogan have used the situation as a chance to wipe out any opposition left in Turkey and a new wave of witch hunt may have already started in Turkey against the opposition.
Moreover, university presidents (rectors) will be directly appointed by the president from now on, while formerly, three candidates from each university with the highest votes were presented to the President of Turkey as potential candidates, and traditionally the candidate with the highest votes were chosen as the new rector. Universities are an important part of resistance to Erdogan regime since they are spaces of free discussion and they naturally pose a threat to Erdogan’s Turkey. It seems there is nothing stopping Erdogan’s turning his authoritarian rule into a more fascist and dictatorial one.
In relation to counterterrorism, a prominent Kurdish politician as well as Mayor of Diyarbakir Metropolitan Municipality, Gulten Kisanak and co-Mayor Firat Anli were detained. As we formerly stated, the focus of state of emergency swiftly shifted from FETO organization to opposition groups. In Turkey, Kurdish politicians and citizens who don’t support AKP and Erdogan are probably the strongest opposition to Erdogan. In this regard, the potential arrest of Kisanak and Anli are hardly surprising.
An investigation was already opened against Selahattin Demirtas, Co-President of HDP’s (People Democratic Party) after his call for demonstrations in 81 districts of Turkey to protest the detainment of Kisanak and Anli.
Elsewhere, CHP’s (People Republican Party) Vice President Bulent Tezcan was assaulted by someone with a gun. Tezcan was shot on his leg by a lunatic. The attacker was caught later and he told the reporters that the handcuffs were medal of honour the state rewarded him. He believes he represents the state, namely Erdogan and AKP and we guess he is right, because, if you are not Erdoganist and AKP supporter, you deserve all sorts of punishment. No wonder, he is proud of himself.