Great Turkey is the bridge between Europe and
Asia. Where the Mediterranean meets the Black Sea, the
old cultural city of Istanbul is strategically located
on two continents. Most of the country belongs to West
Asia, but Turkey counts for Europe. However, the wait
for EU membership seems to be long. Turkish politics is
characterized by a power struggle between secular state
ideology Kemalism and the ruling Islamist Conservative
Party AKP. During the 2010s, the AKP has emerged as
increasingly authoritarian and democracy has eroded.
Brief profiles of Turkey, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
On the surface, Turkey is slightly larger
than Sweden and Norway together. The country is usually
considered to be Europe, although it is mostly in West
Asia. The traditional border between the continents goes
straight through the big city of Istanbul.
Turkey's core country - the peninsula of Anatolia,
also called Asia Minor - protrudes from the Asian
continent in the direction of Europe, between the Black
Sea to the north and the Mediterranean to the south.
The Black Sea and the Mediterranean are connected by
two narrow channels, the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles,
as well as the intermediate Lake Marmara. The Sound
forms a natural border between Anatolia and the small
European part of Turkey in the Balkans. By the Bosphorus
lies Turkey's largest city, Istanbul, formerly called
Constantinople and before that Byzantion, or Byzantium.
The city was built on the European side, but now covers
a large area on both sides of the strait. The capital
Ankara is located in the inland of Anatolia.
Irregular mountain ranges cut in all directions
through the landscape which has an average elevation of
about 1000 meters. However, on the coast towards the
Aegean Sea to the west and the eastern part of the
Mediterranean there are also large, fertile lowland
areas. The highest mountains are to the east, including
the more than 5,000 meters high Ararat, (Büyük Ağrı dağı),
where Noah's Ark according to the Bible stranded after
The Euphrates (Fırat) and Tigris (Dicle) rivers flow
into eastern Turkey. The largest lake Van contains salt
water. The vegetation in the hinterland is mostly
sparse. In Anatolia's interior and in the east there are
lava deserts and salt marshes. In most parts of Turkey,
earthquakes can occur.
There are major differences in climate between
different parts of Turkey. Along the coasts to the west
and south, the Mediterranean climate prevails with hot,
dry summers and mild, rainy winters. Inland, the climate
is continental with hot, dry summers and cold, sunny
winters. While the summer temperature in the southeast
often exceeds 40 degrees, some areas in the east have
winter temperatures of down to 30 minus degrees and four
months of snow cover. The Black Sea coast is the
rainiest part of the country. The annual rainfall varies
from 200 mm in parts of central Turkey to over 2,000 mm
in mountainous regions in the east.
779 452 km2 (2018)
Swedish + 1 hour
Adjacent country (s)
Greece, Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan (Nachichevan
exclave), Iran, Iraq, Syria
Capital with number of inhabitants
Ankara ca 5 504 000 (2018) 1
Other major cities
Istanbul 15 677 000 (2018), Izmir 4 320 000 (2018),
Bursa 2 994 000 (2018), Antalya 2 426 000 (2018)
Ararat (5 137 m asl)
Euphrates, Tigris, Kızılırmak, Büyük Menderes,
- with suburbanSources
Turkish criticism of Greek asylum decision
Turkey criticizes Greek authorities' decision to grant political asylum to a
helicopter pilot who brought seven Turkish soldiers to Greece after the Turkish
coup attempt in July 2016. The issue has created tensions between Turkey and
Greece. President Erdoğan has requested that the man and the seven military be
extradited to Turkey. The asylum decision has been taken by Greek authorities
who believe that the man's human rights would be in danger of extradition to
Turkey. A Greek judge says there is no evidence that the helicopter pilot had
been involved in the coup attempt. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says that
the asylum decision should be set aside and that the Greek government should
appeal the case to the Court of Appeal.
Violence decrees receive fierce criticism
The government issues a decree that states that people who have protected the
state by force in connection with the coup attempt in July 2016 can avoid
punishment, and in addition, the decision gives impunity in similar future
situations. The decree is met by a flood of criticism from, among other
opposition parties and lawyers, who fear it will unleash street violence and
brutal revenge campaigns.
Places after dismissal must be filled
Another 2 756 military, academics and other public sector employees lose
their jobs, designated for links to terrorism. 17 institutions, including two
newspapers, are forced to close. But on the same day, the government announces
that 110,000 people will be hired in 2018. Since the coup attempt in 2016, more
than 140,000 have been laid off and 55,000 arrested, usually accused of being
linked to the Gülen movement.
Purchase of Russian robots negotiated
Russia states that the details of Turkey's purchase of anti-aircraft robots
are clear. Deliveries of the system will begin at the end of 2019. The arms
deal, valued at $ 2 billion, is considered to be the most important nation in
Turkey so far, with a country outside the Western military alliance.
Driverless trains in Istanbul
Istanbul's first driverless subway line is inaugurated by President Erdoğan,
who previously served as mayor of the city. The line runs on the Asian side of
the Bosphorus, which during Erdoğan's time as ruler has, among other things,
been provided with a new bridge and two tunnels under the strait. Large
investments in infrastructure continue, including Istanbul's third airport soon
to be completed.
Streets change names
Nearly 200 streets in Istanbul will be renamed, reports Anatolia News Agency.
Names are disappearing which may in some way bring to the mind of President's
rival Fethullah Gülen, designated as a coup maker, or to his business. The
streets are given new names after people who became heroes when the coup attempt
2016 was defeated.
Calling for support for Palestinians
13th of December
Leaders of member countries of the Islamic Conference (OIC), gathered for a
meeting in Turkey, urge the countries of the world to recognize Jerusalem as the
capital of Palestine. The call for a Turkish initiative is a response to Donald
Trump's announcement that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's
capital and will begin preparing to move its embassy from Tel Aviv. Before the
OIC, President Mahmud Abbas affirmed the Palestinians' position that the United
States can no longer act as a peacemaker with credibility.
Party leader heavily employed
A court decides that the leader of the pro-Kurdish party HDP, Selahattin
Demirtaş, who was arrested in 2016, should be detained. Opposition party CHP
leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also has problems with the judiciary: prosecutors are
investigating allegations that he insulted and slandered the president and his
Dissatisfaction with Jerusalem plans
The announcement that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's
capital and should move its embassy there raises protests. In recent years,
Turkey has mostly had good relations with Israel, but President Erdoğan now
threatens to freeze diplomatic relations. The Jerusalem issue, Israel's power
over the holy places, is a "red line" for Muslims, Erdoğan has declared.
Arrest warrant against American
An arrest warrant is issued against American Graham Fuller, who previously
served as chief of part of the CIA intelligence service. Fuller admitted in a
newspaper interview that he wrote a letter of recommendation for Fethullah
Gülen, who is accused by President Erdoğan of the coup attempt in 2016. The
letter must have been written when Gülen applied for a residence permit in the
United States. Turkey has long been demanding that Gülen be extradited.
State bank in sanction
In a US court, a well-known Turkish-Iranian gold trader, arrested on his way
to Disney World in Florida, testifies that he has paid bribery at the
ministerial level in Turkey. The corruption scandal was unveiled in Turkey in
2013 and led to resignations, but the aftermath in the US is that there were
violations of US sanctions against Iran and that the sanctions were circumvented
with the help of state Turkish Halkbank. The trial provokes dissatisfaction in
Turkey, which within a few days announces that the gold trader and 22 relatives
will have their assets seized in the context of an ongoing investigation.
28 soldiers sentenced to life imprisonment accused of trying to take over an
airport in the Asian part of Istanbul during the coup attempt 2016. At the same
time, raids are reported in 49 cities by 360 wanted people, most militants, who
are identified as supporters of President Erdogan's rival exiller Fethullah
Migrants were held captive
In Istanbul, police release 57 migrants from Pakistan who have been held
captive by human traffickers and in some cases tortured. As a gateway to Europe,
the city attracts large numbers of migrants who are at risk of abuse.
Amnesty chief in detention
A Istanbul court decides that the human rights organization Amnesty
International's Turkey chief will remain detained. The amnesty representative
was arrested in June and accused of having links with ex-ex-Fethullah Gülen,
whom President Erdoğan sees as responsible for the coup attempt in July 2016.
The EU is reducing its support
An agreement on the next EU budget includes reduced support for Turkey and
the freezing of some previously granted. The EU is concerned by the stringent
measures taken in Turkey since the failed coup in 2016, including mass
redundancies by government employees. An estimated 50,000 arrested since the
coup attempt are also EU citizens.
Nature-proof to Turkey
The NATO military alliance apologizes to the member state of Turkey. During
an exercise in Norwegian Stavanger, representatives of the Turkish state were
portrayed as enemies, which prompted Turkey to take home its 40 participants
from the exercise.
Transport corridor is set up
Turkey is one of five countries agreed to establish a transport corridor
between Europe (Istanbul) and Afghanistan. The other three countries are
Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. They call their cooperation, which
includes customs regulations, for the Lapis lazuli corridor, named after a
valuable blue stone.
Germans remain in prison
A German citizen who has been imprisoned in Turkey is released but is not
allowed to leave the country. A week earlier, German human rights activist Peter
Steudtner and Swedish IT consultant Ali Gharavi were released and allowed to go
home. When arrested, they were charged with terrorist offenses. Nine Germans
remain in prison, and dual citizenship can complicate the situation. Turkish and
German Foreign Ministers meet in Antalya for meetings called informal talks.
Religious wedding ceremonies
President Erdoğan signs a disputed law that gives state employees religious
representatives the right to execute and register marriages. Critics believe the
decision undermines Turkey's secular constitution.
One after another, the mayors of big cities have resigned at the request of
President Erdoğan. Elections will be held in 2019 and according to reports,
Erdoğan wants to increase the AKP's popularity by rejuvenating the leadership.
First Kadir Topbaş resigned in Istanbul, but also Ankaras mayor Melih Gökçek and
Recep Altepe in the industrial city of Bursa are among those who have been
allowed to go. In the April referendum to expand the president's power, the
downside in both Ankara and Istanbul won.
25 life sentences for the coup attempt
A court sentenced 25 people to life imprisonment for participating in the
coup attempt in July 2016. Among them is a former commander of the Coast Guard.
Three people who have been prosecuted in the same trial are acquitted.
Ex-minister forms new party
Former Interior Minister Meral Akşener forms a new opposition party and is
expected to challenge President Erdoğan in the 2019 presidential election.
Akşener was excluded from the Nationalist Party MHP in September 2016 after
failing to overthrow the party leader Bahçeli, who according to her, gave too
strong support to Erdoğan. She was Minister of the Interior for more than six
months from 1996 to 1997. The new party is named Iyi party (The
good party) and is believed to be able to attract members of both the MHP and
the CHP and the ruling AKP, who are worried that Erdoğan has gathered almost
total power with himself.
Human rights activists in court
In Istanbul, the trial begins against eleven human rights activists, among
them Amnesty International's two highest leaders in Turkey. Among the defendants
are also Swedish Ali Gharavi and a German citizen. All were arrested in
connection with a course that Amnesty arranged in July. They are charged with
membership in a terrorist organization and face up to 15 years in prison. The
accusations have attracted a great deal of international attention and have been
met by strong protests from the outside world. Shortly after the trial has
started, the court orders that eight of the defendants, including the Swede and
the German, be released against the bail. Foreign nationals are said to have the
right to leave the country.
The EU is reducing support
The European Council agrees that a part of the EUR 4.4 billion promised by
Turkey for membership negotiations between 2014 and 2020 will be deleted.
Council President Donald Tusk explains this with the "difficult" conditions in
Turkey at present. The EU highlights its dissatisfaction with developments in
Turkey but does not close the door to future membership.
The priests' marriage rights upset the left
A decision by Parliament to allow some religious leaders to conduct marriages
upset the leftist opposition parties CHP and HDP. Previously, only municipal
officials had the right to wed couples. The Left parties fear that the new law
will erode the secular values laid down in the Turkish constitution and pave
the way for official child marriage, as Islamic tradition says that a girl is
married when she reaches puberty. The CHP intends to appeal the law to the
Leading activist arrested
Turkish police seize Osman Kavala, chairman of the human rights organization
Anadolu Kültür, who works to reduce the contradictions within Turkish society
through cultural activities. The organization has also sought to promote better
relations between Turkey and Armenia. Police are also investigating the Anadolu
Kültür office in Istanbul. In February 2019, when Kavala is still being held on
charges of overthrowing activities, prosecutors request that he (and 15 other
persons) be sentenced to life imprisonment.
Turkish troops into Syria
Hundreds of Turkish soldiers and 30 armored vehicles enter Idlib province in
northwestern Syria, controlled by jihadist militia. Reinforcements may be needed
in the coming days, says the military leadership. The Syrian Kurdish guerrilla
YPG claims that Turkey's main reason for entering Syria is to occupy the
neighboring region Afrin, which is largely controlled by the YPG.
American newspaper reporter sentenced to prison
A reporter for the American Wall Street Journal is sentenced to two years and
one month in prison. According to the court, a news article in 2015 on fighting
between Turkish security forces and Kurdish guerrillas was to be considered
propaganda for banned PKK. The reporter, who has dual Turkish and Finnish
citizenship, is convicted in his absence.
Diplomatic conflict with the United States
A rapidly escalating diplomatic conflict between Turkey and the US reaches a
new peak when President Erdoğan says he no longer recognizes the US ambassador
as the country's representative. The conflict began when a few days earlier a
Turkish police arrested a local employee of the US consulate in Istanbul, who
was accused of links to the Gülen movement. The United States responded by
stopping issuing visitor visas to Turks, after which Turkey stopped granting
entry permits for US citizens. The US also raised doubts about the security
arrangements surrounding the US missions in Turkey. After a few days of rampant
rhetoric, Erdoğan says that all Turkish officials will boycott the US
ambassador's planned farewell visits when he ends his assignment in the country
Havel award to imprisoned Turkish judge
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe decides to give the 2017
Vaclav Havel Prize to the Turkish judge Murat Arslan. He has been imprisoned
since October 2016 for suspicions of links to the Gülen movement. He was until
its chairman of the judges and prosecutors' cooperative organization Yarsav. The
Turkish Foreign Ministry says it is "unacceptable to give a human rights award
to a terrorist suspect during an ongoing legal process".
New mass trial against ex-military
143 former militants, including 30 officers, face trial in Istanbul for
participating in clashes on one of the Bosphorus bridges during the coup night
in July 2016. Among the charges are murders and attempts to overthrow Parliament
and the government. Those who may be dropped risk up to 37 life sentences.
Criticism against undemocratic decrees
The Venice Commission - the Council of Europe's expert group on
constitutional affairs - criticizes the Turkish government for dismissing
elected mayors and replacing them with government-appointed officials. The
Commission emphasizes that the municipal authorities are one of the foundations
of democracy and that the key to the public's participation in the democratic
process is that the local leaders are elected directly by the people. The Venice
Commission calls on the government not to make decisions on municipal leadership
that were not preceded by a parliamentary debate, and to impose provisions for
mayors to resume their duties if they are not brought to court. The Commission's
concern concerns mainly the Kurdish-dominated part of the country.
Department employees must be arrested
Turkish prosecutors issue arrest warrants for 133 employees at the Ministry
of Finance and Labor. The suspicions against the people are reported to be based
on having had access to the ByLock mobile app for encrypted messages, which
according to Turkish authorities should have been used by those who planned the
coup attempt in 2016.
Kurdish guerrillas are killed in tourist area
Turkish security forces kill five alleged members of the Kurdish PKK in the
province of Muğla on the Mediterranean coast in the southwest, where some of
Turkey's most popular tourist resorts are located.
34 life sentences
34 former military men are sentenced to life imprisonment for planning to
kill President Erdoğan at a hotel on the Aegean coast in connection with the
coup attempt in July 2016. All are sentenced to four life sentences each. A
former brigadier general is appointed leader of the group.
The newspaper Zaman's employees to trial
31 former employees of the Gülen-friendly newspapers Zaman and Daily Zaman
are brought to trial in Istanbul. They are prosecuted for trying to overthrow
the government and for being members of an armed terrorist organization. If they
fall, they risk multiple life sentences. Among the defendants is the renowned
chronicler and political scientist Şahin Alpay, who lived in Sweden in the
The opposition leader's lawyer is arrested
Turkish police seize Celal Çelik, legal representative of opposition leader
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, for alleged links to the Guleni movement. Çelik previously
served as a judge at the Supreme Court of Appeal but resigned from that post in
2011 in protest of the Gülenists' increased influence over the judiciary.
Turkey buys Russian air defense
Turkey signs contract to buy anti-aircraft robots from Russia. The order is
estimated to be worth about US $ 2.5 billion. Through the acquisition, Turkey is
breaking the tradition of NATO to use weapons that technically work with what is
used in the other member states. The shift to Russian equipment can be seen as a
mark against NATO, since the US and Germany withdrew their Patriot robots from
the Turkish-Syrian border in 2015. President Erdoğan dismisses Western
countries' concerns that Turkey is managing its own security.
99 "terrorists" are killed
The Turkish army says it has killed 99 Kurdish "terrorists" in attacks
against guerrillas in the southeast over the past two weeks. Among those killed
is a senior member of the PKK. The army also claims to have seized large
quantities of weapons, ammunition and explosives.
"Anti-Turkish" opposition politicians are being investigated
The Prosecutor General in Ankara initiates a preliminary investigation
against CHP parliamentarian Sezgin Tanrıkulu. He is suspected of having "black
painted the spirit of the Turkish Republic" by accusing the army of killing
civilians in the Kurdish part of the country with the help of a drone. "Black
painting Turkish" can give up to two years in prison.
The crisis with Germany deeper
Since two more German citizens have been arrested in Turkey on suspicion of
involvement in the coup attempt in 2016, German Chancellor Merkel says it may be
time to review the country's relations with Turkey. Under current circumstances,
continuing to negotiate with Turkey on EU membership would be directly
inappropriate, she says. Twelve Germans, including four with dual citizenship,
are currently in Turkish detention for political reasons.
A few days later Merkel raises the tone further. In a televised debate ahead
of the German elections, she says that she should propose to the other EU
leaders that it is time to cancel the membership negotiations with Turkey and
that it is obvious that Turkey should not be allowed to join the European Union.
According to Merkel, Germany should also consider limiting economic contacts
with Turkey. Spokesmen for the Turkish government accuse German politicians of
falling back on populism, saying that a break in the negotiations would be "an
attack on Europe's basic principles".
Juncker: Turkey on the way away from the EU
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says that Turkey itself has to
blame for the country's membership negotiations with the EU having stopped. He
says Turkey is moving away quickly from the EU and that it is up to Erdoğan to
formally declare the negotiations suspended. He adds that he suspects Erdoğan
hopes that the EU will interrupt negotiations to get someone to blame. "But
we're not going to trap that trap," Juncker says. For more than six months, it
has become clear that the EU does not intend to open any new negotiating chapter
as long as Turkey captures or dismisses government critics.
Erdogan's bodyguards are being prosecuted in the United States
19 people, including 15 bodyguards for President Erdoğan, are indicted in the
United States for violence against protesters in Washington. The incident
happened as Erdoğan visited his colleague Trump in May, when bodyguards and
civilian supporters of the Turkish president attacked and abused people
protesting the visit. Films from the event show how the bodyguards, among other
things, knock down protesters and kick them while lying on the ground. Several
of the bodyguards ignore the efforts of US police to stop them. A film released
also shows how Erdoğan appears to give the bodyguards orders to attack the
protesters and how he then looks on while it is happening. Turkish Foreign
Ministry claims that the charges are "biased". President Erdoğan describes them
as a "scandalous" example of how American justice works.
"Justice of Congress" challenges Erdoğan
In Çanakkale, Western Turkey, CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu launches a four-day
"justice congress" to pay attention to what he calls crimes under Erdogan's
leadership. The opposition leader says it is his duty to fight for justice for
those who suffer from the "tyrant" Erdoğan and the "civil coup" he accuses the
president of having carried out.
Hundreds more are dismissed
Another over 900 public servants are dismissed. They have worked at
universities, government offices, government agencies and the defense. At the
same time, by decree, a law is required that requires the President's permission
for the intelligence service MIT's chief to be subject to judicial investigation
or called as a witness in a trial. By another decree, the Kurdish news agency
Dihaber and two newspapers based in Diyarbakır are closed. Since the coup
attempt in July 2016, about 130 media organizations have been banned and about
150 journalists arrested.
Germany sharpens the tone
21th of August
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel says that Europe should support "the
democratically-minded majority" of Turks who are not on Erdogan's side. In the
magazine Der Spiegel, he suggests that Turkish groups in Germany who oppose
Erdoğan receive financial support to counter the Turkish government's attempt to
influence public opinion among Turks in the country through satellite channels
and preaching in mosques supported by the Turkish government. A few days later,
Gabriel says that it is completely unthinkable that Turkey could join the EU as
long as the country is led by Erdoğan.
Extradition requirements upset Germany
20th of August
An author with dual Turkish and German citizenship is arrested in Spain at
Turkish request through Interpol. He is released after a day but is detained in
the country while Spanish authorities take a stand on Turkey's demand for
extradition. German Chancellor Merkel criticizes the Turkish government for
"abusing" international police cooperation for political reasons. Similar
criticisms have been raised by Swedish debaters since a Swedish-Turkish author
was arrested in Spain on Turkish demand. Since the failed coup attempt in Turkey
in July 2016, almost 9,000 Turks have sought asylum in Germany, which is a clear
increase compared to previous years. Among them, as always, are people who have
escaped the conflict in the country's Kurdish parts, but in the past year, a
whole new category of political refugees has emerged, consisting of diplomats,
military, academics, artists, journalists and political activists who oppose the
government. So many highly educated Turks have now left the country that Turkey
is considered to be on the verge of a skills flight.
Erdoğan makes contributions to the German electoral movement
President Erdoğan urges Turks living in Germany not to vote for any of the
ruling parties in the September general election, as they are "enemies of
Turkey". Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel react with
rage and say that Germany cannot tolerate such involvement in the country's
business. To this Erdoğan responds that Gabriel should know his place and that
he cannot speak to the President of Turkey in that way.
Dress code for defendants
President Erdoğan decides that people facing trial for suspected
participation in the 2016 coup d'état and terrorism should wear brown clothing.
"Cupmaker" should wear brown overalls while "terrorists" should wear brown
jacket and brown pants. The president has been upset by seeing defendants in
T-shirts with defiant messages on his chest.
The government promises media censorship on China
In connection with a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, Foreign
Minister Çavuşoğlu says that the Turkish government intends to put a stop to all
media details criticizing China. He says Turkey is just as keen on guarding
China's security as its own. The countries have a common interest in countering
Islamic terrorism. Çavuşoğlu does not specify how criticism of China should be
Hundreds are facing trial for the coup attempt
In a court outside Ankara, the trial begins against several hundred people
accused of participating in the coup attempt in 2016. A total of 486 are
prosecuted, of which 461 have been in custody for a long time. 41 of them are
brought into the courtroom one by one under heavy police surveillance, while
onlookers loudly demand the death penalty for them. When the defense lawyers try
to make themselves heard, they are buzzed out by relatives of those killed
during the coup night. The defendants are accused of leading the coup attempt
from an air base outside Ankara, which the authorities consider to be the coup
Kurdish protest campaign
The pro-Kurdish party HDP announces a three-month protest campaign against
the government's mass arrests, which has led to large parts of the party
leadership being jailed. The actions will continue until November 4, which is
the anniversary of the arrests of HDP's two chairmen Selahattin Demirtaş and
Trial against Cumhuriyet's staff
17 employees of the opposition secular newspaper Cumhuriyet are facing trial
in Istanbul. Eleven of them have already been in prison since the fall of 2016
without a sentence, which made the state of emergency possible. The others are
on the run and are being investigated in their absence. Among the defendants are
the newspaper editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu, the columnist Kadri Gürsel, the
satirist Musa Kart and the chairman of the board Akın Atalay. They are accused
of conspiring with three terrorist-classified organizations: the Kurdish PKK,
the left-wing extremists DHKP-C and the Güleni movement. However, the newspaper
is known to have been an opponent of all three movements.
Germany sharpens the tone
Germany strikes back against Turkey with economic threats. Foreign Minister
Sigmar Gabriel says the government will review the state guarantees for
investment in Turkey and advise German companies not to invest money there.
According to Gabriel, Germany is also considering no longer supporting the flow
of EU money to member aspirant Turkey. He also warns German citizens that the
state cannot guarantee their security if they are tourists in Turkey as long as
"random" mass arrests are ongoing. A spokesman for the Turkish president
condemns Gabriel's statements as "unacceptable" and "politically irresponsible".
The government is being reformed
Prime Minister Yıldırım reforms the government. 15 ministers are allowed to
keep their jobs, including those who are mainly responsible for the economy,
while five new people are admitted to the government and six ministers can
New syllabus without Darwin
When the syllabuses for the coming academic year are published, Darwin's
theory of evolution is the stroke. Education Minister Ismet Yılmaz says that
evolution is "above the level of students" and that they can wait for it until
they come to university. Spokespeople for the opposition party CHP and the
teachers' union say that the changed syllabus is a threat to the secular state
and the scientific basis of education.
Aggravated crisis with Germany
Turkey's already strained relations with Germany deteriorate after a German
citizen was arrested for alleged terrorist activities. The detained man attended
a seminar on human rights issues. Among five others arrested in the same case
are Amnesty International's Turkish boss and a Swedish activist. Both Swedish
and German foreign ministries criticize the arrests and demand explanations.
Exception laws are extended
Parliament votes to extend the state of emergency by a further three months;
Mass meetings on the anniversary of the coup attempt
Around the country, mass meetings are being held on the anniversary of the
coup attempt failed in 2016. In a speech to hundreds of thousands of people near
the bridge over the Bosphorus that the coup makers had blocked, President
Erdoğan once again says he is ready to reinstate the death penalty, and he
threatens to "chop traitor's head ". The President also participates in an extra
session in Parliament, where opposition leader Kılıçdaroğlu also speaks. He
blames the judiciary for moving beyond the law in the past year, when more than
50,000 people have been imprisoned, most so far without trial. Just in time for
the anniversary, more than 7,000 police officers, civil servants and academics
"Justice meeting" challenges the president
Hundreds of thousands of people attend a protest meeting against President
Erdoğan in a square in the Asian part of Istanbul, where opposition leader Kemal
Kılıçdaroğlu ends his 25-day hike from Ankara, a distance of 45 kilometers. The
lengthy "justice march" has been carried out in protest of one of the opposition
party's CHP MPs being sentenced to 25 years in prison for leaking secret
information to a newspaper. The closer the Istanbul participants have come, the
more people have joined the demonstration which has grown into a powerful
manifestation of perceived injustice in Turkish society during the state of
emergency which has ruled for almost a year.
Almost 1,000 companies confiscated after the coup attempt
Since the coup attempt in July 2016, the Turkish state has confiscated 965
companies with suspected links to the Gülen movement, says Deputy Prime Minister
Nurettin Canikli. The companies have over 46,000 employees, sales of around SEK
90 billion and annual sales of about SEK 50 billion. The arrests of suspected
Gülenists continue. Most recently, ten human rights activists, including Amnesty
International's head of Turkey, have been arrested.
The referendum to the European Court of Justice
The opposition party CHP submits a request to the European Court of Human
Rights to review the Turkish referendum in April on increased presidential
power. The CHP refers to the occurrence of a number of irregularities. The case
goes to the European Court of Justice since the Turkish judicial system has
rejected the protests.
Lifetime convictions after the coup attempt
An Ankara court sentenced 23 people to life imprisonment for participating in
the coup attempt in the summer of 2016. One person is sentenced to twelve years
in prison while two soldiers are released in the sentencing, the first to be
announced in the capital after the coup attempt.
UN criticism against prison sentences for judges
The UN criticizes Turkey after a high-ranking judge linked to the UN judicial
body MICT (Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals) was sentenced to 7.5
years in prison. Judge Aydın Sefa Akay, who is accused of conspiring with the
terror-stamped Gülen movement, was arrested in September 2016 and has not been
allowed to leave the country since. He normally works with a MICT target in The
Hague that deals with war crimes in Rwanda, but has been crippled by his
Opposition leaders initiate protest march
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu launches an almost 50-mile protest march from
Ankara to Istanbul, along with thousands of participants. The protesters protest
the prison sentence the day before against CHP member Enis Berberoğlu. On the
first day, the protesters walk almost two miles in five hours. President Erdoğan
threatens legal action against the protest, but Kılıçdaroğlu insists that the
march be carried out.
Long prison sentence for CHP MPs
MP Enis Berberoğlu is sentenced to 25 years in prison for leaking secretly
stamped material to the Cumhuriyet newspaper. The target is for images that were
reported to show how Turkish intelligence services smuggled weapons across the
border into Syria and should have been handed over to Cumhuriyet's
then-editor-in-chief Can Dündar 2015 (see Calendar). Berberoğlu is the first CHP
MP to be arrested after the coup attempt. He will eventually receive a new trial
and will be sentenced in February 2018 to five years and ten months in prison.
Turkish troops ready for Qatar
A law that allows Turkey to station a military force in Qatar is signed by
President Erdoğan after being swiftly pushed through parliament. Turkey stands
in defense of Qatar, which has been isolated in much of the Arab world following
allegations of supporting Sunni terrorist movements. Turkey is preparing to send
ground soldiers as well as combat aircraft and warships to the country in the
Germany leaves Turkish base
The German government decides to withdraw its military force of over 250 men
from the Incirlik base in southern Turkey, after Turkey for some time refused to
allow German MPs to visit the soldiers. The conflict stems, among other things,
in Turkish anger that Germany has granted political asylum to Turkish citizens
suspected of links to the Gülen movement.
Amnesty's chairman is arrested
Amnesty International's chairman in Turkey, Taner Kılıç, is arrested along
with 22 other people in Izmir. They are suspected of intercourse with the Gülen
movement. Prosecution is brought against Kılıç a few days later.
Government advisers arrested
The Prime Minister's closest adviser Birol Erdem is arrested on suspicion of
links to the Gülen movement. His wife was also arrested. Erdem is one of the
highest ranking in the ongoing cleansing of suspected Gülenists. Previously,
among other things, the president's highest military adviser was stuck on the
Suspected coup leaders in court
Over 200 people designated as the brains behind the 2016 coup attempt are
brought to trial in Istanbul. The vast majority are senior officers.
Erdoğan back in the party leadership
President Erdoğan is re-elected chairman of the AKP government party at an
extra convened congress. It is the first time since 1950 that Turkey's head of
state has simultaneously been able to be a party leader. He also announces that
the emergency permit introduced after the coup attempt in July 2016 should
remain in force "until the country has reached prosperity and peace". The rule
gives the president and the government the right to govern by decree without
waiting for Parliament's approval.
Kurd party chooses new leader
The pro-Kurdish party HDP elects Serpil Kemalbay as new leader. She replaces
the imprisoned Fig Yüksekdağ, who has been deprived of his seat by the
Turkey wants US diplomat removed
The government demands that the US envoy for the fight against IS be
dismissed. The reason is that, according to Turkey, he supports the
Syrian-Kurdish guerrilla YPG. The government threatens to go on offensive
against the US Kurdish allies if the YPG attacks Turkish targets.
New crisis in German relations
The already strained relations between Turkey and Germany are further
deteriorated after German authorities granted political asylum to Turkish
citizens who were requested to be extradited for the suspected coup attempt in
July 2016. Turkey responds by refusing to allow German MPs at the Incirlik air
base near Syrian borders 250 German soldiers are stationed. Prime Minister
Yıldırım says the German government must choose between the Turkish government
and the "coup makers".
Judges are sentenced
The Supreme Court (HSYK) dismisses an additional 107 judges and prosecutors
accused of being supporters of the Gülen movement. HSYK announces that they will
also be arrested. According to the new presidential system recently adopted by a
referendum, HSYK is also to be reformed and the number of members is reduced
from 22 to 13, seven of whom will be appointed by Parliament and six directly or
indirectly by the president. The critics fear that the president should have
direct control over the judiciary, while those advocating the amendment consider
it to streamline the judicial system.
Wikipedia is banned
A state media agency bans the international digital encyclopedia Wikipedia on
the grounds that the site refused to remove what, according to the authorities,
is false information about connections between the Turkish state and terrorist
groups. The ban is confirmed by a court, and Wikipedia's appeal is rejected by a
The president back in the party
President Erdoğan regains his membership in the AKP government party after
nearly three years formally alongside party politics. This is the first tangible
result of the recent constitutional amendments. He is expected to resume the
presidency at an additional party congress on May 21.
UN criticism of purges
Over the course of a few days, more than 1,000 people are arrested during
raids around the country, more than 9,000 police officers are suspended from
their services and nearly 4,000 other government employees are laid off,
including over 1,000 employed by the Justice Department and over 1,000 defense
personnel. All are suspected of links to the Gülen movement. UN human rights
commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein says it is "highly unlikely" that Turkish
authorities have followed their own laws at the mass shootings that have been
ongoing since the failed coup attempt in July 2016. Zeid is also worried that
the state of emergency has been extended and says that there is a "horror
atmosphere" in Turkey.
Prison for complaint
26th of April
A woman who called a talk show on a Turkish TV channel and complained about
the army's efforts in the Kurdish part of the country is sentenced to prison for
one year and three months. She is being convicted of "terrorist propaganda".
New judicial review of Turkey
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Pace) decides to resume
monitoring of the Turkish judiciary and respect for human rights. The country
was under surveillance until 2004, when the Council of Europe judged that
sufficient progress had been made. This is the first time a country has been
placed under new surveillance, which means, among other things, that two
reporters regularly visit the country and that Pace will have recurring debates
on the situation in Turkey.
Rages against Kurds in neighboring countries
Turkish airplane kills at least 26 Kurdish militiamen in raids inside Iraq
and Syria. The Syrian-Kurdish YPG guerrillas and the peshmergas force in
northern Iraq both work closely with the United States in the fight against IS.
The attacks in northeastern Syria are aimed at a Kurdish media center.
Protests are rejected
The electoral authority rejects the demands to annul the referendum, but the
CHP says the party is adhering to its protests. The Minister of Justice says
that the Constitutional Court will not deal with any appeals and that there is
no point in protesting to the European Court of Justice, as the government has
no authority over the Turkish judiciary.
Kurdish party appeals
The pro-Kurdish party HDP submits an official protest to the electoral
authority. The party cites a number of reasons why it believes the referendum
should be annulled. The election campaign was conducted under emergency
conditions with the party's leader in custody, the HDP was refused in many
places to have observers in the polling stations and government money was used
for the yes campaign. In addition, the HDP considers that the decision to
approve unstamped ballots and envelopes makes it impossible to determine how
many invalid votes have been counted.
The EU wants to see an "open" investigation
The European Commission calls on the Turkish authorities to investigate the
allegations of irregularities during the referendum and to do so to ensure the
public's transparency in the work. The Turkish Bar Association believes that the
Election Commission's decision to accept unstamped ballots and envelopes was a
violation of the regulations and made voting more difficult, which may have
affected the outcome. The opposition party CHP claims that there have been
violations of the rules in almost 11,000 polling stations.
"Yes" to strengthened presidential power
The Yes side wins the referendum with a preliminary 51.41 percent of the
vote. The support for giving the president almost unlimited power is strongest
in the Anatolian countryside, while the no-side wins in the major cities of
Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, as well as in the Kurdish part of the country.
Opposition parties CHP and HDP claim that there were irregularities, including
that votes were counted even though the ballot papers were not properly stamped.
The CHP decides to appeal the entire referendum and, if necessary, go to the
Constitutional Court to have the vote annulled. The European Commission appeals
to Erdoğan to respect the smooth outcome of the election and to "seek the widest
possible national consensus", given the far-reaching powers conferred on him by
the forthcoming constitutional amendments.OSCEThe joint observers' group of the
Council of Europe and the Council of Europe say that the conditions for the
referendum have been extremely unfair, as the yes side has had such a large
takeover in the public and that the no side has been weakened by the fact that
many at the official level have compared the critics with terrorists. The
observers also point out, with reference to the unmarked ballot papers, that the
rules were changed during the election day and that the rules adapted to
parliamentary elections proved insufficient in this referendum. The observers
criticize what they describe as the misuse of state resources and say that the
referendum did not live up to international norms. Reactions within the EU are
cautious but several governments are appealing to the Turkish leadership to
respect the European Convention on Human Rights. Erdoğan dismisses the criticism
and tells the observers to "know their place". Next, there could be a referendum
on EU negotiations, he says, and if Parliament votes to reintroduce the death
penalty, he will sign such a law.
"Jihadists" are arrested before a referendum
Two days before the historic referendum on a new constitution with
strengthened presidential power, the security service states that it has
arrested five suspected members of the Islamic State who have planned a
"sensational" attack in Istanbul. A few days earlier, 19 suspected IS members
have been arrested in Izmir for plans to sabotage the referendum. The opinion
polls indicate a very smooth election result, but the measurements are met with
some skepticism. The Yes side, which wants to give the president almost
unlimited power, has had total dominance in the media and in the street
Kurdish promotional song is prohibited
A district court in southern Turkey bans the pro-Kurdish party from HDP's
ampanj song before the referendum on new constitution. The song "Bejin na" (Say
no) is accused of spreading hate propaganda. The ban applies throughout the
country. The electoral movement has been characterized by a strong takeover for
the yes side, which wants to strengthen the power of the president, and great
difficulties for the opponents to carry out their arguments.
Spy charges against Turkey
Information about how Turkish authorities are spying on Turks living in other
countries is getting closer. In Germany, prosecutors are launching a criminal
investigation against a representative of the Turkish religious authority
Diyanet who is suspected of collecting information about supporters of the Gülen
movement. Spy allegations against Turkish representatives close to AKP come from
a number of countries around the world, including Sweden. Calls for stating
against Gülen followers are said to be common.
Syrian offensive ending
The government announces that the military offensive in northern Syria, which
went by the name of the "Euphrates Shield", has ended after eight months (see
August 2016). The objective of the offensive has been to drive
IS away from the areas west of the Euphrates River. It is unclear whether the
Turkish soldiers will be taken home from Syria or whether they will be deployed
elsewhere in the country. Turkey is keen to take part in the offensive against
IS "capital" Raqqa, but demands that the US allied Syrian-Kurdish militia YPG be
kept out of that fight.
No more elections in Germany
The AKP government decides to suspend all scheduled elections in Germany. No
justification is given, but the message comes after, among other close
associates of Chancellor Merkel, that Erdoğan is not welcome to Germany and that
the German state is not interested in deploying thousands of police to protect a
man who has so deeply offended the country.
Awesome results against Germany
Turkey's defense minister suggests that Germany may have been involved in the
coup attempt in July 2016. The accusation comes after the head of the German
foreign espionage said in a newspaper interview that he doubted the Turkish
"evidence" that the Gülen movement was behind the coup attempt. In Ankara, the
German ambassador receives a protest against allowing pro-Kurdish protesters in
Frankfurt to show off PKK's party symbols. President Erdoğan personally accuses
Chancellor Merkel of behaving like a Nazi. A government spokesman in Berlin says
Germany does not want to lower itself to Erdogan's level, but that his outcome
is unacceptable and that it is the Turkish government's job to ensure that
countries' relations are not damaged in the long term.
"Crusade against Islam"
Erdoğan criticizes the European Court of Justice for conducting a crusade
against Islam, after the court ruled that companies have the right to prohibit
employees from wearing "political, philosophical or religious" symbols,
including Muslim headscarves.
The war of words is escalating
Erdoğan continues its outcome against EU countries and their leaders and
compares the treatment of non-Europeans in the EU today with how Jews were
treated during the Second World War. "The spirit of fascism runs wild on the
streets of Europe," he says, among other things. EU spokesmen say that the
Turkish president has lost touch with reality and that his choice of words and
criticism is badly suited to a country that says it wants to join the EU. A
large number of Western European accounts on the microblogging Twitter are
hacked by activists who, among other things, provide them with crosshairs.
Pro-Turkish forces are suspected.
The EU is defending Erdogan
the 13th of March
The European Commission urges President Erdoğan to "avoid exaggerated
statements and measures that could further aggravate the situation". At the same
time, Turkish Foreign Ministry submits two formal protests to the Dutch envoy,
while the Hague government calls on Dutch citizens of Turkey to "be on guard".
The Danish government asks Turkey's Prime Minister Yıldırım to postpone a
planned one visit later this month. At the same time, the European Commission
says that if the proposed Turkish constitutional changes are approved in the
referendum in April, the new constitution will be reviewed and evaluated by the
EU, given Turkey's application for membership in the Union. The Venice
Commission, the Council of Europe's expert committee on constitutional issues,
says the proposed changes represent a "dangerous step back for democracy". The
Turkish government dismisses the criticism as biased and unkind, saying that the
Venice Commission has become politicized and tarnished its reputation.
Conflict with the Netherlands
the 12th of March
Turkey ends up in a serious diplomatic conflict with the Netherlands, since
the authorities there refused to admit Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu, who would
have held a general election in Rotterdam, and expelled the Turkish family
minister to Germany. The treatment of the Foreign Minister was a reaction to the
Turkish government threatening the Netherlands with some kind of financial
penalty if he was not allowed to meet Turkish voters in Rotterdam. President
Erdoğan, who previously accused the German authorities of behaving like Nazis,
now describes the Dutch government in similar terms. The Dutch ambassador to
Ankara, who is temporarily on vacation, is told that he is not welcome back. In
Istanbul, protesters enter the consulate of the Netherlands and replace the
country's flag with a Turkish one. In Rotterdam, police drive away protesters
outside the Turkish Consulate with water cannons and dogs. The Turkish
government threatens to punish the Netherlands in every way until an apology is
obtained. Erdoğan says the Netherlands should be forced to pay "a high price"
for its actions.
Harsh criticism from the UN
The UN human rights department blames Turkish security forces for gross human
rights violations in the pursuit of militant Kurds in the southeastern part of
the country between July 2015 and December 2016. According to the report, nearly
half a million people were displaced from their homes and major material
destruction was caused, and this without the UN having been held responsible by
a single person. About 2,000 people were killed, of which about 800 were
security forces. Among the other 1,200, according to the UN, there may have been
some who participated in actions against the state. The Turkish government
rejects "the so-called report" which, according to it, is based on "claims by
Turkish security forces launch the largest "anti-terrorist campaign" in
several years in the south-east of the country. About 7,000 gendarmes and 600
special soldiers, with the support of tanks and helicopters, enter a dish area
in the province of Diyarbakır. Curfew is introduced in 18 villages. The purpose
is to "neutralize" members of the PKK.
Turkish anger towards Germany
President Erdoğan is targeting a sharp blow to Germany, after several German
cities have refused to allow Turkish ministers to hold elections there before
the referendum to strengthen the president's power. He says that the German
state behaves much like the Nazis. At the same time, the Dutch government says
it opposes Turkish plans at an election meeting in Rotterdam. Austrian
Chancellor Christian Kern calls on the EU to ban Turkish elections jointly. He
also wants Turkey's membership negotiations to be interrupted in response to
Erdoğan "undermining human rights and fundamental democratic rights". A
spokesman for Chancellor Merkel describes the comparison with Nazi times as
"absurd" and calls for knowledge and sense. The chairman of the Turkish National
Federation in Germany admits that Erdoğan has gone too far.
Mass trial begins
About 330 people are facing trial in the vicinity of Ankara in the largest
trial to date relating to the coup attempt in 2016. About 240 of them are
already in custody. They are charged with murder and attempted murder, as well
as attempts to overthrow the government and dissolve Parliament. They risk
multiple life sentences.
German correspondent arrested
A court detains a correspondent for the German newspaper Die Welt, accused of
spreading terrorist propaganda and inciting hatred. The charges relate to
information that an email account belonging to the Turkish Minister of Energy,
as well as his son-in-law to President Erdoğan, should have been hacked. The
data breaches should have revealed attempts by the government to take control of
media companies and manipulate public opinion by spreading false information on
social media. German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeals to the Turkish authorities
to consider the importance of freedom of the press in democratic societies.
Turkish anger towards Austria
The Turkish government criticizes Austria for "irresponsible" behavior
towards Turkey, after Austria's Foreign Minister said that President Erdoğan is
not welcome to run an election campaign in Turkey. According to the Austrian
government, this would increase tensions in the country and hamper the
integration of the 360,000 Turkish-born residents of Austria. A Turkish Foreign
Ministry spokesman says that the Austrian authorities are prejudiced and exceed
Female soldiers are allowed to wear shawls
The Ministry of Defense gives orders that female military commanders in staff
positions may wear Islamic headscarves, provided it is the same color as the
uniform and does not hide anything from the face. Earlier, under the AKP's rule,
the shawl ban was lifted at schools and universities, in political assemblies
and within the police.
Kurdish leaders are punished
Pro-Kurdish party HDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş is sentenced to five months
in prison for violating the Turkish state and its institutions. In another legal
case, where he is accused of being linked to the PKK and for having spread
terrorist propaganda, he risks imprisonment for up to 142 years. At the same
time, his co-chair of the HDP, Figen Yüksekdağ, is deprived of his seat in
Parliament, citing a 2013 ruling on terrorist propaganda.
Trial for murder plans against the president
47 people, most of them soldiers, face trial in Muğla in the southwest for
trying to kill President Erdoğan during the coup attempt in July 2016.
Prosecutors are serving life imprisonment for all.
Hundreds of Kurdish grips
More than 600 people suspected of being linked to the terrorist-stamped
Kurdish PKK guerrilla are arrested during two days of police raids, state media
reports. The legal pro-Kurdish party HDP says that 5,000 of its members have
been arrested following the coup attempt against the government in July 2016.
All ready for referendum
President Erdoğan signs the bill on constitutional amendments that gives him
greatly increased power. It is thus clear that the proposal will be submitted to
a referendum, which will be held on April 16.
Soldiers killed in Syria
Three Turkish soldiers are killed in northern Syria in a targeted Russian air
strike. Russian President Putin regrets the mistake in a telephone conversation
with Erdoğan and they are agreed to improve coordination between their
respective military operations.
Mass arrests of suspected Islamists
In the biggest strike so far in Turkey against suspected members of the
Islamic terrorist sect IS, more than 750 people are arrested around the country.
Among those arrested are Turks as well as foreigners.
Gülen in court, and 269 others
30th of January
A lawsuit is initiated against Islamic leader Fethullah Gülen and 269 other
people accused of lying behind the coup attempt in July 2016. Of the defendants,
152 have been detained since the coup attempt. Among them are a number of
high-ranking military. Gülen himself is being investigated in his absence. He
lives in the United States, whose legal system has so far failed to obey
Turkey's demand for extradition.
Greece does not extradite soldiers
Eight Turkish officers who fled in helicopter to Greece in connection with
the failed coup attempt in July 2016 will not be extradited. The Greek Supreme
Court ruled that they would not receive a fair trial in their home country and
order that they be released on trial. The eight officers have so far been denied
political asylum in Greece, but their appeals are pending. The Turkish
government says it will review its relations with Greece and is considering
terminating the agreement with the EU to withdraw migrants from Greece. The
Justice Department submits a new request to have the eight officers extradited,
claiming that the court decision had a political motive.
Syrian talks under Turkish leadership
Along with Russia and Iran, Turkey is the organizer of Syrian peace talks,
which will start in Kazakhstan's capital Astana.
Parliament approves constitutional amendments
Parliament approves, in a decisive vote, 18 proposals for amendments to the
Constitution aimed, inter alia, at strengthening the power of the President; If
the proposals are also approved in a referendum in the spring, the president is
given, inter alia, the power to govern by decree, announce state of emergency,
appoint all ministers and senior government officials, and dissolve parliament.
The post of prime minister is abolished and replaced by a vice president. The
president no longer needs to stand alongside party politics, which can give the
current head of state Erdoğan the right to take back the leadership of the AKP
government party. The long debate in Parliament has been fierce and on some
occasions has led to tangibility. The pro-Kurdish HDP, which has several of its
members in jail, has boycotted the debate and the leading opposition party CHP
says it will wage an intense campaign against the changes ahead of the
referendum, which is likely to take place in early April. Presidential and
parliamentary elections are scheduled for 2019, when Erdoğan can stand for
re-election for another five years,
Long sentences are required for Kurdish leaders
Prosecutors in the trial against HDP leaders Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen
Yüksekdağ are serving prison sentences of up to 142 and 83 years respectively
for membership in a terrorist organization and dissemination of hate propaganda.
They are also held accountable for pro-Kurdish protests in the fall of 2014
against Turkey's involvement in Syria, degenerating into violence with many
More than 8,000 are dismissed
7 th of January
Nearly 8,400 civil servants are laid off and some 80 associations are closed,
among them sports clubs, in a new round of purges after the coup attempt in July
2016. Among those dismissed are police, employees at the Justice Department,
health officials and hundreds of others. At the same time, the government
decides that Turks living abroad can be deprived of their citizenship if they
refuse to be heard by staff investigating the coup attempt.
380 businessmen should be arrested
Arrest warrants are issued against 380 businessmen who are accused of
providing financial support to the Gülen movement. Prosecutors should also have
asked to do the house search in their homes.
The first judges after the coup attempt
Two army officers are sentenced to life imprisonment. They are sentenced for
violation of the Constitution after participating in the coup attempt in July
2016. It is the first two judgments that are handed down in what will be the
largest legal process in the country's history.
Exception laws are extended
Parliament extends the emergency permit introduced after the coup attempt in
July 2016. It is now in effect until 19 April.
Terrorist attack on New Year's party
The new year is just an hour old when one person kills 39 people and injures
nearly 70 at a popular nightclub in Istanbul. 27 of the victims are foreign
nationals, most of them from Arab countries but also an Israeli woman. After a
day, the Islamic State takes on the deed. It is the first time the Islamist
extremist movement has taken on a major attack inside Turkey. According to the
statement, the attack is revenge for Turkey's war against IS in Syria, where
Turkish forces are currently trying to capture the IS-controlled city of al-Bab.
The perpetrator who was arrested after just over two weeks is described as a
34-year-old Uzbek who received terrorist training in Afghanistan. He admits and
says according to local media that he has been ordered by IS in Syria to carry
out an attack.