ISTANBUL – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressed a rapidly changing political reality on Tuesday. He met with party leaders to speak days after a catastrophic mayoral election in Istanbul over a cabinet transformation in which his favored candidate was treated as a candidate. Humiliating defeat.
When the dust over this loss had settled for Mr. Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development (AKP) party, observers sought evidence that he was pursuing his aggressive persecution of people generally considered smaller political actors 2016.
Three potentially important court cases are scheduled for this week, which are likely to be closely monitored by foreign governments, which have been beset by Mr. Erdogan's efforts to combat vast sections of the opposition.
16 civil society activists were taken to court on Monday, accused of trying to overthrow the government for participating in the 2013 protests in Taksim Square, and Two Turkish employees of the United States 19659006] The Consulate in Istanbul is due to appear in court this week.
Although the Turkish judiciary is considered independent, it is currently in crisis. After the failed coup attempt of 2016, thousands of judges were cleaned up and the service eroded. Many have been hastily replaced, often by Erdogan loyalists, and those who work in a climate of fear, experts say.
One of the consulate employees, Mete Canturk, who works for the Foreign Ministry's diplomatic security bureau and has been living under house arrest since October 2017. When his trial began on Tuesday, the court ordered that he be released from house arrest during the trial. Metin Topuz, an employee of the Drug Enforcement Administration, has been in prison since the same date and will appear in court on Friday.
Mr. Canturk's wife and daughter are also on trial, all charged with membership in an armed terrorist organization, and the allegations allegedly made by US Embassy officials are unfounded. Their judicial inspections were also relaxed at the end of the hearing on Tuesday.
These lawsuits will coincide with another high-profile lawsuit brought by Osman Kavala, one of the country's most prominent political prisoners, often referred to as the George Soros of Turkey.
The cases were described by diplomats and human rights organizations as a strategy of hostile diplomacy by Erdogan when he negotiated his various disputes with foreign governments.
Mr. Erdogan suffered a damaging political defeat at the weekend when his candidate for the mayor of Istanbul was defeated by the opposition candidate in a vote that only came after a repeat attempt by the president following a first vote in March
Istanbul, the hometown of Mr Erdogan, was controlled for 25 years, but voters strongly opposed his leadership, and the Opposition candidate Ekrem Imamoglu increased his profit margin in the second round against Binali Yildirim, who was backed by Mr Yildirim Erdogan.
The result has raised the question of whether Mr Erdogan, who has been in office for 16 years and has taken steps to get his power under control, is now politically vulnerable.
At his first public appearance Since the election results, Mr Erdogan spoke on Tuesday to the AKP faction in Ankara, although the usual enthusiastic slogans were largely suppressed.
Mr Erdogan addressed the ACP Group in Ankara. Yildirim was also present and sat in the front row, obviously upset. Mr. Erdogan congratulated Mr. Imamoglu at the beginning of his speech and added, "We welcome the decision of the Istanbulers."
However, he defended the decision to hold a second election and said it was a "completely legal" step.
"The final choice, beyond the fact of who won, is valuable as it overcomes the concerns over the manifestation of national will," he added.
Later he repeated the feeling and remarked, "We have no privilege to ignore the nation's message."
Mr. Erdogan said that his party should not dismiss the outcome, but weigh up why He said the party must work to identify its shortcomings
"We will take the necessary steps," he said, "but we will Definitions decide, we will not rely on the definitions of others. "