Three suspects involved in gun attack on the U.S. Embassy in the capital Ankara last year have been given jail terms of between three and 10 years. One of the suspects in the case was acquitted of all the charges.
As dismissals and arrests of Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) mayors continue, co-mayor of the Suruç district of the southeastern province of Urfa was arrested on charges of "being a member of a terrorist organization" and "making propaganda for a terror group." She was previously dismissed from her post to be replaced with a trustee.
Turkey's former military chief Yaşar Büyükanıt died early on Nov. 21 in the hospital that he was receiving treatment. Being one of the most controversial figures in Turkish political and military history, Büyükanıt is known with two significant events, with one leading Turkey into a political turmoil and forcing early elections.
Turkish authorities have arrested a lawyer of the German Embassy in Ankara, a diplomatic source said on Nov. 20. According to German media, the lawyer was responsible from providing documents related to Turkish citizens who had applied for asylum in Germany.
Turkey is developing new fault lines while its older ones are deepening, said Professor Tuna Altınel, who has faced persecution by the state since he was a signee of a petition condemning violence, calling for peace and an end to the conflict between the PKK in 2016. Altınel claimed that the Turkish government emptied it out the academia for the purpose of strengthening its own totalitarian character.
The Istanbul Office of Religious Affairs announced that, due to demand from citizens who can't make it to work on time in winter months, the morning call to prayer will be made at pre-dawn (fajr) time and morning prayers will be observed half an hour after the call.
Büşra Nur Çalar, the wife of a former adviser at the Health Ministry and a social media influencer/YouTuber in her own right, has come under heavy criticism for organizing a “pompous” baby ceremony in Istanbul’s Ihlamur Pavilion. “Vanity does not show nobleness, but instead misery. Everything has a medicine, but rottenness does not," Yusuf Kaplan, a columnist at the pro-government Islamist Yeni Şafak newspaper, wrote on Twitter, criticizing the relevant ceremony.
A recently-released parliamentary report recommended the removal of the horse-driven carriages that transport people around Istanbul's Princes' Islands, instead calling for the use of electric vehicles. Many activists have called for the banning of the horse-driven carriages, but the drivers themselves have fought hard to keep them.
Turkey's top media watchdog has urged caution when reporting suicides, saying "Our attitude towards stories that might negatively effect the mental developments of our society, children and youth will be uncompromising." Following three separate incidents of death by cyanide in ten days, a commission was formed to examine the cases.
Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Mayor Hayrettin Güngör of the province of Kahramanmaraş was filmed as he told a woman “we made you Muslim” after learning that she was from the province of Trabzon. After reactions mounted, Güngör issued an apology on social media.
The pro-government think tank of SETA is being financed mainly by the family of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's son-in-law Berat Albayrak, says the German government. Serhat Albayrak, the brother of Berat Albayrak, is SETA's chairperson. In July of this year, SETA came under fire over publishing a report profiling journalists working for foreign media organizations.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu is paying a two-day visit to London, conducting meetings with officials and investors. The mayor is in talks to borrow in international markets to finance infrastructure projects, especially in the area of transportation.
Turkish authorities have barred the wife of a former British army officer from leaving Turkey pending the investigation into his death. James Gustaf Edward Le Mesurier had founded the White Helmets volunteers group.
An American ISIS fighter who has been stuck in a no man's land at the border between Turkey and Greece since Nov. 11, has been deported to the United States, the Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Nov. 15. Soylu said earlier this month that Turkey would start extraditing captured ISIS militants to their home countries.
A Diyarbakır-based research center conducted a survey asking the public about the primary problems faced by the country. Results showed that the economy and unemployment were the most important concern, the second being the Kurdish issue. The survey also revealed that the state's appointment of trustees to southeastern municipalities have led voters affiliated with the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) to stay away from the ballot box.
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Duvar English’s editor-in-chief Cansu Çamlıbel and pollster Can Selçuki discuss the underlying factors behind the recent moves of Turkey's ruling alliance which paves the way for further polarization in politics as the country enters the final months of 2020. They also analyze the effects of the sharp decline of the Turkish Lira against foreign currencies over public's perception.
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.
Turkey's opposition parties have criticized the detention of HDP members CHP Group Deputy Chair Özgür Özel deemed the detentions "an intimidation operation" and asked the government whether new evidence was reached regarding the Kobane protests that happened six years ago. According to Özel, the recent detentions are attempts of the government to shift people's focus from the crumbling economy.
Turkish police on Sept. 25 detained some 20 HDP members, including Kars Co-Mayor Ayhan Bilgen, over 2014 violent protests against the siege by ISIS of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane. Detention warrants were issued for a total of 82 people in seven provinces. Those sought were in the MYK of the party at the time of the protests.
A group of opposition politicians slammed the construction of a 90-million-lira prison with a lake view in the eastern province of Van which government officials deemed "an investment." The opposition noted that the region has far more pressing needs than prisons and that hundreds of jails have been already built in recent years in Turkey.
Greek women from the Women's Initiative for Peace (WINPEACE) have slammed two Greek tabloids for their reports on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan allegedly having had an extramarital relationship with an actress. "We believe the fact that two newspapers in Greece, however marginal, have in the last week decided on publishing insulting, misogynist, shameful headlines, denigrating all human values is a despicable attempt to sabotage any positive developments," they said in a statement.
Turkey's Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects Chambers (TMMOB) has said that some 14 parcels on the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) land near the university masjid (prayer room for Muslims) have been zoned for construction. The architects urged the university administration to clarify the parcels' allocation and asked whether the land in question will be used for a mosque construction.
Turkey's depletion of foreign exchange reserves and the fact that a majority of its forex reserves are swap lines has created mass distrust in the economy, Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) Chairman Simone Kaslowski said. Turkey needs to “ensure full market confidence” to attract long-term financing flows, Kaslowski said during a videoconference on Sept. 24.
Works to excavate an ancient Roman bath in Turkey's Central Anatolian province of Yozgat have been stopped due to lack of financial funding. The area is now fenced off, and visitors are barred from entry.
İsmail Tarman Middle School in İstanbul's Beşiktaş district still remains closed despite four court rulings to reverse the school's status as religious İmam Hatip school. The rulings should have enabled for the school's reopening as a standard middle school, but the courts' decisions have not been enforced and the school's doors remain closed.
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tore into President Donald Trump on Sept. 24 after he declined to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the presidential election in November. “You are not in North Korea, you are not in Turkey, you are not in Russia, Mr. President. You are in the United States of America, it is a democracy, so why don’t you just try for a moment to honor your oath of office, to the Constitution of the United States?” she said.
The governor's office in the Black Sea province of Giresun banned smoking cigarettes in public spaces on the grounds that it required removing face masks, hence risking the spread of COVID-19. The province will fine those smoking in the streets, parks or any other public spaces.
Turkey's largest seller of fish, Dardanel reportedly discriminated against Roma women who applied for positions at a factory. While the women weren't even called in for an interview, the company blamed the incident on the contracting hiring firm.
One of the Turkish Aegean Riviera's most pristine areas, Gökova Bay was rezoned to allow construction along with nearby Marmaris and Milas. Muğla Mayor Osman Gürün said that the rezoning threatens construction of 25,000 hectares of land, and that the are would effectively "cease to exist."
The Turkish parliament has failed to debate in its general session any draft bills prepared by any party other than the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the past two legislative sessions, daily Cumhuriyet reported. The AKP presented some 249 draft bills, 100 of which were reported on by the relevant commissions, while one of the CHP's 2,148 draft bills were investigated by commissions.
The Kızılırmak Delta Wetland and Bird Sanctuary in the Black Sea province of Samsun has observed raging fires since the reversal of its "protected area" status. While a part of the delta was transferred to the property of the government, environmentalists suspect the fires were started intentionally.
Local medical device companies have warned the Turkish Health Ministry that if debts owed by the government hospitals remain unpaid, there could be a “disruption in the health services” starting as early as in October. The Turkish Medical Equipment and Devices Manufacturers Association (TÜDER) has said that local medical firms have been waiting for the last 16 months to get their payment which has reached to around $26 billion Turkish Liras ($3.4 billion) in total.
Turkish Justice Ministry has dismissed a parliamentary question on the release of a rapist soldier for being "offensive." Uca in her question asked Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül to reveal the reason for why former specialized sergeant Musa Orhan was released despite raping İpek Er. The ministry said that the question can be accepted if the terms found "crude and offensive" are removed.
Turkey reportedly didn't apprehend ISIS militant Yunus Durmaz responsible for deadly attacks in Turkey despite determining his location 19 times between April 29 and May 19, 2016. Durmaz, who was sought over the attacks in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, the Suruç district of the southeastern province of Urfa, the capital Ankara and Istanbul's Taksim, blew himself up during a police raid on an ISIS cell in 2016.
Turkey's Central Bank unexpectedly hiked interest rates on Sept. 24, triggering an improvement in the lira's value against the dollar. The Turkish Lira has sunk to record lows over the past month as Ankara's currency interventions proved futile.
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.
U.S. tech giant Amazon offered up its speed-delivery subscription to Turkish consumers on Sept. 15. The monthly subscription fee was set for 7.99 Turkish Liras, about one dollar with the current exchange rates.
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.
Urban Beat
Istanbulites will select the new face of Taksim Square from among three projects as part of the Istanbul Municipality's plans to renovate the area. Şerif Süveydan, Bünyamin Derman and Kutlu İnanç Bal were the winners in the contest that was held by Istanbul Planning Agency and Istanbul Municipality's Department of Cultural Assets.
The Odunpazarı Modern Museum in western Eskişehir won the award for "international project of the year over £1m" at the London Museums+Heritage Awards. The museum opened its doors just over a year ago in the city's ancient Odunpazarı neighborhood.
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.
Heavy presence of the Asian tiger mosquito was detected in four Istanbul districts, concerning locals as the bug can carry malaria, the Zika virus and encephalitis. The invasive species have been increasing in population around Istanbul in the past decade, an Istanbul University veterinarian said.
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.