A total of 131 suspects were handed prison terms on Jan. 22 in the case into the illegal wiretapping by Gülenists. Those sentenced include police chiefs that carried out Dec. 17-25, 2013 graft probes, which targeted former ministers and are deemed as attempts to overthrow the government by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
A 5.4 magnitude earthquake on Jan. 22 struck the Akhisar district of Manisa province. Authorities said the quake caused a few derelict structures to collapse, but there were no immediate reports of any injuries or casualties.
Currently, 59 German citizens are in Turkish prisons, and another 74 German citizens are barred from leaving Turkey pending investigation, German Foreign Ministry has announced. German Chancellor Merkel is expected to discuss this issue during her meeting with Turkish President Erdoğan in Istanbul on Jan. 24.
Researcher Elif Sandal Önal was one of the many "Academics for Peace" - a group of more than 2,000 people who signed a controversial petition that was released in January 2016 and that condemned the Turkish military's heavy use of violence in certain southeastern, predominantly Kurdish districts of Turkey. Like many of the signatories, Önal was fired from her job and sought exile abroad. Now settled in Germany, the academic says he "has no intention of returning to Turkey."
The Assad regime has invited representatives of the country's Syrian Kurdish parties to Damascus. The de facto autonomous region of northern Syria known as Rojava also received an invitation, but their officials were asked to send a delegation that consists of only "Kurdish representatives," excluding Arabs.
Foreign powers agreed at a summit in Berlin on Jan. 19 to shore up a shaky truce in Libya. German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters that the Berlin summit, attended by the main backers of the rival Libyan factions, had agreed that a tentative truce in Tripoli over the past week should be turned into a permanent ceasefire to allow a political process to take place.
French President Emmanuel Macron slammed foreign troop deployment in Libya on Jan. 19, saying that such intervention "only serves to fuel the conflict and create new risks for everyone." A day later, Turkish President Erdoğan said that Ankara sent a group of trainers to the war-ravaged country. "We are not sending military forces to Libya at the moment," he said.
Officials from Turkey's Competition Authority visited several banks late on Jan. 17 to analyze computers as they opened a wide-ranging probe of trading in the financial sector, according to three bankers. The competition authority said it was conducting “preliminary research” into banks, adding it could not say more about the effort until the process is completed.
AKP group deputy chair Mehmet Muş has submitted a draft bill to the parliament seeking to grant watchmen the authority to ask identification from people and detain them. The AKP's move came in the wake of two court rulings which said that the watchmen do not have the “authority to ask for identification as per their job definition.”
Some 150 types of medicine are currently unavailable in pharmacies across Turkey as medical firms and depots have suspended the release of products amid upcoming price hikes due on Feb. 15, said a deputy of the main opposition CHP. The Turkish Pharmacists' Association confirmed that pharmacies are running out of medicine, saying the Euro exchange rate set for the pricing of medicines is set to increase by 10-11 percent.
In a filing in Manhattan federal court, prosecutors said Halkbank should be fined an initial $1 million a day for contempt of court and which could double each week to counter the bank's "obstinacy" in refusing to defend itself in court. The proposed fine could total $7 million after the first week of non-compliance and $21 million after two weeks, and nearly $1.8 billion by the end of eight weeks.
Turkey's Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said that the country has taken steps against the coronavirus. "We have preparations, including taking a risky patient from China to our quarantine room and taking them to the hospital via a specially designated ambulance," Koca told the state-owned Anadolu news agency.
Turkey remains 110th in the Economist's latest global democracy index. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) categorized Turkey as the only “hybrid regime” in western Europe -- the second lowest after “authoritarian regime.”
Bilal Erdoğan, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's son, has criticized Turkey's intellectuals for being "outdated." “Unfortunately our 20th century intellectuals weren't able to follow the world and they missed out. How did they miss out? When the Young Turks went to Europe for education, to France in particular, they were influenced by the positivist trends," Bilal Erdoğan said.
Turkey's Supreme Election Board (YSK) Sadi Güven has said that the practice of using envelopes when casting votes should be removed. "The practice of using envelopes was removed in many countries. The envelopes need to be removed after making ballot boxes opaque instead of transparent with a change in legal regulations," he said.
Inmates are being restricted access to books, the daily Evrensel newspaper reported. Prisoners' books are routinely confiscated and have been punished for writing poetry in their notebooks. “Our right to obtain information is being violated. The books we read are separated into a different section and we can only exchange them with others in every 15 days by writing a petition," a prisoner said.
Good Party leader Meral Akşener said that she can't predict whether the country will have early elections because the decision is up to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. "We could be casting ballots with one executive order," Akşener said, adding that she wasn't aware of Good Party member Lütfü Türkkan's tweet from Jan. 19 asking "How's Sunday June 28 for elections?"
Turkey's former Prime Minister Davutoğlu has accused economy administration of manipulating inflation figures. "Competent people need to be in charge of this administration. Think about a doctor who tells his patient that he is fine by changing his test results. The patient says 'I'm dying,' but the doctor says, 'Look at the figures, your test results are fine.' The economy administration in Turkey is doing exactly this," he said.
Prof. Naci Görür, a member of Turkey's The Science Academy, said the southern delta of Kanal Istanbul will be "violently impacted" by the long-awaited Istanbul earthquake. Görür said that the land surrounding the southern mouth of the canal, between the two Çekmece Lakes, contained many fault lines, and the continent shelf was highly fragmented, a huge risk in a possible earthquake.
The General Directorate of Foundations, under the Culture and Tourism Ministry, has taken over the management of Foundation for Sciences and Arts (BSV), which was co-founded by former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in 1986. The foundation said the take-over is "a perilous step that can lead to a big damage in our centuries-long foundation tradition."
The Journalists Union of Turkey and its LGBTİ+ Commission have launched a book campaign and are receiving donations for female journalists in prison. Melike Aydın, Ruken Demir and Sadiye Eser have been imprisoned for over 40 days. They have yet to see a judge or have their trial set. "Our fight will continue until journalists gain their freedom," the Union's press release said.
The European Union is working on a list of names to enforce sanctions on Turkey for searching and drilling for natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean, the bloc's foreign affairs commissioner Josep Borrell has said. Borrell noted that Greek Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides gave a briefing on the matter.
Türkiye Biricik, who lives with her son and daughter-in-law, has never once in her life held an identity card issued by the state, causing multiple misfortunes in her life. “It is as if my mother-in-law has lived in death for her entire life," Sakine Biricik, the 80-year-old woman's daughter-in-law told Duvar.
After meeting with jailed philanthropist and businessman Osman Kavala at Silivri Prison, Süleyman Bülbül, a lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People's Party, has said that Kavala feels his right to a fair trial has been violated. Kavala has been jailed pending trial for over two years. Bülbül also spoke with lawyer Selçuk Kozağaçlı and musician İbrahim Gökçek about their time in prison.
653 electricity projects that were part of an investment program failed to start in 2018, according to an inspection report of the Turkish Electricity Transmission Corporation (TEİAS) that was prepared by Turkey's Court of Accounts.
The Turkish drama producer Ay Yapım has refuted the claims that their new TV series 'Babil' – which centers around a sacked university professor – was being investigated for allegedly “making propaganda” on behalf of the Gülen movement. Following its first episode on Jan. 17, the new series became a hot topic on social media, with several users suggesting that the hardships that the main character faces are parallel to those experienced by Turkey's sacked civil servants.
As the row over the AKP and the main opposition CHP over Kanal Istanbul continues, a report by daily Cumhuriyet said that Finance Minister Berat Albayrak purchased land on the route of the controversial canal a year after President Erdoğan announced the plans to build it. Albayrak's lawyer Ahmet Özel released a statement shortly after Cumhuriyet's report, saying that "it was an ordinary purchase."
The manufacturer Boeing had fault in the crash of a Boeing 737-NG from the Turkish Airlines fleet in 2009, The New York Times reported. The aircraft was an earlier version of the Boeing 737-Max, the grounded plane that killed 346 people in crashes in Indonesia and Malaysia. Expert reports that are unavailable to the public revealed "risky design choices and faulty safety assessments" on the part of Boeing.
Turkey's Forensic Medicine Department, connected to the Justice Ministry, has been infiltrated by members of the Gülen organization, an employee of the department has claimed. Dr. Nevzat Alkan, who has worked in the department since 1993, claims that Gülenists, the main suspect behind the 2016 coup attempt, infiltrated the department because their reports are crucial to lawsuit proceedings.
The Ankara First Heavy Penal Court has released its justified decision on ruling for the acquittal of 19 suspects, including former Interior Minister Mehmet Ağar, in the case into 18 unsolved murders that were committed in 1990s, deeming all reports by Turkish Intelligence Agency (MİT), parliament, ministries and commissions "insufficient" to convict the suspects.
The assailant who targeted the HDP's Istanbul headquarters last week has been arrested on charges of “using unregistered firearm” and “disturbing the public peace.” The gunman told the authorities that he had come to Istanbul from the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri just to undertake this attack and had scouted the area for two days prior to the incident.
In Turkey, the minimum age required to get sex reassignment surgery is 18. In order for one to change one's gender section on an identity card, the procedure must be conducted at a state hospital. Sex reassignment surgery is available in Turkey's major cities like Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Antalya. Those operations are not only risky but costly and those trans people that suffer complications following a procedure, no legal procedure can be launched against the doctor in question.
A proposal calling for the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality to designate the city's 93 cemevis – houses of worship of Alevis – as official places of worship has been rejected by the votes of the AKP and MHP councillors. The proposal submitted by the CHP and İYİ Party groups in the council said cemevis can't benefit from public services that other places of worship can use and this is against the constitution's equality principle.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) submitted a bill to parliament with 37 articles, including one that would enable the construction of a presidential palace in the historic town of Ahlat on the coast of Lake Van, the country's largest lake. With President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's instructions, coastal laws were altered via a regulation in January of last year, potentially paving the way for the construction of the palace in Ahlat, which would involve filling in part of the coastline.
Turkish mezzo-soprano Lori Şen has been cast as Princess Diana at an American musical which tells the story of the beloved Princess of Wales. To prepare for her role, Şen is mastering Princess Diana's gestures, facial expressions and her style of talking.
The Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant, located in Armenia 16 kilometers from the eastern Turkish province of Iğdır, has become the subject of a parliamentary inquiry. In response to a question from main opposition CHP's deputy Deniz Yavuzyılmaz, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that the plant, which is functioning with outdated technology, presents a great risk to the region but did not specify what, if any, precautions were being taken on Turkey's part.
Journalist Sevim Kahraman and area resident Özkan Ulucan of the northeastern, mountainous province of Dersim have filmed a short documentary about the area's mountain goats, which are considered holy by locals, the vast majority of whom adhere to the Alevi faith.