A Turkish court on Jan. 14 released Assyrian priest Sefer Bileçen on judicial control, four days after his arrest on charges of "aiding and abetting" the outlawed PKK. Bileçen is said to be the only caretaker of the Mor Yakup Monastery in Turkey's southeastern province of Mardin.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called for a joint attitude against those promoting life without marriage, as he criticized the decrease in the number of people getting married. "The marriage age of our youth is increasing. Unfortunately, they don't get married at a young age. Most of them get married after the age of 30 or never do so. How can such a thing happen!" he said, adding that he recommends marriage.
Turkey's Constitutional Court ruled against the conviction of former Halk TV editor-in-chief Şaban Sevinç for calling former Youth and Sports Minister Akif Çağatay Kılıç a "palace jester." The top court said that Sevinç's remark is "within the limits of criticism."
Four Turkish soldiers were killed in the area covered by Operation Peace Spring, Turkey's Defense Ministry said on Jan. 8.
A district office of the Mersin Provincial Education Directorate has sent a letter to schools within its scope of authority asking them to appoint two teachers each to escort Education Minister Ziya Selçuk's wife Rana Selçuk to a concert. A deputy from the opposition İYİ Party condemned the letter, saying teachers' “job definition” does not include them welcoming and escorting a minister's wife.
A large group of truckers staged a protest in the western province of Uşak on the highway that connects Ankara to the coastal city of Izmir, in opposition to a regulation that will require trucks to install digital tachographs, devices that record the speed and movement of the vehicle and some of the actions of the driver. Truckers criticize the new system especially because of the nine-hour obligation.
Snowfall in the Southeastern and Black Sea regions of Turkey has blocked off access to a total of over 600 residential areas. Snowfall has exceeded 1,5 meters at high altitudes in the Black Sea region.
A new wave of arrests was launched against Gülenists, who are known as members of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) - a name given to the group after Ankara designated is as a terrorist organization, with 12 soldiers from the Naval Forces Command getting detained in seven provinces. The detentions came three days after detention warrants were issued for 20 former intelligence personnel.
Yahya Uğur, the former head of the Istanbul Taxi Drivers' Association, regrets having run a "very aggressive" campaign against Uber. He said taxi drivers should have instead focused on enhancing their own service quality, as pirate cabs have boomed in numbers following the ban on Uber.
Turkey's state-owned TRT channel on Jan. 6 reported that the Russian cruiser 'Marshal Ustinov' “lost its control” and was “almost to collide” with the shore in Istanbul's Bosphorus strait. International maritime expert Yörük Işık said the channel's report was incorrect as the vessel's attempt to approach the coast was fully under control, but the captain later gave up on the idea due to bad weather and strong currents. "Probably the captain did not want to take a risk before Putin's arrival," Işık said.
The new headquarters of the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) was opened on Jan. 6 in a ceremony attended by President Erdoğan, MİT chief Hakan Fidan and government officials. Erdoğan praised MİT in his speech repeatedly, saying that the agency assumed a leading role in combat zones via preparing the ground for security forces. "Likewise, they are fulfilling their duties thoroughly in Libya," he said.
Two brothers that own a shop selling spare auto parts in the central Anatolian city of Konya have been released pending trial on charges of torturing a teenager. The brothers allegedly hung a 15-year old employee from the ceiling by his pants, punishing him for having forgotten a specific type of screw the boy was sent to purchase.
An Istanbul appeals court has upheld a jail sentence given to renowned journalist Ahmet Altan for “insulting” President Erdoğan and “undertaking terror propaganda,” whereas overturned a conviction in another case concerning charges of “insulting” Atatürk. Altan is currently being held in Silivri Prision in a case related to a failed 2016 coup attempt.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoğlu paid a visit to the memorial museum of the assassinated Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, meeting with Dink's late wife Rakel and daughter Delal and leaving a note on a message panel with the words “everything will be just fine,” which was the mayor's campaign slogan and message of hope during the local elections last year.
An empty train used on the Eastern Express route was derailed at the Ankara train station on its way to a maintenance workshop. Authorities from the TCDD noted that the damaged railways were still under repair.