Domestic
Turkey's first professional boxer Garbis Zakaryan, of Armenian descent, was laid to rest in Istanbul's Şişli Armenian Cemetery on Jan. 29. Main opposition CHP MP Tanrıkulu and HDP MP Paylan have criticized the authorities for not having yet named a public sports center after Zakaryan.
A person with the initials İÖ initially became known among the public for filing criminal complaints against people appearing on television debate programs. Those initials kept appearing on complaint petitions. İÖ has been an informant since he was a child, and he has even filed complaints against his own father and uncle, among others. He claims to have provided testimony in the trials of 150 DHKP-C suspects.
Following the disastrous 6.8 Earthquake that struck the southeastern city of Elazığ last week and claimed the lives of 41 people while injuring 1600, thousands of residents are living in tents while at least hundreds are without heating, enduring freezing conditions amid a cold winter. While some tents have heating stoves, others lack them, causing families to endure freezing conditions in a park where the pond has frozen over.
Iranian rapper Amir Tataloo, who was detained on Jan. 28 in Istanbul, has been released from police custody, Radio Free Europe reported. Turkish police told the BBC that Tataloo was detained for “visa violations,” while also confirming that a red alert had been issued for the rapper on drug-related issues.
A 5.4-magnitude earthquake took place in the Mediterranean Sea off southwestern Turkish shores, Turkey's disaster agency said. "An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.4 occurred at 6.38 p.m. in the Mediterranean Sea off Marmaris shores," AFAD said.
An Egyptian actor who works as a stunt double in Turkish shows was violently beaten in Istanbul when a man mistook him for a Syrian refugee. The man was yelling profanities about Syrians even after the attack was over, which is how Mancy realized what had happened. The actor was on a bus with his sister, sister-in-law and niece who also got hit by the attacker and the actor was treated for a broken nose and a broken arm.
Fifty people will come under investigation for social media posts about the 6.8-magnitude Jan. 24 earthquake, the Ankara Office of the Chief Public Prosecutor said today. "Creating worry, fear and panic among the public" and "insulting the Turkish people, the Republic of Turkey and public institutions" are the charges against said individuals.
The Istanbul City Lines has announced that ferry services will be operational for 24 hours once the plan is approved by the municipal council. “We will execute a system in which ferries will operate 24 hours in the Bosphorus following the decision [of the city council],” Sinem Dedetaş, the head of the City Lines, said on Jan. 27.
Some 12 people, 10 of whom are Chinese tourists, have been admitted to a hospital in Turkey's Central Anatolian province of Aksaray for suspected infection from the Wuhan coronavirus. The provincial health directorate has said that initial tests have come back negative, but they are still waiting for the results of blood tests.
Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has claimed that humanitarian aid packages they organized to be sent to earthquake-struck Elazığ were blocked by Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, saying: "[Soylu] gave directives on television that the aid packages be blocked off, ordering this to the local authorities. The Governor's Office immediately followed through on this and arranged that aid packages not from the government be turned away.”
"We're expecting a 7.5-magnitude earthquake in Istanbul," Turkey's Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on a live broadcast. Soylu told there were 28 work groups to plan for the potential quake, and an application to ensure communication after an earthquake is being developed by Turkey's four largest phone operators.
Turkey has formally called off rescue operations as emergency teams recovered the body of the last quake victim, raising the death toll from the 6.8-magnitude tremor to 41. Interior Minister Soylu said 2,000 temporary houses will be built in 15 days, while Urbanization Minister Kurum said authorities have started demolishing damaged buildings.
Duvar reporters write from the earthquake zone: The people of Elazığ spent the second night following the quake on the pavements of Gazi Street, the city’s main boulevard. Fires lit up every 10 meters were hardly enough to help them brace the -10 Celsius temperatures.
The death toll from Friday's powerful earthquake in eastern Turkey rose to 36, Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay said Jan. 26. Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu cautioned citizens to refrain from sending supplies to the disaster-struck areas without the coordination of Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).
The management of a jail in the eastern Turkish province of Elazığ is pressuring political prisoners to wear an ID card reading “convicted of terrorism.” HDP MP Gergerlioğlu submitted a parliamentary question regarding the issue, asking Justice Minister Gül on what kind of a legal regulation the jail “justifies” its implementation.
Editor's Picks
Ahmet Murat Aytaç writes: The recent inhumane attack against migrant workers that took place in the Mazıdağı district of Sakarya should be analyzed within the framework of economic oppression. No matter what triggered the assaults, the general tendency in Turkey right now is to deny the ethnic dimension of the conflict.
duvar englis podcasts
In this week's episode, Duvar English Editor-in-chief Cansu Çamlıbel hosts American political scientist Wendy Pearlman to talk about her latest book "We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria," which was recently published in Turkish. Pearlman spoke to hundreds of Syrian refugees, collecting human stories from one of recent history's biggest humanitarian crises.
Politics
A Turkish court has sentenced Halis Bayancuk, who is described as the leader of ISIS in Turkey, to 12 years and six months in jail. Bayancuk, who goes by the name Abu Hanzala, has been detained several times before in Turkey, but only to be freed later because of a lack of evidence or problems involving the charges against him.
Gli the Hagia Sophia cat has fallen ill two months after the site was converted into a mosque and will live away from people in a private room. Caretakers of the 16-year-old cat, who was born at Hagia Sophia, previously warned worshippers to not overwhelm Gli after footage of them taking pictures of Gli with flashes and feeding him unhealthy food emerged on social media.
Islamist cult leader Ahmet Mahmut Ünlü has said that he is ready to name a total of 150 Salafi associations taking up arms as part of their preparations to fight in Turkey. "I've made a list of these associations and in which provinces they are located. If the prosecutors summon me and ask me what I know, I'm ready to name at least 150 of them," a journalist cited Ünlü as saying.
İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener has slammed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for "giving the youth a massive prison," as she commented on the unemployment figures and the economy. "You gave them unemployment, hopelessness and depression," Akşener said. Your gift to the youth is a country that they don't feel belonging to and that they can't breathe in," she added.
AKP Group Deputy Chair Bülent Turan has praised President Erdoğan for "making" French President Macron tweet in Turkish. "Macron tweeted in Turkish and said that he is ready for dialogue. The name of the man who made a French President tweet in Turkish is Recep Tayyip Erdoğan," Turan said. Erdoğan also responded to Macron's gesture, saying that Turkey intends to listen to all sincere calls and make room for diplomacy.
Turkey has strongly condemned a Greek daily for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, with presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın deeming the move "a provocation." Another government official to condemn the headline was Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, who said that the headline "will remain as a document of shame" in the history of the Greek press.
The HDP has said that its MYK member Serhat Aktemur was abducted in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır by individuals claiming to be National Intelligence Organization (MİT) members. Aktemur said that the three individuals in question threatened to kill him by saying, "If we see you around, we'll shoot you."
Turkish paraglider Hasan Kaya took to the skies in southern Turkey with a bed pretending to sleep. Kaval has previously attached a metal-framed red leather sofa with wheels and a television to a parachute and took to the skies in Turkey’s southwestern Ölüdeniz neighborhood.
Some 40 medical chambers affiliated with the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) have released a joint statement reiterating their support for the organization. “We are fortunate to have our professional organization that prioritizes and defends the right of public health, and does not compromise when it comes to scientific and free thinking," the chambers said, following MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli's call for the TTB's closure.
Since early summer, forest fires have been raging in the Cudi Mountains in Turkey's southeastern province of Şırnak amid claims that the blazes erupted due to deliberate military operations in the area. Ecologist Asrın Keleş from the People's Democratic Congress (HDK) said that it was abundantly clear that the fires did not erupt due to natural causes. "We received information that the forests were being shot with gunfire at night,” Keleş said.
A Turkish court sentenced former co-chair of Democratic Regions Party (DBP) Sebahat Tuncel to 11 months in prison on charges of "insulting" the president, because she said Erdoğan was "an enemy of women and Kurds."
Turkey's Court of Cassation, the top appeals court, has found a male employee at fault for using the women's toilet at the store where he was working at. The court rejected the employee's demand for a compensation after he was fired from his job.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has determined that dozens of firms and restaurants in Turkey use fake ingredients in their products to cut down on costs. With the Turkish lira continuing to decline in value as the country experiences a serious economic downturn, some food producers and restaurants are cutting on costs and cutting corners, and deceiving their customers in the process.
Several Turkish citizens have sent petitions to the parliament, raising their concerns about the safety of 5G technology. The parliament's committee on petition has asked the issue to the Information Technologies and Communication Authority (BTK) and was told that Turkey was “working to produce the 5G infrastructure locally.”
Bursts of steam rising from Mount Nemrut have raised concern among locals, amid speculations that the dormant volcano can become active again if triggered by earthquakes. “There are many fault lines arund Mount Nemrut. If these fault lines are ruptured, theoretically a [volcanic] movement can occur in Mount Nemrut. This is always a possibility,” Prof. Dr. Aydın Büyük Saraç said.
Enis Berberoğlu's lawyer has called for the reinstatement of his client's deputy status after the Constitutional Court ruled that the former CHP lawmaker's rights were violated when he was dismissed from parliament earlier this year.
President Erdoğan has said that the government is preparing to introduce new measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, since "people have not complied with the rules." The virus infections began increasing after Ankara loosened restrictions on public activity, starting in June. Critics have also accused the government of hypocrisy with regards to the measures, pointing out that social distancing measures were being overlooked in several occasions, such as the rallies of the AKP.
Islamic communities that are known to have close ties to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have recently speeded up efforts to establish their own foundations. On Sept. 17, two more such foundations have been established, one of which has close ties to the İsmailağa community, while the other has close ties to pro-government KİHMED.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sept. 18 Turkey was saddened by news that Libya's internationally recognized Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj wants to quit next month. "A development like this, hearing such news, has been upsetting for us," Erdoğan told reporters in Istanbul, adding that Turkish delegations may hold talks with Sarraj's government in the coming week.
Various rights groups have said that human rights violations recorded in prisons have spiked during the COVID-19 outbreak. As a recent example of the rights violation, the groups said that authorities had confiscated several personal belongings of a group of inmates during their transfer to two newly opened Diyarbakır prisons.
The mother of a murder suspect was found dead with a single bullet to the back of her head on Sept. 17. Her son, a suspect in his girlfriend's death, her husband and the family's attorney blamed her death on TV host Müge Anlı because she had said the mother had "failed to raise a son."
Economy
Turkey's state-owned Halkbank has urged a judge to dismiss a U.S. indictment accusing the bank of helping Iran evade American sanctions. At a hearing in Manhattan federal court on Sept. 18, a lawyer for Halkbank said its status as a Turkish “instrumentality” shielded it from prosecution because of sovereign immunity.
Turkey's unemployment rate rose to 13.4 percent. and participation edged up in the May-July period in which a coronavirus lockdown was lifted and a ban on layoffs remained in place, data showed on Sept. 10, painting a clearer picture of the pandemic's fallout.
Turkish Airlines (THY) observed a drop of almost 65 percent in the number of August travelers compared to the year before. Domestic flights saw a smaller drop of 47.1 percent, while international flights shrank by 75.4 percent, THY said.
Urban Beat
The 48th Istanbul Music Festival will be held online, streaming pre-recorded performances in historical venues. Starting on Sept. 18, the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) will make available the performances that honor composer Ludwig van Beethoven.
Ali Demir writes: So the property of the local non-Muslims collapsed, and what happened? Nothing! The whole country is now composed of non-local foreigners. The greedy tailor apprentice that murdered his master could not sew a jacket, and will never be able to.
The tomb and gold jewels of a woman dubbed the "Carian Princess" can now be seen in the Aegean province of Muğla's Bodrum Castle. Recovered in 1989, the body is thought to belong to a woman in her 40s.
Turkey's news agenda has focused on "renovations" that resulted in dramatic results, often adding incoherent elements. Most recently, footage of "renovation" in Istanbul's Galata Tower had shown workers drilling into original walls.