Turkish Media Highlights — Nov. 8, 2017
— President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lambasted Chamber of Architects over their criticism of government plan to reconstruct a cultural center in Istanbul’s Taksim Square. He said the cultural center would be finished by 2019. He also harried critics and said: You could only find the green in cemeteries in Istanbul. If you are looking for trees, go to Karacaahmet Cemetery.
— After Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli lamented about 10 percent of electoral threshold, deeming it as too high, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Bulent Tezcan renewed his party’s opposition to the existence of any threshold. But if there would be, he said on Wednesday, it would be set as 3 percent.
— Journalist Gokmen Ulu who was arrested in the aftermath of the 2016 coup attempt was released on Wednesday. He is working for the Sozcu daily.
— Workers Killed In Factory Blast. Five workers have died and 16 wounded after an explosion ravaged a paint factory in the Western province of Bursa on Wednesday. A blast in steam boiler shook the entire building, causing a massive material damage as well as casualties among shell-shocked workers.
–Documents Belie Prime Minister. After Prime Minister Binali Yildirim claimed that his sons have never worked for public-related projects when leaked Paradise Papers revealed his sons have five off-shore companies registered in Malta, the documents indeed show that his family enjoyed lucrative deals and got sealed a government contract just six months ago.
— Independent Journalist Ahmet Sik has been released on a trial launched five years ago when he said prosecutors and judges who ordered his 2012 detention would go to jail one day.
–Istanbul Appeals Court confirmed six months prison sentence for Barbaros Sansal over charges of insulting the Turkish nation the Turkish state when he posted a critical video on social media during New Year’s Eve.
–European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) last time gave additional time to obtain defense from the Turkish government over the imprisonment of Die Welt reporter Deniz Yucel.
— Tesla’s founder Elon Musk met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara. He is expected to join Global SetShow, which scheduled to take place in Turkey on November 9 and 10.
–Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli showed signs of panic after polls suggesting sharp decline for his party’s standing following the establishment of a rival nationalist party by a former MHP lawmaker. Mr. Bahceli who long championed high election threshold now seeks lowering it. He said 10 percent threshold is too high.
— Hundreds of college students protested the establishment of Higher Education Board (YOK), which is regulating universities and higher education. The YOK was found by the military regime in 1983 and since then has solidified political control over the affairs of universities. Students vowed to protect universities against what they say President Erdogan’s scheme to transform them in line with his party’s ideology.
–European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) extended time to get defense from the Turkish government over the imprisonment of pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP). Lawyers for jailed HDP lawmakers brought their cases to the Strasbourg-based court.
The court accepted the application and demanded defense from Ankara over the conditions that led to arrests of more than a dozen of HDP deputies in Parliament who are still in prison.
–The Turkish government has allocated 35 percent of its total education budget next year to religious education. Turkish Parliament approved a budget plan proposing 92.528 billion Turkish Lira for Education Ministry. Out of that money, more than 19 billion TL will be spent for religious education, 2018 budget spending planning of the ministry shows according to Parliament records.
A medical expert claims that political atmosphere in Turkey facilitates and fosters the surge in numbers of suicide cases as more and more people commit suicide during the emergency rule.
Top advisor of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called the U.S. and Turkey military units in Syria “invaders.” The U.S. and the Turkish troops are illegal invader forces on Syrian territory and Syria will “deal with” them, Bouthaina Shaaban told media.
Hurriyet Daily News
— Gasoline prices in Turkey saw the third rise within past 15 days. With a 13 kurus rise in prices, the hike will go into effect on Nov. 9.
The prices saw a 12 kurus hike on Oct. 30 and a 9 kurus hike on Oct. 25.
–The dollar rose to 3.9 against the lira in the noon of Nov. 8, making the lira the worst-hit emerging currency, although it eased slightly to 3.89 in the afternoon.