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Turkey in a Week, March11th, 2019

The “Gezi” indictment was admitted by the İstanbul 30th Heavy Penal Court. Among the 16 people accused by the indictment are businessman and philanthropist Osman Kavala, journalist Can Dündar, actor Mehmet Ali Alabora. The indictment accuses the defendants with charges of attempting a coup against the government and financing the Gezi protests of 2014. The prosecutor demands aggravated life sentence for all 16 defendants. 6 defendants including Dündar and Alabora are currently out of the country and warrants have been issued for their arrest. Osman Kavala, on the other hand, has been in prison since he has been arrested on November 1st, 2017. Kavala has been in prison for more than a year waiting for the indictment.

Another businessman and former politician Cem Uzan, also living out of the country in Francewon the lawsuit against Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights regarding the frozen funds belonging to his children. The decision involves repayment of an amount of 2.1 billion dollars to Uzan family. Uzan had been sentenced to 18 years and 5 months of imprisonment and pay a punitive fine of 4 and an half billion TL for major crime of embezzlement. Accusing the decisions political and unlawful, Uzan had fled the country and also had won a number of lawsuits against the Turkish government in French courts regarding public appropriation of some of his assets in Turkey.

The State Statistical Institute announced the inflation figures for January. The CPI recorded a monthly increase of only 1.06 per cent, which is the lowest of a number of months when the prices have roared up. This figure corresponds to an annual average inflation rate of 20.35 per cent. Although this development seems to be a calming news regarding the price stability, the economists warn that the main reason behind it is the shrinking demand which corresponds to a prolonging economic recession.

One political polemic has risen in the face of coming local elections regarding the Kurdish voters. Increasing allegations coming from the ruling JDP (Justice and Development party) and its election ally NMP (Nationalist Movement Party) against the PDP (Peoples’ Democracy Party) for acting in alliance with the illegal terrorist organizations were met with the opposition’s outrage against identification of Kurdish citizens with terrorism. President Erdoğan responded by saying that he did not call PDP voters terrorists and added that he is not fool enough to call the citizens terrorists.

On the evening of March 8, thousands were on the street for celebrating the International Women’s Day in Taksim, İstanbul. The police did not allow the group to move to the square with a barricade and used pepper spray and tear gas against the protesters. President Erdoğan, during a speech for election campaign alleged the protesting group to boo the call to prayer during the protests. The protesters denied the allegation and told that the protesting cheers were only against the police barricades and against those who tried to hinder the women’s parade.


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