Domestic
Turkey's Constitutional Court ruled against the conviction of former Halk TV editor-in-chief Şaban Sevinç for calling former Youth and Sports Minister Akif Çağatay Kılıç a "palace jester." The top court said that Sevinç's remark is "within the limits of criticism."
Four Turkish soldiers were killed in the area covered by Operation Peace Spring, Turkey's Defense Ministry said on Jan. 8.
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.
Editor's Picks
Dinçer Demirkent writes: Interior Minister Soylu said that the head of the Constitutional Court would be unable to commute to work without his protection team. What he meant was that he was the Minister who assigned the security team to the judge, implying he might just remove them. By doing so, Süleyman Soylu openly violates the article 138 of the Turkish Constitution; basic principle for the independence of the judiciary.
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.
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.