Domestic
Ruling AKP deputy chair Mahir Ünal has said that the Turkish Netflix series 'Love 101' had initially planned to feature a gay character called “Osman.” Although the AKP deputy chair did not explicitly say why the scenario was changed at the last minute, his remarks were interpreted as the government having imposed a censorship on the show.
Istanbul prosecutors are seeking up to four years in jail for veteran actors Metin Akpınar and Müjdat Gezen on charges of "insulting" President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over 2018 comments during a television program. The investigation against the actors was launched on the same day that Erdoğan targeted them during a public speech, saying: "We cannot leave this business without giving a response, they will pay the price."
Antalya municipality on July 3 informed businesses on the iconic Konyaaltı coast that their illegal outdoor structures had to be removed within three days. When the businesses did not abide by the order, municipality officials on July 7 began to dismantle the illegal structures, which led to a brawl between the two sides.
A main opposition deputy presented a bill to ban fireworks in the aftermath of a devastating accident in the northwestern province of Sakarya that killed seven people and injured over a hundred.
The Çanakkale Strait was closed to maritime traffic on July 6 as hundreds of firefighters were working to extinguish a forest fire that broke out on the historic Gallipoli peninsula. It was not clear how the forest fire started, while Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said that 300 hectares of land have been so far consumed.
The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) deemed the July 3 explosion at a fireworks accident a "workplace homicide," a term used to describe accidents caused by gross neglect. There had been six accidents in the same factory in the past 11 years, the TTB noted, and said that July 3's fatal blast was a long time coming.
The death toll from July 3 explosions at a fireworks factory in northwestern Turkey rose to seven, said the local governor's office. A total of four suspects were detained after prosecutors issued arrest warrants, including the factory manager in charge and two foremen on July 4, and an occupational safety specialist on July 5.
Following an ID check neighborhood watchmen beat two brothers working on a construction site in the Istanbul district of Bağcılar. The brothers were later sentenced to eight months in prison after the watchmen filed criminal complaints against them. The number of watchmen in Turkey doubled from 11,398 in 2018 to 21,319 as of March of this year by the ruling AKP government.
A large explosion rocked a fireworks factory in the Hendek district of the northwestern province of Sakarya at around 11:15 a.m. on July 3 and four workers were killed and 108 workers were hospitalized. Fire department teams weren't able to intervene in the fire for a long time since explosions continued to take place.
A Turkish court on July 2 heard a case about converting Istanbul's sixth century Hagia Sophia back into a mosque and will announce its verdict within 15 days, a lawyer said, on an issue which has drawn international expressions of concern. Greece said Turkey risked opening up "a huge emotional chasm" with Christian countries if it pressed ahead with the proposal to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signed off on a new university because of a mistake in an executive order, which then got published in the official gazette. The gazette published a correction the next day, saying the correct word was "faculty" and not "university."
Turkish rescue teams on June 30 recovered five bodies after a boat believed to be carrying migrants capsized in eastern Turkey's Lake Van. Habertürk said that over 50 people could have been on the boat when it went missing on June 27.
Turkish President Recep Erdoğan welcomed a new grandson in the early hours of June 30. The president's eighth grandchild was born to Finance Minister Berat Albayrak and Esra Erdoğan.
Prof. Dr. Naci Görür, a member of the Turkish Academy of Sciences, has said that there is a danger of a tsunami hitting the planned Kanal Istanbul waterway after the expected big Marmara earthquake. "[In such a case] All the places surrounding the canal will be flooded. You can no longer save that area,” Görür told Cumhuriyet newspaper in an interview.
The Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) is planning a march to protest a draft bill that would divide large cities' bar associations into smaller institutions. 31 bar associations in Turkey have officially opposed the proposed legislation, and some bar heads attempted a march against in earlier in June.
Editor's Picks
Mois Gabay writes: In my childhood years, I remember wandering in the streets of Beyoğlu alongside my father. Pera was living its last days. At the end of the street near the French Consulate, lay “Tailor Ragıp.” Mr. Ragıp was famous for making trousers that would fit you perfectly. Tailor Blum had trained him.
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
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said that the number of new COVID-19 cases reported in Turkey has been declining steadily since June 25, but cautioned the public not to flout measures in place to stem the spread of the virus. "Let's not forget that these decreases [in case numbers] are happening slowly, whereas increases are happening suddenly," he said.
Turkey's Human Rights Association (İHD) has called for the release of Eylem Oyunlu, who is currently behind bars in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on charges of 'assisting a terror organization' with her two young children. Oyunlu's 3-week-old baby is suffering from a blocked tear duct and the two-year-old has chronic bronchitis.
A non-governmental women's platform urged the government to stop proceedings on a legal amendment that would grant amnesty to sexual predators. The platform also urged the government to not consider recusing from the Istanbul Convention, an international treaty against domestic violence and violence against children.
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.”
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.
Economy
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."
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.
Urban Beat
Fossils discovered by a nature enthusiast in mountainous eastern province of Iğdır revealed that the area, now completely landlocked, used to be a shore and underwater. The fossils contained palm leaves, which grow in hot areas by the water.
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.