Domestic
Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş has filed a lawsuit against Melih Gökçek, the mayor of Ankara from 1994 to 2017, for using the money allocated for the renewal of a waste water treatment facility for other purposes. Yavaş accuses Gökçek of “abusing authority” and “causing damage on the environment by negligence.” Gökçek, from the AKP, is widely known for his eccentric and costly projects, such as erecting a 10-meter-long dinosaur in the middle of a roundabout in Ankara.
The municipality of the northern province of Çorum spent nearly six million Turkish Liras (nearly one million dollars) on decorative fountains around the city. An opposition lawmaker claimed that nearly half of total costs were funneled into only two companies.
The children of the 301 miners who died in the largest mining accident in Turkey's modern history visited their fathers’ graves on the anniversary of the disaster. Though people under 20 have been under curfew for nearly two months, kids rushed to their fathers’ graves during a four-hour exemption on May 13.
Gazi University Faculty of Science Dean Orhan Acar resigned from his post after he was caught looking at female students' pictures secretly. The footage caused uproar on social media, with thousands of Twitter users urging him to resign late on May 12.
A lawmaker from Turkey's main opposition presented a parliamentary question to the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry, inquiring about domestic meat prices that have skyrocketed during the COVID-19 outbreak. Gürer asked whether it was normal for one kilo of meat to cost as high as 100 Turkish Liras.
Istanbul police have detained a man for attempting to burn the entrance door of an Armenian church in the Bakırköy district. "I burned it because they brought the coronavirus [onto Turkey]," the man was quoted as saying in his testimony.
Istanbul prosecutors have charged four pilots, an airline company executive and two flight attendants for their alleged roles in former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn’s escape from Japan to Turkey and from there to Beirut.
A sexual abuse survivor who was subjected to abuse by two men, with one being a religious official, said that the abuse had been ongoing for 12 years. Despite the criminal complaint, the religious official was not detained or arrested.
The lawyer of Halis Bayancuk, dubbed Turkey's ISIS leader, has said that his client must be freed "since his speeches are based on Islam." "ISIS and al-Qaeda say, 'Democracy is kuffar' and call the rulers who don't rule with Islamic principles 'taghut.' My client also accepts non-Islamic governance as 'taghut' and says democracy is 'kuffar.' However, he says these because these concepts are included in the Quran," the lawyer said.
Mesut Özdemir, the head of an Islamist association, has said that men can break their fasts during Ramadan by having sex with their wives "if they miss them so much." "Let me tell you, maybe you'll find it weird. A person can break his fast by having sex with his wife if he missed her so much. This exists in the Islamic law," Özdemir said during a TV show titled "Believer Youth" aired in the fundamentalist Akit TV.
A religious official in the Kargı district of the northern province of Çorum was suspended from his post after sexually assaulting a minor with the driver of the district's mufti. The official, as well as the driver, were suspended following a criminal complaint filed by the child.
The Turkish government’s historical research authority (TTK) revealed that its new director had violated official protocol and commenced his duties prior to his official assignment to the post.
Istanbul police detained the chair and 25 members of one of Turkey's largest labor unions on the morning of May 1, International Workers' Day also known as May Day. The confrontation took place as police blocked the march of Chair Arzu Çerkezoğlu and a group of representatives to Istanbul's Taksim Square, the site of the 1977 Workers' Day massacre and the traditional address for May 1 demonstrations. The group were released in the afternoon of May 1 after giving official statements.
Main opposition Deputy Chair Özgür Özel’s parliamentary question about the Presidency’s use of state aircraft was left unanswered as the vice president lacked information and redirected the inquiry to the Transportation and Infrastructure Ministry. The latter noted they had no information on how many aircraft were used by the presidency, or why.
Turkey’s military spending in 2019 increased to $20.4 billion, a 86 percent rise compared to 2010, according to an annual report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Turkey is 16th in the report’s military expenditure rankings, with a world share of 1.1 percent.
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.
duvar englis podcasts
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.