Coronavirus
Initial results of a fresh study showed that Konya's sewage has the highest COVID-19 concentration among all Turkish provinces, followed by Istanbul. A researcher has said that after Konya and Istanbul came Bursa, İzmit, İzmir and Antalya's certain regions.
84 percent of Turkish citizens expect a second wave of the novel coronavirus epidemic, based on the results of a survey conducted from June 29-July 2 among more than 2,000 people in all of the country’s 81 provinces. 90 percent of people surveyed indicated that the virus had negatively impacted Turkey's economy.
A party on the Istanbul Bosphorus was raided by police and 49 partygoers were fined a total of 154,350 Turkish Liras (over $20,000). The owners of the boat were detained for legal action.
The Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) will return registration fees paid by pilgrims who have applied and were chosen to go on the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. More than two million people from Turkey applied to partake in the Hajj before the coronavirus lockdowns.
Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate banned the killing of sacrifices in the streets and mandated that professional altars work on an appointment-only basis during the upcoming Eid al-Adha holiday. The directorate also issued a series of guidelines requiring safe distancing, wearing masks and health checks for professional altars.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on June 20 Turkey had lost some ground in its battle with the coronavirus but a focus on hygiene, masks and social distancing will protect people and help the economy rebound in the second half of the year. "The numbers in recent days show that we have lost our position in the fight against the epidemic," Erdoğan said in a televised address. "
An Istanbul corn vendor puts a mask on his pet goat whenever they go outside to raise awareness about COVID-19. He said that most people congratulate him and that a police officer even told him he was proud of him.
Turkey's COVID-19 Science Committee urged citizens to continue to follow preventative measures as the number of daily COVID-19 diagnoses has been on the rise since the start of the "normalization" process. The northern province of Gümüşhane has the highest fatality rate in Turkey with 12.4 percent, while the southeastern border town of Kilis has the lowest with 0.33 percent.
Turkey on June 16 confirmed 1,467 more cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total tally to 181,298. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said that "some regions and group behaviors" were responsible from the recent rise in infection figures.
Turkish officials have been offering conflicting statements on coronavirus deaths in prisons. There are indeed inmates who have died in jail after contracting the novel coronavirus, according to lawyer Şule Recepoğlu from the Human Rights Association prison commission.
Turkish Medical Association (TTB) members noted that the announcement of the Turkish COVID-19 drug was unusually fast, and the information about the drug itself was unfounded. Meanwhile, one member said that the country was far from having overcome the outbreak, which he said was evident in the inconsistency of new numbers of cases each day.
Editor's Pick
İslam Özkan writes: Rather than dividing it, it appears that Turkey’s strategy and polarizing policies in Libya have contributed to unifying the enemy camp. Though the attack against the al-Wattiyah airbase did not inflict huge damage on Turkey’s air defense system, Turkey’s efforts in Libya will likely get harder in the future.
Ülkü Doğanay writes: Maybe in January 2016, if the former prime minister, who now resents his colleagues and who kept quiet before the events regarding Şehir University, had remembered that he was also an academic benefiting from free expression, then universities may not have been in the dark position they are in today.
Politics
Turkey's media watchdog issued 73 percent of broadcast interruption fines to the same four news broadcasters that are critical of the government, a report by non-governmental organization Transparency International revealed.
84 percent of Turkish citizens expect a second wave of the novel coronavirus epidemic, based on the results of a survey conducted from June 29-July 2 among more than 2,000 people in all of the country’s 81 provinces. 90 percent of people surveyed indicated that the virus had negatively impacted Turkey's economy.
The European Parliament held a debate entitled “Stability and Security in the Mediterranean and the negative role of Turkey” on July 9. Several MEPs called for a complete end to accessions talks with Turkey, saying the country should no longer receive payments from the EU budget as part of pre-accession support.
Turkey has voiced discontent with the United States' decision to provide International Military Education and Training (IMET) to Greek Cypriot soldiers in accordance with the 2020 fiscal year appropriations act. "This and similar steps do not contribute to the efforts towards the settlement of the Cyprus issue, but on the contrary, lead to strengthening the intransigent attitude of the Greek Cypriot side," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.
A recent simulation by Istanbul Municipality revealed the southern suburbs of the city to be the highest-risk areas in a potential earthquake. While the suburbs are located on both sides of the city, they're all placed alongside the southern Marmara Sea shoreline.
The Istanbul Convention, an international initiative that aims to combat domestic violence against women, has led to fractures within the ruling AKP as one of the party's lawmakers has said that she is puzzled why the convention has come under attack after so many years. AKP MP Canan Kalsın asked why the convention turned into a “scapegoat” nine years after it was signed in Istanbul.
Attending a demonstration can't be a proof of terrorist organization membership, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled in the case of four applicants from Turkey. The applicants faced the said accusation for attending a demonstration in 2008, with the ECHR saying that their rights to freedom of assembly were violated.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to carry out a cabinet reshuffle and rearrange ministries. Erdoğan might part ways with three to four ministers, sources told Duvar, adding that two ministries, including the Family and Social Services Ministry, might be divided into two.
The police force of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) early on July 9 shot two Syrian refugees for attempting to run away after arriving at a beach on a boat. The TRNC police said that refugees continued to run away despite warning shots, and eventually they opened fire on them, injuring two.
A tender for hunting mountain goats in eastern Dersim was scheduled despite public outcry against it. Endemic to the Munzur Valley National Park, mountain goats are considered sacred among locals.
A parliamentary commission revealed that some 462 children in Turkey died under suspicious conditions in 2019. Police data showed that 21 children's deaths were suicides and 29 were the result of poisoning.
Four U.S. senators have penned a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper saying that Turkey's expulsion from the F-35 supply chain needs to be expedited, regardless of what the cost is. They said that the Defense Department's delay regarding the matter “has undermined the effectiveness of our clear message to the Turks.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that he seeks to shut social media platforms in Turkey, a day after his daughter Esra Albayrak was insulted on Twitter. "Such platforms don't suit this country and our people. That's why we want these social media platforms completely shut or controlled after bringing the issue to our parliament," he told members of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Turkey tested Russian-made S-400 air defense systems on U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets in November 2019, a source close to the Turkish defense industry told TASS on July 7. "Yes, such trials have indeed taken place last November," the source told TASS when asked to comment on several media reports.
The main opposition CHP’s proposal calling for an investigation into last week's deadly explosion at a Sakarya fireworks factory has been rejected by the votes of the AKP and MHP lawmakers.
Turkey's Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said that the country will soon start mass production of favipiravir, a drug used in COVID-19 treatment, as the licensing process is expected to be completed in a couple of days. Koca said that the country will sell it on the international market and also use it to treat its own coronaviurus patients.
Jailed former HDP co-chair Demirtaş has advised opposition parties to expand their discourse beyond anti-AKP rhetoric, saying: "The time is no longer speaking about the AKP, but the future." Demirtaş has also advised all opposition parties to partake in the same events such as forums, panel discussions and conferences and address Turkey's problems there.
Russia and Turkey are working on an immediate ceasefire agreement for the conflict in Libya, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on July 8. Lavrov said LNA is ready to sign a ceasefire document and hopes that Turkey will manage to convince the country's internationally recognised GNA to do the same.
As of March this year, EU countries overall have admitted 26,835 migrants under the 2016 Turkey-EU deal, German daily Die Welt reported on July 8. Germany has taken in the greatest number of migrants among the EU countries, with almost 10,000 people, the report said.
Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said that Turkey was an exception to the global financial crisis emerging in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The minister said that Turkey has been outperforming other countries in "all measures of economic success."
Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) leader Ali Babacan has criticized heavy taxes on alcoholic beverages, saying that it leads to smuggling. They are being sold to one third of the prices here in our neighboring countries. The fact that the taxes are high leads to smuggling," Babacan said when asked about increases in private consumption tax (ÖTV).
Istanbul's Üsküdar Municipality banned roasted sunflower seeds, along with other shelled seeds, to prevent pollution of environment. A cheap alternative, roasted sunflower seeds are a favorite snack for Turkey's population.
Enrollment in religious-training Imam Hatip schools has been more than the enrollment in the high school Imam Hatip schools. Enrollment in the imam-training high schools fell in the academic year 2018-2019.
Economy
Foreign investment in Istanbul's stock exchange fell below 50 percent for the first time since 2004, daily Sözcü reported. Almost four billion dollars have reportedly been sold out of the exchange in the first six months of 2020.
Turkey's foreign trade deficit doubled between January and May as exports fell by 20 percent. The monthly trade deficit also doubled in May, surpassing $3 billion.
The Turkish Competition Authority has launched a probe into German automotive giants Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. The authority's announcement on July 1 came as Volkswagen AG canceled plans to build a car factory in Turkey after the coronavirus pandemic jolted auto markets.
Turkey's June inflation rates exceeded experts' expectations at 1.13 percent, almost double the estimates. Meanwhile, annual inflation reached 12.62 percent.
Urban Beat
Turkey's Culture and Tourism Ministry will be turning the iconic Galata Tower into a museum. The ministry will also launch a "culture route" that spans from the tower, along Istiklal Avenue and to Taksim Square. Minister Ersoy also said that the construction of the AKM would be completed within a month, ongoing since February 2019.
The United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) likened railroads and highways in Turkey's capital Ankara to arteries in an eagle-eye shot of the city at night, dubbed "photo of the day" on June 28.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu on June 25 announced that the municipality purchased a portrait of Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II at a London auction. According to the London-based world-famous Christie's auction house, the municipality's winning bid amounted to £770,000 ($955,000) for the oil painting, which is believed to be the work of Italian painter Gentile Bellini in 1480.