On the last day of the 2018, promotions for the army generals were issued in the official gazette as presidential decree. One name attracted attention. The full general İsmail Metin Temel was promoted to a relatively minor post of the Directorate of Control and Evaluation of the General Staff. Before, Temel was holding a more active and prestigious post of the command of the second army. Like the now Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, Temel has been also building up a rising career following the failed military coup and the subsequent cleansing of the army. Temel had also come to the fore, after the presidential candidate of the opposition RPP Muharrem İnce publicly denounced the general for his unfitting applaud during a meeting with the incumbent president for his comments on the opposing candidate.
The Supreme Committee of Elections has announced the beginning of the election period calendar. According to the announcement the official period started by 1st of January. The lists for the candidates of neighborhood headmen will be open from January 4th up until January 17. The position of the political parties on the ballot paper will be decided by the official lot that will be held on 27th of January. The political parties will submit their candidate lists to the Committee on February 19; the provisional lists will be publicly announced on the 22nd and the exact lists will be available on the 3rd of March. The pre-election restrictions will take effect by 21st of March and be enforced until March 30, 6 pm.
The US president Donald Trump had announced a surprise decision regarding the US presence in Syria. The president had given the decision to withdraw from Syria. This was a surprise for both the allies like Turkey and the EU as well as the rival interests like Russia and Iran. In response to international and local critics, last week the president stated that Turkey did not like Kurds and he was not happy that the Kurds were selling little oil they have to Iran, however, he argued that the US wanted to protect the Kurds.
Meanwhile the Syria, with a strategic move had deployed its army in Menbij where previously controlled by YPG. With US’s announced withdrawal and the Syrian army’s deployment Turkey lost its grip on the city and the surroundings. Last week Kremlin’s press secretary Dmitry Petrov announced that Russia confirms that the Syrian army had actually taken control of the city.
Amid the usual rising tensions in the Aegean Sea regarding Greek defense minister Panos Kammenos’s provoking acts such as landing on disputed rock masses, the foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu warned the Greek authorities to take care of, as he called their “spoiled child.”
As a very tragic development of the week, a research assistant, working for an Ankara Foundation College, School of Law was stabbed and then shot dead by a student in her office. Hasan İsmail Hikmet, a senior student at the school attacked and killed research fellow Ceren Damar, allegedly for he had been caught cheating at a test. The failing state of universities as well as the working conditions for the lower strata young academics once again came to the public agenda by this tragic incident.
The Central Bank announced that the extraordinary general meeting that is usually held in April, will this year be held on the January 18th. Pointing out the deteriorating economic conditions the opposition also condemned the decision for being another disrupting practice contrasting the prudency of central banking. Some also argued that change of date is for channeling funds from treasury to ruling JDP’s election efforts.
The new regulation was passed allowing the establishments, more than half of the capital is publicly held to pay dividend advances within a month of the end of the financial year. Some economists interpreted the regulation as a way of channeling potential public resources for election efforts in favor of the government.
Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) announced the inflation rate for December. According to the announcement the CPI has continued to show decline. In December, the rate decreased by 0.4 per cent following a 1.44 percent decline in November. The yearly rate was 21.62 per cent in November. With the December figures, it fell to 20.3 per cent. The fell in PPI is more dramatic, however, it still scored a 33.64 per cent high in annual figures. Accordingly with the announced numbers the rise in public pension payments was also determined. The rise will be 10.19 per cent in January.
The debates on former prime minister Binali Yıldırım’s candidacy for İstanbul elections without resigning from his current post of parliamentary speaker continued throughout the week. It is argued that the main opposition, strongly arguing the act to be illegal is still hesitant to pursue legal action due to possible negative public perception of eliminating a strong candidate before voting procedures.