Domestic
The governor's office at the northern province of Düzce banned the sale of alcohol in local restaurants and cafes. A local business representative said that the governor's decision was to make sure said businesses didn't qualify as an entertainment venue, which are mandated to remain closed as part of COVID-19 measures.
Turkey's flagship carrier Turkish Airlines will resume European flights on June 18, the company spokesperson said. The airline will be operating flights from 14 provinces in Turkey to 16 European destinations at first.
Turkey's Health Ministry extended the legally required time for pregnancy leave by two months. "Everything else must stop if there's a baby to be welcomed to the world, or everything else should be done by someone else," Minister Koca said in his announcement.
The influential philosopher, academic, writer and translator Oruç Aruoba, often referred to as the "Turkish Nietzsche," passed away at the age of 72 on May 31. Aruoba was instrumental in bringing a number of classics of literature, poetry and philosophy into the Turkish language as the translator of works by writers such as Hume, Rilke, Wittgenstein, Von Hentig, Basho, and Celan.
İzmir's Efes Selçuk district, most well-known for the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, one of Turkey's most iconic tourist destinations, has launched a sweeping project focusing on local, sustainable agricultural production. “The coronavirus became a very clear indicator for why we started this. We need to incentivize production, and get people involved in agriculture, because there is already enough of an unemployment problem in this country,” Efes Selçuk Mayor Filiz Çeritoğlu Şengel told Duvar.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that the government would be implementing new tobacco taxes, because they love smokers and they want to discourage their habit. The president is a life-long campaigner against tobacco, even known to have confiscated cigarettes from people.
Turkey's probation law, implemented in 2005, allows courts to custom-tailor punishments to convicts. Some "sentences" that persons were handed were taking a spouse out to dinner, a ban on approaching the sea, watching sports competitions outside and distribute pamphlets about drunk driving.
The Turkish Culture and Tourism has cancelled a project that sought to build a boat yard in Antalya's Manavgat district, and instead leased the land for the construction of four golf hotels. NGOs in the area announced that they will take the government's move to the court as the new project is against the interests of the locals.
Islamic prayers were on May 29 recited at the Hagia Sophia museum to commemorate the anniversary of the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul. President Erdoğan joined the Quran recital via videoconference and addressed the nation in a speech.
A company owned by the Ankara provincial vice-president for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), was awarded a 415,000 TL tender to shoot photographic and video footage of damage caused by an earthquake that struck the Eastern Anatolian city of Elazığ in January of this year.
A shocking video has emerged of a cross being ripped down from the entrance of an Armenian church in Istanbul's Kuzguncuk neighborhood. The incident comes just a few weeks after another attack on an Armenian church in Istanbul’s Bakırköy district.
Turkish Airlines has announced its new safety rules for coronavirus-era air travel, saying that carry-on bags will not be allowed in the cabin area and passengers will board and get off the plane one by one, waiting for their seating number to be announced.
Ahmet Türeli, 21, was found seriously wounded while doing his military service in Turkey's eastern province of Van last week. The military ruled his death as suicide, but Türeli's family said they do not believe this explanation and intend to open an investigation into the matter.
A councillor from the ruling AKP has legitimized the recent brutal killing of a woman by her boxer boyfriend, saying: "The story is the same, a freedom-lover woman and a death story that takes places in an extramarital life."
Trains and planes will resume operations at the end of May, and will operate at 50 percent capacity. Passengers will be required to provide a unique code, obtainable only through the Turkish Health Ministry's mobile app. While Turkish citizens aren't mandated to use the app, they will not be able to purchase travel tickets without it.
Editor's Picks
Şenay Aydemir writes: It seems like Netflix, rather than providing resources to Turkey and contributing to the advancement of the sector, chooses to work with producers that already have a strong share in the market. Though the Netflix Turkey team claims they are open to all kinds of projects and ideas, they are obviously more open to certain ideas, projects and production companies.
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Ankara's conflict-oriented foreign policy has received the public's support for military operations, but public opinion often fails to translate into votes. While Ankara's "enemy" in military conflict is ever-changing, the northern Syria conflict was revealed to be the only intervention that expanded the government's voter base.
Politics
Turkey's southernmost province of Hatay was rocked by an explosion on Oct. 26 and authorities said that two militants of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) were nabbed following the blast. Hatay Governor Rahmi Doğan said that the two militants were a part of a group of four who had flown from the Syrian town of Manbij to the Amanos Mountains in Hatay using paramotors.
A report prepared by a number of civil society organizations regarding trials in Turkey prosecuting conscientious objectors to mandatory military service in the country has influenced the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers to pressure Turkey on recognizing the right to conscientious objection.
President Erdoğan and the newly-elected Turkish Cypriot President Ersin Tatar on Oct. 26 voiced their support for a two-state solution on the divided island of Cyprus. "We believe a two-state solution must now be brought to the table with a realistic proposal," Erdoğan said. Erdoğan also said that he would visit Turkish Cyprus on Nov. 15 and expressed his desire to have a picnic at Varosha.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said that at least 78 Turkey-backed Syrian rebels were killed and dozens more were injured in Russian airstrikes on a military training camp in Idlib. Those targeted were in a camp belonging to Faylaq al-Sham, the monitor said, adding that it was the deadliest attack since the ceasefire came into force in March.
The second indictment against human rights defender and businessman Osman Kavala presents no new grounds to justify his detention and is politically motivated, said Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in a statement.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has urged the UNESCO to release its report on the restoration works in the iconic Hagia Sophia as soon as possible. Lavrov said that for Russia Hagia Sophia is particularly valuable from the spiritual point of view.
Twenty-eight of Istanbul's 39 districts have registered more than 50 percent increase in COVID-19 infections in the past week compared to the average of this month, said Health Minister Fahrettin Koca. “The increase rate is 50-60 percent in 11 districts, 60-70 percent in 10 districts, and 70-80 percent in seven districts,” he told reporters on Oct. 26.
A Canadian vehicle manufacturer has suspended the delivery of aircraft engines to Turkey in the wake of reports that some of those engines are being used on Turkish combat drones deployed by Azerbaijan in its conflict against Armenian forces over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Former main opposition CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu's lawyer has appealed to the Constitutional Court following two lower courts' refusal to retry him over violations of his rights to participate in politics and personal freedom.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told a worker to enjoy a nice cup of tea as the latter complained of not being able to bring home bread. Erdoğan said that the worker's plea sounded like a huge exaggeration, evoking infamous French ruler Marie-Antoinette who told the people to eat cake if they can't find bread.
A dynamite blast in the construction of Turkey's first nuclear power plant damaged cars that were parked in the nearby lot, ANKA News Agency reported on Oct. 25. Locals have complained from the use of dynamite in the construction before, saying that the dust harms their crops, and the blasts have even cracked the walls of their homes.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has challenged the United States on a sanctions threat over Ankara’s support to Baku in its clashes with Armenia. "You [Americans] do not know who you are playing with. Go ahead with your sanctions," Erdoğan said. He also slammed the U.S. for not delivering promised F-35 fighter jets.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that Baku would use Turkish F-16 jets in case of an external attack on the country. "They've been asking me about why Turkish F-16s are here. I'm tired of answering. Everyone knows that the F-16s are waiting. They came here for a drill and our Turkish brothers kept them here for moral support. They'll see those F-16s if there is an external attack on us," Aliyev said.
Mehmet Ayışığı is a well-known and well-liked figure in Istanbul's Kurtuluş neighborhood, wandering the streets and calling out to customers with his signature voice. After Ayışığı's cart was confiscated by the Şişli Municipality due to noise complaints, area residents marched together with the vendor in a gesture of solidarity against police.
Known for its lush natural beauty, the environmental integrity of the town of Şavşat is under threat due to a hydroelectric power plant, where construction is due to continue despite being previously blocked by a regional court. “The people of the area are very determined. They will definitely not allow the construction of a hydroelectric power plant,” said Tahsin Yazıcı of the Kireçli village, saying that the villagers would use their democratic rights.
Turkish law enforcement detained some 38 journalists in the first eight months of 2020, a report by the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) revealed. Meanwhile, access to 53 news stories and 75 websites was blocked. Charges of insulting the president resulted in the detention of 24 people, the arrest of three and an investigation into one person.
Istanbul police violently detained around 40 members of a pro-Kurdish youth union involving pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party's (HDP) Youth Assembly, Mesopotamia Agency reported on Oct. 25. Police claimed that a banner held up by demonstrators was criminal on the grounds that it displayed a photo of İbrahim Kaypakkaya, a deceased Turkish leftist.
Economy
Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak has said that the economy is growing despite the tumbling Turkish Lira. The lira weakened to a record low on Oct. 26, hit by investor unease over the central bank's decision last week to keep its policy rate on hold and various sources of geopolitical concern. Strains in ties with the United States, a row with France, a dispute between Turkey and Greece over maritime rights and the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh have all unsettled investors.
Turkish monthly inflation was almost four times greater than the official rate in September, according to a new model developed by a group of academics and researchers. According to the independent Inflation Research Group (ENAG)'s first published finding, consumer prices in September rose 3.61 percent from the previous month, compared to the official Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK)'s calculation of 0.97 percent increase.
Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez said on Oct. 22 Turkey will operate the gas field which it recently discovered in the Black Sea on its own, but it may cooperate with foreign firms in terms of detailed work and equipment. The minister's comments came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Oct. 17 Turkey had raised the estimated reserves of the field to 405 billion cubic meters after finding an additional 85 bcm.
The Turkish government has said that it "laughs off" boycotts imposed on Turkish products in Saudi Arabia, Morocco and United Arab Emirates. "We laugh off some countries' boycotts against Turkey. They should first learn to stand as independent countries," AKP deputy leader Numan Kurtulmuş said on Oct. 18.
Urban Beat
Turkey's southeastern city of Diyarbakır is nestled in Mesopotamia and has a deep legacy spanning millenniums and civilizations. A recent discovery on the 8000-year-old Amida Höyük archaeological site has unearthed an 1800-year-old heating system that was quite sophisticated for the time.
Kurdish artist Zehra Doğan's work that she created during her two prison sentences between 2016 and 2019 are on display in Turkey for the first time. The artist was jailed on terrorism charges and gained international fame after finishing her second sentence and holding a show at London's Tate Modern.
Turkey's Presidential Symphony Orchestra will thrive thanks to the completion of its long-awaited music hall, Conductor Cemi'i Can Deliorman said. Having been in the works for 25 years, the music hall's large auditorium can seat more than two thousand viewers.
Alterations on Istanbul's iconic Hagia Sophia reportedly violated guidelines mandated under the site's "UNESCO World Heritage" status. Converted within two weeks of the legal ruling that allowed Muslim worship, the ancient structure's mosaics were unlawfully covered up, and any work on it was deemed practically impossible, architectural publication Mimarlık Magazine reported.