Tag Archives: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Turkish prosecutor killed in hostage taking

An alleged millitant from the Turkish Marxist-Leninist left wing organisation, the DHKP-C, holds a gun to the head of prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz in Istanbul on Tuesday. A Turkish prosecutor probing the politically sensitive death of an anti-government protester was taken hostage by an armed group at an Istanbul courthouse, the Dogan news agency reported.

ISTANBUL — Two members of a banned leftist group and a prosecutor they held hostage inside a courthouse in Istanbul died Tuesday after a shootout between the hostage takers and police, officials said.

Istanbul’s police chief, Selami Altinok said police had negotiated with the gunmen for six hours before the violent end of the hostage situation.

The prosecutor, identified by the state-run Anadolu Agency and state television TRT as Mehmet Selim Kiraz, was shot in the head during the standoff and rushed to hospital where doctors tried to save his life, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier Tuesday.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and hospital officials later announced he had died.

Speaking in Ankara, Davutolgu said the hostage takers have been identified and had dressed up as lawyers in order to sneak in arms inside courthouse. He did not give any other new information.

Kiraz was the prosecutor investigating the death of a teenager who was hit by a police gas canister fired during nationwide anti-government protests in 2013.

A website close to the left-wing DHKP-C group said that militants from the banned organization had taken the prosecutor hostage at midday and had given authorities three hours to meet five demands, including forcing policemen held responsible for the teenager’s killing to confess to the death.

Members of special security forces stand outside the main courthouse in Istanbul, Turkey, Tuesday. Mehmet Selim Kirazis the prosecutor investigating the death of a teenager who was hit by a police gas canister fired during nationwide anti-government protests in 2013.

The group also demanded that the policemen be tried by “peoples’ courts” and for court officials to drop prosecutions or investigations against people who took part in protests denouncing the boy’s death. The website showed a picture of someone holding a gun to a man’s head with posters from the group in the background.

Deputy Chief Prosecutor Orhan Kapici confirmed that the incident was related to Kiraz’s investigation into the boy’s death.

The DHKP-C, which seeks a socialist state, is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union.

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Survey: Official Corruption Worsens in Turkey, Improves in Egypt

Turkey’s ratings on “perceived corruption” have increased sharply, according to a new report published by a global watchdog for government transparency.

The report identifying the most and least corrupt countries in the world was published Wednesday by Transparency International. It uses a scale on which 100 represents the cleanest states and 0 the most corrupt.

The report indicates Turkey’s record had deteriorated the most precipitously this year, falling by five points to 45.

The drop reflects not only the exposing of various incidents of corruption in the Turkish governmental system, but also the rising number (Arabic link) of journalists arrested by the authorities after condemning the regime.

Earlier this year, the government of then-prime minister (now president) Recep Tayyip Erdogan blocked access to Twitter to prevent discussion of a massive corruption scandal embroiling the ruling party. Instead of addressing the scandal in a transparent fashion, Erdogan appointed cronies to the panel investigating government corruption.

On the other side, Egypt and Jordan were described in the report as countries where corruption has decreased during the last year.

Ranked the 94th least corrupt country out of 175 states, Egypt’s integrity score improved by five points in 2014. The organization said that Egypt “achieved one of the highest levels of improvement in its fight against corruption this year.”

According to this ranking, Arab Gulf countries are still the least corrupt states in the Arab world.

 The Tower.

Erdogan in no position to give lessons on democracy: Egypt

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Egypt has responded to Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s latest swipe at the Egyptian government, saying that the Turkish president has continued a “series of exaggeration and lies” about Egypt.

In his keynote address to the World Economic Forum in Istanbul on Sunday evening, Erdogan once again questioned the legitimacy of the Egyptian government. The recently elected Turkish president said: “We see that in one country where the will of the people manifested itself, those who are elected with a vote of 52% are toppled by one of the ministers in the cabinet,” in reference to the ouster of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi. He added: “That coup is legitimised by the international community.”

The Egyptian foreign ministry responded to Erdogan’s comments on Monday saying that he is “not in a position to give lessons to others about democracy and respect for human rights and appoint himself the guardian of them”.

Erdogan has been highly critical of events in Egypt since the military-backed ouster of Morsi in July 2013, publically labelling it a coup on several occasions and raising his concerns with United States President Barack Obama. Then defence minister Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi announced Morsi’s removal following mass protests calling for the Islamist president to call for early elections. Al-Sisi won a landslide victory to become president of Egypt in June.

The ministry statement discusses “the reality of things in Turkey”, pointing out that Erdogan “did not hesitate to change the political system… and change the Turkish constitution in order to continue in power for ten years to come”. The ministry said that this “cannot be described as the behaviour of democrats”.

The statement continued to describe “restrictions of freedom of opinion of expression and assembly and the use of force in dealing with political activists and peaceful demonstrators”. The ministry emphasised Erdogan’s decision to block access to social media website Twitter in Turkey last year during anti-government protests, describing it as “blatant defiance of the most elementary rules of respect for freedom of opinion”.

The Egyptian ministry also pointed out restrictions on media in Turkey, “discrimination against Kurds, frequent intervention in the work of the judiciary” and the detention of “citizens without charge for long periods of time”.

Erdogan’s comments “reflects the perspective of Mr Erdogan’s narrow ideological orientations, which is linked to intellectual and personal ambitions and illusions of the restoration of the Ottoman Empire”, according to the Egyptian ministry.

This is the second time in less than a week that Erdogan has commented on Egypt, prompting a reaction from the foreign ministry. The first incident occurred at the United Nations General Assembly, where he also questioned the legitimacy of the Egyptian government. On Sunday evening Erdogan asked the World Economic forum: “Is the UN the place where people who plot coups speak?”

Erdogan’s comments at the UN last Thursday have been condemned as interference in Egypt’s internal affairs by the United Arab Emirates and the Secretary General of the Arab League.

Egypt and Turkey downgraded diplomatic ties last November with both countries, expelling the other’s ambassador labelling them “persona non-grata” following another outburst of criticism from Erdogan.

Turkish PM’s aide granted sick leave for ‘trauma’ after kicking mine tragedy mourner

Photo taken on May 14, 2014shows a person identified by Turkish media as Yusuf Yerkel, advisor to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, kicking a protester already held by special forces police members during Erdogan’s visit to Soma, Turkey.

A top aide to the Turkish PM, Ysuf Yerkel, has been given a week’s sick leave for “leg trauma” he sustained after kicking a mourner following Turkey’s worst mining disaster in history.

A picture of Yerkel kicking a protester who was being restrained by two security force members emerged last week following the official visit of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to the town of Soma in the wake of the mining disaster on May 13.

The image caused furor on the internet from an enraged public many of whom believed the government has dealt with the tragedy in an insensitive way.

On the same day as the incident, Yerkel saw a doctor at the Anakara Ataturk Training and Research Hospital, reported Turkish news agency Hurriyet, citing a medical report. Yerkel complained of a pain in his right knee, but told Dr. Servan Gokhan that it had come about after a fall. The aide was subsequently diagnosed with soft tissue trauma and granted a week of medical leave.

“There are 10×10 cm edema, bruises and soft tissue panicula on the right knee, and bruises and soft tissue swelling on the left shoulder and front of the chest. The patient has been diagnosed with soft tissue trauma as there is sensitivity with leg and arm movements and difficulty with walking,” the medical report said.

Yerkel claims that he was acting in self-defense, and that the man whom he kicked had attacked him. He also denounced the “provocations and insults” he had received and refused to apologize to his victim.

Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (C) walks during his visit to Soma, a district in Turkey’s western province of Manisa, after a coal mine explosion May 14, 2014.

“I have been deeply saddened by the incident that occurred in Soma on May 14. I am sorry for being unable to keep calm despite all of the provocations, insults and attacks I faced on that day,” said Yerkel, according to Anadolu Agency.

Witness accounts paint a different picture of the event. Hurriyet reports that Special Forces were interrogating the man after he kicked a vehicle in the prime minister’s convoy. When Yerkel saw the scene he reportedly ran over to the man and kicked him three or four times.

An explosion caused carbon monoxide to inundate a mine in the Western town of Soma, killing at least 302 people on May 13. In the wake of the tragedy Prime Minister Erdogan promised “no stone would be left unturned” in the investigation to ascertain what caused the disaster.

“Explosions like this in these mines happen all the time. It’s not like these don’t happen elsewhere in the world,” Erdogan told mourners in Soma last week.

His words were met by public anger and mass protests across Turkey.

Allegations of negligence have been leveled at the owners of the mine who claimed that they had adhered to safety protocol. On Monday a Turkish court arrested eight people in connection with the incident, including Ramazan Dogru, general manager of Soma Coal Mining Company, and Chief Executive Can Gurkan, the son of company owner Alp Gurkan.

The last mining accident on this scale in Turkey was recorded in 1992 when a firedamp blast killed 263 in Zonguldak.

General view of a coal mine site after an explosion in Soma, a district in Turkey’s western province of Manisa May 14, 2014.

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Turkey’s Erdogan problem – Al-Monitor

Turkey‘s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

The March 30 local elections in Turkey were not really local elections but a de facto referendum on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ability to govern the country. The outcome came as “a kiss of life” for Erdogan, whose legitimacy had been in a downward spiral since May 2013 when his authoritarian attitudes fanned the Gezi Park revolt. His legitimacy took a further blow with the massive corruption probe in December, which came coupled with a slew of wiretaps leaked on the Internet that exposed the government’s dirty affairs.

But despite those enormous setbacks, the popular support lost by Erdogan in the March 30 elections was less than expected. His party had garnered some 50% of the vote in the 2011 general elections. At the local polls, the party mustered 43.3% in the municipal assemblies’ vote — the only criteria that allows for a comparison — meaning that its popularity declined only by about six percentage points.

Now, let’s see how those less-than-expected losses or more-than-expected gains have since translated on the ground.

Prior to the polls, the Gezi Park events and the ensuing corruption scandal had nourished an impression — both at home and abroad — that Erdogan’s days were numbered. But the election results showed that Erdogan is here to stay.

Prior to the polls, a wide range of dynamics — economic fragility, social polarization, the government’s conflict with the Gulen movement, its deadlocked foreign policy and international isolation — were all negative. The election result came as a “lifesaver” that psychologically relieved the beleaguered government and boosted its self-confidence. The government was now armed with the “legitimacy of the ballot box” to counter the loss of legitimacy it had suffered over the Gezi Park events and the corruption scandal.

The March 30 results revived Erdogan’s presidential prospects, which were widely considered to be dead prior to the polls.

But even though Erdogan’s election victory seems to have smoothed his political route ahead, it has failed to improve the negative dynamics mentioned above. All those grave problems remain intact despite the electoral boost he got.

What is more, Erdogan’s deficiencies in democracy, freedom and the rule of law are far from diminishing and seem to be getting even worse. The latest example came in the form of an authoritarian law, approved on April 25 by President Abdullah Gul, which gives the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) extraordinary powers over citizens and institutions, while minimizing its accountability and control.

Erdogan’s electoral boost has resulted also in a tangible increase in media censorship and pressure to silence critical journalists.

Many of the problems and adverse dynamics besieging Erdogan arise mostly from Erdogan himself. Similarly, his authoritarian policies are the primary source of Turkey’s shortcomings in democracy, freedom and rule of law.

In sum, one can conclude that Erdogan had become Turkey’s biggest problem long before the Gezi revolt, and that the March 30 elections indirectly amplified that problem, with Erdogan failing to produce solutions to the trouble he himself creates.

At the helm of a vibrant and fast-changing Turkey for as many as 12 years, Erdogan has completely lost his problem-solving capability since the Gezi revolt. His authoritarian and arbitrary approach to the problems he personally creates or exacerbates makes him the root of the problem itself. Yet, Erdogan keeps aggravating the problems and generating conflict because power makes him even more overbearing, intolerant and hubristic. The relief his government got from the March 30 outcome, it seems, will be short-lived.

On May 10, a ceremony for the 146th anniversary of the Council of State demonstrated anew that Turkey’s strongest man is its biggest problem, exposing all anomalies of the regime in an episode overladen with symbolism. Each and every moment of the drama that unfolded in Ankara underscored that Turkey is going through extraordinary times.

Gul, Erdogan, cabinet ministers, Chief of General Staff Necdet Ozel and main opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu were all seated in the front row when the head of the Union of Turkish Bar Associations, Metin Feyzioglu, took the floor. Feyzioglu began speaking by addressing the president — a show of respect to the highest-level statesman in presence. But his speech, lasting an unusual 50 minutes, was directed at Erdogan, raising the problems the premier was responsible for: crippled press freedoms, social media bans, restrictions on May Day celebrations, the MIT law, the eradication of judicial independence and the blocking of corruption probes.

Only 15 days earlier, Erdogan had faced similar criticism from Constitutional Court President Hasim Kilic, who denounced the prime minister’s and his government’s unlawful practices at a ceremony marking the tribunal’s 52nd anniversary. Erdogan and his ministers did not spare Kilic, but they waited for the ceremony to end to vent their anger.

At the Council of State, however, Erdogan’s angry shouts startled the audience just as Feyzioglu was concluding his speech. The premier was accusing the head of the bar associations of lying, ill-manners and abusing his speaking time. Gul was tugging on Erdogan’s hand, trying to calm him down.

As Feyzioglu finished his sentence, Erdogan rose from his seat and moved toward the rostrum, still shouting. Then, he turned back and gesticulated to Gul that they should leave, showing the door. While Erdogan and his aides left the hall, Gul and his entourage, who had also stood up, followed suit, joined by the army chief.

Normally, a prime minister rising from his seat and shouting at the speaker in the presence of the president — the constitutional head of the state and the executive — would have been only a show of force shattering the state protocol. But what made things worse was the prime minister inviting the president out and Gul heeding the call.

The walkout was a visual illustration of how the state protocol and hierarchy has collapsed, giving way to the real political hierarchy — the one of the “one-man regime” — in a thought-provoking show directed by Erdogan himself.

Most recently, Turkey’s Erdogan problem erupted not in an auditorium but in the streets. On May 14, protests greeted Erdogan when he visited the western town of Soma, where Turkey’s deadliest mining disaster had occurred the previous day. With the death toll climbing to 200 that day, it was only natural for Soma’s people to call the government to account for the poor supervision and negligence that caused the disaster. Moreover, in the speech he made there Erdogan implied that the grieving families should accept the tragedy as natural, arguing that death was inherent in the mining industry and citing examples of fatal accidents dating back to the 19th century. In remarks at a press conference, he also used the term “exitus cases” for the men who perished in the coal mine.

Erdogan’s comments were bound to fuel anger, as Soma’s pain was still raw. And indeed, when he emerged in the streets he faced booing and resignation calls, which forced his bodyguards to lead him into a supermarket. In the evening, the news broke that inside the supermarket, the Turkish republic’s prime minister had slapped a citizen of his country in the face.

A young man, Taner Kuruca, claimed he had come for shopping when he suddenly came face to face with the prime minister, who gave him a slap. He added he was not planning to sue Erdogan. Footage of the incident clearly shows Erdogan grabbing Kuruca by the neck with both hands and saying “Where are you running!” His bodyguards are then seen brutally beating the man.

In the meantime, another image from Soma made the rounds across the world, showing Erdogan’s adviser Yusuf Yerkel kicking a protester already overpowered on the ground by two special-forces police.

Erdogan’s callous, intolerant, arrogant and detached response to protests and criticism — supposedly the most natural freedoms in a democracy — show that Turkey’s biggest problem is growing even bigger.

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Turkey mine fire: Image of aide kicking Soma protester stokes anger

Yusuf Yerkel, an aide to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, kicks a person who is being wrestled to the ground by two police officers during protests in Soma, Turkey, on Wednesday, May 14.

Soma, Turkey (CNN) — The image of an aide to Turkey‘s Prime Minister kicking a man protesting the mine disaster that has claimed nearly 300 lives has prompted outrage — and has become a symbol of the anger felt against the government.

The incident occurred as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the western city of Soma a day after the devastating mine fire.

The man, detained by special forces, can be seen lying on the ground as the suited adviser to Erdogan, identified as Yusuf Yerkel by Turkish media and CNN Turk, aims a kick at him.

The shocking image outraged many in Turkey, prompting an outpouring of anger on social media, and is seen as symbolizing the increasingly polarizing impact of Erdogan’s authority on the country.

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Violent protest clashes in Turkey after mine blast kills over 280

Riot police run away from the flames of a fire bomb thrown by protesters as they demonstrate to blame the ruling AK Party (AKP) government on the mining disaster in western Turkey, in Ankara May 14, 2014.

Riot police run away from the flames of a fire bomb thrown by protesters as they demonstrate to blame the ruling AK Party (AKP) government on the mining disaster in western Turkey, in Ankara May 14, 2014.

Clashes have erupted across Turkey as residents rally in anger at a mining accident which killed 282 people in the western Turkish town of Soma on Tuesday. Eight hundred marched on Ankara’s Energy Ministry as police fired tear gas and water cannon.

Nearly 450 miners have been rescued in the efforts.

Violent protests have been reported in Soma itself, where relatives of the dead miners are unleashing their anger at Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“Those who keep up with privatization… policies, who threaten workers’ lives to reduce costs… are the culprits of the Soma massacre and they must be held accountable,” Turkey’s Public Workers Unions Confederation (KESK) said on its official website. The body is one of the major national trade union centers in the country, representing 240,000 employees.

PM Erdogan visited Soma, the site of the disaster, on Wednesday. There, he was confronted with a spontaneous protest with locals booing and whistling at him as he made statements regarding the disaster at a news conference.

Erdogan visited Soma, the site of the disaster, on Wednesday.

“We have witnessed one of the biggest industrial accidents in our recent history… We as a nation of 77 million are experiencing very great pain,” he said at a news conference.

He promised that investigations will be launched into the accident, but he rejected claims that the government was to blame.

Riot police fire plastic paintball gun pellets to disperse protesters during a demonstration blaming the ruling AK Party (AKP) government for the mining disaster in western Turkey, in central Istanbul May 14, 2014.

“Explosions like this in these mines happen all the time. It’s not like these don’t happen elsewhere in the world,” he said.

Erdogan said that at least 120 might still be trapped. Reports from rescue workers on the scene say the figure could be higher, said AFP. Seven hundred and eighty-seven workers had been inside the Soma mine when the explosion hit a power unit.

Proteters run from Turkish police‘s tear gas in Ankara on May 14, 2014 during a demonstration gathering hundreds after more than 200 people were killed in an explosion at a mine.

The PM was soon confronted by a spontaneous protest, with locals booing and whistling at him as he made statements regarding the disaster at a news conference. Some locals were chanting “Erdogan resign.”

Erdogan was forced to shelter in a local supermarket to escape the enraged crowds.

Clashes also erupted in Istanbul, 480km northeast of Soma where police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse several thousand demonstrators. People were gathering in the city subway and outside the headquarters of the company which owns the mine. Graffiti alleging that the company had committed murder was daubed on the walls of the Soma Holdings office, while others painted their faces black in solidarity with the miners.

A fire is seen in a street of Ankara on May 14, 2014, during a demonstration gathering hundreds after more than 200 people were killed in an explosion at a mine

In Ankara, between 3,000 and 4,000 people marched on the energy ministry yelling anti-government slogans and hurling rocks. Law enforcers responded by deploying tear gas and water cannon against the protesters.

The company stood accused of sacrificing safety for the sake of profit.

This mining corporation came out and talked about how successful they were. And then what happened? Together with this explosion, we’ve seen that no precautions were taken, the lives of the workers were not valued, and their lives were put in danger for more profit,” protester Emre Erkaslan told AP.

Riot police fire tear gas against protesters as they demonstrate to blame the ruling AK Party (AKP) government on the mining disaster in western Turkey, in Ankara May 14, 2014.

Thousands of relatives of the miners gathered outside the town’s hospital searching for information on their loved ones.

“We haven’t heard anything from any of them. Not among the injured, not among the list of dead,” a local woman, Sengul, told Reuters, “It’s what people do here, risking their lives for two cents … They say one gallery in the mine has not been reached, but it’s almost been a day.”

Meanwhile, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz declared that the accident was likely to be the country’s worst ever mining disaster.

The cause of the fire is not yet clear, according to an emailed statement from the mine’s operator, Soma Komur Isletmeleri. However, “the subsequent spread of carbon monoxide is, unfortunately, the reason for the loss of life,” according to the statement.

Turkey’s last worst mining accident in recent years was a gas explosion in 1992 near the Black Sea port of Zonguldak, which left some 270 workers dead. Since then, Turkey has witnessed to several mining accidents.

Proteters clash with Turkish police in Ankara on May 14, 2014 during a demonstration gathering hundreds after more than 200 people were killed in an explosion at a mine.

Proteters clash with Turkish police in Ankara on May 14, 2014 during a demonstration gathering hundreds after more than 200 people were killed in an explosion at a mine.

Protesters run away from water canon fired by the riot police during a demonstration blaming the ruling AK Party (AKP) government for the mining disaster in western Turkey, in central Istanbul May 14

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Turkey heading to totalitarian regime, main opposition CHP leader says

Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (2R) speaks during a meeting with foreign media members in Istanbul on May 2. CHP deputy chairs Faruk Loğoğlu (R) adn Gürsel Tekin (2L) and CHP Istanbul provincial head Oğuz Kaan Salıcı (L) were also present at the meeting.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (2R) speaks during a meeting with foreign media members in Istanbul on May 2. CHP deputy chairs Faruk Loğoğlu (R) adn Gürsel Tekin (2L) and CHP Istanbul provincial head Oğuz Kaan Salıcı (L) were also present at the meeting.

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said the country is heading to a totalitarian regime, referring to the pressures on the press in Turkey during a meeting with foreign media members in Istanbul on May 2.

“Turkey is heading rapidly toward a totalitarian regime. One cannot speak of democracy in a country if there is no freedom of the press. The bans on Twitter, YouTube, the pressure on the newspapers and TV channels are unacceptable,” said Kılıçdaroğlu upon a question at the meeting in Istanbul.

Recalling that May 3 is World Press Freedom Day, Kılıçdaroğlu said Turkey is passing through a pressure regime which has practices fiercer than that of the times of the military coup.

“There are 44 journalists in jail today. Around 1,150 journalists have lost their jobs in past five years. We see practices harsher than those of the military rulers in this country,” said Kılıçdaroğlu in his address to foreign journalists.

The main opposition leader, however, voiced optimism over the end of his party’s struggle against totalitarianism.

“This is a difficult struggle. But I am sure of one thing: We will win in the end. An oppressive regime has never been successful in history. Societies have paid the price and we are ready to pay the price on this road,” said Kılıçdaroğlu during the meeting.

CHP deputy chair Gürsel Tekin, CHP deputy chair Faruk Loğoğlu, CHP deputy chair Sezgin Tanrıkulu, CHP deputy Şafak Pavey and CHP Istanbul provincial head Oğuz Kaan Salıcı were also present at the meeting held at a hotel in Istanbul’s Taksim neighborhood.

Kılıçdaroğlu said that there is no freedom in a country if people are not allowed to hold their celebrations at the place they want to, referring to the banning of Taksim Square to unionists on May 1. “There was martial law in Istanbul yesterday [May 1]. Workers should be allowed to celebrate their day wherever they want to. Besides, Taksim has a symbolic meaning for the workers,” said Kılıçdaroğlu criticizing the government’s efforts in blocking Taksim to workers and unions on May 1.

Presidential elections

Kılıçdaroğlu told foreign media members that the CHP will nominate the candidate who will get the most votes from the voters of other parties in the second round of the presidential elections scheduled for August.

“All parties will nominate their own candidates in the first round of the elections. This will have advantages and disadvantages. We believe that our candidate should be able to get votes from the voters of other parties in the second round,” said Kılıçdaroğlu.

He also criticized the fact that the debates over the presidential elections are reduced to one point, whether Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan or current President Abdullah Gül will run.

“We should discuss what characteristics our president should have. It is very dangerous if someone who is not acquitted in the court from the allegations against him becomes president. This will be a legitimization of the corruption,” said Kılıçdaroğlu referring to the recent corruption probe opened against high-profile names, including the sons of three former ministers.

Kılıçdaroğlu said the Erdoğan’s recent statement offering condolences to the relatives of the victims of the 1915 incidents should be seen as a humane act.

“It is very humane to give a statement of condolence to those who died during the 1915 incidents. All of these people who lost their lives were Ottoman citizens. We have already stated our opinion about the prime minister’s statement,” said Kılıçdaroğlu referring to Loğoğlu’s remarks that said these statements should have been said earlier regarding the issue.

Upon a question about a probe opened against Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who is in self-exile in the U.S., Kılıçdaroğlu said if there is any structure that damages the state, it should be tried before the court. However, Kılıçdaroğlu also stated that the rift between the Gülen movement and government is mainly caused by the fact that Erdoğan is attempting to create an enemy because “dictators tend to create enemies.” He also said it is ridiculous for Erdoğan to say that the Gülen movement has ruled the country for 12 years.

May/02/2014 via – hurriyetdailynews.

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In First, Erdogan Sues Own Country Over Twitter Free-Speech Rulings

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Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News over the weekend characterized the country’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as having broken new legal ground after the Turkish leader applied for damages from the Turkish state as part of an ongoing controversy related to Twitter:

The move has been described as a “first of its kind” by the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) head Metin Feyzioğlu, who said the prime minister of Turkey had never before filed a lawsuit against the state.

“There is no precedent for the Prime Minister of the Turkish Republic to sue the Turkish Republic and demand compensation. This is happening for the first time,” said Feyzioğlu.

Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) had banned access to both Twitter and YouTube on the eve of recent nationwide elections, a move that was widely seen as aimed at dampening discussions of a massive graft scandal that had ensnared top AKP elites including Erdogan and his family.

The bans drew global ridicule and triggered a diplomatic crisis with Europe, and were promptly overturned by Turkish courts on free speech grounds (the government restored access to Twitter but YouTube has remained unreachable). Erdogan’s lawsuit appears to claim that the Turkish state allowed Twitter to continue being accessible, and Twitter violated his privacy rights by linking to purported recordings of him discussing how to hide vast sums of money, and so the Turkish state violated his privacy rights and owes him damages.

Legal scholars interviewed by various Turkish outlets expressed skepticism regarding the soundness of the legal theory. Nonetheless two anonymous Twitter accounts that posted links to the conversations were apparently suspended in the immediate aftermath of Erdogan’s court application:

Twitter last week agreed to comply with a Turkish government request to close some accounts that officials said had breached national security or privacy regulations.

The two accounts – Haramzadeler and Bascalan – each had more than 400,000 followers, who now see only a red circle with a line through it and cannot access any tweeted material.

 The Tower.

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Turkey’s Erdogan Says Lifting of Twitter Ban Should Be Overturned

ANKARA — Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday a constitutional court ruling lifting a ban on Twitter was wrong and should be overturned.

“The constitutional court’s ruling on Twitter did not serve

justice. This ruling should be corrected,” Erdogan told a parliamentary meeting of his AK Party.

Access to Twitter was blocked on March 21 in the run-up to local elections, but Turkey’s telecoms authority lifted the two-week-old ban last Thursday after the court ruled that the block breached freedom of expression.

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