Domestic
Istanbul's police department and the Green Crescent (Yeşilay) organization, whose primary goal is to combat tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption and drug use, conducted a workshop at Istanbul Airport that was attended by 1200 police. It was announced during the workshop that police on duty at the airport who vow to quit smoking will be awarded 1.75 gram gold coins, currently valued at 442 TL.
A French woman was detained for allegedly trying to join ISIS in the southern province of Adana. She denied trying to join the jihadists in Syria and said that she was in the province as a tourist. The 21-year-old was later repatriated to her country.
Six state broadcaster TRT employees are facing charges of being members of the Gülenist organization in the case into the killing of Russian envoy Andrei Karlov in 2016 via broadcasting the moment that the ambassador was assassinated by Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş. The fact that the employees recorded the moment of killing via 3G and aired it is a planned propaganda act of the Gülenists, the indictment said.
Ekrem İmamoğlu, an opposition candidate elected this past summer as mayor of Istanbul, has said that state banks are refusing to extend loans to the municipality. İmamoğlu said the city was in need of some $3.5 billion, more than half of it for stalled metro projects.
Minister of Environment and Urban Planning Murat Kurum said that following a 2012 zoning plan aimed at protecting the Sur district, the population decreased by one-third after thousands of homes were built for residents in the Çölgüzeli and Üçkuyular districts of Diyarbakır. He defended that no one was forcibly removed from the Sur district.
Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has taken a loan from Deutsche Bank in order to complete a metro line on the Anatolian side of the city that has been stalled for two years. Construction works for the Çekmeköy-Sancaktepe-Sultanbeyli line will resume with an official ceremony on Nov. 26, with the participation of Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu.
A legislative proposal allowing thermal power plants to continue to operate without modernized filters until the end of 2021 has passed the Turkish parliament. A main opposition CHP deputy said that the proposal was approved by the votes of the deputies from the ruling AKP and its ally MHP, while another CHP deputy said they will take the issue to the Constitutional Court due to the harm caused to public health and environment.
In a striking development in the case into Oct. 10, 2015 ISIS suicide attacks, missing files were found in the prosecutor's office, showing that one of the suspects who escorted attackers to the site of the massacre was known by authorities following a phone call from a fertilizer seller. "This massacre could have been prevented if he was apprehended," one of the lawyers of the complainants said.
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.
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Şenay Aydemir writes: It seems like Netflix, rather than providing resources to Turkey and contributing to the advancement of the sector, chooses to work with producers that already have a strong share in the market. Though the Netflix Turkey team claims they are open to all kinds of projects and ideas, they are obviously more open to certain ideas, projects and production companies.
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Ankara's conflict-oriented foreign policy has received the public's support for military operations, but public opinion often fails to translate into votes. While Ankara's "enemy" in military conflict is ever-changing, the northern Syria conflict was revealed to be the only intervention that expanded the government's voter base.
Politics
Turkey's southernmost province of Hatay was rocked by an explosion on Oct. 26 and authorities said that two militants of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) were nabbed following the blast. Hatay Governor Rahmi Doğan said that the two militants were a part of a group of four who had flown from the Syrian town of Manbij to the Amanos Mountains in Hatay using paramotors.
A report prepared by a number of civil society organizations regarding trials in Turkey prosecuting conscientious objectors to mandatory military service in the country has influenced the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers to pressure Turkey on recognizing the right to conscientious objection.
President Erdoğan and the newly-elected Turkish Cypriot President Ersin Tatar on Oct. 26 voiced their support for a two-state solution on the divided island of Cyprus. "We believe a two-state solution must now be brought to the table with a realistic proposal," Erdoğan said. Erdoğan also said that he would visit Turkish Cyprus on Nov. 15 and expressed his desire to have a picnic at Varosha.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said that at least 78 Turkey-backed Syrian rebels were killed and dozens more were injured in Russian airstrikes on a military training camp in Idlib. Those targeted were in a camp belonging to Faylaq al-Sham, the monitor said, adding that it was the deadliest attack since the ceasefire came into force in March.
The second indictment against human rights defender and businessman Osman Kavala presents no new grounds to justify his detention and is politically motivated, said Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in a statement.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has urged the UNESCO to release its report on the restoration works in the iconic Hagia Sophia as soon as possible. Lavrov said that for Russia Hagia Sophia is particularly valuable from the spiritual point of view.
Twenty-eight of Istanbul's 39 districts have registered more than 50 percent increase in COVID-19 infections in the past week compared to the average of this month, said Health Minister Fahrettin Koca. “The increase rate is 50-60 percent in 11 districts, 60-70 percent in 10 districts, and 70-80 percent in seven districts,” he told reporters on Oct. 26.
A Canadian vehicle manufacturer has suspended the delivery of aircraft engines to Turkey in the wake of reports that some of those engines are being used on Turkish combat drones deployed by Azerbaijan in its conflict against Armenian forces over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Former main opposition CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu's lawyer has appealed to the Constitutional Court following two lower courts' refusal to retry him over violations of his rights to participate in politics and personal freedom.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told a worker to enjoy a nice cup of tea as the latter complained of not being able to bring home bread. Erdoğan said that the worker's plea sounded like a huge exaggeration, evoking infamous French ruler Marie-Antoinette who told the people to eat cake if they can't find bread.
A dynamite blast in the construction of Turkey's first nuclear power plant damaged cars that were parked in the nearby lot, ANKA News Agency reported on Oct. 25. Locals have complained from the use of dynamite in the construction before, saying that the dust harms their crops, and the blasts have even cracked the walls of their homes.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has challenged the United States on a sanctions threat over Ankara’s support to Baku in its clashes with Armenia. "You [Americans] do not know who you are playing with. Go ahead with your sanctions," Erdoğan said. He also slammed the U.S. for not delivering promised F-35 fighter jets.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that Baku would use Turkish F-16 jets in case of an external attack on the country. "They've been asking me about why Turkish F-16s are here. I'm tired of answering. Everyone knows that the F-16s are waiting. They came here for a drill and our Turkish brothers kept them here for moral support. They'll see those F-16s if there is an external attack on us," Aliyev said.
Mehmet Ayışığı is a well-known and well-liked figure in Istanbul's Kurtuluş neighborhood, wandering the streets and calling out to customers with his signature voice. After Ayışığı's cart was confiscated by the Şişli Municipality due to noise complaints, area residents marched together with the vendor in a gesture of solidarity against police.
Known for its lush natural beauty, the environmental integrity of the town of Şavşat is under threat due to a hydroelectric power plant, where construction is due to continue despite being previously blocked by a regional court. “The people of the area are very determined. They will definitely not allow the construction of a hydroelectric power plant,” said Tahsin Yazıcı of the Kireçli village, saying that the villagers would use their democratic rights.
Turkish law enforcement detained some 38 journalists in the first eight months of 2020, a report by the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) revealed. Meanwhile, access to 53 news stories and 75 websites was blocked. Charges of insulting the president resulted in the detention of 24 people, the arrest of three and an investigation into one person.
Istanbul police violently detained around 40 members of a pro-Kurdish youth union involving pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party's (HDP) Youth Assembly, Mesopotamia Agency reported on Oct. 25. Police claimed that a banner held up by demonstrators was criminal on the grounds that it displayed a photo of İbrahim Kaypakkaya, a deceased Turkish leftist.
Economy
Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak has said that the economy is growing despite the tumbling Turkish Lira. The lira weakened to a record low on Oct. 26, hit by investor unease over the central bank's decision last week to keep its policy rate on hold and various sources of geopolitical concern. Strains in ties with the United States, a row with France, a dispute between Turkey and Greece over maritime rights and the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh have all unsettled investors.
Turkish monthly inflation was almost four times greater than the official rate in September, according to a new model developed by a group of academics and researchers. According to the independent Inflation Research Group (ENAG)'s first published finding, consumer prices in September rose 3.61 percent from the previous month, compared to the official Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK)'s calculation of 0.97 percent increase.
Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez said on Oct. 22 Turkey will operate the gas field which it recently discovered in the Black Sea on its own, but it may cooperate with foreign firms in terms of detailed work and equipment. The minister's comments came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Oct. 17 Turkey had raised the estimated reserves of the field to 405 billion cubic meters after finding an additional 85 bcm.
The Turkish government has said that it "laughs off" boycotts imposed on Turkish products in Saudi Arabia, Morocco and United Arab Emirates. "We laugh off some countries' boycotts against Turkey. They should first learn to stand as independent countries," AKP deputy leader Numan Kurtulmuş said on Oct. 18.
Urban Beat
Turkey's southeastern city of Diyarbakır is nestled in Mesopotamia and has a deep legacy spanning millenniums and civilizations. A recent discovery on the 8000-year-old Amida Höyük archaeological site has unearthed an 1800-year-old heating system that was quite sophisticated for the time.
Kurdish artist Zehra Doğan's work that she created during her two prison sentences between 2016 and 2019 are on display in Turkey for the first time. The artist was jailed on terrorism charges and gained international fame after finishing her second sentence and holding a show at London's Tate Modern.
Turkey's Presidential Symphony Orchestra will thrive thanks to the completion of its long-awaited music hall, Conductor Cemi'i Can Deliorman said. Having been in the works for 25 years, the music hall's large auditorium can seat more than two thousand viewers.
Alterations on Istanbul's iconic Hagia Sophia reportedly violated guidelines mandated under the site's "UNESCO World Heritage" status. Converted within two weeks of the legal ruling that allowed Muslim worship, the ancient structure's mosaics were unlawfully covered up, and any work on it was deemed practically impossible, architectural publication Mimarlık Magazine reported.