İstanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu told the press on Sunday that the ferry had been hijacked by a man between 28 and 30 years of age, carrying a device with buttons and cables which bomb disposal experts were analyzing. However, the governor of Kocaeli province, where the ferry set sail with six crew and 18 passengers, later told journalists that the bomb was a fake. “There were no bombs found on the terrorist. He was wearing bottles and cables that looked like a bomb mechanism,” Governor Ercan Topaca said.
None of the passengers were hurt, but some were taken to a nearby hospital for an examination. The terrorist was identified as Mensur Güzel.
The pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) on Tuesday attempted to stage a provocation over Güzel’s funeral but their plans were foiled by the police. BDP members brought an empty coffin and made hundreds of people believe that Güzel was in the coffin. Nevertheless, the Diyarbakır police told the sorrowful mother that her son’s body is ready to be buried in the Yeniköy Cemetery in the Bağlar district of Diyarbakır. Police told the mother that the crowd attacked police with Molotov cocktails and that they could attack again and that she should go to the Yeniköy Cemetery to bury her son. Sıtiye Güzel said she did not want anyone to get hurt and that she wanted to go with police to bury her son.
Mensur Güzel was the only son in the family; he leaves behind six sisters.
Nov. 12 Saturday
National Intelligence Organization (MİT) official Kaşif Kozinoğlu, who was arrested and jailed in March on charges of membership in the Ergenekon terrorist organization, seizing confidential state documents and sharing them with third parties, died of a heart attack in prison.
An official ceremony was held for Atsushi Miyazaki, a Japanese aid volunteer who rushed to Turkey after the Oct. 23 earthquake in Van to help quake victims but died in a second quake in the province, in İstanbul before his body was sent to Japan.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited thousands of quake victims in eastern Turkey, where earthquakes over the last month have caused the deaths of at least 640 people and left many people homeless.
Turkish commandos killed a lone hijacker, a Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist, in a pre-dawn operation to rescue more than 20 passengers and crew held hostage for 12 hours on a high-speed ferry near İstanbul.
Following an anonymous tipoff, Turkish police carried out an operation against a group of PKK terrorists, capturing seven of them in possession of weapons and explosives in the Aydıncık district of Mersin province.
A crowd of around a thousand people attacked the Turkish embassy in Damascus, throwing stones and bottles before Syrian police intervened to break up the protest. Attacks were also staged against Turkey’s consulate in Aleppo and its honorary consulate in Latakia.
Nov. 13 Sunday
Ankara issued a diplomatic note to Syria to communicate its concern about Saturday’s attacks on its embassy in Damascus as well as consulates in other cities, which were carried out by around 1,000 pro-regime supporters who hurled stones and bottles at the embassy building. Ankara also evacuated the families of its diplomats in Syria after the attacks.
The mother of Mensur Güzel, a PKK terrorist who was killed on Saturday in a pre-dawn operation to rescue the passengers and crewmembers he had held hostage aboard a high-speed ferry near İstanbul, rejected the expressions of condolences from pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputy Sebahat Tuncel and said she did not want BDP members to attend her son’s funeral.
Nov. 14 Monday
Yasin Hayal, one of the key suspects in the 2007 murder case of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, has criminal liability, a report issued by the Council of Forensic Medicine (ATK) revealed. The findings of the ATK report were shared by the presiding judge, Rüstem Eryılmaz, at the 21st hearing of the Dink trial at the İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court.
Syrian Foreign Minister Waled al-Moallem apologized for attacks on foreign diplomatic missions after the Arab League announced it was suspending Damascus for its crackdown on eight months of protests against President Bashar al-Assad. “As for attacks on foreign embassies, as foreign minister I apologize for these aggressions,” Moallem told a televised news conference in Damascus.
Turkey announced it will take a “decisive attitude” over attacks on its diplomatic missions in Syria and will continue to support protesters seeking democratic reforms in the face of a government crackdown. “We will take a decisive attitude in the face of these attacks,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said. “And we will continue to take our place at the side of the Syrian people’s rightful struggle.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that the cold-blooded murders of nine immigrant shopkeepers by neo-Nazis is an “inconceivable” crime for Germany and a national disgrace. Among calls for her government to launch a fresh attempt to outlaw the far-right NPD party to prevent it from receiving taxpayer funds for its political campaigns, Merkel vowed to leave no stone unturned in fighting right-wing terrorism.
İbrahim Şahin was re-elected as the president of the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), securing Şahin another four years at the helm of the broadcasting network.
Nov. 15 Tuesday
Turkey’s Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute said a magnitude 5.2 earthquake occurred in Turkey’s eastern province of Van.
Prime Minister Erdoğan signaled that an apology from the Syrian government for attacks on its diplomatic missions in Syria is not enough, urging President Bashar al-Assad’s regime to find and punish the perpetrators of an attack on the Turkish flag in Latakia and vowing that such assaults will receive the proper “response.” Addressing the Syrian president by his first name, Erdoğan said, “Bashar, you who have thousands of people in jail, must find those who attacked the Turkish flag and punish them.”
Turkey’s current account deficit (CAD) surged by 79.1 percent in September compared to the same period of 2010, reaching the highest level in the ninth month of the past 18 years, at $6.76 billion. The Central Bank of Turkey released its balance of payments report, revealing that Turkey’s CAD jumped by 100.7 percent to $60.65 billion in the first nine months of the year compared to the same period of 2010.
Turkey drew 0-0 with Croatia in a game on in the Euro 2012 play-off rounds in Zagreb. The Croatian team, which defeated Turkey 3-0 in the first leg game in Istanbul, won the ticket to the Euro 2012 finals.
Nov. 16 Wednesday
Seven members of the PKK terrorist organization turned themselves in to Turkish security forces in the southeastern province of Şırnak.
The prime minister said his government plans to pass a long-expected piece of legislation by next week at the latest that will allow potential draftees to pay a certain fee in lieu of performing compulsory military service. Erdoğan’s remarks came during a meeting of the Ministry of Family and Social Policy, which was held for women whose husbands had died. “I would like to announce here, as there have been a lot of rumors about this issue, that we have concluded our work on the matter of payment in lieu of military service. I believe that we will be completely done with our work within this week or next week at the latest and pass the legislation,” he said.
Nov. 17 Thursday
Two individuals, one of whom is a retired military officer, were arrested as part of a deepening probe into the death of Grand Unity Party (BBP) leader Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu and five others in a helicopter crash in 2009.
A prosecutor overseeing an investigation into claims of negligence by public officials in protecting Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who was shot dead in 2007, decided to prosecute 30 high-level public officials, including İstanbul’s former governor and police chief, on charges of “aiding and abetting murder” instead of negligence.
The Silivri Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into the suspicious death of National Intelligence Organization (MİT) official Kaşif Kozinoğlu while serving time in prison, where he had been in custody since March on charges of membership in the Ergenekon terrorist organization, seizing confidential state documents and sharing them with third parties. His death has raised suspicions about whether he was killed, as he had been scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 22.
A magnitude 4.7 earthquake occurred in Van province, which was hit by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake on Oct. 23 and another temblor measuring 5.2 on Nov. 9. According to the website of the Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute at Boğaziçi University, the earthquake occurred at 2:38 p.m. and its epicenter was in the village of Çolpan.
Syrian authorities said they will prosecute anyone who attacks foreign embassies in Syria, state media said, after a series of attacks on foreign missions in retaliation for the Arab League’s suspension of Damascus. An Interior Ministry statement quoted by the SANA news agency said authorities would meet their international commitments to protect diplomatic property.
Nov. 18 Friday
Two children from the same family died and two others were injured when a fire erupted in a tent set up for quake survivors in the eastern province of Van. The incident occurred in a tent in the village of Karpuzalan. The fire was reportedly caused by a stove in the Tolukan family’s tent.
Maj. Gen. Mustafa Bakıcı, for whom an İstanbul court issued an arrest warrant in August as part of a probe regarding the establishment of several websites that allegedly ran propaganda campaigns against civilian groups on behalf of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), fled to Russia to evade arrest, Turkish media reported. Bakıcı, who was the commander of the 23rd Border Division Command, was appointed to a more passive position at the Land Forces Command’s Inspection department during this year’s Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) meeting due to his suspected involvement in the anti-government website campaign. He was among the 14 suspects for whom the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court issued arrest warrants as part of the investigation on Aug. 8 after an indictment prepared by the prosecutor overseeing the case was accepted by the court.
A court handed down a 24-year sentence to the prime suspect in the premeditated murder of Münevver Karabulut (18), who was murdered by her boyfriend, Cem Garipoğlu, in March 2009 at his home in İstanbul’s Bahçeşehir district.The Bakırköy 4th High Criminal Court released Mehmet Nida Garipoğlu, the boy’s father. He was accused of aiding and abetting his son during and after the murder.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused the terrorist PKK of trying to establish a “fascist system” and called on the country’s Kurds to stand against the PKK’s fascist pressure. “I ask my brothers in this region to see this fascist pressure of the PKK and its extensions. In fact they do. Parents who lose their sons [in fight with the PKK], artists, businessmen and civil society organizations are raising their voices courageously and are saying enough is enough,” Erdoğan said in the eastern province of Bitlis during an inauguration ceremony for newly opened departments at Bitlis Eren University.