Domestic
Turkish prosecutors changed the nature of charges against former CHP politician Banu Özdemir so that the court could remand her in custody. Özdemir faces charges for sharing the story of "Bella Ciao" played out of speakers from the mosques in Izmir last week.
High altitude regions in Turkey received an abnormal amount of snowfall over the weekend, causing shepherds to get stranded in plateaus where they had taken their animals to graze. A 70-year old shepherd was found frozen to dead after being lost for over a day.
The remains of 261 corpses have been unearthed in Istanbul's Kilyos Cemetery, with bones stuffed in plastic boxes and stacked on top of one another, according to a report by Mezopotamya news agency. 282 bodies in a cemetery in the southeastern province of Bitlis were transported to Istanbul in late 2017 without the knowledge of the families of the deceased.
Seasonal workers in the southern province of Adana have to spend Eid al-Fitr away from their families and in tents due to their obligation to work to make a living. While it's a time for families to unite, seasonal workers, who stay in tents they set up near the agricultural lands, can't do so. "We don't return to their hometowns during Eid, because we have to finish the working season," said one of the workers, Mithat Batmaz.
95 employees of the Turkish State Railways (TCDD) have been transferred to other parts of the country in a move that labor unions have blasted as 'revenge' against the workers by newly government-appointed TCDD management for the victory of opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu in last year's local elections.
Filiz Gazi reports: At the latest hearing of a trial regarding the 2015 Suruç massacre on May 20 - in which ISIS killed 33 young leftists - a lawyer seeking justice for the victims has revealed that hours of surveillance footage following the attack was likely erased or concealed. The next hearing in the Suruç case has been scheduled for August 18.
Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan has announced that Turkey's exports of milk and other dairy products to China will resume, adding that 54 Turkish companies will be able to export to China.
The Italian resistance song “Bella Ciao” was on May 20 broadcast simultaneously from several mosque minarets in Turkey's western province of İzmir. The provincial religious directorate issued a statement regarding this unusual recital saying their central adhan system had been sabotaged by unidentified people.
Turkish police detained an Iranian man for hanging a towel with a U.K. flag design on his balcony in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri on May 19, which is the day that the country celebrates the Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day, following complaints by the residents of the neighborhood. The man was detained as the people cheered and applauded police.
Restrictions on the export of onions as well as shrinking local demand due to the closure of hotels and restaurants amid the coronavirus outbreak have left farmers on the verge of bankruptcy. Producers have said several tonnes of onions are currently waiting to rot on the farms, calling on the gov't to lift the export restrictions.
Nearly half of the youth who vote for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) wants to live abroad, a survey carried out by the Social Democracy Foundation (SODEV) said, adding that the overall percentage stood at 62.5 percent. "Half of the youth who vote for the AKP want to live abroad even though they have been feeling the government's security for 18 years," SODEV head Ertan Aksoy said.
Turkey on May 19 celebrates the Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) measures. Millions of Turkish citizens are marking the day at home this year, contrary to previous years which saw celebratory events and concerts.
An engineer sentenced to eight years in prison for his role in the 2014 Soma mining disaster that killed 301 people has been appointed as an expert witness in a trial regarding a separate deadly mining incident in Muğla in 2019. The family of one of the three dead miners filed a petition to the court and objected to having Fuat Ünal Aydın as an expert witness at the trial.
Hitit University's job advert seeking studies on the Vikings' life before Christianity has stirred debate, with academics and social media users claiming that it was posted to employ a specific individual.
Since its opening in 2017, the ruling Justice and Developent Party (AKP) government has spent 46 million TL on infrastructure in a national park commemorating the iconic Battle of Manzikert of 1071. The battle, in which the Turkic Selçuk Empire defeated the Byzantines, was key to the Turkish domination of Anatolia.
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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.