Domestic
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.
Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Mayor Savcı Sayan of the eastern province of Ağrı built a 'Gossip Club' in a park in the city center. After reactions mounted, it was quickly covered in a tarpaulin.
Former Assessment Selection and Placement Center (ÖSYM) head Ali Demir hired followers of the exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen to copy and distribute public personnel exam questions, the entirety of which were leaked between 2010 and 2015, according to an expert's report that appears on a recent indictment prepared by a prosecutor from department's terrorism bureau.
Two teachers in the Çatak district of the eastern province of Van have been punished by the local authorities for hugging each other during the celebration of one of the teachers' birthday. Following an investigation both of them were sent to other schools.
A drone belonging to the police forces was shot down by the gendarmerie on New Year's Eve in Istanbul's famed Taksim Square. Gendarmerie officials said that they were not informed about the police flying a drone in the area and therefore assessed the aerial vehicle as a "threat."
Editor's Pick
duvar englis podcasts
Duvar English’s editor-in-chief Cansu Çamlıbel and pollster Can Selçuki are joined by Robert Bosch Academy's Galip Dalay to discuss the impact of Turkish government's recent domestic policy moves on Ankara's international relations. They look for answers to whether there is any possibility that Turkey's relations with the West might change for the better any time soon.
Taner Akçam writes: The regime’s bold stroke vis-a-vis Hagia Sophia should not be seen as stemming from desperation. Rather, it is simply meant to relay the not-so-subtle message of the path to be followed by the "New Republic", and that message is that the “annihilationist tradition” of the old regime, inherited by the Republic’s founders, will be retained in the era to come.
Politics
Economist and former Treasury advisor Mahfi Eğilmez has said that the Turkish economy is no longer predictable. "In an unpredictable economy, due to the fact the risks increase, this means that expenses will also increase,” Eğilmez wrote in a column on Aug. 5.
Şaban Vatan, the father of Rabia Naz who was found dead in a suspicious way two years ago, has been stopped by the police for wearing a t-shirt that read “Where are you justice?” and “What happened to Rabia Naz?” “So it turns out, a person's being in Taksim with a t-shirt that has Rabia Naz's picture on, is a crime," Vatan wrote on Twitter.
A prominent health expert has said that about 3,000 people are believed to have been infected with the COVID-19 virus during the prayers held at Istanbul's Hagia Sophia on July 24. "There were about 1,000 asymptotic patients there, based on forecasts. If we think of the transmission rate, those patients have infected 2,000-3,000 others. I believe that gathering will increase the cases in Istanbul,” Assoc. Pro. Dr. Üner said on Aug. 8.
Turkey's parliament speaker Mustafa Şentop, from the ruling AKP, has said that there is no need for Turkey to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, an international accord designed to protect women. Şentop's comments came as the AKP is considering whether to pull Turkey out of the convention, alarming campaigners who see the pact as key to combating rising domestic violence.
Turkey's Arab Alawite community has celebrated the Gadir Hum holiday amid concerns of rising cases of coronavirus in Turkey. Mehmet Ali Dönmez, who organized Gadir Hum festivities in the Samandağ district of Hatay, which is prominently Arab Alawite, said that the celebration of the festival is in defiance of cultural assimilation.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has voiced support to Finance Minister Berat Albayrak amid the country's worsening economy. Several AKP officials, including Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, defended Albayrak on Twitter via using the hashtag "We stand with Berat Albayrak."
Amnesty International has called on the Turkish government to "fully implement" the Istanbul Convention rather withdraw from it. The prominent organization said that Turkey's withdrawal from the convention would have "disastrous consequences" for millions of women and girls in the country.
Rights organizations will take the case of Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal -- who have been on a hunger strike since April 5 to support their demand for a fair trial -- to the Constitutional Court. The move comes after an Istanbul court in July denied the release of Timtik and Ünsal, despite a medical report that says it is not “suitable” for the two lawyers to remain in jail.
Some 64 percent of Turkish people are of the belief that it is not safe to allow schools to reopen on Aug. 31 amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to a recent survey conducted by Metropoll. The survey also looked at how supporters of different political parties view this issue, finding that 53 percent of AKP voters do not support the government's planned move.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that the country's economy is on the fast lane, downplaying Turkish Lira's sharp fall against dollar and euro. "No one should try to deceive the public. We're stronger than yesterday," he said. While experts voice concern on the situation, Erdoğan claimed that the "zigzags" in the economy can be seen around the world following the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Two people were detained for shooting the car of a restaurant owner over late takeaway delivery in the southern province of Adana on Aug. 6. E.K. and his friend Ö.T. opened fire on the restaurant owner with a pump rifle and blank cartridge following an argument.
The Turkish Interior Ministry on Aug. 7 announced that coronavirus quarantines are currently underway in 83 residential areas in 32 provinces. The areas are home to some 54,053 people. The ministry's comments came as the country's daily COVID-19 cases have recently shown a sharp rebounding trend, with more than 1,000 daily jump in successive days.
The Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK) has protested a factory run by the tuna fish company Dardanel in the province of Çanakkale after it imposed a closed-circuit working system on some of its employees after they contracted coronavirus. The workers have been forced to stay in quarantine dormitories since July 26.
Congolese opposition politician Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko has disappeared in Ankara after flying to the Turkish capital for health treatment in late July. He boarded a plane belonging to Qatar and landed at Ankara's Esenboğa airport on July 30, and has not been heard from since.
Employees of Turkish Airlines (THY) have been facing an uncertain future due to the salary crisis that has been ongoing for five months in the company. According to Sözcü, talks between the THY and Hava-İş, the Turkish union representing a large number of workers in the civil aviation sector, have failed to reach a conclusion.
Turkish steeplechaser Gülcan Mıngır has been banned for two years after a re-test of her samples from the London Olympics in 2012 revealed the presence of a prohibited substance, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said on Aug. 6. The 31-year-old's ban has been backdated to Feb 3, 2020.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Aug. 6 that return of Germans from holiday destinations such as Western Balkan countries and Turkey is increasingly contributing to the rise in new coronavirus cases. Spahn also said that everyone arriving from high-risk areas will be tested for the disease unless they can produce a negative test certificate no more than two days old.
Former MHP deputy Cemal Enginyurt has said it was him who started the legal process that led to the cancellation of a dissident-led congress back in 2016 aiming to challenge the leadership of Devlet Bahçeli. “When Meral Akşener won the congress with 715 votes on June 19, it was me who took the case to the court. It was me that led to the cancellation of the congress, which they had won," Enginyurt said on Aug. 5.
Good (İYİ) Party leader Meral Akşener has said that the majority of the Turkish people want to return to a parliamentary system, adding that the current "freakish" system can't govern the country. "Turkey's economy has worsened, the youth doesn't have hope to find jobs, agriculture and industry have collapsed. The people are suffering from not being able to find food and fear being unemployed," she said.
Economy
The Turkish Lira has devalued drastically against the dollar, reaching almost seven liras on the dollar. Ankara has invested almost $60 billion in currency interventions in 2020 to no avail, Financial Times reported on July 28.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on July 15 that companies involved in construction of the TurkStream pipeline will be subject to the U.S. penalties unless they stop their works. “It’s a clear warning to companies. Aiding and abetting Russia’s malign influence projects will not be tolerated. Get out now or risk the consequences,” he said.
The Turkish Petroleum Refineries Corporation (TÜPRAŞ) ranked as Turkey's largest industrial business with 87.9 billion liras in annual production revenue. The oil company was followed mostly by automotive producers.
On the second anniversary of Turkey's transformation into a presidential system, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has prepared a report detailing how the country stands in the ensuing years, finding that the Turkish lira has lost four times its value since 2007.
Urban Beat
Mois Gabay writes: Do you think the Camondo family will be included in the Beyoğlu Culture Road project conducted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism? What about Arif Ergin’s “Tekvin” novel, in which he imagined that there would be a “Camondo Museum” one day?
Artifacts from Istanbul's ancient Hagia Sophia will be displayed in a nearby public building that will be transformed into a museum. Formerly used as a land office, the late-19th-century building in historical Sultanahmet will be converted on the president's orders.
Luke Frostick writes: Edanur Kuntman’s Tales from Behind the Window has been nominated for an Eisner Award. If she wins, she will be the first Turk to win an Eisner. The story is a piece of creative-nonfiction and its main narrative is drawn from the memories of Kuntman’s grandmother growing up in the Çarşamba district of Samsun.