Domestic
A security officer in the capital Ankara was caught after stealing a bag full of 4.5 million Turkish Liras from the bank vehicle he was driving. The officer dropped off his colleague at a branch, parked the security vehicle nearby and drove away in a friend's vehicle.
An Istanbul court on Sept. 7 handed down 40 aggravated life sentences plus over 1,300 years to the gunman in the 2017 New Year’s attack on an Istanbul nightclub that killed 39 people. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack at the time, saying it was an act of revenge for Turkey's military involvement in Syria.
Turkish police on Sept. 7 detained Oktay Candemir as part of an investigation against the journalist for his media posts and articles said to be critical of the Ottoman-era TV series "Diriliş Ertuğrul." A day later, Candemir was released under judicial control measures and a travel ban as a per a court order.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced that the reopening of schools on Sept. 21 will begin with preschool and first-grade students. “This implementation can show difference depending on the city, due to the course of the epidemic,” Erdoğan said on Sept. 7.
Turkish experts have protested a Turkish private university in North Macedonia as it admits law students without the requirement of the national higher education exam, although alumni are permitted to practice law in Turkey. HDP deputy Rüştü Tiryaki called on AKP deputy Mustafa Şentop, who is the board honorary chairman of the university in question, to explain why Turkish education watchdog YÖK's accreditation guidelines are being violated for this specific university.
The ownership of Turkey’s first pandemic hospital Heybeliada Sanatorium has been transferred to the country's top state religious body Diyanet. The structure on the Heybeliada Island will be used an Islamic education center, daily Sözcü reported on Sept. 5.
Half of Turkish youth are unhappy, while a whopping 76.2 percent want to move abroad, a recent survey has revealed. The leading cause of distress among the youth is money, with the majority of them saying that Turkish political parties do not produce sufficient policies to address their needs.
A number of officials from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have violated the COVID-19 precautions at the wedding ceremony of a lawmaker's son on Sept. 5. Food and beverages were served to customers, in violation of a recent Interior Ministry decree. The wedding also violated a July 24 decree that had banned guests from approaching the couple to pin their gifts on their outfits, often gold or money.
A broadcast ban has been imposed by prosecutors on news reports concerning the arrest of Eyüp Fatih Şağban, the leader of the Uşşaki Islamic cult who was arrested earlier this month on charges of sexually harassing a 12-year-old girl. Voice recordings of Şağban speaking to the girl's father surfaced in which the sect leader pleads with the father to keep quiet about the matter.
Police detained a total of 27 people in a drug bust in the southeastern province of Gaziantep, specifically targeting street dealers. Police confiscated guns, shotguns and a variety of illegal substances in the operation.
A Turkish foundation's university in North Macedonia is admitting law students with merely a high-school degree and does not require any university entrance exam result, as long as the annual tuition of 4,500 euros is paid. Despite this, graduates of International Balkan University's law program can have their degree accredited by Turkey's higher education authority YÖK.
Vecdi Erbay reports: After depriving thousands of villagers of electricity for months, prosecutors have launched investigations against a number of officials from the municipality of Mardin and the Dicle Electric Distribution Company (DEDAŞ). The officials face charges of corruption, bribery and bid rigging.
Three suspects were arrested for the attack on opposition deputy Barış Atay on Aug. 31, hours after Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said the lawmaker would make "a perfect rapist." The minister's insult was a response to Atay's criticism of rapist sergeant Musa Orhan's swift release from prison despite charges of repeated sexual assault.
Turkish Islamist cult group Uşşaki's leader Fatih Nurullah has been arrested on charges of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old, OdaTV reported on Sept. 1. This is not the first time that Nurullah is facing accusations of child molestation. OdaTV said that the newest case file includes a telephone recording in which Nurullah partially confessed his crime.
Construction of a wall that would divide the southeastern province of Diyarbakır in half was suspended upon public outcry against the project. The 12-kilometer wall would run along a railway that crosses across the city, essentially dividing it in two.
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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.
Politics
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.
An 80-year-old inmate who was imprisoned for holding a Muslim memorial service in Kurdish died on Sept. 23, without being allowed to see his family, pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu said. The old man's conviction should have been delayed in the first place since he was ill, the deputy added.
Former Zaman daily columnist Mümtazer Türköne has been released from jail following Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli's call for his retrial. Türköne's lawyer Figen Çalıkuşu has said she believes the release came after the Court of Cassation overturned the sentence following an appeal.
Turkey will not make any concessions over its claims in the eastern Mediterranean, said a statement issued following the country's National Security Council (MGK) meeting. “It has been once again emphasized that Turkey will not make a concession with regards to its rights and interests on land, sea or in the air, as has been the case up until today,” the statement read.
A group of lawyers close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have submitted their application to the Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) to form a second bar association in Istanbul. The group has collected just over 2,000 signatures required to establish their own association as per a new legislation which was passed by Turkish parliament in July of this year.
The trial into the murder of a 12-year-old girl shot dead on Oct. 12, 2015 in Diyarbakır during a curfew, has been put on hold following the Interior Ministry's refusal to grant permission for the prosecution of the police officer in question.
The Ankara Medical Chamber has said that the number of healthcare staff who have contracted the COVID-19 in the city has increased by 61 in the last eight days, reaching to a total of 943.
The Turkish government is reportedly planning to hand prison sentences between two months and a year to those violating quarantine rules based on an article of the Turkish Penal Code, which regulates behavior in violation of the measures against contagious diseases. The country on Sept. 23 announced the death toll as 72 - its highest since the beginning of May.
Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB) police teams on Sept. 24 demolished some restaurants and cafes on Heybeliada on the grounds that they were unlicensed. Café owners slammed the İBB's move saying that they had already paid an "occupancy fee" to the local management to use the lands in question.
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.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said that former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş will carry the indictments into him as medals, as he commented on a recent visit by a chief public prosecutor to the presidential palace. "We know that there are prosecutors lined up in front of Erdoğan," the CHP leader said.
Construction on Turkey's first nuclear power plant is ongoing amid reports of unpaid wages, the general manager said on Sept. 23. While management said it was contract companies that were lagging behind on payments, they launched an investigation into the wages nonetheless.
U.S. Ambassador to Turkey David Satterfield has said debts owed by Turkish government hospitals to American pharmaceutical companies had risen to around $2.3 billion, warning that there will be consequences for non-payment of debt or reductions in payment. "Companies will consider departing the Turkish market or will reduce exposure to Turkish market. This is not a direction which serves the interests of Turkey," he said on Sept. 23.
The Turkish Health Ministry is under scrutiny over the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases it announces daily. "This is not the exact number of positive cases. However, this is not the number of patients receiving treatment at hospitals only," the ministry reportedly told Prof. Mehmet Ceyhan, prompting confusion on what the numbers on the daily coronavirus chart mean.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has cautioned Turkey against further deployment of equipment from Chinese telecoms giant Huawei on its soil, saying it would complicate the military cooperation between the two NATO allies. The U.S. believes Huawei Technologies’ apparatus could be used for espionage.
CHP Group Deputy Chair Özgür Özel has asked the government to reveal who received millions of dollars of bribe from shady Iranian-Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab. "It's said that $80 million of this money was given to a single politician. Will the Financial Crime Investigation Board, Turkish Treasury, Court of Accounts and other auditors be mobilized?" Özel asked.
Turkey on Sept. 23 recorded more than 70 daily coronavirus deaths for the first time since May. Seventy two people died over the past 24 hours due to the COVID-19 in Turkey, while 1,767 new cases were diagnosed, according to the daily figures the Health Ministry announced on a COVID-19 dedicated website on Sept. 23.
A women's company in the western province of Uşak work to protect an art they inherited from their mothers, the endangered technique of weaving that produces "Turkish rugs," as they are known globally. Represented in Renaissance paintings, the Uşak rugs were once a symbol of wealth and prestige.
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.
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.
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
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.