Domestic
Turkish state railways (TCDD) has increased monthly train membership card prices by up to 400 percent, causing outcry on social media. According to Turkey's United Transportation Union (BTS), the government plans to privatize the state railways, which is why they went for these price hikes. "They started to implement price hikes so that [TCDD] won't be at a loss when they transfer it over to the private sector," said an official from the union.
Despite the fact that armored police vehicles can be found every 100 meters in Istanbul's Gazi neighborhood, youth street gangs run wild in the area. Residents are of the opinion that the gangs are "being protected" by the authorities.
A 6.8-magnitude earthquake on Jan. 24 jolted the eastern Turkish province of Elazığ. Twenty-five people were killed in Elazığ and four more in the neighboring province of Malatya, the country's disaster agency said, adding 1,466 others were injured.
A couple -- one of whom is a former public servant who was dismissed from his job by a government decree -- has been trying for months to sell their house due to financial difficulties. As the sacked employee is classified "in the risk group" in the deed directorate system, the sale cannot be actualized. HDP MP Gergerlioğlu submitted a parliamentary question regarding this issue, asking how authorities decide if someone is in "the risk group" or not.
Islamist writer Abdurrahman Dilipak has said that marijuana is not harmful and can be used a preventative measure to steer people away from more harmful drugs, in a column for the daily Akit newspaper on Jan. 23. "The criminal risk potential of marijuana is very low, as is the biological risk. You know, they say 'the hair of the dog that bits you,' could marijuana be a solution to save [people] from drugs?" he wrote.
Two improvised explosive devices went off in the early hours of Jan. 23 in the central Beyoğlu district of Istanbul, the Governor's Office said. The devices were placed at the entrance of two apartment buildings, shattering the windows of an apartment nearby.
Turkey was shaken with multiple earthquakes on Jan. 22 and Jan. 23, with the western province of Manisa witnessing over 160 aftershocks following a 5.4-magnitude earthquake. A short while later, the capital Ankara was also hit by a 4.5-magnitude earthquake. No casualties were reported.
AKP group deputy chair Mehmet Muş has submitted a draft bill to the parliament seeking to grant watchmen the authority to ask identification from people and detain them. The AKP's move came in the wake of two court rulings which said that the watchmen do not have the “authority to ask for identification as per their job definition.”
The Turkish drama producer Ay Yapım has refuted the claims that their new TV series 'Babil' – which centers around a sacked university professor – was being investigated for allegedly “making propaganda” on behalf of the Gülen movement. Following its first episode on Jan. 17, the new series became a hot topic on social media, with several users suggesting that the hardships that the main character faces are parallel to those experienced by Turkey's sacked civil servants.
The Istanbul Municipality has announced that within 20 years there will be no space left in the city to bury the dead. “A solution needs to be found, and the best solution is to ensure that they are transported to Anatolia,” the municipality's cemeteries bureau head Dr. Ayhan Koç said.
Residents of the Gürgen village in the Black Sea province of Rize's Güneysu district--the hometown of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's father--protested against the construction of a hydroelectric powerplant. “The operation here is against the law and has no legal basis, leave our village, we will not give you permission to take our land and destroy our river,” the villagers said.
The death of a religious cult member has prompted response from Turkey's Justice and Interior Minister. Çevik was killed while trying to negotiate a solution in a financial controversy between two families, said the International Muslim Scholars' Solidarity Association (UMAD). "I am so sad... The death of a scholar is the death of a universe," said Interior Minister Soylu in his tweet while Justice Minister Gül echoed his words.
Turkey's Forensic Medicine Department, connected to the Justice Ministry, has been infiltrated by members of the Gülen organization, an employee of the department has claimed. Dr. Nevzat Alkan, who has worked in the department since 1993, claims that Gülenists, the main suspect behind the 2016 coup attempt, infiltrated the department because their reports are crucial to lawsuit proceedings.
Unknown assailants have broken into Istanbul's Pir Sultan Abdal Cemevi, spraying threats on its walls and ground such as "It is not over" and "Die." Authorities on Jan. 20 announced that an investigation was launched into the incident.
Turkey's energy watchdog has slapped an electricity company with a fine of 888,397 Turkish Liras (roughly $150,645) for cutting the power of an apartment flat in which four middle-aged siblings were found dead in November in what officials said a possible case of suicide by cyanide. The siblings were reported to be depressed due to having financial problems.
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.